Hah, that reminds me that I tried to play one of the Yakuza games last year. In the first 60-90min of the game, I think I actively played maybe fifteen minutes and half of those were chasing some pickpocket and repeatedly getting swindled by him. The rest was either cut scenes or trudging to the next cut scene. The games are praised so… I dunno. Maybe it gets better later on but I cut bait by then.
I’ve started playing Greedfall, a game that I almost bought over the winter sales but a friend helpfully pointed out was on MS Game Pass. It’s an RPG of the Dragon Age sort of style but set in an Age of Sail/Colonial style era (in a fictitious world). It’s a little slow moving to start but I like the concept of the game even if I’m not in love with the execution yet so I’m willing to continue trying for now. It’s also a great example of what an “A” game vs a “AAA” game is like. Spiders/Focus developed games are always a bit janky; enough funding to pull something impressive together but not enough to give it a real polish.
As a “dip in when I have a few minutes” experience, I’ve started playing Red Dead Online. It’s currently $5 from all the usual places until the end of February, then they raise the price to $20. Beautiful landscapes and can be played very low key if your primary interest is in just riding your horse, picking some herbs, shooting a deer and cooking up some oregano-treated venison. When I feel like pursuing the story, I do so and when I feel like chasing a bounty or something, I do that. Otherwise I just ride my horse and see where it takes me. Once in a while I run into some dipshit player who shoots me for the hell of it but you can force them into a non-combat Parlay mode which puts an end to that. Anyway, I don’t know if I’d recommend it for twenty bucks but for a fiver or less it’s hard to go wrong.