Now Playing in May 2014

I ended up with a lot more time to play games in May than I expected. Part of that is that my job allows me to actually play my 3DS while working. So games like Kirby 3D and Mario Golf were easy to make progress in. Plus, I finished up a couple of games that I had started long ago. Still, I played a lot and a wide variety of games on a variety of systems in a variety of genres.

Beaten:

Batman Arkham Asylum: I ended up playing this a lot sooner than I expected. Honestly, I like it more than Arkham City. Arkham City is bigger, more ambitious; Arkham Asylum is more compact and focused. There are plenty of advancements from the sequel that I missed, but on whole I prefer the focused approach here. The grossness of the character designs that I complained about in AC is lessened here, though still definitely present. AA has a cohesiveness to it. Each objective flows right into the next fairly logically, without the jumping around that AC has, trying to justify the inclusion of all of the characters and villains, whether or not it makes sense. You do lose the joy of zipping around Gotham City, stopping random crimes and getting caught up in sidequests. The two games are close in quality, but I just prefer AA a tiny bit more.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask: wrote about it here.

Etrian Odyssey Untold: wrote about it here.

NES Remix 2: Almost all of the games here are better than the ones in the first NES Remix, but they don’t break up quite as well into small challenges. Still, it is hard to complain about any game that combines SMB2 and SMB3 and Kirby’s Adventure. It is still the same effective concept, taking old games and making them into tiny challenges, as well as doing Remixes that combine or alter them. It is a ton of fun. I really hope Nintendo keeps doing this. I would kill for a Gameboy Remix or SNES Remix.

Kirby Triple Deluxe: wrote about it here.

Mario Golf Toadstool Tour: I’m going to call this beaten. I’ve seen the credits; I’ve unlocked all the courses and most of the characters. But I am still playing it; see the entry in the next section.

Monster World 4: wrote about it here.

Soul Calibur 5: A long time ago, I was pretty dang good at Soul Calibur 2. I could regularly beat all of my friends, especially if I chose Kilik. Soul Calibur 3, to my eye at least, added nothing, aside from the create-a-character, which I didn’t have much fun with it. I skipped SC4, but I snagged SC5 for cheap off of PSN. I kind of hate it. Most of the characters have been replaced or simply removed. I don’t like the replacements. I played through the story mode, which focused on probably the two least interesting ones. The ones not featured in the story have almost no characterization. Less than you would get even from arcade mode of the average fighting game. Plus, most of them are just replacements for characters from the previous games, making them all feel like knock-offs. The gameplay, at first blush at least, is largely the same. I just couldn’t get over the roster shuffle. It doesn’t play any better than SC2, I don’t know why I should play this instead.

Persona 4 Arena: wrote about it here.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: wrote about it here.

Ongoing:

Mario Golf Toadstool Tour: They removed most of the RPG mechanics that are sometimes present, but damn if Camelot doesn’t know how to make a golf game. This is not the best put together game on the organizational side, with the meat of the game split between the Mii-centric and Free Play, meaning that you have to switch back and forth to see everything. It also doesn’t leverage the Mario setting as well as it could, especially since your Mii will soon be easily the best character to choose, since you can alter it to fit what you need. Still, it is a hell of a golf game and I love the Mario characters.

Advance Wars: I always wanted to play this game back when it was new, but I never managed to track it down. I’ve played it enough now to realize I prefer Fire Emblem’s brand of this particular sort of GBA tactics game. Still, this is a fine a game, and I hope to finish it before too long, though I have been distracted by other things lately.

Yoshi’s Island: I’ve only played the first few stages, but so far this game is everything it’s cracked up to be. It will never be my favorite Mario game, because it’s just too pokey, but it is still damn good.

Mario Kart 8: I’ve just got this. It is great. I am a little annoyed reading reviews that talk about how bad Mario Kart Wii was. It is like living in some kind of alternate dimension. The game wasn’t perfect, but it was still largely great and had some excellent online play. The unlocking methods in this game are a little annoying, but playing it is so much fun I don’t care.

Child of Light: This game is purely delightful. It is a fairly simple RPG and a 2D sidescroller. It uses a battle system much like the Grandia series, with an emphasis on manipulating the turn order. It is a beautiful game. The graphics are excellent and music is amazing. I think I’ll have a full post when I finish this game.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: I am more than halfway through this, and that might be where I stop again. It may be set up like Etrian Odyssey, but I feel crippled playing it since they removed the mapping options. There is nothing better than an invisible maze, especially one played on a system with two screens, one of which is used as a map. Why just a map when it can be a useless map? I like the rest of the game. The story has an interesting sci-fi hook backed up with solid mythological underpinnings. But if it doesn’t cut out this teleporting and mapping garbage I am just going to give up on it. Life is too short to put up with this kind of nonsense.

Inazuma 11: This is Dragon Quest by way of a sports game. It is a fun sort of ridiculous, though the gameplay is too simple to really capitalize on the concept. Still, it is an enjoyably, low impact romp. I love that it imagines a world were all disagreements are settled with soccer and all problems can be solved with soccer. The game is just as blindly focused as the goofy protagonist. Once you strip out the story, though, it is kind of dull.

Persona PSP: I bought this off of PSN and played the first couple of hours. I’m not sure how much I like it. The controls are awkward, the mechanics strange and the whole thing is just sort of obtuse. Still, I think if I put a little more time in on it things will start to click. The story is as least interesting.

Upcoming:

Pikmin 3: I definitely intend to get to this game soon. It just keeps falling through the cracks.

Digital Devil Saga 2: This is the next game up in my quest to clear my backlog of SMT games.

Remember Me: I actually started this a bit last month. It has an interesting setting, but so far the gameplay is dead simple. I’ll stick with it until I get bored, then move on to something else. For some reason I feel the need to at least try out all of the PS+ I’ve downloaded.

Legend of Zelda: 4 Swords Adventure: Unless Minish Cap shows up on the Virtual Console in the next week or two, a definite possibility considering it is out in Europe and Japan already, this is next Zelda game I am going to complete.

Shantae: Monster World IV reminded me of the little bit of this game I played when I first downloaded it last year. I got lost right after the opening section and moved on to other things. But with another Shantae game coming soon, I hope any way that game is months late, I feel the need to beat this one. Plus, I crave another taste of something like MW4.

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