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361  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 25, 2014, 10:52:27 AM
Couple more Fire Emblem chapters.  Turns out Nephenee is a SUPERBEAST.  Best unit on my team other than Ike.  Kieran is okay and I probably won't continue with him since Boyd has turned it around.  I'm going to keep using Mist only because I heard she's important in a later chapter.  I'm going to have Jill, Astrid, and Zihark gain a few more additional levels before I decide whether or not to use them, but my initial impressions are good.  Already like Zihark better than Mia.  
362  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: April 23, 2014, 03:37:54 PM
I think I just took a year off my life watching the ending to the Wizards-Bulls game (I'm a Wizards/Ravens/Orioles/Capitals fan).  Why do I like sports?  Why does anyone like sports?  We're fools for caring.  And it's the best. 

I can't believe the Bulls lost both games at HOME. People have been all over my Pacers for slumping hard the past couple months, but no one has said anything about the Bulls until now. At least the Pacers won a home game! That said, I watch tons of NBA and NFL games to the point that I spend entire days just sitting in front of my TV. It's certainly not the best way I could spend my time, but I love it! I could beat so many more games, do my homework, clean the house... but nah, sports bro lol.
I find it difficult to spend an entire day watching sports on TV unless it's a special occasion, like the NCAA men's basketball tournament or the Olympics.  Even if I'm watching football with the boys we'll usually take a break to play pickup basketball at the nearby rec center or something.  And really, the fact that people care about sports so much is a little silly, but I have so much fun following my favorite teams and attending a few games each year that I can't stay away. 

Me and one of my college buddies are going to game 4 of Wiz-Bulls at the Verizon Center this Sunday!  There's a chance it could be the clinching game!  I AM SO PUMPED THAT IT'S KIND OF A PROBLEM!!!
363  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast (Random Encounter) Thread on: April 23, 2014, 03:34:16 PM
FF VI and FF Tactics are my favorite FF games too, but COME ON, Mr. Steinman.  Accusing Stephen of being a Nazi hipster on trial for war crimes for saying VI isn't in his top five?  While he explains his choices and you refuse to justify your accusations (and try to avoid taking a stand on your own top five FF games)?  Not cool at all.  I guess you prefer to identify something you disagree with as being too "bro" or "hipster" and hope that settles the matter. 

LOVED the discussion on Conception, even though it's a game I know next to nothing about.  Really, what I felt Persona 3+4 did exceptionally well was marry the gameplay aspects of narrative (Social Link dialog and time management), customization (Social Links enhance Personae, determine which Personae to focus on), and action (Personae are your most important tools for combat).  Even though it seemed weird or disjointed at times, those three parts being attached in that way enhanced all of them.  The fact that combat was snappy and fun and that the characters were interesting also do a lot for the game, but I always felt that Persona 3 and 4's gameplay synergy were its most fascinating parts. 

So Conception tried to mimic Persona 3's dating-sim elements connected to combat+customization elements, but ultimately failed?  Makes sense.  And I'm also with you on dungeon stuff - navigating cool spaces can be a great part of an RPG, and Dragon Quest VIII is a good example.  Something like 60% of the reason I like Zelda is because of fun, memorable dungeon areas.  Interacting with the world outside of combat is pretty important, and I would be overjoyed if Persona 5 can improve upon its predecessors in that way. 

And MY top five Final Fantasy games are (ranked 1 to 5): VI, Tactics, IX, VII, V.  If Tactics doesn't count, move the last three up one space and add X. 
364  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: April 23, 2014, 01:26:02 AM
I think I just took a year off my life watching the ending to the Wizards-Bulls game (I'm a Wizards/Ravens/Orioles/Capitals fan).  Why do I like sports?  Why does anyone like sports?  We're fools for caring.  And it's the best. 
365  Media / General Games / Re: Misc. Gaming News Topic on: April 22, 2014, 11:05:35 AM
April 24th Famitsu previews are out. Next Ace Attorney is in Meiji Japan, Rise is playable in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax console version:


Rumors also hinting at playable Ken Amada and Tohru Adachi, but that's unconfirmed. Yukari, Junpei, and a new character are already in the arcade version, so these are console additions, like Elizabeth and non-Shadow Labrys for the original game. 
366  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 20, 2014, 11:53:56 PM
Struggling in Chapter 10 of FE9.  I'm trying to complete the mission via stealth, because I assume it gives you some sweet bonus items, but it isn't working.  Thinking I'll either check a guide or just give up.  Ike is still ridiculous, Soren is really good, and Titania seems closer to a Seth than a Marcus.  Oscar and Boyd both seem to have potential, but neithe rof them have had great growths to start out.  Dunno if I like Mia or Ilyana much at all.  No idea if Mist or Rolf are worth it, but I put a few levels into each of them just in case.  Also not sure what to make of these cat characters, but Lethe seems to be working out okay so far. 

...I miss Fire Emblem.  I had great times with the others I've played. 
367  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 20, 2014, 01:36:12 AM
Played first four or five chapters of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.  I've beaten FE's 4, 6, 7, and 8.  The plan is to finish PoR (#9) now and play Awakening (#...13?) when I get a 3DS later this year.  Probably.  Anyhow, Ike gained in four or five stats for all of his levels, which is totally insane.  Oscar and Boyd are... okay.  Not sure if they're worth it; they didn't get great levels in the first two chapters. Titania is a Jeigan, so I won't be using her for awhile, natch.  Gatrie and Shinon seem okay, but they're at a high level so I'll try not to overuse them.  Soren seems really solid.  Will be using him. 

(I love when you're early in a Fire Emblem game and you're getting new units every chapter. Lots of in-in-out-out-in going on.)
368  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: I made a list quiz on JetPunk on: April 19, 2014, 01:09:49 PM
Great quiz.  I usually use Sporcle for this kind of activity, so maybe you can make it there too?  Good stuff. 
369  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: April 16, 2014, 08:57:08 PM
I caved and bought the UDON Art of Ys book this weekend and it arrived today.  The art is lovely, the page quality is pretty high, and I will proudly display it next to my other game books.  A few comments:

-All of the art is pre-existing material from Ys games, but some of it's quite rare (inserts to soundtrack CDs, vendor-specific PC wallpapers, original manual art).  I recognize bits of it from the art gallery in Ys vs. Sora.  But all of the "big" art is either full-page or half-page in a book bigger and thicker than a magazine.  It's all looks great. 

The book only covers the Falcom-made Ys games.  No Dawn of Ys, no Mask of the Sun, and no PS2 ports.  There are like eight versions of Ys I and II, though.  Great book for fans of Feena and Reah. 

In Wanderers from Ys, Adol looks like a knight from Saint Seiya.  Evidence.  Well, I guess Adol has always looked like a knight from Saint Seiya, but with that late-80s, early-90s anime art he does even moreso.  Kind of adorable. 

I like the pages with basically every character in every game, but there are no descriptions or profiles at all!  Not even commentary on any of the games!  By anyone!  Almost all of the text in the art book is in sparse labels and subtitles, identifying the characters in the image and where it's from.  Nothing else. 

I found a small error where some Christmas themed promotional art from The Oath in Felghana identifies Chester as Adol.  Hard to blame them, though, because Adol isn't in the picture and most of his hair is covered by a Santa hat. 

Ys needs more Dogi.  All of Ys.  Dogi is the best sidekick since Boo-boo. 
370  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 15, 2014, 05:21:57 PM
I think I'm right at the final boss for Digital Devil Saga.  After I (probably) beat it tonight I'm going to figure out what to play next.  It's either going to be going whole hog into Persona 2: Innocent Sin or dusting off the old Wii.  Might play XenoBlade Chronicles or Kirby. 
371  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Tales of PlayStation(s) revealed on: April 15, 2014, 05:20:42 PM
I'm glad this is probably a thing.  A few years ago I downloaded Tales of Hearts and Tales of Innocence onto an R4, using a complete translation patch for ToI and a bare-bones, incomplete one for ToH.  Never got very far in either one.  I have no objections to more RPGs like this getting localized. 
372  Media / General Games / Re: Jax & Daxter VS Sly Cooper on: April 14, 2014, 05:38:37 PM
Depends on your tastes and preferences.  First of all, I'd recommend the Ratchet & Clank HD Trilogy over either of those.  I'll (not) briefly profile all three to give you an idea.  

Sly Cooper trilogy - Platforming games with a stealth bent.  Neat little mechanics for twisty-flips onto points and rails, pick-pocketing skills, and other sneaky techniques.  The first game has five zones, consisting of narrow stages between a larger hub, while the second and third games are both 6 or 7 self-contained open worlds with occasional action set-pieces and specialized boss fights (racing stages, etc.).  The first game has you controlling only Sly, while the second and third games have multiple playable characters with special abilities.  Each of those mini-worlds in Sly 2 and Sly 3 have a fun mix of surveillance, stealth, and combat as the starting tasks in any new area, followed by one or two heist missions that spin delightfully out of control.  Sly, Bentley, and Murray have a fun best friends dynamic going on.  My favorite in the trilogy is Sly 2: Band of Thieves.  

Jak & Daxter trilogy - Platforming games with an open-world bent.  The first game is a big ol' collect-a-thon, with finding a total of 1000 Precursor Orbs and 100 Power Cores the major conceit of the game.  It's a gorgeous, interconnected open world, but it's more similar to Mario 64 than any other game on this list.  I think you need 60 Cores to unlock the final stage, but getting all 100 unlocks the best ending and sets up Jak II.  Jak II and Jak III are totally different both in setup and tone - they take place in a dystopian setting where Jak has aged several years and has become a grizzled freedom fighter (...really.).  Heavily inspired by GTA III's open world, both Jak II and Jak III are about navigating this new space (and finding bunches of Precursor Orbs, of course) and defeating enemies with a collection of firearms and energy weapons.  They're good, and the story has a pretty satisfying arc, but after I played II and III I missed the more colorful, innocent arrangement of the first game.  Also worth note: the characters in the Jak universe are solid as a group, but HOLY **** Daxter gets annoying.  Something about Max Casella's voice work, man.  My favorite in the trilogy is the original Jak & Daxter.  

Ratchet & Clank trilogy - Platforming games with a shooting bent.  Ratchet games probably have the least-impressive stages in any of these three series, but the combat is HUGELY entertaining, with each game amassing an increasingly ridiculous selection of guns for Ratchet to equip.  The first game has the most jumping around and platforming, while the latter two games focus more on the firefights and weapon upgrades.  The Ratchet games have the most minigames and alternate play modes of any of these series, with each game having at least one hacking minigame, multiple rail-jumping stages, specialized horde shooting stages, and Clank stages that are more focused on puzzles.  I think that Ratchet has the best shooting and overall variety of these three series, but there's almost no stealth and the environments aren't huge and impressive like Jak's Haven City.  My favorite in the trilogy is Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal.  

Common themes - Each of these PS2 games were made by a west coast American developer trying to refine 3D platforming from the previous generation while creating appealing, marketable characters and worlds.  There is interplay and cross-promotion between all three different series, as the three studios passed some code and assets between one another (for example, the credits of each Ratchet game have Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch in the credits) and shared SCEA as a publisher.  There are always blatant attempts at cartoon humor in these games, which is a mixed bag. Generally, these aren't stories to be taken seriously, but each one is respectful to its own mythology enough that there are connections to be made between each game.  In all three series (especially Ratchet 3) you can get some bonuses for having completed save files of the preceding games.  

Look, I have played a TON of platformers over the years.  I am bad at them.  I don't always even finish them, and I never collect everything.  I rarely beat them with a completion rate above 70%.  But all three of these series were a major part of my teens and early twenties and I will always step up to bat for them.  Platformers with RPG elements; what's not to love?  
373  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 12, 2014, 09:01:33 PM
I'm not going to comment on collecting stuff in detail.  In the interest of saving space, I keep almost all of my game boxes in storage and keep the games themselves in a small library of CD/DVD booklets.  I'm more likely to display books, movies, or board games than game boxes, but (to be fair) I have HUNDREDS of the damn things. 

Digital Devil Saga
- the Manipura Waterways are AWESOME for gaining levels, and amusingly all of the enemies are female.  Demonesses, Hindu goddesses, Egyptian goddesses, Japanese goddesses, and fairies.  Oh, except for when GIANT SCARY DEMON IDOLS show up as reinforcements.  Hm, maybe Arahabaki are women?  Can't tell. 

Persona 2: Innocent Sin -  wow, they gave me a full party of five characters REALLY FAST.  I like that.  I don't really get the whole demon negotiating thing, but I got some Lovers cards and a Pixie.  I've gone in and out of the first dungeon a few times; I'm also messing around town.  There's obviously a lot going on in this game, but so far I'm not a big fan of fusing Persona; at least compared to Persona 3 and Persona 4.  I definitely like this game so far, though, and once I finish Digital Devil Saga I'll dive in a little deeper. 
374  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Y's fans- I need your help on: April 10, 2014, 05:10:15 PM
OP said that he isn't interested in PC versions.  

Ys I and II - the PSP version is better than the Wii version, so definitely go PSP.  I think they're weird and dated, so only play these if you try another Ys game and want to explore the series' history.  

Ys Origin - PC only.  Really nice game that takes place 1000 years before Ys I.  It's available in English, but if you aren't into PC gaming then you're out of luck.  

Ys: The Oath in Felghana - Remake of Ys III.  PSP version is (again) your best bet.  All you need to know is that Adol and Dogi are best friends and are visiting Dogi's hometown; the rest of the plot kicks off from there.  

Ys: The Ark of Napishtim - It's Ys VI. I've heard that the PC version is the best version, but North America never got it.  People have specific issues with both the PS2 and PSP versions, but they're both available in English.

Ys Seven - VERY different from the others in the series, as you control a party of three characters instead of just one.  If Origin and Felghana are kinda like Zelda, then Ys Seven is kinda like Secret of Mana.  PSP only.  There's one character from Ark of Napishtim returning here, but it's not crucial to play that one first.  The dark-haired guy is Adol's rival; that's all you ened to know.  

Ys: Memories of Celceta - Remake / re-imagining of Ys IV.  Uses a party system like Ys Seven.  I haven't played it, but DAMN I really want to.  Vita only.  Doesn't seem to have a major, spoiler-y story connection to other modern Ys games.  

My recommendation: Definitely try Oath in Felghana and Ys Seven, both on PSP.  Those two are really good and represent two different "flavors" of Ys.  If you like them, then try Celceta (if you loved Seven) and consider tracking down Origin and Napishtim (if you loved Felghana).  Sucks that Origin is PC-only.  If you like any of them and want to get deeper into the history of the franchise, then get Chronicles on PSP or PC.  That's all I got.  

Emulation: it isn't hard to get an emulator running for the TG/PC versions of Ys IV, Ys V, and Ys VI, especially if you get a physical copy.  It's something I'm planning to try one day down the line, but not yet.  Plenty of other games to play.  

Monsoon Ranks the Six Ys Games He Has Played From Worst To Best
Ys I
Ys: The Ark of Napishtim
Ys Origin
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys Seven

What can I say?  I like games where you control a party of characters.  Hope this helps. 
375  Media / Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn on: April 10, 2014, 12:33:04 AM
Doing a lot of grinding / Mantra building in Digital Devil Saga.  Exploring the Brutes' Base while I do it.  Using Serph, Argilla, Gale, and Cielo roughly equally and ignoring Heat. 
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