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Confessions of a Backlogged Gamer, Week 36: Stupid Moon

Brace yourself, because it’s a landmark week.  I completed not one, but TWO games!  Of course, I acquired more than that in return, and it’s possible that I put off writing this column until I was done one of them so that I would have more progress to report, but… shhh.  It’s the thought that counts.  Right?

I probably would have finished Katamari Forever much more quickly than I did if it hadn’t been for the moon.  Yeah, that’s right.  The moon.  The moon has to be of a certain size before the King (well, in this case, it’s actually the Robot King) will allow it to take its proper place in the cosmos, of course, and I had some serious issues getting it big enough (that’s what she said).  Twice in a row, I went through the entire 15-ish minute level only to be thwarted at the last second by not being able to get the last 10 meters or so, which was incredibly frustrating.  I eventually emerged victorious, though, and completed the game not long after.  The penultimate level, by the way, is really kind of disturbing; having returned to his former fabulous self, the true King commands you to roll up the body of the Robot King, bit by bit, until you can roll up his heart (technically his reactor core, but it’s pretty much the same for a robot).  See, this is what I love about the Katamari series.  It’s SO adorable, but under that adorable, there’s a layer of fucked-up that they can get away with because of all the bright shiny colors.  Did anyone else notice that people scream when they get rolled up?  What about the massive property damage caused when everything gets lumped together?  And exactly what happens when stars and planets get sucked into that ball?  Massive destruction has never been so cute.

I continued to love Mario and Luigi as well, although towards the end of the game, there are a few parts that grate a bit.  The one that sticks out the most is the fact that the final boss fight took me TWO HOURS to complete.  That’s longer than the final boss fight in Persona 3 took (although granted, this one was a lot less perilous than that one).  I don’t know whether I was just lower level than I was supposed to be or what, but this really seemed excessive and out of keeping with the rest of the game.  Like any other fight in the game, all you really have to do is get the pattern down and then follow along until the enemy falls.  This is one of the instances where Mario and Luigi have to work together with Bowser, so of course there’s a different pattern for each battle scene, and after one false start where I died within the first few rounds, I didn’t have a problem with that.  I could have continued the fight indefinitely, and that’s what it felt like I was doing.  I even consulted an online faq at one point just to make sure I wasn’t doing something wrong because it was taking so long.  The only explanation I can really come up with is simply that I wasn’t doing enough damage, but given that I wasn’t having any trouble surviving and that I made it a point to fight as many random battles as possible during the game itself, I don’t think that should have been the case…. but what else could it be?  Anyway, I did finish the battle and the game, and that fight aside, I was very impressed overall.  I hope it isn’t another four years until the next!  (Probably will be, though…)

I briefly began Persona PSP this week as well, playing just long enough to get through the intro movies and get a quick look at the battle system and setup.  I’m not sure what I think just yet; it doesn’t feel quite the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and as I said, it was a short amount of playtime, so I’m hesitant to give impressions just yet.  I’m not a big fan of the first-person wandering, though.  The battles aren’t difficult to grasp, but they really do just dump you into the middle without any sort of tutorials or anything.  Normally I wouldn’t complain about this, and it’s not a huge complaint now, but with things like demon negotiations, it would have been nice to at least have the option to hear what exactly I’m supposed to be doing there.  I guess I’ll just have to mess with it some more and see what happens.

Current backlog total: 108

Now playing: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona (PSP); Wet (360)

New games added: Demon’s Souls (PS3); Halo 3: ODST (360); Wet (360); Dead Space: Extraction (Wii)

Games completed: Katamari Forever (PS3); Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS)

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