Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up in Gaming - January 2 - January 8

Hey, I haven't done one of these in a while, mostly because I have barely had a week where I played more than one game for a reliably quantifiable amount of time, but that is not a concern for this week.  So let's get right into it, since I actually have a bounty of games to discuss!

First up is a game that hasn't gotten a lot of play since I decided I wanted to play games that didn't involve me walking around a given area and slaughtering things in the thousands with the greatest of ease.  I'll get back into Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 eventually obviously, but for now, it's best to expand my gaming horizons into games that won't eat 100 hours of my life and yet demand more.  Still, I'm not quite sure as to where I stand on DWG3 since I want to love it and I think that, through that want, I will, but I worry whether or not that will be genuine or based on enough factors to be wholly founded.  Basically, the game wins by allowing me my choice between Epyon, DeathScythe Hell and Wing Zero alone, whereas the rest of the Gundams Mobile Suits are more or less Icing on the cake.  Unless they suck.  Like The O sucks.  Because IT STILL SUCKS harglebargle.

After playing a few more history missions (and being assured through the trophy list that there are several, several more) I'm a little more prepared to suggest they actually did remember how to meld story with DWG3 however fleetingly, and while I obviously would've preferred a larger footprint I'll take what I can get.  At the same time, for as much as I griped and whinged about them in DWG1/2, I miss the story missions that actually have goals and story elements in them.  Even if I have to save Kamille's useless ass from Yazan when they're on the friggin' other side of the map are you kidding me, it was -something- as opposed to the Blitzkreig DWG3 more or less imposes as its pace.  You capture fields and if you don't do that, you probably lose and that's all there is to that.  Sure, you might have to save one pilot from two pilots if that random objective pops up, but it's nothing beyond a forced flavor element that detracts more than it adds.

Regardless, I just like the way DWG3 handles, which is to say that I liked the way DWG2 handled, past-tense, and I really don't think a lot has been changed up for DWG3.  I'll have to check, but I'm fairly certain that the Qubeleys in DWG3 still don't have unique movesets which is patently ridiculous as there's four different models of them (which are basically recolors:  Haman Karn's is white, Puru's is blue, Puru Two's is red and the Mass-Produced is either black or the same color blue as Puru's) and I'd suspect that at least one of them would fight differently than the others.  Granted, the case could be made for Puru/Puru Two/Mass-Produced as they're likely based off one another (or the Mass-Produced is based off Haman), but Haman, at least, should have a friggin' different Qubeley moveset.  Again, I haven't tested, but I highly doubt it which is double-silly considering they added more Gundams Mobile Suits to the game and -they- have different movesets than others, s'far as I can tell.

I'd like to say I have enough integrity to consider giving DWG4 a peek before buying it, but that just won't happen.  I love me some giant robot carnage and will do whatever I can to support it in the (potentially vain) hopes that that support will actually ensure a quality product.  Which is not to say that DWG3 is -not- quality, but merely to suggest that DWG2 -was- a quality product and DWG3 is not its predecessor.  So take that as you will, but be assured that I do not dislike the game, even though I may vocally grudge it for not being as awesome as I could hope for.  Which, hey, this is a thing we all do for various games for various reasons, so this is nothing new of course.

Shadows of the Damned, for a while there on the day after I gave it such a glowing first impression, gave me pause in my thoughts and lead me to think that perhaps I had spoken too soon on its intuitiveness.  Pretty much directly after the section I passed in my initial playings, I ran into a section with a mid-boss (well, a few mid-bosses....that were the same mid-boss.  I'm sure people who have played it know what I mean) that literally stumped me on how I was supposed to kill it.  You know those times when you're playing a game and nothing seems to be working, so you say to yourself "Maybe I'm not supposed to win this" and give up, hoping to advance?  That almost happened because I gave this boss my all only to find nothing effective....until I tried a specific thing for a second time and it worked from there on out.  I suppose I simply missed my shot the first time, but it was no less frustrating.

What was doubly frustrating was that the game made the classic mistake of taking a bullshit boss like that and re-introducing it at a fairly beefed up pace.  Without giving too much away, let me just say that the thing that makes this boss fairly shit is its usage of the tried and true 'shadow clone' mechanic which means there are several of these things yet only one takes damage.  And if you take too long finding the real one because you're plugging away at the fake, it just respawns all the clones (which number up to about 7 or 9 in the second fight.  Or at least, that's what it seemed like)  As you can no doubt figure out for yourself, I was quite annoyed with that, but kept through it and I seem to have been rewarded for my efforts.  The section after that has been fairly enjoyable and, er....'visually entertaining', I'll say, so I suspect that was more a bump in the road rather than a foreboding omen of what's yet to come.  Still, I did stop playing the game a few days ago so I could jump into the next game I'm discussing.

Since bumps in the road is something I just brought up, I'm just going to start this off by saying this thusly:  The penultimate boss in Sonic Generations is awful.  Some of the challenge missions are just awful.  The good news is that that's about all that is awful, however, meaning they are merely bumps in the overall road of Sonic Generations.  I actually really liked the final boss despite it being literally set up as a moment seemingly ripped directly from Dragon Ball Z and no I'm not going to elaborate on that whatsoever.  It was a fun little jaunt through a world that had been little more than a laughing stock for far too long, and a beacon of hope that suggests, perhaps, future installments of the franchise could reach this level of goodness.  Or at least keep the good:bad ratio as far on the good side as Generations managed to do.

I guess 'fun little jaunt' is the best way to describe it as well, as it was quite short obviously.  There's still hours left in the game to squeeze out if I should so desire from challenge maps and Red Ring collection, but I'm really not up for that.  Not only are the Red Rings difficult to get, there's not really a 'do-over' for them; if you miss one, you have to do the whole level over again and get to that point once more and try again.  Collectible artwork is nice, of course, but I'm honestly not too fussed.  After all, I could always find the material on the internet like that.  Seeing as that is one of the few trophies that seem a little too much effort/frustration for me to even think about, I'm not planning on Platinuming the game which means that since I've beaten it, I can comfortably shelve it.  It was nice while it lasted and I'll remember it fondly, but I don't need to wring every single thing out of every single game I come across.  To do so woould mean that I simply wouldn't enjoy games anymore which is a prospect far too frightening to consider.

The last world I've returned to is that of Harvest Moon DS's, nestled in the valley near Mineral Town which will remain the best Harvest Moon town for quite some while I suspect.  My issues in Harvest Moon DS are numerous, but so are my praises so it kind of balances out in a way that leaves me grumbling while I compulsively play it for hours on end.  While I suspect my stay will be limited in that I won't even bother to get up to the inevitable marriage that is the goal of 98% of the people who play Harvest Moon games, it'll tide me over for my portable fix while I wait for the Vita with bated breath.  Unfortunately, my PSP hasn't gotten any better and it's just a chore to play on, so with any luck, we'll get the UMD passport system in America when the Vita launches and Squeenix will actually support the thing, meaning I can just buy a license for Final Fantasy Tactics:  War of the Lions and continue playing it on there.  (Possibly taking advantage of the screenshot feature if at all possible.)  If not, well, I can still buy it I guess, it's only $10 after all, but still.

My main problems with Harvest Moon DS lie within the characters and the way buildings are handled.  The characters in Forget-Me-Not Valley (I think that's what it's called) are rather largely dull and lifeless even though they might have visually interesting designs, though that's not necessarily true for all of them.  The marryable girls all have their own quirks that are wonderful or terrible depending on your position and have been the only thing to elicit more than a bored "Hmm" from me when talking to them.  I'm supposed to care that the resident Doctor is like a cyborg or something, but I really don't.  Or that there's a Mad Scientist in town with a mermaid in his basement, but I still don't.  I guess it might be an issue of underexposure, but I could put that on the game itself as well.

The other issue is that, for rather asinine reasons, you can choose to make the buildings you populate your farmland with out of different materials to ensure varying levels of structural integrity, meaning the threat of your buildings falling down is ever looming unless you build them all with Golden Lumber which is, you guessed it, ridiculously prohibitively expensive.  Even the 'best' option of Stone is prohibitively costly and while you have the option of providing the building materials yourself to reduce the cost, there's not exactly a store of rocks around for you to crush for the raw stone in something quantifiable.  There are three rocks that spawn every day near the mine that are worth a whopping three stone each (if you have the fourth tiered Hammer) and bigger rocks here and there that assuredly give you more stone for smashing them (perhaps, gasp, four or five), but they require the best Hammer in the game which requires you to go down to the bottom of a 255 level mine, clearing its entirety of monsters, initiating an event to unlock the third mine that's even deeper, finding the cursed version of the tool you want, and then getting it blessed by a priest over the phone for 10,000 money.  (It's G in the game, but screw that noise)  It's a rather....intensive process that I don't care to bother with.

So, as you can see, it's been a rather busy week for once, and I've been enjoying every moment of it aside from the moments that I very clearly stated I didn't enjoy.  Which were few and far between, of course, meaning that my assertion that it was a good week stands firm.  It feels good to be able to do one of these again, so here's hoping the next one isn't, y'know, months from now

No comments:

Post a Comment