Gaming With GADD

Week ending 2/11/14

Sorry there was no GADD last week guys. I just wasn’t feeling good most of the week and barely played anything. The whole article would have been less than 2 pages so I decided to can it. Gotta make up for it this week!

Wednesday

Gray Matter
This was one of the few games I played last week. Gray Matter was a game that I was SO freakin hyped for when it was first announced, and then it took me almost 3 years after it’s release to play. Gray Matter is a point and click adventure game by Jane Jensen, the creator of my favorite adventure game series of all time, Gabriel Knight. In Gray Matter you play as Sam, a girl who winds up broken down in Oxford outside a professors house during a storm and pretends to be his new assistant in order to stay the night. You wind up staying there and actually becoming his assistant because..screw it, it’s money. Sam is also trying to find the Daedalus Club, a secret society of magicians, and holy shit does it bug me how she pronounces Daedalus, because I’m SURE she’s saying it wrong! I completed the first chapter which basically consisted of me going around trying to find students for the professor’s mysterious experiments. Nobody wanted to participate because the professor’s apparently a freak, but I was eventually able to trick the required amount into participating. I think part of her problem was the sales pitch, and talking about how great the pay was for just a few hours work..and then telling them it was 15 pounds. Holy shit I know college students are broke, but 15 pounds isn’t great pay no matter how you swing it, since the game does take place in modern day.

You Don’t Know Jack
This is the 2011 YDKJ and not the original, just to be clear. For those who don’t know what YDKJ is(were you locked up for the second half of the 90s? What did you do?) it’s just a trivia game, but the humor and completely roundabout way that they ask the questions is what separates it from the rest. I played this by myself, which is kind of sad for a trivia game, but I just come for the laughs anyway and not the competition.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
So, I should just get this out of the way before I say anything else: I’m not a fan of the Zelda series, especially the newer ones. Sorry, I just can’t get into them when they’ve essentially all been the exact same damn game for the past 16 years. But Link Between World got my attention by finally going away from that formula and…going back to a formula used in a 22 year old game instead. Shit. I’m part of the problem too, aren’t i? I just got told “This is no time to have an adventure” because I tried to go off the path in the intro section. I don’t know about you, but that’s a REALLY funny line to have in a Zelda game to me. I played through the intro and got to the point where the game was all ADVENTURE, HO! but then I just couldn’t muster up the motivation to keep playing any longer.

Thursday

Culdcept SAGA
Culdcept SAGA is hard to explain exactly, but the easiest way to give people a general idea is to say that it’s a mix between Monopoly and Magic: The Gathering. Culdcept on PS2 was easily the game I put the most time in on that console. However, I was never addicted to the 360 version in the same way, mainly due to the game being largely the exact same thing and the biggest new hook, online play, being a complete failure due to NOBODY playing it online even at launch. You basically needed an appointment just to play one game of this online, which is what happened when one of my friends called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to play for the first time in probably 3 years. I got my ass kicked, but had a lot of fun and was reminded of why I liked Culdcept so much in the first place

Tales of Vesperia
So long time GADD readers will remember I was playing this before GADD went on a break, and eventually got stuck on a boss that I just wasn’t even coming *close* to beating. I had never gone back to it until randomly deciding to pop it back in tonight, and I freakin DESTROYED that asshole without losing any of the party members. I don’t know what I did differently this time, but it all just clicked. I feel like now I can beat this game! But I made the classic mistake I always make in starting up a game way too late, so I only went as far as going into the next area and fighting my way up to the checkpoint before saving for the night. There’s an outside shot of me beating the game this week, assuming I’m as close to the end as I think I am, and I don’t wander away from the game too badly.

Friday

Tales of Vesperia
Let’s just jump right back in to this game. I got up to the next boss fight, the final of the four Entelexias, and promptly got my ass handed to me as usual. But not before getting confirmation that the guy who’s been teased as a big showdown since about five hours in finally got confirmed(?) as the final boss of the game. It was obvious that Estelle’s attacks were doing literally 0 damage to the boss, so even though it pained me to lose my healer, I switched her out of the party and won easily the second time. Oh god, I ALMOST fell down the rabbit hole again of stopping all forward progress and just doing nothing but sidequests. I had started up a few and even completed one or two before I stopped and asked myself what the hell I was doing. No! ONWARD TO VICTORY! I’m at the point now where it’s starting to feel *really* final. Little cutscenes of characters bonding with each other, all talking about the “final battle” tomorrow. But this is still a JRPG, so I take that with a grain of salt. And…shit, I fell back down the side quest hole and spent over an hour and a half in the freakin casino. There’s still one more side quest I want to do before I move on to the probable ending of the game, but that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. I can feel it guys, it’s almost here! Tomorrow I might beat the game!

Saturday

Tales of Vesperia
I load up the game and INSTANTLY start doing a different side quest than the one I was planning. Damnit! What the hell am I doing? Gotta get back on track and do what I was planning to do. Ok, now it’s done, I’ve passed the Miska test with Rita and now I feel like I can finally go on to the end of the game…assuming I can find it. Don’t forget guys, my sense of direction is TERRIBLE in this game. Ok so it took a bit longer than I’d like to admit, but I finally found the giant floating city on the map. But even with my horrible sense of direction, this cutscene about how hard it is to not get lost midway (at least I hope I’m midway) through the dungeon was pretty freakin ridiculous. Go up, there, I solved the riddle how to navigate this “giant confusing city,” I’m a freakin genius or something. Just had another boss fight, and completely destroyed him. I’m feeling pretty good about the final boss, which I’m hoping will come up any time now. Made it up to the final boss, and was totally expecting to get my ass handed to me, but uh…that was actually a really damn easy fight. Oh. of course, it’s a JRPG. That was only the first form. Damnit! Yeah, the second form kicked my ass like I was expecting. The bastard still had over 280,000 health left. I started feeling dejected after losing to him again a second time, and with him still having a shit ton of HP left, so I took a break for while, but then on try number 3? FUCKER WENT DOWN! YES! I have FINALLY finished Tales of Vesperia, 5 years and 3 months after I initially started it! Holy shit it feels so good to finally have that monkey off of my back. So, who’s up for New Game+?! …Nah I’m just fuckin with you.

Cook, Serve, Delicious!
After finishing Vesperia I decided I wanted something quicker paced, and CSD was the perfect selection. It feels weird to say since I haven’t played in a few weeks, but I felt like I’m finally getting back into the rhythm with this game, having a few perfect days and getting closer to the next restaurant level.

Sunday

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
Although the title on the opposite side of the insert, Copernicus Qwark’s Awesomely Epic 3D Adventure Through Time & Space (co-starring, but not in any important way, Ratchet & Clank) is a far superior title and the one they clearly should have gone with. This is your basic Ratchet & Clank gameplay, but with a bit more gun action and a bit less platforming in order to make it more multiplayer focused. The game is actually really intelligently designed with level breaks every 10 minutes or so, instead of having to complete a full world like you would feel inclined to do in the single player games. Each level break adds up individual player scores to add a competitive element to this co-op only game. Through at least 1 day and 2 worlds(probably 7-8 levels?) this is a really fun game and I plan on continuing with it for sure.

Tales of Graces F
No I’m not fucking with you this time. I seriously still have the itch and went right into another Tales game. My first thought after going into this game, how is it possible that this game out 4 years after Vesperia, but yet it looks SIGNIFICANTLY worse? Holy shit it’s like day and night here, Vesperia has great charming design that just wows you, meanwhile Graces is just kinda fuckin ugly, at least on first impressions. It’s not just technical either, I didn’t like the art design on the intro movie either, it just looked a little too much like generic anime schlock. This character design is shit too, so far the 3 characters I’ve been introduced to are generic anime boy 1 and generic anime boy 2, both around the age of 10, and generic mysterious amnesia girl with fucking pink pigtails down to her ankles. In Vesperia Yuri was a badass hero right from the fucking start. The people in his town (or at least the lower quarter) already thought of him as a hero/leader and he liked it! He wasn’t some bullshit reluctant anti-hero, he was the man from the beginning and the game wanted to make sure you knew it. Also he had an awesome dog that fucking smoked a pipe and the dog was ALSO a badass. So far this game looks like it’s going to be whimsical children who accidentally stumble upon adventure. Man I hope I’m wrong here, but this game is NOT starting out well in my mind.

Monday

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
Playing with the same partner as yesterday, but we only finished one world today, even though that world was longer than either of the two yesterday. Game is starting to get a bit more challenging, which is good, and the gameplay is still remaining fun. Also I’ve won EVERY level we’ve played together so far. It’s kinda embarrassing when we get to the end of a level only to see that I’ve got around 30 kills and he has 1. This is not an exaggeration, this was the actual total on more than one occasion. Just to be clear, kills isn’t the only thing that adds to your score, that was just the most outrageous one to point to.

Tales of Graces F
I’m still REALLY not liking this game. I think I could overlook all the awful anime bullshit(cause Vesperia had plenty of it too) but the biggest nail in this game’s coffin is the fact that the battle system is just so much worse than Vesperia’s. Everything has been overly simplified and the characters just feel so sluggish in combat. Hell, you don’t even have the option to manually control the main character off the bat, you have to freakin buy it in a store! I’m still only about 4 hours in, which I know is nothing for a JRPG, but I really don’t want to continue. I don’t want to give up on it either after how much I enjoyed Tales of Vesperia, but…that’s probably what’s gonna wind up happening.

Tuesday

Trials Evolution
I’ve gotten REALLY bad at this game, to the point where I’m seriously struggling with the hard levels. I used to be really damn good at them and not have big problems until the upper tier of the extreme courses. Guess that’s what time away does to you in this game.

I was going to play more than just 30 minutes of Trials today, but then the power went out for the rest of the night kinda leaving me with no options, and that’s also why GADD was late this week. Also I just want to give everyone the heads up, in two weeks it’s going to be the “season finale” for GADD. My work is going back to 75+ hours a week starting the 24th so I won’t have any time for games, let alone writing an article about them.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

Going with the theme of me being severely disappointed with Tales of Graces F so far after loving Vesperia, what is your most disappointing sequel of all time?

 

Written by Matthew Przybysz

Matt has suddenly become a bit of a Sony fanboy without even realizing it. Also he occasionally streams via his PS4 on twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/gadd_live

2 Comments

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  1. As the badly outscored partner in, “Capernicus Qwark’s Awesomely Epic 3D Adventure through Time & Space co-starring but not important in any way, Ratchet & Clank” I would like to point out I have died far less times than my tag team partner. Just saying.

    Certainly not the worst sequel ever, but certainly in contention for most disappointing would be Street Fighter III. An amazing game no doubt, but everything from the character design to the mechanics contributed to the popularity of fighting games going into an abyss that nearly killed the genre.

    • I would like to point out that a great number of my deaths were caused by me voluntarily walking off the platforms, in an attempt to get that awesome “wobbling over the edge but not falling in” animation that the game teases you with at the beginning of the game and never fuckin gives you again.

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