Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Some links

Square Enix have reconsidered JRPGs as a genre for the west, it seems. A few websites have been running this story after Bravely Default's success worldwide was a bit unexpected. Seriously...Square Enix have got to realise it is a genre that there is a serious fan base for.

http://www.siliconera.com/2014/03/31/bravely-defaults-success-west-making-square-enix-rethink-jrpgs/

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-03-31-surprise-bravely-default-success-sparks-square-enix-rethink

http://kotaku.com/square-enix-has-finally-realized-that-people-like-jrpgs-1555236872

Some different websites with different perspectives on that story. After finishing the game, I'm really looking forward to the announcement when we will get the sequel localised. It has to happen after all this, right?

I've been sort of half collecting some cheap DS games over the last while. Its such a solid system and I'm wanting to grab all the games I'm interested in before the 3DS kind of takes over in shops and online. That won't be for a while I think, but it has been a gradual change, with shops where I am slowly downsizing their ds selections, even preowned stuff. Most recently today I ordered the last DS Professor Layton that I was after, Spectre's Call.
Some other ones I'm wanting to get are;

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
The Dark Spire - HNNNGGG its not even funny how long I've been trying to get this one for
999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors - Heard so many good things about this one
Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
Phoenix Wright - Any from this series, never played any and they are so rare to find ;_;
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Ring of Fates
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Echoes of Time - These FF games aren't supposed to be great, but...
Pokemon Conquest

There are probably a lot more, and I'm always looking for more suggestions. Here are a couple lists of top DS games and DS RPGs for reference. (And one I found on reddit linking to neogaf that is a really comprehensive RPG essentials list)

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=503191

http://www.rpgfan.com/features/Top_20_DS_Games/index.html - Ok so some of them aren't RPGs, but whatever

http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Top-10-Best-Nintendo-DS-RPGs-Role-Playing-At-Its-Finest-On-The-DS - Some weird choices, some very good choices

http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/43417/best-ds-games/

http://vsrecommendedgames.wikia.com/wiki/Nintendo_DS

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2012/08/08/the-top-25-nintendo-ds-games-2?page=1 - I hate those multi page lists, whatever

http://kotaku.com/5878896/the-12-best-games-for-the-ds

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-ds-games/

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/402812/best-nintendo-ds-games-9-years-50-must-own-games/

http://bossdungeon.com/our-favourite-games-on-nintendo-ds/

I've also been watching a lot of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls videos on youtube. Here are a few links and articles. I still think Demon's Souls is the best out of the Souls games. Its what started it all, and for me, it was the most intense experience, with perfect atmosphere, controls and animations. There has been a slight downward trend in the animations, and to me Dark Souls II has slightly clunkier UI and animations than the other games. I need to play more of it though, perhaps once I've finished my dissertation and exams...

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-03-23-demons-souls-retrospective

http://bossdungeon.com/demystifying-demons/

http://www.rocketchainsaw.com.au/deep-darkness-demons-souls-retrospective/ 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Some thoughts about the February/March releases and random links

It always seems to be February and March that a lot of games see release, and its no different at the moment. There are lots of interesting looking games coming out, some games that will aim to change the future of big consoles like the Xbox One (Titanfall), and PS4 (Metal Gear Solid V) and others aiming to hit hard at the end of the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation (Dark Souls II)

I've been playing a lot of Bravely Default, yeah, still slogging slowly through subquests since I got the game back in December. I'm around 140 hours into the game as I've been taking my time grinding, maxing out job levels, collecting bestiary entries, abilities and items as I work towards 100%
Its a really good game but I stick with my initial impression that the game is too stretched out. I don't want to spoil anything as its still too new, but I really think it could have been a lot shorter, story wise.
Also I've been deciding on what sort of playthrough to do for Pokemon Black 2, as I never finished this game, and want to start transferring pokemon to my Pokemon X game through the Pokemon Bank and Poke Transporter apps. I've been watching Egglocke, Nuzlocke and Wedlocke playthroughs on youtube as they make things a bit more interesting.

So I'll give some thoughts about some of the upcoming games or those that came out fairly recently just now. Long rambling and lots of links ahead.

Conception II - Children of the Seven Stars

http://www.siliconera.com/2014/03/10/conception-ii/ - This one, I'm actually not too sure about. It just seems really creepy on the whole...with ideas that are similar to the Agarest games, and I am just too creeped out by those. On the other hand, the character designs, movies and UI are all really nicely designed. So I'll need to wait and see perhaps.

)

Here are some impressions from a youtuber I watch. I changed my mind and didn't want to embed the video as it isn't mine and I didn't ask permission to share it like this. Link

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

I know this came out back in February, but I'm really behind on things in the February/March release window/flood. There are tonnes of games coming out, seriously...It will be on my list of things to get eventually I think.

)

Dark Souls II

This is what I've been looking forward to most out of the February-March games this year. I've had the collector's edition preordered for many months...and I was considering cancelling it and downgrading to the Black Armour edition or the standard edition to save some money. I have a weakness for collector's editions though, and this should be shipping out in the next few days as I'm in Europe, and we don't get it released till Friday.

I've also been keeping track of what Twitchplayspokemon (TPP) are up to. It was such a cool idea at first, even though it can be pretty infuriating to watch. I'm actually kind of amazed they managed to finish Pokemon Red and Crystal (at least the Elite 4.)

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster... I can wait for that one to drop a bit in price...I really wasn't a big fan of FFX, as I didn't play it when it first released. I played for the first time a few years ago and...well, I wasn't too keen.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 - I've had my eye on this one for quite a while, reading some magazine articles as more information became available. It definitely looks interesting. Reviews seemed to be fairly mixed but average, and I think I'll get this one when I can pick it up for £15 or 20...or when I have a bit more money. Damn my lack of job (I decided to leave to focus on university.)

As for things a bit further off in the distance, I'll be keeping an eye on the Unsung Story kickstarter development. I didn't actually fund it for a few reasons. The relative lack of experience from the studio itself, the constantly changing reward tiers and stretch goals, the platform they chose (I would have preferred a handheld like the 3DS to be in there, not just further up the stretch goal ladder.) Anyway, they only just made the goal they had set, so the game will release. And I'm definitely happy for them. Anything with Matsuno and srpgs is bound to be good. I'll wait and see what reviews say though (being ever sceptical.)

http://unsungstory.com/wp/ - you can find out some more info about Unsung Story on the official website, as well as signing up for their newsletter for free. (Which I did.)

I've been happy to hear that Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Milennium Girl will release in Europe in May. Along with EOIV, I never thought that these games would release in Europe. I really don't imagine them to have big fan base, but I might be wrong. I mean theres people like me who love these games and imported 2 and 3. I'll defintely pick this one up. The story mode should be interesting, especially with the animation from Madhouse. I heard good things from people online when this came out back a while ago in America.

Also further afield are some new games from the people that brought us Persona. They are working on a few new games, revealed a few months ago. 4 new games were talked about; Persona 5, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Persona: Dancing All Night and Persona 4 Ultimax: Ultra Suplex Hold.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth looks to be pretty similar to some of the recent dungeon crawlers, particularly incorporating elements seen in Etrian Odyssey like the mapping and FOEs. http://www.siliconera.com/2014/03/11/persona-q-dungeon-mapping-f-o-e-enemies-like-etrian-odyssey/

Darkest Dungeon is looking interesting. It is a dark styled dungeon crawler RPG with an element of 'sanity'
ie your characters can start to freak out and lose morale or even their mind. Very Lovecraftian/reminiscent of Eternal Darkness (a game I still need to track down)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1460250988/darkest-dungeon-by-red-hook-studios

http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/3DS/Darkest+Dungeon/news.asp?c=57254

Their kickstarter is moving into the last day of funding just now. I'll most likely be picking this one up...although I am a bit jaded with the whole kickstarter model. I'll wait for reviews and to see if this one does hit handhelds like they said it might.

http://kotaku.com/the-20-jrpgs-you-must-play-1222229344 - Rather worryingly (for a fan of RPGs), I haven't played a lot of them...I will need to refer back to this and try to play some more of them.

http://tay.kotaku.com/lets-rank-the-fire-emblem-games-from-worst-to-best-1536904138

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-03-11-as-monster-hunter-turns-10-can-capcom-finally-make-the-west-listen

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2014/03/monster_hunter_producer_ryozo_tsujimoto_emphasizes_the_value_of_community_and_the_3ds_for_mh4_ultimate

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2013 Round up - Interesting year end posts

For this one, I was kind of inspired by a few other bloggers, gaming sites and videos to do a post where I highlight some of the more interesting 2013 year end or round up articles, videos and links. There are a lot of far more interesting and inspired bloggers out there and this is to draw some attention to them. A bit late in posting this...but better late than never, right? T_T

They are in no particular order, so enjoy!

http://www.thegaygamer.com/2013/12/my-favorite-games-of-2013.html

http://kotaku.com/the-best-video-game-concept-art-of-2013-1493559312?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOp8tl92OnM&feature=share&list=UU-i1YW_eA896znTcV5Owuqw&index=4 - a long one, but a good one from one of my favourite youtubers. He isn't afraid to speak his mind and he is really sceptical and realistic about the games he buys and the quality (or lack of) that he gets from them.

http://rpgamer.com/news/currents/2013/column/123013ts.html

http://tay.kotaku.com/2013-games-that-foreshadow-2014-trends-1493170891/@tinaamini?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow

http://www.chic-pixel.com/2014/01/chic-pixels-best-of-2013.html

http://board.rpgamer.com/forum/showthread.php?21254 - One of the podcasts I listen to on RPGamer do a year end episode. I don't think they've posted a best games of 2013 article on their website yet.

http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2014/1011.html - I've not really been reading this site for a long time, but I thought I'd link this anyway. One of the main things that bugs me about the site is the fact that they seem to have a restricted range they can post review scores in. It seems to be 75-95%, with most of their stuff in the 80 percent range. Anyway....

http://operationrainfall.com/2013-oprainfall-awards-part-1/
http://operationrainfall.com/2013-oprainfall-awards-part-2/
http://operationrainfall.com/2013-oprainfall-awards-part-3/
Ok so I like this website. But...I still think they need to limit the content they churn out. Also I often have problems with the quality of the writing on the website. They need more proof reading and editors to look things over before it gets published if they really want to get to the next level. Saying that, its a cool website. Check out the different parts of their 2013 awards.




Sunday, February 16, 2014

Youtube Recommendations

So I thought I'd try a few videos in a new sub series of sorts. I've been listening to some podcasts and watching a lot of youtube videos recently. Most of which are gaming related, but I'll go into more detail in each post.

So the way it will work, each post I'll do in this mini series will have a certain theme, so it wont just be one channel or video in each one. I might be recommending a few different youtubers, all of which have a theme linking them together, or I might just be recommending a channel or video you absolutely must check out. It will hopefully evolve a bit as I do a few of these posts.

Youtube Recommendations #1 ~ Thrill of the hunt!

So for my first recent addiction on youtube, it is the 'game chasers' style of gaming videos. These are really interesting semi-vlog sort of videos where the hosts take you on their journeys to swap meets, car boot sales, flea markets, dusty old game shops, bargain shops and anywhere else they can find cheap (retro) games. The reason I like them is that I love reading and watching about games people manage to find 'in the wild', and the retro gaming scene is one that is really absent in Scotland where I stay. So its really cool to watch people picking all these cool games up for so cheap, and finding them so easily.

In no particular order, some of my favourites from this 'genre' of gaming youtube videos are linked below.

Channel 1: The Game Chasers, aka Captain 8 Bit

Subscribers: 41,561
Videos: 150
You may well have heard of these guys, they really skyrocketed in terms of exposure back a few years ago. They joined up with some of the retroware TV guys and have split their episodes into seasons (something which a lot of big site-linked youtubers do), even making DVDs available. Really cool stuff, and they seem like awesome guys to hang around with. When I was studying for my recent exams I got addicted to these guys again and caught up with their videos, working through a fairly substantial backlog of game hunting goodness. Check it out and you'll like it, I'm sure!

Channel 2: The Game Quest, aka Beatemups

Subscribers: 2770
Videos: 34
So when I first saw these guys, I have to admit, I thought these guys were just ripping off the Game Chasers. They even had some of the same effects, and quotes, but they really grew on me and I started to see them in their own light. They are really well edited for such a small channel. Which, by the way, I think is a travesty =p They should have a lot more subs than they do. Very good content, and entertaining to see some videos of game collectors from Australia, which I've heard about a lot. The new game industry is really expensive to be part of, due to the economy and importing (correct me if I'm wrong), and they have a lot of barriers in terms of censoring and whatnot. But the Australian culture is one that I think of as halfway between the UK and USA, which is interesting for me. I see a lot of parallels with the shops and culture in Australia to what we have in the UK. Does that make sense? If yes, check them out, if not...well...ignore what I said and watch some of their videos anyway.

Channel 3: The NES Pursuit, aka Retro Liberty

Subscribers: 14,923
Videos: 90
These guys have such a hilarious show in The NES Pursuit. They do quite a lot of collaborations with other youtubers they know. Some really cool guys like Gamester81 and NESComplex will often be in their videos, but the main reason to watch is the awesome editing and chemistry between Ricky and Aaron. They have such a random sense of humour, and their videos have, on average, had me laughing a LOT more than the majority of other channels. What I like as well, is the connection they have with their viewers and audience-they interact really well and seem really happy to be growing so quickly as a channel. And the variety of videos that they do; reviews, Q&As, a lot of randomness.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lightning Returns

This is a pretty cool way for Square Enix to recap the story from the Final Fantasy XIII games so far (which is overly confusing and convoluted in a Kingdom Hearts-esque way.)





I have pretty average opinions of the Final Fantasy XIII games so far, but I'm quite interested to pick this final part in the trilogy up to see how the story will end.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First hour impressions #2


Hopefully everyone has had a good holiday so far! For me I've enjoyed spending time with friends and family, and helping out with Christmas preparations like the dinner and eating copious amounts of said Christmas dinner-turkey, bacon, sausages, gravy, potatoes (both roast and mashed with chives and herbs), maple parsnips. bread sauce, sage and onion stuffing, oatmeal stuffing, brussel sprouts (with walnuts and bacon, as each year we try different recipes to liven up everyone's favourite oft-maligned cruciferous vegetable lol.)

Ok so I've been putting off writing this post for a while now, and my motivation has slowly diminished for playing the first hour of more games along with the approach up to Christmas and my attempts (successful and otherwise) at studying. I tried playing Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers (I really just wanted to write that title out in full, because its a hilariously bad title), Bravely Default (demo, and then the first hour) and found it difficult to stick to a solid hour of playing the first hour of handheld games because I usually flip the ds into sleep mode when I get distracted by the tv or other stuff. So no notes materialised for either of those games, but I have been really enjoying Bravely Default as I've gone along. Its like that game was designed for gamers like me who like their JRPGs and art styles you might see in RPG artbooks.

Which brings me nicely onto the next game, and the second in my series of posts where I'm looking at the first hour of games.

Dragon's Crown (PS3)

Started 10:24am, 18/12/13

  • amazing artstyle shown in the opening sequence really cemented what I had seen of the game in trailers. This game is really for me, even though it has exaggerated designs and could be divisive, the colours and style are just amazingly well done.
  • the initial screen on starting up the game was to choose a save slot, then choose the character details. Multiplayer integration looks important and fairly seamless-there isn't a seperate multiplayer option, its all one mode from the looks of things. I went with the Elf archer, who had a fairly 'normal' design, as opposed to the exaggerated Sorceress and others which kind of made this game viral before it had even released.
  • It took me around 5 or 6 minutes to get to the beginning tutorial, and around 6 or 7 minutes, the first combat section where they show you the controls. Now, here is where I got stuck for longer than I should have. Its nothing to do with the quality of the game per se, its more due to the fact I was playing on a small 20"ish screen from a few metres away. I couldn't make out what the button prompts were saying, and like in those fighting game tutorials where you push certain combinations or perform certain tasks to move onto the next, I couldn't move on for a while. So play on a big TV in future! That's my note to myself.
  • There are such amazingly drawn environments and characters, and similar to Bravely Default which I've been playing recently, it feels like you are playing through the pages of an artbook. I found myself just pausing to look at the backgrounds as they panned out and I got to new areas.
  • This is definitely one of the best looking 2D games I've seen, perhaps the very best. Its to be expected from Vanillaware, who previously released Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade
  • The game has an interesting looking world map, which scrolls across at great speed to our first location, and dungeon.
  • The locales are very nicely done, with some really good looking lighting and water effects.
  • The first boss (Harpy) gave me some problems, and ended up killing me once. I immediately came back to life and continued the fight from where I left off, and didn't really understand how.
  • After beating that boss, the stage ended in a sort of arcade-like way, and we got rewarded with spoils (items), exp and other goodness after this first main quest. They then give an introduction to the appraisal system that the game has. It reminded me of Diablo in that we have to identify the items before their effects can be known and you can decide what you want to do with them. Well, you can sell items without appraising, but its not recommended value-wise. I had enough money to appraise all my items, sell one, and repair my armour, after which I kept the rest of the items. I'm actually kind of surprised that they weren't more harsh with the money they give you. I wouldn't have been surprised if they went all out with hardcore old school difficulty, it would have fit, with all the other oldschool features in this game.
  • I also see how the party system will work in single player - you can find bones of fallen wanderer, resurrect them and have them join your party. I get some Dwarf warrior NPC who compliments my slightly more fragile ranged combat style as a tank.
  • I got the next main quest in my journal, and a sub quest, and I took up the sub quest, which took me to the dungeon I'd just been to, so I went back through that a 2nd time quickly, and that was the hour.
So I was really impressed by Dragon's Crown over the hour I played, and would have played a lot more if I didn't have exams to study for. But I definitely will be checking more out soon, and I recommend it to those gamers who like their 2D Dungeon Crawler/hack'n'slash RPGs or action games, those who like nicely drawn 2D games - this is probably one of the most amazing 2D games I've seen, and those who like to co-op on games like Gauntlet, as I've heard that those are along the same vein as Dragon's Crown.
Hopefully these impressions help in some way if you are or were on the fence about trying this game out.



Source: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=638953

http://www.itsartmag.com/features/dragons-crown-concept-art/

http://www.itsartmag.com/features/dragons-crown-concept-art/#.UsDNgbS49eE

http://youtu.be/7dZrwslwM4Q

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Round Up - Games of the year

So this will be the first of two posts for the end of 2013. Scary thought to think we are already at the end of the year, to me it seems like it's flown by. So I thought I'd try and wrap up the year with two posts - one which a lot of websites will be doing at the moment, their game of the year posts or videos, usually published in early January. And another post which is fitting for this transition time in the gaming 'generation', a games of the generation post, having a look at my favourite, i.e. my personal choices for the best games of the past generation (NDS, PSP, Wii, X360, PS3.)



First of all, my games of the year, and this should be a bit different to a lot of the other sites and blogs. This is mainly down to the fact that I've not had much time to play games this year, with a lot of work and crazy stuff going on in life. Its been mostly handheld games I've been playing as they are a bit more flexible and I can put little bits of time in here and there, especially when travelling on the train and things.

So my list of games that I finished are noted below as B status, and C status means 100% finished. These are from the backloggery, just pasted from my notes on there. I like to use that website to keep track of my collection and my progress in games. Quite useful if you take a long break from a game and you want to know where you left off as well. Anyway, as you can see, my selection is limited to only those games in bold, which were released in 2013, and that I finished. I don't see games that I played partially as eligible to receive any rewards or be reviewed in any informed way whatsoever. I'm also starting a new rule that I've tried to stay away from in the past on the blog. I'm going to be adding more detailed labels, with series that I mentioned in the posts, and perhaps game titles. This should hopefully make searching more easy looking through my labels for posts.

2013 Stats

Inazuma Eleven (DS)
Fire Emblem (GBA)
FTL: Faster Than Light (Steam)
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS)
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (3DS)
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (PSP)
Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS)
Professor Layton and Pandora's Box (DS)
Solatorobo: Red the Hunter (DS)
Project X Zone (3DS)
Pokemon X (3DS)

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (3DS)

So out of those games that I managed to finish, I'd narrow my favourites down to Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, which I put a huge amount of time into, Pokemon X, which surpassed my expectations in a big way after the dissapointing last generation, and Fire Emblem: Awakening, which was a brilliantly polished game..although one that I've not really put much time into post game. I'll go into some more detail about the three of these games and why I think they are so well made (in their own ways)

So looking at last year's round up 3 of the games I had said I was looking forward to in 2013 actually ended up being my favourite games from 2013. Maybe I need to play more games or something...

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate 

Some people will say that the Wii U version is better because of the online multiplayer. It makes it a lot easier to get far into the G-Rank content (i.e. postgame/multiplayer stuff) but the vast majority can be done solo. It is a lot more fun to play some of the quests with friends you know in person, but I've put in over 230 hours more or less solo (just done a couple quests a long time ago near the launch of the game with a friend) and it's been really fun so far.


What I like about the setup Capcom have created for MH3U is that it's so flexible. You can play multiplayer locally with friends on a Wii U and up to 3 3DS systems (I may be wrong on that, I've not had a chance to test that out yet.) and you can move save games between 3DS and Wii U versions of the game if you want. If I eventually end up getting a Wii U I'll probably put down the money for the other version of this game and play some online coop with some other friends I've just not had a chance to see in person.

There is a huge amount of content in this game, with hundreds of items to craft and quests to work through. The only thing that puts a lot of people off is the controls. Especially when it comes to the underwater levels, they can be really fiddly to keep everything 'controlled' for lack of a better word. For this, the Circle Pad Pro or XL version is a must. They are fairly inexpensive online, but I found them really hard to find in shops (at least where I live in Scotland.)

Pokemon X

Pokemon X to me felt like a very big leap from the previous games, both graphically and in a lot of other areas. It is probably as close to the 'Pokemon MMO' that everyone wants Game Freak to come out with for the next Pokemon handheld step. The online integration is really seamless and reminds me of Demon's Souls where you can see other players who are passing by the area, you can see a list of acquaintances where you've had some interaction with (trade, battle etc) and a list of friends (people who are simply on your 3DS list.) You can interact easily with all of the people on those lists, and have mesages that pop up to talk with other players. There is a lot to the multiplayer aspects, and they've really made it so seamless to trade and battle other players. You don't have to add submarine codes for each other (well, you kind of do, but the 3DS codes are a bit easier now) or plug in awkward link cables and then make your way to a poke centre like you had to previously, you can go into multiplayer from more or less any area, in town, dungeon etc.

They've added quite a bit more depth to the gameplay with the addition of mega evolutions and the Fairy type. The last time a type was introduced was back in back in the 3rd generation with the Steel type, and in a way it comes as a breath of fresh air. Fairy types are unaffected by Dragon type moves and super effective against Dragon, so some people believe they could really change the Dragon heavy metagame. I played a lot of Pokemon X in 2013 in the first few weeks after it's October release date. About 120 hours roughly, finishing the storyline, doing some pokedex collecting, breeding and trading for competitive battles. I've got a lot more to do though, I think I left some legendaries and post game stuff as my team wasn't high enough level to safely take them on. Pokemon games are always solid choices for your Nintendo handhelds, and X and Y really give you a lot for your money. They have a lot of throwbacks to older games in the series, even back to Generation 1, and a lot of decent quality for newer players to ease into the series.

Fire Emblem: Awakening 

I put in about 70 hours to this game, and ended up finishing the main story and a lot of the side quest material, paralogues and DLC quests in about 35 hours (the rest was attempts, characters dying and reloading.) I chose to play on the 'classic' Fire Emblem mode, with Normal difficulty and this made permadeath something to consider. I don't really think you can play Fire Emblem without permadeath (where your characters die for good if they fall in battle) but it is a really good feature in this game, and one that hopefully appealed to a lot of newcomers to the series. This is such a brilliant srpg series that really needs more attention. It has a really simple gameplay mechanic at its core and really isn't too difficult or complex. Its a very good entry in the series and think that people should give it a shot if they still haven't done so. It has some niggling annoyances, and for some reason I've not gone back to it in a long time, but I hope to one day. Even though I did a playthrough on Normal, Classic, there are harder difficulties and a lot of content due to the dialogues you can get between your characters. So theres a lot for me to go back to, and its just a really well polished game, and that is why it deserves a spot on my games of the year list. Which it turns out, are all 3DS games.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

First hour impressions #1

I was talking about this idea the other day. I'll be continuing my first hour impressions series of posts with a PS3 title that didn't get much attention when it released back last year a downloadable title on the PS3 in Europe and USA. I picked this one up as I had some spare credit and wanted to spend some in a sale they had on 'big in Japan' titles, or something stupid to that effect.

Legasista (PS3)

This game is a dungeon crawling RPG and looked quite gameplay heavy and loot driven, similar to Cladun in many ways. I enjoyed that game and never actually picked up it's sequel, so decided to pick this one up.

I finally got around to playing it now that I have some more time to procrastinate from studying free time.

So here are my notes and thoughts that I made during the first hour of playing this game. Will I enjoy it, or go back to it some day soon? I don't like starting games and then going back to them much later. So, it seems an hour is a good time to invest into a game to get a good idea of how the game will play without getting too invested into the game if I don't have time to put into finishing it.

Started 23:35pm, 17/12/13

  • The game initially impresses me with it's music, which has a good mix of sounds, from some sort of folksy sound in fitting with an RPG town, some quite different latin sounds, and some retro sounding RPG sounds. This is why I'm no good reviewing soundtracks or music in game lol.. I'll post a link to one of the tracks I liked here.
  • The animated sprites in dialogue scenes are quite well done, with dynamic moving characters showing some expression related to the dialogue.
  • The default option seems to be Japanese voice acting, with subtitles. The text is really crisp and has a nice font as well. Quite easy to read even on the small 20"-ish screen I'm using at the moment. Not my default screen it has to be said, that one is through in my term-time flat in Glasgow.
  • The game looks very gameplay and action-RPG orientated, with only a small bit of exposition, dialogue, and then straight into a series of tutorial dungeons.
  • The game has similar gameplay to the Cladun games on PSP, with hack and slash combat and very detailed number heavy gameplay. Attacks do X.YY damage, i.e. to 2 decimal points such as 1.55 damage per hit. So those RPG fans who like their stats and micromanagement of equipment may appreciate this.
  • The character designs are interesting after the initial revealing of the protagonist (who seems pretty generic to me. He is one of those male protagonists who has an outfit that shows off the thorax and abdomen but covers the arms and shoulders...They seem way more common than they should be..) So, fairly typical NIS characters that remind me of Atelier Iris or Etrian Odyssey in a way.
  • The gameplay complexity starts to up fairly quickly towards the end of the first hour, with dual HP or durability bars...or something...I'm not too sure, but I think they correspond with the main hand equipment and off hand equipment, i.e. sword and shield durability/HP.
  • Right before I stopped, the complexity started getting 'worse', with some kind of mana related equipment system which really reminded me of Cladun and FFVIII's junctioning stystem mixed together. I'll have to dive back in with the tutorials or maybe even starting over when I go back to the game some other day.
For now, I liked what I saw of the game, but from what I remember of Cladun, this should be a fairly repetitive dungeon crawl for the most part. I was quite impressed and I would recommend the game to people who like their top down hack and slash action games or RPGs. There are a lot of games in that sub-genre at the moment, especially with the whole roguelike explosion.

I'm a big fan of dungeon crawling RPGs and hope I can get back into this at some point. The next game I analyse based on the first hour will be another PS3 game, with some similarities! That's the only clue for now! I've already played it, so hopefully will post before Christmas comes around. I hope your holidays are going nicely so far!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First hour impressions

I'm going to do a series of posts that I've been considering doing for a while, and in fact, I think I did something similar if not the same a while ago with two strategy rpgs. Or, had intended to, but never actually got around to playing the opening to one of them. Check out the link.

For this time, I'm again going to play through the first hour of certain games and see how they play. It'll just be a random choice, not using the random generator on backloggery (see Cookie Picks) but just me putting in games that I've been wanting to play and haven't got around to yet.
Its very much in the vein of First Hour, an interesting (but in some ways controversial) blog idea. They review the first hour only of games, going on the assumption that if a game doesn't drag you in or attract your attention within the first hour, they aren't going to be worth the time after that. Well, they do go into a bit more detail, but a lot of the games that really blossomed slowly get reviewed quite badly on there. Then again, they do full reviews as well, which gives games more of a chance to impress. Check out their blog at the above link. Its not very active, but has a good back catalogue of posts to read through.

Now that I've finished university for the Christmas period, I'll have access to a few more consoles. Its mostly been handhelds, specifically my 3DS that I've been playing, so I might try out a few games on home consoles or older systems perhaps.
What I'll do is I'll post these first hour impressions in seperate posts as I go along. They'll have tags and numbered titles to try and keep them together as well.
I've already played and written notes for two games (both RPGs)... so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Some links, videos and websites

Something a bit boring perhaps. Well, I found these interesting. Warning: spoilers for Dark Souls, Demon's Souls and The Elder Scrolls. I'm a big fan of artbooks that go into the creation of video games. When a series has really interesting lore, such as the Elder Scrolls, Diablo or Dragon Age games, I really like to read into flavour text and back story stuff when I can. Here are some interesting links. Some artbooks I'd really recommend, as well: the Diablo series Book of Cain and Book of Tyrael. For Dragon Age lore, illustrations and a lot of content, check out Dragon Age: The World of Thedas

http://www.parkablogs.com/node/8184

http://www.parkablogs.com/content/book-review-diablo-iii-book-of-tyrael

http://www.parkablogs.com/content/book-review-dragon-age-world-of-thedas-volume-1

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7pGJQV-jlzCPBUy9uAXQUXZ4UBaDLKS5 - ShoddyCast's Elder Scrolls Lore

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4825DBA198EBE9B9 - EpicNameBro's Dark Souls Lore series

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWLedd0Zw3c5RCXboUsPwHsZJlXB2CzCz - VaatiVidya's Dark Souls Lore series

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWLedd0Zw3c4z4PZRGyLh8uFMSae11ZuR - VaatiVidya's Demon's Souls Lore series

http://diablo.gamepedia.com/Lore_Summary

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAfqGThL6XtIYkUGiQzq1tqOi7pp50uZE - MisterShizno's Dragon Age Lore series

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recent Purchases #7 ~ DS collecting

Ok, so I've been pretty busy this summer, a lot of stuff has been happening; issues with university such as exams and dissertation topic for next year, finding a flat for next academic year and leaving the flat I was in, arranging two work placements with optician multiples (Boots Opticians and Specsavers), fitting in a summer holiday to Chamonix in the French Alps and then a few days in Brugge in Belgium and unfortunately having some relatives and family relatives passing away, so quite a hectic rollercoaster of a summer so far, and we're approaching winter pretty quickly it looks like...

I've not really done one of these posts since back in February 2013, I believe...I was planning on doing a post where I kind of went in to more detail about what I've been up to this summer, and I think I may do that, but I found that I had this post as a draft from a while back and thought I'd finish it off. That was quite a slippery slope however, as I looked through my backlog I uncovered more and more games that I'd bought since I last posted... So lets get into the games I picked up, and wherever I can, I'll talk about my history with the series, and thoughts on each games.

Ok, so first of all, forgive the grainy, blurry pictures, it is my Blackberry tablet that I took them on, and its kinda terribad for quality.. Then again, I couldn't be bothered digging out a camera or a phone with a decent quality camera.
So I named this post DS Collecting when I originally wrote it, this is because I've been picking up a lot of DS games as they appear to drop in price as more stores pick up 3DS titles. There are a lot of DS games that I either played briefly when they came out and never picked up or finished, or series that people were really enjoying and I just didn't get a chance to check them out. So a lot of these DS games are ones that I'd heard good things about or were really good deals. There are a lot more that I'm wanting to pick up when I can, some of which are included on my Backloggery wishlist.


Advance Wars: Dual Strike (DS) 07/15/13, £4 preowned, Game-Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh
Advance Wars: Dark Conflict (DS) 06/04/13, £3 preowned, CEX-Edinburgh 

These two games I picked up for less than £5 each. Dark Conflict was 2nd hand in CEX as I had really been enjoying the Fire Emblem games on the GBA and wanted to check this series out. Its a series my brother had checked out way back and been trying to get me to play. I never did, so finally decided to start with the DS games. Ideally I wanted to pick up the GBA games, but I couldn't seem to find a good auction or buy it now deal on ebay for either of the games. So I'm very interested in getting into these games, and hopefully the storylines aren't too obnoxious...on a recent episode of RPGcast I wasn't hearing the best feedback on these DS titles..

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS) 05/08/13, £10 preowned, GAME-Inverness
Professor Layton and Pandora's Box (DS) 05/13/13, £5.98 preowned, ebay.co.uk
Professor Layton and the Lost Future (DS) 05/08/13, £10 preowned, GAME-Inverness

The Layton series is one that experienced great popularity back when they came out, at least in Europe. I played little bits here and there, helping people out with the puzzles as they played through them but as they were so popular, they held their value for a long time and I never picked the games up myself. I was up in Inverness visiting some family and saw Curious Village and Lost Future in a two for £20 deal, so I picked these up on a bit of a whim. I began playing the first game and managed to finish the story off within a day or two, and only a few play sessions, enjoying it quite a bit. This one had good pacing and puzzles. It was quite a breath of fresh air compared to long RPGs that I am normally playing, and after a while I went back to the second game, Pandora's Box and played through the story of this one. This took a bit longer to get through than the first one, and I felt although towards the end the story took quite an interesting turn, it just didn't hold up compared to the first game. It dragged in places and the story just was not as well designed. Although there was less backtracking and the puzzles were integrated into the story situations, it felt like a case of one step forward, two steps backward. Still a very good series however, and I'm looking forward to jumping into what I've heard is the best of this original trilogy, the Lost Future. After the at times mediocre Pandora's Box though, I'm taking some time to play some other styles of games.

Project X Zone (3DS) 07/15/13, £22.00 new, Amazon

Back when this game was being talked about on podcasts and forums, most people were under the impression that it would never come out in english. It came as a big shock to me and a lot of people when it was announced for localisation. I still don't understand how it could have been possible with all the characters from different series (some of which never even came out in Europe, Super Robot Taisen OG for one) owned by different companies. It must have been a difficult game to actually make money. People unfamiliar with RPGs or these various characters will just see this game and get kind of confused I'd imagine. Anyway, its a pretty awesomely made game. The character portraits are well drawn, the battles are quite fun at first (they start to get quite long and drawn out...and a tad repetitive later on). The story doesn't make a lot of sense, but there is a lot of fun to be had with this game. Its very long, with 5 prologue chapters and around 40 story chapters (each of which consists of 1 large battle, a fair chunk of dialogue and a sort of small introduction skirmish or battle.) From what I've heard, it clocks in at around 50-80 hrs long. So far, I've just finished chapter 25 I think, so I've still got a fair bit of the game left.
-Edit: Since starting the blog post, I finished this game off in 75 hours. Yep, that was just the story, there are no real side quests to speak of. Its a long, at some times repetitive game, and I would say its at least 20 hours too long.
However, its worth buying this game just to support these kind of stupid (risky, but awesome) business decisions I think. There is a market for these kind of niche games, even though its a small amount of people in the US and Europe that are interested, we need to show companies that it is worth while.

Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS) 04/19/13, £ new, G-Force, Glasgow

Fire Emblem is a series I've only recently got into, after seeing the original (well for me, I think of FE7 (the first GBA game us PAL gamers got) as the original, even though I know the series has a much deeper history. Any way, FE7 blew me away, with its brilliant localisation, intense permadeath difficulty (if you try to do things without losing any characters like I eventually managed) and fairly mature themes of war and politics. So after playing Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken, I heard Awakening would be coming out in Europe and knew I would have to get it. The 3DS was quite light on RPGs, and I'd heard a lot of good talk about this game. So when it was getting close to release, I was surprised that I didn't just simply preorder on Amazon or some website like I normally do. I was really taking a risk in waiting and seeing if retail shops here would have copies of the game, as Fire Emblem games can become very hard to find and increase in value quickly. This was right after one of my final 3rd year exams, and I headed down to the shops to see if I could pick this up right away, and I was starting to sweat as I hoped somewhere would have this game in stock. I had read up on this game, watched a lot of videos from Nintendo and other sources and really hyped myself up for Awakening. Thankfully an independent game shop in Glasgow had this in stock, and I picked it up, eager to get into this game as quickly as I could. When I got around to playing it, it really didn't dissapoint me

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (3DS) 03/06/13, £29.86 new, shopto.net

This game, I was a little apprehensive to pick up..I've posted impressions of the demo back when it came out. You can read that here if you are interested. I was actually quite happy with how the game turned out, even though it seemed to repeat some of the content in places, from different perspectives of sorts, as you play through this fairly short 2.5D metroidvania platformer/action RPG with 3 different characters. It doesn't quite compare to the fun I had with the GBA and DS 'vania games, but its still a pretty solid title for the 3DS. 

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS) 03/25/13, £31.86 new, Amazon

Oh man, I'm a big fan of the Monster Hunter games...I get way too addicted to them, farming new sets of armour and weapons, slowly progressing through the required quests. Its a simple, lite (or no) story, with really rewarding, satisfying gameplay that they have refined over the last couple of games. I've put a lot of time (over 230 hours) on and off over summer into MH3U, finishing off the village (single player) quests, and working my way to G-rank in the guild (multiplayer/single player) quests on my own (because I only have the 3DS version, and any friends I know with the game are too difficult to pin down to actually want to play the game multiplayer.) The 3DS version doesn't have any online facility to play with people like some of the other 3DS games like the new Mario Kart, but I still believe (for me) that it is the preferred platform. I like being able to take the 3DS on the train if I'm going somewhere (I take a lot of public transport because I can't drive yet) and I like the mobility of the 3DS. If someone is watching something on TV, I can kind of watch both (MH takes a lot of concentration at times though.) I know you can do something similar with the Wii U, but for me, its still not a good time to jump on board with the Wii U. I'm waiting for maybe one or two more games that interest me. So far, there is Monster Hunter 3U, which I would definitely rebuy, Earthbound on the Virtual Console, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem (its a Wii U game when it eventually releases...right? :s) So its slowly getting there with the games I'm interested to play. I will pick one up fairly soon, I have a few friends who are already way further than me in MH that I could finally play some quests with if I pick a Wii U up.


Infinite Space (DS) 06/03/13, £10 preowned, GAME-Perth
Time and Eternity (PS3) 06/28/13, £40 new, GAME-Perth
Okamiden (DS) 07/15/13, £10 preowned, GAME-Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh
White Knight Chronicles: Origins (PSP) 07/31/13, €5 preowned, Free Record Shop, Brugge
Trauma Center: Second Opinion (Wii) £4 preowned, CEX-Edinburgh
Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (DS) £5 preowned, Game-Perth
Contact (DS) £5 preowned, Game-Perth
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA) 05/16/13, £10 preowned, ebay.co.uk
Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City (DS) 01/24/13, £24.99 new, ebay.co.uk

And a bunch more stuff I bought or got for my birthday:

Pokemon X (3DS)
Pokemon Black 2 (DS)
King's Field (PS1)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 (DS)
Dragon's Crown (PS3)

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (3DS)

I'll try and write some more impressions about these games as I go along. I've been writing this blog post for far too long now.


Artbooks from anime and video games are one of my smaller (some might say niche) collections, and I've picked up quite a few recently, notably the Death Note Obata Takeshi Illustrations, which normally goes for a lot on ebay. I found it in a shop in Brugge when we were on holiday aong with the Midori Foo artbook for really good prices. Some of these are really amazing artbooks. I recommend The Sky to any Final Fantasy fan, as it is now readily available..after that fiasco with the limited original run. Damn Amazon UK...

Obata Takeshi Illustrations - Blanc et Noir
Midori Foo's Book of Pictures
Yoshitaka Amano's The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy Slipcased Edition
Devil Survivor Official Material Collection 
Dragon Age: The World of Thedas volume 1
A Reader's Guide to R.A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt
Diablo III: Book of Tyrael

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Some links for Pokemon X and Y

Some tips for people interested in looking for shiny pokemon in X & Y. Check these out, a lot of it is continuation from previous generations. I've seen some posts on forums about the Matsuda method, but its still to be confirmed if it definitely works in the new games.

http://31.media.tumblr.com/96aa93a195b753972c0be56ce8ca26cf/tumblr_mv1yofPjNr1qb9bjho5_1280.jpg

http://kotaku.com/wanna-catch-your-pokemon-in-a-shiny-new-color-in-x-y-1450801224?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow

Theres's also the Friend Safari, which is another new aspect that really takes off after you finish the main story. I've been going to serebii.net a lot as well, for information on the gameplay for Pokemon X, which I've really been enjoying. But it seems people are still figuring things out and a lot of the information is still incomplete.