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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible(女神転生外伝 ラストバイブル)

So given that I'm finally starting to make progress in the Megaten series by beating the first 3 games, I figured I should mix it up by playing something more modern like Devil Survivor Overclocked. Naw, who am I kidding, time to play Last Bible!

So who REPROGRAMED GAME? I can't tell.
I checked out both the Game Boy Color and Game Gear versions of this game and not shockingly, the Game Gear version looked far better in every category including graphics, monster design, sound, and even the ending which I'll get into very vaguely later (no spoilers).

I'm going to be perfectly honest here and admit that I don't own a Game Gear nor would I want to destroy my eyes with those amazing color graphics on actual hardware. Did I ever mention that the PSP is the greatest system ever made? Just saying...

No pesky Nintendy censors here!
The game starts with you, chosen along with 2 others to become a Gaia Master. You kids part ways and you grow up to 15 or whatever the standard ridiculously young age for JRPG adventuring is (insert obligatory reddit/resetera thread complaining that no JRPGs have mature protagonist here). Of course, the first thing that happens is monsters appear out of nowhere and attacks the town. Pretty standard stuff.

Oh sheeit, that kancho laced with Gaia is gonna hurt REAL bad.
To be honest, I really didn't get the story maybe because this is a pretty short and minimal game without too much dialogue. It was also confusing how your master's name is Zodia and there's some other guy called Zodo. At one point, Zodia suddenly brings out another student from nowhere called Morgan and you kill him immediately for some reason... yeah, I dunno.

Thank god I'm used to Kana from PC88 games!
Anyway, I didn't expect too much from an RPG originally released for the Game Boy. The game play isn't really anything to write home about. You can save anywhere and you merely lose some money if you die. The demon recruitment is a huge pain in the ass as they ask so many damn questions. Fortunately, you can pick up some bones and resurrect some real good zombies. Just like all the previous games in the series so far, I mostly used Auto battle.

There's better designs than this man boob Medusa
Speaking of the battle system, unlike the Nintendo version, the monster designs are probably not what I would call um... Cero A. While the Game Boy version is all cutesy and fun times for kids, some of the monsters in the Game Gear version were like dayum, better make sure no kids are around.

Awww, look at that pretty flower!
Overall, I feel like the Game Gear version is the true game that Atlus really wanted to make. While the original game has a Gaia (Chaos) vs Force (Neutral) type of ending, things don't end in quite the same way in the remake. There's a whole extra dungeon at the end that you reach after 3 blue stones turn red and umm... well let's just say those 3 blue stones were REALLY important.

This is not Kansas I'm pretty sure.
Score: 2 my schwartz is bigger than your gaia out of 5

Overall, I kind of enjoy these simple, early portable RPGs to kill some time. There's not too much to think about, they're pretty short, and the dungeons in this one were super tiny. Yeah, maybe there's a ton of better games I could play. You're totally right. I probably should be making better use of my time... Ah fuck it, time to play Last Bible 2! Too bad there's no GG remake of the sequel.

Eh, I guess this game was aight

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, 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 the similar SFC graphics
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...

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