I recently finished Ys: Memories of Celceta for the PlayStation Vita, and though I’d heard of the series before, I only played one of them, the very first Ys, for about 10 minutes, so this is basically my first Ys experience. It certainly won’t be the last though — I haven’t played an RPG that felt this fluid, fast, and fun in a long time.
Though I love turn-based-RPG and -strategy games like Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem, respectively, there’s something about being able to move, attack, and defend in real time that feels more engaging and enjoyable (which is why both FFXII and Xenoblade Chronicles hold fond places in my heart).
Ys: MoC's eschewing of menus and waiting times does it wonders, allowing speed and motion that makes it impossible to put down.
Though the fighting mechanics are simple at first glance (it’s mostly hack and slash button mashing and there’s no magic system to speak of), it becomes deeper and more engaging the more you play.
The strategy kicks in with dodging and defending at the right moment, allowing you to take less damage or even no damage at all — dodges being particularly helpful as, when correctly timed, they’ll slow down your enemies for a short period, living them open to attacks.
I just wrapped up the Bravely Default demo currently available on the 3DS eShop. I normally only spend about 30 minutes on a demo, if they even last that long, but I somehow put a whopping 12+ hours into this one. Yes, you read that correctly.
In the demo, you’re given one town, three small dungeons, and a desert-based piece of the world map to explore. It feels just like a classic RPG, with your miniaturized self moving to and fro and occasionally running into packs of wild monsters, the screen then transitioning to the game’s turn-based battle system.
Bravely Default’s title takes precedence during fights, allowing you to use Brave and Default commands along with the usual ones like Attack or Items. Selecting Brave allows you to spend up to four turns in one go, meaning you could attack the enemy four times in a row to deal massive amounts of damage; or heal two party members, scan your foes defenses, and end with a single attack.
The Year of Luigi is over, and thus the release schedule of 20OtherBrother is complete. There were a ton of amazing games released last year, many of which I didn’t get a chance to play, like Gone Home and The Last of Us.
I’ll hopefully get to these critically acclaimed titles and many others in the next few months, but until then, I thought I’d do what everyone else is doing and list my favorite games of 2013. As it turns out, I spent a lot of time on my 3DS…
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - One of the few games last year that I couldn’t put down. In fact, I’ve played it nearly every day since its launch back in June, putting in a whopping 417 hours and counting.
The game let’s you to do just about anything while enjoying your new role as mayor of your own village, allowing you to build landmarks, enact ordinances, and beautify the environment for your citizens.
You also get to goof off: fishing, fossil finding, designing clothes, and so on, just like past AC games. And though I’ve accomplished a lot so far, there is still so much left to do. Onto 800 hours!
Fire Emblem: Awakening - An awesome turn-based RPG series I could never get into because of permadeath, minus the permadeath? Sold.
I love the genre FE games find themselves in to death, and given the easier barrier of entry in Awakening I was allowed to finally enjoy a series my friends have been raving about for years.
A great story, a slew of lovable characters, wonderful use of 3D depth, great DLC content, and a neat romance mechanic so my heroes can have kids together all make this one of the deepest and most satisfying games I’ve played in years.
Pokemon X and Y - Finally, a Pokemon game that not only takes the franchise into fully polygonal territory (though oddly enough, there’s very little use of the system’s 3D mechanic) but embraces many of the formally hidden aspects of the series, like training your Pokemon for competitive use — no more notepads and calculators to carry around — and a better chance at finding shiny Pokemon.
A great online system finally brings the world’s Pokemon trainers together in wonderful ways, as well: you can trade your ‘pokes with strangers in a sort of blind offer, not knowing what you’ll be getting in return (see: lots of Bidoofs); or access different Pokemon-catching “friend safaris” depending on who you’ve registered on your 3DS’ friend list, allowing you to catch super rare creatures.
The post-game isn’t as big as I’d like, but I suppose that’s what Pokemon Z will be for!
The games I played, enjoyed, but haven’t quite finished: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Persona 4 Golden, Ys: Memories of Celceta, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Tales of Xillia, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Attack of the Friday Monsters.
No really, literally just one! I wrote the first word that came to mind when thinking of many of my friends, though I did occasionally have to skip one or two words that were already thought of for someone else. Enjoy and may you all, included in this list or not, have a great new year of 2014!
Hey there, friends and readers! It is currently below zero here in Montana, so you’re damn right I’m inside, next to the heater, curled up in a blanket, and surrounding myself with geeky pleasures, namely videogames and manga.
As you might know from my previous blog, I’m trying to work on my backlog! What you also might know is that I managed to skip PC games entirely. I have a lot of them, so maybe I subconsciously feared writing them down. But! I managed to tackle the biggest one: Skyrim.
I bought it on launch day for PC a couple years ago and played it to around 90 hours before other games stole my interest. I went back occasionally for a weekend of dragon killing, but never managed to finish the main story. That is until now, as I finally drove the empire out of my homeland.
I nearly forgot how beautiful it is. Even without mods (of which I have too many to count), wandering around its cold and stark environments takes me to a truly wonderful world, just as ridiculously cold and snowy as my own. And with all the redone HD textures, lighting changes, water and effect revamps, and bug-fixers all from the modding community, it’s a whole other beast. And thankfully the PC I built can still handle it all.
I started playing a little bit of Bastion once I finished Skyrim, so more than likely that will be the next PC game I knock off my pile of shame. Perhaps I’ll hit Gone Home afterward.
However, I’ve hit a roadblock in my attempt to finish all these games: I bought a PS Vita, which allows me to play yet another Persona game.
Since I can’t seem to catch up with my backlog by normal means (skipping food, showers, and sleep, plus forcing my eyes open with duck tape until I kill the next boss), I thought maybe putting it up for everyone to see would embarrass me enough to get it done. I’m not including EVERY game I’ve yet to finish, obviously, as some games just no longer appeal to me, but I am including quite a few. Pray for me.
Ghost Trick (played: about 10 minutes)
Okamiden (played: about 3 hours)
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (played: about 4 hours)
Attack of the Friday Monsters (played: about an hour)
Cave Story 3D (played: about half an hour)
Crimson Shroud (played: about 3 hours)
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (played: about 40 minutes)
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning (played: plenty, but still gotta finish the first year up)
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (played: about 2 hours)
Shin Megami Tensei IV (played: about 5 hours)
SteamWorld Dig (played: about 40 minutes)
Fragile Dreams (played: about 2 hours)
Kirby’s Epic Yarn (played: about 20 minutes)
Xenoblade Chronicles (played: about 20 hours)
Pikmin 3 (played: about half an hour)
Persona 3 Portable (played: about two hours)
Tactics Ogre (played: about an hour)
Demon’s Souls (ah ha ha ha no, kidding, it’s shelved for now)
GTA V (played: about 12 hours)
Ni no Kuni (played: about 15 hours)
Tales of Xillia (played: about 27 hours)
Blue Dragon (played: about 5 hours)
Borderlands 2 (played: about 30 hours)
Lost Odyssey (played: about 15 hours)
So there you go, my public wall of shame. I especially feel bad for putting so little time into games both critics and my closest friends hold so close to their hearts. It wasn’t out of dislike — just bad timing and lethargy — but I still feel bad. That changes now though; I’m not getting any new game consoles until next Spring, at the earliest, and the only “new” games coming out that I’m interested in aren’t the biggest time sinks anyway.
I’ll update this blog as I (hopefully) manage to cross each game off the list, writing about them and sharing my thoughts. I look forward to chatting with those of you who’ve already dug into these!
With the latest entries in the Pokemon franchise, Nintendo has completely revamped the games’ visuals and finally given us a 3D world to explore. It really does look fantastic, especially the backgrounds during battles and the diversity in the world’s environments. With such shiny eye candy, it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller yet important changes. Here are three of my favorites.
1) Quicker Saving.
Every single Pokemon game takes at least a few seconds to save, and sometimes longer for “saving a lot of data.” To my great surprise and pleasure, saving your game in Pokemon X and Y is nearly instantaneous. It might not be a huge deal to some, but a little tweak like this makes the game feel all the more polished. It’s especially impressive given how much stuff there is to save in a fully 3D world like this. Just be careful of save glitches, which have been reported around Lumiose City.
2) I Can See My Pokemon’s EVs.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, EVs (or Effort Values) have, up until now, been hidden boosts for your Pokemon that determined their stats, and you received them simply by defeating other Pokemon (such as Geodude giving you defense EVs, or other Pokemon giving you attack EVs). If you earned a lot of attack EVs, your Pokemon’s attack stat would increase a bit more upon each level up. Speed EVs increase the base speed stat, defense EVs for the defense stat, and so on. You could have a total of 510 EVs spread across each stat, but no more than 250 per stat. It’s a great way to boost certain stats of your Pokemon, like making Jolteon faster than ever. The thing is, you could never actually see the EVs on your Pokemom’s stat screen; you had to keep track with pen and paper or computer programs. But in X and Y, you can not only see these boosts, but raise them as well with “Super Training,” which is available near the beginning of the game, along with the new Pokemon Amie feature. It’s a much easier, much more clarified process, and should open up the world of EV training to a lot more people.
3) Minority Trainers Who Aren’t Basketball Players.
Woohoo! I feel slightly less uncomfortable now while battling trainers who don’t look like me. In Pokemon Black and White, you had sports players and breakdancers, and prior to that you had… uh… no one I think? Now we have a pretty good variety of non-white opponents to face off against, which makes me think Nintendo either took some of the complaints from B&W to heart, or the people of france just aren’t that into playing hoops. Also, the people of France love tipping, apparently.
4) Bonus: A Rival That Isn’t A Dick.
So here we are, the beginning of October, bracing the flood gates for the torrent of new games (and systems) hitting over the next few months. It’s going to be rather crazy, so I’ve decided, due to my backlog and general lack of money, to forgo getting a PS4. I had planned to pick one up at launch, and possibly an Xbox One sometime later next year, but things change and other things come up, so there you go.
Still, a next-gen system isn’t required to enjoy all the new, shiny interactive toys at our disposal: My 3DS is primed for hours upon hours of game time, and my PS3, 360, and PC are more than capable of providing entertainment. I’ve got the Wii U as well, which will get some much-needed game time with Super Mario 3D World, which, though I wasn’t all that excited to play after E3, struck a new chord with me during the most recent Nintendo Direct, mainly due to the continuing love-fest-throwback-machine that is its homage to Super Mari Bros. 2 and the slew of new, interesting-looking power-ups.
But that’s in late November; what about now? Well, I’m still playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf, like a good little mayor should. I’ve put in 230+ hours at this point and I see no real sign of that slowing down. There’s still so much to do and so many things to unlock that I feel NL could be my fallback/in-between game for who knows how long. Maybe years. If any of you want to visit my town, pass along your friend code or visit my dream town, which should be up and running soon. I’ll share the code when it’s available.
On the console side, I just finished Wind Waker HD, which you can read my review of here. It’s as sleek, stylish, and charming as the original, but now even prettier. On the opposite end of that spectrum is Grand Theft Auto V, which I’m enjoying quite a bit but also feel it deserves plenty of the critique it’s been getting, both in terms of mechanics as well as its social “satire,” which falls real flat in some places. Punching down, not up, etc. You know the drill. Everything is being said in much better ways than I could put it, but who knows, maybe I’ll type something up soon.
My PS3 has been missing me, so I plan a return to Tales of Xillia soon. Hopefully I can finish it before the month is out, along with stuff that got forgotten earlier this year — honestly though, it’s a list too long and too daunting to feel sorry about on today’s blog. I’ve also got Pikmin 3 and The Last of Us out from GameFly right now, and I have a feeling I’ll be able to conquer both of them sooner rather than later, so there’s hope of finishing both. Well, when I’m not playing Minecraft. Always Minecraft.
One game I’ve been taking little bites out of but want to sit down for a full meal soon is Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. It’s so damn colorful and animated beautifully, its visuals finally matching the pretty character- and box-art that’s accompanied the series since the first game hit the GBA. The tutorials pop up a little too often to not seem like blatant hand-holding, but hey, it’s Nintendo, and I’ve seen the staggering numbers behind how many people don’t finish games, so I can’t say I blame them. It’d be a nifty feature to turn them off though. Hopefully I can have a good long sit-down session with this one soon.
And that’s about it for now! Back to spoiling Pokemon X and Y for myself. :’(
Well, technically two days, as I started late last night as soon as the game hit the eShop. I’m not usually one to reach the level of excitement that I did; I haven’t experienced that kind of feeling since I was a kid and Christmas would roll around.
After my just-over-6000-block download finished, I moved into Yoshina and the
lovely mansion tent you see below:
Hey, a tent is still a home. Plus the inside isn’t too shabby. I even have a bed!