Anyway, I'll keep this post mercifully short. I hated the little I've played of World of Final Fantasy and I certainly won't purchase it. To sum it up, the graphics are lacklustre and the game world is totally devoid of charm, battles are painfully slow and tedious, the camera moves make me nauseous and last but not least, it's a crappy Pokemon rip-off. Square Enix' pilfering of other successful gaming formulas is still going on full force, and it seems that this is indeed their new way of creating games.
Well, I certainly won't support that. Square Enix may be a powerhouse and a gaming legend, but past glory can only carry you on for so long. I don't care how great a developer's resumé is; if their current games don't please me, then I won't invest in them. I did love both Square and Enix RPGs in the past; but in my humble opinion, what they produce nowadays is utter crap. Now I seriously dread playing my newly purchased copy of Dragon Quest VII and having to face yet another disappointment. But hey, what's bought is bought! At least, I avoided spending money on WoFF.
Now I'm going to dig up a funny and light-hearted game to play next, because I really need to relax and unwind after my recent lukewarm gaming experiences. I'll see you soon with more gaming goodness, dear fellow gamers! Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
play that game anymore.
The last straw was yet another Wake-Up Call Boss that would have needed insane amounts of level-grinding, strategizing and patience to be overcome. I already grinded like crazy to beat Shadow Tsukasa and a couple of other wake-up call bosses before her, and I'm just sick of it. I managed to get used to the unbalanced field battles, but these cheated bosses are just ruining my fun.
On top of being sick to death of unfair boss battles, I feel like I've seen enough of the game to quit now. All the girls have been rehabilitated and Knighted, so my job as a Program Instructor is done. I don't care that much about whatever final boss may come after that, nor do I care about the unavoidable harem ending and the post-game segment that will let me recruit Enri and fight yet another super-cheated boss. I'll just watch the ending(s) on Youtube and call it a day, thanks a lot.
Still, there's no denying that I would still be playing if not for the game's horrendous fake difficulty and lack of balance. The girls' interactions are intense and gripping and they are all interesting characters despite being copy-pastes of CGIO's cast, and I would have liked to spend more time with them—all the more so as their Knight outfits are stunningly gorgeous. But hey, the gaming instinct wants what it wants, and it says that more grinding and cheated bosses are out of the question.
And so I comply. I'm leaving CG2 to roam greener pastures, starting with the demo of World of Final Fantasy that I downloaded a couple of days ago. Let's see if Square's newest offering will be a gem or a turd! Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
Criminal Girls: Invite Only. Not only does it sports the exact same gameplay, but it also proudly features the exact same dungeons so far (albeit redrawn), the exact same "motivation" minigames (albeit slightly more sophisticated) and last but not least, the exact same cast of foes (without albeit: they were virtually lifted straight from CGIO). The only brand-new feature is the cast of characters, their backstories and the saucy scenes that go along with them—although then again, we're not exactly dealing with genuine novelties there. All the girls are blatantly inspired by their CGIO counterparts, be it in terms of looks, personality and demeanor: Chloe is a virtual copy-paste of Alice, Tsukasa of Ran, Yurine of Tomoe and so on. (It was actually quite entertaining to tie each CG2 girl with her respective CGIO inspiration.) Anyway, you get the picture: CG2 is basically CGIO with revamped art, a new yet familiar cast and ramped-up fan-service. Which in theory is totally fine by me, since I really don't mind treading on familiar ground when it comes to beloved gaming formulas.
In practice, things are a bit more complicated. I'd like to claim that I fell head over heels for CG2 just like I did with CGIO and that I'm having tons and tons of fun playing it; but unfortunately, the reality is quite different. While I'm having a decent amount of fun with CG2, I'm far from being glued to it and I deem it quite inferior to its predecessor. This is due to a sole reason that jumped out at me as soon as I started my playthrough: CG2 is unreasonably hard. We're not talking about the "challenging" kind of hard there, but rather about the "tedious" type of hard—the one that generates eyerolls, exasperated sighs and ragequits. I was visibly not the only one being put off by CG2's excessive difficulty, since a so-called "casual" patch was made available for the Japanese version. This patch was added to the Western version, and I switched to Casual mode after a mere couple of minutes because playing on Normal mode was an absolute chore. Not that it changed my fortunes wildly, mind you: the only difference between Normal and Casual mode is that foes hit slightly less hard on the latter, but everything else is left untouched. Brace yourselves, this is how CG2 rolls when it comes to difficulty:
—The girls' suggestions in battle are often off the mark, especially when compared to CGIO. I've lost count of the number of times when all girls pull out their most powerful skills to dispose of a mere field enemy or coyly offer regular attacks when fighting a boss. They are also quite reluctant to suggest buffs and debuffs, which doesn't make boss battles any easier. This definitely qualifies as fake difficulty because of Artificial Stupidity.
—The "Motivation" minigames have been made unnecessarily fussy and are now bristling with confusing instructions and complicated control schemes, which leads to fake difficulty because of Some Dexterity Required. Not only are they often tedious to play, but they don't allow for much clumsiness, unlike their CGIO counterparts. This means a higher failure rate, which means less XP gained, which means more grinding to gain CM points, which means more slow battles. Now that's the fake longevity cherry on top of the fake difficulty cake.
This break is also partly fuelled by my trip abroad. Not only did that trip broke my grindy Rainbow Moon routine, making it kind of hard to hop back on the grinding treadmill once I came back home, but it gave me the opportunity to amass some absolutely glorious gaming loot. I found no less than five recent releases in a single shop—including three Vita games, of all things! And we're not talking about just any Vita games, dear fellow gamers: this trio of acquisitions includes Criminal Girls 2 and Valkyrie Drive, two games I never expected to find in shops in a million years. Well, not only were they here and ready for the looting, but they were also proudly advertised as the top-selling games of the moment. Looks like there's still some life in the Vita after all! At any rate, it's been years—if not decades—since I was able to purchase that many games in a brick and mortar store, and my elation is so intense that I literally want to play them all right now.
The gaming instinct wants what it wants, and that's why Rainbow Moon must take a backseat while other contenders are taking center stage. I can already tell you that after much inner debate, Criminal Girls 2 is the game I elected to grace my Vita slot these next days. Time to indulge in another sort of grinding! That being said, I'm still very much planning to write about Rainbow Moon, and that promised list of the things I love in the game is still very much in the pipeline. See you soon for more gaming goodness, dear fellow gamers! Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
In a nutshell, everything is fine and dandy and I'm enjoying myself tremendously. I'm actually planning to write a massive list of all the things I like in Rainbow Moon; but first, I want to get the few things I don't like so much about the game out of the way so as to keep le meilleur pour la fin, as they say in France. Without further ado, here are the Rainbow Moon features that I would gladly do without:
—No stackable items and no automatic item sortering in the inventory: items just pile up as they come, with no rhyme or reason whatsoever. There is an semi-automatic sortering option that even lets you choose the type of sortering you want—by name, type and so on—but it has to be activated manually from the inventory menu and reactivated every time you get some new stuff. Tedious doesn't even begin to describe how annoying this is, especially in a game so rich in loot.
—The hunger factor. To be fair, I don't really dislike it; a part of me even appreciate this throwback to classic rogueliking. But one must admit that apart from paying homage to a 35-years-old gaming subgenre, the hunger factor serves no purpose at all in Rainbow Moon—apart from needlessly cluttering your already tight inventory, that is. The whole hunger thing is designed to keep you on your toes in roguelikes, and it works beautifully; but it makes absolutely no sense to implement a hunger factor in a game where food can be purchased every ten meters and found in harvesting points on a regular basis.
—The dungeons are all a bit samey. This didn't bother me so much in the early stages, when dungeons were few and far between; but now that they are getting larger and more abundant, I would like to see a bit more variety when it comes to dungeon design and decoration.
|I'm so far behind on my HP that it's not even funny.|
That's the entirety of the things I don't like in Rainbow Moon so far; and as you can see, there are quite few of them and none of them are deal-breakers. Mark my words, my upcoming list of the things I like in Rainbow Moon is going to be much longer than that. It's going to have to wait a tad longer though, because I'm holydaying abroad for a couple of days starting tomorrow. I'll come back with a refreshed mind and (fingers crossed) some good gaming loot! Until then, thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
Dragon Quest IX) to abject failure (Adventures of Mana) and everything in between (Final Fantasy Explorers). There is basically no guarantee of satisfaction with Square Enix as far as I'm concerned; their RPGs can enthrall me just as readily as disappoint me. In an effort to preserve my bank account and spare myself some disappointment, I decided lately to do some thorough checking before purchasing any Square Enix RPG instead of blindly jumping on them like I used to do. I applied that brand-new treatment to Dragon Quest Builders, whose demo was released on the PSN lately, to figure out if that Dragon Quest spin-off was worth a spot in my precious collection.
It turns out that the answer is no, which makes me glad I've given a try to that demo. DQB didn't click with me at all, leaving me bored stiff after a mere hour of play. Here are the main points that bothered me during that time:
—The graphics are unappealing. While Minecraft's graphics have some sort of pixelated, low-fi charm, DQB's graphics just look like your average phone game graphics. It doesn't help that the colour palette is dull and washed-out. I expected to find some Dragon Quest graphical touch at work there, but the sad truth is that there is no visual reminder of the series apart from a couple of slimes fooling around and an avatar with distinctly Toriyama-esque features.
—Too much camera fiddling. Any game that actually requires me to control and manually orient the camera is a no-go, so DQB is more or less doomed from the start.
—The controls are messy and lack precision. Now, this may be due to the fact that I'm not familiar with building games à la Minecraft, but I found incredibly hard to position blocks properly—despite the outlines kindly provided by the game. A big part of this issue can be blamed on the fact that the analog stick doesn't allow for precise positioning; and while I'm sure that it's possible to get the hang of that positioning thing with practice, my first frustrating steps with it didn't exactly encourage me to persevere. To make matters worse, I don't like the menu interface at all and I find the commands really confusing.
On a more general note, playing that demo makes me wonder about Square Enix's policies of late. It seems that their main gaming formula these days consists in ripping off a successful gameplay style and slapping a heavy-duty layer of in-house fan service on top of it. Final Fantasy Explorers was basically Monster Hunter with a shiny Final Fantasy varnish, and DQB is Minecraft with a Dragon Quest sugar-coating. The upcoming FFVII remake seems to be borrowing heavily from the Telltale Games formula, and I just wonder: is this their new way of creating games? Are they just content with milking off their famous franchises while borrowing gameplay styles they didn't create and tweaking them ever-so-slightly? If they've really come down to this, that's a little bit sad—but hey, whatever floats their boat.
At any rate, my thorough checking plan worked perfectly, and I firmly intend to apply the same treatment to the upcoming World of Final Fantasy. I've lost all excitement for that game after my recent string of disappointements with Square Enix RPGs, and it will have to prove really stellar to deserve a place in my precious collection and not share DQB's fate. And now, I'm diving back full force into my beloved Rainbow Moon. We were not apart for long, now were we? Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
It should surprise no one that I'm running solo, sticking to my little Baldren while letting other potential allies bite the dust to keep them conveniently out of my party. The flow of battles is ten times more comfortable and swifter with a single character, all the more so as recruited allies are usually underlevelled and must be carefully protected during the, oh, first dozens of battles they engage in after joining your crew. But really, the main reason why I don't want to deal with extra units are the Rainbow Pearls. My precious, awesome Rainbow Pearls, which I greedily want to keep for my little Baldren and not share with anyone else. See, Rainbow Pearls can be used to raise up stats beyond the average level increases, and such boosting is basically the key to stay ahead of the enemy mass at all times. Each foe drops one Pearl (two on Moon Days) and only the character that gives the final blow to a foe can harvest the resulting Pearl. Do you see the problem here? If I fight with other units, I will have to share Pearls with them, and stingy, greedy little me doesn't want to do that. At all. All must go to Baldren, period.
Or let's not, actually, because I'm currently taking a small break from Rainbow Moon. This is not due to the fact that I'm growing tired or bored of it, but rather to the exact opposite. My obsession with this game is growing stronger by the hour, and it makes me do really strange things. Not only did I overcome the tiredness that used to grip me after one hour of play, but I'm now finding myself playing for three or four hours at a time, even when I merely intend to play for thirty minutes. The other day I was playing until 3 A.M., and I wanted to play more despite being exhausted! I also find myself wanting to get up and snatch a play session while I'm in bed and trying to fall asleep; the last time this happened to me was after purchasing my Megadrive in the mid-90s, and I'm not too sure I relish that throwback to my teenage years. Oh, and the game's music is looping in my head more or less all around the clock, obviously. This is all a bit overwhelming, and I feel a break is in order to digest all these feelings and reduce my obsession with Rainbow Moon to a more manageable level.
In the meantime, I'm going to indulge in the free demo of Dragon Quest Builders, which I just dowloaded from the PSN. I'm very much on the fence regarding that game, having never played any building and crafting game à la Minecraft before; and this demo comes just at the right time to help me decide whether to purchase DQB or not. I'll see you later for a post about my impressions of that demo, dear fellow gamers, after which I'll dive back senselessly into Rainbow Moon. Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!