What Are You Playing Wednesday

Diablos from Monster Hunter Tri. A large creature that looks like a stone dragon with Triceratops horns.

Unfortunately, last week we missed our usual feature. Let’s put that misstep behind us and get back to our regularly scheduled set of 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 been playing on my Wii a lot recently. I started Xenoblade Chronicles but got upset over a plot point and have returned to it since that first weekend with the game. Instead I went back to Monster Hunter Tri. My character defeated a Barioth and is now working on defeating her first Diablos. Finally, I am hoping to start The Witcher 2 this week. I have a copy of the game on PC and I want to play it at the same time as some friends enjoy the XBox360 version that was just released.

 

So, what have you been playing recently?

51 thoughts on “What Are You Playing Wednesday”

  1. Still working on Lost Horizon, which is a bit longer than I expected (that’s a good thing, in this case, as the puzzles are usually amusing).

    On iOS, I’ve been playing lots of Pocket Academy, a fun simulator by Kairosoft in which you run a university. Have also been playing Storm in a Teacup, a cute platformer in which you play someone that floats around in a teacup :P And played quite a bit of Gears, which is a lot like Super Monkey Ball (you roll around, collect items, and make it to the goal), except you’re a repair sphere instead of a monkey in a ball.

    Played the Witcher (around 16 hours in now but haven’t played much lately) and Legend of Grimrock each a little bit. The Witcher is what I’ll be focusing on this coming week, and I’ll probably be playing more Legend of Grimrock after finishing the other games I mentioned.

  2. Bought another cheap copy of Lost Odyssey as disc four on my other one didn’t work, so I am finally on track to finishing that!

    I’ve also been playing Street fighter X Tekken, which I borrowed from a friend. It’s just, well, not very good, really. It feels, I dunno, just a bit off, somehow? The gameplay’s a bit stodgy, or something.

    And I find the art style in it really ugly, as well, as if everyone’s been coloured by 90s comics colourists, or something. The Tekken characters look like they’ve been drawn by J.Scott Campbell, as well, which only adds to this effect.

    The immediate close-up of Poison’s breasts in her fight intros is a bit dodgy, as well.

    And I won’t get started on the fact there’s no unlockable content (you can download stuff from xbox live, but I can’t afford Xbox live just nowwww).

    Ocht, maybe it’ll be a good laugh in 2-player (I’ll find out tomorrow).

    I do like Abel’s love of cute animals, though.

  3. After finishing ME3 I was feeling close to popular “argh this series is ruined for me” but to my surprise I actually returned to replaying ME1 with FemShep Vanguard ( character created probably back in 2008 ) and started ME3 with FemShep Infiltrator imported from ME2 but in more leisure way.

    1. I finished ME3 Saturday. My choice was green and afterwards I sat in a daze, then I scrubbed down the porch. It was good therapy and I wondered how others coped. I liked my choice of ending but oh those loose threads and puzzling questions. It was a fantastic journey throughout the trilogy but will take a while for me to go back, even to multi-player. If anything, it brought right into my heart and home a personal glimpse of how cruel and devastating war, conflict and loss is … and these were just virtual images. It was humbling and a kick in the pants how fortunate I am. I do remember thinking, this is why I game.

      1. I laughed for several minutes straight after staring at the ending, and then I played some multiplayer to get rid of some irritation. That was my ‘coping.’ Though to be honest, my hopes and dreams and desires for the series died upon playing ME2. So, I suppose I’ve ‘mourned/coped/found catharsis’ long ago. :)

  4. I started Xenoblade Chronicles and so far (barely two hours into the game) I’m entirely delighted with it. I love how it basically has removed all the annoying bits of JRPGs that frustrate me (having to re-find quest givers, having to trek everywhere, etc.) and thrown all that out the window. Good show, Mistwalker.

    I bought and beat Journey, and while I enjoyed it and was very impressed with what it accomplished, I don’t know that I’ll ever replay it.

    I’m still grinding through Devil Survivor (the first one, and not the Overclocked version); I’m midway through Day 6 and frantically levelling so I’ll be ready for this terrifying boss they’ve been warning me about since Day 2. I think I’m going for Gin’s path, as everybody else’s sets my teeth on edge. I just hope I’ve not messed it up.

    I’m also plinking idly at Final Fantasy XIII-2; I slowed down because I was grinding every second-level monster material ever, but I finally maxed out all my held monsters and built up a decent stock for the future, and now I’m ready to move on to Chapter 4. Woohoo! I’m also ridiculously delighted by having Serah in N7 armour (since all the other costumes disgust me) and Noel in Ezio Auditore costume, such that now in my head Cmdr Shepard and Ezio are saving Gran Pulse, which makes EVERYTHING better.

    On iOS, I started Ash II and it’s just as delightful as the original, and mechanically seems superior, though I’m not entirely sure about this Stamina business. So far, though, my levelling has kept pace such that it hasn’t become a problem.

    Oh, and I picked up Word Welder (also on iOS) for free via the Starbucks weekly free app, and played straight through on one “life.” It was pretty fun.

    I…think that’s it! All the games. My goodness.

    1. Actually, Xenoblade Chronicles is Monolith Soft. The Last Story is the Mistwalker game of the 3 Operation Rainfall games.
      But, I completely agree with all the things you mention that were done right in Xenoblade Chronicles!

    2. I bought and beat Journey, and while I enjoyed it and was very impressed with what it accomplished, I don’t know that I’ll ever replay it.

      This, pretty much. I turned it on a week later to get the trophy, but got bored about five minutes in.

  5. Purchased Vampire Smile Vs Dishwasher last night. Button-mashers, FTW!

    Every so often I need a high-adrenaline action game to go along with the M:tG that I’ve been mostly using my gamespace on. If you’re not squeamish and like action platformers, it’s a pretty good little XBLA title with excess noir story elements and some fun weapons (I just got one that’s a large hypodermic needle). For $10, I’m sure you could do better, but for me it’s just enough.

  6. Good: Half-Minute Hero for PSP. Hero 30 is distilled essence of JRPG and I haven’t laughed so much at anything for awhile. I’m about one-third of the way through it, and fully expect it to be this inventive and entertaining throughout. The other modes look fun, too.

    Bad: well, not bad, per se, but I couldn’t relate to Fez (XBLA) at all. People who love it, love it, so I’d say try the demo and see what you think.

    Bad: Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (PS2). This was booted up in the interest of clearing a quick RPG out of the backlog, and since it looks like it’ll be about 20 hours long, it’ll serve that purpose, I suppose. The battles are decently entertaining, otherwise it’s a soulless, bland cash-in with boring NPCs for the “heroes” and grainy footage from the Fellowship movie for filler.

    1. I played LotR: the Third Age on the GameCube forever ago, and one thing I really loved was the skill-learning (you level up in what you use most), though I laughed pretty much constantly at how much it was ripping off features of (for example) Final Fantasy X’s battle system. I was on a serious LotR kick at the time, and it was fun enough. But yeah, the grainy footage (extra grainy on the GCN!) was pretty lulz-inducing.

  7. Played a bit of The Lost Story… so far I’m not liking it due to the name changes (I got the undub edition, which only exists online <..> and it seems there were no Japanese voice BECAUSE they changed ALL the names) that seem to have been changed because “OMGS you can’t call a guy TASHA or ELZA!” Maybe Xseed will do a better job with the names. But for now I’m pushing that game to the back of my HDD.

    Played a little Legend of Grimrock too. It’s classic and I like it, however you have to be in the mind set to solve puzzles. Tricky puzzles.

    Finally I’ve been spending the most time on Xenoblade Chronicles. I can’t say the game starts out good because it involves a fridging as a motivator to get out of the city. Also Karna/Sharla (name was changed) is hard to take seriously in conversation, because whenever she turns her breasts wiggle all over the place in the most ludicrous displays of physics I’ve seen.
    Overall the game is a mixture of fun and frustration. Quest givers are somewhat easy to find the first time, however they move based on time. So finding them a second time is a chore as the ! on the map only shows up when you are near them. Getting to parts of the city are hard and unintuitive and you often times can’t tell who is up a level or on your level. Quests will also ask you to get impossible to find collectables. While some of them you can trade for, I now have to find a Serious Anemone which I only found ONE of for my collection. On another collection I’ve spent a good chunk of time questing and haven’t even found ONE of this something I need for my collection. Nobody is trading it either.
    The AI is hit an miss. Reyn will usually pull the right move off to topple and/or daze an enemy you break. (which renders the enemy helpless for a time) The rest will not, causing you no end of headaches as they don’t heal the party and you watch them all die off one by one. The only times you get a slight bit of control over the character is Shulk, if there is a vision you can usually go up to him and press B to access his skills.
    The good this has is fast travel to destinations and the fact you can (and actually must really) kick the main character out of the party completely. I suppose the story might be good, but starting off with a fridging? Yeah no.
    The visions also get annoying as they will pop up in combat AND item hunting and are UNSKIPPABLE. Yeah I don’t fricking care what the enemy is using I get it, someone will die and I have to stop it. Yeah OK I don’t care if someone needs 4 of these, this one is going into the collectapedia! (You usually end up with 15 by the time you find this person anyways)
    I can sort of see where the plot is going which might make it the most trope filled plot I’ve seen yet. (TVTropes: Precursors, possibly Last of His Kind/Racial Remnant, of course the Stuffed into a Refridgerator, also the Named Swords and generally the tropes associated with “You are the ONLY one that can unlock the power of this sword, you are the HEIR to the sword which has been left by an ancient civilization.”) I guess finding out HOW the enemy is doing all this stuff that Norio Wakamoto spoiled me on is a bit more of a motivation.

  8. I’m still playing Valhalla Knights 2. The gameplay has been improved in many ways from the first game. It is a little less grindy, but still more so than most RPGs. It’s also less linear than the first game, but still more so than most RPGs. This game’s character designs are at once very non-sexist * and quite unattractive (at least in close-up). If that appeals to you and your tolerance for grinding is high, then definitely give this a try.

    * It is quite racist though with all characters, PCs, NPCs and enemies alike, having light skin color. And no, a European Fantasy setting does not excuse that.

  9. I resubscribed to WoW!!! I’ve been having fun though (Aside from a pug tank who asked me to make him a “sammich” after he heard me speak over vent.) Yeah. That happened. (I know it’s totally tame compared to other things I have heard and heard about). I don’t understand how I’ve been playing WoW for 4-5 years now (on and off), and people are still asking me to make them things in the kitchen. (or worse). Thank you for existing, Borderhouse.

  10. Just finished Legend of Grimrock: very nice. Am now muddling through the dungeon with a two-fighter, two-mage party. I just don’t find rogues as useful.

    Also intend to start another playthrough of Witcher 1 again, then moving into W2, this time on Insanity difficulty.

    Hey, Gunthera, I know you like Polish audio; the PC version of Witcher 2 does have the Polish audio available, but it doesn’t come standard with the game – you have to download it separately. Anyway, let us know what you think of the game!

    1. I am actually downloading the Polish language update right now along with the Deluxe Edition update. :-)

      1. Personally I’m wondering if Witcher 2 will follow a clearly established pattern of European cRPGs video games almost universally being flops in US, despite being quite successful on European market often outselling games from big guns like EA/Bioware. For some time I’m being tempted to tackle subject of differing perception of cRPG especially in fantasy setting that clearly split audiences here and there.

          1. Well, games like Witcher 1-2, Two Worlds 1-2, Gothic series, Divinity series, Risen, Sacred 1-2, Venetica, Drakensang, at least to my knowledge were flops or not very successful when released in US . Sure these games had technical and conceptual problems and definitely lacked polish of AAA titles and yet many of them sold more copies in Europe then for example DragonAge 2, allowing studios to develop following installments (Witcher 2, Risen 2 etc.). I just feel there must be more to it then just marketing or publisher case. I think that perception of the fantasy setting (expectations, familiarity etc) in Europe differs form American, resulting in different reception of those games.

            1. Wouldn’t hurt if most of these games also offered more protagonist customization, imo. Instead of mostly being white hetero dudes with hetero content. That’s a part of the gaming equation I find lacking in these kind of RPGs. Something that is needed more often.

              Aside from that, I think a big hand in lower sales is due to marketing. Marketing is a enormous part of a successful title. Millions upon millions of dollars just for marketing alone. Some of these studios overseas, and dealing in different languages and economies and etc, have those things in addition to the sheer money part for marketing purposes.

            2. @Deviija

              “Wouldn’t hurt if most of these games also offered more protagonist customization, imo. Instead of mostly being white hetero dudes with hetero content. That’s a part of the gaming equation I find lacking in these kind of RPGs. Something that is needed more often.”

              For sure, but in way it is also indicator of different genre, in fact jRPG don’t offer much customization either, it’s often take it or leave it and Americans decide to leave it why Europeans to take it.

              Well, marketing is certainly often the thing but we aren’t exactly talking about the “mainstream of the mainstream” of video games industry here. So marketing can explain to a degree why these European games don’t succeed in US but why they are more successful in Europe then games from Bioware? Very rarely their publishers can throw enough money at marketing to rival EA. I really do think that metaphorical of fantasy settings isn’t perceived in the same way in Europe and US due to obvious cultural, historical and political difference.

  11. Just beat Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings today and it’s easily one of the best DS titles I’ve played. It’s a crap sequel and there’s a few hiccups here and there but overall it’s a pretty fantastic game.

    I’ve also been consumed by Persona 3 Portable. I’m about two months in to the story but just went and downloaded Persona 3 FES off the PSN last night because I know I’m going to want to replay this game again as soon as I beat it and on my next playthrough I want the anime cut scenes and access to “The Answer.”

    I started Xenoblade Chronicles but got upset over a plot point

    I assume you’re talking about XENOBLADE SPOILERS AHEAD Fiora? I’m only speculating (because I’m still in the middle of the game myself) but I don’t think she’s really dead. I doubt the developers would have expended all the time and energy necessary to make her a fully playable character with affinity, talent arts, skills and heart to heart sequences only to throw all those assets out the window with any early death. But that’s just my guess.

    1. I just started replaying P3 FES for a friend (she doesn’t game but she enjoys watching other people play them, and she loves the stories) and mmmmf I forgot how much I love all iterations of this game forever. I’m so excited that you’re enjoying it too.

      1. :-D I’m going to try and play as much Persona 3 as possible before P4: The Golden comes out on the Vita, since general consensus seems to be that P4 is heaps better than P3. I’m tempted to fire up FES and start a new file already, but I don’t want to ruin my first play through by splitting it between two versions and overindulging myself. It’s so good though!

        Question: when it comes to social links, is it a fools errand to try and raise them all equally? There are certainly characters that I like more, but I’m not sure if I should be focusing on them to the detriment of all the others, or if the years time I’ve got is enough to build up relationships with everybody and max out my Academics/Charm/Courage stats.

        1. It is possible to max out all social links in one playthrough but it requires everything to be done in a very specific order and it basically impossible without a FAQ. I would focus on a few favorites, definitely, so that you see their max link events.

        2. Like Gunthera said, it’s possible to max them all in one playthrough (there’s a guide by PenguinKnight on GameFAQs that will tell you how), but there’s no real downside to focusing on your favourites if you’re playing without a guide. Maxed-S.Link Personas tend to be pretty awesome, although you can’t fuse them until (at lowest) level 58.

          I enjoyed Persona 4, but Persona 3 is the one that perpetually draws me back because P4 has some horrific genderfail and trans* fail that makes me cringe. I adore individual characters in P4 and I like what they tried to do, but ultimately there’s too much of it that makes me cringe. (I still played it twice. I’m still going to pick up The Golden. So I’m aware I’m hypocritical here. But those issues definitely make me like it less than P3, although the mechanics in P4 are superior. And most of the improved mechanics were shifted to P3P.)

          1. Ah, thanks for the heads up on P4. I appreciate knowing beforehand, it’ll make it a bit less unpleasant when I experience it for myself, I think.

            I think if Persona 3 had actual, honest to goodness yuri options, it would probably be my perfect game. :-D

            1. I think overall I much prefer the social links in P3P to the ones in P3FES–you get more of the team as S.Links, and they replace some of my very least favourite of the P3/FES links.

              I also really like that (in my opinion) P3P seems to have been made specifically for Atlus’s female fans; they made the fan-favourite boys romanceable S.Links, and added some really great options for female friends (Rio/Chariot and the Hermit come immediately to mind) that I loved. Plus the suggested yuri-ness of the female S.Links that were carried over from P3/FES.

            2. Yay! I’m glad to hear that P3 continues to hold up well after P4 cause I’ve got a feeling that I am going to be playing this game many, many times. :-D

    2. XENOBLADE SPOILER in reply:
      Yes, it was that and also the fact that the second playable female character was a healer. A healer that uses bullets to heal people. Um, what? I had been leveling mainly healing on Shulk so somehow the mix of those 2 things just annoyed me. I will get back to the game, but not right now.

    3. Woooo P3P! I’m only in May but really enjoying the game so far. Although, I much prefer the dating sim parts to the dungeon crawling XD

        1. It’s stupid, but I feel like I have to go whenever anyone is like “we should go to Tartarus!” XDDDD Stop doing whatever everyone else wants, Alex, they don’t care, they aren’t real people!!

          1. I think that’s really just there to remind you. (I was super annoyed the time Yukari said we should go, so I did, and then she was sick and didn’t want to join my party. No, Yukari, you only suggest going when you plan to participate!) but yeah, the more levels you can gain, the better.

          2. Haha, I just ignore them and go when I want. I’m the leader! Plus the only reason they say they want to go is because they randomly have a “Great” setting for that day and it’s just the game’s way of bringing it to your attention.

            Since you can spend your nights leveling up your Academics/Charm/Courage or Social Links, I don’t see any value in spending more than one night a month in the Tartarus outside of story-related missions. Go in, spend a few hours grinding and making your way to end of the block, get out when the EXP drops become dismal, you’ve got a huge stack of yen and you’ve fulfilled all of the Velvet Room requests. Rinse and repeat, one month later.

  12. I finished ME3 last week. Once I really got into it I enjoyed most of it a lot (if excessively macho in the dialogue sometimes). And the ending? Yeah, kind of see what they were trying to do. I don’t think they succeeded. Frankly, I can understand why it doesn’t work (and read some interesting commentaries afterwards) but it didn’t really upset me personally. Maybe if I was more invested in the ME universe I would have taken it harder, but despite enjoying most Bioware games, I can’t say I’m that much of a fanboy about their story telling.

    Since then, a little Kingdoms of Amalur. I don’t find it particularly compelling but it whiles away the odd hour quite pleasantly. Other than that, a bit of ‘The Cherry Blossom Murders’, which is a ‘hidden objects’ game. I’ve got a bit of a weakness for those – I find them very relaxing when I’m a bit down (which I have been this last week or so for various reasons)

    I’ve got so many not-started games at the moment but haven’t really been in the mood to start a new ‘full size’ game!

  13. My mom got an iPad for her birthday, so my brother and I have been picking out games she might like. She got addicted to Angry Birds in about five minutes, and is slowly getting comfortable with Bejeweled, though she prefers having other people playing with her. If you ever have the opportunity to play Bejeweled with four people crowded around the same screen, I highly recommend it, it’s nuts. :D

    Anyone know of any co-op games for iPad?

  14. Tried out the Diablo III stress test/beta thing. A big thumbs down gif is all I’d need to sum up my thoughts on the game. I didn’t find it innovative of customization and diversification of builds/skills. You unlock a skill or power or rune augmentation at every set amount of levels. Maybe at very high levels there will be some unique freedom in creating your own build of abilities and skills and passives, but at the first part of the game it is very, very lacking.

    I suppose I just feel that it is 2012 now. Not only should there be more diversity in abilities, leveling schemes, augmentation, skill sets, stat points, etc. to make your character really feel like your own, but there also should be customization opportunities in appearance. On the plus side, every class has a dude and lady version you can choose from. Also, the ladies seem to be covered from head to toe mostly without too much, uh, physics and ridonkulous breast proportions. On the down side? They are default appearances. Will it change in the main game? I doubt it. But anyway, as it is, the ladies are all very feminine beauties with luxurious hair and super young faces without blemish. The lady Demon Hunter has frackin’ HEELS incorporated into her outfits. Meanwhile, the dude characters are old (middle-aged+), grizzled, disheveled, scraggly bearded men with many lines and wear on their faces and expressions. No supermodel men here. Also, it seems out of all the classes, only one is POC. I couldn’t tell with the others? But the one with dark-skin is, you know… Witch Doctor. Uh-huh. Yeah.

    1. Also, it seems out of all the classes, only one is POC. I couldn’t tell with the others? But the one with dark-skin is, you know… Witch Doctor. Uh-huh. Yeah.

      *facepalm*

    2. The “sexual dimorphism” in Blizzard’s games and cutscenes really is extreme, and it puts me off too. Not only is it sexist and pandering, it also makes the barely-legal, skinny-but-buxom, Photoshop-smooth, semi-anime women look totally out of place in Blizzard’s “if it moves, kill with extreme prejudice” games. I want my characters to look their part, and as an overworked veteran crusader against evil, that includes all the grittiness, scars and dirt that go with the job and that the men get as a matter of course. Also, muscles. And proper armor.

      I have to say, though, I did like the old Demon Hunter trailer with the village woman who decides to follow in her footsteps. It allowed a “damsel in distress” to make the first step out of being just that, and it passed the Bechdel test which is still too damn rare anywhere. But ugh, yeah, did I wince at those heels then, too …

      I won’t pick up the game, though there was a time during which I mildly looked forward to it. Real-money AH, no offline play, no modding? No thanks. Plus, I’m still pissed with Blizzard anyway so I’m rather glad that D3 doesn’t look too appealing. :p

      1. Yes, I remember having a chat about the Demon Hunter trailer cinematic on BSN. At the time it released, I was really elated with the content and the ‘story’ of the cinematic. I thought it was the most progressive piece of content I’ve seen from Blizzard in… almost ever? It was this battle-hardened warrior lady killing everything in her path to save a damsel in distress. To subvert or otherwise build depth to that cliche/trope, the Demon Hunter lady then encourages and passes on empowerment (and weaponry to fight) to the damsel. How it comes across is very awesome to me. That the Demon Hunter was covered from head to toe in gear instead of skimpy flesh-bearing fetish attire was also a plus. So yeah, I am totally there with you on that, and I praised Blizzard for that.

        The biggest (only?) drawback then, in that cinematic, is the same issue I have with the Demon Hunter class now, in the actual game. The stupid (platformish mini) high heels! :P

        I’m no fan of Blizzard, especially this past year with the homophobic video they allowed to be shown at BlizzCon that used all kinds of hatespeech, but I was hoping for something more with D3. For a brief time anyway. Ah well.

    1. Catherine was awesome! I didn’t pay much attention to it before release because of the repulsive marketing, but a few choice reviews sparked my interest and I ended up picking it up on a whim last summer and really enjoyed it. I really hope we get a spiritual sequel at some point w/a new story and setting but same gameplay/puzzle + dating sim-ish combo.

  15. Taught a really religious xgf’s kid to play The Binding of Isaac. Am thinking sometimes a trollface emoticon could be useful. Like now ;)

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