Emerald Gaming Update – November 2016

 

This month has been…trying. Not only for personal reasons, but also because I had, being honest, I had a rough time writing this one. I’ve been playing a ton of games, but for various reasons I decided against including all of them on my main entries. I’ll include them in what will no doubt be a lengthy ‘Other Quick Updates’ section. For now, though, enjoy~!


The Legend of Dragoon for PS1

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So I’ve been playing The Legend of Dragoon, developed by SCEI and released in the year 2000 for the past month.

Yes. For the past month.

And pretty regularly too. Granted, this is an older style turn based JRPG from the Playstation 1 era, so a certain amount of slowness and overexposition is understandable, but wow I forgot how glacially paced this game was. The whole time through, I keep thinking I’d kill for a way to make the text go faster by default without having to hold the X button down. The battles are slow, the cutscenes are slow, the dialogue is slow and hilarious.

Yeah, we got hilari-bad localization, folks. I love it. I live for this sort of thing.

All of that said, I can’t help but really enjoy this game. Part of it is nostalgia, but a good portion of it is the Addition system. When you’re in a battle and attack, you can time it to keep hitting into a combo, and the more times you successfully make a combo, the stronger that combo becomes. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable system, at least for me – it makes every attack a minigame of it’s own that rewards repeat successes, and I can dig that.

Not much more to say about this one. The story makes me think each disc could have viably been its own game, and coming from just now finishing the third disc, I can say there’s a bit of a lull in that part of the game, but it comes back around at the end of disc 3 with some twists I remembered, and one I even forgot about.


Slime Rancher for PC

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You know, at the end of the day, sometimes I just want to sit back and do something easy, relaxing, kind of repetitive. Some people enjoy their Harvest Moons or Animal Crossings, others like their Viscera Cleanup Detail.

Me personally? I’m a Slime Rancher kind of guy.

Slime Rancher came out early this year for PC, developed by newcomers Monomi Park. It’s an early access game still, but it’s one of those early access games that could totally pass for being fully released at this point. The basic gist is that you have a nice Dyson (not actually brand name) handheld vacuum and a ranch, you run around sucking up slimes and plopping them into your ranch, keeping them fed and collecting the plorts they drop from…well, being fed. Then you take the plorts to bank and cash them in for money, which you can then use to buy upgrades to your farm or yourself that makes the loop easier.

Occasionally you find gigantic slimes that you feed repeatedly until they explode with happiness, and you receive rewards, including a key that leads you to the next zone to find new slimes to hang out with.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. The slimes are adorable. They make the cutest noises and the cutest movements and even when they’re starving to death, they’re just the cutest. And they’re totally chill being shot around, too, so I don’t feel bad taking them away from their natural homes and forcing them into cages for my benefit.

I have to admit, and this is an inevitability for all farming loop games, I did hit that wall of repetition I couldn’t surmount after a while. Things became dull and just a process, and I ended up dropping it after a while because I’d bought all the things to be bought, and money for money’s sake is never that attractive to me. But hey, it kept my attention more than the numerous times I’ve tried to get into Harvest Moon, and it’s an overall relaxing experience that I hope will be finished someday.


Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for PS2

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Did I mention how much I’m a sucker for awkward dubbing and subpar localization? This one has some gems in it that not many people acknowledge.

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence was a Playstation 2 game released back in 2003. It’s your standard 3D action game of that era – square for light attack, triangle for heavy attack, mix them up for fun combos with your nice whip. Of course, you’ve also got your Castlevania-isms too, namely vampires, side-weapons like knives and throwing axes, and many mythological monsters of various degrees.

Personally I feel this game is quite underrated. No one seems to remember it as one of the good Castlevania games, but the flow of combat is really fun between mixing up your lights and heavys, blocking and dodging, and the massive variety of subweapons due to each one being changed every time you equip a different orb you get from beating bosses. It reminds me a bit of a faster, far more forgiving Dark Souls.

The story is dumb. But then again, nearly every story in Castlevania is dumb. I find it a bit charming in that way, and the silly, stilted dubbing compliments it in the perfect way to tickle my funny bone without them really meaning to. I mean, come on, we’re talking about a franchise that features a living castle run by Dracula, where Death is his right hand man, and people like Medusa, Frankenstein’s Monster, the mummy Akmodan II, and Cerberus hang out with legions of varying zombies, skeletons, and nearly every other mythical creature you can think of, a franchise where hearts are your ammo and meat is your health.

Of course it’s going to have some silly, dumb bits. And I love it. Your mileage may vary with how much you can deal with that sort of thing, but if you have an open mind for that sort of thing, I’d definitely highly recommend. My only complaints are the camera, which is fixed and something you can’t control, so unfortunately it can be a slight trouble at times, and the directional controls combined with perspective issues can be a massive trouble when trying to make pinpoint platforming performances.


Other Quick Updates

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Subsistence) for PS2

So, on account of having only played Metal Gear Solid 1 and Revengeance (what an odd two picks, right?) my friend offered to accompany me in a quest to play all of the games. My friend suggested an idea, to play all of the games in-universe chronologically, as a sort of experiment for one who has been largely untouched by the series. My friend played through Snake Eater while I watched.

I freaking love so much about this game.

There were a couple of times where my friend got discovered where it really felt like he shouldn’t have, but it was so insane how much detail and neat things were overloaded in the game. The sheer amount of mechanics are so numerous, and yet it’s very likely on one’s first playthrough, they wouldn’t notice half of them. Just as an example, you can go into your menu and view your character in an X-Ray mode of sorts, and if you spin your character around enough, then back out, your character will be nauseous and puke, which is a viable strategy if you want to get rid of something like poison.

Who would think to do something like that? And that’s just scratching the bare bare surface.

I also really felt like the story, oddly enough, was freed up by the fact that it was a prequel. Despite not playing 2, or any of the MSX games, I could for the most part follow what was going on, and while I don’t wish to spoil, there were multiple twists along the way that had me in shock. It’s been a long, long time since a twist hit me like that.

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest for Nintendo 3DS

The biggest reason I decided not to include this in my main section is because of the nature of the story. Fire Emblem Fates was split up into three different games, which from a consumer perspective is quite possibly the scummiest thing I’ve ever seen Nintendo get away with worse than the inception of parallel Pokemon games, but the jury’s out on a story perspective until I actually play the other two.

Conquest is way, way, way harder than FE Awakening, a previous feature in this series, so prepare yourself accordingly. I started off on Classic Hard mode thinking it’d be like Awakening, but received a rather rude…heh, awakening, when I realized that was not the case, and had to bump it down to Classic Normal. Even then, by the end, most of my party was wiped out, and it was just me and my wife left to storm the end.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask for Nintendo 64 AND Nintendo 3DS

Another one of my friends mentioned he’d never actually played Majora’s Mask, but always wanted to. Well, I provided with my Nintendo 64 version. At the same time, I realized it’d been a while since I’d played Majora’s Mask, and wanted to replay my 3DS version, so I started that back up again too.

This setup has worked shockingly well, since I’m a little ahead of my friend and I can give him pointers and tell him where he needs to go if he gets lost, which admittedly can be surprisingly easy in this game if you don’t know it already. It’s also pretty fun to note differences – it seems like so far, all the boss fights are slightly different and somewhat easier on the 3DS version.

What else can I say? I’ve always loved this game, the foreboding atmosphere contrasting with the Ocarina of Time assets. And using the Goron mask is basically the best Sonic the Hedgehog game ever.

Bloodborne for PS4

Finally, finally I was able to get my hands on some Bloodborne, courtesy of my friend whom let me watch him play MGS3: Snake Eater. I was at his place using his PS4, so unfortunately I don’t have either console or game myself, but I played enough to know that I think I really like this one.

The thing about Bloodborne, and I heard this a lot but it didn’t really sink in until I played it a while, is that it really feels different from Dark Souls, and if you play it like Dark Souls, you’re pretty much getting nowhere fast. You have to unlearn a lot of things you had to learn to play Dark Souls, and depending on how fast you can do that if you’ve played Dark Souls before, you’ll end up having various degrees of frustration until you’ve adjusted.

I adjusted after a couple of sessions. I really like it. I really wish I actually owned it, and a PS4. Lots of blood, yum yum, salty. Salty taste, for a salty game.

I’m sorry I was a couple of days late on this entry, folks.

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