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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

DS Yukemuri Suspense Series: Free Writer Tachibana Maki - "Touyako, Nanatsu no Yu, Okuyu no Sato" Shuzai Techou(DS湯けむりサスペンスシリーズ フリーライター 橘 真希 「洞爺湖・七つの湯・奥湯の郷」取材手帳)

Unlike the crazy long title, this is one of those short games that I try to knock out every now and then in order to thin the herd so to speak. Clocking in at under 8 hours, this ADV game for the DS is about 3 girls traveling to hot spring locations for a travel magazine and getting caught up in various mysteries along the way. Be prepared to enjoy much naked deltoids as this game features live photos similar to Machi by Chunsoft. In fact, according to my expert research (Wikipedia), several people were involved in the making of both games.

In the Switch remake, the shoulders are covered by a tasteful cloak
There are 3 chapters in all and each chapter is from the viewpoint of one of the 3 girls. Personally, I thought Satomi was the cutest. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any other games or AV works featuring her. By AV, I mean Audiovisual works of course, you freaking perverts.

Honestly, I'd go out with all three but my standards are low #IncelGamer
The interesting aspect about this game is that it's by Zenrin, a map company that for some reason decided to branch out into video games very briefly. Each chapter features a map of the hot springs town and you have to navigate to the correct location based on clues and whatnot. Ahhh, brings me back to the good ol' days in Japan before smartphones. "So yeah, take the B-2 east exit, make sure to go up the stairs to your right NOT the escalator. Then turn left at the 7-11 and look for a large sign with a blue bird on it. Take a right and look for another 7-11 that doesn't sell oden. Go to the house next door, tap twice loudly, and follow the cat that comes out of the alleyway to the ABC-Mart. My house is just around the corner in the basement of a snack. EASY. Make sure to say hello to the Mama-san on the way in!"

The Zenrin marketing is just annoying enough to make me hate them
The dialogue was interesting enough to read as the girls banter with each other. The mysteries were nothing to write home about but the short length made it mostly tolerable. Interestingly, after you finish each chapter, you can look up more info on the hotels, attractions, and sights of each location. Who knows if any of this information is still accurate but it's interesting for a video game at least.

How the heck am I supposed to check-in from my DS?
Score: 2.5 cheers to much improved modern life thanks to $900 iPhones, $100/month data plans propped up by telecom monopolies, soaring healthcare costs, and... hmm... nm out of 5 (7.5 hours to beat)

Overall, the game was interesting enough, particularly with the tie in to real travel locations. It even came with a giant blue sticker to seal your user registration card for a chance to win a trip for two. Unfortunately, I was just a wee bit too late to apply and missed the deadline.

Proof that yes, I owned this game before dumping it at Gamestop
In the end, did I like this game enough to keep it around? Naw, I need to make some room in my closet for my complete Funko Pop Fortnite collection or whatever the kids are wasting their parent's money on nowadays. Ok, boomer.

I'm so cute! Global warming? Growing wage gap? #MeToo? Eh? ♥️ What's that?

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Ripple Island(リップルアイランド)

Continuing on my late "OMG, my phone can emulate old consoles!" discovery thread, I also recently finished Ripple Island. This is a perfect contrast to Hoshi wo Sagashite... because it was released in the same year but on the Famicom. Unlike the doable game by Sega, this is yet another FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE to beat ADV game from SunSoft just like Dead Zone.

FamiCan, like NintenDon't for positive Jhipsters
There's no way I was going to spend hours getting stuck trying to beat this without the help of a guide. Let's all just agree that I don't have enough time in my life to waste and no I'm not talking about having trouble finding time between life's responsibilities any more. I'm literally talking about how much longer I have to live now that I'm old.

Thanks Jacob for putting it all into perspective. Time to play some 30+ year old games!

Ripple Island, in my opinion, is virtually impossible to beat without a guide though maybe slightly less impossible than Dead Zone thanks to the removal of those really specific menu options like "place", "open", "pull", and "pour self some whiskey and cry about squandered youth". The game is split into 5 areas and the first area is super doable. You just gotta walk around, talk to a few folks in the town, pick up your girl, and drug what looks like a gopher. (Whew, good thing PETA didn't have Jhipsters back then!)

Fuck you stout, weasel, whatever you are
As soon as you get past the gopher asshole blocking your way, the King tells you about some lost treasures blah blah defeat evil emperor etc., etc. Then onto Area 2 where the shit hits the fan. To start, you have to knock on one certain tree to get some acorns even though it looks identical to every other tree. You know, there's an unwritten rule in ADV games that necessary items should be distinguishable even if it's just a few pixels. But nope, no respect for the genre here. Hey, why don't you try just knocking on this random tree, identical to every other tree in the fucking FOREST. What, you didn't try every possible action on every possible background item?

Welp, you're fucked. Hope you got a password handy!

Once you know what to do, the game is pretty short so I guess that means it's ok to get completely stuck? There are several points where if you screw up, there is no way to progress, for example, trying to hit on the female fox (you sicko). Another example is not dyeing that fucking white flower red, which by the way is completely hidden in some random bush. I loved (sarcasm) how they bait you with the red flower you can never reach on the cliff. Can you imagine, buying this game at full price on release, and getting forever stuck in Area 2, after playing for like a couple hours? Well, I guess if you were rich enough to be buying Famicon ADV games on release, you could probably afford the strategy guide.

Score: 2 Where is the "fuck" option? What, this isn't a PC88 hentai game? out of 5

Excuse me?? What about my panties?
Anyway, with the help of a guide, it's a cute game with nice visuals and several endings (thank god for save states). The story is simplistic but that applies to every console ADV game I played so far on this generation (PC88 Master Race for the win!). You travel with a cute girl, talk to animals, and ride a giant flying squirrel. What more could you want?

Not even deserving of a squirrel seat? See, this is why we have Incels today.

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, January 21, 2020

Hoshi wo Sagashite...(星をさがして・・・)

Hoshi wo Sagashite... is one of the few ADV games on the Sega Mark III and of course since I wasn't born a Japanese kid with money (curse you, non-Japanese parents!), I had no idea about this game growing up. Hopefully, none of you took my weeb joke seriously because knowing what it's like to live as a Japanese salaryman, let me just say being Japanese isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Sure, you're having fun now, but wait till you're working 8-9 (no, not 1 hour)
This is one of the few early ADV games that I think is totally beatable without a guide. In fact, I finished it in a few hours with virtually no cheating. I only looked up the minor ending differences. Sure, I putzed around a bit trying to figure out how to order a drink at the bar but mostly if you go around talking to people and banging on stuff, you'll get through it. The menu items are a bit weird like that such as the option to "eat" even though you don't eat a single thing the entire game. You do have to drink in one part but I guess it would be too obvious if the menu was just "drink".

Yum, fresh meat!
So my screenshots are a little weirdly proportioned because I don't know why I didn't think of this before but the phone is like the perfect platform to knock out these early console ADV games. The shitty touch controls aren't an issue for navigating a menu and it's so handy to just try random shit when you're out doing random shit in real life. Nothing like trying to eat a cat creature with wings that can talk while you're in the checkout line at the grocery store!

Shopping for your GF while shopping for your pretend GF IRL #Gamers
So yeah, this is a pretty cute and simple story about buying an egg for your girlfriend Laila that hatches into the creature you see in the cover. There's really not much to say about the story except I guess maybe environmentalists will get a kick out of it. Mio, the species of that little creature is I guess kinda cute? But let's face it, it's not going to be a grumpy cat or baby Yoda on the social medias any time soon.

Did not sell merchandise or generate even one meme - 0 out of 5 review
Score: 2.5 Yes! This game is not fucking impossible! out of 5

Overall, definitely a neat little title that is probably the best looking ADV game on the system. You'll know what I mean if you look at that Sherlock Holmes game. (My eyes!) Best of all, I loved that it's actually beatable without having to similarly beat your head on a hard surface. Definitely not a bad one to check out on your phone while you're out, presumably doing important stuff in real life (ya right).

And unlike in real bars, she'll actually talk to you!

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, January 11, 2020

Otogiriso Soseihen(弟切草 蘇生篇)

A sound novel is a term trademarked by Chunsoft and is really just a fancy word for what some would call visual novels ironically with no voice acting. The sound here is referring to SFX and a novel doesn't really talk to you at least back before Audible became a big thing for busy Millennials. Anyhoo, I figured it was my Jhipster duty to check out Chunsoft's sound novel series starting with Otogirisou. I played the PS1 remake and the intro gives off a really good vibe.

Oh boy, this looks scary!
Unfortunately, the writing doesn't quite live up to the enhanced graphics. You can finish this game in a few hours and is designed to be replayed many times. According to the manual, you should replay at least 10 times to get to the "truly interesting" parts.

Oh man, this DOES look scary!
I thought the idea behind the game was certainly interesting. There are tons of dialogue options (supposedly over 1,000) and while the basic premise of the events are the same, it's slightly different and feels fresh every time. For example, the first playthrough shows a photo of the inside of your car while the next playthrough might have a little animation with trees whizzing by.

I'm a sucker for these old school photos
Unfortunately, the freshness lasts maybe about 4 or 5 playthroughs and you quickly realize it's the same basic scenarios. You're driving in the car with your girlfriend Nami, some accident happens, you happen upon a mansion in the woods, etc. etc. The dialogue options get sillier and sillier as well with tons of cheesy puns and it's clear they don't really reflect on the following dialogue.

Ketchup on your salad eh?
Since these scenes are designed to be stitched together in semi-random order, after the first few playthrough, it was mostly a tedious exercise of holding down circle. No skip option is just such a time sink. One might say it's amazing that the story still holds up together even when it shifts and changes but to me, it just means that the story is not that involved.

The rain moves in the background. It's like a novel but EVOLVED!!

Score: 2 desperately trying to get with your gf no matter how fucked up things get out of 5 (15 playthroughs)

Some of the endings were good and it was interesting somewhat but overall I was underwhelmed. Sometimes it got a bit too silly for me and I just couldn't tell if the game was trying to be scary or funny. It wasn't particularly good at being either.

Unfortunately, the story is just not as scary as this picture suggests
However, being the obsessive compulsive that I am, I couldn't help but find all 10 endings to get the pink bookmark. Due to how the story changes up, there wasn't a clear guide and it wasn't that easy but I soldiered through it. The manual suggests some ecchi fanservice with the pink bookmark but I mean, don't get your hopes up. You're not going to be seeing Corpse Party style low angle shots of a girl hanging in a toilet stall. (You sicko.)

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Persona 3 FES (ペルソナ3 フェス)

Persona 3 is my personal record for the game that took me the longest to beat of all time. As I mentioned in my Persona 4 post, I started this game around 2007 before FES even came out and I finally, finally beat the game in 2020. A lot has happened in the 13 years or so since I started this game so holy fuck, it's like I'm closing a chapter of my life, namely, the good one when I was young and dapper. Now onto my next shitty chapter of middle age crisis, bemoaning the good ol' days and being afraid of the social media lashing if I state my opinion on all those pronouns on Twitter. So I guess it's business as usual, same shit as last year.

Back when you could tell the gender of the right side at least

I have kind of a semi-excuse for why the fuck it took me so long. I first played like 40 some hours of Persona 3 and then FES came out so I started over. At least I was able to import my academics, courage, and charm. Of course, since FES added hard mode, I just had to be stupid and play on hard to be "hardcore". Hard mode is no fucking joke so I got stuck a bunch of times because of the grind and plus I rarely have free time to play on a console, anyways, here we are, Happy New Year, it's FUCKING 2020!!!

Went to Hatsumode last week and not a single hottie in furisode just some middle-aged obasans in down jackets... IRL sucks!

Of course, I probably would have finished this game a lot sooner if I opted to play the PSP version. Unfortunately, being on the PSP, there were some significant compromises such as the removal of cut-scenes for a more visual novel type of presentation. Because the Vita didn't exist (RIP), there is no definitive version like Persona 4 Golden. I do intend on replaying the game (again!) at some point much, much later for the portable female MC route. I just have to see if I can steal Junpei from Chidori and promptly throw him away as he's not my type. That's what I would do as a hot anime chick, at least. I thought adding a female MC was a really neat idea and something all games MUST HAVE, YOU SEXIST GAMERS!! SHAME ON YOU!!! or something to that effect.

I mean seriously, it's so EASY! Hex has done it so many times I'm sure!
So yeah, in a nutshell, Persona 3 is a great game. Personally, I liked Persona 4 way more because of DEM FEELS but Persona 4 wouldn't exist without all the mechanics and things inherited from Persona 3. The central theme and concept behind this game is to reflect on our finite lives and the suggestion that maybe you might want to spend your limited time on this mortal coil wisely. You have to juggle your school schedule, social activities, and you get tired in dungeons.

This real life idea permeates throughout the entire game, often to the detriment of the gameplay itself. For example, in real life, you can't just open a menu and make somebody else equip some new items. No, you have to actually go up to your party member and talk to them to change their equipment. Also, in real life, you can't control other people like umm... game characters. No, you have to make suggestions via strategies and they'll decide exactly what they want to do LIKE NOT FUCKING HEALING YOU AND RESULTING IN A SENSELESS GAME OVER!!! And that's the other thing. As soon as you die, it's game over even if someone in your party has the fucking ability to revive you. Of course, P3 Portable "fixed" all these gameplay issues and is more like Persona 4.

The "Control you like the fucking game character you are" Strategy
Personally, I liked the original version better as it reflects a central theme that drives the game as an entire whole package. FES even fixed up some time "loop holes", for example, praying at the Jinja takes up time instead of being a freebie stat increase. I hated having to go to the shrine to pray every day anyway. The only part that is less realistic is that you can go out with like 5 girls and never have to choose one like in Persona 4 (boo). Personally, Mitsurugi is best waifu and we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas together. #CreepyGamer #Weeb

#1 Waifu, no question

Overall, after finishing the game, I had to sit back and reflect on how I spend my precious days as I age past middle age and set one foot in the grave. Then I realized I spent 115 hours of my so called "precious" life PLAYING THIS FUCKING GAME ON HARD! Thanks Atlus for making me feel guilty and ashamed.

Kamiki especially makes you think... about maybe not wasting your life playing Persona 3

Especially at the end, oh my god, the final boss is a fucking nightmare, let me tell you. It's not that it's super hard after I grinded to about level 85, it's just fucking LONG but that's not even the worst of it. Just before he dies, he pulls a cheap move of random status ailments and WITHOUT FAIL somebody gets charmed and heals the fucker to full health. Several hours of whittling away at his HP WASTED. It's like the ultimate slap in the face. On my 5th try, I finally beat the fucker by changing everybody's strategy to attack and using precious Somas I had hoarded like they were candy. It was probably one of the most frustrating final boss battles I've ever played but oh the rush when I finally put that fucker down.

I also really liked that you can go talk to your maxed out Commus to get the final conclusion of each mini story. But it was like 3 am in the fucking morning when I finally beat the game so I wished I could save before all that shit. You can go to the dorm to save for one more day before your Senpais' graduation but I was afraid I would miss something.

Overall, while I think Persona 4 is the better game, I finally "get" the reason for all the mechanics that we are now familiar with. I think it's safe to say that this is the game that really made the Persona franchise what it is today. While yes, there was some incredibly frustrating moments, I really enjoyed my 13 years of mostly not playing this game.

Hook that Shoji Meguro goodness right into my veins ANY time

As for the music, I loved it even though I wasn't a fan of the rapping (especially in the dorm at night, huh?). I much prefer the more somber music it switches to in January. And sure, there could have been more variety in the tracks for all couple HUNDRED floors of Tartarus stair climbing but I still loved the music overall. (Yes, you can ask Fuka to change up the music in FES but that's still like 5 tracks.)

Too many stairs, time not respected. Score: 0 out of 5 - Shitaku

Score: 4 "You didn't cheat but you still didn't grow. You didn't improve anything of real value. You experience a hollow victory and nothing was gained. Stop playing games and get a fucking life" out of 5 (115 hours to beat)

Even after all this non-time respecting BS, I'm now like 5 hours in Episode Aegis so who knows how long that will take to beat. Also, once again, those silly localizers are up to their usual shenanigan by changing Aegis' name to "Aigis". Why?? I have to say, I briefly watched the English dub and it was so cringe. I have no idea how non-Jhipsters can bear it. "Oh no, You-car-ree chan is hurt!" Oh my fucking god, how the fuck can you guys stand it??

No Japanese weeb VA option is like 0.2 bonus smug points for needing to resort to emulation for the undub. "The Journey"? Pfft, just Episode Yourself localizers (psst, I'm saying "fuck you").

Hey, why don't you do both of us a favor and just Episode Yourself ok??

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