Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#TeamHandheld Report - 08/12/2015

When I created Pocket-Console, the idea was that I'd just use this as a place to cover whatever handheld games I was interested in. Over time, it's become more of a place where I share #TeamHandheld news on upcoming games and offer up an occasional traditional review of whatever I've finished or put a decent amount of time into. Ideally, I'd like to review every game that comes across my plate, but the reality is that there are more games coming out for Vita and 3DS than I could ever possibly put a fair enough amount of time into to feel comfortable to give a lengthy review.

That said, I have a new plan for game coverage. Since I don't have enough time to play everything to completion, I'm going to try to at least write a brief, informal post about as many games as I can check out. The #JRPGJuly movement was the inspiration for this, as it is much more manageable to use this format to talk about lots of games, even if it's only off of an hour of playtime for each. In this day and age many of us have a very limited amount time to play games, so I'd like to at least share what I can instead of nothing at all.

Now Playing

XBlaze Lost: Memories (Vita)

I played the original, XBlaze Code: Embryo, last year and really enjoyed the story, but was not a fan of the game's structure. It was a visual novel with a lot of trial and error progression to get to its better endings. I finished one storyline and was hard pressed to repeat a lot of the same content to get another. XBlaze Lost: Memories starts off much better.

Instead of an exposition dump right off the bat, the sequel takes a different route by having the player control a single character in a dungeon in between these bouts of story. While I'm still too early to see how the pathing works across multiple endings, exploration helps to break up the monotony much better than before. I like these characters, so I'm curious to see where it goes. I just hope it doesn't retread a lot of Code: Embryo, because I've already been there once and don't need that much of a refresher.

-Enjoying: Currently-

DJMax Technika Tune (Vita)

Between Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games constantly talking it up, its spiritual successor Superbeat: XONiC releasing soon, and having a gift card from Amazon, I decided to finally check out DJMax Technika Tune. This rhythm game is harder to get into than I thought, but the music is really catchy. I don't follow K-Pop, but I quickly became a fan of Kara thanks to this one. Between "Step," "Jumping," and "Lupin," I've been playing a lot of these.

That said, I still kinda suck at this one. Having to manage the top and bottom part of the touch screen is just awkward for me, especially when having to hold and move my finger across it. I'm getting better, though, so that's something. This is easily some of my favorite music out of all these Vita rhythm games, so that's a big plus.

-Jumpin' jumpin' jumpin' for joy-

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (3DS)

For some reason the 78 hours I spent with Xenoblade on the Wii just wasn't enough, so I had to snag a New 3DS just to play the portable Xenoblade 3D. Outside of a few UI changes that improve the experience for a handheld, it's the exact same game. It doesn't seem to matter, though, because I'm still having as much fun this time as I did the last. In fact, my first time through I stalled about ten hours in because I wasn't having fun. It wasn't until I returned and found that I much preferred playing as Reyn instead of Shulk that I really fell in love with it. This time I start off in "Reyn Time" and haven't looked back. I'm about twelve hours in and should be getting Dunban soon, so maybe I'll go back to him again. I do know one thing, this is really helping hold me over until Xenoblade X hits in December.

-Really feeling it in my pocket-

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (Vita)

I've been leery of Danganronpa Another Episode since I first checked out some footage of the Japanese version. After all, I really enjoyed the slower pace of exploring and investigating that the first and second Danganronpa games brought. This one is much more action focused during the gameplay sections, but don't let that fool you. Story is still a very major part of this semi-prequel spinoff, and it brings the pain right from the start as you get to play as Komaru Naegi, younger sister of the main character from the first game.

If you decide to check this out, you need to play the first game and really should play the second one, too. While it might not spoil the second one (at least early on), there is a lot of context that would be missed if you haven't played it as well. Another Episode also succeeds in bringing back a character I didn't really care for from the first game and made me change my tune about her. I hope the action gameplay holds up over the long haul, but so far at least the story has me hooked. And don't despair, there is plenty of Monokuma to go around, though he's not as wicked as before.

I do want to scream briefly at this game for not having subtitles during cutscenes. Thankfully, the Japanese vocal track DLC that will be available for free will have English subs during cutscenes, so that's good. Sadly, I'll probably be finished with the game before that hits, but at least others won't have this problem.

-Don't despair, the story seems solid.-

Upcoming Games

Actual Sunlight (Vita)

The developer was kind enough to hook me up with a code for this one, so I plan on checking it out soon. The fact that it's supposedly not super long is a big plus for me, but I want to make sure to give it the time it needs to complete the whole thing. Should be soon.

Lost Dimension (Vita)

I started the tutorial mission of Lost Dimenion right before Danganronpa hit, so I didn't get far. I do want to give this one a serious look, because it reminds me of a poor man's Valkyria Chronicles. Once again, this is another game that doesn't have subtitles in cutscenes. This is a problem for me, because I can't always play with the sound on and don't always have headphones (yes, bathroom gaming is a thing).

The Swindle (Vita)

I've heard mixed things on The Swindle, but I at least want to give it a fair shake. It looks interesting, and I often like unique stealth games.

Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (3DS)

I'm a sucker for a good rhythm game, so I want to see if this music in this one holds up. I really liked the first Project Diva on Vita, so this one might be just what I need to hold me over until Persona 4 Dancing All Night hits. The only problem is going to be getting me to turn Xenoblade 3D off.

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