Game: Monster Hunter Stories
Length of play session: 4 hours
Fun level (-10 to 10): 6
Monster Hunter Stories is an offshoot of the long-running Monster Hunter series. The game eschews the traditional action gameplay of the main-line series to focus on a Pokémon-like RPG gameplay style, which focuses on capturing and raising popular monsters from the series.
I was in a lethargic mood before I started playing the game; to the point where I didn’t boot up the game for several hours after I installed it. The emotion most prominent during my first hour of the game was excitement. I was excited because the switch of graphical styles from the mainline games to Stories was one of cuteness. Monsters that used to be large, imposing, threats to your health in the mainline series were now rendered in a very cutesy colourful style. The character creator, too, had such cute options that I felt like I might have a heart attack from sweetness overload. By the one hour mark, I had declared Monster Hunter stories to be the cutest game of all time.
Then I was thrust into the large open field that most of the game takes place in. The camera view made it hard to see my cute character, and the performance of the game chugged harshly. What was once a 30 fps cute game was now a 10fps cute game, and the difference caused a staggering change to my feelings. Rather than being enthralled, as I previously was, I was now disappointed, and that bled over to other areas of the game.
The combat system is a simplistic rock-paper-scissors system in which you have one monster out in battle with you at a time. The enthrallment I felt before the field was magnified in the battles, as there were many closeups and cute animations for the characters and monsters. The disappointment I felt after the field was magnified in battles, where I was now more concerned with the too-simplistic battle system.
The one thing the game had going so incredibly well, the graphics, became unimportant to me when their performance dipped to levels I deemed too low. I feel that rather than this just being something I learned, the development team should have known better as well.
My feelings after this play session were still positive overall. The game managed to open up a bit in terms of combat as I levelled up, and I was able to find many different companion monsters, which held my attention. I was less lethargic than before I starting playing, but not as excited as the first hour of the game.
Game: League of Legends
Length of play session: 2 hours
Fun level (-10 to 10): 5 (average across 2 separate matches)
Unlike my previous post writing about League of Legends, where I played with people I did not know, I played this session with a younger cousin of mine who I have been gaming with for years. Rather than describe how the state of the game influenced my feelings and mood, I believe the interesting factor here is the addition of how playing with somebody I know influenced my mood.
Usually when playing a ranked mode, I feel a fairly great urge and pressure to win and perform well doing it. While playing with my cousin, I felt a lot more laid back and relaxed about the whole affair. I feel like this could be due to being in a voice chat with my cousin, as having somebody to talk and rant to during the game could have eased pressure rather than keeping it all inside. Also, I believe playing together provided me with the ability to focus more on our ability as a duo rather than focusing on my performance alone, which alleviated some of my performance anxiety.
Rather than that usual form of performance anxiety, I had a new anxiety. My cousin is a more emotional player than I am, and it doesn’t take a lot to set him off, so I felt anxiety from hoping the game would go well and he would stay happy. We stomped the enemy team in the first game, with most of our team’s lead coming from me and my cousin’s duo lane.
The second game was a different story. Though my cousin and I played well on our side of the map, the rest of our team was performing terribly. This set my cousin off, leading him to play more dangerously, die in easily-preventable situations, and rage at our team in chat. During these moments I felt helpless and useless; a bit like somebody stuck in a bad relationship.
Interestingly, my feelings after the game were quite jovial, as my cousin recovers pretty quickly from the game situation, and we engaged in our usual banter. My fun factor is rated as 5, but spread over the course of the play session there were high highs and low lows. Even though we lost the last game, and despite my cousin’s poor attitude during the game, talking with somebody I knew after the game was positive to my attitude.
Monster Hunter Stories. Capcom. 2017. Video game.
League of Legends. Riot Games. 2009. Video game.