Sunday, 27 September 2015

Playing, Completed, Binned - September 2015 Edition

Binned:
Unfortunately, there are plenty of games that I've tried to get into this month and failed. This would usually be seen as a bad thing but I do have the shame of a substantial backlog of unplayed games and so forming up a 'to get rid of' pile isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, more space and a few quid for the games I can get some money for are two benefits right off the bat. As a lot of gamers know, it's often all too easy to purchase interesting titles faster than they can play them, especially with mutiple systems to cater for.

The Nintendo fanbase can lynch me later...
Anyway! Perhaps the most high profile casualty was New Super Mario Bros. Wii for the um...Wii. Saying that I really didn't like this game will likely be sacrilege of the highest order to some but honestly, it felt like a really solid, well-made game that I just couldn't find the love for. Saying that, I felt exactly the same about the DS prequel as well so its no surprise I suppose. I'm not saying that the game did anything wrong but let's just say that I was never excited to be putting it on. Sticking with the Wii, I also abandoned Gunblade NY/LA Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack. These are a pair of lightgun titles that I firmly believe need to be played on the original arcade hardware. I completed both games once but felt no desire to revisit either again. I've really enjoyed the likes of Ghost Squad and House of the Dead 2&3 on the Wii and I'm huge fan of 90's arcade stuff in general but these ones couldn't seize my attention regrettably.


Gutted that I didn't get on with this.
The largest chunk of 'lost time' this month must however go to Hyperdimension Neptunia for the PS3. I should explain that RPG's are one of my favourite genres and I certainly look to forward to the quirky, anime styled stuff from the likes of Nippon Ichi and Compile Heart so this one had been calling out to me from the shelf for a while. I approached Neptunia warily however as last month had already seen me give up on Mugen Souls and Cross Edge, two more Compile Heart-developed games with needlessly complicated combat systems and ugly presentation. Happily I found myself enjoying Hyperdimension Neptunia a lot more than those two games despite a battle system based around user-defined combos that took a while to get my head around. The zany storyline is set in the world of 'Gameindustri' with the main worlds being called Planeptune, Leanbox, Lastation and Lewee (see what they did there?). Lots of digs and spins on popular videogame culture and famous titles ensued and it felt really different which was refreshing. Sadly, the dungeoneering is extremely bland and repetitive and the combat becomes tiresome very quickly and so after 30 hours of playtime (and with some regret it has to be said) I threw in the towel after realising that outside of the enjoyable cutscenes and crisp presentation, I just wasn't having fun with the core gameplay. The Hyperdimension series has gone on to become a bit of a major series with three games on the PS3 and several more for the Vita. Perhaps I will revisit the world of Gameindustri in the future if I can see that the battles and dungeon segments have been vastly improved.

Completed:
Luckily I've completed a few things to balance out the failures! I've already reviewed and spoken about Onechanbara Z Kagura with NoNoNo! at length earlier in the month so I won't retread old ground too much aside from mentioning it as a completed game for September. Same with the 3D update of Streets of Rage II for the 3DS which I've alluded to within other posts and will review soon.

The English patch was well worth it.
The 'big' game to have been finished off this month is without a doubt Valkyria Chronicles 3 for the PSP. This third installment in one of my new favourite series' was unfortunately a Japan-only release but after purchasing a brand new copy from Playasia.com, I was able to utilise custom firmware on the PSP and a fan-made translation patch to play the game in English! Okay, the patch isn't 100% perfect (sometimes text goes outside of boxes and the in-game DLC chapters aren't translated) but it didn't spoil my experience in the slightest. As for the game itself, the storyline and character designs probably step a little too far away from the semi-realistic world that the original game established so well but put that aside and this is another solid entry that boasts gameplay and a structure that are arguably superior to those in Valkyria Chronicles II. I spent over 100hrs on this game and it was all enjoyable unlike with the previous game that had a more grind-heavy feel. I'd certainly recommend this to anybody who enjoyed the previous installments but be warned that you will need the updated 'E2' release of the game (pictured here) to use with the translation patch.

Finally, I was really chuffed to achieve 100% completion in Yoshi's Woolly World for the Wii-U. This is a beautiful, utterly charming platformer with some creative level designs and a chilled play style. Some critics have pointed out that the innovative levels are often interspersed with run-of-the-mill stages that offer nothing unique but let me tell you, there are some seriously devious stages in the mix and some absolutely teeth-gnashingly hard secret levels that tested my control of Yoshi and general platforming abilities. Achieving the 100% is also made trickier by the fact that the numerous collectables are sometimes very well hidden within each level. I'll freely admit that I had to refer to Youtube a couple of times for some of the more obscure examples! Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed the game and would name it as a Wii-U essential.

Playing:
So what am I currently playing? Well, rather than go into huge detail on games that I may or may not complete, I'll just list my current in-progress games and say that there are likely to be several others joining the list over the course of next month. So, currently receiving my attention are:
  • Secret Files Tunguska (Wii)
  • Luminous Arc 2 (DS)
Updates on how I get on with these two will follow in the next month's edition. Likely joining those two will be the controversial Rule of Rose for the PS2 - a game I've wanted to play for years now but is too expensive to justify purchasing from the usual outlets (ebay etc.). Luckily a good friend has lent me his copy to play so I'll finally be able to see what all the fuss was about...

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