I bought Ni no Kuni from the PlayStation Store a little while back, around three days before we had that 'Big in Japan' sale and its price temporarily plummeted to £3.99 (yep, I'm still a little bitter about that). I had a quick peek at the game's opening minutes and was impressed with what I saw, so it's definitely high on my list of games to play soon(-ish). The revelation that it's chock-full of pun-derful wordplay has just bumped it even higher up that list. Having read this blog I'm really looking forward to sinking my teeth into it, hopefully later this year.
dankempster's forum posts
Really sorry to do this last minute, but I'm not going to be able to make tomorrow evening I'm afraid. I've just had to spend £140 I wasn't expecting to part with, and it's cut my expendable income for this month down to zero. Again, really sorry, I was looking forward to meeting some of you guys and having a few drinks in Ryan's name. Hope y'all have an awesome time, and that I can make another one of these in the near future.
I'll do my utmost to come along to this. It would be awesome to meet a few duders and put faces to names, all while playing some video games and having a few drinks to honour the late great Ryan Davis. I'm assuming it'll be an afternoon/evening thing?
Great blog as always, Colorwind.
I can definitely empathise with you on the 2D Zelda versus 3D Zelda thing. I felt similarly after playing through both A Link Between Worlds and Link's Awakening through late 2013/early 2014, to the point where I actually wrote a blog about it back in January trying to put my finger on the reasons why. I will say that you can't go wrong with The Minish Cap, that's a fantastic (and hugely underrated) 2D Zelda adventure. I also recommend Link's Awakening, if you can find it on the 3DS eShop - it's a really well put together Zelda game, with a fairly novel world and atmosphere.
I commend you for going back to Pokémon Blue, especially after spending time with the latest generation of Pokémon games. I've sunk an obscene amount of time into Pokémon Y in the last six months and I'm pretty sure I would find it almost impossible to go all the way back to the franchise's origins at this point. I definitely think the best approach to getting through Pokémon games is to catch 'em all but only train a few, and I can definitely see how your previous method of playing the games might have soured your experience with X considering that game throws about half a dozen new Pokémon at you on every single route. That's a pretty solid team you're rocking there at the moment, and I hope you'll keep us updated on your progress through the game.
@sparky_buzzsaw: I always find it weird when people call out the 3DS for not being ergonomic. Since October I've put 540 hours into Pokémon Y (no, I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me either), and I've got no complaints about cramps or even mild discomfort from spending that amount of time with the machine in my hands. I guess it could be more ergonomic if Nintendo threw some controller-style contours into its shape, but its existing dimensions are a non-issue for me.
Great blog Colorwind. Having only just finished Revelations myself, you've actually made me feel a little better about how far behind I am with the Assassin's Creed series! ACII remains my favourite game in the series at this point - although I am happy to acknowledge that Brotherhood is mechanically superior, its story was a real let-down for me, whereas ACII just felt like a perfect overall package at the time I played it. Admittedly I had the Complete Edition, which includes both DLC packs by default, so I didn't suffer from that disconnect when it came to "missing" DNA sequences. Maybe if I had, my stance would have been different.
I watched some of your Final Fantasy IV Let's Play and it's succeeded in making me want to drop everything else and focus on replaying that game, in spite of the frustration I associate with the game (I originally played it on PS1 - think the SNES version, but with drastically worse load times). I've owned the PSP version for quite some time now and hope to get around to playing it soon. The fact it's bundled with The After Years, which I am still yet to play, is just an additional temptation.
As for what I've been playing, I've been juggling my gaming time back and forth between Pokémon Y and Skyrim. A few of my friends and I are setting up a little Pokémon battling league due to kick off next month, so I've been working on putting together a new battling team for that. When I haven't been training and breeding, I've been losing myself in Skyrim. I rolled a new character, a stealthy Argonian, and I've been going through the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest lines which I skipped over when I first played the game two years ago. Man, stealthing and thieving your way through that game is tons of fun.
Great write-up Arbitrary. As you highlighted, a lot of what I've read about Thief seems to have been from the perspective of players who've wanted it to be some choose-your-own-path action RPG where stealth is an option rather than the intended playstyle. In light of that, it's refreshing to read something written by someone with... dare I say realistic expectations? You definitely make the game sound like a three-star experience by Giant Bomb's review code (by which I mean, it sounds like something fans of the series or genre will probably find a lot to like about, in spite of its problems).
My experience with the Thief series amounts to dabbling with the original for an hour or so as part of a 'deciding what to play next' session. I definitely enjoyed what little I played of it, and would like to return to it and play it through properly at some point. Reading this may well have just provided me with the impetus I needed to actually do that. I just need to stop stealing shit in Skyrim first...
Nice write-up duder. On the subject of the Ratchet & Clank HD Collection for PS3, would you say it's worth investing in if I still have the PS2 versions of those three games and the hardware to play them on? Do they bundle in any substantial extras to justify double-dipping, or are they literally just prettier versions with Trophy support?
Another great entry in what's proving to be a really fun series to follow. I agree with you completely about Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter being incredibly user-unfriendly - the switching between two different cartridges and two different apps was frustrating in the extreme, as was having to move everything you wanted to migrate from the Gen 5 game into Box 1. That being said, I guess it's still a step forward from the six-at-a-time limitations of Pal Park and Poké Transfer. I'm just glad it's all done now, and hopefully the promised forwards-compatibility of the Bank will remove those frustrations from future generations altogether.
I've also been working on a competitive team of my own. I haven't finished the breeding and training yet, but I've taken early drafts of the team online and I've been really happy with how it's performed so far. This is how the team will look when I'm finished (I haven't settled on any nicknames yet, but I would like to nickname them all eventually):
Galvantula is pretty much always my lead. The Focus Sash guarantees setting up a Sticky Web on the first turn of battle, and the little guy is fast enough to out-speed most things and Volt Switch to safety on its second turn (or wreck house, if the opponent leaves in something vulnerable). Compound Eyes and Thunder is a great combination, boosting its pretty unreliable 70% accuracy to a much more respectable 91%, and Bug Buzz rounds out its offensive coverage with another powerful STAB move.
Ability: Compound Eyes
Nature: Timid (+Speed, -Attack)
EVs: Special Attack and Speed
Held Item: Focus Sash
Moves: Sticky Web, Bug Buzz, Thunder, Volt Switch
Tyrantrum serves as my physical wall and carrier of Stealth Rock, which in combination with Sticky Web is an important part of my long-term set-up strategy. It's got an impressive amount of physical bulk and will happily eat up physical hits (I've even had it swallow two super-effective Earthquakes, although I suspect I may not have been up against an EV-trained opponent on that occasion). It's a lot of fun switching it into expected physical hits and watching the opponent take damage back from the Rocky Helmet, then managing to get up essentially free Stealth Rocks when they switch out on the next turn. Crunch takes advantage of its Strong Jaw ability, Dragon Tail is great for shuffling the opponent's deck and forcing them out into Stealth Rock damage, and Stone Edge is a great powerful STAB move, if a little inaccurate.
Ability: Strong Jaw
Nature: Impish (+Defence, -Special Attack)
EVs: HP and Defence
Held Item: Rocky Helmet
Moves: Stealth Rock, Dragon Tail, Crunch, Stone Edge
Excadrill is my Rapid Spinner, intended to keep Stealth Rocks off my side of the field lest they screw over my ace. Because I don't run Sandstorm on my team, Mold Breaker is the best fit for his ability, letting me Earthquake levitating Pokémon and break through other annoying abilities. The Air Balloon lets me safely switch into three of the four existing entry hazards without suffering their effects, as well as any potential Earthquakes from the other side, which may not sound like a big deal, but is incredibly useful for such a fragile Pokémon. As for its moveset, Earthquake is a powerful STAB move, Rock Slide hits Flying-types hard, and I've found Poison Jab to be a nice thorn in the side of opposing Fairy-types (I've managed to 2HKO a Cotton Guarded Whimsicott with it more than once).
Ability: Mold Breaker
Nature: Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack)
EVs: Attack and Speed
Held Item: Air Balloon
Moves: Rapid Spin, Earthquake, Rock Slide, Poison Jab
Politoed is my special wall and something of a 'red herring' in the context of my whole team. Its Drizzle ability can overturn the Drought ability of my ace, turning harsh sunlight into rain in the blink of an eye and royally screwing over any opposing Pokémon that tries to switch in to take advantage of the sun (not to mention giving Galvantula a never-miss Thunder should the opportunity arise). Scald gets boosts from STAB and the rain, plus carries a chance to Burn. Ice Beam is pretty handy for dealing with Dragon- and Grass-types. Substitute is a great way to get set up against a non-threatening Special Attacker, and gives you a temporary wall from which you can safely Scald physical attackers when they switch in. Protect is great for scouting, stalling Burn damage and aiding Leftovers recovery.
Nature: Calm (+Special Defence, -Attack)
EVs: HP and Special Defence
Held Item: Leftovers
Moves: Scald, Ice Beam, Substitute, Protect
Scrafty got his slot on the team because I noticed I was lacking physical power and Fighting-type coverage, both of which were leaving me really struggling against special walls like Goodra and Blissey. I've gone for the Shed Skin ability over Moxie because it's useful for shaking off annoying status effects typically used by stalling Pokémon, and my Scrafty isn't really intended to be used as a sweeper. Scrafty's got amazing defensive stats which make him great at shrugging off both physical and special damage, and when coupled with the Drain Punch/Big Root combo, he's wonderfully resilient. Bulk Up boosts both Attack and Defence to make Scrafty both stronger and more resistant to physical damage, Payback is the best STAB option considering its low Speed means it almost always moves last, and Dragon Claw makes wonderfully short work of bulky Dragon types.
Ability: Shed Skin
Nature: Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack)
EVs: Full Attack, rest split between Defence and Special Defence
Held Item: Big Root
Moves: Bulk Up, Drain Punch, Payback, Dragon Claw
This is my ace, a Pokémon I loved using so much that I endeavoured to build this whole team around it. Pretty much everything listed above serves to create optimum conditions for my Charizard to Mega Evolve and wreck house with its amazing sweeping abilities - there's not much it can't outspeed with a Sticky Web in play, and there's not much it can't take out in one hit with Stealth Rocks on the other side of the field. Drought cuts damage from Water-type attacks, boosts Flamethrower, and turns Solar Beam into a one-turn move that devastates unsuspecting Water-types. Air Slash is a great move that takes advantage of STAB and also carries a chance to flinch the opponent, and Roost ensures its longevity by giving it a means of HP recovery.
Ability: Blaze (Drought when Mega Evolved)
Nature: Modest (+Special Attack, -Attack)
EVs: Special Attack and Speed
Held Item: Charizardite Y
Moves: Flamethrower, Solar Beam, Air Slash, Roost
@arbitrarywater: You know, I'd completely forgotten that Pokémon can be obtained at the Celadon Game Corner. I guess if I can pick one up from there it would technically count as my capture for the area, and I don't really mind skipping Eevee for a potential Dragonite. As for Mega Charizard Y, I know it's got its down-sides compared to the X variant, but a lot of the fun has come from trying to compensate for its weaknesses by building a strong, supportive team around it. Hopefully Excadrill's Rapid Spin should help to keep those pesky Stealth Rocks at bay, and with Galvantula's Sticky Web on the other side of the field, it's able to outspeed a lot of other Pokémon (providing they aren't Choice Scarfed) and either KO them or restore its HP in relative safety with Roost. I've given it a few test runs alongside my Tyrantrum and Galvantula, and I'm happy with how it's performing so far.
@mikelemmer: Not gonna lie, it's a huge time-sink, and not something I think I'd be prepared to do again after I get done breeding these six. The Pokémon I've been using online up to now have simply been bred for the appropriate Nature and Ability and then EV trained, and for the most part they've held their own well enough, so I'll probably revert to that approach in future. It's mainly curiosity, to see how deep the rabbit hole really does go, that's put me in this position. I agree with you that competitive Pokémon battling is very much at odds with the franchise's narrative ethos, but I'm not sure how that could be addressed at this point without completely overturning the series' established mechanics, and I don't think an overhaul of that magnitude would please the competitive battling community at all.
@video_game_king: I wholeheartedly endorse the concept of The Kantobury Tales. That is something I would definitely read.