Summer Gaming Challenge 2017 Dropped – Earthbound

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I have beaten my third game for the Summer Gaming Challenge, but I’d like to first talk about the first game I’m dropping for the Challenge, because I do feel it’s worthy to talk about, and what that means for my Challenge.  After all, it’s not always fun just to read positive impressions, right?  …Well, I guess my write ups aren’t always positive, but I feel this will be a worthwhile post.

Anyway, the first game I’ve dropped from my challenge is Earthbound.  I can already hear the tortured screams of the SNES game’s fans from here, so just hear me out first.  In the past I would suffer through games that were considered ‘classics’ even if I didn’t like them, just to give them a chance.  But nowadays, I simply don’t have that time commitment, and I want to use the free time that I have for other games, and other endeavors in general.  So I give these games a fair shake, and if I don’t like them I move on, regardless of how beloved it is.

I don’t know exactly how much time I sunk into Earthbound because I forgot to check the Activity Log before writing this, but I believe it was around 10 hours and I was about halfway through the stuff in Fourside when I called it quits.

Let me just get this out of the way and say… I really do like Earthbound’s unique and wacky setting.  Maybe unique isn’t quite the right word, since Earthbound’s world is much like our own except… weirder, but really the way Earthbound handles its setting is pretty wonderful and fun.  But, then again, I knew I would like it, considering how much I liked Mother 3 when I played through a large chunk of that.

Actually, that’s likely to be the crux of my issues with Earthbound… the fact that I played through Mother 3 before I touched this title.  I didn’t actually beat Mother 3, mind you (I’m still waiting patiently for the day Nintendo deems Western audiences worthy of the title), and it’s of course understandable that the third title of the series would have quality of life updates that the second game didn’t have, but Earthbound’s little oddities and tiny frustrations just built up to the point where I wasn’t really enjoying anything in between the short cutscenes the game gave me for taking care of whatever task it gave me.

The biggest problem, for me, is that is could be hard to figure out exactly what to do at many points in the game.  I decided to look up a guide early on, and while some tasks are telegraphed clearly enough, others I know I would have wandered around aimlessly for if I hadn’t have looked it up.  There’s other things  too, like learning how dangerous the enemies in the desert are and how it’s really not even worth fighting them, that saved me a lot of grief I otherwise would have gone through… since the battle escape rate is abysmal, if you don’t dodge the enemies on the screen, you’re more or less locked into a battle until it’s won (or lost).

Also, I suppose I didn’t really find the battles themselves fun.  It’s not that I don’t like turn based battles–I’m playing Dragon Quest VII now and am enjoying it–it’s just that it feels like I can’t do anything for fear of wasting resources or precious PP.  It’s tough figuring out when to use Jeff’s items in particular… considering his whole things is using unique items only he can use and take up precious inventory slots, it’s downright infuriating when said items don’t even work or their effects leave much to be desired.  It makes normal battles a complete slog, and boss battles can become a pain simply from the fact that most of my PP is wasted from healing (or from spells so I can kill enemies faster so I don’t have to heal), and I’m not the biggest fan of that sort of difficulty.  Again, this mainly stems from the fact that you can’t actually run from battles… sure, the option is there and all, but using it is just asking to take damage.  Combined with how hard it is to avoid many enemy types, it’s almost designed to wear you down to make boss battles more difficult than they need to be… because when I do get to said battles with sufficient PP, I can usually wipe them out in just a few turns.

These are the biggest points of contention for me… as a result, I felt like I just was going through the motions, not actually enjoying the game and just playing it because I felt obligated to for the challenge.  So, it’s time to drop it and try something else instead.

With that, I’ll detail the updates to my list.  First, I’ll be replacing Earthbound with Deadly Premonition for the PS3… Deadly Premonition is considered a cult classic, so I definitely want to give it a try and see how it is for myself.  Second, I’ve gotten a Switch and one of the games I own for it (Cave Story+) is definitely considered a classic… since I was having trouble filling out some of the games on my list in the first place with “true” classics, I’ve replaced one of the more iffy games on the list (Trails in the Sky) with it.  Also since it’s not a super long RPG (or an RPG at all) it helps make my list not so… long, to play through.

That wraps up the list updates!  Look out for my thoughts for the third Summer Gaming Challenge title that I’ve beaten soon.

Summer Gaming Challenge, 2017 edition

It’s that time of the year again… the time where I try and play 10 ‘classic’ games over the summer!  I won’t go over the rules again, I posted them here and am too lazy to retype the thing.  My start date will be somewhere around June 1st, but I may start a little earlier or later depending on how efficiently I can clear out the current backlog skeletons in the closet.

My ten games for this year are:

Cave Story+ (Switch)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (3DS)
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition (Steam)
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (PS2 via PS2 Classics)
Suikoden II (PS1 via PS1 Classics)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland (Wii)
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (3DS)
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut (PS3)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

I’m also doing something a little different this year.  If I flat out end up hating a game, or if console availability is kind of bad for me for whichever reason, I have a few backup games just in case.  This is mainly because a lot of my list originally were PS3 titles, which is an issue because it’s in a busy living room and working through four or five RPGs down there probably wouldn’t work.

The tentative backups are:

The Last of Us Remastered (PS4)
Breath of Fire IV (PS1 via PS1 Classics)

As per every year before, once I finish a game I will write a piece on it, so look forward to more posts!  I wonder which game I’ll finish first…

Summer Gaming Challenge 2016–Let’s Go!

It’s that time of the year again… time to waste my summer playing video games.  Well, not really, but since I’m taking the entire summer off classes this seems like the perfect opportunity to catch up on some classics.

For those unaware the Summer Gaming Challenge is a challenge done at the Racketboy forums every year.  It’s where you play 10 games that are considered “classics” (in whatever definition of the word you want to use) and sound off your thoughts about them.  Since the summertime is typically hot and younger participants usually have a lot more free time, it’s the perfect period to catch up on some games that may have fallen on the wayside.

I will, of course, keep my updates here, on my long neglected blog.  Everytime I finish a game, I’ll do a write up on it.  Simple enough.  I fully plan on beating all of these games by the end of August, before my classes start up again.  Of course… since I’m really dead set on making that goal, I’ve also made sure there aren’t *too* many RPGs on my list.  Because otherwise it’d be way too much.

Without further ado, here is my list for this year:

Super Metroid (SNES via Wii U VC)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Earthbound (SNES via Wii U VC)
Shining Force II (Genesis via Steam)
Kirby’s Adventure (NES via Kirby’s Dream Collection)
The Legend of Zelda (NES via 3DS VC)
Metal Gear Solid (PS1 via PSOne Classics)
Suikoden II (PS1 via PSOne Classics)
Harvest Moon: Back to Nature (PS1 via PSOne Classics)
Radiant Historia (DS)

Five console games, five handheld games (since I’ll play PSOne Classics on my Vita).  A nice split!

Well, that’s about it.  My Summer Gaming Challenge will be starting now, and I have until the end of August to beat them all!