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Confessions of a Backlogged Gamer, Weeks 24-25: Shootin Manz, Part 2

I feel like I’m boring you.  Hell, I’m boring myself a little.  I really need to pick up the pace on at least one of my current games, because it feels like I’ve been stuck in a rut for a while now.  This means, of course, that for yet another column, I’m still in the throes of both the Persona 3 FES content and Crimson Gem Saga.  These are the perils of being an RPG aficionado, I suppose.  In the interests of… well, of being more interesting, however, I have continued my foray into the FPS universe by completing the first round of Halo and moving directly into the second.  Let’s start with the old stuff.

There are seven doors in the Desert of Doors, which is located in the basement of Persona 3’s dorm.  I’m on the boss of the fifth.  I guess that means I’m winding my way towards the end, being eighteen or twenty-ish hours into the content, but as Elaine and I have both discovered in our Persona playing, just because you get through the obvious stuff doesn’t mean there isn’t more lurking afterwards.  I suspect the doors may be most of what there is in this case, given that the content is supposed to take only thirty hours or so to complete (hah, *only* thirty hours…. that really says something about the rest of the Persona universe…. or perhaps it just says something about *me*).  I haven’t changed my opinion of the FES content in any appreciable way; it’s still essentially a really, really simplified version of the main storyline, with no Compendium, no social linking, and in fact, very little in the way of anything that isn’t straight dungeon grinding.  It’s retreading old ground (because I’m still fusing the very same Personas that I already had in my possession at the end of the main storyline), but without much of the content that so enthralled me in the first place.  Since I’ve already invested so much time into this already, I definitely will finish it, despite the frequently bitchy bosses, but honestly, unless you’re really, really strapped for more Persona content, or you have a serious need to see just how whiny Yukari can get without someone slapping her into a wall with a well-placed Ziodyne, I think I’m comfortable recommending that you give this one a pass.  Just wait for Persona 5 (oh, I hope, I hope, I hope….).

Crimson Gem Saga is the reason I habitually buy strategy guides.  In a cruel twist of fate, however, this game doesn’t have one.  What this practically means is that I get lost a lot.  Realistically, this isn’t so much a bad thing, because my ventures into unnecessary areas mean that I don’t have to spend a whole lot of time level-grinding, because it gets done along the way, but in practice, I do tend to get annoyed that I have to backtrack so often in order to find out where it really is that I’m supposed to be.  I suppose this could be because I’m just not a very good navigator, but I tend to think that this particular feature of the game could have been improved by simply blocking off the sections you don’t need to be in yet until they become relevant to the actual adventure.  Or, you know, by providing better directions.  Or a strategy guide.  Seriously, Atlus, would that have killed you?  I still enjoy the actual gameplay, but the frustration I tend to feel when I’m backing down a mountain that I accidentally scaled means that I don’t put very much time into this one at once, hence my slow progress.

I’ve mentioned, on the podcast if not in this column, that my goal is to get through the first three Halo games by the time ODST comes out, because I have developed a strange fascination with it and want to get the whole storyline under my belt so that I actually have some background and don’t end up being totally confused.  Also, you know, because Elaine has threatened me with serious owies if I don’t repay some of the Persona obsession that she, for some reason, seems to attribute to me.  Since last time, then, I have completed the first Halo and have moved on to the second.  I’m still playing on easy, and I’m still very bad at the game.  However, I have experienced enough to make a few blanket statements:

1.  Vehicle segments are not my thing. Yeah, I know that FPS games in general are really “not my thing,” but while I eventually get the hang of the shooty-shooty (sort of), driving that fucking Warthog is something I don’t think I will ever be able to do easily.  I may be the only person in existence who nearly failed the last stretch of Halo 1 because I almost ran out of time.  Elaine actually watched me play that part, and I think it was physically painful for her to not take the controller from me and finish it herself.  I’m even worse with anything that flies.

2.  I think I like Halo 1 better than Halo 2. I don’t know enough about the series to know whether this is a controversial statement or not, but after completing the first game and putting a healthy chunk of time into the second (as of now I’ve taken out the Heretic Leader to complete the first Arbiter section… I’m assuming that there is more than one), I definitely find myself enjoying the second game less than the first.  I think, by and large, this is a function of the way 2 is set up; there are a lot more “kill rooms,” and that just tends to get repetitive and boring.  Yes, I do enjoy killing things.  But really, staying in the same room until I cut down enough for the door to open?  Isn’t that a little 1989 arcade-ish?  However….

3.  The energy sword is fun. Particularly against the Flood.

Current backlog total: 98

Now playing: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2); Crimson Gem Saga (PSP); Halo 2 (XBox)

New games added: none (again, only borrowed teh Haloz)

Games completed: Halo (XBox)… but sadly, it doesn’t come off the backlog

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