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301  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 25, 2014, 09:17:51 PM
Keep posting!

Since the last posting I've also beaten the Swamp Palace and the Palace of Darkness.  Did some exploring, some sidequesting, and (mostly) some snail hunting.  82 maiamai total.  Now I have all of Ravio's items bought and eight of them upgraded to Nice (all but the boomerang).  

I thought Turtle Rock had the toughest dungeon and boss of the five Lorule dungeons I've played, but that is probably in large part because it was the second one I did in Lorule.  I still had green mail, the Lv.1 Master Sword, and only the Bow, Fire Rod, and Ice Rod upgraded to Nice (I specifically waited to enter until I upgraded the Ice Rod).  I had a rough time in Turtle Rock, dying once (only time in the game where that happened), but resetting to the weathervane save rather than buy my rental items again.  The Desert Palace was manageable and getting the Titan's Mitt accelerated my income in a major way (in both rupees and maiamai).  I haven't had to use a guide at all to find nearly everything I've wanted to, with the lone exception of the Master Ore in the Palace of Darkness.  I stared at that stupid map, already having finished the dungeon, for close to 30 minutes before I decided "**** this, I'mma check GameFAQs."  Spinning wall triggered by the lower switch.  Tricky.  

My very first impression of the game was "this is not wasting any time at all."  Less than 20 minutes in I met some core characters, been introduced to item renting, and thrown into a dungeon.  Traveling the map is easier than ever thanks to weathervanes.  Getting from dungeon to dungeon or encounter to encounter is easy, but has incredible design variety and changing tactics.  Every dungeon has 1 or 2 signature items, without *obviously* revolving around the item and making each item VERY useable and powerful outside its own dungeon (thus dispelling one of my issues with the Zelda games' basic design).  Rupee collection is rapid and satisfying, since there will basically always be something to spend them on; on a similar note, Maiamai collection rules because there are a TON of them, they never seem unreasonably hidden, and there is an awesome, palpable reward for each ten you find.  Smart stuff, Nintendo.  

I don't really have any serious issues with ALBW.  It wears its gimmicks fantastically (wall paintings, moving between worlds, and renting items are all rock solid), the map is dense with things to discover and collect, and the action is superb.  The item rental concept is ingenious, and soon you're gaining rupees at such an incredible rate that keeping those nine things in your inventory permanently is totally manageable.  The dungeons are all great, but they feel a little small and short compared to the classics in A Link to the Past or the incredible scale and spectacle of the 3D Zelda games' dungeons.  I love the dungeons I've done, but they seem a little too quick and too easy.  Maybe I'm just too much of a veteran, but this seems like Zelda Lite at times.  A fantastic, refreshing, delicious Zelda Lite, but still a little too breezy.  That's my biggest (only?) complaint about the game, and it barely even counts.  

And I wonder how much of it's nostalgia.  Sure, the map and items are all great, but the map is almost a 100% landmark-for-landmark recreation of one of my favorite games ever.  Probably more than 60% of the soundtrack is well-produced re-imaginings of old tracks.  Almost every item and gameplay tidbit from ALttP is brought back and improved a little bit.  OF COURSE I'll really like it.  Even when it changes in tiny ways it's enough to blow my mind a little bit and get me excited - I got *way* too pumped from seeing that Turtle Rock and the Ice Ruins switched places.  Similar thing to see a snow-covered Death Mountain.  Is this just awesome, or a bit of a cheap ploy?  Probably both, but I don't care.  It's done with enough attention to detail and smart adjustments that I'm enjoying just about all of it.  

So that's that.  Two more Sages to rescue, and presumably a final dungeon.  Will probably finish it this weekend.  Dunno if I'll get all the snails, but I definitely want at least 90 so I can get all my items up to Nice.  Next time I post here it will probably be a LOT of XenoBlade ramblings.  

TL;DR A Link Between Worlds is pretty good.  You should play it.  Already not regretting buying this 3DS last weekend.  
302  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 24, 2014, 09:54:50 PM
More XenoBlade and ALBW.  Just reached Frontier Village in the former and I've rescued three Sages in the latter (Thieves Hideout, Desert Palace, and Turtle Rock).  Both of these games ****ing rock.  Much better follow-ups to the kinda disappointing Arkham City. 
303  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 23, 2014, 08:19:51 PM
GODDAMN A Link Between Worlds is good.  I want Ravio in every Zelda ever.  Selling something.  Anything.  Let him sell sandwiches.  The dude's great. 
304  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 21, 2014, 10:01:57 PM
I caved in and bought a 3DS yesterday afternoon.  The library had gotten too strong; I could name more than ten games I wanted to play, which is plenty.  Found a weekend Best Buy deal for This model 3DS, which comes with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team automatically downloaded.  It has a 30th Anniversary - Year of Luigi emblem on the bottom, heh.  I also took advantage of a buy-1-get-1-free deal to pick up The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Kirby Triple Deluxe.  They were most definitely trying to clear out 2013 inventory with this sale, and I was happy to take advantage.  THEN, apparently I wasn't done because I ordered a copy of Bravely Default for $30 online that same afternoon.  

Total haul: silver M&L 3DS XL + four games = $245.  Not bad.  I can keep eating well most nights with that.  Mario & Luigi is pretty solid so far.  The dream-platforming is silly/fun and the combat is just as good as the first three games.  I *love* the Luiginary moves.  Dreamy Luigi is the best.  
305  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast (Random Encounter) Thread on: July 20, 2014, 03:08:22 PM
Question / prompt: What are some RPGs that are just okay or maybe average, because they're missing something?  Like, C+ RPGs that would become A- RPGs if they made one small-to-medium-sized adjustment or corrected one flaw.  I would love to hear each regular panelist provide an answer. 
306  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 19, 2014, 05:50:47 PM
More XenoBlade, with LOTS of ****ing around in Sartorl Marsh.  Level 29, and dying repeatedly against the Reckless Godwin unique mob.  Gonna try to explore the rest of the swamp and maybe find the endpoint before going back to beat him and complete the Nopon rescue quest.  I'm not savvy enough at this game to beat him slightly underleveled. 

Also: Dunban's the man.  I like how his arts chain together and I find him more entertaining to use as the point character than Shulk or Reyn.  Just sayin'. 
307  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Age 3 on: July 16, 2014, 04:33:43 PM
To be fair, there doesn't seem to be a single mage in the Dragon Age universe who doesn't resort to blood magic at the drop of a hat.  Guess the templars were actually right all along...
It's like you forgot all about Wynne and Irving (I kid, I kid).  My favorite characters in DA2 were Varric and Aveline.  I like how they deliberately didn't make Aveline cute, sexy, or vulnerable.  She was a soldier who believed in law and order, and was maybe the toughest sonofabitch on your team.  But hey, her husband died and she's sad, so her sidequest is to hook a girl up.  I liked that.  Varric is great; no arguments here.  I thought that DA2 ruined Anders.  He was a sarcastic, fun Templar-hater in Awakening that turned into a whining, tormented martyr.  I was disappointed in how they handled his character. 

And honestly?  I like DA2, but I think it has some serious problems.  I *get* what it was trying to do in build up Hawke's legend in Kirkwall, but I still feel that such blatant reuse of maps over the course of the game is a disappointment.  Part of the fun of RPGs is traveling to new areas, and DA2 was seriously lacking on that front.  I also think that the endgame is a little screwed up. 

No matter what you do or whom you support, the First Enchanter and Templar General end up losing their minds and transforming into monsters and the war begins the same way.  The end state of Dragon Age: Origins has a TON of possibilities for the end of the Fereldan Civil War and the state of the nation, but the end state of DA2 is mostly about the fate of its main characters.  That was disappointing to me. 
I'm not exactly down on DA2, but I think that DA: Origins and DA: Awakening are both better from a story, character, and environment perspective.  DA2's combat, skills, and systems are great, though, and I hope that DA: Inquisition is the result of BioWare understand what worked and didn't work about all three games and ends up as the best of both worlds. 
308  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 16, 2014, 12:54:36 AM
Very early on in XenoBlade Chronicles.  Spent a little too much time doing quests in the first village and accidentally getting WRECKED by some unique hunts.  Or at least what I assume was a unique hunt.  Big purple death bird on one of the anti-air batteries.  Yup. 
309  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Megami Tensei Topic on: July 15, 2014, 06:19:20 PM
@Klyde Chroma: What character has my nickname there? I don't play Disgaea so I have no idea.
That's a female Samurai.  Depending on the game, it's called either a Ronin or an Exorcist in its first tier.  Here's a picture.  They're excellent sword users and decent with other weapons, depending on the game.  
310  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Megami Tensei Topic on: July 15, 2014, 11:50:32 AM
I got no complaints.  'Says Prinny right there under my name. 
311  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 15, 2014, 07:39:07 AM
That class is usually called a Masked Hero and it's in D3, D4, and DD2.  They have good movement range and SPD, and usually equip fists or guns.  I use them for Item World running. 
312  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Age 3 on: July 14, 2014, 06:30:00 PM
I don't think it's changed.  My guess is that they were referring to an older demo build or the alpha, when they hadn't fully implemented bows yet.  There's no way they're going to stop having archer rogues. 
313  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Evolution 2014 on: July 13, 2014, 12:43:00 AM
Ahahaha Yipes vs. ChrisG with Yipes' girlfriend on commentary.  This is going to be pretty interesting, heh. 
314  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Completion List 2014 on: July 12, 2014, 09:43:34 PM
Games Beaten: 2014 Edition
1. Ys Seven
2. Rayman Origins
3. Assassin's Creed II
4. Dust: An Elysian Tail
5. The Walking Dead (season one)
6. Frog Fractions
7. Mortal Kombat (2011)
8. Digital Devil Saga
9. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
10. Persona 3: Portable (FeMC)
11. Sonny
12. Sonny 2
13. Dragon Age: Origins
14. Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening (SUBTITLES!)
15. Retro Game Challenge
16. Batman: Arkham City

I think beating 30 on the year is doable.  Mostly I want to cut into my RPG backlog a bit, though.  Next is probably Persona 2: Innocent Sin.  Probably.  Something else might distract me first. 
315  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: July 12, 2014, 07:37:06 PM
Finished Arkham City.  When Batman is doing cool Batman things, it's pretty all right.  Visuals are great and the audio is excellent.  Pretty much every predator encounter was really good.  Favorite parts of the game were the Mr. Freeze boss battle, the sidequests involving Bane and Zsasz, and the Riddler hostages.  Least-favorite parts of the game: collecting hundreds of Riddler trophies and environment clues to unlock those Riddler hostage rooms.  Overall I'm kinda lukewarm about it but I don't feel cheated out of my time investment.  Not bad.  Probably don't need any more Batman games until 2016 or later.
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