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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Monday, September 15, 2014

Impressions: eShop Coverage Part 2

More eShop titles than you can shake a 3DS at!
Sometimes, an eShop game is really bad and that causes me not to finish it. Other times, I let them pile up in my backlog because I decide to play Phantasy Star extensively. In any case, these are the games I was too lazy/disinterested/disappointed in to actually finish. But I DO have my impressions!

Weapon Shop De Omasse-
Pros: Charming dialgoue, interesting premise
Cons: MEDIOCRITY

It makes a good deal of sense that this game was the last of the Guild01 titles to come to the West- written for a Japanese audience buy a Japanese comedian, this game featured a lot of specific humor that needed a delicate localization. Fortunately, that is the one aspect of the game that shines through, with a deliciously strange story and a number of odd characters that fill the experience.

However, just about everything else in Weapon Shop De Omasse is disappointing. The gameplay barely scratches the surface of either weapon crafting or rhythm mechanics, and the store management element can really be avoided entirely if you craft as many weapons as possible- which isn't hard, because even if you want to read all of the strange Grindcast tweets everyone posts, they're not interesting or rewarding enough to read instead of crafting, which becomes so repetitive you'll lose interest by day three four. Which is what I did. Which is really too bad.

Kokuga-
Pros: Variety of special abilities to change gameplay, interesting mechanics and tense boss battles
Cons: Imbalance of enemy speed, range, and overall gameplay

Remember that godly shoot-em-up Ikaruga? Yeah! The guys who made that made a TANK GAME! YEAH! So it should be amazing, right? Well, sort of.

Kokuga has the player controlling a slow moving tank with a slow moving turret and slowly-recharging shots against numerouss foes that can shoot and move faster than you. Yes. That's the game. What you must do is utilize the numerous chips that are gifted to you at the start of each mission to get in there and kill everything before it even has a chance to react. This is a score-chaser's game, but the unpredictable nature of the chip distribution and the enemy movement is hard to wrap one's head around. Never mind that there are three difficulties, with each offering its own set of challenges that, by the highest difficulty, seem a bit ridiculous. But the main issue with Kokuga isn't the enemy activity, or the mechanics of the player character- it's that you can simply out-range pretty much everything except bosses. I found that, all-too-often, I was using all of my chips during the boss battles while I hung back and shot at things off-screen. It's simply too dangerous (unless you are precisely mapping out a level) to run into the thick of things and fire away- many factors, including enemy type, health, chips in play, chips on reserve, time, score, and placement, factor into each choice you make in Kokuga, and that is why it is an extremely frustrating game.

But every time you win, it is also extremely rewarding.

The Denpa Men 2: Beyond the Wave-
Pros: Tons of content, traditional RPG format and design
Cons: Insane grind, non-user-friendly-innterface

The Denpa Men is a strange title. Rather than relying on Miis, the player instead controls the Denpa Men, which are creepy looking guys in full body suits with antennae that can fight hard and kill weird monsters.

The most satisfying aspect of The Denpa Men is that the gameplay style harkens back the nondescript, class-specific RPG of ages past, including (but not limited to) a customizable home base, specific characters that work for certain situations, odd enemies that feature staple abilities, minigames and extra content out the ass, and more.

The Denpa Men is extensive- there's no denying that. BUT, it also implements a grinding system that does not favor the player- specifically, the weaknesses that certain Denpa Men possess make them extremely viable in certain situations, and absolutely terrible in others. But The Denpa Men requires the player to catch Denpa Men at their latest level, not when they are in their early stages- because a Denpa Man caught at a player's current level is the same level as the player, making the grind much less tedious... BUT a Denpa Man caught at a lower level that is perfect for a certain situation is still only the level it was caught at, and needs grinding to become the perfect soldier for a specific dungeon. Thus, the Denpa Men conundrum occurs. Do I grind my normal character to make them viable in the current dungeon, or do I grind my specific Denpa Men so they can tacle the current dungeon? The answer doesn't matter- you will have to grind, and it will be a tedious grind. No matter how much Denpa Men tries to streamline the experience, it's still going to be a hell of a grind. And that is great for a full-priced game, but it shuts down an easily-accessible game like a brick wall.

Glory of Generals-
Pros: Lots of content, fairly complex and satisfying strategic gameplay
Cons: Confusing and disappointing localization

WHOA GLORY OF GENERALS! You promised to be a Strategy-RPG with tons of content! That's a hefty statement, even on the eShop! Why don't you promise "a SRPG with tons of content if you don't understand our localization!"? How does that sound?

Yes, like Demon King Box, Circle Entertainment promises extensive content for the eShop if you're a Japanese speaking person. Don't get me wrong, Glory of Generals does a fairly good job of explaining how its mechanics work in the tutorial, but when they're put into effect (and include mission objectives, a nebulous goal that doesn't help the player in any way during the first playthrough) they fail miserably. If a player is a good strategist, they should be able to win on the first set of battles- they shouldn't have to see what they misinterpreted in order to actually win the battle during the second try. A strategist would be surrounded by those who can interpret to him properly, which is precisely why Glory of Generals fails as a strategy game.

It's a shame too, because the strategic mechanics of Glory of Generals are very sound. Flanking, using proper units, and the Generals themselves are extremely satisfying to use, but if they can't be commanded properly, the feeling of "extensive hours of content" becomes "how many times to I have repeat this mission until I understand the objective?" And trust me, that's not fun.

EDGE 3DS-
Pros: Great value, mesmerizing gameplay
Cons: Awkward control aspects

Ah, EDGE. You are a perfect indie platformer. Score-chasing, specific mechanics, a hauntingly familiar bit track... you have it all... don't you? Plenty of levels, plenty of strange gimmicks... but you're missing a very key element. Controls!

Edge is presented at an isometric angle, but the player can only use the direction inputs to move the player avatar. Even with the circle pad, you can only use up, down, left, and right. Navigating a isometric-moving avatar with those directions is... well, it's stupid. It WOULDN'T be stupid if the controls were mapped to reflect the view of the camera, but they aren't. "Up" is left in the game world. It's awkward to acclimate to these controls every time I play the game and that's pretty much it.

I'm not going to say that EDGE is a bad game- it has tons of levels, a great scoring system, and an awesome soundtrack. But it is not a game I will continue to return to because I don't like getting prepared to play it. Controls should be intuitive.

And that's THAT.

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