Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!
This week’s wrap-up is going up at a weird time since it’s my mother’s birthday and my girlfriend and I are taking her out to dinner. Sorry!
I played a bit of The Trail: Frontier Challenge and World NeverLand: Daily Life in the Elnea Kingdom on Switch, neither of which I really cared for. Rather than bore you here, you can click the links for the actual reviews (thanks to the folks who’ve already shared them via Twitter!).
I’m currently a dozen hours into the 3DS remaster of Radiant Historia, which is fantastic. The characters are pretty great and the time-travel fantasy story is certainly well-written, with good pacing and plot twists. Your character is given the ability to alternate between different timelines and also travel back in time to previous events to change their outcomes. There’s a bit of trial and error, as you’re given choices to make where one answer moves the story along while the other ends the game prematurely, so I’ve found myself repeating a few scenarios here and there. Cutscenes can be skipped so it’s not a dealbreaker.
The combat is a neat hybrid of traditional turn-based and grid-based battles. Your three party members are stationary on the right side of the screen, but enemies fill a 3-by-3 grid on the left and can move between them during their respective turns. The closer they are, the more damage they deal, so you have to utilize abilities that push them away or knock them out of buffing zones. You can also launch them into one another and damage multiple enemies simultaneously by following this up with consecutive attacks during your party’s turn. It’s tactical and fun, but kind of exhausting.
Thankfully, Friendly mode lets you forgo random encounters and really just tosses you into the boss fights (you still gain XP by “slashing” enemies in the overworld — the encounter is just skipped altogether). It turns it into a more interactive visual novel, really, and I dig that. I don’t think I’d be enjoying it as much otherwise, despite liking the combat system. XP gains are slow going and I can’t imagine naturally grinding out these levels. It’s great in small doses.
This week’s Nintendo eShop sale dropped the price on Lost Sphear and I Am Setsuna, so I picked them up with my remaining eShop credit. I liked what I played of Setsuna on PS4, but never finished it. I don’t mind double-dipping for $20 since I know I’m more likely to play (and finish) an RPG in handheld mode.
I’ve heard very little positivity surrounding Lost Sphear but I’m willing to take the $35 gamble with the sale price. I liked the combat in the demo and, like Setsuna, I’m more willing to overlook flaws and just try to enjoy things when I’m not tethered to my television. I’ll probably jump into this once I finish Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, which, by the look of things, will be within the next few days.
The eShop sale has quite a few smaller titles at reasonable prices. I grabbed the M.C. Escher-inspired puzzler The Bridge for $4, a pair of touch-based rhythm games for $5.50 (Frederic: Ressurection of Music and Frederic 2: Evil Strikes Back, both inspired by Chopin), an Alice in Wonderland-ish point-and-click adventure game called Violett for $3, and used the Gold Coins I earned from those purchases to grab the not-so-well-reviewed RPG/city builder hybrid Plague Road (pictured above).
I’m not sure when I’ll get to these things, but I don’t mind picking up some shorter, cheaper games just to have them around when I need a way to kill 15-20 minutes or want a palate cleanser between meatier experiences.
I’ve been tossing around the idea of restarting Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I really didn’t care for it on my first trip, finding it verbose and bogged down by its awful map system and frequent tutorial pop-ups that you CAN’T EVEN REVISIT.
They’ve patched the game three times since I last played it in December, tinkering with fast travel, the in-game map, and tossing in a new Easy mode. I hopped into my save where I was stuck at a boss that I was in no way prepared for and took it down on my first try, so the motivation is certainly there. But I have no idea what I’m doing, what’s going on in the story, etc., and I think I’d rather just start over entirely.
That’ll do it for me, though. What about you, folks? Have any big gaming plans this weekend?