Saturday Spotlight: Mirages of the Ol’ West

Welcome to Saturday Spotlight! In this series, GameLuster staff members share thoughts on games from their currently playing list. 

Red Dead Redemption 2

by Amin Hossain

I’m a bit late to the party but I started to play Red Dead Redemption 2 and the attention to detail in this game is insane. It’s perfect for fast-paced action or to just chill and take care of your camp. I have yet to start the online but I’m sure it will be the 7th Circle of Hell like GTA Online. The amount to care-giving you have to put into Arthur Morgan and his horse (cleaning, feeding, sleeping) makes this basically a Yee Haw Tamagotchi.

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot
I like to bind and I like to be bound.

I never played the first installment of the game but this is a great way to be introduced to the series. The initial prologue was an amazing way of setting up the story but I was more than happy to finally have the reins of the game.

So what would I do with this new found freedom in such a rich and expansive wild-west sandbox? Would I continue the amazing story that lay ahead of me? Would I explore the graphically beautiful landscape with an environment littered with life? No. I would spend my first taste of freedom chopping wood, carrying sacks of grain and delivering hay bales. This by no means a complaint. I enjoyed it. Why? I don’t know. Doing my own chores in real life are a Herculean effort. But alas, Rockstar has found a way to make the mundane seemingly enjoyable.

Whenever the humdrum of domestic life in the camp would get me in the doldrums, I would look on the wilderness to satiate my lust for adventure. I would attempt to hunt for provisions for the camp. Maybe it was my luck but any time I would be riding my horse to the mission objective, animals would literally be running into me. When I would be actively hunting, they would be nowhere to be found. Could I be doing something wrong because I didn’t read the game’s tips when it came up? No, it is the game that is wrong.

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot
Logan Paul circa 1899.

I have seemed to truly live vicariously through Arthur Morgan. Not in relations to testing my morality when faced with branching decisions, but with the desire to grow a long luscious beard. Every time I came across a general store I always left with hair tonic. Ammunition, provisions and clothing were only attended to after I had gotten my hair tonic fix. Several hours into it and the beard length is still medium. Curses!

While still on the topic of hair, the one thing that did throw me off and destroyed my suspension of disbelief was the lasting duration of the pomade. It stayed on for days, even after washing several times. That is wack. Though, it did make me look dapper for occasional public hanging or serial killer corpse reveal. Good times.

Oh and you can pet dogs so Game of the Year every year.

Wii U Selections (And More!)

by Simon Smith

I have been nostalgic lately. As much as I love venturing into the worlds available on the Switch, it is Nintendo’s past that has me more intrigued. I realized recently that I have been neglecting the Wii U, which for me is appalling. This is still my favorite console to date and it is filled with games I adore. I decided to revisit some favorites and complete a game that I had started back in November.

Out of nowhere I decided I wanted to play Nintendo Land. I wanted to try that classic Wii U charm with its fun minigames and even more creative uses of the Wii U gamepad. It brought up questions of why the Wii U failed when I revisited it, as I found myself smiling away as I rolled through Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, battled ninjas in Takamaru’s Ninja Castle, and attempted to collect fruit in Yoshi’s Fruit Cart, one of the most innovative games in Nintendo Land. I always think if you can get hold of a Wii U and this game you should gather some friends and smile at the fun minigames Nintendo offered with it.

Nintendo Land screenshot
One of many attractions in Nintendo Land.

Besides Nintendo Land I also found myself stepping out to enjoy the fun of tennis, baseball and bowling once again as I popped in Wii Sports Club. I was obsessed with this version of the game when it came out years back, it improved upon the occasionally problematic controls of the Wii original, and offered that same satisfying gameplay. Even today Wii Sports Club is a blast to play – to step up and wave my arms like a fool until I inevitably pull a muscle, good times I was happy for my random decision.

But it’s not all party games for me. I had a game to complete and I was going to ensure I did so. Back in 2015 Nintendo and Atlus brought Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE to the Wii U and I finally decided to finish it. Admittedly I could have done this years ago with a sealed copy I own, but the collector in me waited until late last year to find a cheap copy and, finally, I got to play it.

Tokyo Mirage Session screenshot 2
Tokyo Mirage Sessions had to be completed.

Honestly I am glad I waited. I don’t think I would have quite gravitated to this game back then. But upon finishing the game I can say I loved it. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a hidden gem on the Wii U and deserves a lot more recognition. The game blends elements of both the Shin Megami Tensei series and Fire Emblem series to create a fun mashup game that blends turn-based battles with a surprisingly complex battle system utilizing Fire Emblem core ideals. Considering the weapon triangle and knowing how you can hit an enemy to start a huge combination strike to deal massive damage is satisfying. The story for the game was so fun and definitely cute which I love most.

Beyond that I have also returned to the 3DS to look at Fire Emblem Echoes, a much more simplistic Fire Emblem game but still rather challenging. I am really fond of the games’ approach to battles with a huge map screen and the ability to choose where I go next. Do I progress in the story, or journey into a dungeon to build up my units? It’s satisfying to decide.

That is about it, now I go back to deciding what I want to return to next on my Wii U.

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