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So About Them “Videogames” November 2013

November 15, 2013

皆さんこんばんは。 We are standing at the dawn of a new console generation, and while I may have taken a chair in lieu of standing in line, I’m still looking forward to the sorts of new experiences a fresh batch of consoles might bring.

A discussion I’ve seen floating around for quite awhile (even before these new consoles were properly announced) was “Why do we need these consoles?”, and while I can somewhat see where that is coming from, the idea of turning down more powerful hardware, even if it doesn’t necessarily afford an enormous boon to the types of experiences one can have with video games, seems like a silly thing to do to me.
It’s very true that games of all shapes and sizes could continue to be released on current gen systems, but in which console generation wasn’t this the case? When I look at the console versions of games like Far Cry 3, Saints Row 4, and even GTA5, which was perfectly playable but just felt like it should’ve been made for something that had more horsepower, I think to myself “Now is a perfect time for new systems.”
Even if I’m not going to be there on day one, as there are no games grabbing my attention at launch, I’m looking forward to grabbing one or both of the new consoles in the foreseeable future.
That’s looking ahead though. Here’s looking back on the past month and some of the games I played that bear mentioning:

 

What I’ve been playing:

tumblr_mkp122IiOX1qkqgkeo1_500Saya no Uta:
I don’t have much to say about Saya no Uta at the moment, mostly because I’ve only progressed about an hour or so into it so far, but what I can say is that I’m pretty impressed with the quality of the translation (I’m playing the International version), and even with it being in another language, the Urobuchi Gen in the plot is evident.
I like where they’re going with the premise quite a bit. It’s morbid and disturbing, but it has a oddly alluring tone about it that makes it seem as though things aren’t as bad as they appear. In a way, it reminds me of the sort of thing you might see from a Tales from the Crypt or Twilight Zone episode.
If I have one gripe with the plot so far, it’s that they seem to be showing their hand a little early, which has me wondering how long the game could be. I’m sure there are a host of Urobuchi Gen twists waiting in store, however.
And the ecchi stuff is whatever. If that’s what you’re going into Saya no Uta for, it’s there, and for what it is, it’s pretty well written, but (so far at least) it hasn’t benefited the plot in any way, nor has it been presented as any sort of weird gameplay goal, so from both perspectives, it doesn’t seem to have much purpose.
Minor gripes aside, Saya no Uta has given off a great first impression, and I look forward to giving my full opinion of it once I’ve finished it!

 

pokemon-y-official-boxart(more) Pokemon (X/)Y:
More Pokemon!
It took me a little over 30 hours to see the credits, and there are a few things waiting for you out in the world once you’ve seen them, such as the Friend Safari. There isn’t a ton of content at the endgame by any means, but I would say if you’re one to seek out filling your Pokedex or building a competitive team for online battles, there are still a number of hours that you could spend within the Kalos region.
The overall themes of the story seemed sappy and head-in-the-clouds at first, but once I started considering the simultaneous worldwide launch, and how the PSS system makes it so easy to interact with people around the world, I began to think “Alright you guys, maybe you didn’t hit the mark completely, but I see where you’re coming from, and I appreciate it.” A feeling I didn’t expect, coming out of a Pokemon game. The themes aside, the overall story progression in X/Y made the game feel much less solitary than in previous entries, as you’re traveling around the world while regularly interacting with your small group of friends.
It’s a good game. It seems as though every time I play a new generation of Pokemon, I end up saying “This is the best version of Pokemon yet.”, and this one is no exception.
I’ve wiped my save data to replay the game in 日本語, using it as a vocabulary/grammar study tool, and so far it’s proved useful for that purpose. It is a game that keeps on giving!

 

300px-Smt4_boxShin Megami Tensei IV:
Part of me was hesitant, going into SMT4, as I feared that there may be things related to previous games in the main line of SMT that would be lost on me, and while that may very well be true, SMT4 doesn’t immediately come off as requiring its players to have played any previous game in the SMT series to be enjoyable.
The presentation is excellent, with clean interface design, clean voiceover and (while not quite at P3/P4 levels) a great soundtrack. One of the more clever things I’ve noticed is their method of hinting at character placement in 3d space through smart animation of 2d portraits in dialogue scenes. SMT4 looks and sounds terrific.
I’m a mere ~8 hours in at the moment (which is but a crow’s tear in the bucket with SMT games), but I’ve been enjoying the game quite a bit. The story is hinting at very interesting things that I wouldn’t have immediately expected from it, given its setting.
Coming off of the Persona games, the biggest difference in terms of gameplay is the difficulty. The Persona games had their fair share of particularly bothersome boss fights, but SMT4 is challenging right from the get-go. Most notable is the front-loaded difficulty right at the start of the game, although I think this was an intentional design meant to sort of “force” players to die in order to learn about the game’s somewhat unique player death system.
In my 8 hours, I’ve happened into several “event” battles I guess I’d call them, as well as one proper boss fight. The boss fight was tremendously challenging, taking 7+ reloads for me to overcome, but it was rewarding, as it made me think of different ways to exploit its weakness; and finally overcoming an obstacle after numerous failed attempts is something you don’t get much from video games nowadays. It’s a firm but fair amount of difficulty that encourages you to think of different approaches, and gets your heart pumping once you think you’ve figured it out.

We all know Persona 5 is in development, and the potential for more information in the near future is out there, but for the time being, I’m looking forward to filling the Persona sized hole in my gaming time with SMT4.

 

That’s pretty much November. Against my better judgement, I have the Games on Demand version of CoD:Ghosts traveling via internet magic into my home, so there may be a review or article about that here in the next week or two.
Until next time though, またね.

From → Games

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  1. Spitz’s Year-end Wrap Up 2013 | Spitz's Soapbox

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