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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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?

 

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.