It’s the Freakin’ Weekend, So What Are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

Outside of the usual WoW shenanigans, I resubscribed to NJPW’s streaming service to watch ALL IN (and what a show that was!) and managed to finish my first game in two months, with Sega’s JRPG Shining Resonance Refrain. Mental illness fucking sucks, but hey, video games and good wrestling helps sometimes.

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Mini-review incoming!

Shining Resonance was a solid 6/10 game with a good story, interesting characters, and fun combat, but it’s unfortunately bogged down by uninteresting and equally unrewarding side quests, limited environments and enemy designs, and far too much backtracking.

For starters, there’s only one town that serves as your central hub, which became a double-edged sword. You can interact with (and date) party members, pick up side quests, and level grind by way of repeatable dungeons accessed via a magic grimoire, as well as synthesize consumable items and personal upgrade gems. I was a bit bummed out at first because I was hoping the world would be a little more expansive than it was, but in the end it felt like a new town that my character began to think of as a home.

All of the explorable maps are small and mostly linear, connecting via corners and hallways much like Final Fantasy XII was. They’re all standard RPG fare, ranging from grasslands and forests to icy ruins and caverns, and stuffed with shiny crafting material gathering points and a small variety of enemy types. Said enemies level alongside the player for the most part, so entering a map for the 50th time 20 hours later greets you with the same models, merely given a different color palette.

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*image from Reno Gazette-Journal

The combat is super fun, though, and each character has their own play style and weapons to unlock and level up. It’s very similar to a Tales game where you can mash out standard combos and weave in powerful spells and abilities to expend your mana bar. Enemies can be “broken” with repeated attacks, which knocks them to the ground and makes them far more vulnerable to damage.

However… the game is incredibly easy and the “break” system can be cheesed all the way to the closing credits. To make matters easier, the main character (Yuma) has the soul of the Shining Dragon living within him, which allows the hero to transform into a powerful dragon mid-battle and wreak all sorts of havoc. Yuma stays in his dragon form as long as he has MP (which slowly drains in the process). As long as you’re well stocked on MP restoratives you can essentially go into dragon form every single battle and simply mash the attack button until a cutscene triggers.

Battles are made even easier by way of the game’s B.A.N.D. system. Attacking enemies fills up a special meter that can be spent on various “songs” that buff your party with helpful boons like additional damage output, immunity to status ailments and knockbacks, or increasing their defensive capabilities. The B.A.N.D. bar fills fast enough that it was regularly maxed out for every boss encounter. Using this in combination with Yuma’s dragon form usually ended up with a dead boss in under a minute, but some of the late-game stuff still provided a good challenge.

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*image from PSU.com

Despite the easy difficulty, Shining Resonance was definitely a fun way to spend 30 hours and I did end up really liking the entire cast and the tale of their adventure. The story is full of plot twists and new characters are introduced regularly enough that I was always encouraged to try out new party combinations.

If you’re into JRPGs and want something simple and fun during your next dry spell, maybe give Shining Resonance Refrain a shot if the price is right.

I picked up Dragon Quest XI and the Shenmue I & II collection, but with Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country prequel story DLC releasing next Friday (the 14th — Jason is sad) I don’t want to jump into another RPG. I can only juggle two, so between Octopath and next week’s Torna DLC, I’ll be fully booked for a while. Man, I miss playing Xenoblade 2. I hated that game at first, but now it’s one of my favorite JRPGs of all time and my favorite game overall on the Switch.

Side-note: Torna’s new battle theme is GOOOOOOOD. Those Persona vibes are strong!

I definitely want to jump back into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for a few hours just to knock the rust off, but otherwise I’ll be juggling Fire Pro Wrestling World, Under Night In-birth Exe: Late(st), and the recently released Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD (which is currently on sale on PS4, down to $18 from $30 as a launch discount).

unist1

I need to squeeze in more online matches and finish off the story mode before reviewing Fire Pro Wrestling World, and I’d like to cap off UNIST’s 10-hour story mode to avoid losing the plot. The game is insanely fun to play and it’s shaping up to be one of my favorite 2D fighters in recent memory, but I hate leaving story modes unfinished in any game.

I’ve only played through the first chapter of Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD so far, but it’s fun! I think it’s a bite-sized version of FFXV, with some cutscenes entirely transformed into this cutesy, chibi art style, while other aspects of the game are streamlined entirely.

ffxvhd2

For instance, you no longer rest to earn your pooled XP and Noctis can only equip certain weapon types (unless the latter changes later — right now I can only equip the Prince with swords, greatswords, and polearms and every gun or dagger I bought could only be equipped onto Prompto or Ignis, respectively). If you liked FFXV, this is a cool little way to revisit the game, but I’d highly recommend playing the more robust Royal Edition if this is your first time through.

What about you, folks? Any gaming plans this weekend?

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11 thoughts on “It’s the Freakin’ Weekend, So What Are You Playing?

    1. Insomniac is good with open worlds and fancy traversal mechanics, if Sunset Overdrive was anything to go by. I’m not attached to Spidy at all and I’m still burnt out on open world action games after finishing God of War and replaying Horizon with its DLC earlier in the year. I’ll check out Spidy at some point, I’m sure. Hopefully you dig it!

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  1. Sorry to hear the latest Shining Force game wasn’t all you’d hoped. But at least it doesn’t sound like a bad game. I’ve heard mostly praise about it, so it is refreshing to see an overview that mentions things some would find are drawbacks.

    Glad to see you’re still enjoying UNIST. I really love CTBB but I have to admit, I am completely outclassed. It is a really fun fighter though, and while buying missing characters in modern fighting games suck, at least Arc wasn’t as predatory this time, opting for one lump sum rather than piecemealing.

    Anyway I’ve played through The Messenger recently, and it’s phenomenal. It’s really two games in one in the sense that when you think it’s over it goes “HAH! Cute. Hey guys! They think they’re done!” Then “SURPRISE! 10 HOUR LONG METROIDVANIA!” Plus it has a bunch of hidden challenge rooms, and I have a couple I have to go back, and do at some point. But really good. One annoying sound bug holds it back from perfection, but it is crazy good.

    I also plan to spend a few hours today playing the INSURGENCY SANDSTORM Beta. If you preorder the game you get in to check out the multiplayer before the full game comes out on the 18th. I tired it for the first time early Wednesday am, to find a lot of stuttering, and frame dropping. Then went on to the Steam Forums to find I was by far not alone. But I have to give New World Interactive much credit, because when I got home the next day, Thursday evening, a new patch dropped, that fixed nearly all of the performance issues. It’s still a beta, but now it is quite stable. As for the game itself, it looks like they’re trying to deliver what they promised. The Insurgency experience in a new setting on a modern engine (UE4). Even on my aging GTX760 running most things on low or off, it looks really good. I hover around 60FPS, and have a pretty good experience. I did try maxing everything out, and it does look noticeably better, but it will go from 30 to the low teens when the action happens, and that isn’t playable. Plus my card will suffer from pop in as it can’t render all of that, top tier lighting, physics, and everything else when chunks of rubble are flying around as rockets create debris.

    So low settings it is for now. That said, it still looks awesome. So people with older machines need not worry. I don’t doubt BF, and COD will look better, but Insurgency doesn’t have the lootboxes, microtransactions, map packs, and other stuff that can be annoying. From what I can tell in the beta, it’s taking a page from Splatoon, and giving all of that stuff to every player. You can even customize your character, but you do that with in game currency earned by playing a la Splatoon. No signs of microtransactions for that. At least not yet. They also added vehicles to this one (I got an achievement for running over an opposing player), and GIBS! Yeah. a more Sim oriented shooter with gibs. In the right conditions bodies explode, limbs get torn off, and decapitations happen. There’s also a couple of new classes that act as leaders, who can call in supply drops, cover, and other stuff. Really enjoying my time with it so far. Hopefully the full game will be even better.

    Saturday, and Sunday though I’ll be at RetroWorld Expo in Hartford. So I’ll have a recap up asap. But I’m sure I’ll get in some arcade cab games in while I’m there. The mocap actors from Mortal Kombat 1 & 2 will be there, along with a lot of prominent YouTubers so the panels should be pretty great. There are also a couple of Indie developers showing up again. I love going every year. If you’re on the East coast, and can make it out I recommend it a lot. It’s a fun show.

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    1. I saw on Twitter that you were headed to RWE! Have fun, man!

      UNIST feels very accessible, but has a lot of depth and some really rad character designs. I’m not opposed to fighting game character DLC, it’s just when they cost half the price of the base game but don’t offer a number of new fighters equal to at least half the roster. SFV was CRAZY with that, with $90 worth of character passes to add 15 new fighters (I think). Blegh.

      The Messenger definitely looks rad, but I’m still feeling the metroidvania burnout. It’s on my list, along with Dead Cells and checking out Hollow Knight (which was gifted to me by a buddy on my birthday 2 weeks ago).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m about an hour or so into Marvel’s Spider-Man and I’m not into the combat. It seems like it wants to be like Batman Arkham’s combat but just doesn’t feel as good. I feel like there is a lot more button mashing and the timing on the dodge is off. Then again it could, partially at least, the fact that I’ve been awake for 22 of the last 24 hours and I’m just not as responsive as I should be. I’m hoping that both the combat gets better and that I get some sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So many RPGs on my backlog and so little time to play them all. I guess I should aim to complete Shining Resonance if it is as easy as you say. Will be a nice change of pace after I rage quit Dark Souls yet again.

    Was surprised to see FF15 Pocket Edition on PSN last night. Had no idea it was coming to console. I bought FF15 and never played it. To be honest I prefer the chibi art style of pocket to the original, but then again I am a anime fan.

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  4. Started up Spider-man. Pretty fun so far. Very fluid traversal and while the combat is a bit too derivative of Batman I think the aerial combos and moves give it enough of its own feel that I’m still enjoying it. I honestly don’t know Spider-man much at all. Just got it because I love Insomniac. Pretty different from their other games, but well-crafted as expected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked Sunset Overdrive quite a bit, but I have no attachment to Spidy and I’m still burnt out on open-world action games having finished God of War and a full replay of Horizon + DLC a few months ago. I may rent it later in the year, though. I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

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