June 20, 2012

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (Project Backlog)

Filed under: Nintendo,Project Backlog — Tags: , , , , , , , — Yukino @ 1:00 PM

Status: Saved the world in 52 Hours 45 mins at Level 65

I picked up Golden Sun: Dark Dawn one night when I saw it on the shelf at Best Buy for $5. It doesn’t bother me to play a game in the middle of a series I’ve never touched before if I spot it on sale. And as long as it’s not one of those silly “kidz” games or the 7th incarnation of Naruto or Bleach. I have standards, you know.

And what sort of person would I be to pass up a $5 JRPG? I mean, really. (more…)

January 23, 2012

Fallout New Vegas DLC – Dead Money


Status: Completed and unlocked all 5 achievements
Achievements: 51 of 75
Gamerscore: 1035/1655

Of the two bits of Fallout New Vegas DLC I have played so far, Dead Money had to be the dullest and most pointless of them both. Hell, I wouldn’t doubt if it ends up as my least favourite of all the DLC for this game. Set in a closed area which can only be accessed one time via a Brotherhood of Steel bunker, you follow the signal of an old broadcast offering the time of your life at the new Sierra Madre Casino. Turns out that the radio broadcast was just a trap to lure adventurers so as to do the dirty work for a crazy old kook called Father Elijah. (more…)

July 15, 2010

Persona 3 Portable (P3P)

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Yukino @ 3:09 PM

By far one of the most-loved JRPGs of the Playstation 2 era, Persona 3 Portable (or P3P) gives us the opportunity to re-visit the Dark Hour and discover the various Personas that our mind is able to call upon in the fight against the Shadows.

By day, you are a typical high school junior. You go to class, make friends, participate in school clubs and work part time for some extra spending money. By night, you and your dorm-mates enter into a time known as the Dark Hour where you battle your way up the looming tower Tartarus in hopes that you can right wrongs belonging to those who came before you. The story of Persona 3 still holds up as one of the best and most enjoyable titles I have had the pleasure of wasting away my time with the JRPG category over the past few years.

P3P strikes a wonderful balance between grinding in the randomly generated levels of the Tartarus dungeon and enhancing your Persona-wielding life-style with extra-curricular activities. Exploring Tartarus and defeating the Shadows lurking around each and every corner brings you closer to ending the Dark Hour for good. Making friends and creating strong bonds with them is what brings additional power to the Persona you create to assist you in your quest.

Unlocking Personas is like catching Pokemon. Once you start, you just can’t stop! When you first enter Tartarus you’ll only have the inherent Orpheus available. As you defeat Shadows you’ll be able to hold more Personas acquired by obtaining special tarot cards. The further you climb to the top of Tartarus, the more powerful the cards you can find. Visiting the Velvet Room, a mainstay of the Persona franchise, you’ll want to fuse as many new Personas as possible, with some instances requiring up to six Persona cards in a fusion.

Featured in this new handheld version of the game, P3P now allows you to chose between a male or female main character. Social Links with classmates and other residents around Port Island will differ depending on which you choose. While the overall story is the same, it’s the little things that impact you will remember your high school days.

Social Linking with Yukari strengthens the Lovers Arcana

This being my second time through the story of the SEES group, I chose to experience life at Gekkoukan High School as a female student. Choosing the female option, your cursor and other icons are a soft shade of pink as opposed to the blue for the male option. I joined several clubs, including the volleyball team and student council, making a lot of wonderful female friends. I also spent time after school hanging out with fellow SEES members Junpei and Akihiko in an attempt to get closer to them. With the female character, you can also choose if Igor’s assistant in the Velvet Room is the beloved Elizabeth or the new male option, Theodore.

The one aspect of playing with the female character that I was most interested in exploring was seeing if it was possible for her to date the guys around her much as the male character could in the original. I spent nights slaving at Chagall Cafe either working or just having the Pheromone Coffee so that I could increase my Charm to a level that would allow me to build my Social Link with the dreamy and sought-after Akihiko-senpai. Sadly, there was no smooching or hand holding to be had. Once I had maxed out the Social Link, Akihiko was not to be found in his usual spot Monday and Friday afternoons in the Lab Hallway. I was unable to find any information to see if I had done anything incorrectly, which means my poor high school crush on Akihiko will forever remain just a crush.

Atlus has also included the part-time job option which allows you to earn some money while increasing your Academic, Charm and Courage skills. Before you could only enhance these skills by studying, correctly answering questions during class and spending money at certain establishments. While you can still simply spend some money and do so, working at a shop helps boost two of these areas at a time as well as pocketing some money to help by that fancy new weapon you’ve got your eye on.

My favourite new additions to P3P are the outrageous outfits to stuff into my wardrobe. It’s an added bonus that your characters really do wear these in Tartarus. My favourite was the Battle Panties, a white bra and panty set with matching knee-high stockings giving the wearer a plus two stat bump to their Magic skills. Santa suits, bathing suits and maid outfits are other special apparel you can collect.

Other tweaks to P3P include bringing two new difficulty modes, meaning you now have five degrees of difficulty at your fingertips, as well as the much desired battle command control as was offered in Persona 4. Using the Tactics option from your in-battle menu, you can now set parameters for those members currently part of your team. This option can only be accessed when you are controlling the main character and gives you a much better handle on those tough bosses.

Use the Battle Menu to set Tactics for your AI characters

P3P is not a perfect port of the original PS2 title. Due to the limitations of the PSP disc, the anime cut-scenes have been replaced with game graphic voiced over scenarios. I do miss them, but it is a small sacrifice to make in order to have everything else introduced to this version of P3. Also excluded from P3P is the additional content The Answer which was released with Persona 3: FES.

Overall Opinion

Since P3P arrived at my doorstep I have done nothing aside from spend all day on my PSP. Even in my sleep, I am thinking of what extra-curricular activities I want to do over the next school week, figure out how many floors in Tartarus I want to climb and which types of Personas I need to create so that I can get the best of the best for the inevitable final battle. Looking for something to waste countless of hours on? Then this is your game, as you can grind and grind to your heart’s content. There is so much content on this disc that it’s about to burst at the seams. Do yourself a favour and buy this game now. Buy it for a friend, too. Share the love of the twisted darkness that is Persona with as many people as you can.

Buy Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable from Amazon today!

June 20, 2010

Hexyz Force

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , — Yukino @ 1:53 PM

Ancient prophesies have begun to come true in the land of Berge. The forces of Creation and Destruction are battling against each other for the power to change the fate of the world. Someone is destroying ancient Monoliths keeping Delgaia, God of Destruction, sealed off from Berge, and it is up to you to gather Force and influence the outcome of this battle.

Hexyz Force provides you two main characters to play through the story with: Cecilia Armaclite and Levant von Schweitzer. Both characters are Hexyz, re-incarnations of divinities from the dawn of Berge’s beginnings, and each have their own unique story leading them on a quest to tip the scales of Berge’s fate. Atlus truly provides a 2-in-1 roleplaying experience with this amazingly fun and humourous title.

And while Cecilia and Levant each have a unique story, they are not completely separate of each other. At several points throughout their journeys, the two Pillars will meet as they share a similar goal. One story told by the actions of two heroes. Both sides with vibrant, lovable and friends and family fighting for their futures.

~~~

Cecilia’s Story

My first playthrough was with the lazy and slightly ignorant Cecilia, a cleric in the Temple of Palfina who’d rather spend her time staring up at the sky than studying. Her destiny confronts her one afternoon when a thick miasma descends on the Temple, bringing with it monsters and a mysterious evil creature leading them. Suddenly, she is enveloped in a magnificent white light and transported to the Holy Vessel, the source of Force, and informed that she is a Hexyz – a reincarnation of the divine Palfina. She inherits the Staff of Palfina (Holy Riafalt) and is given the task of tipping the scales back towards that of Creation in order to save Berge.

Cecilia reluctantly sets out to gather Force from the Monoliths that keep Berge’s enemy sealed away, with her furry friend Ralu and another Hexyz, Raffi, as her companions. Along the way she will cross paths with races unknown on her side of Berge, meeting both friend and foe from both sides of the Black Precipice.

Levant’s Story

On the other side of Berge, someone kills the fiance of Levant’s ruler, destroying hope for peace with all races on Dark Berge. The death of his beloved suddenly changes Axel, and he commands his armies to purge the land of the Elves, Lycans and all others who seek to destroy him. Levant cannot understand what has happened to his friend, and when he assists those Axel accuses of killing his fiance, Levant is marked and sentenced to death for treason.

Spirited away from the dungeons by Irene, half-sister to Axel whom Levant swore to protect, and a Lycan named Greik, Levant seeks out the truth of what happened that night in the Elven Forest. For he is one of the Pillars, wielder of a holy Ragnafact hidden and protected by the Elves for centuries.

~~~

One of the key components of this game is the use of Force. Force is the energy of Berge, both Creative and Destructive, that flows naturally throughout the world. The Hexyz can utilize this power to search for hidden items, strengthen weapons, open doors and create walkways using Force Scan. Force is gained along with Experience Points at the end of each battle.

The Hexyz characters also wield special weapons bestowed upon them by the divinities they embody. These weapons, Ragnafacts, can be strengthened by infusing them with Force, enhancing three developmental properties. Each Ragnafact can learn a wide variety of combat, healing, and support actions. These are automatically designated as you infuse more and more Force into them. Of course, the tougher the enemies you fight, the more Force you will obtain. At times, not all characters in your party will have Ragnafacts, either because you haven’t located them yet or that particular character cannot wield them.

Additional weapons and accessories are created by combining various materials, sometimes with a dash of Force for good measure. These materials are collected by enemy drops after battles, looting chests and finding Harvest spots. From the Fusion option in the menu, you can create Forcefacts (disposable weapons with limited durability), accessories to protect your characters from head to toe, and special materials used for making stronger items.

Cecilia uses her Ragnafact's healing power in battle

Cecilia uses her Ragnafact’s healing powers in battle

Hexyz Force utilizes a turn based battle system, featuring Force Burst as a special technique for the Hexyz you control. When equipped with a Ragnafact that has a strong bond with your Hexyz these Force Burst abilities are accessible. In order to use them, the Burst Gauge must have reached the minimum level required, ranging from Level 1 to 3 (the max), which slowly fills as you attack or take damage in battle.

Upon completing each Phase (aka-Chapter) of the game, Creation and Destruction points will flow into the scales of the Holy Vessel. Your actions during each Phase are tallied up and will add to the weight on both sides of the scale. Completing side quests and selecting the correct dialogue responses during conversations are a part of the scoring. General rule of thumb – the first response leans to Destruction, the middle for neutral, and the last response adds points to Creation.

Hexyz Force features several fully voiced over anime cut scenes, as well as an intriguing story filled with informative and entertaining dialogue. Everyone knows that a good roleplaying game needs a solid storyline and engaging characters, which Hexyz Force truly brings to the table. They also did an amazing job ensuring that both stories meld together harmoniously, with no discrepancies between the two that I have encountered thus far. I find myself so easily lost in the story that my PSP battery dies often. There hasn’t been a PSP title that has had that affect on me in a while, and it was an absolute delight to spend so much time with a fresh roleplaying game.

Rafael admonishes Cecilia for acting impetuously

Overall Opinion

This is definitely a game hardcore JRPG gamers will want to invest the time and money into, as well as gamers looking for a great new RPG title for the PSP library. With two stories to play through and several sidequests and areas to explore for rare items, you are easily getting at least 50 hours of game time out of Hexyz Force. Aside from the usual repetitive battle cries from the characters, the overall voice cast is pretty decent. However there are a few characters who are a bit too over the top for me. There almost always seems to be one or two of those in dubbed games. If space had allowed, I would have liked seeing the Japanese audio track with subtitles as an option, but this is a PSP title, so space is limited. For $30 US you can’t go wrong with putting Hexyz Force beside Lunar and Persona on your PSP game shelf.

You can purchase Hexyz Force on UMD or a digital download code from Amazon now

Review product (code) was provided by Atlus and does not affect the outcome of this review.

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