Saturday, May 4, 2013

Grab Bag of Gaming Thoughts

Today has just been one of those days.  I sort of floated between four different games today without playing too much of any of them in any real sense, and I'm not exactly sure why.  It's possible that it's a focus issue as that has been something of a problem lately, but it seems more than that.  I may hilariously suggest that I'm restless, having had really nothing to do today which should have been relaxing, yet I fear it had the opposite effect if this is any indication.  Still, I could also blame it on the slight remnants of the foul mood I experienced the other night since it has not completely gone away yet.  Just, y'know...mostly.  Thankfully.  Still, I'm not quite sure -what- it is, other than annoying.

As you can tell above, I played a little more Disgaea 3 on my Vita, perhaps the most time I spent with any game today, and got Dinah up to Level 9999 for the second time in her overall lifespan.  Each and every single one of her stats saw an appreciable upgrade from the last time she was 9999, due not only to the stacking effect of the whole thing, but that I jumped into her Class World the six times that were available to me and raised her base aptitudes through that.  The nice thing of that, of course, is that those Aptitude points are permanent, so the next Level 9999 will see another appreciable boost from not only this round, but the round from the next six times that I'll be able to jump into her Class World after this upcoming reincarnation.  But there is a bit of work to do yet before reincarnating her again.  Perhaps a little too much.

Disgaea 3, or at least the Vita version of it, has an option that allows a character to absorb another one once per incarnation cycle.  (So, between reincarnations, basically).  The limitation is basically that the character absorbed cannot be higher than the Sum Level of the character doing the absorbing.  So no making a level 9999 character and having a Level 1 absorb it.  Nor reincarnating a level 9999 to 1 to have a Level 1 absorb it (since the Sum Level is what matters - that reincarnated Level 1 is not, in fact, Level 1).  Beyond providing a stat boost, whatever active skills and Evilties equipped by the character stand a chance of being transferred to the character that is doing the absorbing.  So if you have a character that doesn't have a Fist forte, but you really want them to be able to use Big Bang, then just have them absorb a Martial Artist that has the skill equipped.  Bing-bang-boom.  Of course, it sounds a little better than it is.

Really, the only reason to have a character absorb another is for the skills and evilties.  The stats that are gained are a mere 3% (HP/SP excluded) which is both a weird-ass number and totally not worth the effort whatsoever.  Take Dinah, for example.  If I were going to have someone absorb her (which I would never do), the biggest boost they would receive would be 12,487 to ATK, and really, not even that because that's her adjusted stat with equipment.  So let's be lazy and just round it down to 400K because I'm not going to bother removing her equipment just for this kind of thing.  12,000 to a stat might seem like a lot but it's...well, obviously not, considering that came from a stat that was 400,000.  From a character whose Sum level is in five digits.  A character with an unholy amount of time invested into her.  When you consider that one of the post-game bosses has 1.7 Million in a single stat, it's absolutely chump change, and should only be bothered with for the little extra that it will boost your stats for the -next- incarnation.

However, as stated, the Skills and Evilties are the -real- prizes here and when we're talking in terms of this, then the ultimate goal is clear.  You want a Majin.  You want a Majin who makes it to the highest level of the Majin Class and gets high-enough level that it can learn its "Violence" Evilty and you're going to want to equip that and (possibly grind it up to 9999 before you) have your good character absorb it.  Not only do Majin's have the best base stats overall (technically; their aptitudes suck out loud and I imagine they get outclassed in specific stats by other classes, such as Defense by Heavy Knights), but that Evilty in particular is something that you want.  You want it bad.  "Violence", when equipped, cuts down all earned XP by that character by 50%, but raises -all- stats by 50%.  So, say you have your character grinded up to level 9999 already - you don't need XP, so slap that on and BAM, 50% stat boost right fucking there on top of the bump you'll have gotten from the Majin's stats.  Which, again will only be a slight bump, but it'll be amplified by Violence.

The other Majin Evilties are nothing to scoff at either.  One Man Army buffs the character's stats by 100% if it's the only unit that is available on the map and cannot be reinforced.  (So either nine other characters have been dispatched and killed, or the Base Panel has been disabled)  Revival states that, if the character's HP is under 25% at the end of a turn, it'll be raised back to full before the next turn.  And finally, Vortex sets all Aptitudes to 10%, but gives another 100% Stat Boost, which I'm not quite sure how that evens out on the positive side, but apparently it does.  The issue with Majins, beyond their abysmal Aptitudes (first-tier class has straight 65%s and the Top-Tier only has 85%s, minus Class World buffs) is that they have no Weapon Fortes so they can't learn any weapon-specific skills normally, they have shitty movement range, and I swear that they only earn 50% of XP normally.  Perhaps it's because my Majin has to kill everything single-handed that it feels like it's taking forever, but I'm almost certain that he's not gaining levels at the same gait as everything else.

Still, this can be remedied by the absorbtion method as well, really.  Make a character that can learn the attacks you want (basically a female Martial Artist.  Precision means you'll always be able to heal unless you don't keep up on it (Precision is a unique skill and can't be transferred, I am a dumb) and Big Bang is the attack you need) and get those things that you want.  Then have the Majin absorb her and slap a fist weapon on him.  Now he can grow a little easier.  Sure, it seems a little silly or perhaps a little meta to have a character that you're raising purely to get absorbed to, in turn, absorb another character, but it's Disgaea.  That is literally the name of the game here.  Well, not literally, because the name of the game is Disgaea, but you know what I mean.

The other game that I did spend a not-so-small amount of time with today was Thomas Was Alone, a game that I not only finally completed, but mopped up the last few trophies it had to offer for the full 100% completion.  Unlike Guacamelee! and Zombie Tycoon 2, Thomas Was Alone does not offer a Platinum trophy which makes sense given the comparatively small amount of game there is to offer, but the point is, if it had one, I would have it right now.  Which is really all that matters, of course.  In terms of trophies, that is, since the point that really matters, I suppose, is that I actually cleared the game, given I wasn't too sure of my chances of toughing out the last section of the game.

Thomas Was Alone experience, I'll say that much.  Mostly because I'm not sure what else to say about it.  The story seems easy enough to follow and I do believe I know where it went for the most part, but there's really or anything - you either know it or you don't and if you're like me, and you -think- you know, then you are probably overlooking something.  That's not to say it in a negative fashion, really, though I suppose something like that cannot be wholly positive either.  If anything, I imagine the last chapter is where confusion is going to set in, since the game changes in fundamental, tonal ways with as much build as you can offer in just a short little narration in the levels leading up to it and the levels involved as well.  Which is...not a lot, clearly.

Despite clearing the game, there is actually something left to it that provides a strong case for a full-game replay, which is surprising to me, but at the same time, it's not.  On top of the narration each level receives, there is also Commentary to each level.  As in, developer commentary, I would assume.  I turned the slider up for it on one level, but didn't have my headphones in, so I didn't hear much and it is unfortunately not subtitled, but it was still enough to make me interested.  If nothing else, it made me consider another playthrough with the commentary on just so I could get a little insight into the game and how it was considered and created, and if only because what other game has done this recently?  Seriously, commentary is -brilliant- as the film industry figured out oh so many years ago.  More things should do this.  I'm honestly confused as to why this isn't the norm already.

Regardless of anything, I would have to say that Thomas Was Alone is a game that I appreciate more than I enjoy.  I like the style of it, I like the way it's structured for most of it, I like the characters of it.  There's so much about the game that I like that -isn't- actually playing it, because actually playing it is....secondary.  Or at least it feels that way eventually after the story has become prevalent and enjoyable, because you're less playing to play, and more playing to get to the next level, to be fed the next bit of narration and know what's happening now.  You want to see just how Chris and Laura are getting on.  How Sarah is up to silly antics again.  How Claire still dreams of being a super hero while John seemingly already fancies himself. one.  You want to see what Paul and Grey are doing in the last chapter.  You want to actually have all of this without the need of going through the motions of jumping here and there to get to the next white outline.  So even though the game missed in that aspect, it knocked it out of the park in the others for sure.  We'll just have to see if I do make that second playthrough, really.

wow, I kind of typed a lot for a lazy day today

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