Monday, April 28, 2008

Update the first, wherein nothing much happens.

Since I just started this regimen of not buying games, this week has been both unsuccessful and uneventful.

Games bought:
Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer - $2.49
Persona 3: FES - $2.49
Total spent to date: $5.00

Numbers-wise, not a great start, as I added two games to the queue. But since I spent a total of five bucks on the two of them, it's not too shabby. How did I manage this? $55 in Amazon gift certificates that I magically had. Hooray!

Now Playing:
This week, I've been hopping between several things. Having recently re-acquired Tomb Raider Anniversary, I played through the first few levels of that. I'm still surprised how much I like it. It's been two years since I played it (I can tell, because of the handy date stamps on the saves). The graphics are still very nice, especially the environments. The character models aren't great, but they get the job done. The platforming remains top notch, and it's obvious that the designers played Prince of Persia: Sands of Time before making this one. Shooting and driving are problematic, but they wisely de-emphasized both of those aspects in favor of more jumping and tomb raiding. Good move.

I continued to push through Lost Odyssey, and at ~14 hours, I've not only moved onto disc 2, the game has also moved into the elite tier of games that I've played for more than 10 hours. (Incidentally, Tomb Raider is in that category too, clocking in at ~22 hours now.) Story and graphics remain excellent. It's been a while since I've had a game consistently convey as much emotion as this one has. I just added party members 4 and 5. I'm not convinced that I like 4 yet. She's set up like a healer, but frankly isn't very good at it. When I can use items that are faster, more reliable, and much more powerful than my healer, it's not a good sign. I'm hoping she powers up some more soon. I'm looking forward to continuing with this one.

The new one is Mystery Dungeon: Shiren Wanderer. I shouldn't like this game. I should hate this game. The game plays like a turn-based Diablo-style game. You work your way through 30 levels of a dungeon that's different every time you go through, collecting better weapons and staves that do different things to enemies like knock them back or switch your position with theirs. The hitch is that when you die, you start over. You drop back to level one, lose all the stuff you found, and get dropped back on the first floor of the dungeon. However, all isn't lost! As you move through the 30 floors, you run across warehouses that you can drop items into. Why is that grand? Because any items in the warehouses don't disappear when you die.

Basically, you can leave things for the future yous that follow after you die, because die you will. Many times, and in dumb ways. In one epic run, I was on the first level. I found a nice dog who I tried to talk to. Sadly, I couldn't understand his barks. Fortunately, my talking weasel translated for me! (It's a weird, Japanese game, folks.) The dog told me that he was hungry, and discovered that riceballs made him feel better. I felt bad for him, so I tossed him one of my riceballs. He took offense to this, and attacked. It being level 1, I was weak and hadn't found a weapon or shield, so I was promptly mauled by the dog and died. I found out later that when a character says something in red, he's just giving information. The dog thought I was attacking him. Stupid dog.

So, you'd think that starting over with each death would be frustrating. It should be, but I've overcome that by thinking of each time through as a "life" like in Mario Bros. If I die, I learn to do better next time, and hopefully I've stashed some goodies to make the next run better. It's a really addicting process, and I like it quite a bit.

So that's my playing for the week. The big news for this week is that Grand Theft Auto 4 comes out tomorrow. My copy is on its way, and as long as UPS doesn't do anything dumb, I should have it in my Xbox tomorrow night. I might even get some impressions written up later in the week. Should be fun. Bitches. Word.

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