Confessions of a Backlogged Gamer, Week 34: How I Roll

Yeah, I know I used pretty much the same title for a recent podcast.  It fits, okay?

So, as you might surmise, I have been hitting the Katamari pretty hard.  Really, why wouldn’t I?  It’s bright and shiny, the music is as infectiously adorable as ever, and the King of All Cosmos retains his creepy awesomeness.  Even more so now, actually, because now there’s a robot version of him as well…

Katamari Forever has two basic sections: there are the new levels, which were created specifcally for this game, and the recreated old levels, which are prettied-up versions of those featured in previous Katamari titles.  This might sound like a cheap bid to get more play out of stuff that’s already been done, but it really isn’t.  The levels look gorgeous, even on my crappy non-HD screen, and they fit into the (admittedly weird) story perfectly; you’re rolling around in the King’s head trying to “wake up” his memories (i.e. the old levels), which start out in black and white and gradually turn colorful the more you roll.  There isn’t exactly anything particularly groundbreaking in this iteration, but as far as I’m concerned, there didn’t need to be.  All I really want to do is wad stuff up into my life, damn it.  Success!

I’ve crossed the twenty-hour mark in Dissidia, which is much more content than I was anticipating getting out of the title, and I’m still having a lot of fun with it.  I’ve gotten through the storylines of the initial ten characters, and I’ve unlocked all of the bad guys as well.  I haven’t really messed with the arcade mode, but I think I’m going to go for that when I’m done with the rest of the story mode (which is where everyone comes back together to defeat the ultimate evil and blah blah blah…).  Like I’ve said before, the actual story isn’t all that important to me here; it’s stereotypical JRPG stuff slopped into a fighting frame.  Whatever.  The great part is that the stages and the bravery system make this different from a standard fighter, which is (I think) why I like it so much.  Some of the characters are more difficult to use than others; there definitely seem to be a few balance issues from what I’ve played.  However, I even grew into those that I had the most trouble with (FUCK Terra, for example) by the time I’d spent five boards with them.  In the end levels, you can choose your character, and I’m going with Cloud for the time being (don’t look at me that way, he was higher level than Squall).  I confess to taking a peek at the strategy guide to see if anything else unlocked, and it looks like there’s yet more after I finish the bit I’m in now, so we’ll see how long I can keep this up.

I haven’t quit Pokemon Platinum, but I have shelved it for the time being, because I really, really wanted to play Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.  I’m glad I did, because the game meets and surpasses the expectations that I had from playing the previous titles in the series (which rank among my favorite handheld titles to date).  It’s been nearly four years since the last M&L (Partners in Time), but I fell right back into the mechanics as though I’d never left.  There’s a new facet to the gameplay now, as you control not only the titular plumbers, but also Bowser himself, who contains essentially the rest of the cast in his tummy (and other bits).  There’s some neat interplay between the two scenarios, and I’m interested to see how that continues to develop (I’m only about two hours in at this point).  Overall, I’d say this is a must-get, particularly if you enjoyed any of the previous games in the series, including the Paper Marios (essentially its sister series).

Continuing on the track of games-I-should-have-played-many-years-ago-but-didn’t-because-shooters-scared-me, I recently borrowed The Orange Box from Elaine specifically so that I could play Portal.  I was a bit apprehensive about doing so, because even though every person I’ve ever talked to has sung the game’s praises, I get nervous about these types of puzzle games.  I know this makes me sound like a big baby, but I was afraid I’d get too frustrated trying to figure things out, and the fact that it’s a sort-of shooter (which is, as we know, NOT my usual genre of choice) would only make it worse.  I’m very glad that I was wrong.  Rather than getting frustrated, I actually found myself getting excited when the insight hit and I figured out how to get through a particularly troublesome area.  The writing is hilarious, the puzzles are creative, and the game is just the right length at around three hours (for me, anyway).  If you haven’t played Portal…. well, I think I was the only one left who hadn’t.  But, you know, do it.

Current backlog total: 106

Now playing: Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS); Dissidia Final Fantasy (PSP); Katamari Forever (PS3)

New games added: Katamari Forever (PS3); Shin Megami Tensei: Persona (PSP)

Games completed: Portal (360)

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