Week: End Game: On 07.22.12

Batman, samurai toasters and power stars galore in this week’s edition.

By Adam Sorice. Posted 07/22/2012 16:10 Comment on this     ShareThis

Every Saturday we ask our staffers “Holla, what yo playing dawg?!” and after they tell us that we sound incredibly stupid, they let us know in a marvellous round table format. From Pokémon Conquest to Professor Layton, we’ve got everything going on in this week’s Week: End Game: On so let’s not waste any time and get on with the games!

Bradly Hale
Well, let’s see here, I’m still playing Devil Survivor: Overclocked. I spoke on picking it up in the last segment of Week: End Game: On. I think I’m nearing the end of the game, which makes me a little sad as it’s been one hell of a ride. The story has been fantastic, and has completed captivated me, although it’s sometimes held back by the shoddy voice acting. Oh well – I can deal with that. I just simply love the demon fusion aspect, as well as the unique blend of turn-based and strategy elements in the battling system. As I said last week, I’m not a big fan of the Shen Megami world, as I find it a little too teenager-y for my tastes, but Devil Survivor has done enough right for me to overlook the stuff that usually annoys the hell out of me.

Aside from that, though, I also picked up Heroes of Ruin this week, which I’ve been playing off and on. I had somewhat low expectations of the title going into it, but thus far I’m enjoying it for what it is. It’s definitely not my favorite 3DS game, or dungeon crawler for that matter, but I appreciate Square Enix’s efforts to make a 3DS game with a streamlined multiplayer component. Regardless, I’m sure I’ll play this in conjunction with Survivor this weekend.

Somewhere over the next few days, I can almost guarantee I’ll get in a song or five in Theatrhythm. I praised the game in my review published on Nintendojo earlier in the week, and I’m still loving it despite putting in more hours than I probably should have.

Of course, I need to wrap up all of these games in order to make way for Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, which I’ll also be reviewing upon its release. I’m not a KH fanboy, but I do enjoy the series quite a bit, and have played nearly every title. Needless to say, I’m excited to see how they wrap up the Xehanort story arc; it should prove to be interesting, though, in typical Kingdom Hearts/Square-Enix fashion, convoluted I’m sure.

And to think, all of this gaming plus seeing The Dark Knight Rises. Hot damn, this is going to be a good weekend I suspect. Gush.

Andrew Hsieh

Who knew that Eduardo the Samurai Toaster was such a crazy game? Here in Taipei, it’s a little difficult to get excited about new games, mainly because I can’t get ’em in an understandable language (Japanese translations are only so accessible), so I can really only get excited about old games I haven’t played. And while Eduardo, the four-player WiiWare platformer shooter thing, isn’t quite a gem, it’s still pretty fun with four players. It’s like Contra, except you can turn on an option for friendly fire. And infinite lives. The two come hand in hand actually– and because of that we’ve never tried putting on finite lives. We think it might prove lethal.

I also recently got Mr. Driller W from the Shop. Yep, this weekend is all about WiiWare, friends. It’s a great resource and now that Wii’s nearing the end of its life (sob cry &c.) there’s never been a better time to look back and see what’s out there. Y’all should check it out. We’ve reviewed a lot of ’em.

M. Noah Ward

You might have heard on Nintendo Heartcast that I got a DSi XL a few weeks ago. Consider me an XL believer. Going back to my 3DS to play new games, after many wonderful hours with Professor Layton on the DSi XL the last couple weeks, was a bit of an awkward adjustment. I was spoiled by my DSi XL’s large screens and easier-to-hold form factor (it’s not like I actually take my handhelds around town anyway), and now I want all my systems the same size. 3DS XL is definitely on my acquire list now– but I can hold out until a more appealing color comes out. My lovely, flame red 3DS is hardly worthless– in fact, that’s where my current game time is going!

I acquired Theatrhythm last weekend and received Rhythm Thief last night, and played the opening stages of both. I’ve always had a soft spot for music games of any sort– back when I was freaking out over Parappa the Rapper, Bust a Groove, the first Karaoke Revolution and Space Channel 5, I really didn’t think music games would have gone through a boom or still be relevant fifteen years (gasp) later. And since Nintendo machines have received a fair share of fantastic third party and exclusive rhythm games over the last decade, you could consider me quite pleased. Especially when they’re this well done.

Both Theatrhythm and Rhythm Thief have distinctly different feels and gameplay, and I make no secret of being a Final Fantasy fanboy since I bought the original game for my NES back in the ’80s. Happily, Square Enix’s 3DS title is fantastic just as much from a nostalgia perspective as it is a justification for the many, many Final Fantasy soundtracks I’ve imported over the years. It’s a true convergence of a couple of my video game niche obsessions.

Yet Rhythm Thief was an even bigger surprise. I expected to love Theatrhythm (seriously, typing that title, as a grammar and spelling freak, is torturous), but I was trepidatious about Sega’s Unison-esque (told ya I was a music game junky) title. Yet, wow, it has terrific music, bold and popping graphics and animation, and several nifty story hooks right off the bat. I have to confess I had shuddering flashbacks to Doctor Lautrec at first, given that Rhythm Thief takes place in Paris and has you walking through the City of Lights via a top-down map (just like Lautrec!), but the excellent presentation and Layton-quality NPC character designs put that to rest. So far– highly recommended. Just like Theatrhythm.

Michael Contino

Hot on the heels of two exciting happenings in my life, I believe I deserve some much-needed video game time! The two happenings are my college award money covering my tuition this fall (first time I’m getting financial aid) and The Dark Knight Rises, which I can honestly say is my favorite movie of all time. WOW.

Now, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from playing anything with the exception of the Sonic CD demo on Android. This weekend will be different though. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is coming and it’s coming in fast so what better way to look forward to the upcoming coin rush than by pulling out the ‘ole New Super Mario Bros. Wii? Super Smash Bros. Brawl will also be knocking around inside my Wii with Pikachu leading the charge (sorry, Falco). My Wii needs more attention and so that’s where I’ll be this weekend.

I would also like to finish Alan Wake’s American Nightmare on Xbox 360 and maybe get some play time in on The Amazing Spider-Man. With The Dark Knight Rises spelunking my brain, I am tempted to pick up Batman: Arkham City, but with Wii U’s Armored Edition rising soon enough, I’ll have to think about it first.

Nicolas Vestre

Well, it finally happened– I’ve got my fill of Pokémon Conquest, at least for the time being. I’ve clocked in well over thirty hours, and I’ll probably finish it sometime this weekend. Of course, I’m not oblivious to the massive amount of content awaiting me after the main story, and I know the game will get much harder and much more interesting. However, there’s only so much leveling up and grinding a guy can do before he wants to go insane, so I’m taking a hiatus starting sometime this weekend. Eventually I’ll return and reap the rewards of my meticulous preparation for the post-game (it would be insane not to).

Fun fact: after beating Pokémon Conquest‘s main story, the link percentage between warrior and Pokémon is reset. So even if you get 100% link between Eevee and the hero, it won’t stay when you start a post-game episode. What will stay is Pokémon evolutions. So, if Takeyoshi’s Magikarp evolved into a Gyarados during the main story, in post-game stories he’ll have a Gyarados if you recruit him. Warriors can level up as well, but only in post-game episodes (the main hero being an exception). Money and most items disappear between episodes, with a few key exceptions.

Last night my sister asked me why I don’t have more Professor Layton games, which really made me think. I’ve had the first one for years, but the puzzles were quite daunting (meaning they took a really long time to solve), so I stopped playing early on in the game. My sister, however, gobbled the first one up and absolutely loved it. Because of this, I went and bought Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box and The Unwound Future tonight at Walmart. Amazon Canada and Canadian eBay sellers don’t exactly have the greatest prices for Layton games right now, so Walmart was definitely my best bet (the games were $20 and $15, respectively). This time I’m going to play the first game to the finish, and hopefully branch out to the sequels. Once again, Solatorobo gets pushed back in the queue. I think it’s because I secretly don’t want it to end, which keeps me putting off playing it.

I finally got all 120 Power Stars in Super Mario 64, and I’m really happy! Ironically, this was the first game I downloaded on the Virtual Console, and it’s taken me over five and a half years to finally get around to finishing it. At the end there were a couple of frustrating moments getting 100 coins on Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride. In the world of the clock, I achieved 99 coins when some camera mishap made me plummet to my death. Then, in Rainbow Ride, the 100 coin star spawned above a donut block, just out of my reach, so I earned the privilege of dying a slow death as the star got further and further away from me. But I didn’t ragequit, and I got 100 coins on both levels! I had already gotten all 150 Power Stars in Super Mario 64 DS, but until just recently never got more than the prerequisite to beat the final Bowser in the original Super Mario 64. Well, now I’m initiated.

As the Super Mario 64 chapter of my life comes to a close (for now), it’s time for another playthrough of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door! I just vanquished Hooktail without the the item that makes Mario’s attacks sound like something that begins with “cr” and ends with “icket.” I’m amazed at the people who attempt the Pit of 100 Trials before even fighting Hooktail! My foray into that deep chasm will probably be with the aid of many Zess Specials.

On the non-Nintendo front, I downloaded an innocent-looking update for Fez on Xbox 360. After loading my game, I was greeted with a frozen Xbox 360– it didn’t even get to the continue screen. So not only was my save file nerfed, but just loading the game rendered my Xbox moot. I’ve since deleted and re-downloaded it, and I’m ready to start anew. Thankfully, I wasn’t hugely far in the game when it crashed. It’s too bad that a real, working patch will likely never be released.

Now that we’ve shared our gaming exploits; it’s your turn! Let us know what you’ve been playing this week in the comments’ section below!

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