Dashed Expectations

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:00 am 
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McKnackus I wrote:
Well I started it, mostly because I feel this game is good enough that I need to experience it. If it makes me sad, then it's just a testament to the greatness of the game.

Although from a gameplay standpoint, fighting isn't nearly as fun as figuring out the various friendship puzzles of "enemies."

Yeah, pretty much. It definitely helped with me that I was tabbed out while doing random encounters (if you tab out while you're mid-walk, you'll continue to walk in place and can get random encounters that way), so yes. Dunno if that works in full screen, but you can always just switch to windowed for it (if you don't play in windowed already like I did).


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:28 pm 
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In light of recent events, I finally got around to playing Final Fantasy VII, after putting it off for so long.

Some areas are really confusing to navigate, especially when you have 3D models on top of what seems to be a 2D map. I'm only an hour in, so only time will tell if I get used to it. Other than that, is pretty fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:07 am 
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Image Finally got around to trying out more of Jackbox Party Pack 2. Here's what I was able to gain from it:

Fibbage 2 It's more Fibbage. You can't really complain about that, can you? Though the addition of the DeFibulator does add a tiny bit of strat into it (and actually makes you see the Truth answer more often too).

Ear Wax I consider this my "Drawful" of the game as this was the one that gave us the most laughs. Basically, think Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity, but with sound effects instead. I did notice many of the sound effects were repeating a lot, which could deter the replay value however. Still, I had a good chuckle at "What Santa Gives to Naughty Children," which was soon followed by a loud scream and a shotgun blast. Glorious.

Bidiots This game is definitely too complicated for the average player, I think. And the art part isn't really that engrossing either (aside from possibly throwing people off as to what was actually worth a lot). I dunno, maybe a few more games will get me to understand it better, but this quite possibly might be the weakest title in the pack. I will say, however, it is definitely still not as terrible as Word Spud.

Quiplash XL Pretty great what kind of responses pop up, but one thing I noticed is that it's really only enjoyable when you get a full group. Partials aren't very fun (you can't even get a Quiplash unless you have at least 5 people playing) because then we can see lots more questions popping up. Still a quality title.

Bomb Corp. Can be very challenging. You need to be in the right "mood" if you catch me in order to enjoy this. And by that, I mean you need to actually want to be able to succeed and win. It's a co-op title, which is nice to see, but doesn't offer many laughs in a party setting so I usually play this one solo instead (it is the only game with a solo mode in it too). Frankly, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is a better overall version of this game.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 6:35 pm 
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I just beat Final Fantasy VII. It was awesome. I enjoyed every moment of it. I'm looking forward to the remake and maining Cloud in Smash even more now.

Now to do some sidequests.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:18 am 
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Just bought Xenoblade Chronicles X. Game pretty much sucked me right in, and I've wasted at least six of the ten hours I've put in so far exploring.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:52 pm 
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I see that Super Penguin M has Xenoblade Chronicles X as well. And I mention that because I know he won't come onto this forum to mention it himself.

Darn it, guys, why couldn't you wait until Christmas like me?


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:02 am 
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Image I have chosen to wait. I've still got me some Super Mystery Dungeon to go through, anyway. Even though I've already gone through the main story.

...twice...

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:19 pm 
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I don't have time or funds to get it for now, and I wanna try and get that Special Edition though I know that's unlikely...

also I don't even have the original though, since I got a New Nintendo 3DS I could pick up the 3DS one...

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:41 am 
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Well, I finally ordered a Wii U a few days ago. Hasn't arrived yet, and I'll have to wait till Christmas to get some good games to play on it.

Also bought Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 a few weeks ago. Beat KH1 and Re:Com, and now I'm playing 2 on Critical Mode. Not looking forward to Demyx or Xaldin at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:07 am 
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((OOC: As you no doubt saw with my amiibo list, getting Isabelle and Digby meant having to swallow my pride and pick up amiibo Festival. Is it bad? Well, on the plus side, the game hasn't broken on me, but boy this thing is really mindless. There are games I like to play where you can just chill and have a good time to (like Talisman) and then there's this, which is basically "Watch Fictional Characters Have Fun Simulator". Anyway, let's get deep into what I've done over a span of a few hours:

Right off the bat, you're told to tap an amiibo to your GamePad. Everything here uses amiibo so that's why the box came bundled with 2 figurines (Isabelle and Digby) and 3 cards (Goldie, Rosie, and Stitches). Considering how pricey amiibo can get, you could almost see the game as an off thing that comes with the figurines in the same way you could see Wii Play as "buying a new controller with a free game attached." Game itself, all things considered, probably doesn't cost any more than $30, but that's still too high in my opinion. Anyway, let's just get into it.

Your amiibo of choice sits in front of a train station, waiting to be sent to the "fun" board game. At this point, you'll be prompted to say how many people will be playing. I think there's AI in this game, but I never bothered to check since I just went in with 4 "humans" in order to quickly unlock stuff (I theorized that it'd be similar to how Mario Party 1 worked, where only human players' coins and stars counted and your "happy points" are needed to unlock stuff, which I'll get into later). Anyway, outside of Player 1, you don't have to use amiibo for the board game part, but you put yourself at a massive disadvantage. Regardless, I had three amiibo with me at the time (Isabelle and Digby, which came with the game, and Tom Nook which I recently acquired) so Player 4 was always a Villager, which ranged from creative names like Boy 2 and Girl 4. I learned later that you can name them whatever you want, but why would you want to sully such genius naming conventions?

So then we board the train, though before then, my characters all pulled out random numbers which determined the turn order. Since this was my first time playing, they put me in the month of December, and a whole match takes the entire month. Don't worry, it's in game month, not real world month. Otherwise I'd just throw the disc out the window. Our host today seemed to be Goldie who gave me the option of adding a time limit since a 4 player game would take an estimated 1 hour and 15 minutes. I've done 50 turn Mario Parties, how could this be any worse, I thought. I decided not to set a time limit and went ahead towards a full month of December board game shenanigans. Still, it is nice that the option is there for those who are in a bit of a hurry.

And now the game begins, which involves having to touch your figurine on the GamePad any time you want to roll the die. I suppose there's a good side and bad side to this: Good side: You only need one controller, the GamePad, so no need to shell out for anymore Wii Remotes for those who don't have 4 yet. They can get pricey after all. But this then makes things rather annoying when playing in a big room since you need to pass the GamePad around to other people so that they can touch their amiibo on the NFC sensor as well. That's a lot of stretching out and walking, wouldn't you say? And despite the MSRP of amiibo being cheaper than a controller, that doesn't mean they're as easy to find, and even if you're like me and resort to online shopping, things start to get a bit steep, defeating the one good thing it had going.

Of course, again, outside of Player 1, you could forgo the whole amiibo thing altogether and play with 3 Villagers, but this isn't a good idea either. Whenever a player with a figurine rolls the die on the board, they get a free "Happy Point", which is the main currency needed to win the game. Player with the most Happy Points wins the game. Villagers, on the other hand, do not get happy points from rolling the die. It's only 1 point a roll, but if you're playing a full in-game month, that's at least 30 Happy Points players without figurines miss out on. This isn't just handicapped: This is downright broken! Villagers need a buff, or otherwise amiibo figurines need a massive nerf since, by the end of the game, my one Villager got crushed by Isabelle, Digby, and Tom Nook.

Once the die has been cast, your character then walks along a simple path. At the start is a junction where you can choose one of three directions to walk in, but don't expect much strategy here. Ultimately, you want to land on pink spaces while avoiding blue spaces. Good stuff happens on pink, bad stuff happens on blue. It's easy to remember, but not exactly engaging. After landing on a space, a little scene takes place with your character detailing what they did that day and how they felt, kinda like a diary. You are then rewarded, penalized Happiness/Bells depending on the kind of space you land on. An animal face (like those emoticons Shrunk gives you) involves Happy Points, a bag of Bells involves Bells, and one with both involves Happy Points and Bells.

And that's all there is to it to landing on spaces. Picture it like this: A board game of Monopoly, except every single space on the board is either Chance or Community Chest. That's why me taking the role of 4 humans didn't feel like cheating to me in the slightest. There is a sort of on-board objective of trying to reach the four corners in order to get stamps from Gyroids, each one giving you quite a lot of Happy Points, but other than that, you are at the absolute mercy of the RNG. Every so often, a special event happens randomly which changes some of the spaces on the board to those of the even taking place. Crazy Redd could come around and sell you cards for 100 Bells each, with these cards doing various things if you so desire such as moving a desired number of spaces or getting you out of debt (being "in the hole" with money means you slowly lose Happy Points). Katrina may show up and give you a fortune, good or bad, which will last for a whole week and is at the mercy of dice rolling during turns (like, if anyone rolls a 4, you get free money). Katie can play a card game with you (which is basically just High/Low) in order to get a free Move card, or she can trade cards with you if you already have at least one card (you can hold two). Dr. Shrunk can come to town, tell you an absolutely awful joke as he tends to do, and give you a free card for having to deal with him. Finally, Phineas can stop by to give away prizes to those that land on his space...after a roulette is spun (though the player who landed on it has a much better chance at "winning" that game).

There are also predetermined holiday boards as well, such as a Fishing Tourney, which changes every single space into a fishing space with the colour on the border of the space determining how valuable a catch you will make. That's one of the more involved ones, which is still left up to chance. Less involved ones included Toy Day (being December, this is the month of Toy Day after all) which is nothing more than "everybody gets free money because Santa!" Now that I think about it, this may be the first time the franchise has ever name dropped Santa...

The only truly real semblance of strategy comes from playing the Stalk Market. Every Sunday, Sow Jones comes along to sell you Turnips for a price in bunches of 10, with the price changing each week she does it. On the first week, everyone gets a free 10, but you have the option to buy more. On Monday through Saturday, each space will also have a random number underneath it, which determines how much a Turnip will sell there. Pink arrows mean you'll make a profit, blue arrows mean you sell at a loss, and green arrows mean you break even. Much like the main games, you want to sell at a high return value, but you are still at the mercy of your dice rolls. You better hope you land on a space that turns a good profit. Otherwise that's some wasted money. Sometimes, during the week, the market could change, from fluctuating to outright crashing. On Saturday, you will automatically sell any excess Turnips you have, whether you want to or not.

All the while, it's just one stupid thing after another. At one point, Nook and Isabelle landed on the same space where the game decided that, since they had the same bags on them, they took home the wrong thing, so Nook ended up getting, like, 20,000 Bells taken from Isabelle. Not that it hurt her too much because sometime later, the game arbitrarily decided that she had decided to grow a money tree, which yeilded her nearly 100,000 Bells! Like, what kind of random arse baloney is this?!

At the end of this agonizing month of December, we finally got to where the results are shown. Goldie, without any hint of irony in her bone, mentions how money can't buy you happiness, but can get you Happy Points. At this point Digby was leading the charge having gotten all 4 stamps and was rolling in Happy Points, but thanks to Isabelle's stupid lucky money tree BS, she ended up taking first place since 1,000 Bells equals to 1 Happy Point. That one simple space effectively let her win the game. If I had cared enough and was rooting for Digby, I'd be outright furious!

Anyway, afterwards, all players with a figurine were asked to scan their amiibo because, apparently, all that happiness they acquired allowed them to "level up". This in turn lets characters unlock costumes and emotions you can do in the middle of the game (though since there's only one flipping controller for this, I don't see much of a point in using the emotes). After that, I then unlocked the ability to play all 12 months now (not in a row, mind you, I haven't quite fell into Hell yet). However, nothing else was unlocked, and wanting to see what else it had to offer (since I knew there was more than the board game), I went back in, this time going for June, and since I didn't learn my lesson last time, played a full month there as well.

Same song, different month. Nothing more really to add other than Villager got crushed even further than in December. And nobody leveled up to 3 so that made me kinda down (I wanted the Nook's Cranny outfit for Tom and don't have it unlocked). With that out of the way, the rest was finally "unlocked". I use that term loosely because you still need to do more gameplay to do more unlocking. They start us off with some sort of game with balloons and an island to bounce onto. This is the first game that uses cards instead of figurines and can be played with 1-4. Now, I could just play with the three given to me, but since I had anticipated that I may someday get this game, I actually went ahead and purchased a few Animal Crossing cards ahead of time. Just of some of my favourite characters, though, I don't plan to collect them like the figurines. Not as fun to show off. Specifically, I got myself a Kiki, Bunnie, Punchy, and Bob card. Each card has various different stats that are specific to amiibo Festival...but for the balloon one, it didn't really do anything. You just lay the card down, watch your character fly onto the screen on balloons, then take the card off and watch as they pop balloons and try to land on the island for a bonus multiplier. Okay, it at least has some semblance of a game...?

After that, it told me I had to purchase the rest of the attractions using happy tickets. Thankfully, all that suffering through two board games paid off since I was able to purchase almost all of the attractions, in particular the island one, which is far and away the best game in this collection. I know, that's a low bar to set, but I'm being perfectly honest when I say that I'd play a full version of this island game if the price was right.

The gameplay consists of you choosing three different cards and using them as your team to try to escape the island by building a raft. Doing so involves you having to look all over the place in search of three logs and a sail. Once everything has been collected to leave, you win! However, you have a set time limit of 7 in game days to get everything as well as a small supply of food (about 3 days worth) to survive off of. Each character has their own unique passive abilities depending on their species so it's actually encouraged to bring a variety of characters with you (which explains why the three cards that come with the box are always Goldie, Rosie, and Stitches: They are three different animal species). For this game, I mainly used Kiki, who can go fishing without you needing to build a fishing rod though at the cost of possibly failing to catch anything, Bunnie, who can spend one day getting extra sleep to be able to move 6 turns the next day as opposed to 3 turns, and Goldie, who could reveal items on the map if she's adjacent to a square with a (?) on it. After all three characters take their turn, a full day ends and you can set up camp in any location you've explored, where all three gather to make tools out of materials you found and then eat and sleep. Since you only have enough rations for 3 days to start, you need to find more either through fishing, shaking trees, or stealing honey from bees. When you have a team all set up in mind, you can see where the strategy part comes in. I'd have Kiki hang around the beach to collect fish, Goldie to scout ahead to look out for danger, and Bunnie to do the majority of the collecting after spending a day sleeping in. It is far and away the best part of the game, but not enough to pay full price for, truly.

Played a couple other ones, such as a camping trip guessing game that works like a logic puzzle (and requires SIX cards so if you have just the base game, you can't even play this one), a game where you go through a maze trying to collect acorns while being chased by a lawnmower, a quiz show game for testing your knowledge of Animal Crossing (it's legit hard actually) and a whack-a-mole type game that is way too fast to be even remotely fun. Pretty much all of these games involve you constantly putting amiibo cards on the game pad as well, which makes it super cumbersome. Another plus to that island game again here since the only time you needed the cards was for the inital scanning. Everything else was done with buttons and the D-Pad. Honestly, these attractions almost feel like these were small games being designed but a variety of different teams, not many of which understood what the concept of "fun" was (again, except for the island guys). There are two other attractions I haven't unlocked yet, but I doubt they'll sway me to like it any more. I saved them for last since they didn't have a Single-Player component to them.

I'll probably finish up the island stuff, but in the end, I think Giant Bombo's amiibo Festival Festival put it best:))


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:20 pm 
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Got Smash for Wii U and Mario Maker for Christmas. Having a ton of fun in Smash, and Cloud is as fun and awesome as I thought he'd be.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:13 pm 
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Image Purchased Xenoblade Chronicles X for myself. I'm probably going to be gone for a looooooooooooooong time.

Which is why I purchased the bigger battery on Ninty's online shop for the GamePad.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:51 pm 
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The Great B-Man wrote:
Image Purchased Xenoblade Chronicles X for myself. I'm probably going to be gone for a looooooooooooooong time.

Which is why I purchased the bigger battery on Ninty's online shop for the GamePad.
I might just need that at this point, the battery life is really starting to irritate me with all the Wii U games I'm playing for long times.

Having purchased Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and really liking that, I'm contemplating X as well. Hell maybe even the first game since I want to play it on a big screen!

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:11 pm 
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Never played a Xenoblade game, but I plan to get it. Almost everything about it appeals to me. The sci-fi setting, the giant robots, the open world, the character customization, the works.

The only thing I'm not digging is the art style for some characters. Lin in particular looks really uncanny to me. Not sure if it was like this in the other game but...yeesh.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Shredderman8160 wrote:
Never played a Xenoblade game, but I plan to get it. Almost everything about it appeals to me. The sci-fi setting, the giant robots, the open world, the character customization, the works.

The only thing I'm not digging is the art style for some characters. Lin in particular looks really uncanny to me. Not sure if it was like this in the other game but...yeesh.

Image It's a Monolith Soft tradition to have uncanny characters at this point, though honestly, I've kinda gotten used to it, or maybe it just looks better in motion...?

Been trucking along. About 5 hours in and still learning stuff. Considering the reports I've heard, this game is gonna be quite a while before I really get to the good stuff. Haven't even ventured far from the first continent either. Game has at least opened up and I'm free to explore wherever...so long as I don't mind getting my face bitten off.

With that said, I did encounter what's already a high candidate for "Best unimportant NPC":



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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:35 am 
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I just beat the Lingering Will in KH2 on Critical Mode. Quite possibly my biggest gaming accomplishment so far. Holy !#%$, I'm still shaking.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:32 pm 
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I started playing Splatoon. I wasn't sure how I'd like the game at first, but man, is this game fun. I'm even finding the music enjoyable, which I thought I'd hate.

However, it seems my level is being held back by my antique Internet connection. So I've mostly just been shooting Octarians in single-player.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:31 pm 
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The Great B-Man wrote:
With that said, I did encounter what's already a high candidate for "Best unimportant NPC":[/b][/color]


Image Looks like I'm changing this to "important NPC" now after doing a spoilerific side-quest:

Spoiler: click to show
He's a murderer of the Ma-non after completing Chapter 9 and I had to bring him to justice. I am so sad that I'll never hear "Deploy that pizza!" ever again...

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:19 am 
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Image On today's exciting episode of "B plays Xenoblade Chronicles X..."

Image

Image I have become Dunban!

I also absolutely adore my characters' lines in battle:


"Aww... Doesn't anyone love me enough to heal me?"
"Now you can cripple them! I totally deserve a cookie for this."
"Don't forget to buff up! It's the law!"
"I was born ready! Also handsome."
"Crap! ...As in 'crap, please heal me!'"
"Booyah, grandma! Follow up with gunfire!"
"They might be bigger, but we look cooler holding guns!"
"NO! I'm too young and pretty to die! Gimme a boost!"
"Who wants a hug, huh? YOU DO!"
"Bad enemy! Very bad! We better make sure they behave!"
"Pew! Pew! Pew!"
"Am I amazing or what? Hey! Don't point those things at ME!"
"If I get any cooler, they'll use me as a fridge!"

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:00 am 
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Beat KH2 on Critical mode for the second time...except this time I played through the whole game at level 1. I beat the Absent Silhouettes, as well.

More doable than it sounds, though some parts were really unforgiving, especially Roxas. I nearly gave up on him.

Alright, I'm done with this game. Time for more Smash Bros and Mario Maker.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:43 pm 
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Got Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon and Kid Icarus Uprising at my local Gamestop. It was the last copies they had for both games, and the guy at the counter said it was the first time in a year that he's seen Uprising in a case. I lucked out big time.

Super Mystery Dungeon is pretty cool. Still in the tutorial stages, but it's just like the old ones I've played so far, which is a plus.

Kid Icarus Uprising is super fun. I'm two chapters in and having a blast, and Magnus...oh my god, Magnus. That man is all my favorite tropes in one package. He's so !#%$ cool.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:45 pm 
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Yeah Uprising is rare, I don't think they had many copies but I know it got rare in a year.

I really should have updated my status with some games I got in 2015 >.> Beat Mario and Luigi Dream Team recently, great time. Hate the abundance of gyro scope, or at least in Giant Luigi stuff. Also finished GTA V on PS4, such an amusing but great time. Trevor is...amazing. On an underwhelming note there's Assassin's Creed Unity which had a story I couldn't have bothered to follow, and still glitched but was ok. Probably the cheapest game I got brand new in some time though. inFAMOUS 2 was great, story had me intrigued and had some nice improvements over the first. I finished Splinter Cell Blacklist a second time, and still enjoy it so much, gonna have to revisit it for completion(ist) purposes.

On stuff I picked up, there's Infamous Second Son which progressed things nicely, Shovel Knight which is such a joy to play, and Xenoblade Chronicles X which is exactly as B describes it. Also I found the Special Edition lying in my Best Buy two weeks ago, so that was a thing. I picked up Resident Evil 2 Revelations and Resident Evil Origins Collection as well with some deals that popped up.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:58 pm 
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Got a PS4 and Bloodborne.

It's go time.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:04 am 
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Image Currently pushing myself through Fire Emblem Awakening again before Fates arrives in a few weeks.

Truth be told...

Image I...have never actually finished it... It's not a hard game by any means, especially compared to past Fire Emblem games. I just probably got super distracted...

I decided to look back at my top games of 2013 list to see if anything distracted me, and sure enough, with the likes of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Final Fantasy XIV, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf all coming out that year, my time was very heavily taken up. Not to mention it was around the end of the year/start of 2014 that I finally decided to really sit down and enjoy Xenoblade Chronicles.

(Man, 2013 was better than I remember it...)

Image But...this time, I'm gonna push myself through! I'm at Chapter 19, and from what I've read, there isn't much more. I think I can push through this within the next two weeks in time for Fates!

Image ...If, of course, I stop trying to focus on getting the "best" skills and grinding EXP on my children...urgh... Some things just can't be helped...

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming Status
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:23 pm
Posts: 1176
I didn't get Awakening till September since I couldn't find it any lower prices since release, and most stores sold out, since I didn't realize Nintendo no longer lowers their prices on most of their stuff. That said, I was on and off not just due to other games, but due to some things like the reinforcement !#%$ on higher difficulties, one of my guys getting critical'd multiple times in a row, and suicide attackers...compare to this Path of Radiance which during my summer, I played at least once a week if not almost every day regardless of me dying, since I usually felt like it was my fault. PoR's story was certainly more engaging too, where I wanted to see Ike succeed and what would happened next, but Awakening just seemed all over the place, though still a fine story on its own.

2013 was one great year though, totally. For games, for life...well maybe not everyone had it great, but I guess we did!.....oh wait you spent time grinding everything too? Me as well! I blame my inner Pokenerd for that.

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"See, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. When the chips are down, these civilized people, they'll eat each other. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve."


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