So much for slowing down and not playing video games.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - PS3
What is Ni No Kuni?
Level-5 who created Dragon Quest VIII, which I finished around this time last year, are the developers of Ni No Kuni. But wait, there's another creative force, the people who've produced some top level anime cartoons, Studio Gibli, came up with the designs and anime cutscenes that are doled out in the same way Playstation and Sega Saturn RPG animations were, few and far between and confusingly of little consequence.
This game is dope, but I don't know how many people who read what I write agree with my sentiments on Japanese role playing game. I let someone watch me play, she said it looked amazing, but left straight up explaining to yell when "something happened."
JRPGs are not the exciting show pieces that their developers seem to think they are. These are slow paced, single player, and obtusely difficult games. That's when they're at their best and Ni No Kuni, about ten hours in has all these features.
And it has maybe the most childish storyline ever. The word whimsy isn't enough to describe this game.
For example, in the ton of Ding Dong Dell I met the kitty cat king to ask him for his magic wand. It goes a little deeper than that, there was a light Forrest dungeon and boss before that, with a friendly talking tree too. I'm curious to see how much farther this goes, how silly can things get? Will it surpass the talking duck people of Suikoden III as the most ridiculas thing that isn't shown ironically or with any amount if sarcasm. It legitimately presents the kitty cat king as his god damn meowjesty, referring to him as such.
I love this. In a world of dark and gritty stories, I kind of want some whimsy fun stories.
Even if combat can look messy, like this.
That isn't to say the story isn't dark, it goes Disney dark with the death of a character and their possible resurrection being the whole motivation for the game. I've a strong spider sense feeling that it will not work out, but it will somehow be okay.
I'm not much for side quests, I usually hate them. Like in Dragon Age, those boards with things to do on them, I walked by every single time. I never once touched them there, but in Ni No Kuni I'm in. I'm down to do them for the layers of rewards given to me. Stamps are given, like a gas station rewards card, and when you fill it that you're given a choice of upgrades. The early ones are a little lame, but moving faster on the world map I jumped on. That's the sort of upgrade that will get me doing side quests, but I don't know how to fill in my card with all the options on here. There are a to of question marks, and that bothers me.
I'm bothered by the lack of fast travel, so many hours into the game the world map is just big enough that I don't want to walk back across it for side quests. I just can't do that. I can zoom or fast travel around, I would feel a lot better. The opening video for the game revealed my character riding on a dragon, so that will happen eventually, but I need fast travel to really dig into these side quests.
It also has my favorite kind of side quests, where a stronger monster is out there and I have to go kill that. Final Fantasy XII wasn't beaten by me for the inclusion of such monsters. I just love that concept. It goes back to super bosses in old RPGs. I love that concept so much.
The actual battle system is a melding of Poke'mon and the Tales of games. Battles take place in a 3D space where position matters, but attacks are chosen from a radial menu. Besides your human characters, each of them controls three familiars who are little monsters that fit inside your pockets and have a very Rock Paper Scissors elemental variety. I named my first one Bill Paxton and I don't think I ever want to ditch him.
Once I got the second party member, battles became clunky and messy. She's completely ignorant and doesn't listen. Her strength seems to be doing a minimum of damage and healing herself just long enough to last five minutes in a battle. She just dies. She sends her Pokemon, a few attacks later, she just dies. During a boss battle when we clearly needed to defend, she doesn't.
Aaron Linde says a few hours later I'll get the option of telling her when to attack and defend with the circle button, that's interesting, but I'm not sure if that will help. Artificial intelligence controlled characters are not new to role playing games, Persona 3 forced it and made that work, Drago Quest has had some form of automation for party members in a lot of their games, but in those characters aren't as allergic to life as this second party member.
Oh and she loves using all her magic in a single random battles. I can tell her not to use abilities, but she needs to use abilities to do a decent amount of damage. I'm really, really bummed that she doesn't jump in and make things better.
Combat is now difficult, which surprised me. I thought the game would not bump up at all, but hey, here it is. Some challenge thrown in, I like that. I like Ni No Kuni.
If I don't finish it soon, I probably won't finish it. I've a bad record with finishing games, but my RPG record is the worst. I started organizing which ones I hadn't finished and the list hurt to look at and I just quit writing it.
I have gripes. Shops and their shopkeepers all are recycled over and over again. In spite of the high quality of the artwork, it feels uninspired. It isn't the same kind of consistent look from Dragon Quest, it's the fact that a lot of monsters just aren't interesting or new. They feel like generic Pokemon rip offs. Jade Cacoon had some fascinating creatures, but this doesn't. Nothing really dazzles me, other than boss monsters. They've really done well with those, but they're also very generic. The whole thing is a little generic, but high quality.
This isn't sad, brooding, or dark and I really love it for not being that. I'm not saving the world, I'm on a personal, selfish quest to save the main characters mother. I also giggled when she died, what should have been an emotional scene just doesn't work at all. Oliver never broods about it, which I'm okay with, but he is way too happy for this. At thirteen I was a mess, and it was only a cousin of mine that had died. And Oliver is thirteen, but seems like he's six. What the shit is that? Why is he such a little puss? He just seems like such a child, at thirteen I knew what was up. This kid walks around like he doesn't. I'm kind of bothered by that, but maybe I was just an asshole as a kid.
Sleeping Dogs - Steam
Sleepy Dogs is a pretty ok game. It runs ok on my computer, it is like all the things people said Yakuza was like. It is Grand Theft Auto, in China, with an emphasis on martial arts over gun play. Game looks great, has a silly storyline that takes itself a little too serious for me, and I got it on sale for fifteen bucks.
XCOM - Enemy Unknown
I played a butt load of this. I was sick with the flu and a little delirious, but I managed to whoop classic mode.
Torchlight - Steam
Got this and the sequel in the steam sale, specifically to play on my Mac book.
Turns out, Torchlight 2 isn't on the Mac.
I got this, because someone in my household decided to buy the Sims 3 and spend hours playing that.
Gameplay isn't so bad. It's a lot of wandering around smashing monsters, collection loot, and leveling up. The storyline is there, but I couldn't care less. I picked a brute character, but the game is really easy on the normal difficulty.
I got a few levels into this game, when I was invited to play Torchlight 2.
Torchlight 2 - Steam
So my friend wasn't able to play immediately so I started up playing this. I like this more, but it is more of the same from Torchlight.
I picked the beserker and played quite a bit on my own and with random players online.
When I had the flu, I played a butt load of this game. I played with three of the classes and had an amazing time. I played on the hardest difficulty as well, the game is just too easy on anything other than the hardest difficulty which is strange to me. That's bothered me since that started around when Halo was new, but hey video games.
The Last Stand - Dead Zone - Flash
This was on konregate, a website kid of like new grounds but not as good. The previous last stand games were cute little zombie RPGs, but this is an MMO and I was suckered into wasting lots of time playing it.
I put in maybe five hours over the course of a week. I had never played a proper Facebook game, even if this is on kongregate it is very much a Facebook game. It has all the social hooks and micro transactions that serve to annoy me. I hate that, but I like zombie survival stuff.
You gather up resources on trips out to various buildings in a section of map. As you level up, new sections open up. They take longer to travel home from in real time, meaning that I watched an episode of bullshit then played this for a half hour. Once it got to over and hour, there was no way I could give a shit about this game.
It has a player vs player option, but in not a competitive gamer or into Griefing. So I never tried it. Actually, I love Griefing, but only with people I know. Nothing is more satisfying than screwing everyone on a video game, hearing their groans of desperation and finding out how serious people take games. They're games. This doesn't matter at all.
The game gives you goals to accomplish for experience, once you hit enough goals you get another survivor. I had seven or eight when I quit. If anyone wants my account to play this game, I'll give you the name and password. I give that little of a shit about it.
The game lacks any real depth, which is why I never want to think about it again.
I played other flash stuff, like frog fractions, but not as much of it as this stupid last stand game.
I really hope I only put five hours into this, but as I think about it, I spent a lot more when I had the flu. I didn't touch Xenogears but a piss poor flash game I put time into?
Earthbound - SNES
I finished up the mole dungeon in the dessert, but I didn't go back to town yet. I'm thinking I'm like halfway through this game? I want to finish it, but I'm not loving it.
Penny Arcade 3- Steam
The DLC is out, this was one of the top games of the year for me. I'm not loving the DLC. The class system I loved so much, isn't here. Instead I'm given a character from the first two penny arcade games, that I have no attachment to.
The humor is as on as it was in the main game, and the story is just as terrible. I'm not compelled by the lead characters or invested in what they're doing. These are just two guys, bumbling around for no reason.
A crab monster had the description of being cray, that made me laugh.
FTL - Steam
I found a program to rebuild my save, the one on my Mac didn't save or something, I lost progress and all the ships I had unlocked.
But, when presented with the option to just, unlock everything, I did that. I just took all the ships and their variants. I'm a bad person.
I played quite a bit with a crystal ship, I still fucked up.
Endless Space - Steam
I'm done with this for now, I whooped a single game of it, that feels like enough. It was a fun simulation, kind of like civilization with a space theme.
I spent over the last week of December and this month, maybe a dozen hours playing this.
Fallout 3 - PC
Still haven't done those DLC packs, we have them, my lady bought them because she loved Fallout. I'm not sure if she played them either.
I spent a lot of time walking towards operation anchorage, but just couldn't make it. I got stopped by some talon mercenaries, who I killed most of but decided to turn back towards megaton, where I disarmed the bomb and got the house and that's where I quit.
Slow motion kills, when the bullet spins around and the camera follows right with it into a guys face, that's still amazing. On a Saturday when I had two hours to do anything, this is what I did.
Mega Man 10 – PS3
For some reason, I booted this up. I thought playing as Proto Man was something I could jump into. It was not what I expected at all. The mid boss on the electric sheep's stage rocked me and that was that.