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Friday, July 13, 2018

Shin Megami Tensei(真・女神転生)

So I'm finally on the SMT bandwagon even though real Jhipsters refer to the series as Megaten err excuse me, メガテン cause you know, there's no "S" in Megami Tensei I & II. But enough of the Jhipster rant, what I was trying to say is I finished Shin Megami Tensei. The "shin" in this case is not the kanji for "new" but rather "true" aka TRUE Megami Tensei. Does that mean the original books and the first two games are "fake"? Oh well, whatever, it's Atlus' reboot/re-imaging of the series. Blah blah, we all know what SMT is. #mainstream

You have to admit, the OP is pretty cool

Even though I played the PS1 port which was released in 2001, nearly ten years after the original SFC 1992 release, graphically it looks pretty close to the original. In fact, the 1995 SFC Kyuuyaku remake of the previous 2 games looks WAY better, in particular the world map in Megami Tensei II. In that remake, you're walking around a detailed map of Tokyo in your cool cape while in this PS1 port, you're still just a generic spinning shape walking around a boring map of various geometric shapes.

Never been to Sendagaya but pretty sure this is not accurate
Speaking of your spinning avatar, this game introduced the whole Law, Chaos, or Neutral alignment system. I couldn't really figure out how to check your alignment but after reading the manual, I found out that the direction your avatar is spinning shows which alignment you're on. Yeah, this isn't explained in an in-game tutorial so IGN review score -8 right there.

See, it's clearly explained right there! Also, notice SFC version not so different
This new system of making choices throughout the game that affects the ending is a great idea on paper and certainly superior to the whole frog branching path thing in the previous game. But in practice, it was annoying how once you end up on Law or Chaos side, a lot of the choices end up being made for you which seems backwards. For example, Chaos bosses immediately attacking you if you're Law or vice-versa. Most of the "choices" I ended up making was tweaking my alignment after the fact by donating to Messiah or Gaia churches for healing or by going to Destiny Tokyo Land. Of course, I went for Neutral cause fuck Church and Gaia sounds kinda hipster. Kill everything in sight!

Snagged from internets cause I played on PSP (no emu cheats)
As for the gameplay, it's pretty much the same deal as MT2. This game retains the option to attack with either guns or sword except this time, the balance was totally off. Yeah, I get that in the real world, a railgun will probably be more effective than a sword or a whip (even if it IS electric). But seriously, bullets that afflict status ailments? Like, you get shot up to hell yet you STILL fall asleep despite the excruciating pain? With the sleeping bullets, then the charm bullets, and later the binding bullets, I used guns pretty much almost for the entire game.

This was one of those odd games where it's much better to concentrate on speed and mostly ignore strength until you get the strongest sword. Especially given how devastating status ailments are, if you get first hit, you can literally beat some bosses with zero damage. And yeah, the boss battles were all kind of a joke even though I played on EXPERT.

The only real highlight for me was the story which is the most interesting so far. The dialogue is pretty minimal but I liked how things started on a very small scale that quickly escalates into some very bad shit. It all begins when you download some shady program on your handy 199X handbelt computer (probably while browsing porn).

Wooooow, SOOO futuristic!
Then there's reports of a gruesome murder in the neighborhood. It turns out to actually be a demon and you get arrested as you were witnessed at the scene. Then a Japanese Steven Hawkins turns up (RIP) and reveals that actually, a whole slew of demons were unleashed from a portal project (ala Doom). This is only the first couple hours of the game and well... let's just say things continue to go downhill from there. #MAGA #ICBM

This guy mysteriously survives through everything and doesn't seem to age. Hmm...

Score: 2.5 Cero A? Really? I'm sure the Christians would beg to differ out of 5 (44 hours to beat)

SMT like the previous 2 games is definitely, totally 100% a multitask affair. It helps that the sword attack is essentially useless until you fuse Hinokagutsuchi so I found myself selecting gun on the first battle after loading up the game and then going auto mode afterwards. In fact, I found it really annoying when a dungeon had one of those rare enemies where guns deal no damage. Sometimes, I was so lazy, I just let them shoot in vain for a while and let my demons handle it in auto mode.

Still, even though the game barely required any strategy, I had fun filling out the maps OCD style. But the encounter rate near the end really just soured the game for me. Especially the consecutive battles where there would be another battle 1 or 2 more times requiring me to select Auto x2 more before taking another single step.

Though not nearly as bad as DQ2, it was also really annoying how often you had to press O to skip through the useless messages of how you won, how much exp each of your party members acquired, mag, and maka. Even though I enjoyed the game overall, the last two dungeons especially the fuck fest at the Tocho made me want to toss the game at times. Still, how can you not enjoy the late 80s shoulder-pad blazer fashion? Kids these days don't know what they're missing.

So salty I missed the bubble no-pan kissa times #metoo #jk
In the end, I decided to not keep this one and it is already purged from my awesome collection and no it has nothing to do with the fact that my copy wasn't CIB...


Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Monday, June 11, 2018

Negima!? Chou Mahora Taisen Kattoiin☆Keiyaku Shikkou Dechai masuu(ネギま!? 超 麻帆良大戦 かっとイ~ン☆契約執行でちゃいますぅ)

Among a looooong list of Negima!? games, ネギま!? 超 麻帆良大戦 かっとイ~ン☆契約執行でちゃいますぅ I believe is the first of the two Negima!? games on the Nintendo DS and based on the reviews, I probably should have skipped this one and gone straight to ネギま!?超麻帆良大戦チュウ チェックイ~ン 全員集合!やっぱり温泉来ちゃいましたぁ. Don't worry, I won't look at you with Jhipster disdain for not remembering the exact difference between the two titles.

Oh I'm sorry, were you expecting Romaji with that?
But yeah, this game doesn't exactly exude quality as it opens with the shittiest looking title screen and a heavily compressed reading of the title a la "kattoi~~~~n!!". Ugh. Now, I'm obviously not one of those IGN "pro" contract reviewers who are randomly assigned shit and paid some sum to pump out a review of something they have absolutely no clue about as quickly as possible. So yes, I watched the anime adaptation (all 26 episodes) and read some of the manga. I even tried to watch the remake though I stopped because well, it's the same shit mostly. And yes, for the record, Yue is my fav girl followed closely by Nodoka cause you know, those shy types are the most wild in the bedroom. The main heroine is the most boring and stereotypical archetype evar so fuck that girl, whatever her name was.

My future waifu. Unfortunately, this is NOT from the game.
So yeah, even though this game is a mess, combining an ADV part, Negima trivial questions err... I mean trivia, and a shitty SRPG, I probably would have finished it nevertheless. I didn't even mind resetting constantly to find out which girls would give you new costumes in the ADV part nor the quizzes with random difficulty ranging from the easiest, "which girl is [name]" to some super niche Negima trivia. BUT what I couldn't stand are SRPGs that only reward exp to the character that defeats an enemy AND no practice stage to grind. There's no way in HELL I would diligently plan for which characters to level up by saving kills for a game of this caliber.

Not to mention, the difficulty is way too high for a game of such shitty quality. If you lose a battle, there's no way to keep your experience. Basically, a big fuck you and back you go to the shitty "kattoi~~~~n!!" title screen. Oh, we took away all the characters that you leveled up from previous fights? Ha, why don't you start over, you sorry fuck?!


No, fuck you game. You're going straight into dumpster. There goes 8 hours of my life, down the tubes. Also, my copy of the game was super shitty so who knows if the Gamestop dumpster divers would even bother with your ass.

Score: orz I just needed a kiss from Yue to keep going but alas it was not to be out of 5

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

orz - Failed to finish (not rated)

Monday, June 4, 2018

J•E•S•U•S

JESUS was on my list of games to check out as a GOTY contender for 1987. Like probably countless other suckers back in the day, I was much impressed by the amazing PC88 (MSX2, etc.) art. I bet in my fantasy life growing up as a Japanese gamer, I would have picked this up in a flash just based on the back cover art alone. You see, back in the old days, the cover was all we had to go on to decide what to buy (or in my case rent). Thank goodness we have the likes of Shitaku and IGN today to save us from such folly.

SOLD!
While the kids were busy playing DQII (barf) on the kiddie FC from Enix, the adults were probably plunking down wads of cash to buy their other lineup. And Enix quickly delivers within the first hour or so of gameplay with some nice fan service that of course makes up the bulk of Google image search for this game today. While I didn't play the later FC port, I have to wonder if it has the same content.

There, happy? Now, this is just like every other blog post on this game...

However, this is not your typical PC88 hentai game. It's Enix after all and that's about the only real fan service you'll see for the rest of the game. Oh well, at least I was soon impressed by a very familiar type of puzzle to those who have played 999 or some other similar game. So far, this game was looking to be a very strong contender for GOTY.

I'm not a PC88 expert (yet) but this is the first puzzle I've seen so far on it
Unfortunately, this just sets some inflated hype as if you might be playing some super early predecessor to a ADV/Puzzle hybrid game like 999. Alas, this is the first and only puzzle (detecting a pattern here...) and the rest of the game is a very standard affair for ADV PC88 games of this era. Yes, I'm talking about randomly trying out menu option after menu option. On top of that, to make it extra annoying, you have to walk around the halls, which while cool looking, just makes things more cumbersome.

Walk? Do I look like some hipster health nut?
Fortunately, it's not a command line interface, so no painful kana typing and you can control everything conveniently from the numeric keypad. So it's a fairly easy game to play but I wouldn't go as far as to say it was fun.

Given that the gameplay is nothing special, you would hope the plot would make up for it. But no, to sum up the story, it's like an anime version of Alien but WAY more boring. If anything, this game highlights how amazing the movie was all the way back in 1979.

It's 2018, you don't actually have to play yourself!

Score: 2 hallelujahs out of 5

JESUS is a good looking game, there's no doubt about that. And unlike the first Wingman, it even has some real nice music including some DQ jam. But behind the pretty facade, there is almost nothing interesting about this game and so it barely qualifies as a 2 just on its nice visuals. Hopefully, the sequel or some of Enix's later titles fare better. I'm particularly looking forward to ANGELUS cause that bath scene. I'm still a sucker, after all.


Some extra screen shots for the devout Christians?

I'm sure the title would have gone over well here.

Shameless product placement? More likely blatant trademark abuse

This is the other art. Now you don't need to play the game. You're welcome.


Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Aquarian Age: Tokyo Wars(アクエリアンエイジ ~東京ウォーズ~)

I'd like to think that I have a pretty good tolerance for being able to enjoy games despite any flaws that the ignorant masses would normally bitch and moan about. However, even I have some games that I just can't quite manage to even want to attempt to finish. Because of my personal integrity, I refuse to rate or score games I haven't fully completed *cough* unlike all pro review sites *cough* so I have a new rating for games that I'm 99.99% sure I will never finish: orz to signify that I gave up in pitiful defeat. And congratulations Aquarian Age for being the first game on this blog that "beat" me!

I'd like to know how much of the budget was just for this OP

Now, one likely reason I couldn't finish this game is admittedly totally not the game's fault. I just don't like strategy games all that much. I'm fine with strategy RPGs but when it comes to games like Nobunaga or Generation of Chaos (shudder), it's just not my cup of tea.

Even so, I'm always willing to try any game if the cover art looks interesting. (Yeah, I'm still a sucker that way.) This game has some stuff going for it such as some voice acting though the audio balance and quality is terrible. It also has other redeeming qualities such as um... a DiGi Charat cameo and umm... yeah... drawing up a blank here.

My ex-copy of the game already purged from the closet of shame™
The thing about this particular title that made me eventually toss the disc (CIB ofc) into the trash was I could swear the CPU was cheating. (Don't worry, I didn't just waste it, I tossed it into a Gamestop dumpster so I'm sure it's safely in the hands of some dumpster diver by now.)

If you try to take over another territory's square or err... I guess a hexagon, you get to pick 3 characters from your recruits for battle. The 3 possible moves are basically a rock-paper-scissor type system and this is where I felt the CPU was cheating. After winning a few battles, no matter how many times I tried saving and reloading, the game would make me lose. Of course, it could've been totally my imagination and the CPU is properly using a random number generator seeded by the pattern of air particles detected by the console... or something. But I just didn't trust it and that's why the disc will be out there somewhere never to be completed by me at least.

The fact that there's a longplay of this highlights how amazing (useless) the internet is

Score: orz I can't stand cheating... unless it's me doing it out of 5

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

orz - Failed to finish (not rated)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Steins;Gate

I just finished Steins;Gate and yes, it is 2018. So yeah I guess I'm a bit late to the party. I would've called this a "missed classic" but I didn't really "miss" it, I just happened to watch the anime before I knew anything about visual novels. So if you're also one of those who already watched the anime and are wondering if it's worth playing the game, well, read on to find out!

Yeah, the original art style is slightly different
Of course by now, everybody already knows about this super mainstream title and you can find reviews from all the major outlets including the typical diarrhea job by our good old, ignorant, and kind of retarded SJW champion white knight: IGN (I'll spare you the link). However, only a Jhipster like yours truly or I guess one of those fan translation filthy pirates can make observations after having finished the previous entry Chaos;Head.

Unfortunately, no imouto underwear this time around...
While you don't need to know anything about Chaos;Head to play this game (duh), there are tons of references to the first game, including for example FES singing on the UDX display. This game takes place around a year after the events of Chaos;Head. You would think there would have been a much bigger societal impact from the crazy events in that game, considering the new gene murders such as the guy with the human baby fetus sewed into his belly. (Yeah ugh. I did say that game was Cero Z.) But hey, that was all the way in Shibuya and Steins;Gate takes place in Akihabara which is like a whole 12 stops away on the Yamanote-sen so no worries, eh?

Everything is FINE
Fortunately, Steins;Gate is not nearly as dark and gory and while the first game had barely any science, this game really does live up to the Science Adventure moniker. The network security part was total bunk so I'm sure if I was a theoretical physicist, I would be rolling my eyes, but it seemed believable enough to my laymen eyes. The only junk science that really annoyed me was the whole vegetables vs meat theory for Ruka's D-mail. You'll know what I'm talking about if you play the game but yeah, genetics, people! Still, at least it was really cool how the series tied the Visual Rebuilding technology of Noah II from Chaos;Head to Chris's research and ultimately the final modification to the denwa-renji (kari).

Now with 200% MORE SCIENCE!!
Obviously, the game isn't just about worm holes and string theory. The real highlight is the emotional and bitter-sweet story brought to life by the top A-list voice acting including the classic tsundere treatment by Mingos, the timeless loli princess Yukarin, and of course the iyashi-kei soothing sweetness of Kana-chan. Oh, and Okabe's voice actor was great too though I didn't bother to look up his name. (Pfft, males.)

Kidding aside, some powerful story telling right here
In addition, the cell phone mechanic (yay flip phones!) was a lot more interesting than the mousou trigger from the first game which only really had a binary choice between negative and positive delusions. It was especially neat in certain spots when a character reacts if you pull out your phone while they're talking to you. However, it was a bit cumbersome to figure out the exact words to reply to in order to reach the true ending. I'm sure it's possible without a guide if you like that trial-and-error kind of thing but I had better things to do. Still, I appreciate the effort and it's always good to have an ADV game that tries something new instead of the vanilla menu like every other ADV title out there.

A clear case of Facebook addiction...
Score: 4 Bill Murray totally raped and killed some people in Groundhog Day. C'mon, you know he did, don't be naive out of 5 (48 hours for plat)

Whoa, I don't remember THIS in the anime...
Overall, this is truly a classic in every sense of the word. A great story and a fully polished, fun experience from beginning to end. The music, while not mind-blowing, does a great job of enhancing the mood and the OP of course is great.

Never gets too old for another listen

Honestly, I kind of regret watching the anime first as the visual novel is a much fuller experience. I would have enjoyed this game a lot more if I hadn't watched the anime. I also much preferred the highly stylized art style of the game. In fact, I don't really see the appeal of playing the game with the anime style so I'll probably skip on the upcoming Steins;Gate Elite.

Please step on my face too, Kurisu-sama!!
Would I say this game is worth playing even if you already watched the anime? I think so but I would probably wait at least a few years to make the story feel a bit more fresh as a lot of the mystery is lost. The alternative endings are pretty short and only add a bit more to the main story.

Totally nothing of interest happening here!
While the true ending was a bit too Hollywood happy times for some, they did address this with a surprise alternative ending in a niconico stream of the anime. This was, of course, a tease for Steins;Gate 0, a game I'm excited to dig into sometime hopefully in the near future.




Some bonus screenshots totally not for clickbait revenue. May want to avoid if highly spoiler sensitive.





LOL on the Index reference

Based on their English skills, SERN doesn't seem much of threat?

No audit logs for login attempts? Sys Admin FAIL

This completely unnecessary attack on women is the cherry on top of a thinly veiled attempt to degrade anime girls into mere animated drawings whose sole existence is to satisfy the disgusting needs of our male patriarchy. Score: 0/10 Awful - IGN 

Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Friday, April 20, 2018

Danganronpa Another Episode(絶対絶望少女 ダンガンロンパ Another Episode)

Whew! It's been a while since my last foray into the crazy world of Danganronpa, but I finally finished this odd little over-the-shoulder shooter spin off entry with puzzle mechanics and it only took me over 2 years!

That doesn't look... um... appropriate
If you've never played the first game and care about avoiding ANY spoilers, I would recommend staying far away from this game. Don't even look at the cover art as it reveals a lot of what will happen in the first game. But don't leave! I won't get into any of it and I was very deliberate in choosing the screenshots.

No shitty, hit-and-run shocking spoilers in this blog!
I usually play shooters exclusively on the PC with mouse+keyboard but I got used to this game enough to enjoy it. The shooting mechanic is more slow-paced and deliberate than the typical shooter. So much so, I would just categorize this as an action game with shooting and puzzle mechanics. There's a bunch of rooms in the game where you can use the various bullets you unlock during the course of the game to defeat all the enemies in one fell swoop.

The only part I didn't like was the lack of frequent save points. These save points are actually portable potties called omaru in Japanese, which sounds similar to Komaru, the main character. Anyway, it was annoying to play a portable game that you can't easily turn off at any time.

Nothing more relaxing than taking a BIG dump
Speaking of portable, the graphics look amazing on the Vita (incoming switch whiners alert!!) and the settings are the usual colorful Danganronpa style. I especially loved the nice touches for the super stylized fire and swirling sewage water.

Even sewage water looks attractive. Nice water.
Some might say that the Kamaitachi no Yoru style for all the adult characters reeks of laziness but I dunno. If it's all the same to you, I appreciated not seeing a disturbing pile of detailed bodies, personally.

This probably would have been Cero Z if not "abstracted"
The 3D characters for the main cast looked great and transitioned very well from the 2D paper Mario style of the first two games, especially Komaru. And no matter how much it tries to paint her as just an average, regular JK, I just don't buy it. I don't care what the game says, but Komaru is HAWT. Not to mention the fact that unless some genetic engineering dramatically change the average Japanese girl's anatomy in the game universe, her boob size is definitely NOT average.

Game includes profiles of all the characters with measurements (84 cm bust here)
Besides the graphics (great) and gameplay (ok), the real highlight, as you would expect from Danganronpa, is the story. I'm genuinely surprised that this didn't get censored in the West as some of the subject matter is shall we say... highly politically sensitive? Even though nothing is explicitly explained nor shown, it's still extremely touchy especially when it pertains to children.

First game I ever played that actually has the balls to say "child porn". Argh, phrasing!
But putting aside all the crazy, taboo shit, I thought the final chapter was really, really good. It went in a direction I didn't expect and I really enjoyed the plot overall as well as the character development, even though the latter was more orthodox.

The music for the series seems to be getting better and better as this one had my favorite soundtrack so far. Though the list of songs wasn't quite as long and varied as I would have liked, I'm still humming "yeah yeah yeah" as it's damn catchy. Good stuff.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, uh uh uh

The Danganronpa series has been a sleeper "HIDDEN GEM!!!" hit in the west so all the games are fully localized. Obviously, as a Jhipster, I can only scoff at the English voice acting and lame localization. There is a riddle in the game that uses wordplay about a gunman breaking dishes. Because "gun"(銃) is a homonym for "ten" and 割る not only means "break" but also "divide", the answer is to divide by ten. Unfortunately, none of that makes sense in English so here's NISA's stupid answer to the "riddle".

Ugh, so forced and stupid. English is lame #weeaboo
Score: 4 this makes Lord of the Flies sound so tame out of 5 (20 hours recorded but probably around 25 with resets)

Objectively, this one is a 3.5 above-average game and just a 3 average in the gameplay department. It would be a stretch to say that this spinoff was better than the first two main entries. But I dunno, I just really liked the last chapter and felt really satisfied at the end. So I'm going to just go with my gut and stick with 4 as a great game. No, it has nothing to do with how cute Komaru is... not even a smidgen... mostly... I mean, got dayum, she's HAWT! My score is probably not what the typical Shitaku crowd would agree with but what do they know? Jack squat, that's what.

2 Jhipster thumbs up!

Gotta love the fanart
Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Friday, April 6, 2018

Sol Trigger(ソールトリガー)

Sol Trigger was one of the first games I beat on the PSP so long ago that I totally forgot about it till now. Even though it's from one of my favorite but alas defunct developer Imageepoch, it wasn't one of my favorite games from them. Still, it has the usual impressive Imageepoch PSP visuals and some great animation so it definitely makes a good first impression.


If only looks were everything

Unfortunately, the gameplay was uncharacteristically well, to be frank, kind of boring. Now, it has been many years since I played and my memory is a bit hazy but this is a very vanilla RPG without a lot of depth in mechanics. Each character has abilities and you can charge them before you use it but I never found a reason NOT to charge them to the max so it was just a tedious exercise of holding R every time.

Why the hell would you NOT want to charge to max?
I still remember the story so at least it definitely made an impression. It was very... well interesting to say the least. Especially when you get to the first ending so to speak. I wouldn't say the story was good necessarily but it was definitely different. One highlight is that Ema is voiced by Hanazawa Kana. This was before she got super popular so her gyara was actually probably affordable at the time.


Kana-chan moeeeeee

The game isn't that long and the replay value is pretty limited as well. You can pick one of the girls (I picked Kana-chan ofc) and it has minor affects on some abilities for a future party member for reasons that will be apparent if you play the game.

Score: 2.5 and optional 0.5 bonus Kana-chan points cause HOTNESS out of 5 (31 hours played)

Overall, in my vague recollection of the game, I didn't come away too impressed though it wasn't a terrible game either. It was just eh, whatever. It at least tried something new in the ending department at least, if not the battle system.

LOL, like I said, it's been a while


Scale
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely