How to shop for a gamer | Christmas | Birthdays | Any occasion

Hey, Gamers! Or, uh, not gamers, I guess. This is another one of the weird times when my post targets non-gamers and I don’t know how to address my audience. But hi, if you’re here you either read my blog (thanks for that), or you’re wondering how to shop for that special gamer in your life. Originally, this post was for Christmas but it could also be for birthdays or just because. I know my family doesn’t really know where to shop for me and Josh, so I thought other families and friends might be going through the same thing. The links I include in this aren’t affiliate or anything, and most of the examples I use are going to be catered towards me or Josh because that’s what I know best, but I’ll try my best to generalise. Let’s get on with it!

Step 1) Think about the individual
So, what’s the gamer’s relationship to you? Are they allergic to anything? Do they particularly like candles or wax melts or music? Do they collect funko pops in general? I think it’s so important not to generalise here, unless you’re not close enough to the person to know this stuff. For example, I love candles but Josh hates them. I collect funko pops and while Josh thinks they’re cool… I’d probably enjoy his funko pops more than he would (as I discovered after getting him several funko pops). Gamers can be so diverse and it’s really important to know the basics before trying to gift them something, as is the case with anyone really.

Step 2) Ask them questions
Gosh, this one is so important. For example, my favourite thing is Persona 5 (it’s a turn-based video game), but my least favourite character used to be Goro Akechi, who is typically pretty well-liked across the fanbase. Therefore, say you already know what my favourite game is… and you go and get me something that has Akechi on… that’s not the best situation.
Another example is Fortnite. Fortnite is a pretty big game right now, and say you know someone is a gamer and think “hey, I’ll get them something to do with that Fortnite thing”, only to find out they absolutely hate the game.
I’ll provide some questions to ask that I think will help along with this process in case it’s overwhelming and you don’t know where to start:

For reference, Q is a new question whereas FQ is a follow-up question.

Q: What’s your favourite game?
FQ: What type of game is that?
Q: Is there a character you particularly like or dislike from that game?
Q: What do you play on (could be PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo- this would be a good question if you’re thinking about getting them a game).
Q: Is there any merch for that game that you’re liking the look of?
Q: What is your least favourite game right now?

For those who are like “oh I barely talk to them, I’m more comfortable with *relative*” or something along those lines, then I have a very simple solution for you: ask that relative. 8/10 they either know the answer or they can ask for you and it won’t be awkward. For example, my mother knows that Atlus made Persona 5 and Atlus is owned by Sega, who made Yakuza (Persona 5 is my favourite and Yakuza is Josh’s). She also knows that my least favourite character is Goro Akechi from Persona 5 (and she also knows that Oda is my least favourite character from Yakuza). My mum knows it is the 25th anniversary of Persona this year and that the Atlus store is officially opening again this month. If she asks me a question – say “what persona is your favourite to use?” – I would be thrilled to answer because she’s paying attention and wants to know more. For the record, the answer would be Mothman because my Mothman is superior… but she already knows that so uh, bad example.

Step 3- Know where to look.

And this is the step I’m mostly here for. I am addicted to looking online for more merch. Here are some general rules I go by:
Avoid Amazon unless you know the person and/ or the game well.
Check out the company’s website to see if they have an official store- a lot do and it’s not half as expensive as you’d expect.
Redbubble is likely your best bet. There are amazing things there for those who love gaming.
Etsy is a bit more personal, in my opinion. Go to Redbubble if you don’t know them too well, but Etsy if you do. It tends to be more on the expensive side but it’s so nice.

Here is the breakdown of some websites and the pros and cons, as well as situational information. I’ll try my best not to info dump, but feel free to skip to whichever part you’re looking for.

Amazon:
While Amazon is great for convenience and you probably know how to use Amazon, they aren’t the best for gaming merch. Twitch merch is great there. Highly recommend Amazon if you’re looking for streamers. However, here is an example of why it isn’t the best-

As you can see, not everything in the search find is related to Persona 5. There’s some completely random stuff there (although it may be tailored towards you (judging from the Harley Quinn duck), it’s not the best for those who don’t know the gamer or the game itself.

Pros to Amazon:
Convenience, especially if you have Amazon Prime. Next day delivery is obviously going to be a huge pro as you can order things when you need them instead of them just lying around your house.
Familiarity. You probably know already know the site.

Cons to Amazon:
If you don’t know the game very well, you could end up buying something that’s unrelated by accident.
Doesn’t have the best range of things for gamers.
You can shop for non-gamers too.

eBay:
eBay is known for bargains so I don’t blame you for wanting to look here. However, I am yet to find a decent bargain on eBay for gamers. There’s some good generic stuff, and they do have a much wider range in comparison to Amazon. However, you never really know what you’re going to get. There’s been a few times where I’ve bought something and it was not what I was expecting. For example, I bought Persona Q2 on eBay and when I received it, it was the Japanese version and therefore I couldn’t play it. There’s a huge range of figures and cosplay there, but they’re not always going at a bargain price.

Pros to eBay:
Familiarity, in the same sense as Amazon. If you’re wanting to go there to shop for a gamer, you’ve probably already shopped there before.
You can do other shopping there for other people too.
Could potentially get a bargain.

Cons to eBay:
Possibility of getting scammed.
The quality of items isn’t always the best.
You might not get what you’re expecting.
Again, you might accidentally buy something unrelated to the game if you’re not familiar with it.

RedBubble:
Ah, RedBubble. I shop here so much. Not only is it great for Gamers, but it’s also great for unique items. For example, Josh always gets compliments on his “I don’t need Google, my girlfriend knows everything” shirt, and I always get the chance to educate people about Dissociative Identity Disorder whenever I wear my “I have multiple personalities and none of them like you” shirt. My wish list is full of shirts, phone cases and stickers. I was never interested in stickers until a year or so ago, and now I have plenty. It’s also great for those who like anime (I know this because JoJo is Josh’s special interest right now and I needed to get him some stickers for a special project I’m working on).

My fiancé wearing a shirt I got him from RedBubble

Here are some cons to the site:
There’s not really a way of looking at a fandom as a whole, so you have to be careful what you type in.
It’s difficult if you’re looking for a game that has another meaning in another fandom. For example, Josh and I play a game called Dauntless, and the word dauntless is used in a series called Divergent (it’s a book series that gained some traction around the time that The Hunger Games was big). Because of this, it’s difficult to find Dauntless merch on the site.

Here are some pros:
Supporting small artists! Artists can upload their work for free and RedBubble can take care of the rest.
You can essentially do all of your shopping on this site, it’s so diverse.
You usually get a cute RedBubble sticker with your order.
You can get so much stuff. Stickers, shower curtains, mugs, phone cases.

I use RedBubble so much. My laptop has Persona 5 Stickers on, I’ve used them to get stickers for a super-secret project I’m doing for Josh for Christmas involving JoJo, my past couple of phone cases – apart from the one I currently have on because I got a new phone in a pretty colour so I needed a clear phone case to show that off – have been from RedBubble (a Ross Lynch one, a few Harley Quinn ones and a Persona 5 one). There’s an app that’s super easy to navigate too, if you think you’d use it a lot because like I said, it’s not just for gaming.

Etsy:
Etsy is beautiful. That’s honestly the main way I’d describe it. It’s very similar to RedBubble in the sense that you’re supporting small businesses and can do most of your shopping on there as it isn’t tailored to just gamers.

I find Etsy to be on the more expensive side in comparison to RedBubble, which makes sense because from what I can tell it’s just a place to get a bunch of small businesses together whereas RedBubble is a business in itself.

I find the products on Etsy to be more… classy. There’s a lot of themed bath bombs, well-made jewellery, themed candles and wax melts. There is definitely more traditionally masculine things too, but I can’t think of examples right now. Even if your gamer isn’t into things like that, there are also personalised controllers (though they are very expensive) and controller skins (stickers to put on controllers to customise them).

While I don’t tend to use Etsy as much as RedBubble, I have used it more for non-gamer things. For example, if I was shopping for both Josh and Hannah (Hannah is my best friend, she’s studying drama at uni so I’d probably get her some theatre stuff), then I would probably just go on Etsy to knock the two out in one. There’s also ‘normal’ stuff like nice bath bombs etc that a large number of people would like.

Pros to Etsy:
Supporting small businesses.
A wide range of products.
Great quality items (I am yet to be disappointed by things I’ve bought on Etsy).
Can buy things for non-gamers.

Cons to Etsy:
Products are often on the more expensive side in comparison to the previously mentioned sites.
The site might feel a bit difficult to navigate at first, especially if you don’t know what exactly you’re looking for.

Gaming Companies:
Now, I can’t talk for all gaming companies here. However, I know each time I’ve looked for official merchandise on the official sites, I’ve been surprised by how cheap they were. I believe I once got a pretty good quality laptop bag for under £30 including shipping and something that I really can’t remember. I know back when we first got into The Witcher 3, belts were only like £10. Considering this is official merch, I think that’s amazing. I know not all gaming companies have a store (Atlus’ store has been down for a few years but is coming back this month!), but I think it’s always worth a look.

General google search:
If push comes to shove, google ‘*insert game here* merchandise’. It’s probably not the most consistent thing to do, but if you really don’t know what to get, googling is always a good place to start.

Important notes to take away:

Remember to ask the gamer that you’re buying for what games they like, if they have a favourite character etc. If you’re not comfortable with that, ask someone close to them. If they don’t know, they can ask for you. You don’t want to waste your money on V-bucks for someone who hates Fortnite (unless it’s a prank), and you don’t want to buy a figure of a character that your gamer can’t stand (again, unless it’s a prank).

Honestly, your best bet is always going to be to just listen to your gamer. Remember that it’s probably not ‘just a game’ to them. It’s so much more. Gaming is a wonderful medium and it helps people in so many different ways.

If you’re new here, maybe check out my post about why gaming isn’t so bad which is linked here:

Are video games beneficial for your child?

And for my regular readers- that’s it for this post, Gamers! Remember to ‘like’ this post if you liked it, go follow 2nerds_1game on Twitch for some cool streaming content and follow this blog for more gaming content (if you don’t already). See you next post, Gamers!   

Gaming Progress: September

Hey, Gamers! Ah, September… the month of new beginnings, of starting university again and already feeling behind, and the month of decent gaming progress. Here are my previous two progress reports, and without further ado, this is what Josh and I got up to in September!

Let’s start off with The Witcher, but not for reasons you might expect. I wasn’t sure whether or not to write this here, but Josh encouraged me to do so, so yeah. When I first played The Witcher 3, I had just been diagnosed with Dyslexia. It was a huge thing for me, and completely unexpected. I was an avid bookworm as a kid and I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 12. I really, really didn’t expect it and I fell out of love with reading almost immediately. I had absolutely no interest in it. But when I played The Witcher 3, I adored the story. Josh told me there were books and after I expressed interest in them, he got them for me almost immediately. Although Josh isn’t really a reader, he’s been nothing but encouraging when it comes to me reading. This was in 2018. This month, I finished the first book. This was such a huge thing for me, as it’s the first book I had finished since being diagnosed. I am writing this on the first of October… I am about 50 pages away from finishing the second book. I read every single day now (I read instead of playing on the switch before bed), and I think it’s safe to say that the love for reading that I used to feel has come back. And why am I talking about reading on a gaming blog? Because all of this reading about Geralt made me want to play the game again. I’d like to remind everyone that I wasn’t always confidant in my gaming ability, so I actually played The Witcher 3 on easy. So, I’m going through it on normal… and then I’m going to do Death March, because I am going to go for the plat. I haven’t gotten very far into it (I don’t think I’ve met Yen yet), but I’m excited.

Something else that I’ve started playing is Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight! So, I got this game for Christmas and played it for a while until Strikers came out. I have been very focused on Strikers since it came out, so Dancing became just a game that I wasn’t good at but tried. Since we worked out how I could play digital games on my PS4 (it’s a long story), I recently decided to start over again. This is a very recent thing (maybe like, two days), but I’m determined to get that plat, too. I will perfect this game, in spite of my dyslexia and dyscalculia (they throw off my coordination).

Speaking of Persona 5… I haven’t got the plat in Strikers. I have, however, started playing on Merciless. I’m trying my best. The tutorial really threw me off, but I eventually am getting the hang of things again. I have Alice so everything feels easy apart from the fact that enemies can one-shot me. I’m having a little issue with understanding that LVL 99 is the highest I can get, so I should just focus on other teammates. All that I can improve now is my skill at the game, since I can’t get a higher LVL for Joker. I’m just trying to get my head wrapped around that, but we only have two trophies to go.

Moving on to my Persona 5 Royal AI route… I beat Madarame first try when I went back to do it again. I don’t think I actually levelled up or anything, so I’m thinking I was just having a bad day and was making silly mistakes the more frustrated I got. A few people messaged to ask if I’m playing on Merciless, which I am not. It’s a completely new playthrough on hard difficulty. I tried to focus on social stats and confidants between the time of beating Madarame and him confessing, but the best thing to come out of it was I ranked up to 3 in Intelligence, Proficiency and Guts. I’ve decided to basically completely ignore Iwai for this playthrough because he’s a difficult one to get up to 10 in a new game. I feel like between palaces two and three is just a face slap of plot, which makes it difficult to work on confidants. I believe I’m on rank 6 with Ryuji, which is exciting because he learns the insta-kill move at rank 7 and that’s going to make grinding so much less stressful during this particular playthrough. Obviously, most people find grinding tedious but the AI isn’t the most predictable anymore so I’m excited to take the stress off for grinding.

Speaking of grinding, let’s talk about Dark Souls! Of course, I’m using that as an umbrella term for all three Dark Souls games. I did get through Sen’s fortress but then Josh kept dying in Anor Londo (and then for some reason kept getting annoyed at me when I tried to avenge him and died a lot). We then tried to play together in a room that’s guarded by rhino things, who were not very happy with me and therefore would not let me light the bonfire even when I quit out the game and they reset. And then, gamers, it took us about an hour until Josh remembered he couldn’t actually be summoned until I tried to fight Seath myself. Actually, I’d say it was more than an hour. That hour (+) was filled with me getting mad at him because he obviously hasn’t put his summon sign down where he said he did, him getting mad at me because I clearly wasn’t looking in the right place, and lots of dying. So much death.

Speaking of death, Josh beat Dark Souls 2 and the Fume Knight. Josh hated Dark Souls 2 for the longest time, and he’s definitely one of those gamers that is more likely to blame the game than his skill, but he overcame the bad hitboxes and weird stats to beat the game and the hardest boss. He has about 50 hours in Dark Souls 2, which is crazy because he probably has over 100 hours in each of the other SoulsBorne games, but I remember a time when one hour was too much time wasted on this game. It’s so nice to be able to see him grow like this. He kept giving it a chance even though he passionately hated the game, and he completed it.

We have both done some PVP in Dark Souls this month. Josh started doing it in Dark Souls 3, and I started in Dark Souls Remastered. I have beaten Josh a few times, and I’ve gotten pretty good at backstabbing now. Oh, and I can officially one-hand my Black Knight’s halberd. The main issue is that… I’m not sure if I like it, if I’m being completely honest. I mean, it’s cool to have a weapon that does so much damage, and I really had to work to be able to wield it properly because I had barely touched my strength stat, but I’m not sure if it’s for me. I’m sticking with it for now to see how it goes. It’s still very new, and I need to get used to weapons in order for them to feel right.

My fiancé is the best because he cosplays the protagonist of my favourite game in one of his favourite games so I can say I was protected by Joker

Since we’re talking about Dark Souls, it feels like the obvious moving point over to Bloodborne. Oh, guys, I cannot believe I am even talking about this game again. Believe me when I say I was hoping to never play this again. But I decided enough was enough and I had to play it, so I installed it and since Josh’s brother was playing it too, Josh installed it so he didn’t feel left out. So, the first character I made was not the best. But I beat the werewolf with a backstab once I got weapons, and then I got increasingly frustrated and disorientated because I recognised where I was but couldn’t find where I was trying to go. I then made a new character because I decided to stream Bloodborne because if I’m suffering, someone might find it entertaining and then at least someone is enjoying the experience. I beat the werewolf without weapons, the first try. I was super proud of myself. And then, after a ton of grinding for Blood Vials – and a few deaths – I did it. I beat the Cleric Beast. This monster has been haunting my dreams for over a year now, so I am so happy it’s finally over. I know it’s just the start of the game, but this was such a huge accomplishment for me.

We’ve started playing a lot of games this month. Josh started Mochi Mochi Boy and got the plat; he also started playing the Surge and Genshin Impact; I started playing Kingdom Hearts on stream. I also played my Royal file (my personal one with my super cool Mothman who is superior to all other personas) for a little bit, which was fun. I hadn’t been on it since Strikers came out in February because I was so focused on that, and then started my AI route a few days after.

The last things to talk about is Judgement and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Yes, I have come back to it. I didn’t intend to not play it for the entirety of August, time just slipped away. I helped out the orphanage and did the Nishki family fight. It makes me so sad because Nishki just deserved better and Kiryu deserved better and it’s heart-breaking that Nishki’s family thinks of Kiryu negatively. Josh finished Judgement this month, too. It’s the longest it has taken him to finish a Yakuza game, but he says it is one of his favourites.

Did he need sleep? Yes. Did he go to sleep? No.

But I think that’s it for this post, Gamers! What did you get up to in September? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, give it a ‘like’ and follow my blog for more gaming content. If you’re interested in watching some of the above-mentioned content (like my Persona 5 Royal AI route, Bloodborne and Kingdom Hearts), check out 2Nerds_1game over on Twitch, where me and Josh stream most days of the week. See you next post, Gamers!

P.S: This is the 100th post on this blog. Huge deal to me. Thank you for all the support.

Is Persona 5 Royal worth buying, and what to expect if you get it (plot spoiler free)

Hey, Gamers! I’ve never done this before, but this is the second time I am writing this post. After talking to Josh (my partner, if you’re new), I realised that instead of just listing off different circumstances that Royal would or would not be worth it… I should just tell you what you should expect from Royal so that you can make an educated (plot spoiler-free), informed decision on what’s best for you. Persona 5 Royal has been out for over a year now, and I was lucky enough to have gotten the Phantom Thief edition (luck doesn’t really come into it, I did have a full autistic meltdown when I thought I couldn’t get it and 100% had to sacrifice things to get it), and I owe a lot of my experiences as a gamer to Persona 5. I really love this game. That being said, I live with someone who doesn’t passionately love this game the same way I do and because of that, I can now be unbiased in this post. So, long intro over, let’s get into it!

What can you expect from Persona 5 Royal?

I’m going to divide this into sections to make sure I cover everything. If you don’t want to know about a certain part, skip it but remember, I won’t spoil the plot. I’m not that kind of person.

Plot-
So with Persona 5 Royal comes three new advanceable confidants- Kasumi, Maruki and Akechi. Akechi was in the original game, but his confidant was automatic and based on story progression (similar to Morgana, Igor and Sae). There is definitely an added benefit to his confidant being based on the time you spend with him over story progression, and I’ve discussed this in a previous post (that does have spoilers, but I’ll link it in the bottom if you’re interested). Kasumi and Maruki are brand new characters that were developed just for Royal. You need to finish all three to unlock the third semester. In terms of characters, they are interesting. I was worried that Kasumi and Maruki would just be surface-level characters, but they’re very well developed. They tie in well with the new plot and the original plot. I was worried that they would feel out of place with the original stuff, but they fit in very well. You can tell that these characters were thought about considerably, and they really thought about how to fit them in with the original plot. They’re there without getting in the way. Akechi’s confidant also doesn’t feel out of place. It’s very natural and – if Royal was my first playthrough of the Persona 5 story – it helps with keeping Akechi’s backstory and goal hidden as it doesn’t draw too much attention to it like it did in the original game.
The third semester is good. The story content of it is fabulous. It is very well written with a very good set-up. However, I feel like the way it was marketed was poor. The third semester is heavily story-driven and you don’t get much time to focus on confidants and social stats. It’s very much taking your hand and being like “no, don’t do this, look at all of this wonderful plot, do that- no, don’t get distracted! I don’t care if you wanted to finish that, do this instead, this is right in front of you”. I think the best way I can think about to describe how the game does this is through Morgana and sleep. It’s a meme that in the first game, Morgana makes you sleep so much. This is fixed for the most part, but in the third semester, it’s very much like the original game. I actually said that I thought they made the third semester before they re-made the rest of the game (but that’s a whole other topic). The third semester is so story-driven that there’s very little time for you to do your own thing. Great story, like I said, but not really what it was marketed as in my opinion.
There’s also another character who is less in your face. His name is Jose and honestly, he makes Mementos so much better. He’s the sweetest character. I think he adds a lot of mystery to the game, which I know a lot of people like. He’s an improvement, but I like him most for game mechanic reasons.

Feel-
Persona 5 Royal feels like a whole other game. For example, I played the original Persona 5 until the day before I received Persona 5 Royal. I literally finished my second playthrough the day before. But from the moment I clicked x when it asks you to do the Network thing… it just feels different. Slicker. More… on point. Everything just feels like it’s been improved, which is really what you want when you’ve paid for the price of a full game. They’ve improved so much, and the feel of it is weird because I was completely happy with the feel of the original Persona 5. I thought it was cool. But then I played Royal and it just feels so… disappointing whenever I go back to the original because it just feels… less.

Game mechanics-
Okay, so this was one of the biggest changes that I struggled with originally. They’ve improved it. Nothing in this game feels ‘less’ than the original. There are three things I wish to discuss here: ammo, will seeds and Mementos.
So, ammo used to replenish only when you entered the palace. If you used all of your ammo by the first or second fight, you just had to deal with no ammo. This was the worst in the final palace of the game as it was fairly long and had to be done in one day. With Persona 5 Royal, ammo replenishes after each fight. It actually makes much more sense in terms of how it is explained (because they’re not using real guns or ammo). It makes long says in Mementos easier to deal with (especially if you are preserving SP, which is usually a good idea).
Next up is will seeds. Will seeds are not compulsory, but they are a nice addition to the game. They make sense for plot reasons, and it’s nice to break a palace up with little goals like this. They restore a little bit of SP, which is always a positive thing. I think in terms of playstyle, the will seeds most benefit those without the DLCs and who want to do palaces in one day. That being said, you can’t go wrong with SP recovery and they’re collectables. Once you get all three, they morph into one big thing which gives you a skill. However, once the palace leader has been defeated you can take the crystal (all three of the seeds morphed together is a crystal) to Jose, who will turn it into a ring which comes with an improved skill.
Speaking of Jose, now is a good time to start talking about Mementos. Jose brings three new things to Mementos in terms of game mechanics: flowers, stamps and a new shop! Jose helps break Mementos up in the same way that the will seeds help to break the palaces up. Before I move on to talk about how everything works, I want to add that Jose sells missing will seeds from the previous palace. I only found this out yesterday (and it would have alleviated my worry that one night I couldn’t sleep out of fear of missing a will seed in Okumura’s palace). They’re significantly more expensive than the other items but if you need them, it’s nice to know the option is there. So, Jose’s shop offers two things using two different currencies: items can be bought with flowers, and changes in Mementos cognition can be bought with stamps. You can find both currencies in Mementos. You have to really look for the stamps, and they’re sometimes hidden behind breakable walls. But the flowers are everywhere and the stamps give you a real reason to keep exploring the floor in Mementos past finding the way up or down. Jose’s stop gives you pretty good items, including the well sort after SP recovery items, which are on the more expensive side but are still very easy to get. You collect flowers that are on the floor in Mementos the same way you would pick up any item in Mementos- that is by driving over them. You have a HED on the screen that keeps tabs on how many flowers you have. Jose shows up every few floors, and as far as I know, it is completely random. You can just go up and down a set of stairs to spawn him in if you have a lot of flowers and want to leave for the day. Flowers don’t carry over, so if you have like 60 flowers (because you need 75 for SP recovery if I am remembering right off the top of my head) and want to leave… if you can’t find Jose, those flowers are gone. This typically won’t be an issue because usually (from what I’ve gathered via talking to people and from memes) when people go into Mementos, they go to grind which means they intend to be there for a while. Now, the other thing that could be bought from Jose is changes in Mementos’ cognition. This can be exchanged for stamps, which – for Jose, at least – is a fun little game that he set up throughout Mementos. You can keep an eye on how many stamps you have left to get on each level (not floor, each section of Mementos) on the overall Mementos viewing screen (I’m not sure what else to call it, there is probably a better description but it’s lost on me right now. The screen where you can travel from one area to another). Typically there’s be a stamp at the end of each floor, and then some floors have hidden stamps and some floors even have stamps at the start (I actually nearly missed one on the start of a floor because autopilot kicked in). So, what do these changes in cognition do? They can increase the amount of experience, money and items you get during your time in Mementos. This makes grinding so much more worth it, because 1) you level up faster and 2) you get more out of your time there.

EDIT: I forgot to talk about showtime attacks! They’re basically locked behind story, and they’re just a fun new special attack that plays a scene between two characters. They (for the most part) don’t spoil the plot, so feel free to look them up on YouTube. My favourite is Makoto’s and Ryuji’s, followed by Haru’s and Makoto’s.


I also forgot to talk about fusion alarms, but I do struggle to explain it other than it’s an addition to the Velvet Room and I’ve made cool personas from accidents because of it.

Confidant abilities-
I thought pretty hard about whether or not to include this in another section or just have it be its own section, and I went with the latter. There are a few things that I wish to talk about here, and most of them involve the Thieves.
So one thing that is important (at least it was to me, so…) is that Baton Pass is automatically unlocked. It’s not locked behind a confidant rank. This is a godsend for my AI-run personally, but it also clued me on to some other abilities changing.
The main one to talk about is Ryuji’s rank 7 insta-kill. Everyone hated Ryuji’s insta-kill ability and I often heard of people choosing not to advance him past rank 6 just so they could get on with their game without the ability. But, Royal changed this. The skill only activates by pressing R2 (don’t hold me on the button, might be a different one but the point is that you don’t have to activate it), and – the best thing – you get the experience that you would have received from the fight!
Other characters have had slight confidant ability changes. It made Ohya’s skills better (still pretty bad, but better), and it overall feels like each character has just been thought about more in terms of their ranked abilities. But yeah, the main one to bring up is Ryuji’s.

General thoughts/ opinions-
When Josh and I spoke about this, we came to a conclusion based on both of our experiences: Royal is worth it… if you’re the type of person who can play through Persona 5 again. Some people just play it once, liked it and that’s that. They got enough enjoyment out of the one playthrough and wish to move on to other games, and that’s completely valid. But despite all the changes in Royal, it is still Persona 5 at heart and if you can’t do NG+, you probably can’t sit through Royal. I say this because that’s what happened to Josh. I obviously love both games, I’m playing them almost constantly… but Josh has other games and he wants to experience other things over the same thing, and that’s okay.

There are a few things that are additional such as the thieves den, twin outings, a whole new place, darts etc but I think I covered the main things.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I am sorry it’s last. As I said, I had to re-write this post because I just wasn’t okay with it. If you liked this post or found it helpful, give it a ‘like’ and follow this blog for more chilled, passionate gaming content. If you’re looking for streamers, check out 2Nerds_1Game on Twitch (and YouTube, but it’s just 2nerds1game there) to catch Josh and I streaming Persona 5 Royal, Kingdom Hearts, Bloodborne and more! See you in the next post, Gamers!

What’s happening with the Persona 25th Anniversary, and why are people upset?

Hey, Gamers! So I (stupidly) put off posting on Monday as it was Persona’s official 25th anniversary, and we were all expecting something big. That thing didn’t really come, so I needed to compose my thoughts and really think about what I was going to post because I was planning on posting about the big event or announcement we were all expecting (and I’ve been working on the next post for a few months and I am not willing to ruin it by rushing the end). So, now that everything has calmed down and I understand what’s happening, I thought I would share my understanding with you guys! Here we go!

The ‘big announcement’ was basically an announcement of an upcoming announcement in December, when Atlus is hosting a concert that celebrates music from the Persona games. First of all, I think we can all agree that the music from these games is amazing and definitely deserves celebrating. My issue is, I remember (maybe incorrectly) a concert happening maybe 2 years ago. It just feels a little… disappointing that this was the thing that Atlus revealed on the big day. I think if this announcement in December isn’t Persona 6, people are going to be disappointed. People were upset because they were expecting this big announcement to come on the actual 25th anniversary, which was Monday. So, they were really let down that all they got was an announcement of something happening in December.

So, if you go on the Atlus (West) website, it says that the 25th Anniversary events will happen from September this year (2021, if you’re reading in the future) to ‘Fall’ (Autumn) 2022. This is obviously a huge, huge time fame. At first, I was like “there’s no way I’m going to be able to stay hyped for that long” but now, I’m glad for the long time. It gives them – Atlus – more time to work on the announcements, any trailers and – more importantly – any games. The longer they have to work on these things, the better they will be. They may have planned to announce Persona 6, but decided in the end that now wasn’t the time. At the end of the day, with Persona 5 being so popular, stylish and sleek… they have to top that with Persona 6. I genuinely feel sympathy for them because I love Persona 5 so much, I don’t know if it’ll be possible to top it (mind you, they did an amazing job with Royal and they have clearly shown that they can improve and work on their mistakes). I sincerely hope that the fanbase will enjoy Persona 6 as much as they’ve enjoyed the other games, if not more.

So, what can you look forward to? Atlus West currently have some wallpapers on their website to celebrate the 25th anniversary. I have the Joker one as my home screen on my phone if anyone wants to match me (Josh was all dramatic because my home screen used to be him but now it’s Joker). The official Atlus shop has actually not been running longer than I’ve had this blog, and almost as long as I’ve been into Persona 5, and that’s coming back this October! I am very hyped for this, please expect me to complain about Atlus taking all my money when I inevitably do a post on all the cool merch I’ve bought.

In terms of any big announcements, I’ve heard so many guesses. Personally, I think it’s going to be Persona 6. Many people think it could be a Persona 3 remake, ports for the first 5 games (I’m putting 5 games because there’s two separate Persona 2’s), I’ve seen people guess Persona 5 Arena which was actually my original guess, but I don’t think that anymore. Heck, it might not even be a game. They might just be pranking us. Who knows?

@Atlus

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I hope I’ve cleared up a little bit of confusion for some people. Let me know what you’re most looking forward to during this time of celebration, and let me know what game you want the ‘big announcement’ to be. If you liked this content and want to see more Persona (or general gaming content), give this blog a follow! I’m not a gaming journalist, I’m just someone who’s pretty passionate about games and I like to overthink them and write it all down. If you’re interested in watching someone play Persona 5 (Royal or Strikers, currently), I am doing an AI playthrough of Royal and a Merciless playthrough of Strikers (trying to get the plat). See you next post, Gamers!

5 years of Persona 5: A celebration of the game that changed my life…

Hey, Gamers! If you don’t like the kinds of posts where I gush about Persona 5… skip this one. It was originally going to be an open letter to Atlus thanking them for creating the game that changed my life, but I think I’d get too emotional and personal so I’m skipping that and just talking about Persona 5 and how my life has changed because of it in my normal blog style.

Josh always said that I was like Makoto, to the point where he is yet to romance anyone else

I haven’t been playing Persona 5 for 5 years. It was released in Japan on the 15th of September 2016, and I had no interest in Japan so didn’t know any Japanese. I don’t think I had watched any anime back then. I was very sick (mentally), and was just starting my A-Levels. Ah, it was a time before Joshua. Seems like another lifetime, now. But as I said, I was very sick, self-harming in any way I could think of that other people wouldn’t notice, I dyed my hair with actual bleach because I wanted to be like Harley Quinn… yeah, like, cleaning bleach. It was a bad time.

I don’t know if I’ve said this on here, but when I met Joshua, I was in another (very bad, very toxic) relationship. Joshua quickly became my best friend. We just… clicked. Eventually, I fell in love with him. I didn’t want to. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t, that it was just platonic love that I was feeling. I spent a good few days hating him because I loved him. Why am I telling you this? Well, if you’ve been here for a while, you’ll see a pattern, because that’s exactly how it happened with Persona 5, too (I’ve literally just realised this as I’m writing… I’ll have to tell Josh about this cool coincidence!).

I really did not want to like Persona 5. When I eventually started playing it (and it took months), I hated that I was enjoying it. I cannot express how much I did not want to like this game. It wasn’t because I had another favourite game (although I was playing The Witcher 3 beforehand). It was because Joshua (my partner, in case you haven’t realised) spent so much time playing it that he forgot to do his chores. Petty, I know, but it was frustrating and we had only just started living by ourselves and I was overwhelmed with all of the responsibility and he wasn’t helping. He was just on the game all day, he started skipping his classes to play it, and I just blamed it all on the game (turns out he just didn’t enjoy his classes, but he’s chill with everything now).

Joshua is very persistent when he wants something. He just doesn’t know how to let things go. So when he decided that I would like Persona 5, that was it. I was going to like Persona 5. Obviously, I did not agree with this. Eventually, though, I wanted to play DDLC and was too much of a baby to do it by myself, so we traded goods. He would sit with me through DDLC, and I would try Persona 5 for one hour. If I didn’t like it, that was fine…

The friendship – the family – of the PT showed me what real friendship was. As an autistic person (recently diagnosed), I’ve struggled with understanding this. Persona 5 helped me.

I loved it by the opening cutscene.

It was like playing Persona 5 flicked a switch inside of me. I was suddenly so much more open to trying anything regarding games (whereas before I was pretty picky), my sense of justice skyrocketed, I became more confidant in my stances and more passionate about the things I loved. I’m not going to talk much about the story itself in this post as I want it to be about the game as a whole, but there’s so much to talk about there…

Suddenly, everything around me was Persona 5 related. I started watching anime and reading manga to gain more experience of Japanese culture, I started trying to learn Japanese (through Duolingo, which I do not recommend), I played it so much and I couldn’t seem to get enough. Heck, my mother even made me a Persona 5 themed birthday cake for my 20th because it was the only thing I was interested in. I started learning about the history of Japan through podcasts, found Tik Toks from either people who were Japanese or living in Japan and I watched them religiously.

My whole life changed. I cannot express that enough. Sure, I was passionate about things before. Harry Potter was my thing for years (to the point where I am now struggling to explain to people that although I still like it, it’s not to the same extent as I’ve lost so much respect for the creator of the universe and that was a big thing drawing me to it). I said at the start of this post that I tried to dye my hair with bleach to be more like Harley Quinn. But with Persona 5, it was different.

I’ve talked pretty openly about trauma (which, if things go right, will be the focal point of the next post) on here. I am riddled with it. I always used to say that Harry Potter ‘saved me’ by giving me escapism in one of the darkest parts of my childhood. I claimed Harley Quinn was a huge reason I got out of an emotionally abusive relationship (because if she could get out of an abusive relationship, why couldn’t I?). So, what was it for Persona 5?

I don’t really have much to say about this image, apart from the fact that I took this screenshot because it was funny and I am yet to stop using it in every day conversations. I use it on most of my blogs, too. It’s like it’s a part of me now…

Nothing. I guess the argument could be made that it helped me come to terms with growing up. But, not really. I did that myself. Persona 5 didn’t provide the same level of escapism as the latter two – and my many other previous obsessions – seemed to provide. So, I have no answer on why my brain is like this. I don’t know why this is my favourite thing (to the same extent as the other stuff). The other things gave me something, helped me heal through my trauma through escapism. I think, if anything, Persona 5 grounded me.

Persona 5 is the reason this blog exists because it’s the game that started my passion for gaming as a medium. And I don’t know if you know this, but this blog is a huge part of my life. The love and support shown by the readers of this blog drive me, and the fact that we’ve established a little community of some sort… as someone who didn’t have peer support growing up, this is all crazy to me. And it’s all because of Persona 5.

My first plat. My pride and joy. I know the Royal plat is significantly easier, but it was – and still is – something I’m proud of because there was once a time when I thought all plats were unachievable.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! The closer we get to all of the reveals for the 25th anniversary, the more I think it will be Persona 6. What do you hope it is? Is there something you don’t want it to be? Let me know in the comments below! Has Persona 5 changed your life? Tell me all about it! Don’t forget, you can follow me on my socials (they should all be linked), and you can check me (and Josh) out on Twitch at 2nerds_1game (I think it’s linked on my homepage!). See you next post, Gamers!

Why I never play a game on ‘easy’ anymore

Hey, Gamers! This week, we’re going to be talking about my pride. Actually, scratch that. We’re going to be talking about how gaming has transformed me from someone who thought they had no worth and wasn’t capable of anything to someone who refuses to take things easy. It’s very personal so if you’re not into that kind of post, I’m sorry but I thought it might be nice to share this with you all!

So most of you know that I wasn’t much of a gamer before I met my partner, Josh. I had an Xbox 360 and played Tomb Raider with my dad but that was pretty much the extent of it. I’ve talked about this a few times before. What I haven’t really spoken about, however, is my relationship before Joshua. There were many things wrong with that relationship but the main thing I wanted to talk about is that he was a gamer (a PC gamer), he built his own PC and I tried to be supportive without ever really understanding. Whenever I would try to understand, he would always mock me. I remember one time, I tried to get into one of his games and he spent the whole time ridiculing me, saying that I couldn’t be a gamer because I’m a girl. This was my last experience of gaming before Joshua came along, so it was not positive and I honestly wasn’t even bothered about the PS4 when we moved in together.

I had been playing games on easy my whole life. I’m the youngest of three, and I think picking the easy mode was always expected of me because of that. But with my ex knocking my confidence completely in terms of gaming, I thought I would never play another difficulty.

The first game I played on Normal was Persona 5. I think I’ve spoken in brief about this before, but not in detail. Honestly, I’m not sure why I felt confidant enough to pick normal. I think it may have been Josh saying that it’s slow, turn-based combat so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. It may be the fact that I had already played most of The Witcher 3 and did my first 6 hours straight gaming (which, according to Joshua, is what gave me my honourable ‘gamer’ status). Playing Persona 5 on normal difficulty gave me such a huge confidence boost. I felt like I could handle anything that games threw at me (which is why I tried Bloodborne after… which was a mistake). I completed it on the same difficulty most gamers would complete it on. I felt so… empowered. I was not going to go back.

I can’t remember the next game I played on normal. The issue I had was that I had started my Witcher 3 file on easy and hadn’t finished it. I’m actually only now getting round to playing it on normal for the first time. But I have never gone back. It’s been three years since I first played Persona 5 on normal instead of easy. I have not once clicked on ‘easy’, and I never intend to again.

The thing is, once I realised that I was capable of doing it, it suddenly became easier. The thing that was holding me back the whole time was myself. I felt like I had to press easy every single time because I wasn’t good enough to be like other gamers. I wasn’t skilled enough, fast enough, sneaky enough. I just wasn’t enough… but, I was. I was enough the whole time, and the only thing that was stopping me from realising that was my own brain.

Gaming isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s meant to be fun, challenging sometimes, and it’s meant to fully captivate you. Once I realised my own worth and that I was capable of playing it on normal, it changed my outlook on so many things as I realised that I was holding myself back on other things in life too. I realised that I was worth more than I was giving myself credit for, and I was capable of more than I was letting myself do. I was and still am better.

There’s also something to be said about my constant need to prove people wrong when it comes to accessibility and my disabilities. Obviously, there’s the whole argument going around that games with no difficulty settings are inaccessible to disabled people, and I’ve been open about the fact that the argument was created by people who don’t care about disabled people and just wanted to use us as scapegoats (I’ll link the post at the end if you’re interested). I refuse to be a part of their fake statistics, so I try my best to play on normal or hard because games aren’t inaccessible just because they don’t have an easy mode.

Also, I am stubborn. Very stubborn, sometimes too stubborn for my own good. It’s difficult for me to admit that something is hard, and if someone tells me I can’t do it, my brain just goes ‘let’s prove them wrong’. Not the best trait of mine, but it’s there and I’m working on it… just not with this. 

Ultimately, I know what I’m capable of and, because of gaming, I am now willing to push my boundaries. I know my worth, and I know that struggling with a game isn’t the end of the world… sometimes, the whole point of the game is to struggle. And that’s okay.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! Do you have a similar experience? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, give it a ‘like’ and follow my blog for more gaming content (and check out our Twitch to watch us stream!). See you next post, Gamers!

Links:

Discussing the whole difficulty setting thing: https://eleanorreesgaming.com/2021/08/23/should-all-video-games-have-a-difficulty-setting/

Things I’ve learnt while playing games: https://eleanorreesgaming.com/2021/01/17/top-10-things-ive-learnt-while-playing-video-games/

In defence of Haru

Hey, Gamers! So, I did an ‘in defence of Jaehee’ post a while ago, and I decided then that it would be a series but I haven’t really come back to it until now. With this month being big for the Persona series, and my favourite thing in the entire world is Persona 5, I thought I would return to this series to discuss Haru. A while ago, I tweeted that I wanted to do a Haru appreciation post but didn’t feel like I appreciated Haru enough to do that justice, so this is the next best thing so let’s get into it!

Spoilers for Persona 5, Persona 5 Royal and Persona 5 Strikers.

So, why do people dislike Haru? Firstly, I don’t think people ‘dislike’ her necessarily. I think it’s more that they don’t feel the connection to her that they do to the other Phantom Thieves. Haru joins the team during the least liked palace in the entire game. Actually, I’d go as far as to say that it’s actually hated by most players. Haru herself doesn’t have the best first impression with the thieves as it feels like she’s ‘stolen’ Morgana from them. Both of these points would usually be fine by themselves, but it’s also alongside the fact that Haru is the last permanent thief that you get on your team in the second to last proper palace (if you’re playing Persona 5, not Royal). It feels like the other characters have so much more time to grow as people, which is rough because Haru goes through so much in Persona 5.

So, let’s go through these points to see if we have some solid ground to stand on for a defence. We’ll talk about her lack of screen time, the palace that she joins in and the whole Morgana situation, all the while looking at the things that we know and get to learn about Haru throughout the game.

Let’s talk about something that Royal solved: Haru’s lack of screen time. I think everyone expected Royal to solve this as it added a third semester. However, you get significantly less freedom in the third semester as the sole focus is on the new palace and the characters who aren’t traditionally on the team (I’m trying to get through this part as ‘spoiler free’ as possible). While the third semester did give Haru more screen time, it’s also very short so it’s difficult to hang out with her in the daytime. The nighttime is much easier in terms of time management. For me, Haru was the only member of the team I did not get up to rank 10 before the whole third persona cutscenes, which sucked but I wasn’t too bummed out because Haru is hard to get up in such a short space of time. The issue is, Haru’s confidant is great. For me, it’s probably one of the best-written confidants in the game and the fact that you get SP recovery items from it also makes her one of the most useful confidants to do. So, why do many people struggle to get Haru up? I even just said that I struggle with it myself. The reason is that by this point in the game, most of the other confidants are around level 7. It’s daunting starting a new confidant so late in the game. It’s when things get so much more serious in terms of the metaverse too, so really you want to spend most of your time getting and making stuff for the metaverse before the last 2 boss fights. But, I am meant to be coming up with some kind of defence for Haru’s lack of screen time. Honestly, the best thing I have is just how great her confidant is. Okay, here me out. With the other Phantom Thieves, you get a ton of the story to advance their personalities and the friendship of the group. You don’t get that much with Haru in the main story, because a lot of it is hidden behind her confidant. And it is such a great confidant. She grows so much in such a short space of time and it’s so well written. If you put the time and effort into Haru, it won’t matter about her lack of screen time because she can grow just as much as everyone else. With Royal, you see her not being able to forgive the person who murdered her father and in Strikers, you see how strong and independent she is. If you put the effort into Haru, she blossoms.

Okay, now the whole Morgana situation. I won’t stick with this for very long because the defence is short and sweet. Morgana left. He left on his own accord before he even knew Haru. All Haru did was look after him. Stop blaming Haru for Morgana’s actions just because Morgana likes being valued by her. That’s it.

Now let’s talk about Okumura’s palace. Oh gosh, I really don’t want to talk about this palace. I don’t even want to think about this palace, but for you guys, I will. Okumura’s palace felt like walking into a room and getting the door locked behind you, and there is no way out and the room is shrinking and each exit is blocked apart from one. Then you use that one exit only to find yourself in the same situation in the next room, only to eventually loop round to the first room so really there’s no way out. Okumura’s palace is hell but by now, you have quite a few teammates to chose from and you probably have your favourites and your own way of doing things. I believe by this point in my first run I was using Joker (obviously), Makoto, Ryuji and Ann. I never used Yusuke and I didn’t use Morgana much either. Gosh, that’s changed so much! But regardless, adding a new teammate into the fight feels weird when you’ve already got a good team. I think a thing that made this a little worse for Haru is that Futaba isn’t a fighting member of the team, which means you didn’t have to swap someone out to have her on the team. So, really, you haven’t got a new member since Makoto. This goes against Haru, in my opinion. With the amount of stuff that’s weak to Psyc in this palace, it’s obvious they want you to use Haru (more so than any other palace with their corresponding thief). I feel like usually, most people would put the corresponding thief in the team during the palace (unless another member is needed more). I think with Haru’s palace being her father’s, the connection between the two is more prominent. With what we mentioned earlier about Haru’s character development being mostly in her confidant arc, many people may mistake Haru for a stuck-up rich girl. She is the complete opposite. Haru is vital to taking down her own father because her morals are stronger than the ones she was raised with. We didn’t judge Yusuke because of Madarame so we shouldn’t be judging Haru because of Okumura.
The palace is bad. Real bad. But considering that her persona doesn’t awaken until they’re in the palace and confronting her father, I think she handles the shadows so well. She just wants to be helpful. This girl is fearful of her life. Before thinking about how bad Okumura’s palace is, let’s think about why she’s going this. Her father is basically about to sell her off to someone who is very open about what he wants from her. Her father – her only parent figure right now – is about to use her for political gain. Haru is going through hell right now. She needs this to go well more than the Phantom Thieves do, and she’s willing to give everything she’s got because her life is over if this doesn’t go well. Honestly, I’d do Okumura’s palace 100 times if it meant I could have 100 Haru’s. Despite how awful the palace is, Haru is worth it. Not only is her confidant perfect, but she is also useful to the team through her persona’s skills and through her confidant items (SP recovery).

This girl – who is still a teenager in high school during this game – watches her own father die on national television and thinks that it’s her fault. Can you even begin to imagine how traumatising that must have felt for her? But she keeps going. She carries on, not just with life but she carries the business and is still a member of the Phantom Thieves. Even in Strikers when they go to Sapporo, Haru doesn’t doubt for one second that Mariko needed to be fought. And why did she do that? To help the person who could’ve helped her grieve her father but didn’t. She doesn’t doubt for one second that this is to help the woman. All Haru does throughout all the games is try to help people. She is a wonderful soul and deserves so much more attention and hype than she’s currently getting.

I wanted to write this post because I see so many people complaining about Haru. Either her voice is annoying, or they don’t like the way she looks, or they think she’s weird. But Haru is so much more than what it immediately presented to you. She is the sweetest, most useful and most scary member of the Phantom Thieves. She is so valuable to the team that it makes me sad to think about the amount of time we have to play the game without her. However, that doesn’t diminish how wonderful and useful she is.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I hope it helped argue that Haru is actually valuable and good to have on your team. If you liked this post, don’t forget to give it a ‘like’, follow this blog for more Persona (and general gaming) content and follow 2nerds_1game on Twitch if you want to watch my partner and I goof around (I’m currently playing Strikers on Merciless and doing an AI-run of Royal). See you next post, Gamers!  

Gaming Progress: August

Hey, Gamers! So this is the monthly gaming update that I’ve recently started doing. It’s for both me and Josh (my partner), so yeah. Let’s get into it!

The first thing I wanted to say is that I haven’t played any Yakuza Kiwami 2 or Fallout 4. I think both of us have been focusing more on Dark Souls recently, as you’ll see later. I just wanted to throw that out there quickly in case someone wanted an update for those games. I do fully intend to play them, I just haven’t had as much time recently.

I did Joshua last in the last post because he didn’t really do much last month. He is sleeping as I write this so if there is anything else, I’ll add it to the end of the post but I know he wanted me to write about this particular thing and he was desperate to do it before September so that I could write about it. Joshua has officially got the Platinum trophy in Dark Souls Remastered. It was a team effort so I made him give me humanity because I picked up some souls, but he did so well. So, for those who do not follow us on Twitch (you should, btw), Josh realised that he was only like 4 trophies away from the Platinum but he needed a few boss souls. So he decided to do a ‘Jonathan Joest’ run (because Jonathan Joestar wouldn’t fit soooo). He did this fun on stream, and I believe he completed it in like 16 hours, which puts me to shame. So he completed it, summoned me to give me the souls he needed, sent me back and then I summoned him on his main character file so I could give him the souls back (because I really did not want Sif’s soul), then he did some stuff- crafting maybe – and he got it! I was – and still am – super proud of him.

Okay so since we’re on the topic of Dark Souls, I might as well do my progress here too. So you’ll see that Dark Souls and Stardew Valley took up most of my time this month. I want to preface this by saying that Joshua has been calling Sen’s fortress ‘Sen’s funhouse’ since I started playing so I was actually looking forward to a place where there might be some puzzles and like, fun stuff. Just wanted to let you guys know that now before you witness the betrayal that I felt. So, I beat the Gaping Dragon. It nearly burnt me out, to be honest, but I got so mad at the stupid cutscene (yes I know you can skip it) and the stupid flying move that I just killed it. I was so, so mad. And I did it, so that’s cool. I did it without Josh too, which I was happy with. I then went through Blighttown which I did need help with because I didn’t have any anti-toxin stuff. And of course, the love of my life who I completely trusted led me straight to Quelaag despite me saying multiple times “I think I’m under levelled so I’m going to grind before Quelagg”. For those who do not know, I am an arachnophobe so I was very anxious about this fight. It wasn’t too bad, though. Josh came with me and died within like, seconds and I got her down to under 1/3 health before dying. We successfully squashed her within a minute (it felt like) the second attempt. I then beat Ceaseless Discharge by cheesing him but I’m not too bothered, like, it was really easy and it didn’t even feel like a cheese.


I should have mentioned this before and I don’t think I mentioned it last week, but I originally had a dex build, but I could barely use any weapon. So, over time I have been building up my strength and can now officially 2 hand my Black Knight Halberd that I got a while ago from Undead Berg. It does mean I am fat-rolling and I don’t feel too comfortable without a shield so I’m just sticking with my Estoc for now.
And now I have to do Sen’s fortress. Usually, I summon Josh to guide me places but I can’t even do that without triggering the snake people so half the time I tell him it’s not worth it. Sen’s fortress is literally hell and I’d be surprised if I have any Dark Souls updates for you next month because I have no idea how I am going to do this.

They blocked me in

And to end our little Dark Souls section of this post, Josh has completed Dark Souls 3 and I have started it. I beat the first boss and then summoned Josh and his brothers (I call them the golden trio) and they just did everything for me without me asking. I think for me, this playthrough of Dark Souls 3 is more about spending time with them than it is to actually play the game, if that makes sense. After I finish Dark Souls Remastered, I’ll probably make a new character and stuff so I can actually play the game by myself (which I am also going to do with Dark Souls Remastered because although Josh doesn’t just do everything for me, he does sometimes goes a little too far so I want to experience it myself).

Let’s talk about JoJo: Eyes of Heaven. Have I ever talked about this game on my blog? I have no idea but I have always intended to (I just wanted to finish it first). For anyone who doesn’t know us in real life, JoJo is Josh’s special interest right now. I eventually started watching it in… January time and I adored it. We literally started watching Part 5 last night, if anyone wants to know where we’re at anime wise (Josh has watched it all but he’s rewatching it in English with me). So, I have been stuck on this one fight for months. Literal months. It’s not a game I tend to go on a lot, so the time has just built up. I hadn’t watched Part 4 when I first got to the fight but we finished that this month and I realised that watching and understanding the characters helps me fight, so I tried the fight again. I finally did it, which is cool. Josh noticed that I was extremely under levelled so I am going to try to grind a little before doing any other story fights. I have also played a little with Josh, and Josh has played a little with his brother so that’s been nice.

In Animal Crossing, we often had to time travel to witness the fireworks, but they were fun. Our island is a mess but is somehow 5 stars, so that’s cool. We’re going to try to tidy it up and do an island tour thing sometime soon. We just have random flowers everywhere, things just laying around. It’s a mess, but it’s our mess. We kicked Kidd out but one of my alters really wanted Judy. We then found Erik, and we fell in love with him so he’s staying for a while. That one spot hasn’t had a permanent villager in for a long time so I do hope he fits in well.

Okay, Stardew Valley time! I’m spending a lot of time on Ginger Island lately. I am desperate to get into Mr Qi’s room to see how far I am with completion. Josh and I played Stardew Valley together for a little bit but I don’t think he’s as bothered about it as I am, so I doubt we’ll spend much time on the farm together. The first half of the month was definitely focused on Skull Cavern, and the latter half was focused on Ginger Island and walnut hunting. In terms of Skull Cavern, I’m slowly getting more confidant. I’m getting used to using bombs, different food items, things that are just really needed for Skull Cavern which wasn’t really needed for the mines. I’m getting used to the enemies and the amount of damage they do, getting used to not fighting them and just looking for shafts. I am feeling much more confidant going into it. I do have a chest just outside so that I can store things like coffee and truffles (things that I really don’t want to lose), as well as any tools that I won’t need. On one Skull Cavern trip, I found a Dino Egg and a Prismatic Shard. I thought my luck must have been high but when I checked, it was low. I put the Dino Egg in the incubator and took the Shard to the missing bundle. I got some Sturgeon Roe the next day, which I put in the jar place to make Caviar. My Dino was hatched, grew up and suddenly I had Dino Mayonnaise for the missing bundle, which was the last thing I needed! I was so happy to finally finish it. Lastly, I caught my first legendary fish in the sewers. I had a taste of another one but didn’t manage to catch it as I had no trap bobbers.

Moving on to Persona 5 (as an umbrella term): Ann ruined my life. Remember when I was like all “oh the challenge isn’t the fighting it’s the time management, the AI is so good” yeah I was stupid and I’m so mad I said that. Why would she cast a hit all skill when there are only 2 enemies? Why? Why if it’s not just her trying to ruin my life? Oh my gosh, she did this so much that I actually had to take her out of my team, and I have never had Morgana in my team during the 2nd palace (after I got Yusuke, obviously). Guys, you have no idea how mad this has made me. I’ve legit raged over this because it’s ruining the whole run. I did keep dying to little enemies despite being over the recommended level to do the boss fight (which tends to be 18, by the way). I tried the boss fight and it did not go well, so I’ve had to pull out and grind in Mementos but obviously not a lot of that is unlocked, so it’s not the best situation overall. But I’m getting there. I plan to try the fight again when everyone is a little stronger. My main worry right now is confidants, so it’s very frustrating that the boss fight isn’t over with as my plan was to get it over with and focus on confidants.

Something I didn’t expect to be able to talk about here is Persona 5 Strikers! So, my mental health hasn’t been the best this past month and with the whole having to full out and grind thing… I didn’t want to stream Royal. I really, really didn’t. So I was looking at what else I had installed and I realised that I only had 4 trophies to get for the Platinum in Strikers. Now, for anyone who doesn’t know, I had a very bad experience the last time I played Strikers. I accidentally did Painful Past + instead of normal Painful Past for the very last fight. The issue is I didn’t accept the Painful Past + fight because I didn’t intend on doing it. I used so many items that I had stocked up on throughout the whole game, and it was all for nothing. So, yeah, bad experience. But I decided to just do it. I wanted to get used to the combat again, do the Painful Past / Painful Past + requests and fight the Reaper. And I did it. I beat the Reaper first try. Now, I’m grinding to get enough bond points to max out all of the bond skills and then I have to complete the inmate registry. Hopefully, the biggest update next month will be that I got the Strikers plat.

Lastly, I tried Genshin Impact again. When I tried it before, the controls of the menu threw me off a little. I get overwhelmed with things like that. But I clearly value the way a game looks over the controls because I wanted to play it again because it was pretty (I’ve never said a sentence that’s more traditionally feminine in my life). I got on with it a whole lot better, but Dark Souls was prioritised. I hope to be able to play it more during September.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! Big month for Dark Souls, not too much for anything else. What have you guys been up to this month? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, give it a like! Give this blog a follow if you want more gaming content (I’ve planned for this month to be a big Persona 5 month), and check out 2nerds_1game for some cool streaming stuff (the stuff being streaming, and the cool being me and Josh thinking we’re funny). See you next post, Gamers!

Why I believe Kazama ruined everything for everyone – Yakuza series

Hey, Gamers! This is yet another post I am a worried about as it doesn’t have a great conclusion so I want to remind everyone that this is my blog that I have to share my thoughts and experiences. I am not a gaming journalist, I am just someone who likes writing and loves games. I am currently playing through the Yakuza series (of course, with heavy influence from my partner who adores the series) and there’s a few things off about one particular character… so, let’s get onto talking about why Shintaro Kazama ruined everything…

So, while playing Yakuza 0, it’s evident that Kiryu would die for this man. This is when things started to feel a little off to me. I wanted to like – love, even – Kazama, but I couldn’t. Kiryu threw his life away for the reputation of a man that he barely knew. Kazama ran that orphanage for the children of the people he murdered, becoming a father figure to them. These children felt indebted to the man that murdered their parents. Was that always his plan? To have a group of kids – who would obviously grow to be adults – respect and trust him so much that they would do anything to help him? I’d argue that the answer is yes.

Let’s talk about something that Kazama truly ruined for Kiryu: Nishiki. Kiryu and Nishiki were always lumped together, and they had strong bonds with each other and Kazama. Despite this, Nishiki would not be willing to throw everything away for Kazama like Kiryu would (and did). Therefore, Kazama clearly favourited Kiryu, leading to Nishiki becoming weak and insecure as he did not have the support system that he once had. This is especially evident when Kiryu goes into jail for the murder of Dojima, as Kiryu was the only one Nishiki had. He was meant to have Kazama, but Kazama didn’t care about the boy that wouldn’t throw his life away for him. Kazama ‘gave’ Nishiki a family of insubordinate Yakuza, knowing that these men had no respect for Nishiki. He knew that without Kiryu, Nishiki was weak. Of course, he would be when his only support system wasn’t around. Kiryu always had Kazama, but Nishiki only had Kiryu. Kazama stopped giving Nishiki his love and as much support because Nishiki wouldn’t throw his life away for him, as shown in Yakuza 0. If he was given the same love and support that Kiryu was given, things would have worked out very differently.

So there’s a little anomaly in my ‘Kazama ruined everything’ theory, and that is Yumi. Why would Kazama protect Yumi if he didn’t care for her? Because he wanted to give Kiryu more motive when he got out of prison. He knew that Kiryu and Yumi were in love, and he wanted Kiryu to have something to fight for other than Kazama. Something – someone – to use to manipulate Kiryu to do Kazama’s dirty work.

And of course, all this is suggested by Awano in Yakuza 0. I think that’s probably the biggest thing drawing me away from this theory. Awano is obviously a bad guy and I do believe that they tried to make Kazama a good guy, or at the very least, a neutral guy.

Regardless of that, one thing still stands: the kids of the people he murdered feel indebted to him. The clear power imbalance there, particularly between Kazama and Kiryu, just feels wrong. It’s a gross misuse of power and whatever way you look at it, it is manipulative.

I’m not completely sold on the idea that he ruined everything, but I am completely sold that he intended to use Kiryu and even the other children that felt indebted to him, and he discards or tries to ruin those that do not feel the need to sacrifice themselves for Kazama’s gain.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I really just wanted to share my thoughts on this because the power imbalance just makes me feel gross and I feel like he really did Nishiki wrong. I know this doesn’t really have a satisfying conclusion as I am a little on the edge with it but I still thought I might as well share what I thought. Let me know what you think in the comments below, check out our streams on Twitch (our channel name is 2nerds_1game, and we’re streaming Yakuza every Saturday), and check out my socials to stay updated. See you next post, Gamers!

Should all video games have a difficulty setting?

Hey, Gamers! So while I’m having a break from Dark Souls because I’m never playing that game again (it’s a joke), I wanted to talk to you all about something slightly controversial: difficulty settings. That is, whether or not difficulty settings should be on every game. I believe, from what my partner has told me, this was first posed by game journalists who were struggling to complete the game to review it, and it turned into an accessibility issue. Well, while I am not a gaming journalist, I do review games and I am disabled. For reference, I have a physical disability involving my feet, I have autism, dyslexia and dyscalculia (as well as several mental illnesses). I’m not saying this for sympathy or anything, I’m telling you what I live with in order for you to better understand where my mindset is. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

I am going to be using Dark Souls as an example as it is one that is very prevalent in my life, and I’ve played Dark Souls the most. I believe the original game was Sekiro, which is technically classed as a SoulsBorne game so that’s a better correlation than, say, Persona 5.

I first came across Dark Souls in, I think, 2018. My partner’s brother borrowed it from his friend, and it seemed like he and his younger brother were obsessed. I didn’t get it, but I wasn’t much of a gamer at the time. I decided to get Josh the Dark Souls trilogy when it was on sale one day after he expressed interest after we moved out. He had started to enjoy Bloodborne, so it seemed fitting. By this point, Persona 5 had come into my life and I think I had finished the Witcher 3 so I had started to consider myself a gamer. But it took a long time for me to even think about playing Dark Souls.

Dark Souls is infamously hard. If you refer to something as a souls-like game, that means it’s hard. It means it’s unforgiving. It’s meant to be that way. It’s meant to be something that you work for, that you struggle with. The achievement of beating Dark Souls is a big one and it’s a big one because it’s an infamously hard game.

That achievement would be completely worthless if there was an easy mode. There would be no struggle, no hard work, no sweat and tears. It’ll be… easy. Worthless. It literally wouldn’t be worth playing. It’s not like there’s a riveting story that’s obvious when you’re playing (not saying the lore isn’t interesting, I’m saying it’s not obvious all the time when you’re playing. I adore SoulsBorne lore and we’ve spent countless hours watching videos on YouTube). The pain and struggle that you feel when playing Dark Souls are what makes the game so iconic and so great.

I understand some people have deadlines to meet, but you’re not playing a game properly if you’re rushing it anyway. My Persona 5 Strikers review came out in August, and I got the game in February. I didn’t want to rush it because I wanted to try to write about everything, and I gave myself time to emotionally process the plot before writing. My advice would just be to play games other than souls-like games to review, if you’re finding them ‘too hard’. There really isn’t such thing as ‘too hard’ for a SoulsBorne game, because that’s the whole point of them. Review other games, leave this to people who actually care enough about the game to write about it (or make YouTube videos, whichever).

So, moving on to the whole ‘inaccessibility’ part of the argument. Now I may sound angry here… because I am. Quite frankly, this is an ableist argument made by people who are trying to prove a point to benefit themselves. There is a very, very clear difference between inaccessibility and difficulty. Just because games are difficult does not mean disabled people cannot play them. A game’s difficulty setting has nothing to do with whether or not a disabled person can play. If someone cannot play a game, they won’t play it. An easy mode won’t make the game more accessible. If anything, it would make them think that they can’t play the game normally.

Here is a list of things that I struggle with in video games due to my disabilities:
Reading both numbers and letters
Retaining information
Being triggered by domestic or sexual violence
Processing the plot

Those are the things I can think of off the top of my head but I guarantee that there are many more things. But I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but I have a gaming blog. That must mean I play games despite having these issues, right? Why? Because society doesn’t cater to disabled people in general, so growing up we just learn to deal with it. We don’t want it to stop us from experiencing things so we just get on with it. Yeah, we struggle and find things hard but we still get to experience things the way that other people do.

Before you use things like inaccessibility to try to strengthen your argument, maybe think about how society itself isn’t very accessible in the first place. We’ve learnt to deal with it, and we don’t like being used as pawns.

So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! This one was a little… touchy. I know this is a sensitive topic for a lot of people but I felt like as a disabled person myself, I had to make sure my voice was heard on the small platform I have. See you next post, Gamers!