What Are You Playing Wednesday

Moogle plush toy.

Moogle plush toy.

Happy Wednesday everyone. Let’s get started today with our usual questions:

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

I have restarted Final Fantasy XIII. Playing this game again reminds me of how much I enjoy the characters of Lightning and Fang and how much I appreciate the option to run the majority of the game with an all woman party between Vanille, Fang, and Lightning.

So, what have you all been playing?

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30 Responses to What Are You Playing Wednesday

  1. Sunatic says:

    I’ve been trying not to hog the computer so much, so I’ve been playing on handhelds. Our Nintendo DS died, so plan B has been Legend Of Zelda: Minish Cap. Yesterday I got as close to finishing it as I’m ever again going to be, because I hatehatehate the final battle too much to really bother again. I tend to do that with any endgame I don’t like enough – if I’ve already finished the game once before, I don’t try to finish it again, I just play as long as I like.

    That nasty final battle aside, I really love Minish Cap. There’s always enough side errands to do so it doesn’t feel too railroaded, the puzzles and tricks are as always in Zelda games, quite nice. And what really makes this one stick out to me is the whole picori thing. I freaking love lilliputian worlds and miniatures. Getting to run around in mouse-hole apartments with teacup beds and button tables… Eeeeee! <3 And the picori themselves are oh gosh so cute!

    So what this week? It depends on which of the three games I bought online yesterday arrives first. *anticipating*

  2. Timmy_Mac614 says:

    It turns out my Borderlands file save was not corrupted. I beat the game. At first the game seemed like a chore, but two thirds of the way through, I got into a groove.

    I started Borderlands 2 and Heavenly Sword. I like that Borderlands 2 has a stronger story. Heavenly Sword seems like an amazing game as well. My only complaint is that Nariko could use some pants or something.

  3. Kimiko says:

    Ragnarok Odyssey (Vita) continues to be alternatingly fun and frustrating. The regular missions in chapters are fun. You get to explore new areas, find new materials and buy new items, outfits and weapons. Then along come the one or two boss fights at the end of the chapter which are way too hard. I’m now stuck at the end of chapter 5 and even with the post-game weapon and card that a friend sent me I can’t beat Grendel II. I’m about to throw this game aside in disappointment.

    In other news, I got myself a 3DS in preparation for Etrian Odyssey IV which will be out next month. I really like the purple original!3DS color, but was told that the 3DS XL is much better, so I got a pink one instead. It’s a N-American model so I can play EO4 on it, but this means I can’t transfer my old DSi’s digital games because those are from the European eShop. I just hope I won’t run into trouble buying games from the N-American eShop because my credit card of course has a Dutch address.. :/

    More gaming annoyances:

    - SCEA/SCEE announced earlier this week that they would give away a PSMobile game for free each week for six weeks. What they didn’t mention is that PSMobile is available only in USA, Canada, UK and Australia. The rest of Europe, Mexico and New-Zealand will search for PSMobile in their PSN Shops in vain.

    - Last night I tried the demo for the upcoming 3DS game Fire Emblem: Awakening. The 3D effect is used quite well in this game, but what stood out much more for me is what happened at the start of the game. It begins with an avatar creation screen. The first choice here is “Select a gender for your avatar.“. So I select Female. “Not available in the demo version.“. WTF? o_ô All the other avatar options, like hair, voice, etc., are also limited to one default, but why would they even show this screen then? Is this demo/game meant only for male players? Even if I were interested in Strategy RPGs, something like this makes me not want it on principle.

    • marco says:

      I was a little annoyed with the FE demo at first too, but given that the male options were very limited and the female and male avatars/side seem to be treated equally in game, I’m not too worried or put off.

      • Kimiko says:

        But how can I tell whether female and male avatars are treated equally in the game when I can’t try a female avatar in the demo?

        • marco says:

          That’s a good point, and I only know as much because of the JP version, but the only thing I’d be able to assume from the demo itself, is that it really doesn’t “gender” your experience, which is the only thing I can think that would be somewhat telling for an equal experience (like when Jenn said in the GDC Unsung Heroes video that Fallout 3 irritated her, and it seemed that she had picked her gender, but not her sex).

          I don’t know if I made sense at all just now, and sorry I can’t explain it. I know what you mean though and understand.

  4. wanderthe5th says:

    I really enjoyed that about FFXIII. I had planned to use that party through most of the game, but some of Vanille’s combat voice files irritated me and I ended up using Hope instead. (With much disappointment.)

    This week I’ve been playing the DS remake of Disgaea. Yesterday I beat the main story for the first time after about a decade of on-and-off restarts, beginning with the PS2 version. What made the difference this time was that I did some reading on the game and learned how to play semi-competently (how to level up items quickly, team building strategies, good maps for leveling characters, etc.) All of the “need to know” information can be found on a few of the GameFAQs guides, but I wouldn’t recommend the game to anyone who wouldn’t enjoy at least perusing them.

    Some more recent games and movies seem to be designed to avoid the accusation of “taking itself too seriously” to the point where it feels, to me, like pandering. Disgaea seems like that at first but further along in the campaign it does have some sincere, heartfelt moments. I probably would have liked the game much less without those.

    It does use a couple of misogynist tropes, about half of which it seems to be poking fun at. For example, the lead female character is scantily clad, but she’s actually wearing much more clothing than the lead male character, and I don’t think either of them were supposed to be sexy. Of course there are also some tropes that I didn’t see any sort of critique behind.

    I’ve also been watching my brother play Dragon Age 2. I’m finding that much more enjoyable than doing a 6th playthrough of it myself because when he’s going through a repeated dungeon for the gazillionth time, I don’t have to look at the TV! (I would seriously have played that game about twice as much if they had enough time to make more than ~8 dungeons.)

    • marco says:

      NIS is kind of weird to me. I feel like after Disgaea happened, they didn’t pay as much attention to female leads anymore (even though Marl’s Kingdom brought them to RPGs and some popularity). I can’t speak for their other titles either (whether developed by NIS or other companies), but the localization of Disgaea 4 really bugged me. The translations in general were off, but some of the language used at/against female characters tended to piss me off.

      • Kimiko says:

        Ooh, I loved Rhapsody. I wish more Marl Kingdom games were translated..

        • marco says:

          I know. I grew up with it and it forever holds a special place in my heart. NISA should make some kind of effort to bring over the others, but I also feel like that’s a testament to how little NISA cares for the series (and their female-lead titles) versus everything else.

      • wanderthe5th says:

        That’s disappointing. One of the things I liked about Disgaea 1 was how well they treated their female leads, relative to most games. There were certainly issues but they did make the female characters at least as complex and relatable as their male counterparts and that was very refreshing.

        • marco says:

          I kind of got that impression from it too (I haven’t had a chance to start it yet myself). Their titles before that treated its females well too (and I think even Phantom Brave was pretty good about that).

          The weird thing is, I feel both the US and JP versions (at least, the text/dialogue) both kind of clash in what they’re trying to say separately and together. I don’t think the JP version is entirely as good to its females, but it does still try to flesh them out. But it does weird things with gender roles and stuff (in a way). In the translation, I don’t feel like they’re treated particularly well at all.

  5. Lassarina says:

    Oh, man, I loved the ladies’ night party in FFXIII. I used it in every instance I possibly could and growled when I had to use one of the gentlemen.

    I’ve been whipping through Final Fantasy Dimensions, where I am perched right before the final dungeon (I think) with just one guardian boss between me and endgame. I’ve also been working on Chrono Cross, where the Dario battle infuriated me to the point that I quit (the strategy guide LIES LIKE A RUG about a good strategy to use, ugh.)

    I’ve also been playing Fishdom 2, which is your standard “vague skin to justify match-3 gameplay” from Playrix. I am enjoying it because the puzzles are kind of fun, but I could do without the crashing, and there is a lot of it.

  6. Negative Kat says:

    I haven’t played much this week. I’m looking for an Xbox copy of Beyond Good and Evil, because the PC version is just getting too frustrating to enjoy. If a game is designed with analog control in mind, why can’t they keep analog support in the PC version? Hmph!

    Other than that, more Style Savvy, Art Academy (which isn’t really a game, but very enjoyable nonetheless), and every 3DS demo ever. Kind of pissed off that the Fire Emblem demo won’t let me pick the female player character, though. What, they had room in the demo for the ridiculously long cutscenes, but not for both versions of the hero? I call shenanigans. I do like that there’s finally a casual mode, though. I’ve never managed to finish a Fire Emblem game because the permadeath makes me feel far too guilty about my little virtual soldiers.

  7. Cuppycake says:

    I bought Ni no Kuni for PS3 yesterday, and I’m currently obsessed with it. The art style is gorgeous, and JRPG’s are my favorite genre of game. I am in love. :)

    • Lassarina says:

      I bought that yesterday too, but haven’t started it yet. I’m glad you’re enjoying it! (I want to finish either FF Dimensions or Chrono Cross before I take on something new.)

  8. Henson says:

    I just finished a couple playthroughs of KOTOR II. It’s very interesting, not just in terms of story and narrative, but also in terms of design. It’s this weird confluence of good and bad elements, where evocative writing (you can definitely tell it was helmed by Avellone, his style shows through) and a wealth of diverse dialogue choices meet with an awkward lack of choice in a few places, forced companions (reminds me of Mass Effect 2), and storytelling that doesn’t adequately explain the most important points of the exile’s backstory for hours and hours.

    Structurally, it’s more interesting than its predecessor (and, indeed, of most Bioware games); there were several points where the direction of the action (particularly on Nar Shaddaa and in the engame) genuinely surprised me. At the same time, I’m not convinced that making the player character know so much more than the player worked in the game’s favor.

    As a story, it definitely touches on some great material. The close, detail-oriented and sensory examination of the Force was a welcome addition to the examination of the Jedi teachings and behavior…and yet, I don’t know if this story has any business being Star Wars – it feels antithetical to the high adventure concept of Star Wars, so while the non-ending felt oddly appropriate for this story, it feels out of place as a Star Wars game (particularly in contrast with the ending credits). So much of the story challenges the assumptions we have about the Star Wars universe, yet the script packs in many, many overt references to the film canon. It’s a weird mix.

    …And in the entirety of two playthroughs, I was not able to turn a single one of my companions into Jedi. Not. A. One. I must really suck at this influence game.

    • Tess says:

      I just finished a new playthrough recently with the full Restoration mod (sadly, the ending doesn’t make a whole lot more sense this way) and by the end of my game every organic member of my crew except the Mandalorian was a Jedi. Like, Kreia was barely speaking to me anymore after the third one!

      Also to me the book felt a lot more like some of the Star Wars novels than the movies. Not the goofy early books, but the later ones that suffered a bit for trying to be “gritty and realistic” but delved more into the morality of the Force and what it means to be a Jedi. There is a character who can become a Jedi in KOTOR II that you can actually turn down because they have too much anger in them and are too likely to turn to the dark side.

  9. Llamaentity says:

    Lots of PC gaming for me again. Mostly FTL, Torchlight II with Ike, HeXen II with my brother, Portal 2, Legend of Grimrock, The Witcher, and Dungeons of Dredmor. Also played a bit of Defense Grid, Waves, Terraria, Sequence, Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory, Offspring Fling!, and VVVVVV. Did some emulated SNES gaming, too: Super Street Fighter II and Donkey Kong Country 2, online with some friends.

    About done with FTL for a while. Beat it twice and haven’t felt like playing it the last few days. Great game, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it sometime!

    The co-op gaming I’ve been doing has been going well. Ike and I are almost level 30 in Torchlight II, and my brother and I are in the Egyptian area of HeXen II.

    I’m about halfway done with Portal 2′s campaign, and I plan on finishing that over the next few days. I’ll try to spend the rest of my time on the Witcher, which I’m almost 20 hours into. Went back to my old save of that from about 2 years ago, but I can still remember most of the story/quest details so it should be all right.

    Knowing myself, I’ll probably end up starting up about 3-4 other games this week that have been sitting in my backlog (I suck at focusing on a single game, unless I absolutely love the gameplay), and also The Cave which I’m gonna purchase tomorrow or Friday. I also want Ni no Kuni, but that’ll have to wait a few months.

  10. Alex says:

    I played some FFXIII this week too! I’ve been slowly playing through it for a long time now. I’m on chapter 9. I really love the battle system in this game, it feels really great when you develop your strategy and can flip quickly between paradigms to most effectively kill stuff. And Fang and Lightning rule~!

  11. marco says:

    I’ve been playing a lot of Xenoblade and loving it. I’m going through a lot of the side quests and also trying to rebuild a certain colony. I’m anxious to progress through the story where I’m at because of two characters in particular, but at the same time, I don’t want to get too far and make some quests no longer an option.

    Aside from that, a little bit of Chocobo’s Dungeon for the Wii, which is a great game surprisingly, and a tiny bit of FE Awakening demo and Style Savvy.

    I was getting excited for Atelier Ayesha, but after finding out that NISA will handle localization for us and the EU, I’m thinking of just importing a JP copy after all (or the Asian version since it’s a bit cheaper). There are a few other games I’m excited about after Nintendo’s Direct today as well.

  12. Samantha says:

    I’m playing a game called Organize a Graduate Student Conference. I’ll be playing it nonstop for the next 48 hours. I hope by next Wednesday I’ll have a more entertaining game on my plate.

  13. Momiji says:

    I had to take a break from gaming because of some old work-related strain injuries in my arms started acting up. It’s really cold where I live at the moment, and not warm enough inside, which always gives me trouble. So I’ve only been playing a little Borderlands 2. This game is so much fun, and I love my Mechromancer and her Deathtrap! I’ve only found 2 Legendaries so far, and they’re both too low level for me to use now, but I hope I’ll get lucky again soon.

    I’m also playing Airport City on my Android phone. My fiancée got me hooked on it and I’ve been playing it for a bout a week now. It’s a little slow when you don’t use real money, but its fun once you get into it.

  14. Ike says:

    As mentioned above, Llamaentity and I played a lot of Torchlight 2. We played a little bit of Terraria, which had a steep learning curve.

    I’ve been out of town this week, which has limited me to playing games on my phone (Android). All of the games listed below are free downloads:

    Battleloot Adventure – an RPG adventure game where you build and equip your party, then go fight mobs. All the default party members are male, except for the healer, though there are three female characters (and a male healer) unlockable for large amounts of gold. Also, all the characters are fairly light-skinned. That aside, the game does a good job so far of not requiring purchases to progress and does not limit play with a consumable resource that builds up over time.

    Little Things Forever – a puzzle game where the player searches for a set of objects in an image collage. Most levels have no time limit, so play is nice and stress-free. The graphics are excellent as well. I have not yet encountered an in-game purchase.

    Happy Fall – control a jelly blob as it falls through platforms, avoiding enemies and gathering coins. Coins can be used to unlock powerups. The game has optional objectives, and if enough of them are met, the player gets little rewards that would otherwise need to be purchased with coins. The tilt controls are well done.

    Plague Inc – evolve a disease to kill all of humanity. This strategy/simulation game is fun to play as well as watch. There’s not too much player interaction beyond popping bubbles that appear on a world map, but there are graphs that show the spread of disease, and the news ticker is a constant source of entertainment. My sole gripe is how hard the game tries to sell the full version, which is ad-free and allows more disease variety.

    Pixel Twist – a puzzle game where the player rotates pixels in 3D space to make a picture. The controls are simple, only requiring dragging a finger across the screen.

  15. Omar Little says:

    Got the Cave. Fell in love with it in the first five minutes. Will this love hold? Only time will tell.

    • Dejadrew says:

      Bought that one this weekend when I saw the download was small enough to fit under my ISP’s monthly bandwidth allowance. I did my first playthrough with an all female team, JUST BECAUSE I COULD. Doing it again now with the monk, the twins, and the knight. I love the Knight’s animations. He just looks so… so gangly and bizarrely anxious. His special ability is INVINCIBILITY, but he’s always clutching his hands and glancing around nervously. It’s weirdly adorable.

      And the TWINS, oh god. Straight outta Gorey. Love their zone. It’s kinda bugging me though that the girl twin seems kinda passive. They climb a rope, it’s Boy doing the climbing while pulling Girl up after him. I admit the effect is suitably creepy, with her kinda hanging there limp like a doll or a dead thing, but Boy is ALSO the one picking up and carrying items, pulling Girl up ledges… I dunno. It would have been nice if they’d switched that up a tad. Eh, I’m nitpicking, I guess.

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