Smoke 'em if you got 'em, bitches. It's Sparky's Update!
Today, I'll be shootin' the shit about only a couple of games. Gaming on the 360 was a bit light as I waited on a new controller (which is cool, by the way - I bought a corded one which won't require anything to also play on the PC). And since I'm feeling a bit over-Tomb Raided, I decided to hop back into some games that really hit the spot for me - namely, Disgaea 4.
By the Power of Desco.... I Have the Power!
It's been a couple of months since I last popped in Disgaea 4, and I've gotta tell you, playing it solely for fun and not for the purpose of this blog has made it incredibly refreshing. When I last left off, I had just finished my second playthrough, with Valvatorez at level 330 and most of the party sitting at or around level 90.
My first order of business was to check out all the new DLC available for the game. NIS's DLC for Disgaea 3 & 4 is borderline shady. With D3, they released a handful of bonus characters, all of whome were priced at about $2-3 apiece. Disgaea 4 offers much of the same, with even more DLC characters. However, they've also released some extra post-game content, such as an entirely new chapter featuring Valvatorez and Fenrich's origins as a team. While the DLC characters might seem a little overpriced, I decided to splurge on some of the other stuff, such as that extra chapter. And you know what? I'm pretty glad I did. For the money (about $6), you get a challenging set of missions, one of the better told chapters in the game, and none of it is at all necessary or makes the game complete (as in Asura's Wrath). That said, I don't think it's anything that anyone but the most die-hard of Disgaea 4 fans should buy. It's brief, and some people might feel ripped off by it. Me, I enjoyed it immensely, and wound up replaying the chapter's early levels several times, as they provide extraordinary loot.
I've yet to really explore the rest of the game-enhancing DLC. I'd be lying if I said I ignored the character DLC packs entirely - I did purchase a couple - but I recognize that they're a rip-off at the price. Really, they should have been released at a buck apiece. I know I'm contributing to the problem, but damn it, I really do adore this game. I ended up buying Mao and the ninja servants of Raspberyl from Disgaea 3. Mao's a great compliment to Emizel. Emizel is an area-of-effect type character, with some light generic spells and some character specific ranged abilities. Mao is a mixture of a mage and a warrior, with some decent ranged abilities in his Star magic, but he really shines with his special abilities. They go together like peanut butter and chocolate. The two ninjas (forgive me, I forget their names off-hand and it doesn't really matter) work amazing well together, as expected, but will really shine when I unlock Raspberyl later in the game. Right now, they've both got a tremendous SPD attribute, which makes them hard to hit by most mobs up to double their level.
I spent a good chunk of the last week or so power leveling Desco and Valvatorez. When Desco hits about level 100 or so, she becomes really easy to level, as she develops a special attack called Yog Sogoth. It has the best range for an attack (so far - apparently Big Bang might be better, but I haven't unlocked that ability yet in any of my characters), and when she's combined wtih a Nekomata (an animal class in Disgaea 4, kind of a cat-like female), that range extends even further and she can wipe out an entire map (9-4, if you're interested) in one turn. The strategy therefore is simple. With the harder enemy level set at 1, 9-4's enemies become level 99. Due to a "glitch" in the Disgaea games, level 99 enemies grant the same experience as level 320 enemies. Therefore, I just set up the extra EXP and Mana blocks, fuse Desco with a Nekomata, have her hit up the enemies with Yog Sogoth, and hit execute (NOT end turn). Within a few hours, she'll be sailing north of level 600.
At this point, I'm working on finding a sweet spot for her to eliminate enemies in one turn and still gain massive EXP. I've got the Stronger Enemies bill up to about 18 or so. At this rate, I'll be able to level her to about level 1000 before reducing the Stronger Enemy bill back to zero and finding a better map to level her in. But before that happens, I'd like to unlock more of the post-game characters and explore the game a bit more. It's a nice balance.
-I played a bit of Mario Kart DS this week. Sadly, when playing DS games, the 3DS reverts back to the DS's wireless settings, meaning that I still can't connect my DS games to my wireless Internet. Oh well. This iteration was fun, but nowhere near as polished as Mario Kart Wii. I say all this to point out one big flaw with the 3DS. Nintendo needs to research a different shape for the handheld. Gripping it for long periods of time becomes severely uncomfortable and often leads to hand cramps, as opposed to the PSP. I know handhelds aren't meant to be held that long, but it is a big problem and needs to be addressed in any future handhelds Nintendo uses. The square, boxy approach doesn't lend to a natural grip.
-I may start the RPG retrospective as early as next week. I've started playing Vagrant Story, but it's early on in the game. If I do start next week, it will likely be with that game, depending on how much progress I've made. It's my first time playing it, so I'm going to take my time and write down some thoughts as I go.
And that's it for this week. What's everyone looking forward to in the months ahead, gaming or otherwise? I'm already getting stoked for E3, despite the fact that we're months out.