Thursday, June 7, 2018

Vita To Plays - Volume 4

Greetings, #TeamHandheld. This volume I have a pretty heavy RPG load, but not all of them are greats. I also decided to go back and pick up a game or two that I've actually played already, but have yet to write about. I will be mixing those in here and there like I did with my latest Nintendo post so that I can continue to write. Sound fun? Let's dive in and see.

Vita To Plays - Volume 4

Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX

I've never been much for tower defense games, mostly because they feel impersonal and dry. Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten DX fixes that by adding in a lot of personality and RPG content to make it much easier to slide into thanks to having an actual party. The cast is cute, each with their own quirks and charm, so even though you can (and should, at least for me) pad things with some generic characters, the personal feel is still there. The mechanics are still pretty straightforward for a tower defense game. You fight off waves of enemies while trying to protect your librarian mage who has the magical power to summon these helper characters. Positioning and boosting your fighters is key to success. I'll admit that I'm not good enough to have finished the game beating all the stages on normal, as I dropped many later battles to casual, especially the boss fights. That's not a problem for me as I have no shame playing on easy, and I still had a blast with this.


Iconoclasts is a pretty good Metroid-style action adventure game. The story and characters were the best part, because the game itself never gave me the action power curve I was looking for. The highlights are the boss fights and story, and despite having some issues with the ending and the choices you don't actually have, it was still fun all the way through. I finished it a while back, but I just wanted to finally touch on it, because I did have an enjoyable time playing through and things never really got too puzzling. It's a pretty well-balanced game with a lot of story and dialogue, but like I said, the power growth curve was missing so that would have been nice to have had.

Stranger of Sword City

I'll say this, Stranger of Sword City is about as bog standard of a first person dungeon crawler as you could ask for. You create a main character out of some pretty basic classes, and though I did get the option to make a samurai, it wasn't super unique. You fight generic fantasy monsters inside a drab dungeon and eventually get to make your own party out of the same fighter, mage, healer archetypes. Combat can be super quick, but it's still pretty bare-bones and uninteresting overall. The story does nothing early on to stand out and the characters are fairly one dimensional. My kingdom for a game like this with some personality.

Toukiden: Kiwami

If you can imagine taking the Monster Hunter concept of fighting smaller foes followed by larger ones and combine that with Omega Force-style areas and swarms of enemies then you have Toukiden: Kiwami. You get to create a character and pick your weapon type, each of which handles in its own style. Combat isn't too exciting and the missions are fairly dull, but it's one of the most playable Omega Force games I've touched. That said, there's not enough here to keep me going.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls

I've tried many a Neptune game and tend to find them too verbose for my liking. I'd much rather actually be playing an RPG than reading superfluous dialogue. Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls has its fair share of text, but actually gets to the action pretty quickly. Movement within dungeons is super clunky and plodding, but combat is better. I thought this was going to be more action focused, but combat involves having your active character move close to an enemy and spamming attacks in turn-based fashion. You can jump or use skills as well, but it's all much more basic than it seems. Time travel is the focus of the story, but it really didn't do much to keep me interested. I suppose if you like the Neptune cast you'll be in heaven, but this did nothing to change my mind about the series. It's not offensive, but just too talky for my liking.

Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

I've tried a couple of the Atelier games before and none of them have clicked yet. Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky hasn't fixed this despite the characters being charming. Escha and Logy are a fun pair, but man this game starts slow. Lots of introductions means that it takes forever to get to the meat of the game. The balance of combat, exploration, alchemy is a tough one to get right, as this game is trying to do it all. The whole package feels like giant to do list, which just doesn't appeal to me as it feels too much like work to be fun. I can see the charm here, but just can't get into it. I still have at least four more of these to try, too.

Knytt Underground

Knytt Underground is a pretty curious little adventure game. The main character Mi can't talk directly, so other characters make inferences for her, though you can hear her thoughts about the situations. As for the game itself, you get to explore around a large, seemingly nonlinear world trying to unlock new areas. Robots with lasers are about all you have to watch out for as far as dangers go. Progression is very self-paced, which can be a bit of a struggle. While intriguing, the lack of structure didn't work for me at this moment. I'd like to be directed a little bit more than Knytt Underground wants to do.

Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~

This is a visual novel about people getting stuck in an MMO where if you die in the game you die in real life, you say? This theme seems like something overused in gaming these days, but Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ does at least start off quick and makes it interesting. Having little experience with otome games doesn't mean that I can't tell what's going on here. My character is soon found to be the almighty and has demons and angels MMO players fighting over her. I'm not a fan of either of the early suitors, so I'll have to see if things get better from here. Period: Cube at least seems fairly well paced, so if it keeps it up I might see this one through.

SD Gundam G Generation Genesis

I imported the Asian English version of SD Gundam G Generation Genesis, a two card Vita game, so despite not knowing anything about Gundam series I figured I'd give it a shot. Wow, this is overwhelming as far as content goes. There are a ton of Gundam stories, so if you are a fan then this is for you. The tactical RPG combat is pretty basic, but fun enough. There's a lot of story and dialogue to fill in the gaps and I don't get any of it. This seems like it could be a lot of fun for fans, but the content just isn't something that I connect with and the combat is a little too simple to be engaging without another hook.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Since the Vita version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is no longer available on PSN, I popped open my physical copy to check it out. It's a pretty basic 2D fighter with lots of characters to choose from, but it felt slow and didn't control super responsively, so I put it down pretty quickly. Without a cool story mode like Mortal Kombat or Injustice, I find most fighters too mindless to play single player these days. It's also a shame that you can't take screenshots in the game. That's just a pet peeve of mine.

Stranger of Sword City Revisited

Oh hey, Stranger of Sword City Revisited is just like the original, but with a lot of new options to make it friendlier. If you want to play one of these games this is the one to get for sure, but it doesn't change enough to change my option of the original. At least this was easy to get through.

Toukiden: The Age of Demons

Yeah, Toukiden: The Age of Demons is the same game with the same intro as Toukiden: Kiwami. No need to play any more than that since I've already played the more complete version. That was easy!

While I still have quite a few visual novels and RPGs to go, it is nice to have a few of them out of the way. I'm getting closer to finishing these up, but I still have plans to keep this going after I have caught up, so that's exciting to me. I might as well keep having fun, right?

Today's To Plays: 12
Current Remaining To Plays: 47

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