The Journey's End

What can I say that hasn't already been said about this game?  Persona 3: The Journey concludes in a way that I expected and yet, I'm completely stunned by this game. The narrative develops in a way that I haven't truly experienced on this level in a long time, if ever. The S-Link system seemed like charming little game mechanic that was meant purely for the fusion side of the game, but as the game really started to move along and the ending drew nearer, they felt more important than any other aspect in the game. Persona 3 on a grand scheme deals with your own mortality and what it actually means to be alive.  It seemed like a huge gimmick to have your persona's evoked by a gun, but now that I've reached the conclusion of the Journey, that little aspect is as important as any other part in the game. The evoker's are indicative of of the fact that every time you attack, heal or use a buff you are doing it to protect the one's you love.   
 
The game is about death in so much as it is about love for the one's around you.  We build all of these relationships in our lives from a very real and honest place so that we can truly live and make something of our lives.  I found some of the situations or progressions in the game to be awfully ridiculous, but others felt really genuine.  I'm almost compelled to go back and play through the Journey for the soul purpose of discovering Fuuka, Mitsuru and Aigis' S-links.  Aigis' connection to the protagonist is potentially on of my favourite relations in any game I've ever played.  After playing through the entirety of the Journey and the first 3 hours of the Answer, it is extremely clear to me that is a something that has never been done on this level of any game I've ever played.  The longing and suffering is such a beautiful and compelling thing that I don't think I'll ever get to experience such a thing from a video game again.  Persona 3 has quite possibly the most intriguing and nuanced stories that it is perfect for someone like me that spends a lot of time, wondering and waiting to discover what all of this is really about. Some days I think I have it figured out, but others are not clear.  I just can't even believe how beautiful of a story this game turned out to have and I'm sort of sad that that experience is more or less over. 
 
The end of the Journey reaches a satisfying conclusion that will stay with me for an extremely long time and as much as I want to jump into the Answer immediately, I think I need to hold back and really let this sink.  I find it somewhat hard to believe that I never really intended on playing P3, as the endurance only really made me interested in getting P4.  Maybe it's for the best that I knew absolutely nothing about this game, because it's probably the most worthwhile time I've ever spent with a video game. Having clocked in over 85 hours in a single game is ridiculous for.  Not so much that I wouldn't spend that much time on one game, but that fact that I loved almost every minute of those 85 and counting hours is something to be said. 
 
So, what am I going to do now? Well, I played the first 40 minutes of P4 and although I do remember some plot points, the game feels very different from P3 that it won't get in the way of what I experienced previously from this series already.  I might also go back and try to finish beyond good and evil or spend some time on ME2 again.  Or maybe it's time to finally get into Lost Odyssey? I don't know, but for now I just want to thank everyone listening on the ethereal plane at Atlus that made Persona 3.  That game connected with me on a completely unique and different way that I was just not ready for.  I need a Persona 3 tattoo somehow?   
 
Persona 3: FES: The Journey 10/10 
This Blog:  0/10

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My Month in Gaming (March)

This month can only be summed up as being the month of Persona 3.  I am now up to 78 hours in game time (having started it in early June) and I really don't think I have at any point in my life put that much time into a single playthrough of any game ever.  It says something about the narrative scope and tiny elements of that game that make it a truly compelling adventure to complete.  The sum of it's part truly make something great and knowing that Persona 4 fixes most of the annoyances in 3 make fairly excited to play it, although I'll probably need to a decent break from JRPG's once I finish this game.  I more or less wanted to write this entry to mark a moment in time that will either go down as the point where I am about to complete a game that could become one of my favourites of all time or just become a game that although very good, was sort of full of shit with where the story was going.  It's a JRPG, so you have to accept some of the nonsense, but this is a story that has made me question my own existence and, coming from a video game, that's a pretty heavy topic.  Going to finish this paper and then try to finish the game tonight. 
 
Momento Mori.

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My Month in Gaming (February)

Hi Nick, 
Remember when we used to play games and enjoyed life? Well, school has sort of ruined that so we don't have all that much time for that kind of stuff right now.  I mean, we finally cracked open that copy of Beyond Good and Evil that's been sitting around since the summer. It's pretty rad, but Mass Effect 2's DLC only last us like a week?  Too bad, Mass Effect 2 ruined games for us, because now there seems like nothing worth playing.  Bayonetta didn't hold out attention, but NHL 11 was still around for some good times. Golden Sun and Singularity will probably be the only other things we'll play this month (if we play anything at all).   Don't worry though, I still love you. 
 
Best, 
Nick

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My Month in Gaming (January)

So, clearly I am not going to be able to consistently blog every week on what I've been playing.  I've run out of time, but still want to log what I've been doing when I do play games.  As it goes, a monthly log seems to be best route here, so I'll stick with that for time being, intermittently writing down my thoughts periodically. So, since my last post two weeks ago I've completed RDR and ME2. 
 
Read Dead Redemption 
What can I say about this game that hasn't already been said.  The final 1-2 hours of this game are pretty thrilling and contain some of the most affecting cutscenes I've seen since Half-life 2 episode 2.  Seeing John get shot up and left for dead, even though I knew it was coming, still was fairly gripping.  The fast forward to Jack being fully grown, throwing aside the life of education that his parents sorely wanted for him, in order to get revenge on behalf of his father.  The  events leading to the final confrontation are done so well, that it's hard to see any game pulling off an ending like that again.  The title card flashing at the end of the duel was a very strong touch to cap off what you just finished and has an eerily similar feel to the ending of GTA IV.  You've done what you set out to do, but the world is the same and you have to keep on living. albeit, without true purpose. Definitely great.  Also started the Undead nightmare pack and really enjoyed the first hour, but it's starting to drag. Hopefully it picks up as I get more into it.  It sort of seems to have the problems that Mexico section of the game had.  It just dragged on and I was doing missions that I really didn't care all that much about in order to extend the length of the game. That's how I felt anyways. 
 
Mass Effect 2: 
Man, this is what games need to aspire to be in terms of an interactive narrative.  All the dialogue is amazing and even when some of the story bits take a turn for the dumb (a.k.a the Reaper T-1000) their are still redeeming qualities because everyone on term could die at any second! I have never been so sweaty palmed in a sequence in a game like I was doing the suicide mission.  Despite putting near 33 hours into the game, I'm still compelled to jump back in a do a second playthrough...partially to get my level 30 Shep, but also as a renegade mother fucker lady Sheppard.  Bioware has started something special here (I could say they started something special in the first game, but they took it a whole other level here).  Everyone has to buy play these games because this is where story telling and narrative action really needs to go.  Great game, great characters and a collective threat that I can't wait to battle when ME3 arrives.

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My MONTH in gaming...yikes

Well, things really got off the wagon in the middle portion of December until now.  Exams, the holiday break and dealing with early semester troubles didn't lend to me logging in what I've been playing, but I've played quite a few games over the last month until completion. Among VVVVVV, Machinarium, Read Dead Redemption, Alan Wake and Mass Effect 2 (which I just started this morning) VVVVVVV and Alan Wake really stand out. 
 
VVVVVV 
This is a platformer like no other.  Amazing music, great gameplay and originality to the core.  It's as though someone went into the future in the 80's, learned about modern game design, went back in time and made the game and then died only to have it released some twenty years later.  I can not say praise this game enough for just how much fun I had with it.  It's something that everyone should experience and fall in love with. 
 
ALAN WAKE!!!! 
This game definitely caught me by surprise.  I really did not know a lot about it going into it, despite the long development cycle and middling, hopeful hype surrounding it.  Having blown through the main game and two dlc add-ons in a little over a week I still want more of it.  The story is extremely compelling, albeit not completely original, however, the tone and atmosphere are as good if not better than most other games out on the market.  I plan on writing a review for it, so I won't go into anymore depth, but this is a new franchise that I'm extremely interested in seeing where it goes.  It doesn't need a sequel, but rather, 1 or 2 more episodes to close the "book" on this writer's tale.

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My week in gaming (12/05/10-12/12/10)

This week has not had too much going on given that I've been spending the majority of my time studying for finals. As a result, this will probably be brief as I really don't have a thing to say.   
 
Persona 3: 
I've continued working my way to the 40 hour mark in Persona, which was my goal 2 weeks ago when I decided to pick it up again.  I've hit a lull in the story and there does not seem to be anything of note really happening (seeing as I'm stuck in the summer portion of the game).  Ken joined S.E.E.S on my last bit of play and i'm interested to see where that goes. My Characters are all nearing level 40, which is cool as I'm sustaining a 1 level/hour clip like I wanted to when I started the game.  The concept of fusing persona's seems a little redundant as the team I currently have isn't exactly getting shut out.  I'm hoping to squeeze a couple more hours in before I go home, but we'll see. 
 
Dortios!:  
XBLA had a couple Doritos sponsored games come out this week, which simply equates to free points, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the titles, especially Harm's Way.  A mix of tower defence, co-op gameplay and racing is an interesting idea, even if it didn't work perfectly, and I really enjoyed the 20 minutes I spent with it (seeing as that's how long it took to S-Rank it).  The driving was surprisingly fine and sort of forgiving, but the courses were just designed all that well.  I like the you can change the terrain and destroy some structures to morph the course, but it becomes impossible to drive at parts.  None the less, I really had fun with it and I'd go back to it.  The Crash Course download was a nice addition, seeing my avatar run around and compete in a Takeshi's castle-esque world, but the level design (once again) is not very forgiving.  I like the way it controlled and thought it was a real neat idea, but when you're doing this type of skill based run/race game, at least put in a feature to restart at the beginning of the level without having to exit to the title screen, seems common sense, no?  Also, the points aren't anything crazy, but you'll definitely have to work for them, unlike Harm's way where they put them within reach.  I'm not quite sure if I'll go back to Crash Course for any other reason but points, however, I'd definitely consider playing Harm's Way as I definitely enjoyed what I played. Also, prop's to Doritos for not shoving ads down our throats!
  
Oh ya, I played NHL 11 and 'Splosion man, but those aren't worth elaborating on at this point.  I'm excited to go home on Wednesday and play some Uncharted; the trailer has definitely gotten me psyched to play those games again.  I'm definitely going to try beating them again over the break (time permitting).

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My week in gaming (11/26/10-12/04/10)

Not too much was done in the way of gaming this week as finals near. I did play through the entirety of Enslaved, but I wrote a review for it so all of my thoughts are enclosed in that space.  Other than that I got way into Red Dead but made the conscious decision to not play anymore of it until after exams have been completed as it will surely suck way more of time up than I need to. Instead, I dove back into my season in NHL 11 for a couple of games in between study breaks and last night I booted back up Persona 3 and man, I'm an idiot for not completing this game.  You fucking get to use Koro-chan!!!!! Yes!!!!!  I'm genuinely going to try seeing this game through to the 40 hour mark before I leave, which i do not see being a huge problem 
 
Other than that I jumped into 'Splosion Man and have found it to be completely middling. Tons of charm, but the gameplay is just not that interesting since I've played through the majority of Meat Boy.Should be a busy week, but I'm still looking forward to spending time with some great games when i can get it. it really is a great time to be a gamer right now. New and old, there is a ton to discover and fall in love with.

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My Week(+) in Gaming (11/16/10-11/25/10)

Today marks an odd day in gaming for me where the Action/Adventure has taken over my love of the FPS once again.  Blops started off great, the story was engaging, the multiplayer was different and the experience I was missing in my life was b(l)ack. Fast forward two weeks and that joy is gone. The campaign was lackluster after the first couple of missions, the multiplayer is solid, but the maps are pretty dumb and the immediate customization leaves something to be desired.  I'm pretty done with this game and now that I've seen its trade value for 37 bucks and Enslaved only costing 40 brand new, well, the writing is on the wall.  I've been pretty busy this week, so not much gaming was done outside of SMB and BLOPS, but I did finally pop in Lost Odyssey.  The game seems like it's going to be a fun one and am interested to play it this summer.  Anyhow, time to write my test and head over to an EB to make the trade.  

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500

I just noticed in my last forum post that I currently sit at number 499.  I generally never hang around a community long enough to even consider racking up that much time on a forum or site for that matter.  I got this account day one of the site going up and have loved every moment every of it.  This 500th post will mark that seems extremely large and daunting and took a long time to get to, but it seems really cool that I'm at that point.  I've seen a lot of users with post numbers in the 1000's and that seems crazy to me and I'm sure I'll eventually get there, but for now it seems that I was able to make it to this point.  Anyway, here's to another 500 posts!

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My week in gaming (11/08/10-11/15/10)

I'm procrastinating like made at the moment and figured I'd start a new blog series (that probably only I will read) detailing what I've been playing and what I've thought about it.  I kind of don't like the blog posts in the forums and how they are centred around quests, so I'm keeping this private. So, here goes nothing: 
 
FABLE 3: 
I finally completed this game and I really have to admit all the criticism's that I heard about the game really didn't bother me. The lack of HUD wasn't a big deal and moving around the Sanctuary was more fun than navigating about bunch of menu's.  I can understand that annoyance of not being able to just press the back button and pulling up a map, but realistically, it takes maybe 3-4 seconds longer to press START and walk two steps to the map in the middle of the Sanctuary. Not having access to your items at all times was not really a bother in itself seeing that stuff was kind of unnecessary to be nitpicking about all times.  Do i really need to know how many wedding rings or bed's I've purchased at all times? Not really, and the game does a decent job of bringing to things up into your consciousness when they are needed. And if you don't have those things, then hey they are in easy access.  I will admit, the end game stuff was pretty underwhelming.  There were enough decisions in the game that I'm definitely interested to play it again and make some different choices.  All-in-all the game is pretty damn good and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  It's not perfect, but it's not any worse in my opinion than Fable2.  If that damn frame rate just didn't drop all the time, I'd probably like it a lot more. 
 
Super Meat Boy: 
Didn't play too much of it, but I've worked my way ~70% completion and half way through Cotton candy Alley or whatever it's called.  Also, getting the kid from I wanna be the guy looks fucking impossible.  I probably won't finish that 
 
NHL 11: 
Continued along in the GM mode.  I've really found the HUT to be really underwhelming and not done all that well. The fact that your contracts expire and you start off with such a shitty team is a really poor way to encourage to do anything. You get rocked online and can't get any pucks or whatever the currency going to build a half-decent team.  The actual part where you play hockey is really amazing though. Quite easily the tightest, most realistic, accurate and fun hockey game out there. Love it! 
 
COD: BLOPS!: 
I, like a lot of people, went out and purchased BLOPS this week and rightly so. I've played about 30 mins of the campaign and an hour of multiplayer, but the real treat is the DOA and Zork inclusion on that terminal. I think the Treyarch guys really wanted to make a whacky and semi-serious version of COD and they did it. The gameplay is still tight and is totally fun, so I'm sure it'll keep me company on those lonely insomnia filled nights.  But seriously, DOA is just good as any of those dual-joystick top down shooters on XBLA.  Totally cool idea to include that in.

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