Saturday, January 07, 2017

Are we f$%kin' there yet? (or, more thoughts on Dragon Quest VII after spending 40-plus hours with the 3DS remake)

When I last wrote about my on-again, off-again playthrough of Dragon Quest VII, I'd just passed the 20-hour mark of my journey.

In the comments section of that post, I mentioned that I wouldn't publish any additional impressions of the 3DS remake of Square Enix's classic RPG until I hit the 40-hour threshold. Well, I did just that--over a week ago. I'm now a smidge north of 50 hours.

Have I enjoyed Dragon Quest VII more in the last 30 hours than I did during the first 20? I'd say that's a fair assessment. Now, I'm not head over heels in love with this sprawling adventure or anything like that, but I am liking it a lot more than I did previously.

I'm not entirely sure why that is, either. After all, it's not like the never-ending conveyor belt of vignettes that make up Dragon Quest VII has stopped or even slowed down in the last 10 or so hours of my playthrough. And it's not like they've become a lot more interesting than they were earlier. Hell, I still think the first vignette you encounter in the game is its best--and by quite a margin.

That's not to say none of those that follow in its footsteps are memorable. A good handful are surprisingly intriguing, like the one involving a town where its citizens and livestock have switched places, or the one involving a burg that's stuck in a time loop.

Others, though, are little more than variations on a theme--or at least that's how they seem to me. Admittedly, this could be due to the fact that almost every new village or town looks eerily like the last one. Of course, that's what happens when you populate each locale with churches, inns, shops and homes made of the same cookie-cutter designs. (Sadly, the people who live and work in those buildings also barely change from place to place, although there are occasional exceptions.)

All that said, I basically came to peace with all of these niggles in the last 10 or so hours of my Dragon Quest VII playthrough and I now have hope I'll see its end credits sometime soon.

Don't take this to mean I'm going to jump into the soon-to-be-released 3DS port of Dragon Quest VIII as soon as it arrives on my doorstep later this month (or, more likely, sometime next month). Despite my change of heart regarding Dragon Quest VII, I'm feeling pretty burned out on Dragon Quest at the moment. Plus, I'd really like to spend some time in the coming weeks with games that don't take tens of hours to complete, and I'd also really like to play games on other systems--like the Vita, the original PlayStation and even the WonderSwan--in that time.

First, though, I actually have to beat Dragon Quest VII. While I work on that, are any of you still working you way through its extensive adventure? If so, what's your opinion on the experience?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Seven 'old' games I'm planning to play at some point in 2017

Late last year, I published a trio of posts about the many Japanese and North American 3DS and Vita games I'm planning to play sometime in 2017.

(This post covers the 3DS games I'm itching to experience, while this post and this post cover the Vita games on my "play as soon as possible in the next 12 months" list.)

Despite my current living situation, I'm also hoping to play a number of "old" games next year. Here are the ones I'd like to tackle first:

Clock Tower (WonderSwan)--Why would I play the WonderSwan port of Human Entertainment's first Clock Tower game when I could play the Super Famicom or PlayStation versions instead? Because I want to show my new-ish WonderSwan Color system some love, for starters. Also, I can't help but think that playing this game in black and white could be kind of cool--not to mention surprisingly atmospheric. If only experiencing Clock Tower on a fairly small screen would make Scissorman's appearances a bit less terrifying.

Last Window (DS)--After ignoring it for ages, I finally played through--and thoroughly enjoyed--Cing's Hotel Dusk in 2015. (You can read some of my thoughts on it in this "A Decade of DS" post.) I have a hard time believing this sequel from 2010 will be anywhere near as captivating as the original, but I'd love for my skepticism to be proven unwarranted. Regardless, it'll be really nice to hold my DS Lite--or, you know, my go-to 3DS--sideways like a book again.

London Seirei Tantei-Dan (PlayStation)--A Japanese RPG set in Victorian England that's full of lovely sprite art and turn-based battles? Where do I sign up? Also, why did it take me until late 2016 to track down a copy of such a game? I've yet to even stick my London Seirei Tantei-Dan disc into my trusty PSone system, of course, but I'm determined to rectify that in the coming months. I'm also determined to publish a post about this game's magnificent packaging, by the way, so be on the lookout for it if that sort of thing is your cup of tea.

Metroid II (GameBoy)--I'm one of those weird folks who loved both Metroid and Super Metroid as a teen but then never played another Metroid game. I'm not kidding here--no Metroid: Fusion, no Metroid: Zero Mission, no Metroid Prime and, yes, no Metroid II. That last game is the most appealing to me, and everyone knows how much I adore the GameBoy, so I'm going to do my best to jump back on the Metroid bandwagon (if such a thing still exists after Nintendo's attempts to kill the series) with it in 2017.

Mother (Famicom)--I actually put a few hours into this game a couple of years ago. For whatever reason, though, I walked away from it after that--despite the fact I was really enjoying its rather antiquated (especially in comparison to follow-up EarthBound) adventure. I'd prefer to give it a second chance by buying and playing EarthBound Beginnings on my 3DS (ahem, Nintendo), but since that's unlikely to be an option, I guess I'll either put the Mother cart I bought ages ago to use or, you know, plug the old EarthBound Zero ROM into my emulator of choice.

Seiken Densetsu 3 (Super Famicom)--You'd think someone who absolutely loves the second Seiken Densetsu game, released in North America as Secret of Mana, would've played the third by now. Well, you'd be wrong. I find Seiken Densetsu 3's graphics mesmerizing, though, so look for me to finally put it through its paces by the end of this year. (I'd like to do the same to the similarly gorgeous Legend of Mana, to be perfectly honest, but that may be a stretch given everything else on my plate.)

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers (3DS)--When Atlus announced this 3DS  port of it Japanese Sega Saturn game from 1997, I told anyone who would listen that I'd buy it as soon as it hit store shelves in my neck of the woods. Nearly four years later, I've still yet to follow through on that affirmation. Copies of Soul Hackers are pretty cheap these days, though, so I'll do what I can to add one to my pile of 3DS cartridges before this time in 2018.

Are you planning to play any particular "old" games this year? If so, which ones?

Sunday, January 01, 2017

My 3DS Play Time stats for 2016

Before I checked my 3DS Play Time stats for 2016--so I could write this post, of course--I was pretty sure I'd spent far less time playing games on Nintendo's current handheld than I had in 2015.

Imagine my surprise, then, when it became clear the reverse was true. In fact, I spent exactly 39 hours with my most-played 3DS game (The Legend of Legacy) last year. This year? I spent nearly 60 hours with my most-played 3DS game--Pocket Card Jockey.

And not only that, but I spent just over 50 hours with Dragon Quest VII and a smidgen under 40 hours with both Nintendo's StreetPass Mii Plaza titles (Monster Manor, mostly) and Yo-Kai Watch.

Will Pokémon Moon, above, make an appearance in the 2017 
version of this post? I have no idea, but I hope so!
Overall, I devoted 253 hours to 3DS games in 2016. Here's a breakdown of how much time I put into the 10 most-played:
  1. Pocket Card Jockey--59:41
  2. Dragon Quest VII--51:23
  3. StreetPass Mii Plaza--39:25
  4. Yo-Kai Watch--38:31
  5. Nintendo Badge Arcade--13:34
  6. Pocket Card Jockey demo--5:41
  7. Witch & Hero II--4:37
  8. Rusty's Real Deal Baseball--3:51
  9. Final Fantasy Explorers--2:58
  10. Bravely Second demo--2:58
If you'd like to see how this year's list stacks up against last year's, check out my "3DS (and DS) Play Time stats for 2015" write-up.

Also, please share your 2016 3DS Play Time stats with me (and others) in the comments section of this post. It'd be fun to compare notes about this sort of thing, don't you think?