Was having a great time with Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice when the 3DS suddenly stopped charging

ace-attorney-spirit-of-justice*sigh* The title says it all, doesn’t it? I’m sure you’re all as sick of hearing of my 3DS troubles as I am of writing about it, so I won’t bother elaborating. That handheld is cursed, cursed I tell you. To think it would fail me at such a crucial moment in the third case, arrrrgh!!! So anyway, Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice and Rune Factory 4 and all those other games I was so looking forward to are on hold AGAIN while I attempt to sort this issue out.

*sigh* And I was having such a good time too. Spirit of Justice wisely pries Phoenix Wright away from his annoying charges Apollo, Athena and Trucy, leaving him free to be his usual goofy, loveable (but slightly more competent and confident with age) self. That dull, stuffy, responsible “Mr. Wright” of Dual Destinies only shows up in phone calls with Apollo, which is just the way I like it. And as a bonus I get to see Maya again. I didn’t like her very much in the early games but now I’ve had a chance to look at the alternatives and seen how much they suck I appreciate her so much more.

Lead on, sweet lips!

Lead on, sweet lips!

Besides, it’s been all these years and he’s still single and she’s still single… you get my drift? Come on Phoenix, why don’t you make an honest woman out of her already? You didn’t fly halfway around the world to see ‘just a friend’ now did you? And you’re not as young as you used to be, what with that wonky back and all. Isn’t it time to settle down? …says the otome fangirl in me :-pppp I was double-enjoying the third case for that (purely imagined) aspect as well.

The first case was AWESOME, the second case was terrible – and not just because it was handled by Apollo and Athena, it just plain sucked – and then the third case was all kinds of intriguing with all these strange clues that made you wonder how they could possibly be relevant to the case and all this intrigue going on at a national level. The trial started and not even the boring new prosecutor could ruin my buzz, the plot started to thicken, oh my, what’s going to happen next— *red light* — Gah, I’d better go charge this thing…. And you know that ended. *sigh*

I really really want to know how the third case and the whole game ends, but I want to play it for myself, not watch it on Youtube or read spoilers. I’ll give my best shot to fixing/replacing the 3DS/charger/battery/whatever is wrong with that stupid thing now. Until then!

Ray Gigant – For dungeon-crawler newbies

ray-gigant-opening-screenOr for anyone who likes easy games. If you liked the bland, straightforward, unchallenging dungeons in games like Conception I & II or Mind=Zero, Ray Gigant will be right up your alley. But if you’re looking for the tougher, less-forgiving dungeon RPGs that Experience Inc. is known for – especially if you’re just coming off Stranger of Sword City – this really isn’t the same sort of game.

Too many careless errors in the text.

Spot the careless error, one of hundreds in the game.

I should clear up a little misconception though. I was a little reluctant to start Ray Gigant because I read in a few places that it had a lot of text and reading in it. They made it sound like some kind of Tokyo Majin-like game, i.e. 90% anime high school visual novel with some monsters and brief battles thrown in. It’s nowhere near that bad and not even as talkative as narrative-heavy RPGs like Xenosaga. Every chapter has a brief skit or two, then a dungeon, then another brief skit, then the monster of the day, and on and on till the end of the chapter. As at the 7-hour mark I’d say it’s 20% talking to 80% exploring, but that might change towards the end of the game. In any case if you’re worried you’ll be forced to read and read when you just want to go out and fight, worry no more.

Good for beginners

ray-gigant-ichiya-introductionWith that out of the way, we can now discuss why I say this game , is good for newbies/people looking for a lighter dungeon-crawling experience while having very little to offer veterans looking for the expansive dungeons and bone-crunching battles the genre is best known for. Ray Gigant is super user-friendly because:

  • You can retreat from any dungeon at any time.
  • You can 100% escape from all non-boss battles.
  • ray-gigant-evolve-treeYour HP is refilled after every battle.
  • You level up using Seeds found from treasure chests/from bosses, not by defeating enemies. You still have to beat a few enemies to get materia/force stones to strengthen your equipment/abilities, but you get that naturally just by exploring. No need to grind.
  • There are no classes or class changes and stat distribution is automatic.
  • If you change your mind about leveling or learning skills, you can just use Alter/Reverse items to reset your progress.
  • There are no random encounters. All enemy locations are marked out in advance so you can choose the course of least resistance.
  • ray-gigant-mapDungeons are usually very small. And 3 floors is the most I’ve seen so far.
  • A ‘Jam Stone’ found near the end of every dungeon will clarify the whole map, so there’s no need to explore every nook and cranny.
  • Similarly all treasure chests are marked for you so there are no missables.
  • ray-gigant-first-battleThe auto-move option will not only take you directly anywhere you’ve been before, it will also chart a course through the weakest enemies and avoid as many traps as possible. It’s not a bad strategy to head straight for the Jam Stone in any dungeon then use Auto-Move to pick up any treasures you haven’t already gotten.
  • While enemy encounters are ranked “Light,” “Normal” and “Heavy” there’s no difference in their strength, just in the amount of AP it takes to fight them. It’s not like other games where there will randomly be enemies several levels higher than your party loitering around. There’s also no penalty for avoiding the Heavy encounters either. If anything your party members will praise you for it.
  • ray-gigant-what-a-cute-lil-foxAllegedly super-powerful Type-I Gigant bosses are not that strong (yet). They can also be countered by a super-powered Slash Beat attack that will knock off 70% or more off their HP if you time it right.
  • There is no money and no enemy drops, there are no stores. Equipment and the few items you have take up no space at all. There’s no inventory system to speak of.
  • You can use free healing foods as long as you have HP. One character in each party will usually come with a group heal spell as well.
  • ray-gigant-starting-partyAttacks use AP, but after 10 turns you switch to Parasitism mode which uses HP to attack instead. This actually makes things much easier because you can spam foods and attacks without limit. Attack with HP, refill HP with food, Attack with HP again, refill HP with food again. As long as you don’t run into a boss that hits very hard (and I haven’t yet after 8 chapters), parasitism is actually better than regular attacking.
  • The game switches perspective between three parties. Each time it switches, their levels go way down and so do the levels of the enemies/dungeons. Which means you will not run into anything challenging at least for the first half of the game where no one’s level can go over 15. What’s more, the new party uses the same skills and attacks as the old one, so you don’t even have to
White-haired pretty boy with a cool scar and the same powers as the main character? He must be evil!

White-haired pretty boy with a cool scar and the same powers as the main character? He must be evil!

And some other stuff that isn’t coming to mind right now. In short if dungeon crawlers intimidate you because they’re hard and unpredictable with so many confusing choices to make, or if you just want to ease yourself into the genre, or if you just don’t have the time or energy to wander through large dungeons, I think you’ll enjoy Ray Gigant. Personally I do have moments when I want to play something simple and less stressful, but at times like that I usually play an otome or simulation game. Even by normal turn-based jRPG standards Ray Gigant is absurdly simple. It’s hard to imagine most gamers being satisfied by this.

…Unless it gets harder as it goes along… Or the story and characters turn out to be really awesome. Which they haven’t at all so far. In fact both are rather bad so far. In fact not “rather,” more like “quite.” Especially the characters. I mean nobody plays a dungeon crawler for the story/characters, but when you take away all the stuff people do play crawlers for then you have to fill the hole somehow. I have a feeling this is going to be like Conception/Mind=Zero all over again, but I’m only 7 hours in so I’ll refrain from commenting further. If Ray Gigant ends up blowing my mind you’ll be the first to know.

Recovered the 3DS!

nintendo 3dsYay! The 3DS is back in my hands! Happy days are here again! A big thank you to all those who encouraged me not to lose heart!

But… you’ll notice I said I “recovered” the Nintendo 3DS, not “found” it. That’s because as I had begun to suspect, it had in fact been stolen from me. I’d rather not say any more than that because of certain… family… circumstances… but rest assured the right fingers have been pointed, the necessary uncomfortable conversations have been had and we’re all ready to put this incident behind us.

And I’m all ready to jump back into 3DS gaming too, but unfortunately I was only able to recover the handheld itself. The games and the SD card have all been lost forever. So for the time being my gaming schedule will remain the same. As I’d thought I don’t have time to start Ray Gigant this weekend, but maybe during the week. Preferably once I set up my nice new desktop and figure out a way to replace yucky Windows 8 with Windows 7. I just don’t like that OS. It’ll probably be late September or early October before I get round to buying Stella Glow and 7th Dragon III and all the other things I was looking forward to.

Still it’s nice to have closure on this little matter. I’m only exaggerating a bit when I say it was eating me up inside for the past couple of months. I knew I wasn’t crazy. I knew I wasn’t that careless with stuff. All’s well that ends well. The end.

Reached level 80 in Granblue Fantasy – Good time to stop

granblue fantasy final screenshotI’ll just preface this by saying I still really like Granblue Fantasy. In fact I’m stopping now while I still like it so I have some motivation to pick it up again one day. For now though, I need a break from the grind. And luckily I’m in a place where skipping one event or a hundred won’t make a difference to my strength so this is a good time to stop.

Are you perchance familiar with the term “diminishing returns”? I’m too lazy to define it, but it applies very much to progression in Granblue Fantasy. In the beginning anything and everything you throw into your pool only makes you stronger. Any crappy R, any HP-up SR weapon, anything and everything makes a big difference. Then as you go along it slows down. More effort, less reward. Even more effort, even less reward.

Crappy rolls like this have plagued me all my days.

Crappy rolls like this have plagued me all my days.

I remember when I got the Suzaku Katana, WOO HOO! Now we’re cooking with gas! Months later I got the Qinglong Spear, same sort of weapon, same sort of effect, but my party was already so much stronger it was like “Hmm, okay, I guess you can go in my pool for now. But don’t get too comfortable, you hear?” I turned level 80 yesterday and got a Cosmos dagger and a Bahamut dagger and I know in theory my party is hitting harder now, but I’m not feeling such a big difference now because we’re doing plenty well already. The jump are getting smaller and smaller and less tangible the further I play.

Of course it feels awesome to be so much stronger now and be doing all the things I thought were impossible when I first started out. But now I’ve reached that point where I’m just doing those things over and over again, just a little faster. If I could solo Tiamat Omega in 20 minutes, soon I’ll be doing it in 15, then 10. But it’s still the same thing until I hit level 101 and more of the same battles open up (not even new enemies, just stronger versions of the same ones). Honestly I wouldn’t mind doing them eventually, but first I’ve got to let some time pass first so I forget how repetitive and unrewarding it all is.

Achievements in Grinding
Don't laugh. I beat several EX Gugulannas with this very grid.

Don’t laugh. I beat several EX Gugulannas with this very grid.

It was a fun ride up to this point and I’m happy because I did a lot of things:

  • Cleared all story quests up to 61-4. Leviathan Malice and Mithra Malice can go jump in Lake Titicaca.
  • Cleared all free quests and Grand Blues channel quests except the two 80 AP ones.
  • Cleared all Showdown and Special quests up to Extreme. I beat Vohu Manah Maniac once too, but I’m not ready to try the others just yet.
  • Cleared all Co-op quests except EX4 IIRC. Too lazy to go back and check. Co-op really sucks.
  • Hosted all non-HL raids except Grand Order. And I must note that after failing to drop Bahamut horns for me all game long, Proto Bahamut suddenly gave me three (!) in one hour after I reached level 80. To those that have, more will be given…
  • Solo’d Yggdrasil Omega and Tiamat Omega, MVP’d Colossus Omega. The last one is a fluke depending on how many people pile into the raid after I open it up. Leviathan, Celeste and Luminiera are just meanies. They’re not invited to my birthday party.
  • Mastered all Row I, II and III classes except Ogre and Valkyrie. I also have enough material to unlock several of the Extra classes.
  • My current Tiamat killing grid. For the record I main Wind, but I like Fire better 'cos it's all fiery and stuff

    My current Tiamat killing grid. For the record I main Wind, but I like Fire better ‘cos it’s all fiery and stuff

    Won Super Bingo! It was only 21 million rupies, but it was enough to get an MLB Anat and two months’ worth of skill up fodder, both of which gave a big boost to my strength at the time. You don’t really feel it when you skill up weapons once in a while, but when you skill up a whole lot in the same week, woot! Feels good, man.

  • Bought my first 275 valor badge pack. Though to be honest this had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the hard-hitting EX+ dog-splatting members of my former crew. Thank you guys for your hard work. Sorry I was such a whimpering leech, but I had a lot of fun ^_^.

So all in all I didn’t do too badly for myself. I just have some Maniac quests, story quests and Grand Order to do, then the rest is just grind grind grind until all my weapon pools are complete. It would be super nice if they could add more free quests and showdown summons every couple of months to keep the game fresh.

All roads lead to the top of the same mountain

granblue grani battleI want to leave on a positive note, seeing as this isn’t really the end for me and Granblue Fantasy, but I just can’t resist one teensy-weensy last complaint: endgame weapon pools are boring! They’re all cookie-cutter alike – same omega weapons, same omega summons, maybe an Unknown here, a Cosmos weapon there, a Bahamut weapon or two, but basically the same layout for all players of the same element. If you’re Wind it’s Tiamat guns, for Water it’s Leviathan daggers, and on and on.

If you’re a free player like me you’ll at least have an interesting ad hoc character party, but otherwise there’s an ideal set of characters for each element as well. Birdman, Korwa, Lancelot, Percival, blah blah blah, nyah nyah nyah. And there are all these classes but only a few are useful in the end. Dark Fencer, Holy Saber, Hawkeye, Bishop >>>> everything else except Row IV. To paraphrase Tolstoy(?), endgame pools are all alike, midgame pools are all crappy in their own special way. Maybe that’s why I like my imperfect Fire party so much better than my Wind pool filled with Tiamat Bolt Omegas.

The story of my Granblue life

The story of my Granblue life

I got my hopes up a bit when new weapons were announced in August, but they turned out to be not worth the trouble. Much more grinding for more or less the same results. And yes you can “think outside the box” and focus on the “wrong” weapons if you really want to be a rebel, but since it takes months to complete a pool nobody wants to go through all that effort for sub-optimal results. I hope something can be done someday so non-ATK up weapons have a legit use and worth and there can be more mixing and combining and stuff. Well, a gamer can always dream.

You haven’t seen the last of me!

As I said, I’m leaving the door open for a return someday. I’ll still be logging in for the free R-summon rolls till 5th September. Plus I’ll probably jump in again any time free rolls are promised. I can’t resist, even knowing how bad my draw luck is. Barring any of that I estimate it will take at least 6 months for me to get to the point where I miss the game enough to return. There’s no telling how much staying power I’ll have then either. Basically it’s not-completely-but-mostly-over between me and GBF for now. Fun while it lasted, the end.

Next up

Kaiyou Resutoran turned out to have more bite to it than I’d expected (the debt is actually £1 million, not £100,000). More on that if I ever finish it. More importantly I really really want to start Ray Gigant this weekend but I’m not sure I’ll have the time. Maybe early next week. Anyway, barring any unforeseen circumstances that’s the next game I’ll be playing. Yay for dungeon crawlers and Experience Inc.! Okay, that’s enough rambling for one day. See you soon!

Kaiyou Resutoran Uminekotei – A “Sit on your butt and do nothing” sim

kaiyouWhee, my first free weekend in forever! I’m so happy! >_< Ahem! Let’s get on with it.

Kaiyou Resutoran Uminekotei (trans. “The Uminekotei Seaside Restaurant”) is an indie game from a group (company?) known as inutoneko, the same people who made Lemuore no Renkinjutsushi and Haretari Kumottari N, both of which I have reviewed on this blog in the past. As a matter of fact, Uminekotei is just a fleshed out version of Lemuore, so it would help me out tremendously if you would just read the review for that game and save me the trouble of explaining the gameplay.

Back? Thanks. Now on to the story. The main character of Uminekotei is spoiled rich girl Eve who lounges around the house all day and all night until her mother finally snaps and sets her up with her own restaurant to manage and a £100,000 debt to pay off. My own mother would have just kicked me out of house with £0 to my name, so I don’t know whether Eve has it good or not. …Actually she does have it good, because she owes that £100,000 to her mother, meaning she can get away with not paying it forever, basically. I’ve been playing about 6 in-game months and haven’t repaid a single penny to mommy dearest yet. Nyaa nyaah!

You'll be staring at this screen a lot.

You’ll be staring at this screen a lot.

That in a nutshell is the main problem with this game: there’s no pressure! It’s not like other games with similar premises like Recettear or Little witch Parfait where you have a game over or a nasty ending staring you in the face along with that debt. Here the restaurant is just  a way to get Eve out of the house… which doesn’t really work because her staff does all the hard work of cooking, adventuring, getting ingredients, etc. Once in a while Eve goes to the market or to the shops, or to the guild, but that’s about it. Which is fine enough, since it fits her spoiled daddy’s girl shtick to a T.

On the whole game isn’t bad at all, lack of pressure aside. It’s pretty much the same game as Lemuore but with more items and more stats to micromanage (like expiry dates and the aptitudes of those you hire and various guild contests, etc) and I loved that game and played it for hours, so I’m doing the same here. It just feels like they threw in the debt because there’s always debt in this kind of game (or maybe mommy really will kick me out if I don’t pay back by a certain date). Kind of a pointless addition, so I just ignore it.

kaiyou friendAnd so the days go by. In the morning Eve inspects the ingredients her adventurers brought in, synthesizes a few things, then serves customers from 10am to 9pm. Sleep. Wake up the next day and repeat. At least there’s no haggling in this game so each workday only takes like 30 seconds. In theory you have to manage the demand and supply of three item categories: Chinese, Japanese and Western foods, but in practice everything will sell if you keep it in your store long enough. The expiry date for most foods is at least 7 days, which is long enough to dispose of almost anything.

Trouble might come if I expand my store so quickly and stock so much the customers can’t keep up – or if I start selling expensive higher-ranked items before my restaurant’s clientele is rich and sophisticated enough to buy them. So far I’m having more problems running out of food before the end of the day and pissing diners off. I need to expand my restaurant, expand, expand, expand! Fun, fun, fun!

Screenshot from a more recent game.

Screenshot from a more recent game.

Last complaint before I go: there are no pictures of anything! No pictures of the ingredients or the foods or most of people I hire or the dungeons, nothing! It was understandable for Lemuore since it was a free game, but with a pumped-up paid version of the latter it would have been a nice addition. I guess that came later with the more recent games like Rakunou Princess. Aww, but I wanted it now!! Also more flavor text for the various items since there are so many of them in this game. And the characters too, since the game kind of assumes you know everyone and how they relate to each other. Which I do, but that’s beside the point.

Long story short I’ve always been a fan of “cute girl does alchemy” and this is yet another one I can’t bring myself to stop playing. It’s a lot less fleshed out than higher-budget games in the genre, but Uminekotei still has plenty of content to keep the alchemy fan busy for days. Kaiyou Resutoran Uminekotei (海洋レストラン☆海猫亭) can be had for 50% off at either DL Site or Digiket, though I still advise trying Lemuore no Renkinjutsushi for free to see if you like inutoneko games first. Enjoy!