Matching Colors and Slining Arrows

I always forget that PS Plus gives me access to games every month and isn’t just payment to play online with my friends. Sure, I get excited and look at what’s coming next month to PS Plus and then I forget all about it. I end up remembering to add games to the library right before the next ones come out.. On the PS4 all you have to do is go to the PS Plus tab and hit “Add to Library” and the games are there for as long as PS Plus is active. They don’t even get downloaded to the console so it’s easy to forget about them As I result I haven’t actually played most of these games.

Since I’ve had the Vita I’ve grabbed a few games but they’ve stayed untouched as well. This weekend I saw that there were 4 Vita games this month and decided to try them out for once.

The Swindle

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This is a procedural generated rouge-lite stealth game. Scotland yard is about to developed a machine that will put an end to thievery in 100 days. Your goal as the leader of a band of burglars is to steal as much money as you can before the 100 days are up and hopefully destroy the machine all together. All of this with the steampunk setting and TONS of robots.

Each heist eats up one day even if you fail. If you fail you lose all the money you’ve collected in the level and you have to start over with a new thief. So far I haven’t noticed any differences in the thieves but I’ve only played the first 15 days or so. There are upgrades like the ability to hack computers, set bombs to blast through walls, and increase the difficulty for more money.

I like it so far and would like to try a full go of all 100 days at some point. The only real problem I have with the game is that some times there are rooms that are impossibe to get into or out of if you don’t have the right upgrade. This leads to having to cut ites with your employee and abandon them in a highly guarded warehouse and forfeit a day.

Azkend 2

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This game was my favorite out of the batch which I wasn’t expecting. It’s a match the colors game that utilizes the touch screen of the Vita. It plays a lot like a mobile game and it has a story mode and a few challenge modes.

This game took me by suprise. I fired it up not knowing what it was, saw it was a match the colors type of game and thought well I’ll try a level or two. 3 hours later I completed it and still wanted to play more.

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There are a variety of game modes that have you match as many of the same colored tile together as possible for different effects. One game mode has you match tiles near fog to get rid of it, one game mode has you match tiles near bugs to damage and squash them, and the classic mode has you match colors to turn all the tiles on the board over. The story starts off with a ship being pulled into a whirlpool and the woman on board discovers another world deep below the surface of the ocean. Every chapter has a few puzzles to complete to gather pieces of a tool that the MC needs to move forward. Each of these tools also becomes a power up for you to use later on.

After each chapter there is a scene depicted and you have to find specific details in the scene to get a bonus for the next chapter. Some of these were frustrating because a scene would be mostly grays and browns and it would want you to find a specific gray blob in the image but on some of the more colorful scenes this was a fun mini game.

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I’ve always liked puzzle games and matching games so I shouldn’t be surprised that I like this game so much. I think what threw me off was that this was for the Vita and not for my phone. It’s also on PS4 so I was curious to see what it had to offer. It was a solid game play experience from beginning to end and while some of the levels were challenging, nothing was impossible after experimenting with different power ups and passive skills. The story was even pretty good and the background art was awesome.

Titan Souls

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This is a streamlined rage factory. It’s in the same vein as Dark Souls and Furi where the extreme difficulty is part of the fun. Your tasked with taking down a whole temple full of bosses with your trusty arrow. Yes, just one. You can shoot the arrow and pull it back to you. If you’re touched by the boss it’s lights out and you can go back to the start and try again. Over and over again.

I didn’t care for this game. I got passed the first boss and tried the next 2 but I didn’t see any amount of fun to be had in the future. Especially since the area you start back at is just far enough away from the boss doors to make it annoying. It may also have been the control scheme on the Vita that I didn’t like and I’ll have to try it out on the PS4 to see if it’s any better. For now I can say this was my least favorite this month.

Day of the Tentacle

While I didn’t get around to trying this one out I’ve heard really good things about it and will have to make time this coming weekend to try it out.

 

 

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Backlogged: Final Fantasy

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The story is relatively simple. Four warriors of light appear in the Kingdom of Coneria each holding a darkened orb. After meeting the the king sends them on a quest to rescue his daughter from the castle next door. Here the warriors fight Garland, an evil night, and save the princess. Once they return with her the king is inspired to build a bridge and the warriors of light go on their merry way. After roughing up some pirates and stealing their ship they go on a bunch of fetch quests until they learn about uniting the crystals to save the world.

After collecting all the crystals and defeating the big bad boss monster, my time with the first installment of Final Fantasy has come to an end. What can I say about such a classic game? I’m still not really sure I had fun playing this or if the curiosity of how games used to be got me through this.

There were parts I genuinely enjoyed. The first couple of areas were fun and scratched an itch for a really simple turn based combat game. I liked the first quest where the four heroes had to save a princess from Garland. The few adventures we had along the way were also really fun. Without a map I was stumbling around the wilderness just praying my heroes could survive until we saw town again. It probably took a lot of extra time but I think that was the best experience I had with this game

Some of the dungeons are tough as nails. I didn’t think an 8-bit rpg could give me so much anxiety. In Grugu Volcano after I defeated the boss my party was in bad shape. the white mage was dead we were down to our last precious health potions. As the party made its way back to the entrance the monk and the red mage were picked off. Enemies only hit my warrior for 1 damage each turn and he had a lot of health as long as he wasn’t poisoned. 3 squares from the exit a pack of adders spawned which poisoned the warrior and then destroyed his remaining health. That was an hour of playtime gone. It was disheartening but nothing a little grinding couldn’t solve.

It was around the 10 hour mark that my interest/enjoyment started to wane. It was right around the time I actually decided to follow a map. It’s frustrating when you don’t know where your going or who the last NPC was that had some useful information. The story became not so entertaining as I was flying from point to point on the map wondering  when I would run into the next crystal.

Around the 15 hour mark I was bored but it looked like I was almost to the final location so I buckled down and pulled up a walk through for the final dungeon. Even with a decently leveled party and full inventory of items I barely made it through on the first try. The walk through explained a lot like that the healing staff could be used as an item to lightly heal the whole group.

It also gave me a map of the dungeon which would not have been fun to figure out on my own. I know it’s an end game dungeon but there are so many dead ends. This final dungeon has you face all of the previous bosses and then the big bad horribleness. I almost lost this fight. By the time I got there even with the walk through I was out of my 99 healing potions and my white mage was on his last leg. What surprised me was that he only had one form which my master and his fists of overpoweredness were able to dispatch easily.

Was it fun? Yes, for a little while but it got old after the first 3rd. My total play time was 20hrs I felt like I got my moneys worth out of this one though. It was interesting to play through a game that is one of the pillars of classic RPGs. It wasn’t as basic as I thought it would be. I was surprised that I got to form my own party in the beginning. On top of that,I could pick different classes too. It really made me miss tool tips, item descriptions, and quest journals a lot.

Since I got the Origins edition for the PS Vita I also own Final Fantasy 2. I’ve heard some terrible, awful, horrendous things about FF2 and it’s weird leveling system. I’m excited to try it out. How bad could it really be?

 

 

PS Vita the Impulse Buy of the Year

I don’t buy new electronic things often. When I do it usually takes me a month or so to research, weigh the options, look for deals, read the tea leaves, do a rain dance, that sort of thing. It’s a process, usually.

Two weeks ago I started looking into the PS Vita. Why, you may ask. Why would you want to buy a 5 year old handheld gaming device that was abandoned by Sony and has more games cancelled than a baseball team during hurricane season? The short answer is JRPGs. The long answer is, SO many JRPGs. It’s the first time that I’ve wanted a console not for upcoming games but for it’s backlog. While the Vita itself has a lot of games and more still coming out, it also boasts a huge collection of PSone games and PSP game. Not to mention it has all of the final fantasy’s from 1-10 in some form or another and I’ve never played any of them. But after playing Omega Quintet (it was $3 ok?) with Jay over the PS4’s share play, I’ve been reminded of how much I love JRPGs.

Vitas are surprisingly hard to find in good condition in my area and apparently in most of North America. Gamestop doesn’t sell them, the local game store down the street sells some that look like they’ve been chewed on by a family pet, come to think of it I don’t know when the last time was I even saw a Vita game for sale anywhere. I had to go to the mystical department store in the cloud known as Amazon to find the thing. Unless I wanted to import it from Japan with 3 week shipping that probably costs more than the device itself, I had two options. The first, a Certified Refurbished model (whatever that means) for $130 or for an extra $30 I could get a brand new  in the box one. New things are shinier and who doesn’t like shiny things right? Still they seem kind of expensive for a  5 year old piece of tech.

Now here’s the real kicker with the Vita, the memory card. Ah yes, I haven’t had to buy a memory card since I owned a Gamecube and honestly I forgot they existed. The new model comes with 1 gig of memory,  I haven’t seen a physical Vita game for sale in years so all of my games would be digital purchases. Here’s the kicker though, the Vita’s SD cards are proprietary so you have to buy Sony’s special snowflake of a memory card and these things aren’t cheap. A 16 gig card costs about $50 which is insane considering you can get a regular 32 gig SD card for around $15. No wonder no one wanted to buy this thing.

But I did. After only a week of researching and reading about it a few simple clicks and it was on it’s way from some warehouse in the middle of Pennsylvania. It was probably on a high shelf in the way back for a few years. I swear I saw dust fly when I opened the box.

I’ve always been a fan of handheld gaming. The first video game system I ever owned was a game boy advance and I took that thing every where. Consoles are great, and PCs are great but sometimes you just want to not stare at a giant screen in your living room and stare at a tiny screen in your hands. I have a 3ds,mostly bought for Monster Hunter and Pokemon. Other than that I haven’t had a lot of interest in its other titles, though thanks to the local library I’ve been exploring some. I had a PSP for a few years, and it was probably my favorite system of all time. Sadly I traded it in for the 3DS,  seemed like a good decision at the time.

I’ve had it for about a week now and I’m really glad I bought it. I picked up Final Fantasy Origins which includes Final Fantasy 1 & 2. I’m having a blast playing through the first one, there’s just something oddly addicting about it’s old school game play. The screen is nice and big and nothing looks too stretched out so far, which is one problem I have with the 3DSXL. Also it remote plays with the PS4 which I’m excited about. I’ve been testing a few different games and while the L2 and R2 triggers are usually mapped to the rear touch pad, most of my PS4 games play great on it. The other perk is I get even more out of my PS Plus subscription though this month and last month netted me 2 visual novels/ male dating sims…but what the hell it could be fun.

You know what plays surprisingly well via remote play? Final Fantasy 14. You would think the lag would be horrible considering its streaming video and inputs to and from an online game but it’s not that bad.When there is some input lag it’s not horrible and it rarely happens as long as I’m playing in my house. But for running some quests or completing the hunting log, it’s great and I can already tell it’s going to be awesome for crafting and gathering when I get back into that.  Of course, I won’t be running dungeons with the Vita, that seems inconsiderate to other people.