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Gaijin Densetsu http://gaijindensetsu.com Japanese Video Games | On The Outside Looking In Thu, 25 Feb 2016 20:24:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.25 Street Fighter V – Make Me A Match http://gaijindensetsu.com/street-fighter-v-make-me-a-match/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/street-fighter-v-make-me-a-match/#respond Thu, 25 Feb 2016 15:18:27 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3710 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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I‘ve been playing fighting games off and on for a long time, but the genre and I kind of split ways on the last console cycle.  A combination of bad internet, nascent matchmaking services, and a lack of local competition made it pretty much impossible for me to wring any satisfaction out of them.  I tried a [&hellip

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I‘ve been playing fighting games off and on for a long time, but the genre and I kind of split ways on the last console cycle.  A combination of bad internet, nascent matchmaking services, and a lack of local competition made it pretty much impossible for me to wring any satisfaction out of them.  I tried a number of games, but every time I was met with bad net-code and long waits between matches.  Having recently acquired decent internet, I decided to check out the fighting game scene again.  Although Street Fighter V’s matchmaking left an initial bad taste in my mouth, my experience has been good overall, so I’ll be sticking with this one.

6.11

too lazy to get actual screenshots. enjoy these from capcom. the game more or less looks like this.

First, lets get the bad stuff out of the way.  It’s not new information that this game was rushed to market in service of the tournament scene, and it shows.  The single player story content is indefensibly anemic and embarrassingly low-rent.  Story mode for each character consists of a few bouts against brain-dead AI (no difficulty options, either) interspersed with poorly drawn and voiced scenes that play out with zero context.  Survival mode is little better, consisting of an increasingly frustrating slog to unlock additional colors options for each fighter.  This stuff may as well not exist, but seeing as to how it is completely optional and not the meat and potatoes of the game, all I can really criticize Street Fighter V for in this regard is not having any meaningful or interesting single player content. How bad it is doesn’t detract from the experience I am looking for, but it doesn’t add to it either.

Second, Street Fighter V’s matchmaking is atrocious.  Matches are fast, with rounds frequently ending in 20-30 seconds. That means you can look forward to maybe 90 seconds of fighting before being dumped back out to matchmaking.  This would be fine, except that I’m experiencing matchmaking times of 3 or 4 minutes between oppponents, and that’s on the low-end of some of the complaints I’ve seen online.  For some people it’s not working at all.  This is me playing during peak hours on the east coast of North America.  I would be happy if I could just match into random ranked and casual matches without having such a long wait. It’s a shame that Capcom couldn’t get the most basic mode of their game right.  On the bright side, I did manage to get a lobby set up and had some fun interrupted matches against a friend last night.

I’ve got a few additional nitpicks, but it’s minor stuff. The dithered shadows make characters look terrible at times.  Having to press a button to confirm that I want to search for matches again makes no sense. It should default to searching again and have you push a button to cancel searching.  Like I said: minor stuff.

11-Cammy-Cannon-Spike

cammy’s vacuum-sealed belly button cracks me up.

Let’s end on a positive note and talk about the good. First, the characters (with exception of Ken who barely even looks HUMAN) look amazing and animate equally well.  While not the best looking fighting game I’ve played (Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN), Street Fighter V is still an incredibly attractive game.  Shitty dithered shadows can’t ruin  wonderful interpretations of old characters (Dhalsim, Zangief) and some pretty rad looking new characters (Laura, Rashid).  Fights look dynamic and exciting while simultaneously remaining uncluttered and easy to follow.  It’s a great looking game.

There have been some improvements on the gameplay front as well.  Gone are the vicious link timings of previous games in the series.  If you couldn’t do combos in previous Street Fighters, I have good news, you probably can now.  Execution has long been a barrier for new players in fighting games, and while I’ve always been able to do the inputs for special moves I’ve struggled with combo timing, which limited me greatly in terms of what characters I could do well with.  Not having to worry about timing so much has allowed me to start exploring concepts like zoning, footsies, mind-games, and character specific match-ups.  You know, the stuff that actually makes these games interesting.  Combos are easier now, but they’re still not trivial, and some more complex combos that utilize the new V-Trigger mechanics will still provide a rewarding challenge for people who want to master them.  It’s a step towards making the game more accessible without stripping away depth or complexity.

Last, and I want to end on this because it is a critically important component to the enjoyment I’ve had with this game: the net-code is fantastic.  I’m old and slow, so maybe I’m not noticing the lag in my online matches, or maybe I’ve been blessed to only play against opponents with decent connections, but online matches feel great.  Is it as good as a local opponent? Impossible. Is it good enough to feel like I can compete against just my opponent and not also our internet connection? Absolutely.

For now, I’m satisfied with what this game is on the basis that when it works it works splendidly.  If you’re on the fence I don’t think there’s any reason to hold off on buying the game aside for financial reasons. If you have the money, get in on the ground floor now so that you can keep up with the competition as more characters get added and the player base matures.  Hopefully Capcom will get the matchmaking sorted soon as well, but 10 days after release it is in decent shape.

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Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl – I’m No Expert http://gaijindensetsu.com/etrian-odyssey-untold-millennium-girl-im-no-expert/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/etrian-odyssey-untold-millennium-girl-im-no-expert/#respond Wed, 13 Jan 2016 04:44:35 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3667 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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As usual I like to keep on the cutting edge of games: rushing to finish them as their sequels are in transit to my home so that I don’t feel the horrible shame of buying full price games and not playing them for months or years until I’m all caught up with the series.  One [&hellip

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As usual I like to keep on the cutting edge of games: rushing to finish them as their sequels are in transit to my home so that I don’t feel the horrible shame of buying full price games and not playing them for months or years until I’m all caught up with the series.  One of the things that I really loved about Etrian Odyssey IV was that the game was challenging but not overly reliant on grinding. I felt that the difficulty curve very closely matched the progression that someone with a mild bent for completionism might naturally take through the game, resulting in a remarkable experience that was both harrowing and jaunty. That is a razors edge that few games find themselves balanced on, and I’m sad to report that after 100 hours or so of trying my goddamned hardest to finish Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl on expert difficulty, the game had missed the mark.

If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s basically a JRPG dungeon crawler with turn based combat, deep skill trees across multiple classes, and a map-making mechanic that utilizes the touch screen on the 3DS.  See the trailer for details.

I played EOU’s story mode, which is a feature unique to  the Etrian Odyssey remake cycle that (I would hope) is going to end with Etrian Odyssey Untold 3.  In story mode you are stuck with a set party of classes that may or may not be the best combo in the game. This time around it includes some new classes like the Gunner and Highlander, which are similar to the Sniper and Landsknecht classes in the previous games.  The other classes are basically medic, alchemist, and protector that you can pick in classic mode.  Overall it’s a pretty well-rounded party but I had a hard time getting a lot of mileage out of the main character (Highlander) and Frederica the Gunner. In addition, many characters have two skills which seem very similar but the game gives no indication as to which gives the better bonus.  For example, Raquna the Protector can choose between Shield Mastery which provides a defensive bonus from shields and Defense Up which raises defense, but which one is better? Who the fuck knows!? The game doesn’t clearly surface this info which makes allocating skill points a sometimes frustrating affair.

The basic gameplay loop involves entering a new stratum of the dungeon, exploring and mapping the floors there, overcoming the new obstacles in each stratum, and defeating a boss to advance the story and reach the next stratum. This is all spectacular up until the 5th and final stratum on expert difficulty.  It’s tough, but fair, and usually you can advance without grinding too much.  I really enjoyed the story, characters, graphics, enemies, dungeon maps – basically everything that you come to expect from Etrian Odyssey. I thought it was fucking great.  My love affair came to a grinding halt in the final dungeon when suddenly I found my party getting wiped out by random encounters on the first turn of combat.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a hard game, but there’s a difference between the finely tuned challenge of strata 1-4 and the horse shit that’s going on in the 5th stratum.

I was determined to soldier on through this bullshit until I reached the games penultimate boss, who just decimated my team regardless of what approach I took. Again and again I tried, but to no avail. Eventually I went through the hassle of reallocating skill points for my team (at the cost of 2 levels per character) in order to optimize for this particular fight and still nothing was working.  Finally, admitting defeat, I turned the difficulty down a notch and proceeded to stomp the final bosses of the game without much trouble at all.

In summation: I played this game for over 100 hours and only really hated the last 10 or so.  Take that for what it is worth.

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Summer WonFes 2015 – Japanese Economic Stimulus http://gaijindensetsu.com/summer-wonfes-2015-japanese-economic-stimulus/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/summer-wonfes-2015-japanese-economic-stimulus/#respond Mon, 03 Aug 2015 04:53:49 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3651 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in! It was like Christmas in goddamned July this Summer Wonder Festival.  I got figures I’ve been waiting for, hoping for, and never though would even happen getting announced, and all I can think about now is when I’m going to find the time to [&hellip

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Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!

It was like Christmas in goddamned July this Summer Wonder Festival.  I got figures I’ve been waiting for, hoping for, and never though would even happen getting announced, and all I can think about now is when I’m going to find the time to build another shelf, where I’m going to put it, and most importantly: what the hell am I going to do with all these goddamned boxes? Here’s the figs I’m looking forward to from Summer Wonfes 2015:

1) Alter – Murumasa: The Demon Blade – Yuzuruha 1/8 scale

Yuzuruha

Absolutely without a doubt the highlight of the announcements for me.  Here is a fig, based on a garage kit, that has been taunting fans of Murumasa for years now.  We got Momohime, we got Kongiku, but where in the goddamned hell is Yuzuruha?  Well here she is in all of her glory, perfectly capturing George Kamitani’s beautiful artwork.   I’m not expecting to see this painted until next year at the earliest, but with ALTER behind it I know it’s going to be amazing, even though we won’t get it until LATER.  Also, I’m hoping the USD/JPY ratio stays good because I can see this fig easily going for 10k or more after discounts, but even still it is a day one pre-order.  I might even buy two and just stash one away to resell when it inevitably doubles in value.

2) GSC – Hatsune Miku – Greatest Idol

Miku

Vocaloid producer Mithie M’s Miku is, in my opinion, the best most realistic sounding Miku.  This figure based on the album art for The Greatest Idol, was something I have been a long time wishing might happen but there was never any indication that it would turn into a real thing.  I mean, I guess I could have assumed that any and all prominent Miku artworks would receive figures just based on the sheer number of Miku figures that come out each year, but still it is a pleasant surprise that it is happening and that GSC is producing it.  I already have the over sized special edition cover framed over one of my display shelves, so I’m not 100% certain that i’ll buy the figure, but depending on the price and release date it is a good possibility.

3) Alter – Velvet and Cornelius

Velvet

Another beautiful figure from Alter, based on Velvet from Odin Sphere.  The only thing more improbable than Velvet’s boobs and butt pose is the aftermarket price that this figure will eventually command.  It is really unfortunate that there seems to be no direction from which Velvet and Cornelius are both fully visible, but otherwise it’s a stunning figure with an incredible paint job and really dynamic posing.  I already have Yamato’s Velvet and I’m really quite happy with it even if it is approaching boundaries of acceptable lewdness in my collection, but I think I might have to double dip and pick this one up as well.  At the very least she’ll be more in scale with Alter’s Gwendolyn and also the upcoming Mercedes re-release.

4) Kotobukiya – Bishoujo Poison

Poison

Yamato’s poison is long sold out and regularly commands 20k prices when it is available pre-owned, so having given up on getting that amazing looking fig I’ll settle for Koto’s Bishoujo Poison.  My only experience with the Bishoujo line so far is their Jubilee fig, which I bought based on the sculpt even though I don’t really give a shit about X-Men, and I have to say that I’m very impressed for the price.  I haven’t really given much though to the other Street Fighter Bishoujo figs, but Sakura’s upcoming fig has me interested and based on price and the fact that they tend to increase rapidly in value once they sell out, I’ll  be getting Poison to go along with her.  It helps that she didn’t get the horrible Gerber baby face that so many other Bishoujo figs wind up with, and I like that she can be displayed with a hand cuff instead of her little baton thing. Overall it’s a nice looking figure for one of my favorite Capcom character designs. I’m still on the fence about Chun-Li and Cammy, but maybe once I start down this whole SF Bishoujo thing it’ll just be inevitable to get them all.

5) Max Factory – Sorceress

Sorceress

So this WonFes we get a paint job for the Sorceress that was revealed during the winter show, and she looks amazing. The blending on her dress and hair looks great, and her playful pose and winking expression are far superior to Megahouse’s and Orchid Seed’s, both of which look pretty trashy in my opinion.  The base is quite nice too.  This one is a 100% buy for me. I really hope Max Factory produces figs for Elf and Amazon as well, since the Megahouse ones didn’t do much for me either.

6)  Max Factory – Rin Kagamine Tony Ver. 

Kagamine Rin

I was excited about this when it was announced because I have both the TonyVer. Miku and Luka, but somethign about the face looks not quite right.  I’m going to have to see the final paint job and the price before I make up my mind about this one. It’s just not doing much for me.

7)  Kotobukiya – Monogatari Second Series Shinobu

Shinobu

How much Shinobu is too much Shinobu? Well even though this one looks great (they all look great!) I think I’ve hit my limit with Koto’s previous Shinobu which was quite nice and the superlative GSC Shinobu, which eclipses every other figure of her in its sheer Shinobu-ness.  I may just be burning out on the whole loli-vampire-donut-lover thing, which comes as a shock even to me.  Maybe it has something to do with the amazing looking Kiss-Shot figure coming out for Kizumonogatari. Still, Shinobu has got to get hers on my list of great WonFes figs, and really I think it’s a super cute figure but it just isn’t bringing enough new elements to the character to warrant a purchase from me. My tune might change once I see the price, but for now I think I’ll be passing. Love the cruller shaped bean bag chair though.

 

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Winter WonFes 2015 – Budget May Cry http://gaijindensetsu.com/winter-wonfes-2015-budget-may-cry/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/winter-wonfes-2015-budget-may-cry/#respond Sun, 08 Feb 2015 21:56:15 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3620 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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Winter WonFes is going on right now, and compared to last year, wallet obliterating despair in the face of upcoming figure releases is at an all time high.  Here’s a quick run-down of what I’m eagerly anticipating. Max Factory – Cordelia This was just art last time around, but now it’s a real thing that [&hellip

The post Winter WonFes 2015 – Budget May Cry appeared first on Gaijin Densetsu.

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Winter WonFes is going on right now, and compared to last year, wallet obliterating despair in the face of upcoming figure releases is at an all time high.  Here’s a quick run-down of what I’m eagerly anticipating.

Cordelia

Max Factory – Cordelia

This was just art last time around, but now it’s a real thing that exists.  Cordelia isn’t my favorite character in the game, but they’re never going to make a Noire figure so I’ll just have to take what I can get and be happy with it.  I don’t expect that we’ll even see this painted this year, so if we’re lucky it’ll be out sometime in 2016.

Yukari

Vertex – Yukari Takeba

Persona 3’s true best non-robot girl (Aigis will always be #1) is getting an awesome looking scale figure. I’m not entirely certain of the scale, but Vertex’s other figs have been 1/6 so hopefully she will size up well next to Alter’s amazing 1/6 scale Aigis.

kiss-shot

Good Smile Company – Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade (Shinobu)
AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I’m not 100% sold on the face of grown up Shinobu here, but if anything this is a good indication that we’re going to start getting figures of her finally.

Shinobu

Alter – Shinobu

This figure appeared sometime before WonFes, but it was in the same folder as all my other figure pics so here it is anyway.  She seems kind of redundant since the release of Kotobukiya’s awesome Shinobu figure, so I’m not sure there’s room in my collection for yet another Shinobu holding a donut, but if the price is right I might be able to find some.

Mercedes

Alter – Mercedes

This is a re-release of the fairy from Odin Sphere. I’m a huge fan of George Kamitani’s art, even if I don’t always go nuts about his games.  Odin Sphere kind of turned me away with its clunky combat and obtuse crafting system, but the characters are awesome looking. This figure has been commanding some obscene prices on the secondary market, so it makes sense that Alter have decided to get their cut of that demand and release some more.  I wonder if this means there will be yet another Momohime re-release down the road.

Tsugumori

Max Factory – Tsugumori

I’m enjoying the Knights of Sidonia quite a bit. Figma is also the perfect format for robots, since the joints hide well.

Sorceress

Good Smile Company – Sorceress 

Finally a Sorceress figure that doesn’t totally disgust me. Her proportions seem less ludicrous here than in her other incarnations, and the expression, pose, and base are all great. Let’s just hope the paint job turns out well.

Len

Max Factory – Rin Kagamine

Yeah I know that’s a picture of Len, and he is absolute rubbish, but behind him is the art for Rin, so it’s only a matter of time before she joins my Tony Ver. Miku and Luka on the shelf.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s a lot of figs I should have included in this list, but I’m still catching up on WonFes pics, and this is the stuff that jumped out immediately.

 

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SAO Asuna Vignette Review http://gaijindensetsu.com/sao-asuna-vignette/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/sao-asuna-vignette/#respond Sun, 09 Nov 2014 02:39:32 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3593 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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I can browse through figures indefinitely. I start by  looking for a particular figure at a palatable price, by the end I’m just looking at figures. A lack of either display space or interest in the source material isn’t enough to dissuade me from wasting my time this way.  I just like to browse. I guess [&hellip

The post SAO Asuna Vignette Review appeared first on Gaijin Densetsu.

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I can browse through figures indefinitely. I start by  looking for a particular figure at a palatable price, by the end I’m just looking at figures. A lack of either display space or interest in the source material isn’t enough to dissuade me from wasting my time this way.  I just like to browse. I guess it’s a kind of window shopping, but for PVC anime ladies. When I visited  Japan I really enjoyed doing this. I was happy to dig through stacks and stacks of prize figs in Mandarake or other random lesser known anime goods shops, not really looking for anything; just looking at everything.  A lot of them were prize figs that were still making the rotation in the arcades I’d been to.  One in particular caught my attention inside of a UFO catcher machine, and it was this Sword Art Online Asuna Vignette.

IMG_0647

I don’t even like SAO that much. I recall really struggling to get through the second season, not only because it was awful, but because they took the one decent character in the entire show and reduced her to a helpless damsel waiting to be saved by Kirito. Kirito, if you don’t know,  is your basic reluctant anime asshole at the center of a harem of women who desire him for no apparent reason other than that he’s the protagonist. It was a disappointing turn for Asuna, who in the early episodes of the first season is presented as equal before later being reduced to a helpless plot device.  Whatever I may think of how the show developed, there’s no denying that Asuna has a compelling design.  The proof is in the sheer number of figures she’s received.  Out of all of them, however, this is the only one that has really caught my interest.

IMG_0649

It is a prize figure, so it’s by no means perfect, but as far as prize figs go it’s not terrible looking either.  I’m not too crazy about her face, with its’ smooshed looking features.  The sloppy paint job on her outfit is another tell-tale sign of her prize fig pedigree, but her cute pose and the accessories that come with the fig more than make up for these shortcomings. I’m particularly fond of the little picnic basket that she came with. This feature isn’t attached to the stairs, so you can set it anywhere else you like or even put it in another display where it should look alright with smaller figs.  This Asuna isn’t made to any particular scale, but I’d put her at about 1/10.  She’s a bit smaller than most of my 1/8 scale figs, but bigger than a figma.  One other feature of the fig that appeals to me is her seated pose, which is a rarity among figs of the non-lewd variety. It makes it easy to set her unobtrusively into a bookshelf in front of some games or books.

IMG_0652

You can currently get this fig for about $35 on Amazon, which is about twice what I paid for it in a little figure shop full of prize figs, in an underpass near Yodobashi Camera. I’m not sure if I would pay that much now, but at less than half of the price of a proper scale figure it’s not a terrible deal for big-time Asuna fans or completionists looking to fill out a collection.  I remember being thrilled to find it in this shop. I had tried at a variety of UFO catcher machines to win it during my trip, but to no avail. The most devious machine I remember was one where the figure’s box was suspended by a thing strip of paper over the chute leading out of the machine. Instead of a claw, the machine’s arm held a hobby knife: it’s blade set about 45 degrees perpendicular to the strip of paper. I tried a three times for ¥500 total, missing the paper entirely on one attempt and poking just feeble holes in it the other two times before giving up entirely.

IMG_0662

Anyway, this is the first post on the site about a figure I own. I’d to do a lot more, and I have a fairly large collection to work with in that regard.  I hope my photographs get better, but for a first attempt I think these came out OK.

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Miku Expo 2014 – New York Review http://gaijindensetsu.com/miku-expo-2014-new-york-review/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/miku-expo-2014-new-york-review/#respond Thu, 23 Oct 2014 03:27:03 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3572 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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Hello! It has been an awfully long time since I posted any updates on the site. Mostly this has been because I was without any permanent home for the summer, bouncing between a sublet and staying with friends while we finished closing on our new home. Now I have a dedicated office for the first [&hellip

The post Miku Expo 2014 – New York Review appeared first on Gaijin Densetsu.

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Hello! It has been an awfully long time since I posted any updates on the site. Mostly this has been because I was without any permanent home for the summer, bouncing between a sublet and staying with friends while we finished closing on our new home. Now I have a dedicated office for the first time in… well forever, so I am looking forward to getting back to writing. Since this site is already secretly (not so much) a Hatsune Miku fan site, and also because I was just in NYC for Miku Expo this past weekend, I thought I’d start there.

The Art Exhibit at Wallplay

Wallplay

Forgive my terrible photos :-(

My first stop was the art exhibit at Wallplay conveniently located near Chinatown where I had just been eating way too much chow fun and little fried shrimps with mayonnaise and walnuts. We spotted the giant Miku on the outside of the gallery from across the street, and for a minute I was reminded of being in Japan where it is not unusual to see anime nonsense plastered all over a street corner. The gallery itself was small and featured a selection of artworks featuring Miku and her vocaloid compatriots, in addition to a lifesized Miku statue that was surprisingly not creepy at all. What did give me the creeps was the middle aged Miku fanatic with waist long white hair and a fanny pack upstairs in the merchandise shop, but maybe that is only becasue I became acutely aware of my own status as a 31 year old grown man who goes nuts for a j-pop cartoon. Was I looking into the future? If so, I hope I age more gracefully than that guy did.

IMG_0676

1:1 Scale Miku is a thing that exists

Overall the gallery and merch shop were nothing special. It was awesome to see something I love making a bold and popular (judging by the crowd in attendance) appearance in the heart of NYC, but it didn’t take me more than 10 minutes to make my rounds of the place, look at the art, and decide I didn’t want to buy any merchandise – which at that point was mostly sold out anyway. I was hoping there would be smaller, nicer prints of the artwork in the gallery, but all that was available were large posters for $25. The other goods I might have bought were already sold out, and included the Halloween Miku Nendoroid and some tote bags, so I wound up leaving after snapping a few bad pictures without having bought anything.

IMG_0678

Some of the artwork on display.

Even though I didn’t buy anything there, they still managed to sell me something by having this Deep Sea Miku figure on display. I made a mental note to check the online prices later, and having done that now I’m looking to add it to my collection at some point. They also had the 7th Dragon Miku on display which I passed on earlier this year, and while it was far more impressive looking in person than it looks online (which many figures are), the amount of shelf real-estate that figure consumes is enough to keep me from buying it short of some incredible deal. I did find it somewhat odd that they would display figs in the merch shop that weren’t for sale at all or in some cases long sold out, but it was nice to see them anyway.

The Concert at Hammerstein Ballroom

Later that day it was time for the main event. We found the venue located across the street from Penn Station, with a line of people out the door slowly making their way through security. My guess would be that the majority of the crowd were teenagers or younger, some accompanied by their parents, but overall there was a wild assortment in attendance. Some people were in cosplay, including a really great looking Miku in her Clover Club outfit and a real life sibling trio dressed up as Rin and Len who were accompanied by an adorable tiny Luka.

Our seats were in the second balcony, and while initially I was worried that we wouldn’t have a great view of Miku and friends my doubts were assuaged when the show started and Miku appeared on stage for Sharing the World. Upon seeing her I immediately turned to my companion and said, “HOLY SHIT MIKU IS AWESOME!” She looked AMAZING. If I had to complain about one thing though, it’s that because we were dead center on stage at about a 25 or 30 degree angle, the projector that produces Miku was directly behind her abdomen most of the time, resulting in a bright spot that made it impossible to take photos of her. In any case, any photos I would have taken would have turned out trash compared to the large quantity of live Miku footage available on youtube. I suggest you check it out.

 

The show was a spectacle with great music, tons of lasers, pyro, dynamic backgrounds, and of course incredible looking vocaloids with awesome dance moves.  Although Miku and friends didn’t have as many costumes as they do in their games, there was still a pretty good assortment of outfits including one of my favorites: the Colorful x Melody outfits for Miku and Rin.  The majority of the songs performed featured only Miku, but all the major vocaloids made an appearance in at least one song, and in the case of Kaito, thankfully only one song because KAITO IS GARBAGE.  I cannot understand why the crowd got so excited when he appeared on stage, and why anyone would bother to bring additional blue glowsticks just for Kaito.  Anyway, I was really happy to see some of my favorite Rin songs: Melancholic and Kokoro, and I could have watched Luka perform Luka Luka Night Fever forever it was that amazing.  Len showed up for Fire Flower and some other song I can’t quite remember (he’s not my favorite), and Meiko who I’m also not crazy about showed up for Piano Forte Scandal which was the absolute best possible song for her short of the duet On The Rocks which would have redeemed Kaito somewhat.

The crowd, obviously, was going completely ape shit, with people screaming themselves hoarse shouting “MIKU!” at the top of their lungs while thrusting glowsticks in the air.  It was super positive and high energy, and while initially I was surprised to see parents getting really into the show also, I soon realized that this was a show where fun had no pretense.  You don’t need to belong to some special clique or be a super fan or have had been there before it was cool to have a good time at a Miku show. There is absolutely no bullshit posturing or implicit requirement that you only enjoy the show ironically for fear that someone might see you genuinely having a good time (which would just be so uncool). It was actually just a fun show.

I was skeptical about how good the show would be, from a musical perspective, but those doubts were also quickly erased by the incredible technical ability of Miku’s live backing band and the perfectly mixed sound levels.  Everything sounded wonderful, though I will say that some of the songs which featured English language vocals sounded less than great due to the inadequacies of the vocaloid software and also some less then spectacular vocal tuning. Some vocaloid songs feature incredibly realistic sounding vocals (Mitchie M’s work comes to mind). I suspect that with a little work the English vocals could get there, or that maybe with more listening I would have a better time keeping track of the lyrics in a song like Sharing the World, but having Luka sing Just Be Friends in English did the song no favors. I was excited when I first heard Miku singing in English a few years back, and while I think it’ll help her reach a wider audience, I’d much rather just keep up my Japanese studies and learn the songs in their original language. That’s my only gripe with the show musically, though, it was otherwise one of the best concerts that I’ve ever been to.

So yeah, Miku Expo 2014 was rad. I highly recommend checking out future Miku Expos if they are in your area or within reasonable travel distance.  I don’t think I would travel overseas for a Miku Expo, but if it were a matter of flying somewhere in the continental United States to see a Miku show I would absolutely do it.  If I’m lucky they’ll just have it in NYC or LA again soon.

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Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2 – Stubby Diva http://gaijindensetsu.com/hatsune-miku-project-mirai-2-stubby-diva/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/hatsune-miku-project-mirai-2-stubby-diva/#respond Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:51:31 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3534 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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Every time I say I’m going to get back to updating the site regularly, it’s basically a lie. What’s not a lie, is that you can expect roughly half the posts on this site to have something to do with a Hatsune Miku game. That’s a promise I’m pretty sure I can keep between this [&hellip

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Every time I say I’m going to get back to updating the site regularly, it’s basically a lie. What’s not a lie, is that you can expect roughly half the posts on this site to have something to do with a Hatsune Miku game. That’s a promise I’m pretty sure I can keep between this post, and still needing to write about Dreamy Theater Extend and Diva f 2nd. To be honest most of the Diva games appearing on Sony platforms are pretty similar in gameplay, style, and progression, so much so that there isn’t a whole lot new to say about each one I play except “I loved it more than that other one” or “Star Notes are the fucking worst!” That isn’t the case with Project Mirai 2 for the 3DS. This game looks, plays, and unfortunately sounds a bit different than its predecessors, and although  it wound up feeling like one step forward and two steps back, overall I’m glad to have imported and spent some time with it.

One of my favorite tracks from Project Mirai 2

To start, let’s get the most obvious difference out of the way: the visuals in Project Mirai games are wildly different than what they’ve been in Project Diva. Miku and friends are all present and recognizable, but they appear in a chibi style that has proportions similar to the Nendoroid line of collectible figures. They look super cute for sure, but an unfortunate downside is that all of the characters have basically the exact same body shape for their gender. Miku has the exact same body as Rin, Luka, and Meiko, and Len and Kaito are identical as well. This allows for the ladies (and gents) to share outfits, which is an awesome addition, but it also kind of homogenizes them and ruins a lot of the videos for me.

There’s a reason why dancers in real life are not all short, squat, pudgy and generally slow moving, and it’s because those characteristics do not lend themselves naturally to provocative dance moves. I’m not saying it’s impossible for people of chibi proportions to dance well, but compared to previous Miku games the dance routines in this one are terrible.  Mostly it’s like watching sea anemones sway and undulate for 4 minutes at a time.  Overall it’s a cute visual style, and some songs like Piano Forte Scandal and On The Rocks have great videos, but overall I much prefer the few videos in the game that feature partly animated 2D art over those that rely on the game’s 3D models.

Badass Rin is the best Rin.  Gumi is okay too. 

It doesn’t help that the 3D visuals look rather poor. The 3DS is not known for being a graphical powerhouse, but I expect it to at least perform better than the nearly decade old PSP. Sadly that’s not the case, and I found myself longing for the slightly less horrible visuals of Project Diva 2nd and Extend on Sony’s portable.  In addition, the platforms namesake 3D does little to add tot he game’s visual appeal, which at this point in the system’s life is no big surprise.

I could have forgiven poor visual fidelity in a music game if the sound was great, but this is also sadly not the case. I’m not sure if it’s a size limitation for 3DS carts or a shortcoming of the 3DS hardware, but the music in this game sounds kind of muffled and tinny compared to the loud, crisp, bassy sounds of the PSP and Vita. Comparing the same song between both platforms on a mid-range set of headphones was like night and day, and it really sapped some of the enjoyment out of my time with Project Mirai 2. That said, the actual song list is quite nice, and has some of my favorite songs from the entire series, even if they are unforgivably lo-fi.

One of the few songs where I don’t mind Kaito at all

It’s not all bad though, and this cloud has a sliver lining. One surprising difference between this and other Miku games was the inclusion of multiple vocal tracks for a few songs. This is absolutely huge, and I can’t adequately express how exciting it would be if this were a standard feature for all tracks in Miku games. It’s not every song, which makes sense as there is some additional complexity in getting Miku and friends to sound right beyond the initial software programming, so it would require complete a lot of work. Still, it was nice to be able to listen to different renditions of a couple of songs including Piano Forte Scandal, Double Rainbow, and even an old favorite of mine, Romeo and Cinderella.

Speaking of Romeo and Cinderella, it’s one of the few songs in this game that features an extended cut that differs from previous games, along with World is Mine and Melancholic. It’s a nice change for a few songs that have appeared in previous games, but I found the longer track length a little tiresome on the game’s harder difficulties; a problem that was further exacerbated by the game’s reliance on sometimes monotonous note patterns.

Chibi Miku and Rin are cute as hell, but I would rather this just be in Diva f or Dreamy Theater. 

The aforementioned note patterns actually are one of my biggest problems with Project Mirai 2. Having recently spent a lot of time playing the Dreamy Theater games on the PS3, which in general have had great memorable note patterns, I find the note patterns in Project Mirai 2 somewhat boring. The patterns mostly consist of on-beat button presses of the same button over and over with occasional mix-ups. Part of the problem is that there are no “arrow notes” like in Project Diva that are played by hitting both a button and the corresponding d-pad direction at the same time. The d-pad is instead reserved for held notes, which occasionally lead to fun and often challenging segments where you’re alternating held notes between the d-pad and the buttons, but these are the exception rather than the rule. It’s still fun to play, but I wish more was done with the note patterns given the changes in how the notes appear (i.e. on a track), and the extra possibilities that opens up beyond Project Diva games.

One note-related improvement is the absence of technical zones (and also any bullshit star-notes or anything like that).  Instead there are SP notes which appear at specific points in the song, assuming you have successfully tapped out a number of the preceding standard notes.  Getting these SP notes on each track provides a compelling reason to play through songs multiple times even if you can’t get a SS rank on the song.  I should mention while I’m talking about notes, that  there are no mandatory touch controls whatsoever unless you for some reason want to tap away with your stylus in the game’s touch mode, which is in my mind inferior to the button mode in every way possible. There are rainbow held notes which reward you with extra diva points for swirling the analog stick, but these don’t effect your score on the track in any way so you can skip the swirling without penalty if you think it’s lame.

Even with shit note patterns I still played this song a dozen times at least.

The last thing I want to mention is a major difference to how outfits are unlocked. In previous Diva games, you earned points that allowed you to unlock outfits from songs you had completed.  Only then could you use the song appropriate outfits while playing. Here you can always use the intended outfit for any particular track, which for me kind of limited my desire to obsessively play the game for every outfit.  It’s nice that you can swap outfits between different characters of the same gender, but again it’s not really that exciting when they all have the same boring chibi proportions.

Overall, Project Mirai 2 is a solid Hatsune Miku game with a good track selection and decent gameplay for the series.  It’s my least favorite Hatsune Miku game, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot considering how much I fucking love these games.  I wouldn’t recommend it as someone’s entry point to Miku games, but in terms of fun, accessible imports, it’s a pretty damn fine choice.  There isn’t much point to importing it now, however, as it was recently announced that a mashup of this and the original Project Mirai would be making its way stateside in the future.  I’d hold out for that one unless you are starved for additional vocaloid goodness.

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Conception II Demo – Make Babies Fight Monsters http://gaijindensetsu.com/conception-ii-demo-make-babies-fight-monsters/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/conception-ii-demo-make-babies-fight-monsters/#respond Fri, 28 Mar 2014 03:51:54 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3538 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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I am no stranger to weird, upsetting games. In fact I love them. A weird upsetting game, in my mind, is better than 10 (yes I did the math) bland by-the-book games that elicit no emotion whatsoever. Even a fantastic, polished experience that manages to check all its genre-specific boxes and tops game of the [&hellip

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I am no stranger to weird, upsetting games. In fact I love them. A weird upsetting game, in my mind, is better than 10 (yes I did the math) bland by-the-book games that elicit no emotion whatsoever. Even a fantastic, polished experience that manages to check all its genre-specific boxes and tops game of the year lists across the internet holds less appeal to me than a weird upsetting game. So, now that I’ve repeated myself four times, let me finally say that Conception II is definitely a weird game, and it will almost certainly upset a lot of people. I want to play more of it.

Conception II 1

Did someone say MAGICAL GIRLS?!?!

Conception II is a dungeon crawling RPG with magical girl themes and some dating sim elements. It’s basically Sailor Moon, and the protagonist is Tuxedo Mask, except that he is going to FUCK all of the Sailor Scouts, and their children will join the fight against Queen Beryl. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s okay, just know that in this game the protagonist is literally “God’s Gift.” For all intents and purposes this means that only he can create an energy field which allows him to fight monsters in their lairs, and so he has been given his pick of a harem of academy comrades with which to create star children and fight monsters with, much to the chagrin of his other male 2nd year academy classmates.

According to the game the process of creating star children, or “classmating” as it is called, is not sex at all. The star children are created through some religious ritual, the first of which is overseen by a perverted high priest no less, and are more like spirit totems that fight along side the characters than there actual children.  Sure… whatever. I can kind of admire how brazen the game is about its paper thin rationalization of these game mechanics.  It would actually be less outrageous if the characters were just out and out fucking and raising their children as child soldiers. That is basically old hat now with Fire Emblem: Awakening out for over a year already. However you look at it though, there is something unsavory about the core elements of this game’s setting, even if mechanically all they amount two is choosing which of 3 dialog events to go through every day. If those things are going to bother you, then just turn around and walk away. If not, I think there might be a cool RPG hidden under all the portmanteaus and double entendre.

awkward…

The demo made a fair attempt to introduce me to a slew of game mechanics, but to be honest most of them just breezed over my head. Battles are turn-based affairs that take place on a grid, and you can change the positions of the protagonist and his lady companion, who operate as a single team, as well as a team of 3 star children. The game implied that at one point you might be controlling 3 teams of star children at once in addition to your protagonist and his lady friend, so that would make it your standard 4 unit JRPG party.  Each character or star child has three equipment slots and it looks like there is going to be a lot of room for customizing equipment, abilities, and teams of star children.  I might have misunderstood, but it seems like your star child teams will get different special attacks depending on which classes are in each team, and with what looked to be about 10 different classes I can imagine this getting pretty interesting.

The dungeon in the demo reminded me a lot of Tartarus in P3P, except  more linear and populated with enemies that just sort of mill about until you run into them to initiate combat.  There is also an abundance of chests to be pillaged, most of which contained healing and mana recovery items, but a few with new gear for your party.  It doesn’t look like it’ll be a loot-centric game like Diablo or anything, but opening chests and getting apparently random gear and items is nice.   The floor plans seemed rather bland considering they’re randomly generated, so if you’re expecting sprawling labyrinths akin to Etrian Odyssey, prepare to be disappointed.  All in all the actual dungeon crawling seemed pretty bare-bones, but I’m hopeful that there is some depth to the team building.

Conception II 3

Deep down it’s still a JRPG.

It’s just a little under 3 weeks away now, so if you’re at all intrigued I urge you to check out the demo and share your thoughts with me here or on twitter. Demo progress carries over to the full game, which for my limited gaming schedule was a big plus. Even if you don’t wind up buying it on April 15th, this weird upsetting game deserves a look.

 

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Figure Lust – Winter WonFes Edition http://gaijindensetsu.com/figure-lust-winter-wonfes-edition/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/figure-lust-winter-wonfes-edition/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2014 14:16:59 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3507 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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So I’ve been meaning to start doing some blog posts about the wallet-crushing progression of my figure collecting hobby, but have been lazy about testing out my light-box and photography setup, so while that whole thing is still cooking I thought maybe it would do to at least highlight a few of the figs I’m [&hellip

The post Figure Lust – Winter WonFes Edition appeared first on Gaijin Densetsu.

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So I’ve been meaning to start doing some blog posts about the wallet-crushing progression of my figure collecting hobby, but have been lazy about testing out my light-box and photography setup, so while that whole thing is still cooking I thought maybe it would do to at least highlight a few of the figs I’m excited about that came out of Wonder Festival last week in a post partly inspired by Anne’s over at Chic Pixel.  Going into WonFes, I was expecting a deluge of Kill la Kill figs and hoping (some might say screaming) for a torrent of Persona 3 figs, but instead what I got was a lot of Figmas.  Had I been told this beforehand I would have said, “pffff I’m mostly into scaled figs now anyway,” which is still true, but still I can’t help but be excited about these upcoming figs.

 Ryuko Matoi Figma – Max Factory

Ryuko01
First a posable figure of Ryuko Matoi wearing Senketsu from Kill la Kill! Exciting! I am not  thrilled about the upcoming 1/8 scale figure from Phat Company, being not at all familiar with the quality of their figures and also not a huge fan of the pose.  Honestly it’s also little lewd for my scaled fig collection… I have a little more tolerance for ridiculously skimpy outfits on the smaller scale figmas which tend to have a cuter more cartoony feel about them, but scaled figs take up so much more room in a display and draw more attention so I’m trying to keep it clean and not open the ecchi fig floodgates.  Also announced but not shown was a Satsuki Kiryuin figma, which I assume will be awesome as well.  I’m looking forward to adding both to my collection.

Motoko Kusanagi Figma – Max Factory 

MotokoKusanagi01

Since I started collecting figs last year I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’ll probably never own this 1/7 Scale Motoko that came out a couple of years back and is still the best rendition of The Major as she appears in Stand Alone Complex.  That ship sailed long ago, but as a fan it’s some solace that such a popular character at least continues to get steady releases like this upcoming Figma from Max Factory.  While the only accessory shown so far is a sweet replacement hand gripping a compact handgun, this character has a lot of potential for cool extras that should make for some dynamic display possibilities. I’m really looking forward to adding her to my collection so she can keep fellow robot-girl Aigis company among all the vocaloids.

It wasn’t all Figmas though, some scaled figs caught my eye as well:

Labrys – Alter

Labrys01

Here’s a fig I’m conflicted about.  Let’s see: Persona, robot girl, so far so good – wait 1/8th scale?!?  It was almost perfect! I would have happily bought up another Alter Persona fig to display next to their incredible 1/6 scale Aegis, but alas it’s not meant to be.  This still looks like an incredible figure though, so I’ll be keeping an eye open for when preorders go up. Maybe I’ll unwrap my copy of P4A between now and then to see what Labrys is all about.

Cordelia – Max Factory 

Cordelia01

Max Factory teased a followup to their upcoming 1/7 scale Tharja with this image of Cordelia.  I’m not sure if this art is indicative of what the pose of the final product is going to be like, but if it turns out anything like Tharja we can be sure that it’ll be pretty provocative.  It seems like Nintendo has given Max Factory carte blanche to interpret the ladies of Fire Emblem: Awakening as they see fit, which is just fantastic for fans of the series and bishoujo figs alike.  While I would have preferred a Sumia or Noire (*sigh* never going to happen) it’s at least a good sign that we’ll be seeing more from this series.  If this winds up being sculpted by the same artist- Shining Wizard @ Sawachika, I’ll be pre-ordering for sure. I have a few of his figs already and they’re great.

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Pokemon X/Y – I Wanna Be Not Bad http://gaijindensetsu.com/pokemon-xy-i-wanna-be-not-bad/ http://gaijindensetsu.com/pokemon-xy-i-wanna-be-not-bad/#respond Mon, 03 Feb 2014 03:36:32 +0000 http://gaijindensetsu.com/?p=3490 Warning: preg_match(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 4 in /nfs/c04/h04/mnt/67068/domains/gaijindensetsu.com/html/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-plus/classes/shd.class.php on line 1384

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Happy new year! A little late, I know, but I just haven’t had much time to write between traveling to LA and Japan over the holidays, catching up with friends, work, and of course games now that I’m back home.  I’ve been gaming A LOT since the last update, and the time off has given [&hellip

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Happy new year! A little late, I know, but I just haven’t had much time to write between traveling to LA and Japan over the holidays, catching up with friends, work, and of course games now that I’m back home.  I’ve been gaming A LOT since the last update, and the time off has given me some time to reflect on what I’ve played over the last few months.  When deciding what game to start a regular update schedule back up with, Pokemon X/Y sprang to mind immediately.  Even though I finished it in November and haven’t really touched it much since then, I still feel like I have a lot to say about it so here we go.

PokemonXY5

This is my trainer. I named her Bayonetta.

As far as I know, there is no Pokemon continuity, so no prior experience with the series is necessary to pick this one up and immediately understand what’s going on.  You should probably know that it’s a JRPG series about subjugating these little creatures that appear in the tall grass and forcing them to fight to exhaustion against other pokemon.  At the start, you’re sent out from home to go on a journey: sort of a coming of age quest facilitated by Professor Sycamore, who gives you and your friends your first pokemon.  After choosing your starting pokemon, you set out to defeat all the gym leaders, discover the secret of mega evolutions, “catch them all” and so on. Even though this is well trodden ground for the series, it still feels super refreshing to play a JRPG that’s just about kids doing kid stuff, and is not at all about being the chosen one and saving the world from some cataclysmic disaster brought on by a well-meaning but ultimately misguided villainous mastermind.  Even though it eventually becomes clear that it actually is about all that bullshit, the simple story and setting are nice while they last.

Even at its worst the narrative isn’t all that terrible as far as JRPGs go, and really it’s just a vehicle to give you a tour of the world and some context in which to collect items, pokemon, and HMs/TMs with which to teach them moves. What is more troubling to me is that the story is more or less a 30+ hour tutorial for the real meat of the game: competitive pokemon battling.  This is the part where people who are super into Pokemon will tell you that the game is deep as all hell, with an extremely complex meta game and a staggering variety of possible team compositions and strategies. They’re not wrong, this shit is crazy, and you can fall down a serious rabbit hole researching strategies and team builds.  Just learning the typing and weaknesses of each pokemon is bad enough, but couple that with breeding, IVs, EVs, held items and the huge move list, and suddenly the whole thing becomes nothing short of overwhelming.

Pokemon XY4

3D is disabled on the overworld map, but it looks great anyway.

I think a lot of people would argue that the complexity of the competitive game is what separates the dabblers from serious players, but in my opinion the high barrier to entry is doing more harm than good. If the skill of the game is in team composition and decisions made during the match, why make it so that you have to sink hours upon hours into activities that take zero skill such as breeding and EV training? Anybody who is capable of following a guide can raise a team of pokemon this way with the requisite time and patience, and even though nobody is forcing players to raise a team of perfect IV pokemon with full EVs and good moves, I don’t see why one should bother to compete without them.  The fact that so much of the online discussion about Pokemon revolves around these topics is proof enough that they’re absolutely essential to enjoying the competitive game, and it sucks because there is nothing fun or satisfying about riding your bicycle around for hours on end to hatch dozens upon dozens of eggs hoping for pokemon with good IVs (base stats).  I should note that this entry has made it much easier to raise a team with the friend safari, EXP share, and super training all helping to lessen the drudgery of raising pokemon, but any way you cut it it’s still time wasted grinding in activities that are not the real game.

It would have been better if the pokemon you played through the story with were actually creatures you could expect to bring into a fight and do well with, but that’s absolutely not the case since their IVs will be trash and their EVs will be all over the place by the time you’re done with the game.  After you’ve climbed to the top of the metaphorical pokemountain, take all those pokemon that carried you through hundreds of matches against CPU trainers and wild pokemon and just throw them in the garbage or bench them for use as HM slaves because they will be terrible.  Wild caught pokemon will more often than not have terrible IVs, making them much worse than ones obtained through breeding and the post-game friend-safari, so you basically have to start from scratch once you’ve finished the game.  For a series that has long had the catchphrase, “Gotta catch ’em all,” you would expect that you should catch the fuck out of every new pokemon you see, but doing this is mostly a complete waste of time unless you just want to fill out your pokedex.

PokemonXY2

Battles are a little slow-paced, but at least the pokemon look pretty nice.

So it probably sounds like I hated this game, but actually I didn’t.  Even though are definitely parts of the design that are wholly incongruous with the moral of the game’s story, and even though you’re stuck playing a puppy-mill simulator for hours on end if you want to raise good pokemon, those things don’t change the fact that the game is complex, mechanically sound, and visually pleasing JRPG with a brisk story that doesn’t overstay its welcome.  It is worth noting that the campaign is a little on the easy side, with a very sudden and unexpected difficulty spike when you’re facing the elite four, so keep that in mind if you don’t think you’ll be interested in the post game stuff and are just hoping for some kind of challenge from the main game.  As a standalone single player JRPG it’s not the best thing out there, but you can do much worse and I don’t regret the time I spent with it.  I thought I might be more up to the task of raising a team of bad-ass pokemon who were down to rumble, but with my limited time to game and extensive backlog, I couldn’t justify the time spent jumping through hoops for hours on end to get to the real meat of the game.  There is so much to do in this game that it could basically be endless for the right person, and while I enjoyed my time with it, I’m not that person.

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