Another week, another triumph, another learning experience. Let's see whatcha got Kotaku! Lay it on me! What sort of games have you completed in the last week? What progress have you made towards your multiplayer goals? Has something got you stumped? We'll see if someone out there can't help you out as you keep trying to conquer that backlog! I'll go first!
Since last Wednesday, I've finished two games, Bioshock Infinite and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. I'll give a brief overview (with no spoilers!) of how I feel of each!
Bioshock Infinite is very probably in the running for one of my favorite games of the last few years. The gameplay itself is serviceable, though later parts tend to turn into monster closets. What really gets me is the attention to detail, the extremely strong voice acting, the incredible sound design, and the extremely well-done story straight out of pulp sci-fi. I absolutely love any time someone really goes for the gusto on those kinds of stories and Infinite brought it in spades.
As for Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, I can say it's a very packed game. At 14 hours, 50 minutes just to get through the main game without getting all of the Boos (I'm missing 5), with no bonus levels done, with only half the gems found and having never touched multiplayer as of yet, it definitely gives you lots of bang for your buck. That said, later parts of the game drag (huh, kind of a theme right now) and it can be frustrating to try to defend yourself when there are tons of ghosts, many of which have armor or odd attacks thrown in so you just sort of get clobbered for a bit. It's a neat game though and a worthy successor to the GC original.
Now, that big picture up there. I haven't talked about that yet huh? Well, I'm currently playing Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, against my better judgment. I've had a few friends tell me that Idea Factory (lovingly referred to as Idea Fuck by even the Japanese!) has gotten better over the years and I...can't really agree.
See, Idea Factory/Compile Heart really made their name back in the last few generations with what basically amounted to budget RPGs made for pandering. As far as that goes, they've continued to get stronger. Indeed, Neptunia Victory hits essentially every possible otaku weakpoint. Neptune is basically Konata from Lucky Star but she's also a busty superhero when transformed, and many of the characters have their generic traits to them (the tsundere, the ditzy one, the super busty one, etc, etc) and the transformed...forms also cater to their own audiences as well. They've gotten exceedingly good at fan service on every level.
Now, that isn't to say that it's all bad. Somehow the game ends up with some really good English voice acting. Neptune in particular nails pretty much every line and the script itself is often very funny. How much of that is the original script and how much is the work of NISA, I don't know.
However, the game itself still retains Idea Factory's trademark budget feel. The world map is done with just some icons to choose where you go, actual locations are often recycled, the framerate while walking around is more than subpar, and the game can be extremely grindy. I'm told it's much more grindy than the past two Neptunia games. In fact, bosses can basically be unbeatable unless you grind enough thanks to the "genius" idea of nearly every boss having HP regen every turn. There's really no strategy beyond "is this guy weak to physical or magic? okay hit him. oh he regens more than I can hit for? time to level."
And beyond that, in their continued tradition, they layer on tons and tons and tons of extra systems that don't really get any use. The Scout System is overly convoluted with you sending out characters to go search for items, but they can also tell you things like "there are new monsters here!" and you can believe them or say they're lying and if you believe them, it'll change that location's monsters...except you have no idea what they'll become and you could basically ruin your chances of winning fights there. The disc development system to create special accessories is also overly slow, with you needing to take down specifically high level monsters (with massive HP regen) to continue on with it. Guild quests are also largely worthless aside from the rare occasion of a good item from one of them.
Thankfully, the majority of that can be ignored and never bothered with so it's not like you're forced to do a bunch of really slow and boring stuff but it's there and it says a lot about their general ideas on game design.
Currently I'm at Chapter 5 in the game and I'm told there are 10 Chapters so I hope to complete it by the end of the week so I can move on to something better....like Lego City: Undercover! I also have that newest Naruto game I can never remember the full name of even though I now own it. Biggest reason being that Cyberconnect is incredibly strong on their cinematic feel and I've been assured that this extends to this game as well. And I guess I'd like to see most of the newer stuff animated in some way.
So there you have it! One phenomenal game, one pretty good game and currently one kind of ehhhhh game. How about you? TELL ME OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES.