Now Playing in February 2016

I spent a lot of time with my 3DS in February, but not so much with either of my home consoles. It looks to be the same for the next few months with the wealth of 3DS rpgs hitting now or in the near future. I am also happily surprised with myself that I am staying on top of my SNES deep dive.

Beaten

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam – see here.

The Death and Return of Superman – see here.

Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninjas – see here.

Prince of Persia –

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I initially intended to have a full post about this game, but in the end I don’t think I actually had that much to say about the game. I wanted to like it, but it has some pretty glaring flaws. Like how the story ends completely unresolved. It actually ends up being something of a shaggy dog story, albeit one that is fun to play. Fun, but far from perfect. For about the first half of the game I thought it was suffering from some bad input lag, and then I learned how the game worked. It isn’t really an action game; it is more of a rhythm game. There are only four possible actions to take and the intricate looking platforming is just recognizing which button you need to press. The game will play out that action when it is necessary, which isn’t always immediately. Until how it works clicks it can be frustrating. When things are going well it looks great, but it really isn’t that engaging to play. It just sort of goes with minimal player input. Maybe the old Prince of Persia games were the same, but this one was somehow everything I wanted and still largely unsatisfying.

Ongoing

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright –

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I don’t want to go on too long about this game, since I am currently writing up a full blog post about it, but there are some things worth mentioning. In that post I’ll go on longer about how excellent the localization is. The fact that Treehouse’s work here has come under fire is frankly ridiculous. Nintendo excising some embarrassing otaku wankbait from their own game is not censorship, and by all reputable accounts they have done a marvelous job polishing a pretty pedestrian story. Also, there was some struggle for me to decide with version to buy, because I thought it made more sense to start with the easier game and learn this entry’s particulars than to do that with the hard one. I was always going to play both or all three, I guess. Lastly, this game is really good. The disappointing DS game seems so long ago now.

Codename STEAM – see here. This one is likely going on the shelf for a while, because my 3DS looks to be pretty busy for the next few months.

Final Fantasy Explorers –

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This has all the ingredients of something I would really like. I’m a big fan of Monster Hunter and of the Crystal Chronicles games, both of which have similarities to this. And while I didn’t play this enough to give it a fair and complete judgement, through the first three hours it just feels sloppy. The Final Fantasy nostalgia does not appear to have been applied with much though, it’s just kind of there. It’s got the names and the look, but not the feel of Final Fantasy. The gameplay is structured like MH, but it is loose and unsatisfying. The bosses don’t feel like dangerous obstacles to overcome, but inert damage sponges that just take way too long to kill. I might have more to say if I ever find more time to play this, but it has been put at the bottom of a very long list.

Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations – I played through the first two cases of this Phoenix Wright finale. It has just as much verve and energy as I remembered. I really need to go reread what I said about the first two games, but this one really starts with a bang. The first case is especially tight, introducing this game’s central players while also quickly teaching new players how to play the game. I’ve actually forgotten most of the details of these cases, so it is almost like experiencing them for the first time again. On an unrelated note, I hope a miracle occurs and we get the Sherlock Ace Attorney game. It seems unlikely, but a man can dream.

Lufia and the Fortress of Doom – The more I play this the less I feel like it was something I missed back in the day. I don’t want to damn it, especially when I am only through the first quarter or so of the game, but so far there is little here to recommend this game over any of the classic SNES JRPGs. It seems to be the very definition of a by the books jrpg, like a Dragon Quest game with the charm drained out of it. It still isn’t quite bad, but spectacularly unspectacular.

Yakuza 5 – I’ve barely scratched the surface here, but already system improvements from the previous PS3 games are evident. It also does the smart thing and starts the player as Kazuma. I like splitting the game up among a handful of protagonists, but Yakuza 4 kept Kazuma out of it for way too long. I’ve barely played this enough to get a handle on the what the game is going to be about, but this series never disappoints.

Upcoming

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD – I’ve got this on preorder, but I just played the game last year, so I might not be that quick to jump into it. Damn that amazon prime preorder discount. Still, I am pretty excited to argue with people about Zelda after this release and some games’ reputations shift. (I’ll still be repping Skyward Sword as one of the top games in the series) The WiiU has quietly become quite the Zelda playing machine. If only it had downloadable versions of the DS games.

Return to Popolocrois – Again with the Amazon Prime discount. I played through most of the PSP Popolocrois game and found it charming if dated. This one, which is a Harvest Moon Story of Seasons crossover game, looks to keep the charm and hopefully lose some of the oldness. It does have the misfortune to come out in the midst of a deluge of 3DS RPGs of sorts, having to compete with the likes of FE Fates, Bravely Second, Mario & Luigi Paper Jam and Hyrule Warriors. Not all of those are straight RPGs (and it’s probably really stretching to include Hyrule Warriors) but it does make for some pretty crowded territory for Popolocrois. I hope it finds an audience.

Fire Emblem Fates Conquest & Revelations – There are two more paths in this game. The first one already took me about 40 hours to beat; I can’t wait to spend another 80 with it. I took the easy path first, which was good because it took me a long time to grasp the changed pair up mechanic.

Mega Man Legacy Collection – I’m not intending to spend a lot of time playing this, I mostly bought to support a worthy venture. This is how more people should do classic game compilations. I am happy to have a near pixel perfect version of some of the best games ever to play on the go.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – I picked this up on a PSN sale. It looks great. I don’t know if I’ll actually have time to get to it, but hope springs eternal.

Super Mario RPG – This is the next game for my SNES project, after I finish with Lufia. Then I’ll be forced to get into the shooters before coming back for some more RPGs. This is probably the most well-known game I’m playing for this SNES celebration, but somehow I’ve never found the time to put much time into it.

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