EWE’s Take On E3 2017 – Part 2

Greets, people!  After last time, when we took a look at individual publisher’s press presentations at E3, it’s now time for the Big 3 – Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.  However, unlike last time, and unlike many other places where you can find coverage of E3, I’m not going to go blow by blow with all the particular news, announcements, and other info from each conference.  This is primarily because it’s late, and I’m tired – but also because you don’t need me for that.  If you just want to know everything that happened, there are plenty of sources.  But instead, here are my general impressions of how each one fared in their particular event.

Sony

First up, we have Sony.  The purveyors of Playstation had quite the reputation to live up to this year, as their last few E3 press events have been absolutely stellar, culminating last year with having a FULL FUCKING SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at their event and unveiling God of War 4.  Seriously – these weren’t just press events – they were epic live performance art.  So could Sony do it again this year?

So I think the best summation I’ve heard about Sony’s event this year in comparison to past years came from Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, who said “I think of the last few years’ of Sony events as being grand slams, and this year they ‘just’ hit a home run.  So you see it and go, ‘oh, it’s just a home run’ because of all the grand slams but it’s STILL a home run!”  Look, at the end of the day, is some complacency likely settling in at Sony?  Sure, but they’ve kinda earned it.  The PS4 has won this generation of the console war, from an install base perspective.  They have an amazing string of first and third party exclusives behind them, and a number still to come.  So this year consisted almost entirely of additional footage and trailers of games that we’ve known about already.  The primary exception was a remake of Shadow of the Colossus.  That said, the principal complaint I hear about Sony’s event is essentially “hey, they had one or two things I liked, but the rest didn’t really do much for me.”  Except here’s the thing – those “one or two things” have varied from almost each person.  So essentially what Sony did is have something for everyone.  To me, that’s a damn good showing.  Special shout out to Monster Hunter World!

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I have an Xbox One.  I love my Xbox One.  I don’t think less of Microsoft because they are second in the install base behind Playstation.  But when your entire press conference is essentially “here is a $500 upgrade to your existing console, that is capable of 4K but will have no exclusive games, but some of your favorites will get 4K support like, um…Minecraft!” then you’ve fucking lost me.  I mean…I don’t have a 4K tv.  I’m sure I will one day…but that day isn’t today, or tomorrow, or, you know…soon.  So the only way you’re going to get me to give you $500 is to either have TREMENDOUS performance upgrades that I will actually notice, or games that I can’t play anywhere else.  This didn’t do either of those for me, and is far too expensive to warrant a mid-cycle upgrade for anyone without tremendous expendable income.  Lets assume I DON’T upgrade – that’s 8+ new games I can buy instead of a console.  I’m sorry – I know the hardware manufacturers are insisting that “it’s just like a cell phone!  Everyone buys the iterative upgrades!” but I’m just not going to support that in the console gaming market.  You want me to drop that kind of money?  Start the next console generation cycle.  Otherwise you’re going to have to do a lot more than handing out godawful t-shirts and talking about almost no games at your conference to get a passing grade from me.

Nintendo-Logo

I saved what was, in my less-than-humble opinion, the best for last.  Nintendo essentially split its big news between two presentations – but damn did they kill it.  Mario Odyssey is going to be fantastic – we all knew that.  But Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is going to bring XCOM style tactics to a whole new generation.  While the excitement of Monster Hunter World on PS4 took a hit by the announcement that as of now Monster Hunter XX for Switch isn’t coming West, I quickly didn’t care anymore because METROID IS BACK, BITCHES!  And not just Metroid Prime 4 on Switch – I mean, that’s great, but for me the killer news was a full 2.5D remake of Metroid 2 from the original GB is coming to 3DS in September.  I’ve been waiting for a 2D Metroid since before many of you were fucking born, and the end of that wait is finally in sight!  Nintendo essentially announced major Switch entries in every one of their front-line first-party franchises.  I love the Switch, its launch has been a tremendous success, and if this software lineup continues as strongly as it has begun, Nintendo is poised to leap back to the prominence that it lost with the Wii U.  Strong, strong showing for Nintendo.

That covers the major news from E3, but before I go, I’ll quickly address this being the “first” E3 that is open to the public.  I say that somewhat sarcastically because since I’ve been a young EWE, fans have been finding ways to attend the “industry only” show, but this year marked the first year that they were officially invited.  While I am sure this was a dream come true for many, I think it could have been handled FAR better by the ESA based upon what I have heard from my friends in the game journalism industry.  Those folks work far beyond hard enough as it is in covering E3 every year – essentially it is the largest undertaking they have each year.  To a man and woman, each said that it was far more difficult this year due to the unchecked crowding and lines clogging the show floor and making getting to appointments and meetings incredibly difficult.  I’m not saying that the public shouldn’t be let in – and even if I did, who the fuck cares what I think – but the ESA needs to contact its friends at events like PAX and get tips on how to properly handle such a mass of humanity for next year.

Until next time, humans! – EWE

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Burning the Midnight Oil on #OmNoMonday

Welcome back, feeble carbon-based mouth breathers!  My, am I feeling productive this week – well, that or possibly I’m not sleeping enough.  But either way, you get more of my meandering musings, so you win either way.  You’re welcome!

So as anyone who read through my recent retrospective of the Dragon Quest series has probably figured out, I am a fan.  So I was eager to throw myself into the latest remake of a classic Dragon Quest game – the 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past.  DQVII, for those that missed my retrospective (and you had better go correct that poor life choice right…now) was originally released on the PS1…after the PS2 had released.  Poor timing, coupled with an abysmal translation, led to lackluster sales of the original release.  However, the game was immense – 100-200 hours per playthrough was required if you wanted to see everything the game had to offer.  And it’s gameplay systems were solid.  So I was hoping that this remake would correct the errors of the past while maintaining the classic elements – and for the most part, it did so.

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Graphics

First things first – and you’ll find that I’m going to say this about damn near every single game on the 3DS – slide the 3D setting down to “off.”  It adds absolutely nothing to this experience, and in fact can detract from it.  Not because it’s bad, but because it will cause unnecessary eye strain in a game that begs to be played in long stretches, and will drain your battery faster.  You’re going to be spending hundreds of hours with this game – and you don’t need 3D in any of them.

The graphics are a noticeable improvement over the PS1 originals.  The camera in the original had a tendency to obscure, well, everything when rotated – but that has been largely corrected in this upgrade.  The characters models are MUCH more detailed than in the original, although there is some hilarious incongruity in the sizes of the characters in comparison to their surroundings.  Seriously, Keifer is apparently this world’s version of King Kong, because he’s larger than a lot of buildings.

The graphical improvement extends into battle as well.  In the original, battles were first-person against static monsters.  In this edition, battles are third-person, with your party fully visible on screen, executing lively animated attacks and spells against equally animated monsters.  Akira Toriyama’s legendary character designs have always been associated with this series, and they are beautifully brought to life here.  Another change from the original graphics centers on the games robust vocation system – while in the original, a character’s vocation wasn’t evident by looking at them.  However, now each and every vocation results in a new appearance for the characters – a very welcome addition.

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Sound

Not much can be said here that hasn’t been said before.  Dragon Quest features charming and catchy melodies and sound effects that will definitely become repetitive long before the game comes to a conclusion.  This especially evident in this installment, which is without question the game with the longest required playtime – a standard playthrough is going to eclipse 100 hours easily.  If you like the music, be sure to play with headphones because the 3DS is not known for it’s stellar audio hardware.  Once you begin to tire of it, just take them off.

Gameplay

I’m not going to go too in-depth here, mostly because if you have ever played a Dragon Quest game or you have read any of my Dragon Quest retrospective, you already know how this plays – and if you haven’t, this probably isn’t the entry-level Dragon Quest game I’d recommend.  The original version had a notoriously SLOW beginning, with the player going several hours before encountering their first battle.  This has thankfully been reduced in the remake, but it is still a slow open – it will still be 30-60 minutes until that first slime gets whacked with a cyprus stick.

One of the biggest changes from the original is also one I initially welcomed but soon grew annoyed by – encounters.  In the original version, monster encounters would occur at random while wandering in the field or dungeons.  The encounter rate was on par with classic RPGs in general and Dragon Quest in particular.  The remake has seen the introduction of the system first introduced in Dragon Quest VIII on PS2, in which monsters appear on the world map and can be avoided or battled at the player’s choosing.  Now on paper, this sounds great.  Unfortunately, the spawn algorithm makes the encounter rate incredibly aggravating.  I lost count of the number of times I would be trying to work through a dungeon, finish a battle and take two steps only to have another monster spawn directly under my feet.  I was soon longing for the days of a random, but fairly steady and predictable encounter rate.  The real shame is that this same system was executed to perfection in DQ VIII – this felt like a significant step back.

Story

If you are looking for a strong main narrative running through the entire game, you are likely to be disappointed.  There is a central plot revolving around a demon king sealing off the various islands of the world from one another, and your efforts to bring them back and defeat the revival of the big bad.  But the true stars of the show are the smaller, self-contained narratives of each of the trapped islands.  Each region has its own quest that must be solved before it appears on the world map – and these mini-epics are phenomenal.  Some are lighthearted, others are tragic to the point of being tear-jerking, and they all feel very REAL – there are choices made and consequences that must be lived with, for better or worse.  These feel all the more at home in a portable format – each island only takes a few hours to complete, making it ideal for an evening gaming session to have a definite beginning and end.

So Should I Play It?

Have you been playing Dragon Quest games since the NES?  Do you lament that the Final Fantasy series moved away from turn-based battles and into whatever the hell this weird kind-of action shit is now?  Do you not mind wandering around for a while trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing?  Does the thought of grinding a character through a bunch of different classes to make them into a physical god make you giddy with excitement?

Then you should play this game.  It’s a love letter and a magnum opus to the game design of JRPGs from a different era.

Is the first Dragon Quest game you played VIII?  Is your favorite RPG series Final Fantasy, starting with VII or later?  Do you have a relatively short attention span if not much is going on during a gaming session?  Do you need a breathtaking main narrative to drive you onward?

This probably isn’t your game.  You’re going to feel like this game is boring and old.  It’s not, and you’re wrong – but I can understand your mistake based on your tastes, so I will allow you to live.  This time.

I played the original DQ VII on PS1.  I still have it.  I’ve played it more than once.  I still enjoyed my time with this 3DS remake even more than the original.  It still has flaws, but if you love old-school JRPGs, you should give this one a shot.  Since these seem to need some kind of arbitrary numerical score, I’m going to give it:

burning-village burning-village  burning-village burning-village

Four Burning Villages…out of Five.

But that’s not all, kids!  No, because it is once again #OmNoMonday – and last time, I got a request for a chicken dish!  So I have scoured my Evil Recipes That Didn’t Kill Anyone, and I have found this delicious and healthy take on classic Chicken Cordon Bleu!

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Ingredients:

  1. 4 thin-sliced boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  2. 4 slices ham
  3. 6 slices swiss cheese
  4. Ground black pepper
  5. Crushed red pepper flakes
  6. Olive oil
  7. OPTIONAL – 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  8. A Ziploc bag
  9. Baking dish
  10. Toothpicks
  11. Tenderizing mallet
  12. OPTIONAL – a child that enjoys smashing things with a tenderizing mallet

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Use a small amount of olive oil to grease the baking dish.

Place the chicken in the Ziploc bag and use the tenderizing mallet (and, if available, the child) to pound the chicken to about 1/4 inch thick.  If using child, be sure to make sure they do not pound the chicken so hard that the Ziploc bag explodes.  It isn’t fun to clean up.

Place the chicken in the baking dish.  Season to taste with the black and red pepper.  Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on top of each piece of chicken.  Roll up and secure each piece of chicken with a toothpick.  If you want crunchy chicken, sprinkle bread crumbs over them.  For a healthier alternative, don’t use the bread crumbs.

Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  Remove from oven, place 1/2 slice of cheese on top of each piece of chicken and bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.  Remove from oven, remove toothpicks, and enjoy!  Or, if you’re serving them to someone you don’t particularly care for, someone that may have wronged you, DON’T remove the toothpicks, serve, and enjoy watching!  Either way, I believe you will walk away satisfied. – EWE

Dragon Quest Retrospective, Part 2 – The Lost Super Famicom Era

An Evil Wizard draws near!  Command?  And who the fuck are you that you think you can command me?  Ahem – welcome back, questors and questettes, to my look back a one of the seminal JRPG series of all time, Dragon Quest.  In this part, we take a look at what for many, many years were the “lost” gems of the series, at least for those of us that neither live in Japan nor read Japanese.  You see, Dragon Quest IV, being the last NES title in the series, was subject to the at-the-time usual delays in translation and localization, and hence was one of the very last games released for the original NES, and actually was released AFTER the Super Nintendo in the US.  As a result of this poor timing, sales of Dragon Warrior IV in the US were a significant decline from those of Dragon Warrior III – and Enix took this as a sign that the series simply wasn’t worth continuing to bring across the Pacific.  As a result of this, for many, many years the following two entries – including what is widely considered to be the pinnacle of the entire Dragon Quest series – were available only for the Super Famicom in Japan.  Thankfully, this would not always be the case!

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Released in 1992 for the Super Famicom, Dragon Quest V is widely considered to be the greatest entry in the entire series, by fans and the developers alike.  The series debut on a 16-bit system managed to retain all of the classic hallmarks of the series turn-based, JRPG roots while also managing to be revolutionary as well.  For the first time in the series, rather than the player controlling an entire party of human characters, recruitable monsters would join the hero’s party in battle, leveling up and gaining new abilities in the same manner as their human allies.  Monsters had a chance of joining after being defeated in battle, and while the active battle party was limited to three in the original Super Famicom version (four in the later remakes), additional monsters and party members would ride along in the wagon and could be swapped out between battles.  The original release had around 40 recruitable monsters, while later remakes of the game would increase this count into the 70s.  Secondly, while Dragon Quest III and IV began to flesh out the bare-bones narratives of the first two games, Dragon Quest V featured a plot that was truly epic in scale and scope – a tale that followed the hero throughout the entirety of his life, beginning with his birth and continuing throughout his adulthood.  To say much more would be spoiling a tale that you really should experience for yourself – and thanks to Square Enix’s love of capitalizing on its back catalog and talent for producing extremely polished remakes, the West finally got its chance at experiencing Dragon Quest V on the 3DS in 2009.  This remake was then flawlessly ported to iOS and Android in 2015 – meaning that regardless of your portable gaming system of choice, there is no reason for any fan of JRPGs to not play this gem.

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Released for Super Famicom in 1995, Dragon Quest VI again retained the classic core gameplay of the Dragon Quest series as a whole, while adding its own wrinkles and variations.  It was a marked graphical improvement over V, as the developers had several years of additional experience with the Super Famicom hardware to leverage into the visuals.  Gameplay-wise, Dragon Quest VI saw the return of the class system first introduced in Dragon Quest III, with some changes and expansions.  In addition, VI marked the first time in the series that characters could learn skills and abilities – techniques that were separate from classic spells and cost no MP to use.  Later remakes of III, IV, and V would add these as well, but the Super Famicom version of VI marked their debut for the series.  The story once again saw a hero and his allies combating a threat to the world – as well as their own amnesia after a failed attempt to defeat the villain previously.  While Dragon Quest VI is sometimes regarded as a bit of a letdown on the heels of the revolutionary Dragon Quest V, it is still a finely crafted, deep, and engaging RPG that is well worth experiencing by fans of the genre.  While the original release never came to the West, in 2011 a 3DS remake of the game made its way to the US and Europe, much as with Dragon Quest V.  This release was also later brought to iOS and Android.  Once again, both of these games are now readily available in convenient, portable form – any fan of JRPGs and classic games in general should make an effort to find them and play them.

And with that, we reach the end of this second part in our look back at the Dragon Quest series.  Next up, we reach the PlayStation era, and the return of worldwide releases for the series.  Until then, go find these games, goddammit! – EWE

Why Dragon Quest VII is the Most Psychologically Scarring Horror Game of All Time

SPOILER ALERT!

The following contains plot spoilers for a portion of Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past.  Proceed at your own risk.

Excuse me a moment, intrepid readers, while I finish rinsing out this latest dose of brain bleach that I have been using to try and undo the horror that has been imprinted on my mind while playing through Dragon Quest VII.  Not because it’s bad – quite the opposite, it is a fantastic JRPG.  It just also happens to be one of the most depressing, distressing horror games of all time.  Don’t believe me?  Think a game about spiky-haired, plucky youths on a journey to discover lost islands and beat up cute monsters sounds downright cheery, almost childlike?  Yeah, well, then you haven’t really thought about it enough.

I submit to you, poor souls, the utter-fucking-horror show that is the village of Regenstein.

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For the love of all that’s good, turn around and jump right back into that portal!

So the primary motivation of our young, innocent band of travelers is to restore the world’s missing islands, one by one.  To accomplish this, they journey into the past of each island and “solve” some type of dilemma pertaining to the period.  Once resolved, the island then appears in the present day for our heroes to explore.  Sounds just peachy, right?

Well, what about when our three happy kids arrive in the past to find the village of Regenstein…population: 1 living person, and a bunch of very worn statues.  Well, this seems odd.  I mean, these stone statues seem incredibly lifelike…but time has not been kind to them, and the elements have caused significant damage to them.  It’s a real shame.  Anyway, where the hell are all the people?  I mean, there is just this grumpy old man by the well, and all he will say is that this place is a cursed hellhole and we should get the fuck out of here.

But instead, let’s take a nap at the inn until nightfall.  Because in every horror film/game/novel, that is ALWAYS a good idea.

So during the night, our plucky protagonist begins to hear voices and wailing outside the inn, and like any self-respecting heroic idiot, he decides to do the brain-dead thing of GOING ALONE TO SEE WHAT IT IS.  And just in case you think “fuck that shit, I am not going out there” you don’t have a choice.  Yes, even if you see the horrible fate awaiting you, you must comply with it in order to advance.  Let the scarring begin.

The young boy soon finds one of the statues emitting a light, and he is treated to a vision of the past, on a day when the sky turned dark and a grey rain TURNED EVERYONE IN THE VILLAGE TO STONE.  Yup, all those decrepit statues you’ve been seeing – those are the villagers.  And they’ve been like this for some time.  But just in case the fridge horror hasn’t set in yet, after seeing this terrible curse inflicted, the statue of the man CRUMBLES INTO DUST IN OUR HERO’S HANDS.  So, yeah…that’s gonna require some therapy.  And as our poor boy stumbles through the town, statue after statue gives him yet another heartbreaking glimpse into the lives that these souls led, cut short by some fate they neither foresaw nor deserved.  It culminates in him seeing a vision of a young knight and his fiance, as the knight prepares to leave the village to secure food for the villagers.  Upon his return, they will celebrate by announcing their betrothal.  Guess who never saw her love again?

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At least this one didn’t die DIRECTLY in our hero’s hands.

So now, our poor, likely scared shitless hero finds the only other waking soul in the village – the old man by the well.  Now that he has seen the specters of the past, the old man decides to just dump the whole load on him.  The old man is actually one and the same as the young knight.  Yes, he left, secured food for the village, and returned just in time to see the end of the cursed rain that turned everyone he ever loved into stone.  And then he maintained a vigil for DECADES, watching over them and trying to find a method by which to end their petrification.  Sound awful?  Oh, don’t worry – IT GETS WORSE.

You see, eventually, the knight did discover a cure for the village’s condition – the Angel’s Tears.  Not only did he discover its existence, but he actually managed to secure it.  But then he realized the horrible truth – the elements had worn away so much of the stone that even if he were to use the Tears to reverse the petrification, the villagers would never be able to survive as flesh and blood.  That’s right – he had the cure in his hands, but using it would KILL THEM ALL.

But…but perhaps all is not lost – for our brave band of children discover a secret passageway leading to a high pinnacle in the center of the village, from which they release the Angel’s Tears.  The sky clears, and sun shines down…and the only villager restored is a single young boy who was trapped underground and sheltered from the ravages of time.  He emerges with no idea that any time has passed, that everyone he has ever known and loved is long since dead.  So what do you do?  YOU TAKE HIM ON A FUCKING TOUR OF THE VILLAGE.

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Way to accomplish next to nothing, hero.

You speak to each and every statue, as the boy, with growing dread, begins to realize how much they look like his mother, father, and best friend.  Finally, you bring him to the old man.  Each then finds in the other a reason to go on – I suppose because they are in complete shock as they are the only two survivors of their entire way of life.  Nonetheless, they thank our travelers and pledge that they will find a way to restore the village of Regenstein, and continue to seek out a way to cure their friends and family as well.  With that they set off.

Having accomplished (I guess) their task in the past, our three poor victims now return to the present to find…that the old man and the boy utterly failed in their task.  The site where Regenstein once stood is an empty field, devoid of any sign of the village except for the lone stone pinnacle in the center.  In fact, the player is tasked with BUILDING A NEW VILLAGE ON THE SITE OF THE OLD.  If you don’t understand what a horrible fucking idea that is, go right now and watch Poltergeist, then come back.  I’ll wait right here.

What’s more, in the present day, nobody as any idea that Regenstein even existed.  An entire civilization essentially vanished, and the only three people to have any idea are the three shattered souls who were forced to witness it for themselves.  And they can’t even share that burden because they have nothing to prove it with.

So the next time you are playing through Silent Hill 2 and thinking how Pyramid Head may give you nightmares, stop and realize: Pyramid Head can only kill one person at a time.  Dragon Quest VII killed off an entire nation EXCEPT for one, and then spent a lifetime driving that one to the brink of insanity, only to dangle a false hope of redemption in front of him before snuffing that out as well, and wiping them all from history.  THAT will leave a mark on your soul. – EWE

Must…Keep…Playing…

Good evening, my little devils/angels/non-denominational supernatural beings!  I believe that I have neglected to mention that NIS America has recently announced that Disgaea 2 is coming to PC in January 2017!  The Disgaea series is an anime SRPG dream – tons of different classes, wacky stories full of memorable and insane demons, angels, and humans, a near-bottomless well of skills, items, and equipment, and the ability to level all of those things up to level 9999 (that is not a typo) then reincarnate them with higher stats and do it all over again.  But above all else – murderous, peg-legged, dual-machete toting penguins that end every sentence with “dood” and EXPLODE WHEN YOU THROW THEM.  If you aren’t pre-ordering this now, something is wrong with you.

So, you know that one book, or game, or TV series, or whatever that just grabs ALL of your attention?  Like, you kind of want to do other stuff too, but you must continue partaking of it?  Well, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past for Nintendo 3DS is apparently that game for me.  I want to focus on writing a wonderfully witty, cutting, insightful entry for all of you out there – but I can’t stop.  I have to keep killing slimes.  I.  Have.  To.

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They all have to die.

 

But whilst I continue my slime death march, I can, in fact, bring a recommendation to any seasonal brew aficionados that may be out there.  I was in a local pub and discovered Breckenridge Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout.  Now, the name may be a mouthful, but the drink itself is absolutely superb – frankly the best seasonal pumpkin-themed beer I’ve had, and I’ve had more than a few.

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Find this, drink this, love this.

Finally, this is last call for any requests or recommendations for the next profile of a member of the gaming community!  Next one should go up soon!

Until next time friends, remember – when the best thing that can be said about you is “well, he hasn’t done anything OVERTLY racist, sexist, xenophobic, or bigoted in the last few days” then there is a better than good chance that you are both a terrible person and also not a good choice to be president.  #SorryNotSorry Trump fans. – EWE

RPG Madness; Profile Pondering

Salutations, my little whispers in the darkness (yeah, I’m running low on creativity).  It has been an incredibly busy week on the work front, which has led to a downturn in the amount of time I have had to spend here with you.  For that, I am sorry – I’m sure you have all missed me.  But on the bright side, after less than a full year practicing law, I am taking an issue before the Ohio Supreme Court.  Despite many, MANY character flaws (which if you’ve followed me this long should be readily apparent) I’m not normally one for bragging much – it feels uncomfortable.  But this is a pretty big career milestone, especially in this short of a time, so I am quite proud of it.  Given how extremely low my self-esteem has been for the past several months, it is gratifying to feel good at something.

But you didn’t come here to hear about me!  Or at least, not that bit.  I mean, this is all really about me and my thoughts.  So you kind of did come here to hear about me.  Huh.  I’ll be damned.  Again.  Anyway, another thing that has me quite excited is all of the recent happenings in the game industry, and particularly in the RPG space.  I’ll have more thoughts on some of the big announcements (PS4 Pro, etc.) in the coming days, but for now, this month is being extremely kind to my addiction to RPGs on handheld systems.

First off, we have The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II.  Yes, the name is a mouthful, but dear sweet mother of god, if you are a fan of turn-based, anime-inspired RPGs, this series is amazing.  Trails in the Sky FC and SC were two of the greatest RPGs I’ve ever played on the PSP, with amazing characterization and combat systems.  Cold Steel I took everything great about Sky and turned it up to 11.  Much like FC and SC, there is one continuous storyline across both games, and I’ve been waiting to play Cold Steel until I had access to both of them because I did not want to get to the end of I and be left hanging until II made it’s way across the Pacific.  Now it is here, and I am delighted.

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These kids will kick your ass.

Next up is one near and dear to my heart, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past on the 3DS.  This is a remake of the original Dragon Quest VII released on the PS1 around 2000.  Dragon Quest is one of my most beloved series, in no small part due to nostalgia – I received the original Dragon Quest as a gift for subscribing to Nintendo Power as a kid.  It was the first RPG I ever played, and the second game I ever played after Super Mario Bros.  DQ VII is famous for it’s tremendous amount of content – finishing the PS1 original was easily a 100 hour undertaking.  I can’t wait to relive it all over again.

dqvii
I still think that hat looks fucking stupid, though.

Finally, there is Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse on 3DS.  A retelling of the story in the first SMT IV from a different perspective, the main character in Apocalypse bears a more than passing resemblance to the Demi-Fiend, the player character in the seminal SMT: Nocturne for PS2.  Nocturne is one of my favorite games of all time – I have always loved the dark subject matter and various religious themes explored by the SMT series as a whole, and Apocalypse looks to scratch that itch.

smtiva
I’m telling you right now that I’m siding with Lucifer if I can.

Before I go for now, I wanted to pose a question to anyone still with me – I am wanting to prepare another profile post of someone in the gaming industry.  I have a few ideas, but I am very curious to know if any of you have any preferences?  Let me know in the comments below.  I tend to do most of my research for the profiles from open sources, but I am in no way averse to reaching out to people to see if I can find any information that may not be easily searchable.  If nobody has a preference, I can always go with one of my own.

Fare you well this evening, boys and girls, for I must go and continue binging through Pokemon X/Y in preparation for Sun/Moon’s upcoming release as well, but remember – even if the nutjobs are right (they aren’t) and Hillary Clinton is secretly dying (she isn’t), it means that she is spending her last days and remaining strength trying to save the country from a Donald Trump presidency.  This doesn’t make her unfit to serve – it makes her a goddamn motherfucking hero.  Until next time! – EWE