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,
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,

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,
Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City (DS) 01/24/13, £24.99 new,

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

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