Tales of Hearts R is the JRPG I’ve been waiting for

It’s been way too long again, and life has been super busy. Since my last post, I left my retail job, moved to London, and started a PR internship. From November, I didn’t have any time for gaming, as I was concentrating so hard on doing well at the internship, which would hopefully turn into a full time, permanent position. Thankfully, from January 5th 2015, I am a permanent, full time graduate trainee, and I’ve started to make some time for my favourite things again. Of course one of those things is video games.

And now that Christmas has been and gone, new games have made their way into my life, and for the first time in a while I’m trying to make my way through one game before moving onto another, and Tales of Hearts R is that game at the moment.

13929800394_942a49d208_zTales of Hearts R has really taken me by surprise. I’m a fan of the Tales of series anyway, but there’s something special about this one. One of the things I’ve noticed, is that I’m actually using the battle system properly, instead of just button bashing. In the past, I have never used the guard function, so I just went in all guns blazing, and it usually worked in my favour. However, this time I find myself guarding a lot more often as it has a real function, instead of just reducing damage.

1119639573The story is also pretty damn good too. It’s totally generic, and the characters are huge JRPG stereotypes, but I’m absolutely fine with that. Readers of this blog will know that I’m a sucker for an old school JRPG, and this serves old school style up in droves. I’ve not been bored for a single moment, and even the random encounters battle system hasn’t frustrated me too much. The character conversations are cheesy, but I’m genuinely invested in how party relationships are evolving.

Tales-of-Hearts-R-FMV-Footage-1-747x309I’m about 15 hours into the game at the moment, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. If you’re a fan of classic JRPGs, and are looking for a great PS Vita game, you can’t go wrong with Tales of Hearts R. Unfortunately the DLC is ridiculously expensive at £7.99 for each set of costumes, but the outfit additions you get throughout the game satisfies the need for humorous character customisation, without the hefty price tag.

Other games I got for Christmas were Borderlands The Pre Sequel and Danganropa Trigger Happy Havoc. After I finish Tales of Hearts R, I’m planning to move onto Danganropa, as it’s something I can dip in and out of on the way to and from work.

Am I missing any amazing games on the PS Vita? Let me know in the comments!

Murasaki Baby is all I wanted, and more

Murasaki Baby was released yesterday, and I picked it up for the more than reasonable sum of £6.39 with PS+ discount.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Murasaki Baby for quite some time, as it looked like just my kind of game. It looked dark, creepy, and involving. It really reminded me a lot of LIMBO, which is one of my favourite games on the Xbox 360.


I’ve stayed away from reviews mostly, as I wanted to form my own opinion of Murasaki Baby. I did manage to see that it only lasts about three hours, and a lot of players thought that the touch controls get in the way of the graphics. I’ve only played the game for a short period of time, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and while I appreciate what many reviewers are saying about the touch controls, it’s nice to find a Vita game that actually makes good use of both the front and back touch screens.

The back touch screen is used to change the environment you’re in. Some environments scare monsters away, while others may produce rain or wind. Each environment serves its purpose, and it’s a nice little extra, and as I said, a welcome use of the back touch screen. It also really helps bring colour into a game that otherwise could be quite bland by default.

The front touch screen is used to control Baby, and her balloon with simple finger swipes. It’s not just Baby you have to look after; her balloon is just as important. If her balloon pops, then you’ll have to start again from the last checkpoint, and believe me, there are so many things that can pop that balloon. You will shout, and you will swear if that balloon pops. Not just because it’s frustrating, but because Baby will start to cry, and it’s just heartbreaking.


The lack of any actual voice acting, aside from the odd creepy exclamation of ‘Mummy!’ from Baby every time she thinks she’s getting that little bit closer, make it a really unique experience. This is why I compare it again to LIMBO. LIBMO didn’t need voices. It didn’t even need a soundtrack, and the story came across beautifully.It really is a challenge to create a story with no voices, and Murasaki Baby does it just as well as I was expecting.

I for one am loving the innovative idea of Murasaki Baby, and don’t regret spending the money I did on it. It looks stunning, plays well, and makes you think about what to do next without frustrating you too much and making you rage quit.

If you’re not a PS+ member, you can grab Murasaki Baby for £7.99. It might seem expensive for an indie game, but if we don’t support the indie devs, we’ll never get anything different.


My picks from the PlayStation Retro sale

PSN are doing some pretty amazing sales at the moment. If you read my last post, you will see that I purchased quite a few games from the Rising Star 10th anniversary sale. I traded in my old Xbox 360 at CEX and got a £47 credit voucher after buying a few games in store, so I decided to get myself £50 worth of PSN credit once I saw all the sales. So it would be rude not to grab a few things from the retro sale. Here’s what I’ve got my eye (and wallet funds) on:

Grandia (£3.29/£2.96 PS+)

Grandia is an absolute classic JRPG in my opinion, and even though I already have it on PS1, I might just get it on the PS Vita for a bit of portable JRPG magic when I’m travelling to and from London. If you love JRPGs and you haven’t had the pleasure of playing this, get it. You won’t regret it. The characters are likeable, and the battle system is classic. It would be nice if Grandia 3 would appear in the UK now though…


Pandemonium/Pandemonium 2 (£1.49/£1.34 PS+ each)

Both of these games bring back childhood memories. They are memories of love and irritation, as Pandemonium is not an easy game to play. I remember the hours of frustration, but there’s something about them that makes me want to give them another go, and at that price I can hardly say no.


Motor Toon Grand Prix 2 (£1.69/£1.52 PS+)

This is probably my favourite racing title of all time. Again, I already own this on PS1, but it’s one of those titles I wouldn’t mind buying again. As I type this, I have the opening song in my head. It looks so dated now, but I remember the hours of fun I used to have playing this. Along with the hours of frustration when I attempted to ride the completely uncontrollable bike.

Motor Toon Grand Prix 2 (2CD) (SCPS-10018-9) (Front)

Klonoa Door to Phantomile (£1.69)

Klonoa is another classic game that brings back childhood memories like Pandemonium. Klonoa is a weird bunny type…thing. Judging from his character design, he’s taken a few cues from Sonic & co. Regardless, it would be nice to play as this little fluff ball of frustration again.


Spyro The Dragon Trilogy (£3.99/£3.59 PS+)

That’s a pretty amazing price for an entire series, and the Spyro series is really enjoyable. I think I still have all these on disk somewhere, but I can’t be bothered to rifle through the memory cards I have to find some empty space when I can just play them on the PS3/Vita. It seems like only yesterday I was playing these actually, so we’ll see if I get a nostalgia hit.


Now the only problem I have, is that storage on my 500GB PS3 is rather lacking, and I need to take out a small loan for a bigger memory card for my PS Vita…

All of these games are on sale until 12am GMT 25-09-2014. The full list of games can be found here. Which games are you going to be picking up?

Rising Star Games Haul

I see a lot of beauty bloggers writing about their clothing and make up hauls. While, as a woman, I do still have these hauls, the ones I am most proud of are my gaming hauls. See, while most women are always on the lookout for the biggest and best deals on their favourite make up or clothing brand, I’m currently on the lookout for the biggest PSN sales. And this week, that was the Rising Star 10th anniversary sale.

I love Rising Star. I love their games because they’re just so damn addictive. Their sale on PSN was just too good to miss, so here’s what I bought, and what I make of each one so far:

Harvest Moon Innocent Life  (£2.40, PSP/PS Vita)

This is actually the one I wasn’t convinced about, but the one I’ve been enjoying the most so far. I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of a futuristic Harvest Moon, and it’s not exactly as futuristic as the synopsis would lead you to believe. I won’t spoil anything, but it maintains a focus on farming, along with various other bits and bobs to do. My favourite thing is definitely that it appears there is little need to bond with the residents. There’s no giving gifts to your object of affection, when that time could be spent harvesting crops and tending to your livestock. While I am enjoying it though, it really does just leave you to it, which is both good and bad. I’ve had to check online several times to see what I’m exactly meant to be doing for any form of progression. I’ve killed a good 8 hours on it so far though, and is quite nice to play before I start work in the evenings.


Futuristic farming never looked so…traditional?

Harvest Moon Hero of Leaf Valley (£3.60, PSP/PS Vita)

I was actually a little disappointed with this one. I’ve always had a bit of an issue with the console attempts at Harvest Moon as they just never translated well from a handheld, and this feels like a console game on a handheld. The movement of the character is very slow, and the focus has been taken away from farming, and is more focused around building relationships with the residents, which is something I’ve never been keen on. For me, a Harvest Moon is about farming. It’s about making enough money to get more upgrades, more equipment, and getting enough materials to build an extension on your house. This just feels like a poor attempt if I’m honest. I will give it another chance though. Just as soon as I’ve stopped being addicted to Innocent Life…


A lacklustre modern attempt at a classic

Virtue’s Last Reward (£8.25, PSP/PS Vita)

I have to be honest, I haven’t played Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and I really should, but I might just brush up on the story online unless I can grab a cheap copy in town. It’s something I always looked at and thought ‘I’ll buy that one day’ and never got round to it. I’ve not had the opportunity to play Virtue’s Last Reward yet, but I’m excited to get stuck into it. Apparently it’s more like a visual novel, where you make choices that affect the gameplay, and some of those choices sound like they might have some dire consequences for some characters. Sounds like my kinda game.


A dark visual novel

Rune Factory Oceans (£7.20, PS3)

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this. The critics slated it, calling it boring. However, the general gaming public seemed to love it, so I thought I would give it a go. The voice acting is a little bit grating so far, but I can get used to that. Cutesy animation is never going to have stellar voice acting to go with it in my opinion. Anyway, from the looks of it, it’s going to take a while for me to sink my teeth into this one as I’ve only just acquainted myself with all the residents, so no farming or adventuring has really happened so far. I’m looking forward to getting home from work in the evenings though and having a nice relaxing session on this little beauty.


Cutesy farming, with a side of action

Half Minute Hero (£3.00, PSP/PS Vita)

I’ve always been a bit intrigued by the concept of this game. To be honest, I knew very little about the game, but at £3.00, I couldn’t say no. I’ve had a bit of a dabble, and it’s actually a really good idea. It’s a nice little game that I can jump into for a short period of time due to the time constraints on the game, but a nice little challenge.


Pixelated, chibi fun

In summary, I got all these great games for a really good price, and if you like the sound of any of them, you have until 12am GMT 18-09-2014 to get your hands on them. The full sale can be found here.

Updates from the Gaming Girl

Well, May has come and gone, and I still didn’t post any updates. I’ve been settling back in at home, and getting myself a job, so I’ve only just got time to get back to updating this really. I’ve got a big list of things to post about, but it’s just a case of finding the time.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I graduated on Monday, and I’ve somehow managed to net myself a first-class degree in Journalism from uni, which I’m pretty damn pleased about. So I’m trying my best at the moment to put that to good use by applying for as many jobs as I can find really. That should mean that I’ll be updating this more often as well. I’m going to try my best, in between working weird shifts and job applications, I’m going to try to play as many games as I can (new and old) and keep my ponderings updated.

Speaking of games, I have such a huge back catalogue of games now thanks to PS+ that I’m even sure where to begin really. I’ve been really enjoying Tomb Raider on PS3, and also been scaring myself witless with Lone Survivor. It’s been nice to get such a variety of games to play for free, I really can’t sing the praises of PS+ any more.

In my down time I’ve been having a go at Shin Megami Tensei Digital Devil Saga, which I’m not overly in love with. I was expecting it to be more like Persona than it is, but I think I need to give it some time. I’ve currently had a bit of a rage quit from it, but I hope to get back on track with that in the coming weeks.

I’m planning on buying a couple of games I missed out on as well, including Assassins Creed Black Flag, and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of The Sims 4 and Tales of Xillia 2 (once I’ve finished the first one…).

So, in the upcoming weeks/months, I’ll be posting my ponderings on a lot of things really. Also, apologies to anyone who missed my E3 live stream this year. I was just way too tired after moving back home, generally sorting out the house, and I just wanted to watch E3 in all its glory for the first time in several years. I’ll post a belated E3 pondering soon as well.