Things have been quiet here this month. You may have noticed. Time has been fighting against me. And losing. Like it always does. But it’s still putting up a fight. And that has cramped my schedule something fierce. I had started another post for this blog, a follow up on my old post on New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 covering this year’s tournament, only to run out of time to make anything notable about it before the G1 actually started. So it’s been a while, with no new content. And I don’t have the time to make anything new and notable.
So instead I’ll make this. A quick little number on what’s been going on in the games I’ve been playing. And hopefully it’ll be amusing for you. But to be honest, I’m mostly doing this for me. Because posting is a thing I want to keep doing, and when there’s something you want to keep doing, it’s best to make it a habit and then continue the habit, even as times get tight. So me posting this little thing now makes it more likely I’ll be in the frame of mind and decision-making capabilities to be making more serious posts later, capische? That’s a word I used. It means something. I think.
Whatever, let’s go.
You can check the full write up on this thing here. In that post, I highlighted how my original plans were to largely eschew the Item World grinding and focus on the main plotline through the game. That hasn’t exactly worked out. I’ve found myself stuck in this loop. I go into the Item World to make a piece of equipment I like much stronger. But if you do good at setting off Geo Chains, you can win more items within the Item World. And some of those are also pieces of equipment I like and want to make stronger. So I go in there. And get more items I really like and want to make stronger. And so on. The item world offers really complicated combat setups and battlegrounds, so I’ve actually been really enjoying the grind. Is it even really grinding if you’re having a good time with it? I don’t know. Going by definitions I’ve established before, probably not. So there. Disgaea’s not grindy at all.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Dual Sympathy
I dated someone who was super into Fullmetal Alchemist. Hence how this game ended up in my collection. This was my camping game, recently. Because the DS I’ve been using for travel has been the worse for wear and it’s L and R buttons don’t work well anymore, and this game uses L and R for functions you can do on the touchscreen, so it actually worked out very well. I have multiple DSes. For reasons. It’s all Nintendo’s fault.
Anyways, this is about the sort of game you’d expect if you had an anime license and a bit of creativity but very little time and money. It’s a two hour game that runs through the entirety of the 51 episode Fullmetal Alchemist anime (the original one, not the Brotherhood version/Manga). So as you can imagine, it sums up quite a lot and doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you’ve already seen the anime. But I have to say, I found playing an FMA beat ’em up rather refreshing, even if it was simple as all get out. And didn’t explain functions vital to progression in game. But more things should have beat ’em ups attached to them. I kind of miss beat ’em ups.
I really like Xenoblade Chronicles overall. Beautiful scenery and an excellent soundtrack, mostly likeable characters, Dunban and his sexy self, it’s a really great game. I’ve started it up a few times over the years, but never got all that far into it, comparatively. Because I always focus on doing all the great many sidequests the game has. The copious amounts of sidequests. The hideously huge amount of sidequests. I’d get started, get focused on doing absolutely everything, and then burn out 10-20 hours in and give up on it.
This time, I’ve taken some advice telling me that the sidequests are toxic, and played the game only completing the quests that were on my way or particularly interesting to me. And it feels like a completely different game that way. Plot’s progressing at a good clip, I’m constantly seeing new areas, it’s a lot more fun this way, overall. It’s always been a great game, but I’m feeling now that I never really got to see it at its full potential until I stopped worrying about the sidequests. It’s really as transcendent as its reputation suggests, now.
Way of the Passive Fist
Speaking of beat ’em ups, here’s a beat ’em up where you barely beat any of ’em up. It’s a game that grabbed me by its concept and how well it seemed to play out in video. You don’t have any regular attacks, and instead have to parry, dodge, and poke your way through a goon-filled wasteland, letting your enemies tire themselves out with their own attacks until you can simply knock them over. Each specific enemy has their own specific attack pattern, and streams can get quite complicated, particularly when you have a number of enemies packed in against you.
The game was fun, and lasted a couple of hours, but I felt it would have worn out its concept if it was any longer than that. It has just enough content to fill those hours, but even then, it started to feel a little stale by the end. Still, though, the combination of beat ’em up with a reaction type of gameplay similar to rhythm games was certainly not bad for most of it.
Scribblenauts is an amazing game. That doesn’t make it a good game, but it is really impressive the amount of content and viable options they gave you here. The central idea is that there’s an in game dictionary that is really quite expansive, and anything that’s in there, you can just create and insert into a scene to try and solve whatever puzzles or challenges are placed ahead of you. The amount of things you can work with are huge, and the game really opens itself up for some delicious lateral thinking. Like, for example, one mission has a bunch of soldiers against a group of zombies, and your goal is to get all the soldiers zombified before they kill all the zombies. You could set up a wall blocking their shots, and just remove it when the zombies get close. Or you could set up a series of blocks and ramps to give the zombies cover as they approach. Or you could just do what I did, and create a new zombie and just drop it right on the soldier’s heads. It also has a lot of possibilities for self-imposed challenges, and really shines when you get into parts where you’re expected to solve the same puzzle three times in a row with different solutions each time. And this is all in a DS game.
I just which it was more fun to play. The amount of things you can create is staggering and the puzzles offer ample opportunity to use them, but it is so fiddly and such a pain to control, and it relies on a physics engine that seems to hate all logic and good sense. The mental work you need to do is great, but I’ve had so many perfectly valid solutions ruined because they game just wasn’t taking input the way it was supposed to or something weird happened with objects knocking into each other. It’s a shame. This could have been so much more, had it had a better game behind it’s concept.