Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Musings - 8th Aug, 2011

It's Monday, i got my coffee. Let's do this!

Persona 4 (PS2)

So after last week, i went and attacked the optional boss, then fought the bathhouse boss. It was a very long battle but in the end i was victorious. Since that time i have been back to the bathhouse to fight that optional boss and am just at the start of the next dungeon (with lots of amazing story and character development in between).

The funny thing about the bathhouse optional boss is that in order to fly through the levels of the dungeon again (once you defeat a dungeon, you have to fight through it again to reach the optional boss), i stuck all my teammates on AI mode. This is of course an option to allow the computer to choose all the attacks of your party members leaving you with control over only your character. From a design and story standpoint it's an interesting idea. You're not actually controlling your friends, you're only controlling yourself, but they are confident enough in your leadership to allow you to order them around if you so wish. It's nice to run through dungeon levels, but it might not be the best option to leave the decisions in their hands when it comes boss time.

Funnily enough, i forgot to take them off AI mode for the optional boss. I instantly thought of restarting the game, but a voice in my head said, "Hey just hold on a minute, let's see how this plays out. You can always reload if the boss kicks your ass". So i did. Actually the fight went pretty well. The boss was weak to lightning so having Kanji in the group automatically hitting it each round allowed the team to follow up with an all out attack. All the boss spent the fight doing was using a strong ice spell on Yukiko as that's her weakness. Equipping a persona with Diarama (a medium level healing spell), i could heal her, have all my teammates wail on the boss with magic and the fight was over without too much hassle. Now i'm sure i could have beaten the boss sooner if perhaps i had played things a little more strategically, but the AI did a pretty decent job covering my ass in a fight. I'm almost tempted to leave the AI on for the next boss.

Oh and one final note, i maxed out my social link with Yousuke, and his persona evolved. If there was ever any doubt that the persona system was partially based off pokemon, it's been eradicated. After maxing out his link, i went to the velvet room and fused the highest level Magician persona i could, taking full advantage of all the extra exp the social link provides. I was able to create a persona that levelled up through all its ability unlocks. I can for see a lot of time spent at the end of the game with maxed social links creating perfect versions of each persona and then fusing them. This could be dangerous.

Ms. Splosion Man (XBLA)

This week was pretty much just Persona on the table, but i did head over to my buddy Andrew's house on Saturday night, and we passed the controller around with his roommate Josh level by level of Ms. Splosion Man. I love my platformers, and this game certainly does not disappoint.

It's based around one mechanic really. You can splode three times in a row, each splosion having a certain arc to it. The game is heavily based around timing and minimal puzzle solving. The checkpoints are generous (although some are far enough apart to create a gnashing of teeth while playing), but what i really want to talk about is the character of Ms. Splosion Man and the atmosphere Twisted Pixel have created.

I have never played a game with such a happy-go-lucky, ADHD riddled, exuberant protagonist in all my time as a gamer. Ms. Splosion Man exerts such joy and frivolity as she twiddles her toes around a level, exploding into a cartwheel, making references from some 90s pop song, and somehow never losing her charm (at least in our playthrough of 10 or so levels). Then you have the world itself. Populated by oddball scientists who explode into chunks of meat and who create machines that shoot lasers, and machines that create lifeless inhabitable female husks. Also the whole world is powered by Beard.

Final Thoughts

One thing about Ms. Splosion Man is that there was so much colour and so much going on visually (especially in the Jetsons hover car segments), that my eyes couldn't actually follow what was going on some of the time. To kill some time on Sunday i briefly loaded up Deathspank on my PS3 to play around with for a few minutes and found that again, too much small detail, and i couldn't focus or follow the action. Both of these games were played on practically the same TV, an LCD 32 inch flat screen.

Now i wear glasses for a lazy eye. A very lazy eye. A "yo right eye, can you handle vision cause i'm gonna take a nap" kind of lazy eye. I have to wonder if this is part of the issue or is it that games of this nature require a larger TV (or at least require one to sit closer).

At my PC i'm right up close and personal. I've never had a problem with game detail, just an over saturation of information (i'm looking at you Beat Hazard). When i play my console, i sit at least 8 - 10 feet away from the TV. Mind you most games i've not had this issue with. Persona 4 is fine, so was Metal Gear Solid 4, and most of my game library (i admit i would prefer a larger screen for Vanquish).

As for preference, i do enjoy the close intimacy of being right next to a monitor... it's just my PC chair is very uncomfortable so prefer the cushy couches console gaming is known for. That's a topic for another Monday however.

Till next time, happy gaming all!

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