Now Playing in April 2014

I’ve really been knocking it out with the handheld games recently. Mostly that is because my new job has me sitting in a room all by myself for hours on end with little to do. No one cares if I bring in my 3DS and play games. This has also freed me up to play more console games, since playing my 3DS at work makes me less eager to do so at home.

Beaten

Batman Arkham City: I got this for cheap for the WiiU, having only barely played the first game in the series. I really only had one problem with this game: the look. Not the graphics, which are largely excellent, but the design. This is possibly the ugliest take on the Batman characters I’ve ever seen. They range from grotesque to simply off putting. Otherwise, the game is aces. I’m not generally a big fan of open world games, they tend to turn fun things into chores, but Arkham City largely bypasses this. Mostly because it is just so much fun to be Batman. I am a big fan of skipping side stuff. I barely touched it when I played Bully or GTA, but here I loved it. This game might even be better if you removed the storyline and just let the player run around as Batman rounding up villains. Even crappy characters like Zsasz are made somewhat interesting here. Tracking him down, using bullet trajectories to track down Deadshot, solving Riddler’s riddles and teaming up with Bane are all fun Batman things to do. More fun, actually, than fighting tons and tons of Joker’s thugs. I guess I’m being a little too hard on the story. It is still a fun Batman tale, forcing Brue to push himself mentally and physically to combat a horde of villains. It did hit one of my griping points about Batman, bewar spoilers for the ending coming. The fact that Batman doesn’t kill is great, it is an essential part of his character just like it is part of Superman’s. But that does not mean he should be going out of his way to make sure the Joker lives. Making a personal choice to not end someone else’s life is one thing, making a concerted effort to save the life of a mass murdered is another. It comes up in the comics sometimes and it is just as stupid as it is here. That doesn’t detract from how enjoyable this game is though.

There is one thing odd about the WiiU version, though I don’t know that it is exclusive to this version. There is slowdown. Not during gameplay, which one would expect, but during the cutscenes. It is baffling. Why is there cutscene slowdown?

Bravely Default: wrote about it here.

SteamWorld Dig: What a delightful little game. It is a kind of free roaming metroidvania that is all about digging deeper. There is no set path or road, just a tunnel going down and other little caves shooting off of it. It can be a little tedious, especially if your digging outpaces the strength of your tools, but it is mostly just fun. A few years ago I would have been disappointed with a game that only lasts about three hours, as SteamWorld Dig does, but now I am glad for it. I’d rather a game only last a few hours rather than only have a few hours’ worth of ideas stretched across ten. While I would download a sequel in a heartbeat, this charming game pushed the limits of its simple mechanics about as far as it could.

Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons: wrote about it here.

Layton Brothers Mystery Room: This game has only the most tenuous connection to Professor Layton and as far as I can tell features no brothers, but it is still an intriguing little title. It actually plays more like the Ace Attorney series than the Layton series. The two detectives are presented with a murder and must look over the crime scene and notes to solve the case. It isn’t perfect, with some of the clues being too obtuse and the rundown at the end of each case always seeming to drag on, but it is still a nice addition for people who like things like Ace Attorney. I just wish they had given the characters more to do. Still, it is well worth trying, both the first few free case and dropping the $5 for the whole shebang.

Ongoing

Denpa Men They Came by Wave: I picked this up a long time ago, but I could find very few little dudes around my place and it seemed really grindy, so I shelved it. I tried it out again recently. I have managed to find more Denpa Men, which eases things considerably. As the title suggests, you find these Denpa Men by finding different radio waves in your real life surroundings and capturing the little weirdos that live in them. It is an interesting concept, hampered my by living in the back end of nowhere. The game is also quite simple, like only a few steps up from Dragon Quest 1. It is actually quite like Pokemon, but grindier and weird instead of cute. I actually do enjoy it, but with all the other games on my plate at the moment, it will likely be some time before I make much more progress on this.

Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask: Yes, this game is great. No, I didn’t manage to finish it in April. Yes, I guarantee I will have it done by the end of May. I will say that while the time limit is not at all onerous, it makes the game a more stressful experience than it needs to be. Also, there are some downright freak people in this game.

NES Remix 2: Just like the first one, this is a handful of classic NES games broken up into bite-sized challenges, with a helping of romhack combinations to make everything feel new. It is a fun mix. This time the component games are of a significantly higher quality. Sure there is the baffling Wario Woods, but the rest is Mario 2 & 3 and Kirby. Much deeper, more polished games than the first one had. This is also part of the problem, because they don’t break down into tiny challenges as easily. While I haven’t yet really touched the actualy Remixes, concentrating first on the individual game challenges, it is still well worth the price of admission. Bring on SNES Remix or Gameboy Remix.

Inazuma Eleven: I don’t get this game. I like it, I love reimaging the JRPG as a sports movie. That part works perfectly. It’s just the finer points of the battles, the soccer matches themselves, elude me. It feels as though I am not really affecting the game in any meaningful way, except when I choose to use supermoves. Maybe if I keep playing it will eventually click, maybe the game is just sloppy and awkward. At least the storyline is the kind of goofiness that I can get behind. So this has been enjoyable, but flawed.

Etrian Odyssey Untold: I am an old hand at this series. I picked the first game up based on nothing but the Atlus logo in the corner, played it for a few hours, sold in a cash crunch and then bought it back a few months later. I have been hammering my way through the series ever since. So when I got about halfway through the story mode, the big innovation of this entry which gives players a set party and characters, I was baffled. The game was stonewalling me, requiring copious grinding and plenty of good, old fashioned luck. Partly I was chafing against the restrictive party, with no chances for alternate builds or dedicated harvesting teams, party the game was just meaner than anything else in the series. I finally was willing to admit defeat and switch the difficulty down, only to discover that I had been playing on Hard the whole time. Once I switched it back to normal, the game was smooth sailing, maybe even too easy. I’m just about done now and will have a full blog post soon.

Upcoming

Kirby Triple Deluxe: I was really on the fence with Kirby 3D, despite my great love of the series. But early reviews and Nintendo Direct videos eventually won me over. Knowing the series, I should have this beaten by next week. It looks like excellent Kirby instead of mediocre Kirby, which is good to see.

Mario Golf Toadstool Tour: I like me some Mario Golf. While I don’t know how much I will play this right away, this is the kind of game I will pop in for a few play sessions now and then for years.

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward: At the rate I am burning through 3DS games, this one is coming up sooner rather than later. It sits behind me finishing Etrian Odyssey and Kirby, waiting to compete for playing time against Mario Golf until something new comes along. Since there is little new on the immediate horizon (Theatrhythm 2 sometime?), I should be working through this before long.

Child of Light: Downloaded it and tried it out. As soon as I’ve had my fill of Majora’s Mask and NES Remix, this is what I’m going to put my time into. The first hour was damn excellent.

Pikmin 3: I’m trying, I really am.

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5 thoughts on “Now Playing in April 2014

  1. Quick tip for making the save system in Majora’s Mask simple and ensuring you never run out of time in a dungeon (I had a few close calls in my last playthrough until I realised this): you should save and reset once you have learned the song you need to gain access to a dungeon. Then, once you’ve saved, you can warp back via owl to the dungeon entrance and seriously tackle the dungeon.

    It’s a foolproof method, because there is always an owl at the dungeon entrance, and in order to unlock each dungeon you require a song. Obviously learning songs is permanent, so you will never lose anything.

    It’s useful because if you try and unlock and then beat a dungeon in a single 3 day cycle, it can get risky. I had that happen with the second dungeon and I had to repeat the whole Gerudo Fortress mini-dungeon – so annoying.

    Obviously, make sure you always slow down time. If you follow the method I suggested, then you’ll easily have time to beat each dungeon (most of them I finished still before the end of the First Night), and try the content you unlock post-dungeon.

    • Yeah, I know that. And I’ve never actually run out of time. But simply having that clock on the bottom of the screen constantly counting down stresses me out. It’s why I’ve only played Majora’s Mask twice and I’ve beaten Ocarina of Time a dozen times or more.

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