It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

 

It’s Inauguration Day here in the States. What better day to escape in to the world of video games, right?

How will you be spending your weekend?

tokyomiragesessions

I’m sitting at the 45-hour mark in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE on Wii U, having spent the last few mopping up side-quests, grinding out Stage Ranks, and unlocking new weapon skills. Itsuki and company are currently stationed inside of the Illusory Daiba Studio where a plethora of puzzles stand between them and the end of chapter 5 (of 6).

Thus far, I’m thoroughly enjoying this melodramatic mash-up between Persona and Fire Emblem. It’s vibrant and over-the-top in a way that doesn’t feel forced, and the writing has been genuinely entertaining throughout the adventure. The characters all have their own unique personalities and writing quirks, like Barry, a former American death metal guitarist who moved to Japan, became obsessed with anime, and now acts as the group’s dance instructor.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE# also features brilliant use of the Wii U’s underutilized GamePad screen, by way of an off-screen Twitter-like app called Topic. Party members will frequently message Itsuki to exchange witty banter, provide hints on his current objective, or open up side quests… but sometimes they just like to complain and reply with emoji stickers of drunk rabbits and anime characters. Needless to say, this feature has made me chuckle on various occasions.

Here’s a painfully narrated trailer that’ll give you a better idea of the game’s inner workings.

I’m really digging on the game’s combat system, which plays in to Tokyo Mirage’s J-Pop idol, vocaloid, and entertainment media core. In typical Persona fashion, it’s all about exploiting enemy weaknesses. Doing so allows other party members to immediately follow-up with their own attacks, dubbed sessions, which can then trigger other castmates to follow suit.

For instance, if Itsuki exploits an enemy’s weakness using his lightning magic, anyone that’s learned a session attack that triggers from lightning will jump in and deliver an additional blow. Pretending that session attack triggers a blow from Mamori’s axe, anyone with an axe-triggered session will follow up her attack with one of their own. Basically, one simple attack can rain blows from your entire cast.

Random encounters also jack up the absurdity to eleven by taking place inside of a dimly lit arena, packed with fans frantically waving their glow sticks while laser lights zap across the stage and bursts of confetti flutter down from the sky. This visual aesthetic, combined with the elaborately choreographed session combos and special attacks (shown below), is unlike anything I’ve ever played before. It’s equal parts Persona 4, Final Fantasy X-2, Hatsune Miku, and Kamen Rider, and assaults the senses in some truly imaginative ways.

With any luck I’ll have Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE finished this weekend, and barring any sort of major fumbles within the last two chapters, it’d easily end up in my top 5 favorite games from last year.

I just received the new cyber-punk adventure game 2064: Read Only Memories to review on PS4, which I’ll jump on as soon as I finish up Tokyo Mirage. Review titles typically move to the head of the pack, but with 45 hours invested in Tokyo Mirage (and the finish line in sight) I don’t want to jeopardize my progress.

After 2064: ROM, I plan on starting Paper Mario: Color Splash. I’ve been eager to jump (no pun intended) in to this one since picking it up for Christmas, but knew I had enough free time to tackle a meatier RPG the first two weeks of my spring semester. It just made sense.

I’ve been on a Nintendo kick lately, despite my issues with the Switch’s reveal, so chances are I’ll continue working my way through the Wii U’s backlog until the Switch launches in March. I still need to finish Xenoblade Chronicles X, both Legend of Zelda remasters, and grab copies of Yoshi’s Woolly World and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. I’m sure there’s a few more things to accomplish in Super Mario 3D World as well.

megatagmension

Today I bought my first game of 2017 (if you recall, my resolution this year is to avoid buying games at launch in favor of directing my focus at the backlog–unless it’s on a good sale), snagging MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune vs Zombies on Vita for less than $4. I love me some NepNep and it seems like a decent mindless hack-n-slash game to unwind with before bed.

Outside of gaming, I just finished volume six of Saga (which continues to be an incredible read) and began reading volume one of Marjorie Liu’s mystical fantasy series Monstress. It’s a leading lady-driven tale of dehuminzation in an alternate reality Asia where two groups of people, sorceresses and arcanics, fail to coexist. Mostly due to the Cumea, the sorceresses, relying on the arcanics as a food source. Woops.

If you’re interested in these types of non-superhero comics, Image is celebrating its 25th anniversary over on Humble Bundle. You can snag a ludicrous collection of digital comics, like Saga, Outcast, Bitch Planet, Lazarus, and Birthright for around $20.

himouto

I’m not really known as an anime guy, but one day I was browsing Hulu for something new to watch and spotted Himouto! Umaru-Chan. I had never heard of it before, but I’d seen tons of images and GIFs of Umaru on Twitter; a chibi girl wrapped in an orange hamster cloak, typically eating junk food, having tantrums, and playing games on her PSP.

I usually have the TV on in the background while I write or complete mundane tasks in handheld games (yay, XP grinds!), but Himouto! Umaru-chan is only available in Japanese with English subs. It’s taken me almost a week to finish 5 episodes, but I’m pretty much in love with it.

The show focuses on Umaru, a beautiful and perfect high school student that lives with her brother, Taihei. While she’s at school she’s the envy of her classmates, acing tests and catching the eye of every boy in the hallway, but once she arrives at home Umaru is depicted as a chibi with a childlike temper. She’s no longer a model student, but a lazy layabout that survives on junkfood, commands an army of hamsters, reads manga, and plays more video games than you or I ever dreamed of. It’s hilarious.

So between finishing up Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and unwinding with a few episodes of Himouto! Umaru-chan, I’m sure homework will keep me busy.

What about you folks? What are you getting in to this weekend?

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16 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

  1. I’ll be pulling in another 10 hours of heavy lifting. But after that I’ll likely come home, eat something, and perhaps do another late night stream depending on how my night goes. The last two times I streamed Toxikk, I got some discussion going so maybe it will be that. On the other hand, my brother in law has been itching to do more R6 Siege, or perhaps I’ll fire up some post anniversary Insurgency. I haven’t decided yet. All are fun options though.

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  2. Starting some Ocarina of Time, me thinks. Finished up Bravely Second last night, so I’m jumping back into something on the 3DS. I usually have an RPG on the go and while I go back and quickly finish Child of Light or get back on the Final Fantasy X train, I HAVE to finish a Zelda game in 2017. lol

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  3. I Umaru-Chan the one in which she’s an absolute arse to her brother? Think I’ve heard of that one.
    Finally finished Evil Within and I’m so glad to be done with it. Didn’t find it fun and I’ll write about why in a few weeks I’m sure! I’m starting on Watch Dogs 2, which is a touch risky as I don’t really like open world games if I don’t feel they have enough focus, but time will tell!

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  4. I’ll be sticking to fire emblem awakening this weekend I think. Maybe some witcher 3 to. I have had Xenoblade Chronicles x on the back of my mind to. I do want to complete some of my big huge open world he’s before Zelda comes out to.

    Nice write up on Tokyo mirage, game looks interesting I never really look at it until I saw it here.

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    1. If you like Persona and Fire Emblem, I would definitely check out Tokyo Mirage before the price skyrockets. Granted, there isn’t a ton of fanfare for either of them in the game, just a Persona-style mystery story and combat system, and Fire Emblem cameos and boss fights. Still excellent!

      Man, Xenoblade is just so daunting though. I want to start over and play through it, but 100+ hours isn’t something I have lying around unless that’s the only game I want to play for the next few months. Love what I’ve played though.

      Awakening is incredible. Definitely my favorite game on the 3DS. Enjoy!

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  5. I found a great grind spot in WOFF. I was fighting the Flan Princess/Malboro Menace combination on the Windswept Mire for around 80k a battle, but it’s kind of a pain to get to them, and you have to leave the area through gate to reset them. I noticed that the Princess Goblin sits right outside of the Nether Nebula entrance (once you complete a certain Tearoom mission), and you can fight her over and over again back to back as much as you want for around 45k a battle. Same for Undead Princess (those princesses just want to fight!). It’s less than the Flan Princess, but since you don’t have to walk through enemy infested territory to get there, you could potentially defeat either one three or four times in the time it would take to fight the Flan Princess. I’m in Chapter 21 right now, and I just want to grind up all my mirages to at least level 30 before I move on.

    I’m also going to try (again) to play some FFIV or Dawn of Souls on my GBA, and I promised I ♥ Old Games that I wouldn’t give up on New SMB, and he informed me that the second one, which I didn’t even know existed, is a wee bit easier, so I threw that on my backlog, and I might pick it up soon.

    Can’t wait to hear your take on Color Splash, speaking of Mario :)

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    1. Oh yeah, I did those tea room missions to spawn Undead Princess to catch her for a quick 50k XP or so!

      I think we play RPGs similarly. I just reached the final chapter of Tokyo Mirage Sessions and “to get the most out of it” I’m grinding all of my characters out to level 99 and unlocking all of the weapons, etc. I could go kill the last boss right now and start something else, but I’m in the love with the game and don’t really want it to end. It’s like I’m making excuses just to delay the inevitable lol. The mental void that appears after finishing a game you’re heavily invest in in suuuuucks.

      I was *hoping* to review Tokyo Mirage, but I have a developer review to do afterwards… so that’s not going to happen. I either have to review a game immediately, while everything is fresh, or cut my losses and move on. No reviews planned after Color Splash though, so with any luck I’ll have a review to go with that one later on. =)

      Fight the good fight! I look forward to your inevitable long-form review on WoFF!

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      1. I love the grinding/pharming session before you finish off the final boss. I think it’s part necessity, part not wanting to say goodby to the game. I’m glad WOFF has an after game though and an extensive one at that! That void is terrible, and it’s what’ll often spur me to start a game like that over, which is what I think happened with me and FFIV lol.

        Yup! I have to let the game “marinate” as I call it, but if I don’t review it after a week or so, it’s hard to do it properly. I take notes now, which makes it easier, but I haven’t done that many for WOFF, so it’ll have to be a quicker review. It may not be as long as IV because the story is a bit simpler and due to the nature of the game it’s not as prevalent in my mind, though it’s pretty significant. I’m saying this and then suddenly 15k words!

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