Persona 4 Golden (Vita)

Every day’s great at your Junes!

A little history on this first. Over two years ago, I bought Persona 4 Golden cheap. I’d wanted it anyway – despite not really understanding much about the game besides “JRPG in a modern day setting” – because everyone seemed to rate it. At the time I wrote:

The fantastic yellow submarine/katamari hybrid opening sequence segued into Shenmue before becoming something somewhere between Phoenix Wright and Eternal Sonata, via a Japanese dating sim and The Ring.

Perfectly my sort of nonsense then. I started playing it, got about ten hours in, then just stopped. There were a few reasons. I bought Akiba’s Trip at the same time, and that was vaguely similar but much more accessible. I was also struggling to understand the whole Persona system (I’d never played a game in the series), and I was panicking I’d run out of time to rescue people from the TV which put an unhappy stress into the game.

The longer I didn’t play it, the harder it felt going back to it. I’d pretty much binned the Vita after a few months and so Persona 4 Golden was, sadly, abandoned.

Then, last year, I bought, played, completed and absolutely loved Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE on the Wii U. It was the Akiba’s Trip aesthetic that drew me in, but it was the Persona-like gameplay that kept me hooked. I quickly realised it was a Persona game in all but name – and not surprising since it’s a spinoff from the same source Persona 4 Golden is. It has some simplified mechanics compared to Persona 4 Golden, with the Performa “soul” system being similar to but much more streamlined than Persona’s, er, Personas. Dungeons were much the same. Items and magic even have the same names and effects. Tokyo Mirage is My First Persona, and having beaten it, I felt like I could return to P4G with a better understanding of how it worked.

It was still a while before I fired it up again, but I was absolutely right.

A couple of weeks ago, I loaded my 30 month old save (just after saving Yukiko), and I’ve put almost 20 hours into it since then. It’s incredible.

My two main fears – time running out, and not being able to grind dungeons (something you can do in Tokyo Mirage) – were unfounded. Certainly, you can run out of time, but you’ve loads of it and with a tiny bit of planning and some goal setting, it’s not a problem. And while I found you can’t realistically grind a dungeon forever, you can for a very long time once you’ve met the fox and he provides a way to restore SP (the main barrier to indefinite grinding) in the TV without having to leave. It comes at a hefty price, but doing quests for him reduces the cost, and you gain plenty of money bashing baddies anyway. Phew. Sorted.

With my worries out of the way, I could enjoy the game. Build up my social links without being concerned that I’m “wasting” an afternoon wooing Chie (of course) instead of levelling up in the TV. I’m seeing the benefits of some of these links already too, as my party are gaining follow-up and team attacks and stuff.

I’ve taken on some part-time jobs, mainly because I was finding I needed Courage for far too many of my conversations and the scary janitorial work at the hospital seemed a good way to raise it. It’s a creepy night shift, cleaning empty wards, but more worrying is the nurse who likes to “teach me about anatomy”. She’s wholly inappropriate, what with my character being 15 or something?

Other parts of the game keep opening up. I’ve recently started to be able to fish, catch bugs, and plant stuff in the garden, for instance. Even 30 hours in I’m still feeling like a beginner and this is still part of the tutorial.

As for story progress, I’ve rescued the person after Yukiko (I won’t say who because spoilers, but that sauna dungeon was something else), and the next victim has just been kidnapped. From the Midnight Channel, it’s a woman in a bikini threatening to take it off.

Japanese games, eh?

Oh yeah, and that “Your Affection, Your Affection” (always misheard as “You’re Special” song is constantly in my head now.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Fantasy Life (3DS)

I_m_a_pretty_boy__t_httpt.coZ9NL1XkMp4It’s like 8 RPGs in one! I chose my first life to be a Paladin, applying the logic that any combat required in the other lives may benefit from my skills as a trained killer. Or something. I’m not very far in, only a couple of hours, but I’m already engrossed in the seemingly endless number of sidequests (which, unlike most RPGs, actually affect your progression in the game in a big way), and the game is both charming and interesting. I think I’ve guessed the real identity of Flutter the butterfly already, though, but then perhaps I’m meant to.

A “doom stone” has just smashed into the roof of my house, which can’t be a good thing. Now I have to go off and find another one.

Persona 4 Golden (Vita)

tumblr_ngyez0p4no1svmpf2o1_1280It took a lot of attempts, but I finally managed to defeat the boss at the top of Yukiko’s castle. Having done so, I asked around about it and it seems that having all your characters on around level 15 (the same level Yukiko is when she joins your party afterwards) is recommended.

All mine were on 10 or 11. Yeah, that’ll be why it was hard.

Once_you_pop___t_httpt.cof7YNA00Kv7I’m a bit concerned about the inability to grind and the forced time limit on defeating each boss before the fog claims the next victim, but I’ve been assured that you can still grind as much as you want (until you run low on SP) by revisiting completed dungeons and never leaving. So, after rescuing Yukiko I spent some time redoing her castle to level up. Reached a new boss at the end of it, which can wipe out my entire party in a single hit. Methinks I should probably avoid him for a bit…

Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)

WIN (1)I’ve barely touched it so far, but have played through some of the single player modes a bit, and had a few fights online (which, sadly, were so badly lagged they were impossible to play), but I can already see that the huge amount of content and collectables will keep me coming back. Hopefully it’ll be a return to the greatness of the Gamecube game, as the Wii one wasn’t great (although I put that mainly down to the controls).

Scribble Shooter (Vita)

tumblr_ngwlhdv8j01svmpf2o1_1280This may be a demo, but it’s hard to tell. It’s a Playstation Home Arcade game, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to purchase the full version so I don’t know if it’s just very, very short or what. It was quite good fun but over very quickly.

Wipeout 2D (Vita)

tumblr_ngwk8xmxnc1svmpf2o1_1280Another Playstation Home Arcade game. It’s exactly what it suggests – Wipeout in 2D. It plays like Super Sprint, but the handling feels terrible and I didn’t really enjoy it. Motorstorm RC is a billion times better, and the similar F-Zero themed minigame in Nintendoland is what Wipeout 2D wishes it was.

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

One_left_to_open__Probably_6__of_the_game_complete_overall.Of course. This just keeps on giving! I’ve a single square in Adventure Mode left to open now, and it’s proving pretty difficult. I’m having to level up some rarely used characters to build up to another attempt, but I keep getting sidetracked and hunt for better weapons and stuff instead.

I’ve bought my first Amiibo this week, and, which Hyrule Warriors in mind, it had to be Link. He unlocked the Spinner weapon which is awesome to use. Sadly, it’s only a Level 1 weapon so only does 80 damage. It’s kind of made up for with Link himself being on Level 112, but a 420 damage Spinner would be nice!

Apparently I can use the Amiibo once a day to unlock more stuff, so I’ll be giving that a go.

Hello Kitty Happy Happy Family (Demo) (3DS)

tumblr_ngoy7mbxfj1svmpf2o1_1280Sadly, not a return to form for Kitty. I was hoping for something more like the fantastic (truthfully) Hello Kitty Roller Rescue, or even the GBA Happy Party Pals game, but no – it’s a sub-Cooking Mama set of rubbish minigames. What a shame, although I did expect this was how it was going to be.

Weapon Shop de Omasse (3DS)

tumblr_nh7nfs6h1d1svmpf2o1_400All the Level 5 Guild 01/02 games have been on offer recently, so I picked this up cheap along with The Starship Damrey. I haven’t played it a great deal yet, only through the tutorial and as far as the french bloke and the two girls returning from their quests. Seems quite good so far though – a sort of rhythm action game where you make the weapons and level them up by sending them out with adventurers. It’s pretty funny too, especially the almost Twitter-like Grindcast, which updates you on the quests your customers go on.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Roundup time!

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

Chain_Chomp_GET_With over 80 hours racked up now, this became my most played Wii U title some time ago. No matter how repetitive it seems to be, even playing exactly the same mission over and over with the same character, it never gets boring. I have now at least started the Master Quest from the first set of DLC, albeit to just play about four missions to see what they were like. Since then, there’s been another set of DLC which included another new character and a slightly smaller Adventure Mode map (which I’ve barely even looked at), but no Legend Mode additions, sadly.

I’ve still not finished Adventure Mode. In fact, I’ve still not even cleared the full map, let alone collected all the weapons, hearts and skulltulas littering the place. I have made some headway in ticking the lot off, but I estimate at least another 30 hours before I’ve done the whole thing. I have at least picked up some decent weapons for most of the characters now, although the likes of Wizzro and Midna are still woefully underpowered through lack of use. Link’s Lv3 Power Gauntlets, complete with Chain Chomp wrecking ball are a sight to behold though, and his apparently naked giant Great Fairy is ludicrous. In all: Best Game.

Persona 4 Golden (Vita)

tumblr_ngc51blbfz1svmpf2o1_1280Everyone seems to rate this as one of the best games ever. It’s one of the few games I wanted a Vita for, so when it was reduced to a silly price (on the same day as Akiba’s Trip) I snapped it up.

Even though I’d heard a lot of good things about it, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, aside from “an unusual RPG”. I thought this meant something along the lines of Contact or Earthbound, and as I’d been cautioned to avoid anything describing the actual game or plot as it’s apparently best to dive in blind, I wasn’t prepared for what I got.

The fantastic yellow submarine/katamari hybrid opening sequence segued into Shenmue before becoming something somewhere between Phoenix Wright and Eternal Sonata, via a Japanese dating sim and The Ring. Confusing and compelling, although (so far) mostly non-interactive, I’m just past the second murder (yes, it’s a bit grim in places) and, from what I’ve been told, have only about 78 hours left before I complete it. Erm.

Luftrausers (Vita)

tumblr_ngaaqfyfrv1svmpf2o1_1280Or Love Trousers, obviously. I have the PC version, but I don’t play PC games. This is a free-for-a-few-weeks PS+ rental, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m terrible at it, but it has some addictive progression and that ever important “just one more go” factor. It’s like Time Pilot, only distanced from that title in a similar way to how, say, Pac-Man CE is from Pac-Man. And in sepia.

Mega Man 6 (Wii U)

Yamato_Man_I finished Mega Man 5, so started Mega Man 6. It’s just more of the same, which isn’t really a complaint, but even when they add new stuff to the formula it still doesn’t actually change the basic game. As the last NES Mega Man it’s a little sad to be nearing the end of the series, but I do have the SNES Mega Man 7 and Mega Man X2 lined up for the future, so it’s not really close to being over.

Instant Hero (iOS)

tumblr_nfyz6ge3o81svmpf2o1_1280What’s that? An iOS game that isn’t Slay? Well, the team behind this asked for beta testers, so I volunteered. And I’m pleased to say, that they’ve really responded to feedback from myself and the other testers, and quickly moved this from a  far too simple, slightly rough and seemingly pointless title to a polished, perfect for mobile play game. It plays a little like Peggle but with Super Kick Off style aftertouch. And your little man is the ball. And he can only beat the baddies (uh, like the pegs in peggle) if he (or she) runs into two of the smaller sized baddies first. Or you die. And there are bosses.

Look, I can’t explain it. It’s out soon, and is free with IAPs to buy continues (and remove ads) and it’s definitely worth a look. Not least to see me in the credits.

Titan Attacks (Vita)

tumblr_ngabs8h2x71svmpf2o1_1280Another PS+ rental. It’s OK, but really it’s just a relatively normal Space Invaders game with a few bells and whistles. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that, but come on – we’ve have Space Invaders games for years now, and some (like Space Invaders Extreme) are far better than this. Still, it was free.

Need For Speed Most Wanted (Vita)

tumblr_ngbsjgmamj1svmpf2o1_1280EA game this away for free. And it’s not even “PS+ Free” either – it’s actually really free. It’s also the same game, albeit smaller, lower resolution, and not quite as nice generally, as the Wii U version I’ve already played to death. It is still pretty and fun and everything, but I don’t know if I can be bothered to complete it again.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric Demo (Wii U)

This_is_stupidNo. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

No.