I'm a guy who likes to write about videogames. Sometimes in funny ways and sometimes in artsy ways. You'll just have to read my blogs to find out the difference between the two!
I'm in my mid 20s, I'm from the United States, and this is currently the most productive thing I'm doing with my B.A. in English. I also tend to write really long comments in response to people that start to read like mini-blogs. I apologize in advance for the walls of text.
Also, I like to have fun. I write about controversies sometimes because I get compelled, but I much prefer using caps lock to convey my love for quality RPGs.
I'm currently playing the following:
Borderlands 2 Ys: Memories of Celceta Ys Origin
I've been featured on the front page! Check it out!
Ever since I started blogging here around the beginning of the year, I've been thinking I should keep away from talking about personal drama or struggles for the sake of my own (joyful)sanity. For this month, I think it's for the best that should change.
Keep in mind that this blog is not actually where I'll go into detail. I just wanted to give a casual "catching up with JoyfulSanity" since I frankly burnt myself out with my Ys Buyer's Guide last week. I mean, I'm happy I've written it to refer to when I don't feel like repeating myself when people ask about the series, but that damn thing wound up being over 3,500 words, man. That's more words than four Top Ten Sexiest Dtoiders right there. So yeah, I wanted to do something a little more low-key just so no one will think I've fallen off the earth.
Anyway, last December, a lot of small things happened to be me that, individually, would have been bearable, but all together they broke me and my usually cheerful demeanor like you wouldn't believe. As much as I hate to admit it, these things still affect me a full year later, so I guess what I thought were flesh wounds have turned into full blown scars. I don't want to build this up as a tale of unprecedented misfortune, because in the grand scheme of things, what I've gone through is relatively trivial and perhaps even common. Yet with the anniversary of all this personal baggage looming closer, it has been all I've thought about.
I've actually become so caught up in my angst that I've been having trouble keeping my wit sharp enough to post comments on blogs and news stories around here. I don't know if that sounds conceited, but I actually can't bring myself to post something if I feel a mental fog is keeping my words from being as funny or informative as they should be. I guess there are benefits to having a perfectionist approach to even little things like internet comments and blog posts, but it is kind of crummy from the perspective of being an active member of a community. I apologize to any peeps who have written stellar blogs that should have gotten a fap and a comment from me, and I hope to make up for the lack of ego stroking at some point in the future.
So basically, I figured that, instead of falling off Dtoid until my funk passes, I should instead at least attempt to do something about it just to see where it takes me. To be more specific, I hope to deviate from my regularly scheduled programming and write two or three blogs about stuff that's been happening in my life and how videogames and even Destructoid have kept me from descending too far into madness. I want to clarify that I'm not in trouble or anything, as there are plenty of others on this site that are in much more need of prayers and support than I am. But at best, I do hope to at least clear my head and ideally give a forum for some people who might be having a hard time with these trivial-except-secretly-not things that I've been dealing with. I know that feelings of isolation and solitude have been the biggest culprits of what has gotten me down all this time, so seeing even a random stranger go "hey, me too!" can be strangely comforting. Hell, even reading this Onion article made me feel better about a lot of things.
Of course, on top of all of this is the Christmas season, which really has no right to be as stressful as it is. I mean, it's easy to do holiday shopping for friends and family who are gamers, since I basically live and breathe game sale prices on the daily. But otherwise, figuring out what's useful and in a budget to give someone can occasionally be like finding a needle in a haystack that's also on top of an erupting volcano. This also is probably another symptom of me putting way too much thought into little things, so I should get that checked out or something.
While I'm writing about miscellaneous things, I'd like to give a heartfelt, long overdue thanks to all you guys who have been reading the things I write and leaving nice, intelligent comments. I still feel like a newbie around here just because of my relative time being active, but at the same time I've always felt part of the proverbial family and I'll eventually go into detail about how amazing that's been for me. I'd also like to give a shout to 4th sexiest Dtoider Mr. Andy Dixon for putting my glitches blog on the front page. Seeing my words all dolled up and edited under the Destructoid banner was incredible, and knowing that my silly thoughts might have brought some form of joy to a wide audience was just incredible. Really, I've been in and out of many communities in my time, and while there are always some guys who make me shake my head, most of y'all are the nicest people I've ever talked to.
That's it from me. If you've been following my work, I hope my change in tone won't be too alarming or anything, and I promise that I'm okay and probably much better off than I might have sounded. If you haven't been following my work, well... like, comment, and subscribe? Or don't. That's like, your opinion man.
Until next time,
Joyful "My momma called me Joyful and married into an excellent last name" Sanity
It has finally happened. A new Ys game has arrived, and every recent Ys release is now at least 50% off on Steam and the Playstation Network. There has never been a better time to try this fantastic series.
I know I objectively reviewed the entire series, but to be serious for once, I've been seeing a lot of people ask "what the heck is Ys" in the past few days. As an avid fan who can hopefully take a step back and look at these games from a newcomer's perspective, I hope to answer the most common questions while offering my insight into what these games are like and whether they'll be a good match for you. I've also included Metacritic links so you can check out what other critics are saying about these games, but as usual with Metacritic, I'd recommend taking the scores with a grain of salt and looking at the actual words in the reviews.
Having said that, if you're lazy and/or don't feel like reading my in depth analysis, then here's my td;dr: buy them all, except maybe Chronicles.
So what the heck is Ys?
Ys (pronounced like "ease") is a constantly evolving series of action RPGs starring a red haired warrior named Adol Christin (this only varies in Origin). Although there can be drastic differences between titles, common elements of each game in the series includes the following:
1: Lightning fast combat.
2: Awesome hair metal music with ORCHESTRATION 3: Grandiose boss battles
4: Simple, episodic plots with reoccurring characters.
5: Musicmusicmusicmusic 6: Oldschool challenge that can be brutal but not usually Nintendo Hard (Dark Souls fans should be pleased)
7: Many difficulty levels that can either subdue that oldschool challenge or crank the insanity to 11.
And did I mention the music? Seriously, a lot of people legitimately get into Ys because of the music. It's a huge part of Ys' appeal.
Some people call Ys "The Legend of Zelda on crack," but that's not quite a fair comparison. Add in leveling up, sitck in finding new and stronger equipment, and replace the puzzles with hoards of monsters and kick the tempo up 100%, then that comparison starts to be more accurate. What's more, I'd call Ys Seven and Memories of Celceta "Kingdom Hearts on crack." I can't stress enough that each game is such a different experience, but these simple fundamentals are what keep us Ys fans coming back for more.
I've listed the following games in my recommended playing order, but really, all the following games except Chronicles are good starting points.
Ys: Oath In Felghana Platforms: PSP and PC
Metacritic: 80 Price: $14.99, on sale for $7.49
Summary:Oath In Felghana is a remake of Ys III: Wanderers from Ys in the same way that Mad World by Gary Jules is a remake of a 1980s pop song. With a playtime that clocks under 10 hours for a first playthrough, you get a thoroughly polished adventure that's extremely light on filler. Oath's brevity and polish is why I believe it to be the best starting point for the series.
What it's like: Action-RPG with a lot of platforming elements. Adol Christin is a one man army against hoards of enemies, and the game rewards slashing through them quickly. For example, each time you attack an enemy, you start to accrue a combo, and a higher combo multiplier means more bonus EXP. Therefore, you'll want to keep dashing to each enemy to keep that combo alive, and enemies will drop stat buffs and HP recovery pick-ups to keep you going. This creates a tricky risk/reward system that prevents the combat from being a mindless hack-and-slash, as getting too careless will definitely get you killed.
While there is a central town where you'll get to know a friendly cast of characters, you'll be spending most of your time in the game's dungeons. To break it up, there are occasional sidequests you can take from the commoners in the town, and you can upgrade your weapons and armor to help get by areas that are giving you trouble. What's more, there are occasional secret scenes and items you can find by exploring the world between dungeons, so there's decent variety throughout the journey too.
Metroidvania fans will enjoy the progression of obtaining new powers: you'll want to revisit a fair amount of old areas with new items and abilities to unlock additional areas and secrets. Also, this game is tough, even on Normal mode. While I wouldn't say seasoned gamers will rage quit on Normal, you might be surprised how difficult certain sections are during your first run through. Of course, you could level grind to solve all your issues, but mastering your moveset is key to victory.
PC or PSP?:Oath in Felghana is currently available for the same price on both platforms, and each is very good in its own right. It's just a matter of choosing which one is right for you.
The PC version of Oath in Felghana is the original. For its release on Steam, Xseed added achievements, leaderboards, and a 1920 X 1080 resolution. Needless to say, at a steady 60 FPS on even a midrange computer, this is definitely the prettier version of the game. It still looks great despite originally being released in 2005. Be warned that, at the highest resolution, you will see some funky looking graphics around the edges of the maps, since the game wasn't originally designed for that resolution. But, for the most part, the resolution improvement works like a charm.
The PSP version still looks and plays great despite being on a handheld. This game also adds full voice acting, a New Game Plus system, and a few other aesthetic differences. The PSP version is also a fair bit easier due to an extension of the game's boost system, which gives Adol a way to regenerate HP on a cooldown. This is a massive boon due to a lack of healing items during boss battles, so it's possible to make up for mistakes during especially tough encounters. Also, if you lose to a boss enough times, the game will provide the option of attempting the boss at a lower difficulty level, which is then reset upon victory. Add this to many bosses now announcing their attacks with audio cues, and the PSP version definitely becomes more accessible.
Keep in mind, however, that Oath in Felghana has six difficulty levels, and the New Game + system is flexible with what exactly is carried over to a new playthrough. So, really, it's easy to make the game as difficult as you want it. That said, if you want the ultimate challenge and/or you like achievements, stick with the PC version.
Ys Seven Platform: PSP
Metacritic: 79 Price: $14.99, on sale for $7.49
Summary: As I've alluded to before, take Kingdom Hearts, Secret of Mana, and add some crack cocaine and Ys fundamentals, then throw it all in a blender. That's what Ys Seven is like. This game modernized the Ys formula, so fans of other contemporary hack-and-slash style RPGs should be pleased with this ~30 hour long quest. If you're determined to only get one Ys game and never try the other ones, I'd recommend this one.
What it's like: This game follows your standard RPG progression. You go on a quest, meet locals and new party members, explore dungeons, fight big boss battles, upgrade your weapons and armor, etc. There's also a very simple crafting system that lets you make new weapons and armor out of items that are dropped by enemies or mined from various stockpiles you'll find as you travel from place to place. Oh, and there are sidequests galore.
While Oath in Felghana had platforming elements, Ys Seven replaces the jump button with a dodge roll. In other words, while you'll no longer deal with jumping to take down airborne foes, you will spend quite a bit of time rushing in to slash at enemies before you quickly dash away to avoid their retaliations. Also, Ys Seven is the first Ys game to feature multiple playable heroes at once, which heavily influences in how you'll play the game. Not only does each character perform best at different ranges and different speeds, certain weapons fare better against different types of creatures; fleshy enemies are weak to swords, rock-looking enemies are weak to blunt damage, etc. Characters are switched on the fly in combat, with the AI controlling the other characters in the process (which, by the way, the AI does a remarkably good job at, surprisingly enough).
Not only did Ys Seven have the most robust assortment of weapons and armor in the series when it came out, but it also introduced an addictive skill system that constantly changes up the combat. Party members are able to learn new skills off of pieces of equipment that they can proceed to level up and evolve by repeatedly using the skill in combat. Because the "magic" meter in the game refills by using normal attacks on monsters, leveling skills comes natural with regular play and provides incentive to run around and beat up bad guys just for fun. In other words, if you're the type of person who enjoys compulsively leveling things up, Ys Seven has got you covered hardcore. Fortunately, I never found it particularly necessary to level up specific skills to beat bosses, so you won't get stuck by a grind wall.
Speaking of grind, while Ys Seven isn't exactly an easy game, it's definitely the easiest entry in the series yet. The Normal mode for this game is much more casual, so for anyone who is coming into Ys Seven off of, say, Oath in Felghana, I'd recommend starting on Hard mode, or perhaps even Nightmare mode if you either compulsively grind or have enjoyed the other games on higher difficulties.
Likelihood of a PC port: 2%. Seriously, this question comes up a lot due to the recent Steam releases of past Ys games, but keep in mind that those games are actually years old titles that are just now hitting our shores. Falcom hasn't released a game on PC since 2009, so it looks like they're shifting their attention to consoles these days. While it may be possible that Falcom might go back to PC given the success of the Ys titles on Steam, I strongly suggest not holding your breath for it.
There is a Chinese PC port of Ys Seven, but its stability appears to be in question and the odds of that being localized are pretty small. So yes, if you want this game, get it on your PSP or Vita.
Ys Origin Platform: PC
Metacritic: 76 Price: $19.99, on sale for $9.99
Summary:Ys Origin is a prequel to the series that uses the combat system of Oath in Felghana and puts it in a dungeon-hack style game. Although it's a couple hours shorter than the already short Oath, Origin lets you play through the game with three different characters, each with their own playstyles and storylines. In other words, if finishing Oath left you wanting more, then Origin will definitely provide.
What it's like: As a prequel to the series, the plot has quite a few allusions to the events of Ys I and Ys II. However, you don't need to play either of those games to enjoy the plot of Origin, and it might actually benefit to be unfamiliar for some of the more dramatic moments in the story. This is good, because I'd argue that Origin has the strongest story of any Ys game released yet. While the plot itself is nothing fabulous, the characters and their struggles definitely grow on you.
Structurally, Origin is much more straightforward than other Ys games. The entire game takes place inside Darm Tower (a notable location in the series), so there's no towns or open fields to speak of. Instead or purchasing weapons and items from shops, you spend your currency at save points to buy "blessings" that can buff your characters in a variety of ways. There are a couple hidden chests as you climb, but for the most part, there's no reason to revisit an area once you complete it. This gives the game an almost arcadey feel with all the trademark RPG elements intact.
Origin is designed to be replayed again and again, presumably to have kept people busy while Falcom worked on Ys Seven. That said, you'll still get quite a bit of fun out of the game even if you just finish the main story with each character once. It's worth noting that, when comparing their respective Normal modes, Origin seems to be a little easier than Felghana. However - and I can't stress this enough - Origin's Nightmare mode is in the running for the most brutal challenge in the series due to some serious crippling of your character and insane buffs to the bosses. It's definitely beatable, but be warned. And keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who finished the NES Ninja Gaiden without using continues.
As a bonus, Origin features an Arena mode that pits the player against a number of different boards that are littered with enemies from the various areas in the game. While it's nothing too special at first glance, it features its own set of unlockables and is great for pick-up-and-play action. In other words, think the Mercenaries mode in Resident Evil and you'll have a good idea of what the Arena is like. Origin is a game that'll definitely keep you busy if you're in for some good old Ys hack and slash action.
Ys I & II Chronicles Platforms: PSP and PC
Metacritic: 63 Price: $14.99, on sale for $7.49
Summary:Chronicles is a remake package of the first two Ys games. Although these games have pleasant 2D sprite graphics and some fantastic updated music, Ys I and Ys II are undeniably old school action RPGs. The "bump" combat system could be playable with an Atari joystick, and the progression of the game remains mostly unchanged from their original releases back in the 1980s. If you're down for some fast paced retro action, then Ys Chronicles has charm to spare. If retro gameplay turns you off, or you're otherwise looking for even a vaguely complex battle system, it might be worth passing on this one.
What it's like: First of all, while this technically is a two-games-in-one package, there's a reason why these games are usually sold together. Ys II is a direct continuation to Ys I, or actually, it might be more appropriate to say that Ys I is an elaborate intro for Ys II. Although Ys II is far and away the superior of the two games, you'll want to play Ys I first.
As mentioned above, the bump combat will entirely decide whether you enjoy these games or not. For those who don't know what "bump combat" is, basically you fight enemies by running into them. That's it. The main strategy is that Adol will take damage if he attacks enemies directly, but if he strikes them from the side or off center then he won't take damage. On one hand, this barely even qualifies the game as being an "action" RPG, but on the otherhand, this makes combat lightning fast. Enemies will go down in mere seconds, keeping the game moving at a steady clip. Falcom designers have equated the combat to popping bubble wrap, and I really can't think of a more appropriate analogy.
That said, Ys Chronicles throws quite a few curveballs into the mix. Boss battles usually mix up the formula and can be genuinely intense experiences. Furthermore, Ys II gives Adol access to spells, including a fireball spell that allows Adol to strike enemies from a distance. In addition to magic, Ys II adds a bit of sidequesting by allowing Adol to give gifts to common townsfolk for either helpful information or sometimes handy items. Conversely, Adol can set townsfolk on fire just to see what funny things they might say. I'm not sure if that's exactly a selling point, but you have no idea how many hours I've spent on this game just to see all the crazy lines of dialogue that are hidden.
Pictured: PC (At max resolution)
PC or PSP?: Honestly, both versions are remarkably similar, despite the Steam version having a "+" in its name. The Steam version runs a bit smoother, has achievements, and gives the option to play the game in a classic windowed mode. The PSP version has some unlockable aesthetic keychain decoration things that you can hang on the screen if you so please, but otherwise its main advantage is being portable. Basically, decide whether you like achievements or portability. If neither is an issue, flip a coin.
Wow, look at that big wall of text, huh? That covers all the current Ys games currently on sale, but this list wouldn't feel quite complete if I didn't throw my opinion down on the most recent Ys game that has been released.
That's right, BONUS SECTION!
Ys: Memories of Celceta Platform: PSVita
Price: $39.99, or $59.99 for the Limited Edition
Summary: A refinement of Ys Seven's combat system; while this game retains the fast pace of Ys Seven, there's actually enough changes that made me run around and fight random baddies at the beginning just to get a feel for the nuances. I'm still early in, but my first impression is that this is definitely a good Ys game, and the Vita has been in dire need of a quality exclusive such as this.
Is this a good game to start with?: Because I'm still early in the game and reviews should be flooding in shortly, I won't do a "what it's like" just yet. Instead, I'll just offer my personal opinion for people who are considering this to be their first Ys game.
In short, yes, this is a good Ys game to start with. But as you may have noticed on this list, most recent Ys games happen to be good to start with. The plot of Memories of Celceta centers around Adol losing his memory, and the cast of supporting characters are all new for anyone who has only played the official localizations of past Ys games. In other words, a new player will be on mostly the same page as a series vet. That said, there are still a few references to other locations and events that Ys fans will get, although they're definitely not integral to understanding the plot.
If we were to take issues of price out of the equation, I'd place Memories of Celceta between Ys Seven and Ys Origin in terms of ordering which games are best to start with. At the very least, I'd recommend playing Ys Seven before Memories of Celceta for a few reasons. First of all, Ys Seven's combat seems a little simpler to me, so going from Memories of Celceta to Ys Seven may feel a little backwards for that reason. Not to mention that Memories of Celceta definitely seems a bit more difficult, so warming up with Ys Seven would make for a natural progression. Second, Ys Seven gives a much better first impression of the series' characteristically amazing music. To be blunt, at least starting out, Memories of Celceta has one of the weaker soundtracks in the series. Trust me, that's not saying it's bad (I know there are a lot of excellent tracks that I haven't gotten to yet), but Ys Seven conversely has some of the best music in the series. Seriously, compare the majesty of the first boss theme you hear in Ys Seven and compare it to its respective theme in Memories of Celceta.
If we do put price into the equation, you can pick up every other Ys game at their sale prices for less than the amount that Memories of Celceta costs right now. And even without a sale, Ys Seven is less than half the price that Memories of Celceta is going for (which is to be expected). So unless you specifically want a game for the Vita (despite the other PSP Ys games being playable on the Vita), I'd recommend at least Oath in Felghana and/or Ys Seven to try out the series. Definitely get to Memories of Celceta at some point, but you just can't beat the value being offered for the previous entries.
However, I definitely would recommend picking up Memories of Celceta right away if you are interested in the limited edition. No, seriously, I can't stress how freaking beautiful this thing is. Rarely do I ever get games new, let alone limited editions, but this is on par with how Working Designs used to package their games. The 100+ page artbook manages to also be an instruction manual, strategy guide, and short story at the same time. It's like how you used to remember instruction books being, except even more majestic than you remember. And that's to say nothing of the CD set! I know I'm a huge Ys fan, but I was geeking the hell out when I opened the box. I mean, seriously, the box is nearly as big as the box my Vita came in!
Chances are, the limited edition appeals most to Ys fans who probably don't need this guide to begin with, but if you're curious about this beast and fancy yourself a collector, it's worth the $59.99.
And that concludes the Ys buyers guide. I hope this giant essay will prove helpful to anyone interested in this series, and if there manages to be a demand for it, I'd be happy to cover some of the other games in the series that are either more obscure and/or require fan translations to play. Do note, however, that all the games described above are definitely the most accessible, so with any other Ys game you're stepping into fan territory.
Which is what I have sought to make you do all this time. Which will mean my work is complete. Bwhahaha!
Have any other questions about the series? Leave a comment below!
If you asked me to fill out a list of ten reasons why I come to Destructoid, numbers one through nine would probably be a picture of Marlon Brando riding a polar bear which is wearing a jetpack made of shotguns. But at number ten, I'd probably write "mad sex appeal yo" in very tiny letters.
Destructoid may like to keep Quiet about the sheer attractiveness of its staff and regulars, but I'm here to balance the scale by showcasing some of the community's finest eye candy. Since I'm a 100% objective journalist, you can rest easy knowing that the following opinions stick strictly to the facts. Break out the smooth jams and get ready to be seduced.
10: Jonathan Holmes
Jonathan Holmes made videogame history with his breakout appearance in Wario Ware Dance Dance Man (see above) by showing that men in gaming can be sexy without being sexualized. Although his videogame appearances since then have been mild, he more than makes up for it by occasionally stripping inside peoples' mouths. It is said that women can't resist talking to him about videogames.
9: Benny Disco
Benny Disco is a frog. In fact, some might go as far as to say that he's an amazing frog. And as you may know, frogs turn into handsome princes after being kissed by princesses. In other words, if you even try to argue that Benny Disco isn't sexy, you're objectively wrong, so suck on that.
Having said that, considering that Benny Disco is still a frog, he is both handsome and available. Singles, where you at?
8: Hamza Aziz
No description available. Or possible.
Dark. Menacing. Mysterious. Could potentially kill me on contact. There are all phrases that might go through one's head when gazing upon ShadeOfLight. But once you break through his rugged exterior, you will be surprised to find that he enjoys cute Nintendo games and Eevees. More like TsundereOfLight, mirite? (That was funny because it rhymed)
6.5: Chris Carter
Chris Carter is Destructoid's irresistible bad boy. He doesn't care what the other critics think; he'll give games low scores just to fight the system, man. I mean, just look at these controversial review scores. Clickbait? More like CHRISbait, because we all know the real reason people keep coming back to comment on his reviews. And that is because he's sexy. And bad. Those were the things I assumed you would have guessed.
I swear I don't know how this got here.
4: Mr. Andy Dixon
What can one say about Mr. Andy Dixon? Well, first of all, he's got Mr. in his name, which implies that he's a grown man, and grown-ups are sexy. Also, Dixon could be shortened to Dix, which sounds like Dicks, which is code for penis. And... umm... something about a bathrobe? I don't know, all I know is that this guy is definitely sexy, and his place on this list has nothing to do with me trying to win favor with the Community Director.
Whoa. Whoa. 18+ warning up in here guys. Look at Script, just standing on a pedestal, flaunting his body shamelessly for all to see. His figure is so in-your-face that you might not notice his subtle curves or his seductive smile, which are all vital details when considering why he is Destructoid's third sexiest member. I'd recommend approaching Script with a canvas and paintbrush, because you will undoubtedly want to make art when in his presence.
2: Dale North
Dale North is an actual dog that works for Destructoid. At least, I think he is, since all his articles contain photos of him and the other dogs he interviews for exclusive videogame coverage. Dale North manages to play and review jRPGs despite lacking opposable thumbs, and that is the very definition of sexy. Actually, that doesn't sound right at all. What is this a top ten list of again?
... Okay, so, I need to figure out a number one spot that won't cause controversy and will still be satisfying to everyone who reads it. Umm...
... well... okay I got it!
1: Everyone Else
That's right, if your name hasn't been mentioned so far, that is because you are tied for the dubious honor of being the sexiest member of Destructoid! There is just so much sexiness and so little time to bask in it all, so just know that, if you're reading this, then you are undoubtedly among the elite in sexiness and you should be proud of yourself.
"But wait JoyfulSanity, if everyone else constitutes Destructoid's sexiest members, wouldn't that make the previous entries on the list the least sexy Dtoiders?"
Playing Pokémon X brings me back to a simpler time. And no, I don't mean the days of drinking Surge and watching Nickelodeon.
I'm talking about the years after studying for weekly spelling tests and before Steam sales flooded our game libraries. A time when you'd do chores and save allowance for a month because there was that one game you really wanted. A time when playing a game and finding all the secrets wasn't about getting an achievement or a trophy, but because that was the one game you were into. You'd want to play the game slowly, take in the sights to savor the experience, and only put it away once you got all the entertainment that you could get out of that $50 investment.
Not only does Pokémon X recapture this long lost magic, but it was a potent wake-up call to the flaws of my gaming habits. Maybe they don't make 'em like they used to, but I haven't been playing 'em like I used to either.
Pokémon X (and Y) gives the player so much to do without ever making demands. When we think of what makes a "nonlinear" game, we start to think of terms like "sandbox," or "branching narrative." Pokémon X's nonlinearity is the opposite of these things, yet there is so much to see and do that no two playthroughs will be alike. I've yet to reach gym seven and have run my game clock to nearly 80 hours by breeding Pokémon, planting berries, treasure hunting with the dowsing machine, and trying to catch as many Pokémon along the way as I possibly can. The funny thing is, it's not like I'm doing everything I possibly could be doing either. Pokémon X gives me plenty to do when I stop to smell the roses, and the main quest is always there whenever I want to get back to it.
I like to call Pokémon X a "funbox" game. Whereas sandbox games give players a plethora of toys to make their own fun with in a massive world, Pokémon X gradually provides the player small individual areas that are loaded with secrets and/or introduce new subsystems or gameplay elements. Whether you spend hours exploring a new map or race through to the next area is completely up to the player's choice, as both are equally viable options. Fighting trainers in the battle chateau or even trying to "catch 'em all" are systems designed solely to entertain the player, and there is never a sense that the developers intend for players to do everything in order to "100%" the game.
This "funbox" theme is reinforced by the gang of friends the game introduces to the player near the beginning. While each character is (supposedly) traveling the same path you are, each of them have different objectives they hope to accomplish along the way. Trevor is interested in filling out the Pokédex, while your rival represents the player who wants the strongest team and probably battles competitively (even though (s)he only uses three Pokémon most of the game but that's a detail). Shauna wants to enjoy the ride without thinking too much about it, and Tierno... okay I actually don't know what Tierno represents but just bare with me on this. My point is, Pokémon X isn't a game that has a best way to be played. The game can be a shallow experience if so desired, but there is enough depth under the surface to provide the player with countless hours of entertainment. The point at which Pokémon X is "finished" is completely on the player's terms.
Pokémon X doesn't have an achievement or trophy system, and I think it's much better off for it. Now, I don't inherently oppose achievement systems. In fact, games like Mega Man 9 and The Binding of Isaac intelligently incorporate achievements into the game's design to promote replay value. Yet in general, achievements have undeniably changed the way I play games. Even when I specifically tell myself to ignore these metagame statistics, I can never shake the nagging feeling that I haven't truly beaten a game unless I fulfill a bunch of arbitrary requirements dictated on my system's dashboard. Conversely, when I consider, say, playing a game on a higher difficulty mode and there isn't an achievement for it, my accomplishment feels less significant. Maybe I'm just insane, but I do think that there's a mind game at play when a looming progress bar indicates to your friends that you've only obtained 50% of a game's achievements, even if you've played it for 50 hours or more.
With games being so cheap and plentiful thanks to Humble Bundles and sales, I've grown to rush through games without stopping to enjoy them. There are so many games I want to play, and now they're all more obtainable than ever. This makes achievements become my personal indicator of "beating" the game, regardless of how accurate an indicator they are for getting the most out of the experience. Seeing the little bar of completion read "100%" lets me breathe a sigh of relief, as it means I can finally move on to the next game I've been wanting to play. At some point, I stopped having fun while I gamed. I played games and beat games, but I simply wasn't enjoying games like I used to. Pokémon X made me finally open my eyes and realize the errors of my ways.
I love you Persona 4 Golden, but there are some trophies that you can't rationally expect me to enjoy getting.
Had there been achievements like "Herbivore: Plant 100 berries" or "I caught 'em all!: Fill the Pokédex," I honestly don't think I'd still be playing Pokémon X. These subsystems wouldn't feel like fun things that the developers created for my amusement. There would be that same nagging voice saying that I've only "beaten" the game after doing what the metagame stats tell me to do. It is because it's my choice to deviate from the main path and smell the proverbial roses that I'm able to find the game such a joy to play. No one is telling me to do everything; my journey through Kalos is going to be played however I want.
The fact of the matter is, Pokémon X's very design would make an achievement system redundant. Everything you do has a direct and rewarding impact on your options throughout the game, so no side mission is a waste of time. Petting your Pokémon in Pokémon-Aime can give bonus EXP and stat boosts, and even catching a new Pokémon means a new option for battling or breeding. Very little - if not nothing at all - feels like filler, and this is Pokémon X's greatest strength. Being fun is all the motivation the player needs to explore.
It's easy to get lost in Pokémon X's world, yet hard to ever feel lost. There are enough short term goals in the game to make me go "ehh, just five more minutes," and then hours pass by before I even know what happened. That's the gaming experience I grew up with that has kept me at this hobby decades later, and it is my goal is to keep this mindset of "just have fun" alive as I go forth into my backlog.
Pokémon X isn't going to win any awards for innovation. In fact, I wouldn't even consider Pokémon X to be my favorite entry in the series. But I know that, years from now, I'll be looking back on this game nostalgically for all the joy it has brought me. I'm glad I didn't pick it up in a bargain bin during a sale, because Pokémon X is easily worth a month of washing dishes.
It's Halloween, and there is literally nothing scarier we could be celebrating on this day of shock and terror than the Pokémon series.
I mean, seriously, have you read the creepypastas? Chances are, if you buy a used copy of any of the Gameboy Pokémon games, that thing is going to either be elaborately hacked or haunted. Playing these games will drive you insane and make you kill all your friends and family because binaural beats and reasons. Last I heard, it was some guy named Ben's fault, but everyone got sick of his shit and tossed his ass in the lake.
While Pokémon is full of spooks and ghouls, only ten of the monsters can be the scariest. So sit on the edge of your seat, pop open the candy corn, and enjoy this definitive list of the ten most spooky Pokémon. To enhance the atmosphere, I recommend you listen to this most infamous track.
This Pokémon is a shadow that eats your soul while it smiles with glee. I can only suspect that Gengar was the result of a ghost having a smile-off contest with the Cheshire Cat, which then caused the Cheshire Cat to die and come back as a Gengar to murder the other ghost because ghosts can do that.
If you are a sentient being with a pulse then Gengar has stalked you numerous times during your life. It says right in the Pokedex: "A Gengar is close by if you feel a sudden chill. It may be trying to lay a curse on you." In other words, Gengar has probably cursed all of us a number of times and is probably responsible for the global economy still being a dump.
This Pokémon is literally a slasher film villain waiting to happen. It has knives for hands and it can drill through ground faster than you could run if your legs were made of rockets. Oh, and it can "bore through a steel plate, no matter how thick it is" and its speed doubles in sandstorms. The moment this thing gets a taste for human flesh, we're all dead.
Actually, what's with all those red splotches on its face and body anyway? ... Oh shit.
There is no other creature that God or man has created that can look so mildly uncomfortable and still appear so deathly intimidating. It is a giant face without a body, and disembodied heads have been representative of spooky things since forever, until Slender Man came along and was the exact opposite of a disembodied face because he's a nonconformist poser.
But really, Glalie is extra spooky because "it prevents prey from escaping by instantaneously freezing moisture in the air." This reportedly is the reason that NASA is trying to invest in a moonbase.
Rhyperior is a Pokemon that fires Geodudes at you. Imagine if someone hit you with a catapault, and then the catapult got up and starting punching the hell out of your face. Being stuck in a sleeping bag with Jason Voorhees would still leave your body in a better condition than that.
Oh, Sharpedo isn't spooky? It's the combination of a shark and a fucking missile you dimwit. It swims at 75 MPH, it can "rip through sheet iron," and in the event that you damage its fangs, "its cruel fangs grow back immediately." I heard a Sharpedo ate the iceberg that sunk the titanic just to prove a point.
Hooooooly shiiiiit look at the mouth on that thing. Considering it's nearly five feet tall and its mouth covers almost its entire body, it would have no problem devouring a child in a single gulp. And for a grown person like yourself, it would likely need two bites for you to go down. You can decide which fate is worse.
You might notice that Exploud has no ears. This is because its ability is "soundproof," which means that it won't even hear you scream. And by the way, did I mention that its name is Exploud.
Kakuna might not look like much. It just sits there, stuck to a tree, as it watches you beat on its friends over and over again just so your turtle can get a little stronger. But know this: it never stops watching you. All around the forest are all forms of Kakuna, completely stationary, keeping mental notes of your misdeeds and plotting their revenge. You may be safe now, but someday Kakuna will evolve. And judging from the look in its eyes, it is not pleased.
Omanyte seems innocent enough. Except, at level seven, you might overlook that it somehow learns "bite."
Tell me, with what teeth is this snail managing to bite people with? Have you ever seen the underside of an Omanyte? Let's keep it that way.
On a day like Halloween, a holiday when children will mostly be left on their own as they loot candy, there is nothing more horrifying than Ludicolo. Let's be honest here: would any of us trust this guy around children? His mouth agape, his beedy eyes wide open, his hands outstretched as he shimmies and shakes? Remember that time you said "oh, everything's okay around here, it's just that monster that 'appears to be a combination of a pineapple and a duck.'"
I bring these things up because, yes, the Pokedex specifically mentions that this thing appears to children when he hears them singing. What does it gain from appearing to children? Let's pray the answer is "nothing," and parents, please, make sure your kids are supervised if they are musically inclined.
Now, for my number one spot, I was very torn over whether I would put this specific Pokémon here. I mean, really, if you've been on the internet in the past two weeks, you likely would have guessed who I'm going to put here. But you know what? I just can't help myself, and no other 'mon has been so deserving of the title of spookiest Pokémon. This Pokémon has won over the hearts of fans and critics alike for its unsettling stare and shockingly dark pokedex entry, so make sure you don't pet him behind the ears and give it up for...
That's right, there is no Pokémon spookier than MissingNo. Before Pokefans were sprouting stories about Unowns spelling HE DIED and a spooky ghost Pokemon that kills its enemies and leaves tombstones, MissingNo was the original Pokémon haunting. I mean, come on, it's rogue data that took a life of its own, promising children dreams of infinite items as it ate away at the fabric of our games and would eventually lead to the complete destruction of some save files. Don't believe me? Well, my Pokémon Red, which held a file with all 151 Pokémon before becoming unable to remember a save game for more than six minutes, would like to have a word with you.
Some may argue that MissingNo is just a glitch, but oh, he lives. He would even eventually sing his own twisted melody to those who triggered him in specific ways. He would distort reality if you ever tried to use him in battle. He became Pokemon 0, and the internet has never forgotten him. And judging from Pokémon X and Y, it seems he's still around, watching over us ever since we ritualistically summoned him in Red and Blue to fulfill our desires.
I've heard many Pokémon fans suggest that MissingNo should be brought back as a canon Pokemon. Others have went as far as to make their own mockups to show what a possible inclusion could be like. But really, MissingNo was never our friend. He was born by accident, and he is content to watch us nostalgically reminisce about him when all he offered were shallow rewards and broken dreams. No, MissingNo doesn't need a comeback. He's hidden away from us, at the bottom of the box where we kept our old Pokemon games, laughing at the havoc he caused to spite those who created him.
Have a happy Halloween, and remember not to get spooked! Because if you do, that means a Gengar is nearby and you should start running to a well-lit room.
ShadeOfLight says we need stupid things like "happiness" and "positivity" and "quotation marks" around here. Well tear down the pillow fort and throw out the pizza, because I'm about to add some much needed JOURNALISM to this site.
What follows is the most objective and accurate overview of the critically acclaimed Ys series as long as you don't count this one and maybe a few others. WARNING: I use intense amounts of undeniable facts. If you have allergies to journalism, reading this article could make two to four of your limbs fall off.
Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished
In Ys I, you play as Adol Christin, literally the most badass badass ever conceived. You want to know how this guy fights? HE RUNS RIGHT THE HELL INTO ENEMIES. AND WINS. I mean, look at him, he's just charging into everyone and doesn't give even the tiniest fuck.
Ys I was one of the grand daddies of the action RPG, yet compared to most RPGs of the era it remains amazingly playable. Oh, what's that? You spent three minutes just to kill a single metal slime in Dragon Warrior? Well Adol Christin just killed an army, and he's still going.
Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter
In Ys II, Adol Christin becomes an even more deadly badass by gaining the ability to THROW FIREBALLS AT ENEMIES. Now if this guy even SEES YOU you're dead.
What's that Uncle Ben? With great power comes great responsibility? Well toss your old ass back in the grave, because Ys II lets Adol set every villager on fire, and each person has a unique and silly reaction to reward your misdeeds. And if you feel bad, you can just give them apples and they'll like you again. But then after you're done with that, Adol also has the option to turn into a literal monster that can then go around and frighten all those villagers who thought Adol's reign of terror might be over. Ys II perfected the art of torturing NPCs, and really, what other criteria matters when judging a game?
Ys III: Wanderers From Ys
I can't say I like this game that much. It's kind of the black sheep of the bunch, and while it can be kind of enjoyable, the side scrolling combat is a little too sloppy for my tastes.
But wait a second, this game would eventually be remade into Ys: Oath In Felghana, which is one of the best damn games ever MADE. So, by extension, this makes Ys III one of the best damn games ever made.
Ys IV: Mask of the Sun
On the surface, this may seem like just another Ys game, but hold on, where have I heard this boss music from?
Oh right, it's only an SNES version of Yngwie fucking Malmsteen's Far Beyond The Sun, except somehow Ys IV manages to make it even more epic despite only using SNES soundfonts. You might want to call an emergency hotline, because this game just blew your damn mind without you even playing it.
Ys IV: Dawn of Ys
Some games go multiconsole, and usually those games stay the same with maybe a few technical differences. Except this Turbo CD version of Ys IV gives you a totally different game with a different storyline and a CD soundtrack, making this indisputably the best port ever made.
I actually haven't played this one, but supposedly this one is better than Mask of the Sun, so you do the math. Just kidding, too late.
Ys V: Kefin, Lost City of Sand
I haven't played this one either, and I hear this one is kind of an awkward middle child, so I'm going to have to dock some points for that reason. But this one was never released in English, so naturally I can't hold it to the same standards as the other games.
Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim
Remember how The Legend of Zelda was already great in the NES and SNES days, but then Ocarina of Time reinvented the series and changed gaming forever? Guess what, Ark of Napishtim is the Ocarina of Time of Ys.
This is a 3D action adventure with all the jumping and attack buttoning that modern gamers have come to expect, but Falcom expertly retained Adol's status as a walking death machine. I mean look at this guy, he doesn't even give a shit that he's falling to his death and he still manages to kill a giant flying bug monster just because he can.
This game also features an opening sequence that feels incredibly epic despite nothing happening in it. Ys is so fast paced that even when the series does nothing, my heart is pumping at a dangerous rate. When I die, I can only hope that my cause of death is some kind of heart failure by playing too much Ys.
Ys: Oath in Felghana
You're asking me what I thought about Ys: Oath in Felghana? Don't you remember what I said about Ys III? Learn to read you fucking spaz.
What's that? There are no strong female characters in gaming? Get ready to pop a literal or metaphorical boner, because I present to you a female character that makes Kratos look like an infant Justin Bieber.
Yunica Tovah wields both an axe and a sword that are larger than she is just because she wants to keep things interesting after she's killed ten thousand different monsters. She is the only character in the game unable to use magic, yet she manages to kick everyone's asses just because who has time for studying when you could be murdering everything with your arms. And I mean, look at her, she doesn't even have to dress for combat, she could destroy an army on her way home from school.
Speaking of school, you might be thinking "oh, well there's an unlockable schoolgirl outfit, so clearly she's sexualized." Well think fast douchebag, because her schoolgirl outfit doesn't reveal any additional skin, and it only makes it more embarrassing when she takes your ass down for even suggesting she gets by using her girl parts. I am a grown man in my mid 20s, and Yunica Tovah is my power fantasy.
I could talk about how this is yet another brilliant reimagining of the Ys formula. I could talk about how the battle system is reminiscent of Secret of Mana and Kingdom Hearts while perfecting both and kicking the adrenaline up to 11. I could talk about how all the special moves and team combinations makes it feel like you're playing a different game every time you mix things up.
I give this game a 7^7, but of course I had to round out the result, so unfortunately I can only give this game a
That is the extent of my journalistic criticism regarding this series. I know some fanboys are probably going to complain that I was too harsh, or that I left out some stupid feature that would have increased the score, but I'll have you all know that, when Ys: Memories of Celceta comes out, I am going to review it as critically as I possibly...
Wait, you're telling me I can listen to the soundtrack online!?