Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Musings - 26th Sept, 2011

It is yet another Monday and it is yet another time for the musings. Let us begin.

Persona 4 (PS2)

Before i go into my exploits with this fabulous RPG, i have a question for those who have played the game. Does anybody take actually go through with Arcana Chance? In my experience the chance of the negative card outweighs any benefit that the positive gives.

So since i took a 3 week break from the game to play through New Vegas, i thought about how to return to the world of Inaba and its alternate TV dimension. I had been following a rather strict walkthrough (as the guide was trying to maximise social links throughout a single play), and the idea that i had to complete a dungeon in one day was one of the conditions that i believe led to my dislike of the dungeon crawling aspect of the game.

So i've restarted with a different guide. This one is much looser, just giving you information on what can be done each day and what is needed to answer questions for stat points and how to proceed with the story etc. As of last night, i'm around the 5th of June in the game (i have saved on the final night you have to rescue Kanji), and with this more relaxed attitude towards play, i no longer grimace when entering the TV. I've even been grinding a little to meet the levels of the optional bosses.

It's amazing how one simple thing can make a great game even more tolerable to play. Before i would be stressed when i was running low on SP, as the only ways to deal with that are either rare items, paying the Fox a crazy amount of money, or trying your luck at certain cards of the Arcana Chance (yeah right). Now when i'm nearing the end of my SP reserves, i finish the floor i'm on, then use my Goho-M item to leave and come back the next time a party member suggests to enter the TV. With the Yukiko dungeon, the optional boss in that dungeon, and Kanji's dungeon, this has made progression a breeze, and given me more than enough time to level up those social links.

I'm thinking at this rate, i should be back to where i left off at the end of the week.

Red Remover (indie)

Last week when i decided to spend some time on Sunday looking for some fun indie games to talk about in this column, i had a run of good luck. The first game i tried was Accelerator and i had enough fun with it that i didn't need to try any other games. This week was a bit of a different story.

I spent over an hour playing at least 12 or so indie games before i found one that i felt was worth talking about (not that the others aren't, they just didn't light that spark in me. I'm sure others would find the titles i played quite enjoyable... but i digress). The game that i ended up deciding to talk about is the fun little physics puzzler called Red Remover.

 The premise is simple. Click on all the red shapes to remove them from the level. Simple enough, but then you have to remove red shapes while keeping green shapes on screen. Then the neutral blue shapes come into play... and then when the game starts throwing alternate gravity in your face, things start to get really crazy.

I think what struck me is how simple the concept is, but how it keeps building level to level, adding new little elements of play or new mechanics at a gradual pace that allows the player to not get bored of what the game has to offer. The level that first introduces the alternate gravity threw me for a loop and i had to play the level again just to make sure i understood what was going on (i didn't, but the next level cleared things up for me).

I was talking to my friend Robbie at the time. He was working on a comic as i was telling him that my search for a game to talk about was not going well. Then suddenly after playing a couple levels, i threw him the link, exclaiming, "Haha! I found a game worth discussing!". He cursed me out as he was no longer working on his comic but was not addicted to this title. I played for about 20 mins more before i pulled myself away.

I wonder if next week's search will be a tad shorter.

Final Thoughts

So only two games this week huh, and one of them was an indie title i actively searched for. I've talked about my inability to stick to one game till completion before, but i think i'm at a point where i'd like to give it another try.

It all stemmed out of New Vegas. I bought it on sale, and really wanted to try it out (also considering Fallout 3 kind of fizzled out on me, i thought that NV would do the same... but i wanted to give it a shot anyway if that makes any sense). Well it turns out NV got its deathclaws into me (get it?) and before i knew it not only was i playing the game every chance i got, i actually stopped the main story line before the final mission to reach level cap and further explore the game world. Even after completing it i'm looking forward to that future steam sale when the DLC all goes on sale and i can return to that world a complete and utter levelled out badass and play through these new stories (i'm really looking forward to Honest Hearts. Burning man! Yay!).

So now i finish up on NV and decide to return to Persona 4, and of course because of the way i play games, i decide to restart it. I also want to get back to where i left the game off asap, so i've been playing practically every day. Now most gamers there's nothing odd about that statement, but funnily enough, even with how much i love games, i don't set aside time each and every day to play them. Sometimes i feel like watching movies or TV. Sometimes i feel like playing my bass or wasting all evening on the Internet. I rarely play games during the day because that time i like to use for my comic strip, my reviewing job, and other work related things. So yeah, for me to start to play one game exclusively every day is kind of a big thing.

And i feel i should be doing this anyway. Gaming isn't just a hobby i've grown up with all my life. It's not just part of what pays my bills. Gaming is important to me, and i do feel a sense of guilt of not giving it the time it deserves. That's part of the reason i have been writing this column every Monday come rain, hail, or shine... and shall continue to keep writing it till circumstances beyond my control restrict my ability to do so.

I guess it also helps that both New Vegas and Persona 4 are games that have clicked with me. Games i actually like, i need to make sure i spend the time with till i finish them, and not let them meander off into a forgotten save file on a hard drive or memory card. Earthbound, Vanquish, and Metro 2033 are three games that i have neglected after enjoying my initial experiences with them, so i shall endeavour to give them their time once i am done with Persona 4.

Mind you, there could be instances where even a good game runs out of steam before the finish and i decide its time to put it down.. but if that's the case, i need to address that in this column and then put the game aside for good (not just keep looking at it and saying to myself, "Eh, i'll get back to it soon enough").

I guess i'm just trying to restore some order in my game playing habits to positively affect my hobby and this column. I raise a virtual glass to try and make this new outlook on gaming last for myself.

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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