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. :’(