May 28, 2015

New 3DS? Maybe a Japanese new 3DS

Posted in video games tagged , , at 6:21 pm by riulyn

Region locks make me mad. Rereleasing a system only two years after I got mine is annoying, but technically it had been out 4 years before the re-release. Making new software not compatible with the old hardware even though it is technically the same system… Well, so far I have not had to deal with that yet. But I’ll have to at some point. Which means

1) Become Vita-exclusive in the future in terms of handheld gaming. Most new games I’m looking into handheld-wise are on the Vita, so this wouldn’t actually be bad. May not be able to buy any new 3DS games at some point (so far only Xenoblade 3DS has been new 3DS exclusive, I think?).

2) Get a Japanese new 3DS and access all the Japan-exclusive 3DS games + any new Japanese games. Gives me a few new RPGs (Beyond the Labyrinth, etc.), anime-based games (Attack on Titan, etc.), other random casual games (Funasshi vs Dragons!). Will help level up my Japanese knowledge. Lose out on new 3DS-exclusive games in English (supporting localization efforts, games being cheaper in general).

3) Get a US new 3DS. Possibly get rid of the Fire Emblem regular 3DS. Probably the best way to continue playing 3DS games if I care only for the big hits. Nintendo and Atlus appear to at least localize their stuff, and who else is really making RPGs for the 3DS?

I’d probably be jumping up and down for option #2 if I wasn’t actually not remembering any Japan-exclusive 3DS RPGs besides Beyond the Labyrinth and Dragon Quest games (which I am maybe not the biggest fan of). I like the option of being able to play a ton of anime-based games, but in practice I’m really still a sucker for RPGs.

Anyway, please tell me about more Japan-exclusive 3DS RPGs, visual novels, dating sims, text adventures, etc. I’d hate to decide not to pick up a new 3DS in Japan in September just because I didn’t know of something.

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May 17, 2015

The Disgaea Pit

Posted in video games tagged , at 7:53 pm by riulyn

At work (my post-doc research, not game-testing), we have been referring to my project as the “dopamine pit” aka trying to explore all the proteins affected by dopamine is like falling into a pit, because there are just so many proteins that are worth investigating. After spending a good 70 hours messing around in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, I think I’m teetering at the edge of the Disgaea pit.

What’s so great about Disgaea? For a tactical RPG, it does so much right. Tons of classes. Tons of ways to customize characters of each class. Yes, that means they allow you to make super-powered, amazing characters. They don’t punish you for doing this but rather, they just allow you to access some incredibly difficult maps so you can put your ultimate characters to the test. While I definitely could have gotten through the story a lot faster than I did, I don’t feel like the “grinding” I did felt repetitive as it can be in many other games. I wanted to teach my fire mage all the other magics (all the elements and healing magic too) and not make a prism mage, though a prism mage would have certainly be more effective. I decided maybe halfway through the game that I’d play with some more classes and my Ronin ended up being majorly kickass (once I put good armor on her, way more kickass than Laharl who ended up being a pretty good tank/healer). For now I’m going to move on to Disgaea D2 even though I have plenty I’d like to mess around with in Disgaea Hour of Darkness. However, there’s also Disgaea 2-4 to play too (I only have Disgaea 3 on me, but I can easily get 2 & 4).

The second great thing about Disgaea is that the maps are very different from each other and not just throw more enemies at the party as the game gets further in. For a tactical game it has at least 50 maps in the main story alone, and then all the item world and bonus maps. I’m sure this is improved on even more the further into the series you go.

The third great thing about Disgaea is that it rewards you for comboing your attacks. It’s really satisfying to make a huge combo chain and just see the damage continue to rack up. Just maneuvering all the units to be in position, and then choosing the order… It’s just really cool to see it play out just as you intended. Or sometimes you get too good, and the combo gets cut short because you absolutely obliterated the enemy with your insanely high INT or high ATK unit…whoops.

I think the only thing that hasn’t caused me to fall completely into the Disgaea pit is the Disgaea time commitment. I don’t know how to get through a Disgaea game without doing “grinding”, because I enjoy the “grind”, but I also have a sizeable backlog to work through. The time wouldn’t be as much of an issue if I had more emotional investment in the story/characters. While I really loved the interactions of Laharl, Etna, and Flonne, I have read that the later entries don’t have as much charm. That doesn’t mean they could still be quite good, but only D2 is directly related to Disgaea 1, so that’s why my next move in the Disgaea pit will be there. Also, with parody/humor games, I find them great because I can laugh a lot while going through plot scenes, but I also don’t have this desperate need to see what happens next. Which is probably a good thing, as I don’t think the days of staying up late because I couldn’t put down my controller will be so good for my future…

One last note, since I haven’t talked music on this blog much recently. There are a few themes I quite like in Disgaea 1 (like Red Moon), but mostly the soundtrack is serviceable in my opinion. I’ll find myself whistling the “home base” music once in a while, but otherwise I don’t really go around thinking about Disgaea music without being prompted.

May 13, 2015

Summer preorders

Posted in video games tagged , , , , at 6:17 am by riulyn

Things are moving along in my actual life. I have liveable income coming in starting July 1, I have a new apartment to move into, and most relevant to my audience here, I feel good enough about my situation to start pre-ordering things again! This time I even have 2 limited editions pre-ordered for the goodies. My pre-orders are

  • Trails in the Sky FC Evolution (Vita, Japanese). Comes with Falcom Gakuen Season 1 (the anime shorts) and an artbook. Unlikely for this version to come to the U.S., so I’m getting my goodies for ~$70
  • Ar no surge Plus (Vita, English). Physical version of $54.99 comes with a poster, microfiber cloth, and some other stuff I don’t need. Mostly I want the physical Vita version to add to my ar tonelico-related boxes and having a poster is nice.
  • Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy (Vita, English). Since it is made by the same people as Demon Gaze, I’m expecting a more polished dungeon crawling experience with this.

You might be wondering why Xenoblade Chronicles X is not on my list. Well, my brother has taken care of that with his own pre-order. Now I just need to remind him to get farther in Xenoblade…

Anyway, it’s still May so summer announcements may still be coming. It’s not like I haven’t been buying games this year (my digital Vita backlog is ever expanding), but it’s kind of nice to be buying stuff at release instead of always sales, even if sales means “saving” money.