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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.

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

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.
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, 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.

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei (デジタル・デビル物語 女神転生)

Finally, I finished my first SMT game err, I mean MT? Ugh what a stupid acronym. Anyways, what I actually played was the first half of Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei, the updated SFC remake of Megami Tensei 1+2. This is the DRPG and not the overhead action MSX/PC88/etc Nihon Telenet thing. For those new to this blog, DRPG is what we call 1st person dungeon crawlers since we don't need to waste a stupid letter to identify JRPGs (known to Jhipsters as RPGs).

The first thing you'll notice when you start up the game is all the reasons why this game was never localized. NOA was so busy trying to suck up to Congress saying THEIR games were wholesome family fun and would never have filth like Night Trap, they had to pretend this game didn't exist. Thanks to no internet, that was easy to do back in the day. I doubt this game would have helped their PR image if Shitaku was around back then.

Quick, somebody call Congress, it's time to hold to a hearing!!
I think this is the first game I've played that's actually a sequel to a bunch of books (for the kids, this is that Egyptian papyrus with words printed on it stacked on top of each other). Since the only version of the books available online are English fan-translated pirated stuff (typical), I decided to check out the OVA instead to get caught up on the lore.

Since YT has Content ID, I'm sure this is TOTALLY legal

Unfortunately, the anime only covers the first book and ends in a cliffhanger with a message from Set. However, I didn't really think the anime was so great anyways and I got enough of the gist to play the game. Maybe the books present it better but basically, you play as this asshole Nakajima who decided to make a program to summon devils cause first world problems and now you have to fix your own giant mess. You don't have to worry about how you defeated Loki and Set in the books because lo and behold, Lucifer helpfully resurrected them for you to beat again in the game.

Man Loki, I already beat you. Didn't you watch the OVA??
So the game is pretty much a standard map filler exercise. Thankfully, it does have an auto-map so no pen+paper needed. If you're obsessive compulsive, this is a great game to go fill in all the squares. If you explore every corner, you won't miss anything and should be able to get through the game without getting stuck except for the last sword which you have to go back to a random spot to find. I also looked up the map once to get through the halls on fire. It was really annoying to lose health on every step and I didn't want to wander around aimlessly constantly losing health trying to find Izanami's clothing (it's not what you think).

Umm... that's a very interesting way to decorate your walls.
The fusion stuff was pretty original for its time but man was it really skewed toward fucking Salamanders for some reason. For example, in order to fuse a level 57 Odin, you need a Sphinx and a Hanuman. To make a Sphinx, you need a Salamander and a Yasha. In order to make a Yasha, you need a Tsukuyomi and another fucking Salamander. And in order to make a Hanuman, you need a Zebec and ANOTHER FUCKING Salamander. Of course, it didn't help that I already had just finished fusing a level 55 Ganesha which also requires a Yasha and Hanuma which is TWO MORE Salamanders. So to make 5 Salamanders, I had to basically find 5 Dwarves and Pukas, the former which was annoyingly difficult to encounter.

Odin - mix 3 salamanders and a pinch of lemon for flavor
I also didn't really get the point of the moon phases and the date. There isn't any kind of time limit (thank god) and the only thing I cared about was NEW MOON because that's when you can't recruit any demons. Overall, the gameplay was just the standard attack and use magic to heal affair. You just grind away and eventually, you'll be able to get through with the handy AUTO battle. Though if you walk around with your demon friends, you will lose some MAG on every step so some resource management in necessary. I REALLY hated that enemies can sometimes knock down your level though. It made me save like a paranoid tinfoil hat crazy and if you get leveled down, you might as well restart. And for fuck's sake, could you show the stats for equipment in the equip menu?? I mean, it got so annoying going back to the item menu that it was easier to just look up the equipment list online. Lame.

Ugh, would it kill you to show some numbers here? It's a freakin' SFC remake!!
In terms of the plot, there's really nothing to spoil and it's as simple as can be. You're in there to kill some fucking demons and that's what you're going to do. Oh congrats, you killed em! Game Over. Thanks for playing! There is a floating city though so that's cool. You can fly to the final dungeon halfway through the game and die instantly just for giggles.

Dunno about the original FC version but check out dem SUPER graphics!!
Score: 2.5 Ignorant congressmen unaware kids in Japan were brainwashed into devil worship out of 5.

A dead simple game but still strangely addictive. I played while multitasking a visual novel and it was a perfect distraction while I listened to some imouto dialogue going on about oniichan, oniichan. I wish I was joking here but unfortunately, this is actually totally true.

The music was pretty good but it got far too monotonous after hours and hours of dungeon crawling. Eventually, I just turned it off to listen to my imouto in the other multitask game.

Yeah, might sound good to you now but try listening through 8 floors of Daedalos

A few more totally random screenshots just to highlight the wonderful Nintendo platform.




Ahh, fucking RICK. Man, what a great character and what a great story!!

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

Final Fantasy III (ファイナルファンタジーIII)

Every new Final Fantasy game I buy seems to require several hours of research to determine which version is best. I really only want to buy one copy of each game, as strange as that may sound to the "pro" game hoarders... err I mean collectors. I usually just go for the latest version that uses real buttons and not on a goddamn phone. With Final Fantasy III, given my unabashed bias and love for the PSP aka the best console of all time, it seemed natural to give my yen offerings to the Amazon Japan Gods and get me some of that UMD love.

This filtered washed out mobile shitfest graphics is not exactly the same as the PSP version (impartial opinion)
Now, I'm sure you 2D purists are already scoffing at me for going for the 3D remake but if anybody can explain why the original version is better in terms of gameplay, please do let me know what I'm supposedly missing out on. As for personal preference, I really don't care about 2D or 3D as long as the game plays fine. I will say that zooming in to find hidden items was kinda annoying and pointless. I'm not sure how that mechanic worked if at all in the original Famicon version. In addition, the load times was just a few seconds too long. Even using an ISO without all the UMD grinding, the load time was juuuust long enough to be annoying but the 2x speed in auto battle mode made up for it a bit.

3D? Pffft, you must be one of those people that liked FF13 *scoff*
Besides the 3D changes, I found FF3 interesting because you get an airship within the first hour of the game. Of course, this airship doesn't go over mountains so you can't go much farther than what you could easily walk anyway but I still thought it was a nice twist. What's even more interesting is less than 10 hours into the game, an NPC gave me an item for going around the world map on a Chocobo and it didn't take more than a couple minutes, the world map was so small, I assumed there was more to explore than just this tiny world (you'll need to play the game to find out).

Don't get too excited, you ain't gonna get too far with that.
This is the first FF game that uses the job system like Bravely Default (comparison for the new kids). I'm not going to guess at who or how the job system was invented but after playing FF2, it feels like a natural progression from the crazy everything has a level chaos. If you consolidate the disjointed parts of FF2 and wrap it in a neat logical package called a job... voila! Job system!

Out of the first 3 games, the combat in this one is definitely the best so far. While FF1 was 99% holding down circle and FF2 a crazy albeit unique mess, FF3 is the first game in the franchise that has any sense of strategy. Though when you open up 4 chests with equipment for the scholar, you can tell the game is trying to tell you something. You need to play around with the jobs somewhat to see what works at different parts of the game. However, the system definitely did have some flaws including the fact that you'll never have the time to really level up and try out all the various jobs. The game balance near the end seemed to kind of break down as well as bosses took only about 6-10 hits of 6000-9999 damage to defeat.

Character designs were kinda meh but Refia twin tails with glasses was a winner
I liked the fact that you need to actually buy and use items in the beginning as Esuna is a 7(!) level spell. Phoenix downs are also not sold in stores so you need to use what you can find until you unlock Revive much later in the game (though earlier than Esuna). It was really annoying to have to find a spring to revive party members as sleeping at an inn doesn't work so I usually just reset instead.

The setting of the story is very similar to FF1 with the 4 warriors of light again, which feels like a step backward from FF2 in terms of character development. This time, you're trying to restore balance with light or something via talking crystals. I was never a big fan of the crystal stuff in Final Fantasy but I guess this is where it kinda starts to become an FF theme. You know what kind of game would be really cool? What if, in a unique twist, you are actually warriors of dark fighting against light?! That would be pretty darn cool!!!

GOD DAMMIT SQUARE!!! You made the boring part of the story! (DS version)
As I mentioned, I'm not sure why they went back to the generic FF1 character style (is this an early example of FF9 retro throwback??) They tried to give the characters some back stories in the 3D remake but even so the character development is non-existent and they end up feeling almost as generic as the FF1 warriors of light anyway. You can see snippets of personality and interaction in short bits of story and by talking to the 5th character that joins your party now and then. But at the end of the day, you can change all the characters to cross-dressing harpies and the main plot of restoring light to the balance or whatever would work exactly the same. At least this time, the 5th character isn't actually in your party as an under-powered, dragging wet towel that you are constantly switching like in FF2.

It's too bad the characters are so boring because the world setting and story events are arguably the most interesting in the series so far. However, it all falls flat as the events unfold around the generic characters that you're not really invested in and the final villian was too abstract to really interest me. I guess we'll have to wait for FF4 for the Parom/Palom level feels. Well, at least we can enjoy the fancy new intro vid.

Character interactions not as rich as intro suggests

Score: 3 "I may be cute but I'm fucking warning you, this book is pretty darn heavy!" out of 5 (31 hours to beat)


I thought the game was just average on all counts. Oh well, at least FF3 brought us Moogles... and it has twin tails... and a cat suit so... mission accomplished! Now I hear the final dungeon in the original version is hella difficult but it was pretty tame in the remake and thank goodness for that cause I was ready to be done with this game.

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, June 23, 2017

Prismaticallization

Sometimes, a little perspective goes a long way. While I didn't think too much of Never 7 (called infinity at the time), it's WAY better than Prismaticallization, even though it only came out a few months later. I can't help but compare the two games because Prismaticallization is like an earlier and crappier version of Never 7. It has the exact same basic concept except without any voice acting and crappier BGM. I bought this game purely on the cover art, so fool on me I guess.

Yesh, it doesn't take much to convince me to buy (if under $10)
It first starts out by warning you that there's nothing to do put read for the first 30 minutes. Pfft, 30 minutes?! Yeah, no worries there, I'm not an ADV newb. At the end of your first playthrough, you pick up an odd green prism crystal thing (hence the title). This prism crystal can be used to remember up to 5 things.

Be prepared to loop through this damn game at least 100 times
It's a very annoying user interface as you constantly have to loop and often run out of space on your crystal. I went to about 100 playthroughs and 7 hours before I cleared the first ending (the game helpfully keeps count in the upper-right corner). Yeah, if you follow a guide, you can clear an ending in under 20 but I was playing blind. Most of the time was spent holding the △ fast forward button so this game is totally a multitask affair. It really was an awkward way to play an ADV game and kinda unnecessary in my opinion. I mean, it was kinda fun at first, but it got old pretty fast. At the very least, maybe if the prism could hold 10 things or there was a skip to next choice feature (not fast-forward but instant), it would've made things quicker.

Unlocking the swimsuit scenarios were especially annoying as you have to first play a tarot game (1 loop). This set you on to path to one girl (chosen randomly). Then you have to remember the correct cards to win a card game (2 loops). Finally, you can unlock the swimsuit at the beach (1 loop). You then have to win the card game AGAIN (1-2? loops) and trigger the swimsuit memory at the beach a second time (1 loop). This takes about 5 loops for each girl (you may have to reload if you get duplicate random girl).

Well, I guess the effort was worth it for Miyu sukumizu
As I said, the BGM is not so great either though it sounds much better on the Dreamcast version. It feels like they spent all their budget on the pretty good opening animation and the ending song. Otherwise, this game is pretty darn low on both the polish and quality front.

The OP and ED were good but that's about it

Still, despite the overall cheapness of the game, the illustrations were not bad and it could have redeemed itself with a great story but unfortunately, it falls flat in that department as well. None of the characters were well developed and pretty much almost nothing is explained even after watching all the endings. The only good thing about the story was that it wasn't too long-winded and I was able to beat the game in about 12 hours. I did not unlock all the swimsuits however cause it's a pain in the arse and Miyu is really the only girl for me anyways.

Fake imouto was almost enough to make this game a 2. Almost.
Score: 1.5 sometimes even an imouto is not enough to make a decent game out of 5. (12 hours to beat)

I didn't think this game was terrible. It has some funny moments and some decent art, I just don't know if it was worth it. I certainly won't be keeping it in my ever shrinking closet of shame. If for some crazy reason I wanted to play it again, it's also available on PSN, though I would probably recommend the DC version for the better music and some extra scenes.

Oddly, this illustration was in a different style from the rest of the game

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 19, 2017

Kairisei Million Arthur (乖離性ミリオンアーサー)

Let me tell you a story about a foolish gamer who for some reason no sane individual can surmise decided to go about collecting all the trophies for Karisei Million Shits Arthur. He got all the way up to the last gold trophy which involves collecting 100 yes ONE HUNDRED Ultra Rare cards. He gave up on this stupidly repetitive task for many months until a collaboration event with Peach Beach Splash gave out 5 ultra rare cards with 20 名声, the equivalent of 100 identical cards. Giddy with excitement and disbelief he laughed at the fools for essentially giving away the gold trophy. Without hesitation, he went ahead and maxed out by combining all 5 cards but alas no trophy??!!

The tragic folly and downfall of a foolish gamer
With a pounding heart and shaking hands, he looked at the card details to discover to his shock and dismay that it had only gone up to 90 instead of 100. The fucking UI only said MAX so he had forgotten he needed to max out the level of one of the 5 cards FIRST, then evolve it to Million Rare, and THEN combine the other cards as Ultra Rare cards only have a max of 90 名声. Screaming in frustration and anger, this foolish gamer, instead of deleting this piling heap of garbage, decided FUCK YOU SQUARE, I'm going to do this the hard way. He then proceeded to waste his life away for the next 10 days until he finally achieved his empty, meaningless, and pathetic goal.

The end result of a fool's quest and his loss of valuable time and life
Oh, and I think there's a game in there somewhere.

Score: 0 fuck you fuck you fuck you Square Enix out of 5.

Some of the cards have cool art, I'll give it that. But I think it's ridiculous they still haven't finished the main storyline 9 months after release. Whatever, the story is meh anyways. I DON'T CARE.




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 12, 2017

Mad Father(マッドファーザー)

Corpse Party was kind of my gateway drug to Wolf RPG Horror adventure games. Turns out there's of bunch of these made by creative individuals completely FREE FREE FREE!!! No, not free-to-play microtrans BS but free as in no money needed. I mean REAL indie games without all that kickstarter bags of money and false promises. Mad Father was one that seemed particularly well polished and also not TOO scary like fucking heart attack Akemi-tan.

Personally, being surrounded by bodies is a turn-off but ok
There's really not too much to the story as these things usually go but your father is kind of mad (surprise, surprise!!) You play as his little daughter who decide for some reason to go exploring your guy's giant mansion when you start the game.

I guess since you started the game, now she HAS to explore. JERK.
My first impression of the game was wow, for an indie, the music is pretty damn good! Apparently, the opening song is also used in another indie game called Ib so I don't know who made the music or what the deal is but whatever, as long as it's not RIAJ, it's all cool.

Welp, I guess I have to play Ib next.

The first part of the game has lots of areas to explore and some puzzles that frankly I would never have figured out. For example, who would have guessed to drop the eyeball down a hole in the fireplace so that the girl in the cell can get her eyeball back? Yeah, you hear somebody crying in the study but that's hardly a hint. Aha, but yeah, that's the kind of puzzles you'll be solving. Things get easier as you get down the lower basement levels as the explorable areas shrink significantly.

Hmm... personally I would have just stayed in my room.
Score: 3 and I thought my parents were crazy!! out of 5. (3 hours to beat)

The character illustrations definitely have an indie look but overall, I thought it was a pretty solid game. It's only a little bit scary so it's probably a good title for horror newbs. You certainly won't lose anything by trying it out (FREE GAMES GOOGLE SEARCH BOT!). There's a special cut-scene at the end if you collect all 21 gems scattered throughout the house but I didn't bother.

Women, their choices in men will forever confound
There is an English version for the non-jhipsters though I don't know if it includes the latest changes. I guess the latest version 3 is now for sale on steam but you can download the latest free Japanese version here: http://novice2.web.fc2.com/game/mad/index.html.

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, June 8, 2017

Ys: The Oath in Felghana(イース -フェルガナの誓い-)

I started Ys: Felghana no Chikai (that's "oath" for the non-jhipsters) pretty much right after I beat Ys 2 since it's a remake of Ys 3. In the good ol' days, people used to use numbers so customers would know what order shit came in. But now, we have games like Ghostbusters 2016 aka "AHAHA you bought this garbage??", Tomb Raider 2013 aka "we spent that whole year working on Lara's hair", and Prince of Persia 2008 aka "maybe it'll sell better if you can't fucking die joke edition" so yeah whatever, we're all fucked. Where was I? Oh yeah.

So Falcom is probably THE pioneer of series you can never figure out without consulting Wikipedia (fuck you Dragon Slayer 2 Legend of Heroes -4 Xanadu not Next). So after looking up what games are in what order, I decided to skip Ys Wanderers From Ys, and went straight to the remake.

For fuck's sake, jut put the goddamn 3 on the cover
I mentioned previously that I was traumatized on the series from the start with a rental of the SNES side-scrolling version of this game. Fortunately, Falcom went back and fixed it all up and made a completely different game which is probably why they changed the subtitle.

They scrapped the side scrolling thing and went with the 2.5 style of the later Ys games. The classic bumping mechanic is gone and you now have to jump and climb platforms and shit. When I first started this game after finishing Ys 2, it was weird having to swing your sword like some kind of barbarian. I imagine Adol was previously using some impressive Iai invisible sword attacks during the bumps previously so this brute swinging style seems like a few steps backwards for the swordsman in terms of technique.

This is Adol in Ys I+II... IMO.
Personally, I preferred the old style without all this fancy double jumping and attack button. Even though the platforming segments were pretty tame and not super annoying, I'm not a big fan of jumping on shit, falling, and having to start again. (Did I mention I'm not big into platformers?) What was REALLY annoying were those TINY flying monsters which were such a pain to attack especially before you get the green ring.

...well at least it's better than Mario...
In fact, this game is pretty annoying until you unlock at least the dash ability (aka oh thank god, I can move at a normal speed FINALLY). The options give you the ability to have dash on at all times or by double tapping a direction but seriously why?? Turn it on always. DUH!

Take my advice and turn dash on always. Screw that arrow key x2 BS.
Another tip is to not worry about having enough Ravel ore. I never upgraded my equipment until the end because I was a Ravel hoarder. Only to find out near the end that enemies in the last dungeon drop Ravel so there's no need to hoard. Another great tip for boss battles is the healing cloak. While it will never restore HP by itself because you can't stand still long enough, it WILL restore HP when you boost after the curly bar totally fills up. I unfortunately didn't realize this until the last two bosses but it definitely came in handy for the tough final boss. My final tip is to check the castle entrance frequently as there's a missable escort event there.

You can press L to quickly switch to the cloak
The exploration gets easier as you unlock other abilities such as teleportation to save points and pretty much becomes a cakewalk when you get the healing cloak except for the bosses. Oh boy, the bosses. I played on Hard difficulty (cause hardcore gamer) and each boss battle was an exercise in trial and error by death. Nearly every boss battle was tense, frustrating, and while winning had that great feeling of satisfaction, it was mentally exhausting as well. Especially near the end, it seems like there's yet another boss around every corner.

I've been playing this game on and off for over a year now because I always felt a need for a break from yet another extremely tense boss battle. Since I'm hardcore but not masochist, I didn't play on Nightmare mode in the previous games and this game unlocks an even HARDER Inferno difficulty upon completion. You can get New Game+ bonuses but yeah... maybe next time.

Overall the boss battles are definitely the highlight making this game so fun but frustrating. That ice dragon thingy took at least 10 if not 20+ tries to beat. One personal highlight was Zirduros, The Clockwork Cannon. On about my fourth try, I've pretty much given up on winning after a dumb start and only one hit away from death. Then I got into some kind of crazy groove where I was able to dodge or ram through every one of his attacks with the yellow ring. HELL YEAH!!

The story was adequate to move the action along and voiced, which was nice. The music was, you know, the usual Ys stuff.

You're going to be hearing this a lot on Hard mode

Score: 3 oh you better believe some oaths will be said while you play and they will have nothing to do with Felghana out of 5 (19 hours on record to beat but probably more with resets)

I didn't enjoy this game quite as much as the first two. All that complicated jumping and swinging sword seemed to detract from the pure precision and skill required of the first two games (well except for that bullshit falling tile hope you're lucky final boss in the first game). However, while the exploration and grinding before boss battles were ho-hum, the boss battles were definitely sweaty hands good action, though a bit tiring.

Being a Ys game, it's localized in English and easily accessible on Steam (I played the #BAE PSP version of course). I don't know if the drama CD is localized however. It's pretty much a rehash of the same story anyways. Non-jhipsters aren't missing much. Those hoping for a hot spring scene with Elena will be sorely disappointed (um... not me!).


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