jp's Patapon (PSP)
| [November 14, 2008 04:28:19 PM]
| It's over!
But not without some kind of scandal.
So, it turns out that it was "easy" to beat the butterfly enemy I had trouble with. (I had a LOT of trouble with this enemy, I must have played that stage 5 or 6 times at least) Like I mentioned in my last post, every time I played this stage, the butterfly dude would spend most of his time in the air while meteors rained on my army. That is, until he didn't.
I have no rational explanation as to why this happened. I had switched around my army a few times before with no noticeable effect. However, the next time I played the mission, mr. butterfly spent most of his time on the ground (zapping my troops) and only flew in the air once. I think he might have summoned the meteors once. Yes, this was NOT the same behavior I had seen before. It was MUCH easier. In fact, I beat the stage in a few minutes no fuss, no muss.
Why the change? I have no idea. It was just...different. Grrr!
However, it would not be that easy. I beat the infamous stage and kept on playing. The next stage was pretty neat (music is awesome) and the boss was pretty tough. I must have lost about half of my army (no real chance of winning at that point) when all of a sudden...the game froze!
I popped the disc out. Popped it in again. Nothing.
Pressed all the buttons. Tried combinations. Nothing.
Of course, I hadn't saved my progress.
Would I be able to reboot the game and face the tough butterfly level again? Could I stomach that?
Sigh. I did. I was very nervous. I really, really, wanted to the butterfly level to be "easy" again. Thankfully, it was. Phew. Huge sigh of relief. (other people on the train stared at me at this point). After THAT, it wasn't difficult at all to finish the final stage and watch the final cut-scene and end credits.
Fun thing about the final credits is that as they scroll by you're treated to a medley of all the music from the different stages. It doesn't sound quite the same, obviously, because they're lacking in the sound effects YOU add as the player. This made some of them sound kind of empty...while for others I was able to discover things I hadn't heard or noticed consciously before. I hope a proper soundtrack comes out sometime. :-)
A few final stats:
Boss / Level
Dodonga / 11
Majidonga / 8
Zaknel / 6
Dokaknel / 6
Dogaeen / 5
Gaeen / 6
Cioking / 4
Crab Queen / 4
Shoshookle / 4
Shookle / 4
Gorl / 2
Play time: 24:05:32
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| [November 12, 2008 10:25:09 PM]
| I've been stuck for a loooong time without being able to clear the "Final Stage" (I think it's actually called something like that). I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there is another stage after that, but oh well. The worst part is that I'm really tempted to quit playing and start another game, but after what happened with Katamari (PSP), I feel that it would be very irresponsible of me to do so. In my attempts to figure out what I might need to do in order to clear this level I've realized that there are more than a few things I don't know about this game:
(1) There's a minigame with a chef. I can't play it because I don't have whatever I need to give him in order to play.
(2) I've collected some vegetables. I have no idea where, how, and why I would want to use them. I assume they might have to do with the chef...but who knows.
(3) There's a minigame with a plant you're supposed to water. I have no idea how to play it. It doesn't seem to follow the usual call-response pattern of interaction. It's annoying to play over and over just to experiment, so I haven't bothered too much with it. Perhaps it's the key to issues (1) and (2) above?
(4) In the army setup interface there is a "space" in which you can equip something before a battle. I have no idea what item that may be, other than the fact that I don't have it (them?). I only realized this by mistake the other day.
(5) The last stage I cleared successfully netted me a new "miracle" called "storm". I presumed that it was necessary in order to clear the stage I'm currently stuck on. I'm not sure it is, because I've seen some really weird and inconsistent behavior when I've used it. I guess some explanation of the stage I'm stuck on would be relevant:
In this stage I have to fight a creature that looks like a little person with butterfly wings. This person (I forget the name) essentially does three things: it flies up (and spends some time in the air), it flies down (spending a short amount of time in the air), it summons a meteor storm that decimates my army. In addition, this creatures sprinkles sleeping powder beneath it, so that close-combat troops fall asleep (almost instantly). The combination of meteors and sleeping powder result in my army being slowly, but surely, rendered ineffective at combat. (patapon hit by meteors tend to catch fire and thus run around like crazy instead of attacking)
I assumed that if I invoked the "storm" miracle, I might be able to counter-act the meteor storm. This is what has happened
(a) The meteor swarm stops, and then a drum-ahead appears in the background. I'm "locked out" of continuing to give order to my army which proceeds to slowly walk towards butterfly-dude. They get attacked a few times and the drum-head disappears after a while. When that happens I can resume giving orders to my army
Of course, this means that I've been scratching my head a lot. To make matters worse, both of the faqs on gamefaqs essentially say that the stage I'm stuck on is really easy and should be over in a few minutes. WHAT?!?!
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| [October 27, 2008 10:40:03 PM]
| It feels very strange to say that playing Patapon is starting to feel like a grind. It really does. Hey, it's a rhythm and action game! However, when you have trouble clearing a certain stage the game actually recommends that you go and hunt a few times and then defeat a "boss". That should strengthen your troops up enough to let you beat the stage you're stuck on.
To put that in perspective, hunting a few times and beating a boss probably requires about 30-45 minutes of gameplay. And this in no way guarantees that you'll be able to win, you might. So yes, it is a grind. Like the RPGs of yore (and not so yore as well). Essentially play a set of "meaningless" battles with the sole purpose of improving your troops enough to take on a bigger opponent. Sigh.
On the other hand, I have realized a few things about the game:
(1) There is feedback for how well you're doing! The SOUND of the drum changes when you're "spot on". A perfect hit will sound deeper and more hollow!
(2) I just picked up the "run away" order. Wow, things are SO much more interesting now. I feel that at last I have some sort of tactical choices to make. Timing when to flee can be quite a lifesaver, specially when fighting bosses. I'm curious as to why this new command appears so late in the game. (at least I think it's late, I'm assuming I'm just a few missions from the end at this point)
(3) I think I missed something important somewhere. There are a few "minigames" that you can play to win extra resources (which you spend to buy new patapon). So far I've unlocked 3. (or four?) Each time you play a minigame you need to surrender a resource. However, there's one minigame where I'm asked to provide a resource I don't actually have! (and have never seen either). Huh? Also, since you scroll through the minigames in order, I've noticed that there is one that I'm forced to skip over ('cause it isn't available). I wonder if that's the one I missed!
(4) I finally learned how to remove Patapon's from my team. VERY unintuitive.
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| [October 21, 2008 04:48:48 PM]
| I've been playing and completing a lot of new missions that have popped up here and there. (in fact, I discovered that if you can kill certain creatures while hunting you can find special items which are crucial later on or open up different missions).
Since I'm not sure I entirely understand the Patapon "character" system, I've been a bit frustrated when dealing with certain missions. For example, I just cleared (on my third(?) attempt) a mission called "Despair" in which you have to destroy a pretty large fortress. Apparently it's setup in such a way that you can't beat it the first time around because you don't have a catapult. After that, get the catapult and make your way through it. I wasn't frustrated so much by having to play the mission a few times, rather I realized that I'd filled up my army with crappy patapon. Sure, I "maxed" out by making a bunch of the archer ones when I needed them but now I've realized that, by using better raw materials, I can make better ones. However, I have no idea how to "fire" or remove them from my army. So far I've been "lucky" in having some die in a mission without being able to recover their caps (if a Patapon dies during a mission a cap appears on the ground which you can collect, said Patapon will then revive automatically at a magic tree and rejoin your army). Anyways, I was trying to figure out which Patapon to use to best beat the mission when I realized that, aside from equipment and the materials you used to make them, I have no idea how to improve my Patapon. Do they get better with experience from fights? I don't know. How can I play around with this if I can't remove them from my army? Also, I can't even retreat! With Patapon it seems like it's always forward, forward, forward....
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| [October 17, 2008 08:09:26 AM]
| Pata, Pata, Pata, Pon!
Wow, does that stick in your head. So far I've discovered(?) 4 different actions. I'm not sure if there are more. I kind of think that there should be, but I have played a fair number of missions as well. So far I can: Advance, Attack, Defend, and summon rain. Isn't it strange that I can't retreat? I've actually missed this since there have been a few times where I've wanted to go back, just a little, to pick up something that was dropped on the ground (for example).
Another thing that's pretty interesting is how far ahead you have to think and plan while staying on your toes (or on the beat). As soon as you've pressed a button, you've essentially committed to a certain action since (so far) each action starts with a different button (except the rain one, but you don't use it all that much). Once you've committed, you have to follow through with it..which takes another 7 beats. So, on the one hand you have to be very quick and think fast, but strategically (ie, planning your actions) requires a different rhythm.
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| [October 8, 2008 01:02:35 PM]
| I've finished the first 4 (or 5?) missions already and can only really say that this game is really strange. I haven't figured what it's about yet, but it is compelling enough for me to want to continue exploring it. At heart it's supposed to be a rhythm game, but I'm surprised at how little attention the rhythm part gets in terms of player feedback. Most games of this sort have a cue, or signal, that lets you know what you're supposed to press (and when). If you miss, there is some sort of immediate feedback for that as well. (too early! too late!, and so on). In Patapon there really isn't anything of the sort. Well, you will know if you miss, but you won't really know why.
Another strange thing is that the locus of the action isn't a single beat (or note). In Patapon, you give instructions to your patapon by issuing "drum commands". However, each command is made up of four beats, or button presses, that must be on-time. For example, the command for "advance" may be something like X-X-X-O (it isn't exactly, but the example applies). The command for "attack" may be something like X-O-X-X. You can tell if your command fails, but not really why. Did you press XO-X-X (not enough time between the first X and O?) or did you do X-O-X---X (too much time before the last X)? In some sense, Patapon commands are like fighting game combos, but really strict in terms of timing and rhythm. Fail at any part, and you fail at the whole thing. (sort of like Frequency, when you're trying to "capture" a section of the music..).
For now I'm intrigued by the prospect of how many different commands will I have to learn, I've enjoyed how you have agency over WHICH commands to execute (so you aren't really engaged in an answer/response scheme), and there seem to be some RPG-like elements involved as well. You collect loot, your patapon have stats, and so on. I wonder where this will all go.
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jp's Patapon (PSP)
Current Status: Finished playing
GameLog started on: Wednesday 8 October, 2008
GameLog closed on: Thursday 12 March, 2009