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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Atelier Marie Plus (マリーのアトリエ プラス -ザールブルグの錬金術士-)

So in my foolish quest to start yet another series that I will probably never finish, I decided it was fine time to check out Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg, the first of the Atelier series which lately seems to be pumping out new games like clockwork.

First of all, the official title is indeed "Atelier Marie" as shown by the title art. Based on the fact that the Katakana pronunciation is "Mari", the only logical conclusion is that the title is in French, NOT English. Ooh la la, fancy! Though her full name is Marlone, so I have no freakin' clue.

Atelier Marie, très bon!
I did own a physical copy of the "Plus" version when I had the silly idea of owning physical copies of the entire Atelier series. I even went and bought the Atelier Marie & Elie bundle for the Dreamcast. This bundle is especially notable for the fact that it contains nice bonuses such as a phone strap, screen-savers to install on your Win 95/98 PC and even a virus as an extra surprise bonus!

No, I'm not shitting you, the W32/Kriz virus somehow ended up on the CD-ROM for the game published by KOOL KIZZ, putting a stop to further sales. I don't know the details as this version doesn't seem particularly rare (I paid $20) so maybe they fixed it. I don't know if my copy has the bonus feature but I'd rather not find out. I need my Win95 VM to play old games.

KOOL KIZZ, a mix of the words "kids" and "jizz"? Clever!
Anyways, in my futile attempt to make room in my closet of shame™,  I sold my PS1 copy and bought a digital copy like all the kool kizz to play on my Vita. Or more accurately, I decided to put it up for sale after playing it on Vita for a while and finding out just how boring this game is.

It starts off with a nice intro, and then you're on your own with a small bit of change and no idea what to do, and yes, I read the fucking manual. Not only do you have very little money, you have no idea how to make anything and as soon as you step foot outside the town, you get destroyed because you are very, VERY weak at combat.

No in-game guided tutorial for baby gamer?? Score: 1 Awful -IGN
The game does start off very slow as the key to getting any kind of money is scrounging up some Nyuzu in the forest nearby and making some Kurafuto to sell to the Academy. Don't even bother tying to fight anybody for a while. Finally, when you get some money to buy the recipe books at the academy, you can start fulfilling requests from the barkeeper.

There are a few important gameplay elements that are not explained at all. First, you can recruit Shia, you friend, for FREE as long as you want. (After all, what are friends for if not free labor?) Second, you have to pay the barkeeper repeatedly to hear rumors in order to unlock additional areas to explore. Third, once you're able to go to the fairy forest, you can hire fairies to do some tasks for you automatically. Being able to send them off to faraway places saves you LOTS of time in gathering ingredients. If you go yourself, you'll waste a bunch of days to get back and you'll likely get killed anyway.

What the game boils down to is not unlike working as a temp in some corporate office. Gather ingredients, make shit, make some money, buy some equipment, beat up a copier with a bat, and bitch about your job to your buddies at Chotchkie's. Some events pop up throughout the years, some of which I missed I'm sure but it's not like there's much story to speak of even if it is all fully voiced. There are a few mini-games thrown in but they're very, very simple. I thought the characters looked pretty good, certainly a very different style from the recent games but it has its own classic appeal. The music was nothing to write home about.

One of those boring, every day events...
Score: 2 only because of its legacy and originality for its time (I think) out of 5.

I get that it might have been an original concept for it's time and it is a 20 year-old game and apparently a lot of people enjoyed it because there's so many ports. But I've played games just as old that was much more fun. I would score this one a 2 as a game BARELY not being a waste of your time.

The moepocalypse creepy hands mobile version
While the actual gameplay was pretty repetitive and boring, you do get a sense of satisfaction when you're finally able to make a rare item for the first time. I was able to make the Philosopher's Stone on my first playthrough to get the best(?) ending mostly by working my fairies all day, every day. I mean that because there is an option to let them play that I NEVER selected. I'm not paying you guys to lounge around, you good-for-nothings!

I also beat a couple bosses by making some Mega Furamu, which by the way takes a ridiculously long time to make. In the end, I feel like I got the full experience and there's no way I'm going to replay this game to get the other lesser endings. Plus, I get stressed when I fail even if it's just a game.

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, November 13, 2017

Megpoid the Music♯

I was actually playing Project Mirai on the 3DS when I thought to myself, "You know what? I'm kinda tired of Miku. I need a change of pace." So I went into the closet of shame™ and dug out my copy of Megpoid the Music# for some GUMI goodness or rather that was the hope. Unfortunately, the reviews are actually accurate this time around and what I instead discovered was a disappointing bag of sour patch kids. (Gumi is the Japanese word for gummi candy and sour referring to the game's quality, I don't dislike sour patch kids... UGH, do I have to explain everything?!)

This is the first game where I didn't even bother to put a tag for the publisher or developer. This seems to be the only game made by ParaPhray and I can't find any other information about them. I guess they quit while they were ahead? Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

First of all the UI looks so damn cheap. I can't really explain it, you just have to see it for yourself. And for some bizarre reason, when you start a song, there's this disgusting sound I just simply can't describe and it's different every time. I don't know if they were trying to emulate a record scratch or if it's just a bug because who wants diarrhea sounds in their game on purpose?

What the FUCK is that sound in the beginning????

Never mind the graphics though, who cares as long as the music and gameplay is good. I could totally excuse the subpar graphics as Megpoid is actually a MUCH better rhythm game than Diva  "oh wow, W double press, be still my heart!" games. It requires much more coordination and the ability to press two different buttons simultaneously (GASP!). A far cry from DJMax git gud but definitely more interesting than the Miku series.

The song list is great too as GUMI has a lot of great classics and it's a shame she doesn't quite get the same
Oh, I'm sorry, did you expect me to finish that sentence? Yeah, well I also expected full GUMI goodness and not this TRUNCATED UNDER 2 MINUTES BS in a rhythm game. The part I enjoyed most about this game was after I turned it off. I was able to look up the song list online and had a good time listening to the FULL versions on Youtube, revisiting the classics I heard before or discovering ones I missed. I even discovered there's an updated 2014 version of hentai bassists playing 十面相. (Obligatory Jhipster comment: not the hentai you're thinking of, but the actual correct usage of the word.)

Ah, brings back memories of good ol' Youtube before it went to shit

Score: 2 yeah, it's barely worth playing at least for the trip down memory lane out of 5

I was able to beat this game in under 3 hours and that was without rushing or anything. After all, EVERY fucking song is truncated. However, after you clear all the songs, you unlock the hardest difficulty level and it's actually really challenging and I'm still working through some of the most difficult songs.

I mean, it's no DJMax but Expert does require some practice

It really is a stupid, wasted opportunity. What could have been a good game with some polish issues was instead ruined by the fact that as soon as you get into a song, it's fucking over. It's a shame this ended up being the first and last GUMI game. Yeah, I'm looking forward to playing IA/VT Colorful but overall I feel like Miku and her crew have been dominating the Vocaloid scene lately and we lost some of the richness of competition.

What's laughable is there's a menu for DLC that does nothing. Aww, maybe they were hoping to sell the rest of the songs afterwards and it fell through? They should've thrown in some loot boxes with each individual note to get that CA$H MONEY$$$.

Eat me, ParaPhray. You suck and don't deserve GUMI.

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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NIGHTRUTH -Explanation of the paranormal- 闇の扉

It's never good to go into a game over hyped. When I bought NIGHTRUTH, it was after a quick Google search revealing it as a shit game of legendary proportions (aka 伝説のクソゲー, JP search of course). I thought it was worth checking out for a few bucks with my expectations set way, way low. I mean look at the title. Is it NIGHT RUTH or NIGH TRUTH? Either way, unfortunately, perhaps my expectations were not set low enough.

PS opening is almost identical to Saturn sans the naughty frames

As soon as the crazy ass intro video ends, I was assaulted by the shitty audio and shitty graphics. But then, I noticed the weird green line at the top of the screen.

Before I get into the shitty graphics, WTF is up with dat green line???
Was it some kind of bug? Would it go away if I restarted? Nope, it's just a fucking green bar that stays there the entire game. What the fuck is it for? Is it some weird aesthetic decoration? Otherwise, how could the devs not see nor care to fix it?

That was just the tip of the iceberg as the Titanic lunged forward at full speed. Not surprisingly, this game is a bit lacking in the features department. BGM and dialogue audio balance options? Backlog? Rewind? Shortcuts? AHAHAHAHA. No, pansy, you don't even get a freaking option to SAVE! It auto-saves at certain points with absolutely no indication so if you want to stop playing, just hope you're near an auto-save point and prepare to replay from there. Fuck that, time to burn this disc and load it in an emulator.

No save feature? Man, so spoiled. GIT GUD.
Speaking of (the lack of) options. The BGM is terrible and the dialogue is barely audible through the poorly balanced BGM. What is audible sounds like it was recorded on a cheapo mic,  then streamed via RealAudio (yeah, I'm old), and then rerecorded 10 feet away. From the packaging and the second CD of voice actor interviews, it's obvious that the VA was a major selling point of this game. If you're paying top dollar to hire the likes of Ogata Megumi (Shinji from Evangelion, etc.), why would you throw all that in the toilet with god awful audio recording quality?

Not the best screenshot of Ogata. Sorry, Megumi-chan!
I know it was before the days of cheap, high quality audio equipment so maybe they ran out of money to use a real, professional recording studio? Right away, you can tell when a line of dialogue was recorded at a different time when the same person sounds totally different from one line to the next. If you ever tried to create a single video with audio of your voice recorded on different days, you know what I'm talking about. At the very least, it made me appreciate just how difficult voice recording and editing must be in a good game. So... good job NIGHTRUTH??

Well, maybe, just MAYBE the story is good? It starts with you waking up to an all too realisticly annoying alarm clock. As you get ready for school, you talk to your ring and out of the blue, it starts talking back. WTF?!

Man, this game would be so cool if the main character was clinically insane
The story is full of these WTF moments and to be perfectly honest, I laughed more than a few times because it was just sooooo STUPID. It really does read like something a middle school kid would write up during his recess complete with numerous spelling errors and terrible grammatical phrasing.

Little known fact: he wrote the plot for this game right after the Liger

To give you some more hints of the wonderful plot, I was able to get 4 different endings. The first route I ended up was the one where you find the dog when you arrive at school. The remaining routes depends on whether your ogle your English teacher's legs/butt or her hair. This is truly Shakespearean stuff at work here...

Your fate hangs in the balance, fool!!!
For some reason, on the dog scenario, the voiced dialogue switched off at a random spot in the game. Perhaps this is the additional scenario added to the PS version which would explain the lack of voice recording. If it is, well, it's not fucking worth it as the dog story was pointless and anti-climatic, much like the rest of the endings. I don't want to give away any of the wonderfully stupid story but honestly, it was so bad, I almost want to recommend everybody (Jhipsters only ofc) to play this game. It even has some great art even though the main visuals look like they were drawn in MS Paint.

Um... wha? WTF? Did they hire a real artist late in the game???

Score: 1.5 Graphics, story, music, features, and audio were absolute shit but you should totally play it! out of 5.

Overall, yes, I agree that this game does deserve the title of legendary shit game. It was so bad that it was almost... well it's still pretty goddamn bad. But hey, I got a few good laughs and I did make it through 4 endings (albeit with save states). I don't know if there are any more routes because nobody cared enough to write up a full guide online, which is surprising because even Prismaticallization has a full website dedicated to it. Frankly, I have to wonder if I'm not just wasting away my precious limited time on this mortal coil by playing this shit but if I don't do it, what Jhipster will?

To give the game credit, it does have some good art and even some rare snippets of good music phrases hidden in all the diarrhea. They did manage to poop out 3 more games of the planned 5-part NIGHTRUTH series (oh god) but who knows if I'll ever decide to buy a copy of the sequels. Honestly, the first one was more than enough for a looooooong time and I've already purged it from my shrinking closet of shame™.

Come to think of it, I almost want to get the next entry Maria, just for the making of disc to see what shitty tools they used.

Additional screenshots for the legendary shit archives.

In 96', you could play Biohazard but fuck that shit. NIGHTRUTH!
My favorite character. She looks cute. Good enough for me!
LOL Sonnet, way to go with product placement
If only I could tell you how Shiori shows up. It's hilarious! (Sorry non-Jhipsters)
Another WTF moment, busts out shades to cry (ie glasses are hard to draw)
One of the infamous(?) lines from this Shakespearean masterpiece
I'm not a Japanese expert but even I could spot this obvious typo.

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

GRAVITY DAZE/重力的眩暈:上層への帰還において、彼女の内宇宙に生じた摂動

So it only took me 2 years but I finally finished GRAVITY DAZE on the trusty ol' Vita. The reason why I finally got around to finishing it is of course, the impending shutdown of the online portion of the sequel. So I need to get on that soon before I miss out on the exclusive online currency redeemed costume shit. Ugh, gaming nowadays...

But enough about shitty modern gaming practices. As is Jhipster custom, let's first look at the title: GRAVITY DAZE/重力的眩暈:上層への帰還において、彼女の内宇宙に生じた摂動. Why did they have to change the title to Gravity Rush? "Daze" was clearly chosen to reflect confused, dizzy and starry (look at the cat). I mean it says fricking "gravity dizziness" RIGHT in the subtitle (重力的眩暈 for the non-Jhipsters). "Rush" sounds like some sort of jacked up endorphin/pharmaceutical induced high. Huh, I guess that is a pretty good localization choice after all. GO USA USA USA!!!

OH NO BIGLY WORDS! We have to "localize" that away, ASAP!!
Speaking of the subtitle, hot dayum look at all dem words! I wonder how they localized that? Oh... they just... removed all the scary, bigly, elitist left words. I see.

I guess vidya games DO teach you something! Well for Jhipsters at least...
Ok, on to the game itself. Gravity Rush holds a special place in my gaming history (LOL) because the demo was the very first thing I ever played on a relative's Vita way before I would purchase my own. I have to say, if you saw this thing on an OLED for the first time around when it came out, the graphics were mind blowing (insert obligatory firework gif here). The cut-scenes, the character models, and that intro with the apple, my gawd.

Dayum, what is this Nintendo Switch? Cause you know, portables didn't exist before Switch.
While the game is definitely less impressive by the time I finally finished it yesterday, I have to give it huge props for the technical achievement of its time. The fact that you had an open-world game where you can literally fly (or more accurately fall) from one city to the next is truly amazing. Sure, the long load time is annoying when the game starts and the draw distance is blah blah blah but still, I was amazed at how far you can go after you open up the other areas with almost no additional load time. I especially loved the part where you go down to help someone pick up a dropped letter and you end up going down, down, and down and it keeps going and going. Though unfortunately that area is closed off afterwards.

Seriously, this is a Switch game, right?
So while the game was technically amazing, as graphics usually go, the wonder quickly wears off and you're left with a pretty decent action game. This was obviously made as a showcase for the Vita as it uses every possible hardware feature except for the camera and back panel (thank god!). The gyroscope may be kinda cool for AR games or whatever but it's very awkward to have to move your Vita from side to side for the Gravity slide challenges. Speaking of challenges, they felt a bit like a Ubishit type of filler though obviously not nearly as bad. Overall, I thought it was a fun game but I'm not exactly an action type of guy. It was aight, I guess (shrugs). It would have been nice if there was an indicator for which way was up as it can get quite disorienting. At least the environments were varied and interesting.

The cities are detailed even if you're gonna fly right past it.
The story was honestly the least compelling part of the package. Without giving away any details, this was obviously intended to have a sequel and while the Vita flop probably delayed that (FU mobile), even a game with a sequel should have its own climax and complete subplot. The story here is lacking most of that though I loved how the cut-scenes moved around with the gyroscope. Now that was a great use of the feature. It's kind of hard to convey without seeing it for yourself but it had a really neat effect.

This is the story section tilted at an angle. You have to see for yourself.
However, despite the rather incomplete story, I really liked Gravity Kitten as a character. I much prefer Kitten's more innocent and naive personality as opposed to the more typical sassy Kat English localization take. Like other Japan Studio games, the characters speak a fake language that is neither Japanese nor English but I still prefer the Japanese "translation".

I bet Kat has the typical angry retort regarding breast size but Kitten plays it cool.
I do have to point out that there's quite a bit of text I may want to read one of these days that goes over the story from Kitten's perspective. I wish there was a way to re-watch the cut-scenes too. Either that feature is not there or I haven't figured it out (manual wut?).

Blah blah blah bigly best words words words

Score: 3.5 I swear it was amazing for its time! out of 5 (27 hours for 100% completion)

Given how amazing this game was technically back in 2012, I REALLY wanted to give it a 4 as a great game. However, I feel like most of my time was spent hunting down gems and trying to complete the challenges to get... more gems for upgrades. Combined with the rather lackluster story, I have to say this was an above-average game but not a GREAT one.

You're going to be doing this A LOT.
I was a sucka and bought the DLC as well because it was on sale. Obviously you can get it on disc now with the PS4 HD edition though I guess non-Jhipsters will need to pay up the wazoo for a physical copy. Was the DLC worth it? I guess? I'm a sucker for cat suits.

Ah fuck, ok, take my money. Just fucking take it.

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, September 11, 2017

Valis: The Fantasm Soldier (夢幻戦士 ヴァリス)

Valis is the first game till now that falls squarely in the action category with really no RPG elements whatsoever. If it's not obvious by now, action isn't really my forte due to my poor reflexes and lack of skills. However, as it features the first bikini armored warrior in video games (that I'm aware of), I had to check it out. I find it odd that the Japanese were the pioneers in this area. For some reason I can't fathom, nobody was making video games for Red Sonja back in the 80s.

Meh, forget Conan, I'd much prefer a Red Sonja game
The gameplay in the original 1986 version doesn't look so hot and generally I've not been terribly impressed with action games on the PC88 so I decided to check out the newbie PC Engine remake. The SUPER CD-ROM game features some really nice cut-scenes (albeit small) with that good ol' nostalgic voice acting. As a Jhipster, I do have to note that there are no subtitles for the dialogue so any English fan translation would I imagine have to replace the audio. To my knowledge, there is no fan translation at this time.

No English? Aww, that's a shame.
As I said, action is not really my genre so take my opinion with a grain of salt but man, replaying something over and over until you get "gewd" is not my idea of a fun time. But I just hated that you did get good over time and you have infinite continues so you can play a level as often as you need to. I have to admit, the controls were solid in this remake. Once you learn the enemy positions and the boss patterns, you can beat this game in probably under an hour. I did get stuck in the 4th level for a while because I expected sliding to follow the laws of physics. (Spoiler: it does not.)

Maybe her slide over air is a Valis power too? I dunno.
I didn't know the PC Engine archives on PSN even had a save state until I mistakenly happened to press L on my Vita (and yes, I did pay real money for the game). By the time I discovered save states, I had gotten good enough to easily beat the first 4 stages. This is the type of game (like some shooters) that get easier the better you get because you can hold onto your upgraded powers.

I have no idea what C stands for but it's in the digital manual (ugh)
Speaking of powers, there are a few different types of shots for your sword and they only increase in power if you get the same one consecutively. Since the B power is the most common, I typically just skip everything else until I get 3 Bs and then switch to H, since the homing shot takes away the need to actually aim. Yeah, I'm lazy that way. You also have spells you pick up as you beat the bosses but the only one I found really useful was the shield for boss fights.

I will confess on using save states near the end, as the last stage is a pain with enemies exactly positioned to come at you out of nowhere and tiny spiked platforms that require a specific jumping order. The last boss while fairly easy once you learn the patterns, takes SO MANY HITS that it's tricky to dodge for so long without making any mistakes.

Meh, fuck this section.
Score: 3 out of 5 (optional +1 bonus for enhanced skirt physics)

Stupid Vita wouldn't let me take screenshots for um... research.
Overall, I have to grudgingly admit it was kind of fun to get good at the game and while the story was as traditional as they come, the voice acting was great and really, I can't find any faults that would warrant a score less than a 3. The music while it did has a short pause before looping, was really good too.

Now, THAT'S how you do a title screen

In fact, I was pretty disappointed with Valis II's lack of skirt physics. Since the sequel's remake was done several years earlier, it's a pretty big step back graphically but more on that when I finish the sequel.

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Makai Toushi Sa·Ga (魔界塔士Sa・Ga)

Makai Toushi Sa·Ga or "The Final Fantasy Legend" to the non-Jhipsters is the first game in the SaGa series and calling it Final Fantasy was a typical marketing ploy, or at least that's how I understand it with my deep in-depth 2 minute Google search knowledge.

Since I haven't played any of the other SaGa games, I'm not sure how strongly they tie together in terms of plot. Actually, I DID finish Final Fantasy Legend III as a kid and I vaguely recall something involving robots, and time travel. So I'm guessing it really doesn't matter what series it's "officially" a part of.

Since I already ruined my eyes as a kid with hours of Game Boy green screen game time sometimes with the majestic Light Boy, I decided to indulge in the fancy WonderSwan Color remake this time around.

Holy shit! Look at that kid blinding himself!

Holy shit, is that like 256 shades of green?!!
Much like Bruce Lee's last movie, I didn't expect much from a game that consists of climbing up a mysterious tower solely because it's there. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the various settings as the tower is actually connected to various worlds.

The first world at the bottom of the tower is the least interesting
Before you can even get INTO the tower, you first have to collect a number of items and do some quests such as hooking up a king with the prettiest girl in the town. Is it just me or does this girl look like some giant one-eye monster? I dunno, there's friendly monsters all over the towns so maybe she's supposed to be one of those one-eyed creatures that became the series mascot.

Maybe I'm just not understanding the pixel art here
The game system was certainly new and interesting before I got familiar with it. First of all, you will constantly run out of room in your tiny inventory. It got so bad to the point where I just stopped opening treasure chests. Humans actually have double the inventory of espers because half of an esper's inventory is filled up by abilities. The esper's abilities are also changing randomly so you just kind of use what you got if it's helpful. Or not, if it happens to be shitty abilities.

However, despite my inventory troubles, I'm glad I only had one human in my party because while they can carry more shit, you have to manually upgrade their HP, strength, and speed with items, which is a time-consuming and annoying affair. You also probably want to have one monster in your party to eat the various meat and play around with the tranformations. Don't worry which monster you pick in the beginning because they all suck. Only once you start climbing the tower do you get some decent meat to transform into useful monsters.

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to mention that your weapons can only be used a certain number of times before they disappear. Yeeeaaaaaaahhhh.

I'm gonna need you to stock up on some Katakanas, we're running low

As for the story, I actually thought it was pretty good. It was definitely interesting how you straight up murder people and you can inspect the dead body and the game says, "he's fucking dead, dude" (paraphrasing). I'm not sure how The Final Fantasy Legend localization dealt with it but I bet Reggie wouldn't be happy with all the dead bodies.

Jim, a cold-blooded killer or valiant hero? Stay tuned!
There were some scenes that were pretty intense and overall the story was definitely more than I expected of Square's first Game Boy game. These were still the days when portables were seriously behind in horsepower compared to consoles. Yes, I know I'm playing the much later WonderSwan Color version but besides minor differences such as freakin' color, I'm guessing the plot is still largely the same.

Minor story spoilers to follow, though totally unrelated to the main plot. Stop reading here if you're highly spoiler sensitive.

One particular scene of note was the room where you can pick up the one and only nuclear bomb in the game and can only be used once. The room is actually a shelter with 3 dead kids and a dead father who left a note hoping the kids can survive with limited water and food. GOT DAYUM! Sorry (dead) dad, um... they didn't make it. Thanks for the nuke though!

Corpses of dead children, thanks Nintendo!
On a totally unrelated note, I happened to get a little bit of historical background on the bosses in this game totally randomly while playing Memories Off 2nd. I just happened to be playing this game around the same time when the teacher started explaining about the four guardian beasts: Seiryu, Suzaku, Byakko, and Genbu. Weird!

I think I can complete my college degree this way! 

Score: 2.5 oh man, watch me nuke this guy to kingdo- gaaaaah! out of 5 (10 hours to beat)

In no way would I describe Makai Toushi Sa·Ga as a great or even necessarily a good RPG. It has some weird balancing issues where most bosses can be killed in only 3-4 turns. The mechanics, while unique, are kind of clunky and restrictive (though still much better than POS Mother). There are also some gnarly puzzles that would be a total pain in the ass if I didn't just resort to a walkthrough.

In actuality, the chainsaw is a pretty shitty weapon
Still I loved the setting and the idea of mixing swords, magic, and freaking missile launchers. It kinda reminds me of Megami Tensei II, which I also happen to be playing at the moment. (Yeah, I'm so cool.)

There's just so much satisfaction in beating the final boss with a nuclear bomb as unrealistic as that is, I'm looking forward to the next entry in this series. Overall, it's a nice little, short RPG for the old-school limited portable systems.

Oh, I will definitely see you again on the DS.
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, July 31, 2017

Dragon Quest III (ドラゴンクエストIII そして伝説へ…)

My first reaction when I started up Dragon Quest III was OH MY GOD, it's SOOOO much better than DQ2!!!! Once again, it paid off to start the series chronologically because the graphical leap over DQ2 was huge. I mean, yeah, I'm comparing two Super Famicon remakes but it's obvious they put way more effort into the remake of the 3rd compared to the 1&2 "bargain" bundle.

Finally feels like I'm playing a SUUPA Famicon game.
Not just the graphics, the entire game feels like a breath of fresh air and restored my faith in the series after the awful previous entry. You walk way faster and the battles are fast and smooth. The killer feature is auto dismiss on the battle dialogues. Instead of having to press a button after EVERY SINGLE action, it'll just fly by based on your dialogue speed setting. Compared to DQ2 where a single turn could require up to 20 button presses, you'll only have 8 if you have four party members (attack+select enemy x4). In addition, the battle music is not absolute crap so I'm glad to be able to play this game with the sound ON this time.

Finally, battle music that's not vomit-inducing

The game starts out with an intro of your dad with some pretty awesome cut scenes and then some deity gives you a personality test and proceeds to give you some profound life tips based on your personality. I was told some deep advice that amazingly completely matched my current situation and basically saved me from a self-destructive path of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. The sex especially was tough cause you know chicks be all up in my biznass 24/7 G.

I'm now convinced that this game has deeply influenced Japanese society for us old fogeys... somebody should research that. Joking aside, it was definitely fresh and exciting to start off playing a short scenario that tests your personality. I got the one about the king but failed at getting the sexy personality. Though near the end, somehow my strongest equipment ended up being bikinis and garter belts so I ended up with a whole party of sexies anyhow. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To be featured on next BBC documentary: "Shaping the weeb generation"

Speaking of sex, another nice customization is the option to pick the gender of you and your party members. Even though you look pretty much identical in my opinion, the other character classes have more variety. A nice touch is every time somebody mentions you as Ortega's son, they have to correct themselves. I'm sure it's still an sexist and misogynist game per SJW's standards but at least now I can finally create my standard waifu party.

Disgusted by sexist pink female armor, I went with a party of all bunnies and died instantly.
However, it was only later that I found out that there is NO pafu pafu with my all waifu party. Personally, as a gender-fluid sometimes lesbian female, this is EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE toward the LGBTKFCABCDEF community and we should all boycott Nintendo NOW.

ANYWAYS, getting into the gameplay, I can quickly summarize all the changes as "everything broken in DQ2 was fixed". They added the bag that allows you to carry EVERYTHING at all times and a line of text that explains what each spell does. FINALLY! No more having to google what Behoimi and Hyadaruko fucking does. However, being a classic DQ title, the random encounters are still very much a multitask repeatedly press 'A' affair or in my case 'L' for one-handed multitasking, though thankfully not as often as DQ2. I only wish holding down 'A' went faster than mashing it. Unfortunately, it's way faster to just mash. However, to it's credit, this is the first DQ game where I had to use buffs and debuffs for boss battles namely Rukani, Sukuruto, Piorimu, and Baikiruto. Yeah, I have no fucking clue what those do either, which is why the in-game descriptions are so nice. It was kinda lame that Orochi has some sort of invisible health regeneration every turn but at least it made me use more than just attack and heal.

Holy shit! Explanations? Who'da thunk it?!
So yeah, on paper, this is the best DQ and probably one of the best RPGs on the FC (based on what I've seen). The SFC version definitely has some great graphics including some awesome spell effects. Yet somehow, I just enjoyed the short and simpler days of the first DQ more. There's a TON of content here and some nice surprises near the end but man, it just got kinda boring after a while. Yeah, you could conceivably play around with more jobs but you'd have to start at level 1 again. Or you could mess about with the board games and arena or hunt all those pesky metals down (meh). For me, besides the bosses, the gameplay and world setting was just too I dunno "Dragon Quest" to keep me interested. The personality stuff was cool but as far as I could tell, it has NO effect on the story or gameplay.

Score: 3 overrated JRPG reddit rant post time! out of 5 (also minus -10 points for no female on female pafu pafu)

Most of the game is just the standard DQ walking around + random encounter + attack + heal affair. So while technically there is nothing wrong with the game, I thought it was just OK. Also, the short, simple dialogues kind of made the story not as impressionable as it could've been. I mean, I guess it's cool for the kids since they can't read so good so I guess I should've played this like 10 years ago... ok ok 20 years ago.. ok I'm OLD, stop pushing it! There is an optional dungeon you can play after the game but I didn't bother. The sparse dialogue just didn't make the effort worth it for me.

I dunno, maybe I'm just not a big DQ kinda guy. I will however devour a Butterscotch dipped cone ANY day but wrong DQ.

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