Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Return

I have very little progress to report on Yakuza 3 or XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but both have gotten attention over the last week. XCOM much more, but with very little to show for it. The alien base invasion mission continues to frustrate me. I think I have had 5-6 complete squad wipes there, now, two due to mind-control by the psionic Sectoid commander there.

A feeling some who don't know me might mistake for nostalgia has mounted recently, possibly in part due to my choice of musical accompaniment at work. I have become acutely wistful about my time previously spent playing Final Fantasy XI, which I ceased playing just about a decade ago, after devoting a heavy portion of the 3 years prior to. It also happens to be the game's 15th anniversary, and so I decided, after having gone through the PS2 to PC account migration procedures when the former version of the game was finally taken offline last year, that I would re-subscribe for a time, to the game which I may have to finally admit to myself is my favorite video game.

My longtime exclusive main character Nascia, formerly level capped (at 75) Black Mage, Monk, and Ninja, is now being trained as a Samurai in the wilds of Sarutabaruta. I have been away from the game for so long, and so much has changed, that I thought it made the most sense to effectively begin again, retaining of course, everything I had earned previously, as you can do with the character development system in FFXI. I could conceivably level up to 99 as SAM now, though at some point I would need to either level my Warrior (WAR) support job up to 49 from the 43 I believe it is at now.

Living alone in Japan with a less demanding job and mania for this game have in the past conspired to cause me to go too hard on it, so if I'm going to be playing it again, I think one defense I need to maintain a reasonable amount of playtime with it, is to clearly define a goal each time I sit down to play it, and to try not to deviate too much from that, and to try to end the session reasonably soon after attaining it, if possible. Otherwise, to find a sensible stopping point when it becomes clear the originally intended goal will not be achieved that session.

Last night, for instance, I sat down intending to explore the zones Sarutabaruta and Giddeus, and to level up from 5 to 10, approximately. That was exactly what I did, though in the end I still ended up playing a little too long. Thinking, planning, like this for game sessions requires a long-term vision for what I want to do in the game.

I don't know that I'll make it to the endgame, or even care all that much about progressing into the post-75 world. All of my love for this game is confined to the base game, and Zilart and Promathia expansions. I played during the Aht Urghan era, but that content didn't stick with me in the way the other did. Right now, I only know for sure I want to keep leveling up and revisiting old haunts. I was really struck by how enormous the zones were, upon revisiting. I thought perhaps they had inflated in my mind, but no, they are actually pretty huge.

I think my next foray in will be to the Auction House and weapon shops in Windurst to outfit myself with a coherent set of armor. I should probably also investigate Trusts to gather an adventuring group before setting out for much more serious leveling. I have no idea what getting those involves. I'd rather not have to go and do anything on my higher level jobs, but I will if I must.

Playing again after so long and on an unfamiliar version of the game (PC now, was PS2 previously), has me wondering how to recreate the routines and macros I used to rely so heavily on. This is one major reason I hesitate to jump back onto my higher level jobs--I'm not certain I remember exactly how to play them effectively. Beginning as a low-level, I am able to easy myself back into the swing of things, while enjoying the natural progression through the levels and geographic areas of the world of Vana'Diel  I love so much, even to this day.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ain't Got Me

Mobile games are often trashy money sinks that mire you in infinite fiddly management to get a paid leg up in a weak core game. So seems to be the case with Fire Emblem Heroes. I gave it a shot for a couple of hours, but I felt like I pretty quickly saw through all the dressing to the lacking center. I have played a number of mobile games in this mold before, all ultimately unfulfilling despite how compulsive the character collecting and team building might be at first blush. The presentation is very stilted, full of idiotic plotting and dialogue, and I can't stand the tedium of endless optimization this type of game asks of you.

I only mention it because it is the second real attempt at a mobile game from Nintendo, after the qualified success of Super Mario Run, which I actually like, and am keeping around on my phone.
I have other, let's call them 'real', Fire Emblem games like Awakening and Fates that I am still interested in playing, actually more now, despite being let down by Heroes' nature as a F2P Gacha-centered borefest. Hearing from a few longtime fans of the series how this game differed from other recent entries has given me increased excitement to give those a go.

There is, at the moment, another tactical combat-centered game that is my focus--XCOM: Enemy Unknown has drawn me back to try to finish off my Ironman campaign. I am at a much better place than before, having teched up my squad to plasma rifles and working on titan armor. I have wiped a few times on the alien base invasion mission, so I am trying to level up a squad to take that on. I also finally managed to unlock the sixth squad member slot, which should help. I would like to successfully finish this campaign, but we'll see. Either way, I think I will play Enemy Within for my next campaign, and maybe until I finish one victorious. I haven't bought XCOM 2 just yet.

I haven't spent a heck of a lot of time gaming over the last week, partly due to returning to actively studying Japanese, after a decade or more of not. One thing I can do to combine these interests, neatly, is to play the Yakuza series. I've finished the first two on PS2, and once before sat down to begin the third, entirely in Japanese. That save file was lost, though, in troubleshooting some PS3 issues. I have restarted again, and will be continuing this time, both to brush up on my language skills, but also to progress through this series, of which I already own 2 further entries past this one, after which several others await. Even if I only played the mainline modern-era games, They're up to 6 now. Throw in Zero, remakes, and feudal-era entries, and that's a pretty hefty syllabus. Not to mention the odd zombie game or the portable entries, which I think I'll just ignore.