2015/06/05 23:00

Fighting the strange and the beautiful
[Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3]

Games I beat in 2015: #11 –
Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 (Replay, plus bonus content)

I’ve played iOS ports of games I’ve enjoyed many times, but this may be the first time I played a console or computer release after the iOS version. Long story short, the iOS port is better.

Well, maybe just compared to the OS X port. I wondered why the fourth game didn’t have a port when I picked it up on Halloween last year but after seeing how 3 turned out, I supposed they just didn’t want to bother. There is a lot of tearing and it feels a bit, well, “lazy” feels rude but perhaps they didn’t have as much time or budget to spend on it as they would have liked.

I mostly got it for the bonus content. A between Episode 2 and 3 chapter explained a few things, namely where that “you” character went. That was fine. I don’t want “me” in games. But the game explained the gap between 2 and 3, so that was nice.

These “RPG-lite” games are neat, quick little play-throughs, but I find a lot of the sales points to be a bit too limiting in the end. Beats a whack on the head though.

2015/06/04 23:00

Blow on the steak
[Breath of Fire 2]

Games I beat in 2015: #10 –
Breath of Fire 2

Movie sequels tend to not be as good as their predecessors, but games don’t suffer from that stigma. There is the phenomenon of Famicom era sequels being the black sheep of the series (See: Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, and so on) but it’s easy to point this to the desire to not be so similar as to make customers wonder why they should buy the game at all. Breath of Fire 2 manages to be worse than its predecessor in some key ways, despite its attempts to make a more complex RPG.

The over-ambition of BoF2 can be seen right from the first town. Doors require a press of a button to open and every single bathroom in the game has a sink with a running faucet. The realism of having to exert oneself to open a door and the beauty of the animated water sprites show that the game’s designers wanted to beef up the interaction and graphical power of the game, but they ended up making things feel weird. This is most felt in the menu system. The original game allowed unused buttons to be mapped to submenus such as Items, Equipment, or Magic, and this decreased time in menus drastically. This is gone from 2.

It still feels like Breath of Fire with its over-world interactions of fishing, hunting and turning into a giant frog to leap over short cliffs. There’s a Ryu and there’s a Nina and even some of the other characters from the first game make cameos. The warm fuzzy feeling does not go unappreciated.

The battle system is still fairly zippy. Characters each have their uses, although some are significantly more useful in battle. The townsfolk recruiting is interesting enough, but nothing too exciting. Which sums up exactly how I felt about the game. It was a sequel to Breath of Fire.

2015/06/01 23:00

Games I beat and bought May 2015

Beat

  • 2015.05.05: Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 (and DLC content)

The more I look at the word precipice the more I feel like I do not understand English. The DLC content was fun, but overall the experience felt shoddy.

Bought

  • 2015.05.16: Grim Fandango
  • 2015.05.16: Symphony of the Night

This makes the fourth time I have bought SotN in some shape or form, but that only brings up the Money-Per-Hour ratio to about maybe three hundredths of a cent?

Grim Fandango has frustrated me greatly in the short time I have dipped into it, but the dialogue is so, so good.

2015/05/31 01:29

Quick peek at FF5r

Final Fantasy 5r 2015-05-31 00.34.23
“Don’t open this box!”

Don’t tell me what to do, silly Black Mage.

Final Fantasy 5r 2015-05-31 00.34.43

Well. This is an interesting patch.

Wind Raptor took me several tries. I actually had to leave the Wind Temple, get Broadswords for everyone and then try again. It uses the counterattack move it had in the original game every turn until it covers itself. Then it takes 0 damage if you hit it while it is blocking and counters with a hard Claw hit. Also? It White Winds itself while blocking. I needed twelve potions or so, and lots of care to not miss my timing.

I’ll be streaming this when I can over the next few weeks.

Related: FF5FJF2015 is open! Go register!

2015/05/29 23:00

What to pray for

I never fail to find something new in Symphony of the Night. The amount of stuff in the game is completely unbelievable. For some reason when I wandered into the room with the confession booth, I realized that I had never attempted to sit in the priest’s chair.

And there’s nothing exciting.

In my various tries, I only got the sobbing woman. Apparently there is another woman who will chuck a spear at you, but I didn’t see that. I looked it up. Spoilers. Dangit. One less thing to learn next time.

2015/05/26 23:00

Overloaded

Tuesdays have been my busiest days for the past few years and yet today I tried to schedule myself completing the same amount of work that I get done on less busy days. With the heat picking up, I was so exhausted by the time classes were done that once I got home I didn’t have the energy for anything outside of getting dinner cooked. I’ve got enough leeway with my freelance work that one night off won’t cause me any issues, thankfully. While making a daily list of things to do has been great for keeping me focused, realizing when things won’t go as planned is a lesson that I’ve got to keep on learning over again every once in a while.

2015/05/25 23:00

Don’t turn around

Maniac Mansion was one of the biggest time sinks of my childhood, and yet I spent a significant amount of time at night wishing there was some way for a doctor to open up my skull and remove the memory of microwaving the pool water. It was completely lost on my young self how that image was much more queasy than what happened in-game, but that is the human mind for you.

The next thing I can remember freaking me out was randomly stumbling across the mugger in Déjà Vu. Similarly, walking past the woman in the opening of Uninvited. Now that I have my Apple Watch I am taking evening strolls to finish my Activity Circles. Every single time I pass a person on the street, I turn around half expecting them to be staring at me with a warped expression on their face. I shrug it off knowing the thought is silly, but I’m instantly transported back into those Kemco ports. This is what left a lasting impression on me. I get less of those these days.

Is it the games or is it age? It being age scares me as it is a reminder that things are slowly creeping towards “the end”. Sure, I’m only in my thirties and likely have another thirty or more to go. Maybe even double that. My grandfather did live until his early nineties. Yet the BOOM moments are dwindling. It’s the end of May. I don’t want to be that guy, but wasn’t January just yesterday?

2015/05/22 23:00

Complete circles

I’ve been making daily “Need to get done” lists on index cards and checking them off. It’s been fairly useful and a bit different from my digital stuff, as that tracks all the exact times and notifications for things I need to do. This little list is just stuff I should get done at some point during the day.

I started out writing 10k steps as the first item but that has switched to filling out the Activity circles on the Apple Watch. Which means I can’t just walk a good amount, I gotta pump them legs on my evening stroll. I’m “afraid” to weigh myself because I doubt that I am actually losing any weight, and I might be gaining some from the lifting I’ve been doing three times a week. Nothing excessive, just a few reps of stuff to maybe do something positive.

The list gets certain things like having to go grab something from the grocery store, handle something at the bank or so on, but I also have doing the Hearthstone daily quest and even forcing myself to sit down for a half hour and play a game. Because I might not even think to do it with all the stuff going on. And if I don’t I’m definitely crankier than if I do.

2015/05/21 23:00

Swelling and Farts

Games I beat in 2015: #9 –
Wario Land 3

The four Gameboy Wario Land games are weird and 3 may be the weirdest. It’s the last one I played of the set and while I can see how they went from 2 to 4, I like both of those games more. Late 90s electronics have a strange feeling with their small LCD screens and custom, generally awful, user interfaces and Wario Land 3‘s save screen reminds me of that. A small box pops up and says “Now Saving” in a font that screams tiny LCD with an equally small progress bar that is also yelling.

Seeing a save screen in a Gameboy Color game isn’t where the weirdness ends. Although WL3 offers a familiar SMB3 world map, the similarities end there1 as each stage can is playable during day or night and changes based on what other stages have been cleared. Or rather, what part of other stages have been cleared. As each treasure is collected, Wario can either do something new or has altered the world so that he can get more of the treasure.

The starting spot offers hints on where is best to go next, however having to trek back there is a pain, despite there being no penalties for moving around on the world map. Other than your life slipping between your mortal fingers. I didn’t feel bad keeping a guide open to know where to go next.

Because the doing was the main struggle of this game. Wario’s interactions with the enemies and environments in order to change himself and get past the obstacles. It felt a bit slow overall. “Losing” to a boss did not result in a Game Over or the loss of a “life”, but instead sent Wario back to a previous part of the stage and he must make his way back to fight the boss again. This feels slow, even though dying and being warped back a bit in most games might balance things out, time-wise. But there is no “break” in the mind by being sent back in this way and it ends up feeling like more of a punishment than a normal video game “death”.

This all said, it offered a lot of interesting puzzles and ways to interact with the world. Had there been an easier way to get clues as to where to go next, or perhaps even in-stage hints on where to go, I might have cleared the game sooner and felt a bit more satisfied than I did.


  1. Well, also excluding the basic jumping and such.