Friday, June 10, 2016

#TeamHandheld Report - 06/10/2016

Last week's #TeamHandheld Report went over very well, so I plan to mix in some Now Playing with some new features like that top 10 list more often. This week, I have a few different games I've been working through to talk about, so no need to delay this any longer. There's some really good stuff and one really bad one.

Now Playing

SteamWorld Heist (Vita)

I've been excited to check out SteamWorld Heist since it was confirmed for Vita. I know I could have picked it up on the 3DS before now, but hey, I have Dig on Vita so I figured I could be patient to keep these together on the same system. Man, I cannot stop playing Heist. It's in the same world as Dig, but is a totally different experience and is fantastic.

SteamWorld Heist is a turn-based strategy game where you take your crew through multi-tiered stages and shoot hats off of enemies. OK, so it's not just about shooting hats off enemies, but I really enjoy that part, because then I get to wear their hat! No, you're actually supposed to shoot and destroy these foes, but often your line of sight isn't clear, so it's important to find the right position or to bounce bullets off walls to get a good shot in. Between recruiting and trying out new party members and finding new ways to take out foes, I've been having a blast with this. It's just so addictive and creative that I can't put it down. If you've not checked this out yet, you need to. The "one more stage" mentality is totally at work here.

-A highly recommended steamy experience-

Paranautical Activity (Vita)

Wow, Paranautical Activity is a mess. This first-person shooter mixes roguelike elements such as randomly generated dungeons and permadeath together and ends up with a game that's awkward to control and frustrating to play. Aiming is not very precise, your weapon choices are not always great, enemies are often damage sponges who can hit you easier than you can them, and the worlds are just not that exciting to explore. It was hard to really play much of this at all, because it was just so messy. I don't think it had anything to do with the Vita port, as the game runs well enough, it's just not fun as I never felt like I was getting better at it. Dying over and over with no progress being made meant a quick shutdown on this one.

-So, so painful-

Steins;Gate (Vita)

I've happily gotten back into Steins;Gate on Vita, specifically because of Steins;Gate 0 coming later this year. Like I stated before, I've watched the anime so I know what's going on, but it's fun to revisit the story even if it lacks the amazing English voice work of J. Michael Tatum. Since it's been a while since I've watched this, playing it again is really hammering home how great the plot is. I can't wait to get into the real mind twisty stuff that I know is coming. That's my favorite part. El Psy Kongroo!

-Slow going, but working up to the good stuff-

Bravely Second (3DS)

Having finally finished Bravely Second, I wanted to take a second to give a few final thoughts on it. First, I would gladly play another one of these games. Regardless of their problems, they are like RPG comfort food to me which is nice. That said, there are definitely issues there that I would love to have addressed.

My biggest problem was that the job system was just overwhelming. There are way more jobs and skills than you can ever make use of, so I just finally said screw it and focused mostly on Bishop and Fencer, both of which you get early on. Not to say that the other jobs weren't good, but they just came at such as pace that I never felt like dragging things out just to try them all. What I had worked, so there was never a good reason to dig into the others except to look cool in the new job outfit.

Other than that, the only big issue I had is that I felt like I had done all of this before. Lots of the same characters, even enemies, were reused and many dungeons were recycled from the first game. It was a lot of "been there, done that," which after the second half of Default, that's not really what you want to have. All of the reuse does seem to work better here than it did in the prior entry, as the characters are already developed if you played the first game, so things unfold better. I just couldn't imagine playing both games back to back out of fear of getting burnt out. Those issues aside, the game itself is just plain, simple fun. All of the problems I have are easily ignored if you turn off all encounters and blast through this game in just over 30 hours like I did. It's hard to ignore the cast's potential and would love to see the job system tightened up if we get Bravely Third.

-Finished, but might be ready for more eventually-



E3 is next week, so while I'm not planning on having a Now Playing section, I do hope to have something to talk about from the show. I know that Sony likely won't have much to say about the Vita, but there are plenty of other publishers and indie developers still cranking games out for it. And there's still a good chunk of 3DS stuff on the way, so I hope to have a rundown or at least some commentary about what's going on in the handheld arena.

#TeamHandheld Updates

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