Sunday, 1 January 2017

Recent Purchases #5 inc. a crazy new year purchase...

First of all, I hope everybody had a great Christmas and a happy New Year. Let's make sure that 2017 is a great one.

I haven't posted about my purchases for a long while now (the recent Playstation Vita acquisition aside) and that's because there simply haven't been any. I may post my personal thoughts on why I've slowed down and sold off a good chunk of my collection but that will be for another time. For this post however, I have one Christmas gift to show and then an insane purchase bought with my own money...not an insane product but definitely something I thought I'd never actually buy considering my well-documented rants aimed at the release of the game in question. First up, the gratefully-received Christmas prezzie...

This was one of the few Wii-U titles on my "to get" list and probably one of my most anticipated. The Wii-U has a fairly small library of must-have games in my opinion but the density of the quality across that relatively compact range of software is certainly on another level compared to PS4 or Xbox One games so I don't really hold it against the platform. I only have a few others left on my wishlist including the likes of Devil's Third, Mario 3D World and Pokken Tournament.

But anyway, back to Paper Mario: Colour Splash. I will always buy these games as soon as possible because the Paper Mario sub-series of games has been a firm favourite of mine ever since the Christmas of 2004 when I got The Thousand Year Door for Gamecube and instantly fell in love with the humour, graphical style and lethal charm on display. Subsequent sequels have gradually declined in quality with the 3DS' Sticker Star being a notable disappointment for the way that Nintendo got Intelligent Systems to ditch the Paper Mario-specific characters and focus only on the mainstream Mario faces/enemies. The last game slipped up for other reasons too and I definitely felt deflated upon finishing Sticker Star despite still enjoying it for what it was.

Fan reaction to this Wii-U follow-up was infamously negative when the first trailers were shown and I could kinda see why: the RPG elements of the N64 and GC games were still largely absent and yet again, Paper Mario exclusive characters were missing. I decided to remain positive however and after finally playing the game, I can safely report that it's good. I wouldn't say that it is on the same level as the N64/GC/Wii installments but Colour Splash is definitely better than Sticker Star. The same charm is oozing out of the TV screen whenever I play it and there's some top humour to be had as well. Hopefully I will be able to do a proper write-up soon, motivation and time permitting.

And now for the mad purchase that never expected to be biting the bullet on between Christmas and New Years'...

Long time readers might remember that I made a couple of posts sponsored by Anger, Disappointment and Fury over the situation with this Limited Edition. Nintendo learned nothing from the US release and proceeded with a small print run for Europe too which sold out immediately as soon as it was listed on websites. The thing that infuriated me was the fact that it was re-sellers (affectionately termed "Scalpers" or "Despicable Scummy W*****s" depending on how incensed you are at the time of venting your indignation) blatantly buying up all of the stock before inevitably re-listing these boxsets for sale on ebay, complete with monstrously inflated price tags to prey on the short supply...a short supply situation that THEY had created with their greed.

All year, these have been offered for between £150-£200 by those looking to take advantage and I have refused to buy one. The original RRP was £79.99 (if memory serves correctly) and I always said that I wouldn't buy one unless I could get a brand new copy in the region of £100 max. Well, I did just that last week and snagged this one with sealed contents for £100. This isn't usually the kind of price I will be prepared to pay for a game these days and I am of course running the risk that the bottom of the market is going to fall out with regards to this specific item. Will this and the other similarly-priced set I saw on ebay be the first of a wave of Fates LE's that sell for more reasonable prices? Will they drop any closer to the original RRP or even below? Will £100 seem like insanity in a few month's time? I just don't know and I see buying games like this to be like playing the stock market these days. At this moment in time, I don't believe that they will fall much further and that I will get the majority of my money back if I decide to sell.

For now though, I have done the correct thing and ripped the plastic seal from the game case inside so that I can get stuck in at last. For those that don't know, the real draw of this LE isn't the steelbook, poster or artbook that come as extras inside the box; it's the cartridge itself which includes both Conquest and Birthright as well as the otherwise e-shop exclusive third scenario, Revelation. It's worth playing both versions of Fire Emblem Fates and this is also the only way to obtain a physical copy of Revelation so it's a bit annoying that Nintendo didn't at least release this compiled edition as a standalone release and give it a decent print run, perhaps after the original versions + the LE had been and gone. So far I have put around 2-3 hours into the game and I have to admit that I don't really care for the character designs or music as much as I did with Awakening. There aren't really any units that I feel especially attached to for example. It's early days yet though and the gameplay is still utterly class so I will of course aim to complete all three scenarios. I do find it a bit odd that I've already managed to hit a support S-Rank and marry off my main character to the singer, Azura - I'm sure this took longer to achieve in Awakening!

Overall I'm still in shock that I have this LE in my hands given how I'd pretty much abandoned the idea of ever being able to find it for a reasonable price. Whether or not £100 can be classed as "reasonable" is debatable but with three Fire Emblem games on one cartridge plus the extra physical bits in the box, it might just be about worth it. It's definitely worth side-stepping Nintendo's Pokemon-style strategy of splitting a game into pieces and forcing the hardcore fan to buy all three separately though ultimately I have paid a price to do so.

Anyway, let's get 2017 on the road!

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