Sometimes, a Save Game Oopsie is a Positive

I erased my Prey: Mooncrash save by accident, but it somehow ended up ok.

I’ve been having some slight issues with saved games lately. After the heartbreaking, catastrophic loss of my Outer Wilds save (not by my own doing, btw), I’ve been sensitive about the whole thing. Well, last night, I was putting a couple of hours into Mooncrash, Prey’s dynamic, rougelike DLC that I’d been chipping away at for about 70 hours in-game. I got stuck on some geometry during a run, then, in my frustration, opted to reset the game, thinking it would merely reset the current scenario.

Nope, I erased the whole save game. Every upgrade, all the characters I had unlocked and completed story missions with, all of it, poof! 70 hours, gone in a flash of frustrated light.

I pouted for five minutes, going through the stages of grief in miniature. Then I restarted the whole thing, which turned out to be the best thing I could do for my relationship with Mooncrash.

I hadn’t really played it much between summer of 2018  – around its launch window – and a couple of weeks ago, when my partner started playing the main game. Watching Viki play one of my favorite games of the last decade, I realized I hadn’t really beaten Mooncrash with the main achievement (finishing the game with all five characters in a single run), and in fact, I hadn’t even unlocked the last character yet. There was work to be done!

mooncrash bar

But Mooncrash is pretty hard. There are a lot of enemies and environmental hazards compared to the main game, a feature that compounds over time as the “corruption” escalates. It doesn’t take long before chaos rules and you need to make fast-paced decisions at every turn, often with extremely limited resources. The fact that you are playing as distinct characters with their own more limited skill trees means you cannot rely on your favorite solutions for every problem.

I personally love hacking and using turrets and making the environment work for me. But for a couple of characters, that just isn’t an option. Some characters are more combat-oriented, others use typhon powers more readily but are physically weaker, so you really need to use a different playstyle for each build.

There are also no difficulty settings, so you can’t cheese your way through on easy or story mode as you can in the base game. I was making slow progress.

As annoying as it was to start over, it actually helped. I got a clean start, going in with the first character with its more leisurely pace and lack of escalating difficulty, and got a handle on the mechanics all over again.

I realized, embarrassingly late, that you can bypass the typhon gates with electrical elements. I figured out a clear path to my objectives and started finding the other characters quickly. While I’m still nowhere near the 22-ish cleared objectives I had last night five minutes before junking up my save, I’m having fun again. I’m moving fast and more confidently, and starting to enjoy the dynamics of changing my playstyle based on my character.

In a time when it feels like nothing new is coming out, falling in love again with a favorite game feels just right. Here’s to finally nabbing those last objectives once and for all.

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