jp's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay Order of Ecclesia (DS) - Sat, 17 Mar 2018 15:57:54've been vacilating for a while now. I enjoy the game - fighting monsters, getting beaten, exploring, etc. until I get to a boss. I really struggle against the boss, decide I'm done, then I defeat the boss. And on the cycle goes. One of the more annoying things about bosses is that I feel like I have to spend/waste a lot of time trying out different weapons and spells (and equipment) until I find the "correct" ones and then, I practice and practice and practice and get really frustrated along the way and then, the boss dies. There's no feedback on the bosses (e.g. how much life left) and so I go in blind and hope for the best... I'm currently fighting Albus - the main opponent, though I'm guessing it's Dracula after this and, sigh, it's the same thing. I've gotten good at dodging most of his attacks and I hit back...but it feels like a slog. I might defeat him and then quit. We'll see...Sat, 17 Mar 2018 15:57:54 CDT Order of Ecclesia (DS) - Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:43:37's been a while since I've played a game that kicked my butt. And this game started out kicking my butt pretty badly. But, I've been learning and improving and better understanding how the game works (and strategizing for that). Mostly, I've been really enjoying it (though I'll admit there have been moments of intense frustration). I recall really enjoying the GBA castlevania games I played and I think this one is cut from the same mold. The main difference, and I might be misremembering the GBA games is that I've spent a lot of time backtracking to a village to save but also to talk to villagers I've rescued who have little quests and (some) sell items. Rather than switching between weapons you switch between "glyphs" that, for all intents and purposes are weapons. You find some in the wild and there are monsters that also "drop" them. I think the monster drops are random, so you can do a fair amount of grinding (not just to get the glyph drop) but also to get money and items you need for the villager quests. So far, the hardest part for me to get used to is how far apart the save points are - as you move along an area clearing monsters you keep making progress hoping to get to the next save. You can't really return the way you came either, because all the enemies re-spawn when you move between areas. I've frequently lost a lot of progress because I died just before getting to the next save. So far I haven't done any grinding and I really hope I won't have to (grind for money to buy healing potions...).... Based on how full the map is of locations, I'm guessing I'm halfway there? (I'm clearing Somnus Reef right now)Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:43:37 CDT, Sun, and Rain (DS) - Mon, 26 Feb 2018 14:59:51 it up and I found a bunch of new puzzles...all numbers and I just gave up. I'm not intrigued enough by the story to really want to bother with reading a bunch of text for clues to solving the puzzles. Time to move on....Mon, 26 Feb 2018 14:59:51 CDT (iPd) - Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:31:21's short, it's sweet, and well worth it. It feels very much like what I'd like interactive comics to be - or at least what I imagine they could be? I have no idea what interactive comics are currently like or even if that's a term that has mostly disappeared from our lexicon. Either way, I really enjoyed Florence - mostly for what I'd call its little interactive metaphors. Much like what Nintendo does a lot in its games, it introduces an idea uses it once to some effect and then it's gone. They're not throway because they have just the right amount of impact - sometimes it's emotional, sometimes it's communicative, and so on. They're quite clever even as they're simple and easy to understand. My favorite ones were: a. Spinning the hands of a clock to make time move forward to the next moment. b. Putting together speech balloons in the argument - when they're also unbalanced. c. I enjoyed placing items in the kitchen and apartment entrance with K moved in. It was obvious that not everything would fit and it felt interesting to decide which things to stow in order to make place for the new ones (oh, and the bit later on when I had to pack K's stuff was really cool as well). It only just occured to me that I never tried to purposefully pack something that wasn't K's or try to store something that was K's after placing it in the entrance/kitchen. Not all the interactive metaphors were clever but - since they were all used so sparingly, it was fine.Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:31:21 CDT, Sun, and Rain (DS) - Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:10:10 the heck is going on in this game? Ok, in terms of gameplay it looks like you just need to talk to people, interact with stuff and then find numbers in a guidebook that are used as answers when you "jack in" to people/things. The numbers parts are the puzzles and, well - I'm not all that enthused about doing more of those. I've already - not counting the "tutorial puzzle" solved two of them (to get out of your hotel room and then to open a football shaped bag) I'm very "meh". And the story? It seems very David Lynchian and...weird? I keep on waking up in my room like nothing happened and there's a plane that explodes, but I also made it explode the second time by kicking the football bag at it? And the character dialogue is...uh...weird? I'm not terribly interested in this so far - but maybe I'll get into it? I'll give it a few more hours and we'll see...Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:10:10 CDT 4: A Thief's End (PS4) - Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:06:34 finished! I was really surprised by the epilogue - it really makes a strong argument for there not being any more Nathan Drake games. Well, until they do one where he's young, or one where his brother comes back with an emergency and Nathan's all old and creaky... The game is absolutely gorgeous and the environments are extraordinary in their details, variety, and just...hmm...amazing. Weirdly, especially for the whole 2nd half of the game - I increasingly felt bad about everything that was going on in the game. All of the places they see and visit - each replete with incredible historical artifacts and things and all they care about is the "treasure". It makes sense - if the characters are all mercenary thieves and such - but it just made me feel bad that - even though I know and understand it's fantasy - there was so much cool stuff going to waste! For example, you spend a lot of time in rotting mansions that have bookshelves full of books..and I'm thinking WOW, scholars would die for half of what's there - collector's would die...there's so much money in all those ancient editions, how many books might have even been lost that are now found, etc. Of course the characters just walk on past. It's unfair to ask them to care and they do briefly comment on things like that - but still. I guess it hit me harder than before because the set dressing and level design and art is just so great. The places are more believable and have more details and things to think about. What was I not that excited about? Combat still felt awkward - especially when the climbing stuff gets mixed in. I would often try to take a goon down only to get "stuck" hanging off a ledge or trying to jump up on something and stuff like that. Overall I never really enjoyed the combat sections even though there are a few standout moments (the one where you're dragged along on a rope was particularly notable). I guess I now need to look at the game whose name currently escapes me that came out afterwards?Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:06:34 CDT! Band Brothers DX (DS) - Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:09:31 game has way more Japanese text than I can handle - however, I was still able to play a few songs and get a general sense of how it works. It has a complete karaoke mode! (impossible for me, obviously) Ok, cool things: a. There's all kinds of songs - including traditional Japanese instrumentals (with flutes and stuff) - and it's kind of neat to play the same song a few times, with with a different instrument. b. Rather than notes moving, there's a "cursor" (tracker) that moves across the screen towards the notes - makes it a bit easier to follow (for me) EXCEPT for the "carriage returns" - when the cursor changes lines (there are about 3 lines on the top screen?) c. Apparently there's a full-blown midi-tracker system you can use to make your own music - which is way cool, but I didn't try it out. d. Karaoke? Really? On the DS? Wow!Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:09:31 CDT, Sun, and Rain (DS) - Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:51:12 bought this many years ago because Suda51. As in, here's a weird game by a strange creative person doing potentially interesting things. If I recall, the reviews were "ok", but whatever. I first tried to play it several years ago while on a plane and I got to a point where the game said to look up a date in the manual. I didn't have that with me, so I put the game away and then...others games got in the way. I started it up yesterday and, with manual in hand, learned that you were supposed to make any date up (it's the character's birthday) and write it in the manual so you don't forget it! There's a blank space in the manual for that...sigh. I guess it's a good thing I didn't just try a random number when on the plane because chances are I would not have remembered what random number I put in and then would have screwed myself over....Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:51:12 CDT Maker (DS) - Sat, 17 Feb 2018 11:28:51 game I picked up for next to nothing. That being said, the premise (from the back of the box) seemed really interesting. In a nutshell you're in charge of creating a dungeon (digging, placing rooms, etc.). The dungeon then attracts monsters (different monsters are attracted to different rooms) which you fight with in order to get money and loot. Loot consists of either equipment or food ingredients. You spend half the game in the dungeon, wandering around fighting monsters, etc. and the other half in the village buying stuff (new rooms,magic items), selling stuff (equipment, etc.) and, most importantly "leveling up". The progression system is different - every night you can eat a meal and rest. Resting restores your health and magic. Eating is how you "level up" - different meals (some created with several ingredients) have different permanent effects on your stats. So, you can gain 1 HP, or 1HP and 1 STR point, or some other combination of things. Initially I was pretty excited by the system because you have some flexibility on what you want to increase and such. Also, it means that you always level after a dungeon, no matter what! However, for the meals to work you need the ingredients, that means either buying some of the basic ones OR killing specific monsters and hoping they drop the food item you want. It works on paper but it becomes REALLY grindy after a while. A short while. This is because you have to spend a lot of time fighting monsters you don't really care about anymore (too easy) just for the chance of an item drop AND the progression starts to feel really, really slow. My "fix" for it would be to make certain ingredients easily purchaseable after a while, so that you focus only on getting new/special ingredients from the monsters you're currently equipped to fight. As you fill out your dungeon you also learn that each level has a goal - you need to build it out to a certain point (minimum number of monsters and/or enough of a certain type of monster) in order to fight a boos that appears. The bosses are obviously a significant step up in terms of challenge. The boss then leaves a hole and you now have access to a lower dungeon level. I played all the way down to level 3 of the dungeon and although the grinding was really grindy and starting to get really boring I do appreciate how the game has started to mix things up. First, I found a slime companion (who can help in fights). And then, a girl who used to cook meals partied up with me as well. It makes for more interesting combat BUT also makes things MORE grindy. You have to cook meals for the girl as well - which means you now need double ingredients. The slime progression is kind of cool though - when you kill a monster there's a chance the slime will try to mimic something of the monster which can provide you with a stat upgrade (or lower!). You can choose not to, but it's the only way to improve the slime, for example by copying the monsters arm it gets more STR or something like that. You have a higher chance of a "mimic opportunity" against solo monsters, which is the complete opposite of the item drops where the chances are higher against groups (up to three). In all, it's an interesting game but the grind was too much for me....Sat, 17 Feb 2018 11:28:51 CDT Mama 2: Dinner with Friends (DS) - Wed, 14 Feb 2018 18:55:56 recall having a strong negative reaction to this game (or was it maybe the Trauma Center sequel?) from not being able to get through even the most basic challenges. Definitely didn't have that experience this time around. As I set this aside, I have to questions I'm curious about. First, do people learn anything about cooking from the game? Obviously the skills you practice in the game have no real relation to real-world cooking skills - but, has this game been successful in any degree in getting people who are otherwise scared/ignorant/uninterested in cooking to try it? Are people now aware of what ingredients go in which dishes? How they are prepared? The order of things? It's not that I think it's a good way to learn how to cook, rather that I wonder if it's had any effect... Second question, "mama" speaks in English but with what sounds to me like a very strong Japanese accent. It felt a bit off-putting because it was almost like making fun of someone's accent? Anyways, it was weird... Oh, final thing - I thought it was really interesting that for lots of of the cooking mini-games you could choose what utensil to use (chopsticks or whisk, short knife or longer knife, etc.).I always chose the utensil I was comfortable with in "real life", which - in hindsight seems a bit strange...Wed, 14 Feb 2018 18:55:56 CDT