ArbitraryWater vs a bucketload of random games

It's been a few weeks, has it not? In that span of time I finished winter semester, went home for like a week and came back to start spring, with the intention of hopefully getting my GPA out of the toilet and into the realms of academic success. That being said, I chose a deliberately light load of general classes so that shouldn't be a problem... hopefully. I also played video games, because of course I did. Let's talk about a few, shall we?

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Tis Weak to Fire!

I'm not entirely sure if you've noticed, but my gaming focus has been rather PC-centric as of late. This is probably because my parent's won't let me bring my Xbox down with me to school, because my brother needs something to play Fifa or... Minecraft on. Or something. Despite knowing that I would only be home for a limited time, I still bought Dark Arisen for the hell of it and because I really liked Dragon's Dogma despite its myriad of weird problems. Being that I had less than a week to play it, I can confirm that Dragon's Dogma is still awesome and Magick Archers are a really fun class. I got up to the point right before fighting the dragon, so I clearly played a lot of it (it's not quite as hard when you have an infinite ferrystone and remember where to go). I intend to find someone in my housing complex to let me mooch of their Xbox, but until then I can't say anything about the new content and if it's any good, but what's still there is still good and it still justifies its place on my GOTY list of last year (and gives me an excuse to put it on this year's list as well.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Quad-barrel shotguns. Such a stupid idea, but so fitting for this game.

I never did write about what I thought of vanilla Far Cry 3, did I? Well, I think it's an excellent, well-made game (much better than Far Cry 2) that goes on for a bit too long, has a bad story that gets worse as it goes along as well as perhaps one of the most unsympathetic and unlikeable protagonists in recent memory. Blood Dragon fixes all of these problems by being intentionally stupid, compact and still having the same gameplay, but retro-futuristic. I won't say that all of the humor works (I'll share the bombcrew's stance that there is a dichotomy between the dumb-but-played-straight humor of the game and the snarkiness of the loading screens and codex entries), but when it does it's pretty hilarious, even for someone who never spent a day of his life in the 1980s. What really seals the deal is the aesthetic, which is both awesome and distinctive and leads to perhaps one of the better last 30 minutes of a game I've played in a while. It's also really stupid. Considering that most DLC is kind of terrible (to use the above example, the DLC that is thrown in as a bonus in Dark Arisen is really bad and really lazy) it's nice to see something that both justifies its price and isn't just a level pack or something equally regrettable. I recommend it, especially since it doesn't wear out its welcome the way real Far Cry 3 does.

Two Worlds II

And now we start reaching more. When it comes down to it, Bethesda is the king of making open RPGs with a variety of character build options and things to do. I'd go as far as to say that no one does it as well as them, for the various mechanical and stability problems that plague The Elder Scrolls and friends. Below that however is a B tier of games that do enough things well enough that they're worth looking at. While I have yet to get back to Amalur for reasons previously mentioned, another good example of this level of game is Two Worlds II, a game I think is shockingly good, at least so far. I'm not going to lie: Most of my favorite RPGs aren't made in Europe, especially once we get into former Soviet Bloc nations. For as many of my favorite strategy games originate from those areas, when I think of European developed RPGs, I think of Divinity II or Gothic; the former of which I played far too much of before deciding that I had played enough and the latter of which gave me no incentive to want to play past the first hour.

The mighty hero on his majestic steed... Not exactly the best looking or most polished game out there. But it has... heart?

With that context in mind, Two Worlds II is actually quite good. Oh, it's still janky and sort of broken in the way that these kinds of games are, and the voice acting is quite bad, but once I got past the opening area of the first few hours I was impressed with the breadth of content available. Where this game shines is in its customizability. The spell system in particular encourages a mix-match philosophy of mixing different cards with different effects to produce markedly different spells. There's also melee combat, which as far as I can tell is "Block until you counterattack, use potions when you're low on health, rinse and repeat. There's also crafting and alchemy, similarly extensive and that's not even getting into the various sidequests and guilds one can join. I'm not going to definitively call it good yet, as I haven't finished it or its expansion yet, but so far this game is easily the best janky open RPG to have been developed in Europe and released a few years ago. Suck it Divinity 2.

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth

Inspector Lang is a suitable and worthy replacement for the Prosecutors you usually spend most of your time screwing with in these games

There are some game franchises that I would be entirely ok with being the exact same for the rest of time eternal. Ace Attorney is one of them. And indeed, on a cursory superficial level it seems like they changed things around for the spinoff featuring everyone's favorite Prosecutor and his faithful sidekick. But let's be honest. Not really. Sure, there are no separate court segments in this game and you occasionally use logic to connect things, but the gameplay is still pretty much the same... except instead of being a hapless defense lawyer with spiky hair you're the far more straight-laced Edgeworth who treats all of the crazy, ace attorney-esque, characters around him with the appropriate amount of contempt and confusion. I hadn't played this until now, and I can confirm that it's a really good "one of those games". The cases rely far less on pixel hunting and the absurd logic leaps that categorize some of the latter cases in any given AA game are less present here, though not entirely gone. These small tweaks actually make the game a lot more enjoyable since the evidence that needs to be presented is usually pretty obvious. The cases themselves are well done, though not quite at the same heights as some of the crazier ones in the other games of the series, but I very much enjoyed my time with this one and am now in the mood for some Ace Attorney 5... because Ace Attorney Investigations 2 never came out over here, much to my chagrin. It's like Fire Emblem Shin Monshou no Nazo all over again. Grrrrrr....

Speaking of Fire Emblem (and other things)

I'm playing Path of Radiance right now. It's pretty good. Surprise. Hard mode is also tougher than I remember. That, or the infinite grinding and crazy high-level conflicts that define Awakening have softened me. Not going to write a whole blog on it. I also speedran the Claire B scenario of Resident Evil 2 in one sitting and finally unlocked 4th survivor. Feeling euphoric about my victory I planned on going on to conquering Resident Evil 3 in under 2 hours... only to find that the Resident Evil 5 disk was in the case instead and my copy of Resident Evil 3 was nowhere to be found. I'm sure it's somewhere at home, but I'm still vaguely pissed and somewhat confused as to why the RE5 disk was in there. Also, the Gamecube version of Resident Evil 3 isn't exactly common, Y'know? Hopefully my parents or brother haven't eaten it by now. I'll be going home a few weekends from now, so hopefully I'll find it then.

16 Comments
16 Comments
Posted by Rorie

Still need to make some time to play Dragon's Dogma. I barely started (got to the point where I cut off the hydra's first head), but real life, Neverwinter, and Tomb Raider have all distracted me. It's so much work to lean over and turn on my XBox! I wish everything was on PC.

Staff
Edited by ArbitraryWater

@rorie said:

Still need to make some time to play Dragon's Dogma. I barely started (got to the point where I cut off the hydra's first head), but real life, Neverwinter, and Tomb Raider have all distracted me. It's so much work to lean over and turn on my XBox! I wish everything was on PC.

I've pretty much started going in the direction of PC exclusivity as far as modern games are concerned, at least until my laptop becomes outdated again. It's a specific bummer in the case of Dragon's Dogma because I feel like that game would look fantastic on a PC with maxed settings.

Edited by Yummylee

So have you not actually explored amidst DD's new area I take it? Well be prepared for when you do, you're going to want to be around level 80ish before venturing in I'd say, so it was a good idea that you least play through the main game again... Better give it another run just in case, though.

No, seriously, Bitterblack Isles is a motherfucker and is parts enjoyably challenging and then downright broken in others.

Even still, Dark Arisen made a great bevy of appreciatable improvements. A lot of my original complaints still stand, though. But they're a lot more grander than what I'd expect from a Capcom re-release to address anywhoo. I'll have to hold off on my Chimera mounts and an open-world that's actually dynamic for the sequel.

Also, I added you a while back on the 360 but I'm pretty sure you declined... But then when you receive a random email from a BrianMcIrish, I wouldn't blame you.

Also also, do you mean to tell me that you've only just recently, like within the span of these past few days, have unlocked the 4th survivor in RE2?!

Posted by Ben_H

I have a sealed copy of Ace Attorney Investigations that is waiting to be played. I want to play through Ace Attorney 3 first before going into Investigations. I am near the end of the last case of Ace Attorney 2 right now so it will be a bit.

Posted by Winternet

Hello, my name is Buckteload of Random Games. You wanna fight?

Edited by ArbitraryWater

@yummylee: Nope, have yet to see Bitterblack Isle, and was only thinking of getting anywhere near it once I had reached the postgame.

As for 4th survivor, you have to remember that: A. This was my first active attempt to speedrun RE2. and B.The last time I finished all scenarios I was playing the N64 version and my N64 controllers weren't exactly in great condition. 4th survivor is... really hard though. Only having two green herbs especially. As you might have suspected, I have yet to touch the extreme battle game, which I also unlocked for being speedy.

Posted by Veektarius

I heard a lot of that buzz about Two Worlds 2 but when I tried it I didn't make it more than a couple hours. The combat was just so loose and the encounters so poorly balanced. More power to you, though.

Edited by Yummylee

@arbitrarywater: Fair enough then. Though even without speedrunning RE2, 4th Survivor I thought was pretty easy to unlock. So long as you got an A per scenario (which, time wise, required you complete it under 3 hours I think) and then boom, a seemingly never ending montage of unlockables!

4th Survivor's pretty damn difficult, I agree. Took me many a time to complete it, but just you wait until you unlock the Tofu Survivor... Battle Game isn't all that great, though it does have the novelty of eventually just dropping everything in there on the higher difficulties. I'm talking stuff like entering the RPD car park only for Birkin's canine maw-mouthed monstrosity awaiting you within.

Plus there's the added bonus of unlocking a better looking PS1 polygon of Chris Redfield! What's especially neat is since Chris is more combat-experienced than RE2 era Leon, he can actually withstand the recoil of the shotgun a lot better than Leon can. He also has his own unique STARS beretta pistol at that, which has a faster fire-rate than the other RE2 pistols and has a pretty solid chance to pop a zombie's head with every shot at that.

Edited by ILikePopCans

@arbitrarywater
Favorite Fire Emblem game GO.

Been stumbling my way through Awanking (fuck random enemy reinforcements) and was just wondering what your all times are.

Posted by JouselDelka

@rorie said:

I wish everything was on PC.

Ok, I like you now Rorie.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

@ilikepopcans: Favorite Fire Emblem? Probably Thracia 776, maybe Path of Radiance. Awakening is pretty fantastic as well, as evidenced by the 50 hours I have sunk into it thus far.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@ilikepopcans: Favorite Fire Emblem? Probably Thracia 776, maybe Path of Radiance. Awakening is pretty fantastic as well, as evidenced by the 50 hours I have sunk into it thus far.

Edited by ILikePopCans

@arbitrarywater Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 huh, makes me want to play it. Does the story matter at all in the game, like should I read up on the previous games in the direct story cause I'm reading it takes place in the middle of a earlier game. Also being a Japan only game it could be dick hard, so is their a difficulty settings and should I play on the lower one?

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@ilikepopcans: Both. It's a midquel that takes place during the second half of the 4th Fire Emblem Game (Seisen no Keifu) and a sadistic monster difficulty-wise (though still easier than Lunatic mode in Awakening). Of course, Seisen no Keifu is a great Fire Emblem game in its own right, so you wouldn't be remiss playing that one first.

Edited by Mento

Fashionably late! Let's check this list out.

Dragon's Dogma seems to really be finding a dedicated userbase through word of mouth since last year, kind of like Demon's Souls did back in its day. I know DD had its supporters around release (like Kev Van Ord) but I couldn't look past the vast amount of uneventful travelling the game insisted you do in lieu of a convenient form of fast travel. It's possible I was spoiled rotten by Xenoblade Chronicles, which I played earlier that same year. I do wonder how my level 30 pawn Sycorax is doing though. She's probably holding onto like a thousand rotten wolf meats for me.

Blood Dragon was just impressive from a functional perspective. I know people are fixated on how well the humor may or may not work, but I think the precedent of building smaller standalone games on extant engines and charging less for them is more exciting and I'm hoping it becomes more widespread. Seems like a really good way of promoting the core game too; more than a hour-long demo would, at least.

I've been sitting on Two Worlds II forever. I think I won a copy from the GB Steamgifts group. Probably ought to do something with it eventually.

The Miles Edgeworth game was OK. I'm not as bothered as I thought I'd be that its sequel doesn't appear to be getting localized (I'd be way more interested in the third Chibi Robo) but it was a decent enough game. Well, until the final chapter at least.

Moderator
Edited by ArbitraryWater

@mento:The infinite Ferrystone you get for having vanilla DD on your hard drive and the number of extra portalstones in Dark Arisen remove most of the problems I had with Dragon's Dogma, at least as far as traversal is concerned. It's still Dragon's Dogma, so if there were other things that turned you off (if you got to level 30, then you clearly played a respectable amount) any of the other small tweaks won't be enough to change your mind. But I'm also part of that contingent who really loves Dragon's Dogma, so they were excuse enough for me to jump back in.

I think Blood Dragon is actually better than the original in some ways because it doesn't wear out its welcome the way vanilla FC3 does. As evidenced by my love of Might and Magic VII, Temple of Elemental Evil and Dishonored, I guess I do like smaller, more compact experiences.

@mento said:

but it was a decent enough game. Well, until the final chapter at least.

I could see how someone wouldn't like the final chapter of that game. While I expect the final chapter of any given ace attorney game to be crazy and over-the-top, the final encounter of Edgeworth may draw the line with how protracted it gets. I guess I'm far more interested in AA5 since it's confirmed a western release, but my inner completionist hates that there's a game in the series that I can't play without resorting to overly-literal fan translations, regardless of quality.