My Handy-Dandy Review Database

Goodness, it’s been a while since I’ve posted in this dusty old blog.  Four months or so, in fact.  Between my full-time job, school, and freelance writing, I’ve simply haven’t had the time to write for fun… which is a shame, but hey, it happens.  And with 1MoreCastle shutting down (;-;), I’ll have no motivation to write random awesome reviews for their Review Days.  A shame.

Anyway, I recently felt compelled to compile all of my professional reviews in one place… that one place being a Google Sheets document.  Spreadsheets are so easy to make lists on!  Anyway, you can take a look at it here, and I’ll be adding a link over in my blog’s link area in a bit.

Now, let’s have some stats!  Because I like stats.

  • As of the time of this writing, I’ve written 83 reviews.
  • The lowest review score I’ve given a game is a 1/5 (or 2/10), to Legend of Kay Anniversary.
    • That actually happened earlier this week!  Before then my lowest score was 3/10, and was given to Drakengard and Alphadia Genesis.
  • I have given only one game a “perfect” score: Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker.
  • The site I’ve written the most reviews for is High Def Digest; however, I just overcame that hurdle this week with three reviews of mine going live.  Before then, it was Game Podunk.

I think that’s about enough for now.  I’ve been thinking about doing an Editorial Database too… which seems both easier and harder at the same time.  I’ll think about it.  And probably not do it, we’ll see.

Review A Great Game Day – Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

Oh, the Dragon Quest series, one that has always has a rocky past in the US.  Us lucky Americans got the first four Dragon Quest titles (with ‘Warrior’ slapped on in place of ‘Quest’), but due to crappy sales, we never got the Super Nintendo releases.  No, Enix didn’t find the series worth the trouble of localizing until after Final Fantasy VII came about, more or less making the RPG genre explode into the mainstream in the West.  Riding the wave of popularity, Enix released Dragon Quest VII to eager audiences which… frankly, I don’t know how it did.  That doesn’t matter much, though, because in the upcoming years Square and Enix merged, and the RPG supergiant released each Dragon Quest title as they came.

…Until they stopped, of course.  Somewhere around the time that the DS remakes of VI-IV were being released, Square dropped localization of the titles, stating the lukewarm sales not being the worth of localizing the amount of text the series requires.  Nintendo itself picked up and finished the localization for Dragon Quest IX and VI, but has since then has remained silent on the series, leaving a rather sizable number of Dragon Quest games in Japan and making series fans languish in despair.  By some miracle Dragon Quest Heroes for the PS4 is making it Westward, but it’s also a cross-over Warriors type title and Square probably thinks it can make a pretty penny off its fanbase like Hyrule Warriors did.

Dragon_Quest_V_Hand_of_the_Heavenly_Bride_Game_CoverBut this blog post isn’t about the Dragon Quest series in itself.  Oh, no.  It’s about my favorite RPG of all time.  If you might have noticed from my rambling above, original the US missed out on two titles: Dragon Quests V and VI.  It wasn’t until the DS remakes that fans got an official taste of these lost titles in action… so naturally more fans wanted to pick up Dragon Quest V than the first DS remake.  And naturally, as Square has been wont to do in these modern times, Dragon Quest V had a pretty low print run.

I ended up paying $50 for my (complete) copy of Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, and that was after many hours of researching and finding a deal on a somewhat sketchy looking website.  Square did eventually release a reprint off the title, driving down prices a bit, but if you want it not you’re still going to have to pay 30-40 dollars used, which is pretty high for a DS game.  It’s the most money I’ve spent on a single DS game, but you know what?

It was the best fifty dollars I ever spent.

Those that are fans of the series probably do not laud the various games’ stories as their strong point.  Well… that’s because they really aren’t.  Sure, Dragon Quest III had a rather touching scene near the end, and Dragon Quest VIII did a decent job, but the series’ allure was always its adherence to old RPG tropes, even in the changing times.  Some might say that the series was stagnating, but to the fandom it was a solid rock to grab onto in the constantly shifting currents of the changing RPG genre.  Sure, Final Fantasy might decide that oddly dressed blonde hair youths with daddy issues was the way to go forward with the series:  Dragon Quest just decided it was better off sticking with its silent protagonists and rigid turn-based battles.

But Dragon Quest V?  Dragon Quest V was different, and that’s what makes it so amazing.  Well, let me clarify–it wasn’t different on the gameplay front.  It was still crawling through dungeons with random encounters, with your four party members and their staple of skills and spells, and so on.  It was, instead, the narrative that really drove Hand of the Heavenly Bride beyond the typical Dragon Quest game and into the stratosphere, easily being one of the best video game experiences I’ve ever had.

I guess you’ll want me to back up my claim, huh?  Sure thing, but I will have to use spoilers.  Granted, many of these twists are already known, but there’s my spoiler warning regardless. Seriously, don’t be scared by the warning, this is only stuff in the ‘prologue’, or the first five or so hours in the game.  Only the most hardcore on spoiler rules need to heed this.

Dragon Quest V starts off with the main character being born.  You think I’m joking?  You literally come in right as a happy mother and father are deciding on a name for their new baby boy.  However, the cheerful celebration is cut short by the mother’s coughing.

Are you alright, my dear?  The father asks.  The screen cuts to black, leaving the question hanging.

The game skips forward a few years, with the main character being somewhere around five to eight years old.  You and your father have been traveling around for as long as you remember, though the reason seems to be unknown.  It doesn’t matter much though–you’re a little kid, ever curious and excited for adventure.  You and your father (named Pankraz) travel about, with you watching how awesome he is and wanting to grow up just like him.  Maybe someday you’ll even be able to take on a slime by yourself!  In time, the little squirt goes on a few mischievous adventures on his own, including a trip to a haunted castle with his childhood friend Bianca and even a romp in the fairy realm.  You even befriend an adorable sabertooth tiger kitten,

Happy childhood adventures <3

Happy childhood adventures <3

Eventually Pankraz takes on a job to protect a prince.   This prince is… well, a spoiled little brat.  That doesn’t matter too much, though–you’re a little kid, and just glad to be adventuring with Pankraz, even if you’re being forced to be the whelp’s minion.  However, due to the bratty prince’s insolence, he sneaks out of the castle and gets kidnapped, forcing the father and son to save him.  This goes well enough… until an ambush happens.

I’ll take care of this mob.  You take Prince Harry and run out of here.  Fast!  You and the prince make a run for it, but their escape is cut off by a powerful magician.  You have no hope of beating this foe, and when he’s about to strike the final blow… Pankraz comes upon the defeated children, and is forced to fight him and his pawns alike.  These minions are no match for him, and the magician, Ladja realizes this… and takes you hostage.

Fight back, and the child dies.  Pankraz takes the beating of the minions he so easily swat aside before, and you, the player, are forced to watch his plentiful amount of health slowly whittle down in battle.  Eventually, the father falls.  Before the final blow is struck, though, he calls out to his son…

Son… Can… you hear me…?  I must… I must tell you…Your mother… She’s… still alive… Keep… Keep looking for… your mo–

Ladja abruptly cuts Pankraz off with a fireball, cruelly sending your father to the afterlife.  It is always so beautiful a thing to see the parent’s love for the child!  He takes you and the young prince away to become slaves for the creation of his evil shrine, while the poor sabertooth kitten wakes up alone.  He walks to the charred floor where Pankraz once once stood, and lets out a sad, lonely howl…

…Ten years pass…

…But the son has not given up hope.  Even with the years of hardship, he and the matured prince bide their time, waiting for the moment that they can escape.  For Harry, that means returning home and honoring his father’s wish to be king; for you, that’s to keep searching for your mother, whom your father claimed was still alive.

Okay, that’s the end of spoiler town.  That’s only in the prologue, by the way, and that’s an emotionally driven five to eight hours or so.  There’s plenty more both heart-wrenching and heart-lifting moments to be found within Hand of the Heavenly Bride, but I’ll leave the rest for you to play.

What really, really drives the narrative home for Dragon Quest V though isn’t the content of the plot itself, but rather how it is presented.  All that I typed above is the type of thing that’s typically relegated to a character’s backstory in RPGs.  Yes, you hear about how your father died to an evil sorcerer, and the hardships the main character face, but in Dragon Quest V you experience this first hand.  You see in battle how amazing your father is; you actually go on adventures first hand, including your budding friendship with Bianca; you watch first hand as Pankraz if slowly beaten down by his enemies.  It makes not for a story, but for an experience, and one that sticks with the player in ways that I cannot convey properly in words, even though I tried above.

Indeed, Dragon Quest V does not have long, drawn out cutscenes full of exposition and explanation.  It relies on implication from both the story and in-game mechanics.  That’s not to say that nothing’s ever explained, but most of the explanation is short and to the point, and if you want more information, you can always hit up the local NPCs for more information.


…Actually, that’s another neat thing about Hand of the Heavenly Bride’s narrative:  Since there are a few time skips in the game, you can go and talk to NPCs, and see that their lives have actually changed with the times.  In some cases, that’s merely just them talking about more current events, but in other cases you see some drastic changes.  Characters get married, have children and families of their own, all before your eyes.  It really helps to drive those time skips home, because in all the cases these skips happen, you’re legitimately missing out on time in the world, for whatever reason that may be.  The world keeps turning, so they say, and while the main character is still on his quest, other people are living their lives and fulfilling (or failing at) their dreams.  It’s something that’s very easy to forget when the focus is on the main character, but Dragon Quest V manages to bring even that into a wonderful perspective.

I… suppose I should talk about something other than the story.  The game’s subtitle gives hint to another important aspect to the title:  At one point, you’ll have to decide which one of three (only two in the original version) lovely ladies to wed.  Other than the obvious plot purposes, you’re also essentially which of these somewhat different party members you really want.  You can’t have all three, obviously, and while no one potential bride is balanced in such a way that it’s obviously better to choose her (…in a gameplay sense at least…), each bride plays a bit differently, and has effects on a couple other aspects of the gameplay later on.  It’s neat, and it really makes even replays worthwhile just to see how both gameplay and scenes play out differently with the other wives in tow.

Other than that, it’s a relatively normal Dragon Quest game.  Battles are rigidly turn-based, random encounters are abound, and you carry your extra party members about in a wagon, including your monster buddies.

Aw, just look at them maim and murder.

Aw, just look at them maim and murder.

Oh wait, I forgot about them, didn’t I?  As evident by the sabertooth kitten’s introduction in the prologue, the hero can recruit monsters into his ranks to fight alongside him.  This is especially helpful early on, as since you’re setting out alone it’s helpful to have another party member to take and give hits.  This is actually the first Dragon Quest game in the series to do so, and is said to have helped inspire the spin-off Dragon Quest Monsters series… although, don’t quote me on that.  I believe I read that somewhere, but alas I cannot find the source.

Honestly, after a point, the monster recruiting is sort of downplayed, as you’ll eventually get more than enough human characters to fill out your ranks.  But, it’s still a nice touch, even if it wasn’t quite a top tier gameplay mechanic.

Dragon Quest V manages to do something its series peers cannot:  Create an emotional, touching plotline that is more than worth experiencing.  Of course, there’s also that classic Dragon Quest touch, wherein the older, more tried and true RPG tropes are welcome when even the series itself has turned its back on them.

Seriously, if you have a DS and can even tolerate RPGs, you have to pick this game up.  It’s a wonderful experience that still costs less than the average new console release.

No Game New Year

Oh yes, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to go an entire year without buying a new video game.

Yes, that sounds insane.  It probably is.  But I’ve decided to at least try and go through with it.  The Gaming Historian started this off last year (I believe), which the goal of enjoying games in his collection that got neglected.  As us gamers get older, we get more money to buy all the games we want… but far less time to play them.  So, backlogs tend to build up, and games get left off to the side to be ignored and forgotten.

No Game New Year is a bit of a solution to that.  By not buying any games over the course of the year, you get the chance to really delve into your backlog and enjoy what you have… kind of like we did as kids.  It clears out the backlog, saves a ton of money, and I suppose other things if your sentimental about the past or whatever.

That said, you don’t have to go the entire year without ever getting a new game ever.  Gifts are fine (it’d be rude to accept a gift!) as well as the occasional game purchase… but the purchases have to be funded by the games you’ve sold.

See, the other aspect of No Game New Year is ‘quality over quantity‘.  If you have an unusually large backlog, you might start going through these game and realize, ‘hey, this game isn’t fun… at all’, or ‘you know, this genre of game isn’t really for me’, and in that case, you’re encouraged to sell it.  After all, if you don’t like the game and won’t play it, why would you keep it, unless you have some sort of sentimental value to it?

So, in reality, it isn’t so hard… if you’re willing to part with some things.

Okay then, all that said, I do unfortunately have to make a small adjustment to this challenge to work for me… mainly, I have to still take review copies of games.  Since game reviewing makes me a decent bit of extra side money, it’d be counter-intuitive for me to stop reviewing games for a year in order to do the challenge.  If it seems like I’m cheating, I’m really not… I frankly don’t get too many games that I really want via review copies anyway; about half of the games I review are completely random things I barely heard much about before a copy was given to me.  So yeah.

Anyway, No Game New Year will even help on that aspect, as by extension of the ‘delve into backlog’ bit, I’ll be able to give more attention to these review games, something I really had trouble doing last year.  So it’s a double win!

Now that I got all of the explaining out of the way… what’s my gameplan?  Well, right now I have a few games I want to sell for a few bucks.  Additionally, I’m really thinking of selling some of my physical older games to get ‘upgraded’ digital versions.  Mainly, I’m looking at the first three Phoenix Wright titles and the GBA Fire Emblems.  Most of the money from those would go to… you know, buying those digital copies, but I’ll likely have some extra funds left over to add to the pool of funds.  My goal is to be able to buy Bayonetta 2 sometime this year.

On the playing aspect, right now I’m really trying to work through the PC games my aging laptop can run.  I decided to play To The Moon, which was interesting, and I struck Love from the backlog… for reasons I’ll explain in a later post.  For now I’m focusing on my Steam titles, but I’m tinkering with my GOG games I won and will probably move onto Desura later.  Not playing too much on the console front, for personal reasons (my living room’s a mess because of my cat so it’s not fun to use the TV), but soon I want to finish Super Mario 3D World and continue working through Atelier Totori.  I pre-ordered the special edition of Atelier Shallie, but that was last year, so I’m in the clear on that.  Too bad I’m missing Atelier Escha and Logy, though…

I’ll likely update on my progress every once and a while, randomly… namely if/when I buy or sell a good deal of stuff.  That’s about it, though!

Oh, and if you want to know more about No Game New Year, here’s the official post: [x]

Review A Bad Game Day – Robopon: Sun Version

You can already see where this is going.  Robopon?  A ‘version’?  This game is certainly a Pokemon rip-off.  That doesn’t make it inherently bad, though… there are plenty of games ‘inspired’ by Pokemon, heck, even whole franchises that manage to bring interesting and different spins on monster collection formula that Game Freak has capitalized on.  Of course, Robopon is not one of those games.

For starters, Robopon doesn’t merely take inspiration from the Pokemon series of games:  It outright lifts the idea wholesale and replaces “monsters” with “robots”.  The name Robopon is startlingly close to Pokemon, the tagline “Build’em, Collect’em, Trash’em!” is clearly a robot flavored version of “Gotta Catch’em All!”, and the original release came with two versions (Sun and Moon) with a third enhanced version (Star) coming later.  Nevermind the fact that only the Sun Version came out in the West, cutting players off from being able to collect’em all, effectively ruining one of the game’s main aspects.

Truly inspiring robot designs. Well, I guess Game Freak has their off games too.

Why Atlus decided to localize this, instead of their own in-house Pokemon clone, Devil Children, is understandable, but still a shame.  Perhaps they figured the similarity in name would trick some poor, unknowing parents into buying Robopon for their children.  Or maybe it was a more honest intention… after all, “Pokemon with robots” is far more marketable than “children collecting an army of demons to summon”.  Maybe Atlus actually expected children to want this game; that, in their Pokemon deprived minds (hey, they only came out once a year!), anything involving the words ‘collecting sentient objects for battle’ would have them clamoring to the closest Babbage’s or EB Games.

A sentiment I can completely understand, as I was one of those children.

Yes, that’s right, I played Robopon, and many other Pokemon clones, completely of my own free will.  Pokemon Red and Blue may not have been my first video games, but they were my true ‘introduction’ into the world of gaming, the first games that truly clicked with me.  After I had beaten both versions enough times (yes, I was that kid), I started to branch out, look for most monster collecting games to satisfy my unending hunger.  This usually led to some pretty interesting choices, like Dragon Warrior Monsters, the very fun title that helped me move on to ‘true’ RPGs, and a Digimon World title, which I didn’t appreciate at the time but was really quite competent.

But then there was Robopon.  I think I saw it in the game store and recognized the cover as a clear monster collecting game, or maybe I read about it in a Pocket Gamer magazine and made a poorly informed decision.  Whatever the case, I got my mother to buy me this game, and the moment I booted it up, I started what came to be one of the most regretful portable gaming experiences of my early days.

Okay, seriously, this is a little too close for comfort.

After getting the all too similar looking title screen, you are introduced to the player character, whom you can name.  A very short introduction makes you, a preteen boy, the president of a Robopon company.  As the President, you do… nothing of import to the company, but eventually you take the Robopon you collect and battle the Elite 8, in order to beat the school bully and become the best Robopon trainer around.

So… the story is rather weak, but what about the graphics?  There’s probably a reason my brain subconsciously tried to type ‘craphics’ in that last sentence.  Robopon appears to take the sprites of Pokemon Gold and Silver (which isn’t actually possible, considering their original release dates), garishly colored them, and shoved them together in such a manner to assault the eyes constantly.  Considering it was a couple years ahead of Pokemon Crystal (the first full color Pokemon title), Robopon really had a chance to stand out with some impressive, colorful graphics, but Hudson Soft really dropped the ball on that one.

But, any self-respecting gamer knows that graphics aren’t everything… and other gamers don’t put much stock in a storyline… so how is Robopon’s gameplay?  Well, technically battles aren’t too bad.  Your team of Robopon fights your opponent’s team of Robopon in one-on-one matches to the death.  Your Robopon can learn a variety of abilities with different attributes, which are effective against some types of Robopon but ineffective against others.  Robopon stand face to face against one another on a blank white screen, and when they attack, a short animation relevant to the attack pops up before dealing damage.  Move names can be a little difficult to decipher, but quite frankly many early games had this problem, so it’s hard to knock Robopon against it.

But while basic gameplay in itself isn’t particularly bad, it does nothing to really stand out, either.  Worse, though, is that’s the title’s game balance is a bit off.  I remember the point I finally gave up on Robopon:  One of the Elite 8 had a certain robot with a skill that would absorb physical damage.  It was still relatively early in the game (I believe), so I didn’t have a competent Robopon that could use any ‘magical’ spells that the enemy was weak against.  The foe would use this move every turn, without fail, so the battle would always lead to a stalemate.  The solution?  I needed to find a new Robopon or greatly level up some of my current robots… both of which taking hours of grinding.  Not being entirely smitten with the game, it’s easy to see why I would put the title down.

There’s just an extra inch or so there, nothing out of the ordinary at all.

Oh, but Robopon doesn’t like to be put down.  If you stop playing Robopon, it has ways to bother you even in the real world, haunting you in the middle of the night.  See, Robopon is actually a bit of a monstrosity of a cart.  Within its extra plastic top contains a few pieces of hardware designed to make the Robopon experience more enjoyable, including an infrared sensor to make trading between friends easy (but without Moon version, what’s the point?).  The title also had an in-game clock, wherein Robopon would have different events happen on different days.  When an event would begin, a separate little device within the cart would beep, alerting you to the new event and that you should play Robopon right this second.

In the typical fashion of the earlier technology days, this alarm was a loud, annoying beep.

Most events started at 12:01 AM.

For weeks after I stopped playing Robopon, that noise would go off at seemingly random intervals, begging me to just turn it on one more time.  Because I really wanted to play it after it woke me up in the middle of the night.  Eventually, my stepfather had to find a screwdriver that would unscrew the tiny battery port and remove the alarm battery.  Why not just turn it off?  Because you can’t turn it off.  Not with a little switch, not in the game, not at all.  It was terrible.

So yeah, Robopon?  A very not fun Pokemon rip-off.  Well, at least to me:  The original game did well enough to get a sequel on the Game Boy Advance (of which both versions got localized), which means… something.  Who knows, maybe they’re even good, but I don’t plan on finding out.

As a super bonus, you can look at this Let’s Play to see Robopon in action.  Also a man dressed in a fairy outfit (?):


Summer Gaming Challenge #2 – A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is one of those titles I really wanted to delve into, but kept getting distracted.  At first, I just wanted to finish Etrian Odyssey IV (which is a big mistake; there’s a reason why it’s taken me over a year to get to the final Land), then I had to review games, then I became smitten with my Vita, and the list of excuses continues on.  Eventually, when the Summer Gaming Challenge came around and I asked my boyfriend for suggestions, this was one of the titles he recommended above all else.  So, seeing as I needed a few portable titles to play on the transit to school and work, I delved in and began Link’s new adventure near the beginning of my challenge.

And I just could not stop playing it.

I am one that needs to be in the “right mood” to enjoy a Zelda or adventure-y title:  If I’m not in the mood to explore and solve puzzles, I’ll quickly drop the game, like I have with 3D Dot Game Heroes and Phantom Hourglass.  When I started A Link Between Worlds, I wasn’t sure if I was in “the mood”.  I kept dying in Hera’s Tower, and had a general lack of interest in transversing Hyrule.

When I get to Lorule though… everything changed.  The joy of exploring the entirety of the land more or less unhindered completely sold me on the title.  It was actually a good while until I entered my first dungeon in the dark world; I spent a goodly amount of time just walking around the land, trying to find more cracks, more Maiamais, more save points so I could travel around on a whim.  Collecting rupees also was fun, as being able to afford and straight out buy Ravio’s items lends to a sense of accomplishment… and then you can go and get them upgraded on top of it!

The dungeons themselves were pretty easy overall, but then again it may have been simply because I’ve learned the tricks Zelda games expect my to catch over the years.  I still got stuck on a few things (the Dark Palace was a little annoying because of… well, it was dark), but other than wondering about whether a few items were in the game I never had to consult a guide.  I still died a lot, though.  I never said I was good at games.

The story was pretty nice, and pretty light.  I already knew about the big plot twist, but it was nice nevertheless.  Of course, being a Zelda game, and one inspired by older iterations at that, I didn’t expect an epic, sweeping plot to guide me through the world.

But yeah, A Link Between Worlds?  Fantastic game, definitely in my Top 3 Zelda titles (which is a list that’s never definitive, mind you), and another winner for my Challenge.  Looking at my list, this probably won’t be the end of the good times, either, so it’s going to be a fun summer.

Summer Gaming Challenge #1 – Journey

I’ve been lazy with writing these (I’ve already beaten my second game!), but no more.  The first game I’ve taken down for my Summer Gaming Challenge is Journey, a title I forgotten about but decided to switch in once I saw someone else put it on their list… and, well, I’m glad I did switch it in.

Journey really is a beautiful adventure.  The graphics are fantastic, and give an amazing atmosphere to the whole ordeal.  The spoon fed story is also great, and leaves a lot open for interpretation.  In terms of the gameplay, it’s simple and easy to progress without getting too stuck, and there’s a palpable reward for exploring the area (basically, it’s easier to move around).

When I went in, I expected to play the whole Journey by myself; it’s been a long time since the game was released, after all.  Most of the first half of the game ended up with me playing alone; it did not impact me negatively really, as I took my time exploring the areas and collecting extensions to my scarf.  At one point, though, I kept hearing chirps (the noises the characters make) and looked around to see, to my surprise, another player a few feet behind me.  From there, everything changed:  Playing with another player and working the puzzles with someone else gave Journey a whole new layer of enjoyment and underlying emotion that it brought the title to new heights.

See, together or alone, Journey is… well, a journey:  A path taken to find the truth, to find peace, to find… anything, really.  When there is someone beside you, it makes the journey that much easier, as you know there’s someone right there beside you, sharing your pain and triumphs alike.  As my partner and myself trekked up the snow-laden mountain, keeping close to each other to keep warm and able to use our dwindled powers (most of our scarves were ripped off when I caught the attention of an enemy), I felt an honest connection between the characters on the screen.  It was a joy to see the two working together, struggling to make it to the end of their trek, and that I was a part of it.

It made it all the more painful that I lost my partner about halfway through the climb up the mountain.  While the player likely disconnected or decided to quit (I was a bit slow, after all), I felt as if my companion had died, and that my avatar had to finish the quest on their own.  Why couldn’t he make it?  Was the cold too much?  Losing the companion at that point made the atmosphere feel all the more real; it made it feel as though I had to push on for my partner’s sake, lest it’ll all be for nothing.  It’s quite impressive that a simple thing that happens online all the time could provide this amount of pure emotional force behind it.  It just goes to show how much attention was put into the product that nothing breaks your immersion into the atmosphere of the game; in fact, in some cases little occurrences might even drive this point home further.

But really, Journey ended up being a beautiful title, and a great start to my challenge this year.  Here’s to hoping I’ll have a great run of classics to keep me rolling through the summer (spoiler alert: I do)!