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4A Games makes impressive strides in improving Metro's core gameplay without losing the pieces that made the original so special.
Blood Dragon has a terrific sense of style and gives you some good extra Far Cry 3-style gameplay to fool around with.
Set phasers to "shun."
things I try not to look at for the sake of my wallet
Jeanne d'Arc is pretty great. I played through it about a year and a half ago, and while the difficulty can be extremly polar, it's a very well made game and deserved a sequel/spiritual successor.
@Sparky_Buzzsaw: That's good to hear! I find a lot of games in that SRPG genre/sub-genre to have difficulties like that.
obviously I haven't played it, but I've always wanted to since I saw it an E3 trailer for it many years past.
But you can't buy every system out there and reasonably expect to really play them. And with that always comes the regrets of what you didn't get to play. For the PSP Jeanne D'Arc is definitely number 1 for me and there really isn't much else that comes close.
Although now that I having such a blast with the Valkyria Chronicles series I may finally belatedly give into temptation.
@Slag: You know, it's funny. I should have loved Valkyria Chronicles, but I never found myself all that engrossed with it. I keep meaning to come back to the first game in the series to see if time hasn't changed my opinion on it, but honestly, it's not very high on my priority list. It's a beautiful game, with an interesting political atmosphere and really neat gameplay - and the fact that it's a strategy RPG should have me drooling. But I felt like instead of implementing missions that felt like they revolved around differing strategies by me or the computer, I was instead playing almost more of a trial-and-error pattern game.
@Sparky_Buzzsaw: Really? I feel completely differently. I'm not sure what it is precisely, but man VC has already entered my top 5 and perhaps 3 SRPGs I've ever played. I have not enjoyed a SRPG this much in perhaps over a decade (with the possible exception of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance) . I think for me it's the mix of being just difficult enough, without having 100 hour dull grindfests (ala Disgaea) and a heavy emphasis on story.
For me at least I find VC to have a very intuitive rock, paper, scissor that speaks to what I expect out of an SRPG pretty naturally. The "real time" bullets has been a really nice bonus. It makes the game feel so much faster than it really is. And I like the more manageable permanent death and save system. I love Fire Emblem but those games always drive me crazy since I'm one of those completionist guys who tends to play on Hard and tries to have zero casualties. 9 times out of ten I burn myself out before I manage to clear the game.
So far I've been cruising through VC, I think I've only had to retry a two or three missions, I'm not sure since I haven't looked at a FAQ but I feel like I'm near the end of the game. I haven't really had to guess and check much, but that might be because I do tend to scouts fairly aggressively to see what's on the field.
The biggest quibble I have with the game (and this may be what you are talking about) is that you cannot see even some of what enemy units are on the field until your deployed your own for the first time. I get the reasoning behind it, but it does seem a touch unrealistic (I would think WWII-like Europa people would have at least rudimentary advance intel) and unfortunately narrows the gameplay choices for a safe starting lineup.
As a result of not knowing how many tanks etc are out there, I find I roll with the same starting lineup everytime with no real reason to change starting strategies. Which for me is 2 scouts, 2 troopers, 2 lancers, a sniper and an engineer + whatever tanks the game sets in my lineup. Of course in battle I'll sub units in and out, but without that balance I find I may not be able to counter matchups properly.
Once in the missions I've been pleased with the little twists and variations on the mission objectives. The last 5 chapters or so have been really really good (I'm on chapter 15).
I do hear you though, once you've played a game partway it's really hard to jump back in if you haven't played for a long time.
And lookin at VC2 and 3 I can already tell they aren't going to be as good. But you know what, watered down VC is better than none.
Use your keyboard!
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