Some games beaten, other games started
June 26, 2019

Since the last time I posted one of these, I beat nearly everything that I was playing at that time. My review for The Witcher is up. My review for Trials Rising (where I technically need to get about 8 more levels before unlocking the main game Extreme tracks, which constituted "beating" the game with Trials Evolution, but probably will wait until the rest of the DLC comes out to churn those out) is in the Production Room and I finished off Borderlands 2 and all the games in Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far last week and haven't gotten my writing about those two done yet.

So, my new projects are, in no particular order.

Super Nova: After reading a recent EmP shooter review, I figured it was about time I did one again. And so I randomly picked a game that was in my "wouldn't mind playing some time" list and wound up selecting possibly the toughest possible game for someone who hasn't played one of these in a little while. Damn, this game is BRUTAL. Enemies come at you from all sides with no warning and you're basically either needing superhuman reflexes/skills or a willingness to abuse save states like never before. Decent in small doses (2-3 levels in a sitting); frustrating in longer ones.

Super Mario 64DS: Since I never owned a Nintendo 64, I missed out on this game when it originally came out, only seeing it being played once for about five minutes when in college. And so I bought this enhanced port (more playable characters, a bunch of mini-games and 30 more stars to collect). I think you need 80/150 stars to access the final boss and my guess is that I'll not work to get many more than that. I'm enjoying the game, with the levels coming off as a cross between a scaled down Super Mario Galaxy (multiple stars per level with several objectives being similar to those in SMG, aspects of the level can change from star to star) and a larger Super Mario 3D Land (fewer but less linear levels AND the time limits removed to account for that difference). My issue is that I'm really struggling with the controls and camera. The camera doesn't seem upgraded for the technological improvements and is PlayStation level tricky to keep where you want it. And when I hold my 3DS, it's more comfortable to have my left hand on the joystick part, which also has the full range of movement in all directions...but that also feels loose and imprecise. The control pad doesn't have the full range and is a bit more awkward for me to use, but gives me better control in areas where I need to be precise (for example: the first star of the early-game ice mountain, where you have to navigate a slippery slide with plenty of "fall off the track, lose a life" parts. So I definitely want to get a lot of the stars on the easier levels, so that I can play the tougher ones, but not have to stick around to get tons of stars. Hell, I only got the first one on that ice mountain, as I got PISSED at how many times I'd slide and wind up gliding off the mountain. 3DS-breaking pissed, almost! Working through Big Boo's Haunt right now and have 20-some stars.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Finish one Witcher game, start the next, as I've had this for my 360 for a few years, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. Story-wise, it starts fairly shortly after the first one ends, with Geralt being King Foltest's personal killer for hire. Until partway through the tutorial, when the king meets the titular king assassin and gets assassinated. Speaking of the tutorial, HOLY HELL THAT WAS BRUTAL AND INSANE!!!! I don't really die that often in tutorial areas, but here I probably did a dozen or two times. A completely new system for playing (action-oriented instead of "click when the sword icon has fire around it") and you pretty much are expected to use all of Geralt's oils, signs and whatnot, as opposed to the first game, when anyone with any timing could skate by on sword-whacking most of the time. I've made it to the early part of Chapter 1 after surviving the tutorial and am running around the town of Flotsam looking for quests and the like.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age: I'm generally burnt out on the average JRPG, but was willing to make an exception for this series. And am really enjoying the nostalgia trip, with all the Slimes, Drakees and the like. Made it back to Cobblestone after the whole "imprisonment in the castle" bit to find it was burnt down. If I have any complaints, it's that after initially making it to the castle city, things move really slowly for a bit. Large town to explore, get tossed in the dungeon, have a brief stealth bit followed by a little "avoid the dragon" followed by exploring a new part of the castle town and meeting some people before getting back out into the field. But otherwise, it's a fun relaxing game that's enjoyable to play for a while after dying 15 times trying to kill five knights in Witcher 2!

Most recent blog posts from Rob Hamilton...

joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - June 26, 2019 (12:39 PM)
Super Mario 64DS is a terrible port, and it's the least ideal way to experience that game. The DS version doesn't have the revolutionary 360-degree analog control that defined the original version. The circle pad on the 3DS is actually mapped to the D-Pad when playing DS games, which means you only get 16 directions instead of the full range of movement that the N64 version had.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - June 26, 2019 (12:39 PM)
*8 directions, not 16.
overdrive overdrive - June 26, 2019 (12:52 PM)
That might explain my occasional scream of "I FUCKING HATE THIS SHIT!!!!!" when I blunder to a slope where I wind up sliding all the way off of whatever level I'm playing (aka: most times where good timing and placement is needed -- let's not even go into my attempts to catch those damn mini-game key-holding rabbits...). As well as the camera at times. I was playing Whomp's Fortress to get the 8 red coins. When you kick the plank from the top of the fortress to give you a bridge to the first floating island where the last couple are and try to walk across it, the camera REFUSES to stay behind you, making it so you have to slowly crawl across it.

I mean, I have read that the touchscreen, if gotten used to, can do decent. To which I think my response was "HELL. NO." because I only do touchscreen when it comes to things like drawing Etrian Odyssey maps.

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