Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Re-Play: Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue

Since the birth of my daughter, video gaming has become vastly scarce.  As a parent, of course my flesh and blood will always come first, but the moment they get some good rest, daddy's gonna get some time in.  So what better way to quench the thirst than a good few hours mindlessly killing enemies in Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue.  At least, that's what I thought.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Alchemy adventures with Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland

Alchemy game elements are more common in Japanese RPGs than you'd think.  While it's true that Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland (and, for that matter, any other Atelier games in the past) holds alchemy as a primary feature, other games hold the ingredient-mixing element close to their hearts.  And while the whole ingredient-fetching quest-and-grind is a little tedious and mundane, I still find it somewhat appealing now in this latest Atelier game.  And you know what comes to mind?  Facebook games.

Analog Gaming: Ticket To Ride

During the time I've spent at home tending to the newborn, I found more time to spend with the misses (GameritisGal).  The more time I found spending with her, the more I thought about playing some good board games.  This led to the eventual purchase of Ticket To Ride, a simple game about trains and routes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep...finished!!

Taking care of a newborn is exhaustive work, and requires plenty of time spent at home to tend to the child's every need.  That being said, when Alexa's sound asleep, it's daddy's time to play!  And play he did...clocking close to 60 hours, the PSP game Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is now complete!

Unlike Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, this version is more canon throughout the game, referencing key points in the Kingdom Hearts universe.  I want to think that finally...finally...all loopholes have been covered.  Another thing that was missing from the DS game was any hope of a secret movie to unlock in the end.  Much like the other games before it, it's either unlocked by completing your collection list in Standard Mode (which is very challenging and difficult, despite my best efforts), or by merely completing the game in Proud Mode or higher (which is why I'm playing the game once more).  However, this game is more unique in its playthroughs.

You see, there are 3 main characters in this game, and you can only play with one character at any one time.  Their timelines intertwine like a braid, with characters crossing paths every once in a while, but the focus is always on your selected character at the time.  What does this mean?  This means you'll need to finish the game 3 separate times (each with a different character) to get a full understanding of the entire story.  And to tie it up in a nice bow, a final episode is unlocked after those 3 separate completions.

For anyone that's considering to get up to speed on the whole Kingdom Hearts universe, you'd do yourself a favor and play this game.  In fact, I'd say almost half of the content from the preview trailer for the upcoming 3DS game Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance (Oh...3"D"...really?) is in direct reference to the story in Birth by Sleep.  I know it's probably a lot to take in, but given the large span of time between games, it's probably worth spending it playing the games to catch up.

No E3 attendance this year, possibly ever

From 1999-2006 and 2009-2011 (conveniently missing the downsizing), I've been fortunate enough to attend and cover the happenings going on in E3, traversing the ground floor to provide an attendee's point of view on everything shiny and new.  And while I had already applied for my pass this year just because I could, I knew deep down that I would not partake in the festivities.  I have spawned a little one of my own recently, and I intend to care for her and nurture her - mold her, if you will - in my ways.

And despite not being at the yearly gaming mecca that is E3 in LA, I am somewhat relieved.  It's probably because of the many times I've attended E3 in the past that I've been jaded of everthing - of the large crowds, the long waits in lines, and the concert-like mob scenes that frequent around PR folk that toss free swag to the masses.  Being a spectator viewing the press events on TV now, after all these years, is something I can appreciate even more.

Who knows.  Maybe I won't attend E3 ever again.  Not because of my newborn daughter, but because I've lived that part of my life.  I'm less naive than I was back then.  In its core, E3 is an industry event, one where it's a business to prove to everyone else that they still have what it takes to make great games.  You tend to forget that everyone out there is vying for your attention, whether you give it or not.  It is video-game overload in the best and worst sense, and it can both entertain and wear you out physically and mentally.  But in the end...in the very end...I've had a great run.  Not many people in my position can say they've attended a yearly video-game event 11 times, and every time I've enjoyed every minute of it.  Now, I am content in enjoying the games that I want to enjoy, not what the press wants me to enjoy.

It's good to take the backseat this year, and just bask in its glory.