Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Eight old games I'm going to play (and hopefully finish) in 2018

I don't often set goals for myself regarding how many games I want to play or even "beat" in a given year, but I'm making an exception in 2018 in the hopes it'll push me to dillydally a bit less than I did in 2017.

The thing is, all but one of the titles listed below are RPGs, which means I'm unlikely to finish all of them even if I do somehow manage to start them by the end of the year. As such, let's just say I'll give it my best shot, OK?

At any rate, here are eight "old" games I'm planning to play (and hopefully) finish between now and Dec. 31, 2018.

Chocobo no Fushigi na Dungeon (Wonderswan)--Between March and July of last year, I published seven "Welcome to WonderSwan World" posts. I've published zero since. To get back into the swing of things, I'd like to play a WonderSwan game that doesn't tax my brain too much. I'm not entirely sure this Chocobo no Fushigi na Dungeon port fits that bill, but I'm willing to give it a go anyway. No matter what, it should prove to be less of a challenge than the WonderSwan versions of Makai Toushi SaGa (the first Final Fantasy Legend in North America) and Romancing SaGa.

Fragile Dreams (Wii)--This is yet another of those games I've meant to start for eons but have yet to get around to for all sorts of reasons. Granted, I was Wii-less for most of 2017, and that put a real damper on any plans I may have had for this intriguing, post-apocalyptic RPG. And then when I was reunited with my Wii, I used it to play Opoona and Tabemon rather than Fragile Dreams. Well, I doubt I'll ever finish Opoona, and Tabemon is the kind of game you put an hour or so into now and then when you crave something light and frivolous, so my Wii's disc slot should be free to accept a replacement.

Last Window (DS)--I wasn't sure what to expect when I started my way through Hotel Dusk back in the summer of 2015. After just a few hours with it, though, I was smitten. Combined, its atmosphere, characters, soundtrack, and aesthetic add up to something akin to perfection if, like me, you enjoy a good whodunit. I desperately wanted to gobble up its sequel the second I was finished with Hotel Dusk, of course, but I moved on to another game instead and have yet to return to my European copy of Last Window. Maybe I'll stick its cart into my 3DS as soon as I wrap up my Miitopia playthrough.

Mother 3 (GameBoy Advance)--In 2014, I finished EarthBound for the very first time. In 2017, I finished that game's predecessor, Mother, for the first time. Given that, I shouldn't be expected to finish Mother 3 until 2020. I don't want to wait that long, though, so I'm going to do my best to fit it into 2018. To be perfectly honest, I'd prefer to play the game in English, so I'm desperately hoping Nintendo finally sees fit to release a localized version of Mother 3 via the Switch eShop sometime soon. If not, I guess I'll have to break down and tackle the Japanese cart I've owned for a good while now.

Sekai wa Atashi de Mawatteru: Hikari to Yami no Princess (PSP)--If Sekai wa Atashi de Mawatteru doesn't ring a bell, maybe My World, My Way does? Hikari to Yami no Princess basically is an updated version of that Atlus-published (outside of Japan) DS RPG that puts you in the shoes of a pouty, landscape-altering princess. I'm always up for giving my PSP some love, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 or so hours I put into My World, My Way a couple of years ago, so I figure checking out my Hikari to Yami no Princess UMD over the next few months may well wind up being the best of both worlds.

Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)--OK, so this isn't really an "old" game, but it seems like I've owned (and ignored) it for ages now, so for me it deserves to be included here. If I'm to be honest, I'd say the main reason I've dragged my feet on playing Shin Megami Tensei IV for so long is that all of the online chatter about the game being a bit of a nightmare has me spooked. Still, I spent good money to buy the damn thing, so I'm going to play it even if it kills me. On a semi-related note: I also want to boot up my long-overlooked copy of Bravely Second at some point in 2018.

Suikoden (PlayStation)--Konami's Suikoden series has never really been on my radar. To be frank, the visuals of its PS one releases, especially, never appealed to me, and that's basically prompted me to steer clear of them. At least, that was the case before social-media mutterings and PSN sales collided and convinced me to pick up digital copies of Suikoden I and II via my beloved Vita. I've read that Suikoden II is the better of the two games, but it just seems wrong to me to begin a series with its second offering, so I'm going to start with the original.

Super Mario RPG (SNES)--Can you believe I've never played this one? Hell, I can't believe it myself. And I can't even tell you why I've never played it. I recall being excited about it when it was announced, but I have no memory of why I failed to buy it after it hit store shelves. Maybe it was too expensive? Or maybe a bunch of other appealing SNES games came out around the same time and I forgot about it once I was done with them? Whatever the case may be, I really--and finally--want to experience what Super Mario RPG has to offer before 2019 arrives.

Are there any old games you want to put at least some time into by the end of this year? If so, share their names, and why you want to play them, in the comments section of this post.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Eight games I finished in 2017

I played a lot of games last year--even more than the 20 I highlighted in my "how I spent my time in 2017" post--but I didn't finish or "beat" too many of them.

Specifically, I completed a grand total of eight, and one was a demo. (A meaty demo, to be sure, but a demo nonetheless.) Here they are:

Dragon Quest VII (3DS)--I spent more than a decade longing to play Dragon Quest VII before I picked up its 3DS port in late 2016. In fact, I distinctly remember spotting a discounted PSone console and a copy of the game while shopping at Target in the early 2000s and struggling with whether or not I should buy both in one fell swoop. I passed in the end, but I think that made me even more eager than I would've been otherwise to play this portable remake. Sadly, all of that anticipation meant bubkes when I finally booted it up. Although I enjoyed a lot of what it offered, that enjoyment was constantly tested by bouts of boredom and fits of annoyance. Basically, Dragon Quest VII too often felt like a drag. As such, I'm glad I stuck with this game until the end, but I can pretty much guarantee I'll never pick it up again.

Golf Story (Switch)--If you would've told me before I started playing it that Golf Story had enough content to last more than 17 hours, I'd have responded with an eye roll of epic proportions. Although this game has its fair share of issues--it doesn't do a great job of explaining how things work, for instance, and it's surprisingly buggy (or it was before it was patched)--its captivating story and charming visuals do a lot to mitigate them and make those hours fly by (or at least they did in my case).

Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS)--After devoting nearly 100 hours of my life to the Dragon Quest VII 3DS remake between late 2016 and early 2017, switching over to Kirby: Planet Robobot was the gaming equivalent of a breath of fresh air. Not only did it take me just nine hours to reach Planet Robobot's end credits, but the overall experience was so breezy and light that I wouldn't be surprised if I grinned the whole way through. On a related note, it was such a nice change of pace to play a game that didn't feel the need to artificially prolong its experience.

Mother (Famicom)--I've been itching to play the original Mother ever since I finished--for the very first time, I might add--the series' second release all the way back in early 2014. I actually started Mother a few years ago, but walked away (for reasons I can't remember) after just a couple of hours. Halfway through 2017, I decided to take another stab at it. This time, I got so sucked into it that I played little else during the two-week, 20-plus-hour period I spent with the game. In fact, the experience left such an impression on me that I now think I prefer Mother to its (admittedly far slicker) sequel.

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World (3DS)--I don't know how I did it, but somehow I finished two 3DS platformers back to back in early 2017. I'm not suggesting this is some kind of amazing feat, mind you; it's more that I usually don't like to play, let alone "beat," two games of the same genre in succession. I guess it says a lot about both Planet Robobot and this portable Woolly World port that tackled them around the same time. I'm going to "blame" Dragon Quest VII for enabling this accomplishment, as after putting almost 100 hours into that slog of a game I desperately needed a peppy palate cleanser--or two, apparently. As for which proved more satisfying, I'm going to have to go with Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World here, if only because it offered up more of a challenge. (I've never been the biggest fan of cake-walk side-scrollers.)

Project Octopath Traveler demo (Switch)--I waited a long time to tackle the Project Octopath Traveler demo--especially when you consider it was what prompted me to buy a Switch in 2017 instead of in 2018. Why I dilly-dallyed is beyond me, although I have a feeling I did so because I knew playing it would make the wait for full game borderline unbearable. And guess what? I was right. This bite-sized preview of Project Octopath Traveler blew me away even more than I thought it would thanks to its eye-popping visuals, thrilling battles, and top-shelf soundtrack. Given that, I sincerely hope the finished product hits store shelves in my neck of the woods as early as possible this year.

The Starship Damrey (3DS)--Admittedly, it's pretty easy to finish a game that only lasts for a few hours. Still, a lot of people probably passed on The Starship Damrey due to its far-from-stellar word of mouth, so I'm going to pat myself on the back for making it through its creepy, corridor-stalking adventure anyway. I'd personally say it's well worth experiencing even now if you're open to buying and playing 3DS games in 2018--especially if you wait for publisher Level-5 to discount it. It's currently $7.99 (on the North American eShop), which I think is a bit rich for a four-hour game, but that regularly drops by about half, so keep an eye out for a sale if you're at all intrigued. Not yet convinced? Read my Starship Damrey review.

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)--Before I booted up my copy of Super Mario Odyssey for the first time, I worried it might not live up to the brilliance of the Super Mario Galaxy titles. After watching its end credits and starting through its post-game content, I couldn't help but wonder why I was so skeptical. For me, Odyssey bests the Galaxy efforts in almost every area. Just as importantly, in my opinion, is that Mario's latest adventure is one that never lets up. Right when you think a kingdom is about to overstay its welcome, another opens up and begs to be explored. If your playthrough is anything like mine, the whole thing will be over before you know it.

Did you finish any games in 2017? If so, which ones? Share their names as well as a few thoughts on them in the comments section of this post.