I finished P3P. In three weeks. Yeah, I know. This is what unemployment can do to you, folks. Since I went into such excruciating detail about it last time, I won’t subject you to that again; all I’ll say is that some of the social links get pretty weird towards the end if you choose the female main character, particularly Aigis. Um… play the game to find out what I’m talking about. Yeah.
With that particular free-time-sucker taken care of, I actually made leaps and bounds of progress in other games this time around. Who knew you could actually get things done when you’re not obsessively playing 70-hour JRPGs? I certainly didn’t.
My first order of post-P3P play was getting back into Metroid Prime 2, a game that I had ostensibly been playing this entire time, but that in reality, I hadn’t touched since getting my ass back into Tartarus. Going back to a game like this after a break tends to be a bit difficult for me; not only do I have to remember where I was and what I was doing, I also have to make sure that I don’t mess up the (to me, at least) freakishly complicated control scheme and end up shooting myself in the foot (so to speak). I was, after all, coming from a game where pressing X was about the most complicated thing you ever had to do, so this was a bit of a leap. Thankfully, the strategy guide that I kept glued to my lap throughout the course of the game made the whole navigation thing much easier, so all I really had to acclimate to was the controls, and after an embarrassing twenty minutes or so, that wasn’t so bad either. I mentioned, when I was playing this before, that I didn’t particularly care for the whole light world/dark world mechanic, and while I never really got to like it, it does become less of an annoyance as the game goes on and you obtain more options that allow you to disregard the more annoying bits (like health-sapping). If I hadn’t had the strategy guide for this game, I honestly think I would have lost patience with the portal-hopping that becomes more and more important and less and less intuitive as you get closer to the end; I’m sure Metroid purists would tell me that that’s just part of the exploration phase, but I’m just too impatient. I don’t want to throw a controller, I just want to get the damn visor. So I guess I’m a cheater. Meh.
The next game I started after Metroid came to a close was Dead Space (yes, the original). I picked up the collector’s edition of Dead Space 2 shortly after it came out, largely because I simply got hooked by the hype train (predictably), but I never actually finished the first game; in fact, I didn’t put much time into it at all. So, in order to abide by my own rules, I started up a save from scratch and started scouring the Ishimura. I love survival horror games when they’re done well, and Dead Space certainly is; however, I am also a giant baby when I play them. I scream and drop controllers a lot, because I am extremely easily startled, and Dead Space does a lot of startling. I got progressively more and more paranoid as I played, both in the game and out of it; while Isaac spent a lot of time shooting dead bodies before they could get up and staring unblinkingly at vents, I had a positively horrifying trip to my dark, cold storage unit where a falling box nearly gave me a heart attack. It didn’t help that the lights in the hall were flickering, either.
Even though I don’t really “do” shooters, I’ve had one thing mercilessly programmed into me by both those I have played and by years of zombie movies: you gotta shoot ‘em in the head. Unfortunately, abiding by that maxim in Dead Space will get you very dead very fast, and as bad as I am at shooting things in the head, limbs are worse. Don’t get me wrong; I really like the mechanic, but it’s definitely more difficult to line up a shot that will take off a leg when it’s flailing around and (usually) running directly at you. The sights on the plasma cutter helped with this, which is probably why I exclusively ended up using that and the Ripper in my travels. With inventory management being a bit of an issue, I found that deciding on a minimal number of weapons and sticking with those eliminated the need to have a bunch of ammo for different things taking up space. That, and I just like to cut things up with giant flying saw blades.
I think my favorite thing about Dead Space, though, is the fact that it takes pity on the directionally-challenged, like me, and actually implements a navigation system that WORKS. Rather than simply putting a blip on your radar and expecting you to figure out what exactly is going on, you can, at any time, call up a beam of light that will run directly towards your next objective. It even adjusts itself as you follow along, so it’s not leading you directly into walls or anything like that. I really appreciated this; it might have felt too linear to some, but I get lost really easily, and this felt like an unobtrusive way to get that under control.
I believe I’m going to play Dead Space: Extraction for the Wii before I get into Dead Space 2, but before I do that, I decided I need a break, so I started up Trinity Universe for the PS3, a game about which I actually knew precious little, save that it’s a JRPG that has bright, flashy Japanese artwork on the box. That’s usually enough for me. Now… knowing my predilection towards Persona and others of that ilk, you should take me very seriously when I say that, as of now, I think I am prepared to name this the most Japanese game I have ever played. I know, right? Watch this trailer and tell me I’m wrong. As far as I can tell, my current mission is to knock floating objects out of orbit by traversing the dungeons inside them and destroying their gravity cores; if I don’t, the protagonist (the Demon Dog/God King) has to be turned into a gem in order to protect the town. There is a second storyline featuring a Valkyrie who has some as-of-now nebulous connection to my current character, but I don’t really know what her deal is yet. The gameplay is pretty standard JRPG fare; it’s turn-based, with some additions such as the ability to execute attack chains and special moves depending on how you set up your basic attacks. Dungeons are, for the most part, short and sweet, which I like; you do end up going back to the same places time after time, but the areas are small enough that it doesn’t feel tedious. There are a bunch of features that I haven’t messed with yet (and may not at all), such as a monster colosseum and a crafting system that I’ve only given cursory attention to; really, there’s an almost overwhelming amount of stuff here, and my biggest problem with this game so far has been that I’m not really sure how to tell what’s important or significant and what’s not. It’s definitely…. interesting, though. If you play with the sound off. Otherwise it’s a little annoying.
In progress: Trinity Universe (PS3); Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS)
Completed: Persona 3 Portable (PSP); Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Wii); Dead Space (360)
New: Dead Space 2 (360); Lord of Arcana (PSP); Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (DS)