My Most Wanted List

My Amazon wish list is bursting with all the games I want to play when I finish uni. Here’s a handful of them.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

This one is a no brainer really. I would rather it didn’t have X-2 in there, but I can’t complain really. I might like it the second time around…but probably not .The HD version of FFX looks amazing, and I’ve been listening to the HD OST as well to get myself in the mood. I can’t wait to spend hours on end playing Blitzball, and grinding to beat the Dark Aeons.

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Persona 4 Golden

Persona 4 is a game I never really got on board with. There was something about it which was just constantly frustrating. However, I’m willing to give it another chance on the PS Vita, now that I own one. Persona 3 FES was amazing, and a definite step up from the original, so I’m hoping for the same from Persona 4 Golden.

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

I’m a massive FFXIII and Lightning hater. I can’t stand them, and I can’t stand her. However, it’s Final Fantasy, and I’m not one to overlook a title just because I don’t like the character. I’ve played the first two, so I’ll play the final one, even if just to have an opinion. It looks terrible, so I’m going to wait for this one to come down in price a little bit.

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Diablo III

The demo for this game amazed me. I’m a big fan of epic dungeon crawlers if they’re done right, and boy did Diablo III get it right. An astounding time waster, I can’t wait to get my hands on this and waste some time slaughtering things with magic and swords. Bring it on.

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Bravely Default

I’ve wanted this from the second I played the demo. I haven’t bought it yet because I know it will completely consume my soul, and my time, which I can’t afford to do just yet. I love the job system in this game, and it really makes me think of classic JRPGs with different costumes and abilities to learn.

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Pokemon X/Y

I’m a big Pokemon fan at heart. I don’t explicitly post about it all the time, but I adore the mechanics of it, and I love nothing more than running around in a new town and harvesting some new Pokemon. This latest instalment looks even bigger and better than the last one.

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The Last of Us

I played a bit of this at a friend’s house when it first came out. It looked good, but perhaps a little bit frustrating, so I’m waiting for it to go down in price a little bit before I go out and get it. In all honestly, I just want to shoot some things. Some mutant things.

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Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

I can’t believe this actually came out. I loved the original Tales of Symphonia game so much, it was absolutely incredible. It had some of the best battle mechanics, and some brilliant characters. It was exactly what a real JRPG should be like. How could I turn down the HD version with extra bits and pieces?

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Okay, so maybe it was more than a handful. However, there are so many more I haven’t even had the chance to list here. My bank account weeps.

What games do you want the most at the moment?

 

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Long Time, No See

It’s been two months since I last updated this blog. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to. Believe me, updating this is one thing I really do want to do, however, I finish university on May 7th, and that is consuming my time at the moment, understandably. Along with having very little time to update, I am saving up to move down to London with my other half at the moment, which is eating into my gaming fund.

I just thought I would take this opportunity to do a quick update about where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to, and my general gaming ponderings at the moment.

This Christmas just gone wasn’t a heavily gaming based one for a change. My parents bought me a PS Vita, which I absolutely love, but due to the financial situation I’ve only been able to download the PS+ games; I don’t actually own a physical copy of a PS Vita game yet. I’m not even sure which ones to buy to be honest, because I’ve just been sucked in by all the PS Store sales, so I have Spelunky and Hotline Miami that I’ve actually purchased. Oh, and FFIX, but I just couldn’t resist the Square Enix sale. Ironic that the PS Vita Slim is announced just as I get the original, but to be perfectly honest, I’m glad I’ve got the original. The Slim doesn’t really appear to add anything else, aside from £’s.

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Aside from that, my gaming time has been very scarce. Lightning Returns has been released, and I have to say I’m quite glad I don’t have time for it at the moment, because it looks terrible. It’s almost like Square Enix have thrown away everything that made Final Fantasy good. I can’t believe they’ve taken such a bad character and made her the focal point of a terrible trilogy. It’s received some terrible reviews from the public and the critics. All I can say is, bring on FFX/X-2 HD next month.

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I’m still waiting for Bravely Default to drop in price, but again, I probably won’t be getting hold of this until May time. Bravely Default looks to be the JRPG of the year so far, but it’s early days.

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That’s it from me for now. As I said, May 7th is my final deadline, and I’m optimistic I’m going to graduate my Journalism course with at the very least a 2:1. It’s been a tough three years, and I’ve neglected this blog a lot in favour of my degree, but I hope that what I’ve learnt I will be able to transfer to here, and start making this blog as great as I want it to be. If you want to keep up to date with what I’m doing/ranting about until I return in May, then follow me on Twitter @Debus42. Is there anything you want me to write about upon my return? Let me know in the comments. I’ll try to post before then, but I can’t promise anything.

Bravely Default Demo Ponderings

After a lengthy 3DS update a day or two ago, I downloaded the Bravely Default demo. Readers of this blog will know my love for JRPGs, and especially Square Enix. I’m hoping that the end of the horribly bad FFXIII franchise will signal better times for Squeenix, and by the look of Bravely Default, I could be right.

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I’ve probably only spent about two hours with it, but I’m really enjoying it. I love the side scrolling layout of the town/s, and the battle system is just what I like to see from a decent JRPG: some good ol’ turn based combat. I also absolutely adore the little sprite animation. I’m such a sucker for little chibi style characters, and I love the way that Squeenix have been taking the visuals of their handheld games recently.

It’s interesting to see the class system put into place so well, and implemented outside of a tactics game. I’m so used to the class system (black and white mages, warriors, ninjas etc) being in frustrating tactics games, that it’s quite refreshing to see it put into a straightforward JRPG. I know it’s been done before in other Final Fantasy games, but something about Bravely Default seems different. I can see that I’m going to be spending a lot of time leveling up certain classes and finding out my parties strengths in the future.

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It appears to have a few steep difficulty curves from the brief amount I’ve played, but that’s nothing a little bit of grinding can’t solve. I hate it when a game holds your hand and lets you sail through, so I’m looking forward to the challenge, and having the time to dedicate to it.

The main plot of the game isn’t really revealed in the demo, or at least it hasn’t been yet, but I’m excited to get my hands on it after Christmas. I’m in the period of time before Christmas where I give myself a self-imposed game buying ban, just in case I receive any from friends and family during the festive period. I’ll definitely be getting my order in for this as soon as I can though, as it’s been getting good reviews, and I really need a decent JRPG back in my life.

Animal Crossing New Leaf Review

The world of Animal Crossing has a special place in many people’s hearts. If you own a Nintendo console, then it’s a possibility that you have been subject to Tom Nook’s constant debt collecting, and harassment from villagers who haven’t seen you in a day or two. It’s like a living and breathing tamagotchi, just without the constant need to feed your pet to ensure it doesn’t die.

There’s a new addition to the series on the scene though, and it arrived last month in the UK. Animal Crossing New Leaf is like Animal Crossing Wild World for the DS, the only difference is, it’s better.

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A slight twist on the original plot of you moving into the neighbourhood, instantly being plunged into debt my Tom Nook and being thrust into the ‘Lets be friends!’ scene, New Leaf instead sees you taking on the role of the new Town Mayor. Mayor Tortimer has clearly done his time, and is ready to pass the responsibility onto someone else. As Mayor, you have control over a lot of different things, and this is what really makes New Leaf a fantastic, and tailored experience. You have full control over town ordinances, which allow you to declare whether you want the shops to open late or early. Your animal residents will react to whichever ordinance you have in place, waking up and staying out later if you want the ‘Night owl’ ordinance, or getting up early, and going to bed early if you have the ‘Early bird’ ordinance in place. This really helps players to pick when they can play their game depending on their own lifestyle.

The next important role as a mayor is to build as many new things as you can. These are called Public Works Projects, and the townsfolk will constantly be suggesting new things that you should build. Of course, it’s not as simple as saying you want something built, it all has to be paid for. Every time you start a new public works project, a small creature named Lloid sets himself up at the site of the project and all but begs for donations from you and everyone else. Brilliant idea, I hear you shout, but is it? These projects aren’t cheap, and the animals in your town may very well be more than a little tight with their spare bells. So who ends up forking out the extra cash? Yep, that’s right; the mayor. There are a lot of public works projects to complete, and coming in at anywhere between 30,000 and 400,000 bells, it’s a tall order for just one person, but needs must.

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Work hard and you too can have a mansion

The main purpose of Animal Crossing New Leaf is fairly simple; get as much money as you can to develop your town, expand your house and make as many animal friends as possible. On the surface it’s childs play, but it can be much deeper the longer you play it. It’s not just a simple case of collecting bugs, fish and fossils. These only serve to provide you with the bells that you need in order to set the ball rolling on public works projects and make your house the perfect example of a Happy Home. Animal residents will ask you for help with hunting down a certain bug and will always reward you, and they will even send you gifts when they’ve been to visit your house.

There is also so much more to do in New Leaf than there ever has been before. Main Street is where most of your shops are kept, and through time and spending of bells, these shops will eventually expand, and new shops will open. This is a fantastic way to keep the player interested, as this was an issue that Wild World had; everything was already there. It is exciting and intriguing when a fresh building site crops up on main street, and really adds a thrill to otherwise potentially monotonous gameplay.

Animal townsfolk are also much easier to interact with in New Leaf, tending to be far less clingy. In Wild World, if you made an appointment for an animal to come and visit you, and you forgot, you would never live it down. New Leaf is much more forgiving. While it’s still not a good idea to forget, you’re not attacked with disappointment every time you have to do something in the real world and forget about your little visitor. This makes playing the game much easier, and far less guilt-ridden.

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Tom Nook still wants all your money…some things never change

As Mayor, you also have the ability to create your very own town tune. This will play every time you speak to an animal, so it’s important to make a little jingle that you’re not going to mind hearing every few minutes. The background music is also relaxing, and can really help you escape from the world for a long time if you’re out catching bugs, or sat along the shore fishing for exotic sea creatures.

KK Slider also makes a reappearance, but this time as DJ KK. He’s not available from the very beginning of the game, but you’ll soon be able to see his live sets once again, and have a little dance with your animal friends late into the evening. Other familiar names and faces will also crop up the longer you play, such as the angry Resetti, there to tell you off if you accidentally turn off without saving.

The character models have improved since previous titles in the series, featuring taller and more anatomically correct players. It’s impossible to say life-like, because that would be a lie. Because of this increase in proportion however, clothes designs and your own custom designs are much easier to see, and much more defined than in previous titles. You can even buy socks and shoes for your character at a later date, which is a simple and appealing addition.

It still has a very childlike feel to it, but that’s part of the charm. Video games aren’t all about blood, guts and gore, and just because this game has vibrant colours and no violence (aside from those pesky bugs) doesn’t make it a kids game. You would be mistaken for looking at Animal Crossing New Leaf and assuming that it would be dumbed down for a younger audience, and while the dialogue between characters is hardly complex, players of any age can enjoy this game.

New Leaf makes excellent use of the online capabilities available on the 3DS, utilising Spot Pass as well as Street Pass in a very effective manner. If you Street Pass someone with a copy of Animal Crossing, a copy of their home will be made available in the Happy Home Showcase in your town. The Happy Home Showcase is just as it sounds; a living gallery of other players homes for you to visit and admire. The best part about this? Any home that you visit in the HHS will allow you to purchase any item you feel like from a catalogue. Really like that funky bed someone’s rocking in their spare room? Simply order it from the catalogue. All items in the HHS have a slight markup in comparison to if they were purchased from the shop in town, but it’s certainly worth it if you’re collecting a furniture set and someone has just the item you need.

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Having friends join your game really brings it to life

The addition of what is called the Dream Suite is also a fantastic idea that allows you to roam freely around other players towns without changing anything. You see, the Dream Suite puts you into a dream version of other players towns, where you’re free to cause as much chaos as humanly possible, without it having any detrimental affect on said town. You can also upload a version of your town, so that other players can visit you. The only downside to the Dream Suite is that nothing you pick up in your dreams can be brought back to the real world with you. You can spend as much time as you want harvesting perfect fruit from Nintendoland’s dream town, but none of it will come back with you, which makes it all seem rather fruitless (pardon the pun).

If you have a friend who shares your love of Animal Crossing New Leaf, then they can also visit your town for some fun and games as long as your train station gate is open. It is possible to leave your gate open and allow anyone to enter your town, but it is not always advisable. Unlike the Dream Suite, if someone visits your town while your gate is open and chops down all your trees; that’s it, they’re gone for good until you grow new ones.

Animal Crossing New Leaf just keeps getting better the more you play it. There are so many secrets to be discovered that it would be unfair to reveal any more in this review, nor is there enough space. Unlike previous instalments, it doesn’t feel as static, and there is always something to work towards, whether that be filling the museum, or expanding the super store. The social features the 3DS bring to the plate also help make it an unforgettable experience overall, and anyone who loves games such as Harvest Moon or Rune Factory need to get their hands on this game.

My dream address is 7800-2228-8347

Catching up with the gaming girl

This is going to be a very random, and perhaps disjointed update.

I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve gone and neglected the blog. I’ve been a VERY busy, and very ill gamer girl though. In between doing lots of babysitting, lots of work from home, coming down with an ear and throat infection (which crippled me for a good week) and going to London and back, I’ve not even had much time for gaming to be honest. I’m quite glad that I bought Animal Crossing when I did, because it’s really been my saving grace these past few weeks as I would just wake up, dig up my fossils and go fishing for an hour or so before I needed to crack on. I do have some further ponderings on Animal Crossing, and indeed the 3DS itself, but I’ll save them for another time.

I finally managed to get some Street Passes while I was in London too, oddly enough sat in the lounge waiting for my train. I knew that as soon as I went to London I would get some. No one near me appears to go out with their 3DS. I feel like a lone gamer!

In random gaming related news I purchased a new phone case from Gamer Print with Cloud Strife on, and I’m over the moon with it. I’d been stuck with a clear case ever since I got this new phone, and I’ve always been a sucker for a funky case. It just had to be bought.

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Favourite game character on my phone? Yes please

In similar news my mother ever so kindly purchased the Art of Final Fantasy box set from Amazon which arrived today, which was a nice surprise. I haven’t had chance to look at it properly yet, but naturally pictures were taken, and I will certainly be spending my evening scanning through the pages and drooling over the glorious artwork.

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Three beastly beautiful books

I’m also going to be busy next week as I have a friend coming to stay, so my fridge is stocked with all the essentials, and we’re going to likely be hitting Manchester for many cocktails and glasses of wine.

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My fridge is ready

I have also managed to nab myself a weeks worth of work experience at a certain gaming magazine in August, so look forward to hearing my tales of that when I am back. I’m super excited, and can’t wait to throw myself into it and hopefully impress with my writing skills. I’ve also been made games editor on the magazine at my university, so I’m searching for student writers and trying to come up with some interesting ideas for it, so that’s naturally taking up some of my time.

I promise regular updates will be back soon. After next week things should settle down again and I should be able to find the time to get a few posts scheduled.