Alright, I started to realize just how big Dragon Quest V is, and came to the conclusion that my heart wasn't really in it right now. So I'm tabling that one for a minute because I had a new release game calling out to me from my shelves and I decided it would take precendent. I've never played an Etrian Odyssey game before, but they always seem to be highly regarded. And this one has been sort of hyped as a sort of 3DS JRPG swan song (until Persona Q2 arrives, I reckon). I couldn't resist jumping in now.
I had literally no idea what to expect outside of some anime inspired sprite work. And sometimes, going into a game blindly is half the fun, right? So I started it up and found that you don't have preset characters and instead make up a party out of a huge list of possible classes and customizations. I sort of freeze up when it comes to making new names for characters in games. So the first thing that popped into my head was Xenomorph mythos. I guess cuz Alien Day is approaching. So I named the guild LV-426 and made up a party of five named after characters from various Alien films (and Blade Runner, for good measure).
I haven't played many first person dungeon crawlers, though I did love the original Phantasy Star back in the day, and the auto map makes this far less frustrating. I don't know how I really feel about annotating my map with the stylus (yet), though. We'll see.
I did a few quests - about two hours worth - and am starting to get the hang of things. I'm having a pretty good time, and can see how this could work as a bite sized quest compulsion for sure. So far, I pretty much like my party. I've got two frontline attackers, a healer, a defense and... um, some other one that I guess does like dark spells or whatever but right now feels slightly useless. I might try to swap in a different fifth and play with the party lineup until it all clicks with me.
Played a bit more Etrian Odyssey Nexus, though still getting the hang of things. I swapped out the Zodiac party member I had in the back line and made a new... um, I forget the class. The one that uses bow and arrows. I like her better than the Zodiac, as now I have a Hero, Defender and one of those spear-wielding warriors in the front, and a medic and archer in the back. Feels like a good (albeit basic) lineup.
Dicked around in the 2nd labyrinth for a while. A limit on what you can carry seems weak. It doesn't take long to pick up 60 pieces of loot, y'know? So I went back to the castle, sold some stuff, bought some better gear, and then did a bit of side-questing. Everyone's around level 8 or so, and I'm probably 3.5 hrs in, which is still super early. But the nice thing about the way the game is set up (IE: selecting quests from a hub menu rather than truly exploring the world map) makes me think that this will be a good "hour before bed" kind of game where I can just make slow and steady progress over time.
I'be been juggling a few games lately, but played s'more Etrian Odyssey Nexus last night. I'm five or six hours in now. My party is around level 14. It's definitely growing on me. Having never really spent much time with a true dungeon crawler like this, I realized last night that I can give it one rather high piece of praise: It sort of reminds me of Phantasy Star Online. Not in execution exactly. It doesn't play similar. This has first person dungeons and you need to make maps and it's turn based battles... but just, the structure. There's like a main hub and you choose some missions and go back and revisit dungeons again to do them. There's def a PSO vibe there in a good way.
It's the sort of structure that can compel me even when it's effectively just busy work. So like I keep revisiting the same dungeon and it's to grab a certain plant for a shop keeper; or a water sample for HQ, things like that. It's all about the grind, right? The turn based battles and leveling and looting - it may as well be clicky clicking in Diablo. Which again, is a compliment. Because even when not much is happening, I'm finding myself lose an hour or two in a flash.
There's allegedly some boss monter for me to kill in this dungeon but I can't seem to find it. Hmm.
Okay, so the claws of Etrian Odyssey Nexus have officially been dug in. You guys ever see the movie Brain Damage where that little alien Elmer sticks his needle in that kid's brain and shoots some weird blue stuff that drugs him all out? It's like that kind of. Less extreme, though. But damn, the loop of going into a dungeon, grinding, looting, going back to town to sell shit, get new weapons and armor, activate side-quests, rinse/repeat... it works. It's almost hypnotizing.
I dug through enough menus to find the automap feature and thank you. I don't care if that makes me less hardcore. It's super helpful. And I mean, you still need to annotate the map for everything, but at least it shows me the walls of the hallways I've been down now.
My party is all around level 17-18 now. Oh, and this is rich... I had leveled up 10 times before I remembered I had skill points to spend for each level. So yeah. I went ahead and upped some stats, haha. Spent a lot of time in the Lush Whateveritscalled dungeon (the 2nd one) and finally managed to beat the boss of that one before I forced myself to get to bed last night. Good stuff.
Also made s'more progress on Etrian Odyssey Nexus cuz I'm addicted. I killed the Wyvern in the third labyrinth. Which... have you ever seen a movie or TV show where someone is playing a video game in a scene and y'know, it's an Xbox One but it's making bleeps and bloops like an Atari 2600 and the dialogue of the characters in the show make it clear that the writers have never played a video game before? They would say something like "I just killed the Wyvern in the third labyrinth!"
I'm about ten hours in and my party is around level 24. At level 20 you unlock new skill options which is cool. Sort of like a job system I guess. Right now I feel like my healer is the one doing the least work. But I have a feeling keeping her leveled for later in the game will be smart. I have no idea how many (main quest) labyrinths are in the game. The only FAQ I can find shows four of them, so I don't know if that's the main story quest stuff, and then there's just a bunch of side quest stuff to flesh everything out, or if the dude just hasn't finished the FAQ. Side-thought: who even writes FAQs? It's such a huge undertaking, and I'd assume a fairly thankless endeavor. I'm impressed that someone could play a game like this and actually create a walkthrough in their spare time.
I continue to play Etrian Odyssey Nexus. And I found a list of all the dungeon bosses, which would seem to confirm to me that - my gawd - there is an incredible amount of content ahead of me here. With that said, it'll probably be the sort of game that I play for a bit before bed and make slow and steady progress on rather than being the sort of game that I can focus solely on, which would totally burn me out. Then again, I know my gaming habbits and probably around the time Persona Q comes out I'll get distracted by that game which is probably a lot like this one. But hey - I'm having a good time. I've sunk in a good 11 hours already and I feel like I'm getting my money's worth.
Y'know what? I don't know if I've ever played Mega Man 5 before. Weird. I didn't find it familiar. I had the first three NES games as a kid. And I do remember a buddy of mine getting the fourth game. And I wasn't too into that one. And then I think by the time that the fifth game came out I was more focused on 16-bit games. Hmm. So yeah I guess I must have missed this one until now. Which of course is why archival releases like the Mega Man Legacy Collection on Switch are so awesome.
It was actually kind of neat going into an 8-bit Mega Man game without being familiar with it. I was taken aback by the ability to charge your shots in this one. Now, I don't remember Mega Man 4 that well, so maybe that ability was in that game too? I don't know. I guess in my mind I always assumed it had started in Mega Man X, but apparently - what the heck do I know?
I have to admit something weird, though. Lately I've found that I'm enjoying jumping into the Mega Man games on these Switch collections and not actually beating them. I don't know what it is. I basically just really enjoy playing through all the main robot boss levels and then just quitting instead of doing the endgame stuff. I guess I just find those main levels more interesting - especially going against the robot masters and seeing how they behave.
Given that these robot masters were all new-to-me, it was kind of an interesting and fun little one-sitting endeavor. For instance, Charge Man? Wow. Capcom was really running out of... steam. (Sorry). But... on the flip (sorry), I thought Gravity Man's stage was cool and actually I wonder if it could have inspired stuff like VVVVVVV. So there's that.
All in all, Mega Man 5 seems like a fine 8-bit Mega Man game. It's not the greatness that is Mega Man 2 or 3, but it's certainly not a terrible game. Or even a bad one. It's pretty middle of the road, but definitely fun.
Over the weekend I fired up Sonic The Hedgehog via the Switch's Genesis Classics collection. In my mind, this was going to be a quick one sitting run through of the game. Over the years, I've played (and beat) the original Sonic many times. And while I contend that both Sonic 2 and Sonic CD are way better games, I've grown to find something really commendable about that first game. I last played it through maybe five years ago or so, and I found that by ignoring the hyped speed of the game, and taking things a little more slow and deliberate, it actually shows some impressive level design and fun platforming. Of course, not running super fast constantly as Sonic sort of feels like it's going against the point of the game. And really, in Sonic CD I can just hold Right on the d-pad for most of the game and feel awesome. So whatever.
The real pain in the ass for me in this game is that water level. Oh man. That's the level that really kills the momentum of the game as a whole. And for me, the only way to play that level without stressing out is to go super slow, and stop at every little bubble patch to get a fresh breath. I hate games where you need to keep replenishing air so you don't drown. (Hello, Ecco). But for the most part I've always had great nostalgia for this game. The bright colors, the wonderful music. I mean, that chill music on the bonus stages sounds like Christmas morning to me.
For years I've been a total Sonic apologist. And really, that comes from being a big Sega kid back in the day. I mean I had all the Nintendo platforms and all the Sega platforms. But for a long time I feel like I just really connecting with Sega. And for all the bad Sonic games that have mucked up the Sega name, I always swore they were better than people gave them credit for. And that *probably* I was a bigger Sonic/Sega fan that I was a Mario/Nintendo fan. But the past few years this seems to be really shifting.
Over the past year or so I've been doing a lot of replays of stuff that meant a lot to me as a kid. And y'know what I've been finding out? I think maybe I've been wrong for a while. Having replayed Super Mario World a few months ago, it's clear to me that it's not even close. When I was a kid I loved that game and I loved Sonic. But Sonic seemed so NEW and flashy. It was brash and Sonic had 'tude. Meanwhile, Mario was just doing Mario. Albeit, to perfection. When I think back, this is really a good metaphor for Sega vs Nintendo as a whole. I probably played way more games on my Genesis as a kid. But the games I played on SNES (Link To The Past, NBA Jam, Street Fighter II, Mario Kart, etc) are games that really really hold up. It's a quality over quantity thing, the way I'm looking at it now.
So yeah. I still really respect that first Sonic game. And I still think it's pretty impressive. And it still holds a TON of nostalgia for me. But playing it so soon after Super Mario World, I'm realizing that I don't actually enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I remembered. Huh.
If forced to choose, I'd say without hesitation that Mega Man X is my favorite MM game of all time. No question. I grew up playing the NES games and was definitely a fan. But it was this release on SNES that cemented itself as the pinnacle for me. I spent so much more time on MMX than any other game in the series. Part of that is because of all the secret stuff in the levels which gave you a real reason to go back and explore. I still remember how amazing it felt when I first go the haduken back then. Oh my goodness. And so throughout the years, I've found myself revisiting this one time and time again.
For all the baffling decisions that Capcom has made in recent years (most recently this stupid arcade plug-n-play, or their approach to the Resident Evil games on Switch), I must give props where due on these Mega Man collections. Okay, okay, obviously I'd much rather if ALL the games were included on the cart. But my favorite of the original Mega Man Legacy Collection were in the first volume anyway, and I'd say the same about Mega Man X Legacy Collection as well. So I can't be toooo bitter.
Mega Man X is such a comfort game for me. And it totally defines the SNES era in my mind. It's up there with stone cold classics like Super Mario World, A Link To The Past, Super Street Fighter II Hyper Awesome Edition Featuring Jumpman, NBA Jam, Mario Kart and so on as these games that filled hours upon hours of my youth. These are chicken soup for the soul games, baby.
Everything about Mega Man X is spot-on perfect for me. The color palette; the sprite work; the level design; the music. I love how cool X looks in this one. I even love the bosses. And I mean little things... that opening level that's meant as a quasi-tutorial. Or the way that Launch Octopus taunts you with his "you're going down" animation at the start of the battle. There is just layer upon layer of love put into this game.
So over the holiday weekend, I crammed in some Mega Man X and played through the main boss stages. Now I'm going back and working on getting all the upgrades before I make my way towards Sigma. I think I did this again like five years ago or so and had a blast. And once again, I'm loving every moment of this replay. Just the fact that I want to go back for the upgrades is a testament to how much I love playing this game. Most retro games that I revisit for the umpteenth time it's like I just wanna rush through. Not with Mega Man X. I savor every moment.
Played a bit more Mega Man X. The one upgrade that drives me nuts - and I'm sure drives most players nuts - is the one in Flame Mammoth's stage. The jump needed to get to the blocks just feels SLIGHTLY too far a jump. And then pulling off the block-breaking takes some precision. It took me like fifteen minutes of attempting to jump there properly before I pulled it off. And in the end, I ended up needing to do with the Pro Controller in hand rather than playing in handheld mode. But ugh, glad that's done.
So now I've got all the upgrades... except that Hadoken. I totally forgot that you need to have gotten ALL of the the heart tanks and ALL of the e-tanks in order for the Hadoken upgrade to even appear. So I'm not sure I'll bother. I don't feel like I need all those extra hearts and e-tanks to beat the game. I don't know. Maybe I'll give it a shot. I guess a couple of them would be helpful. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll give it a shot, but if I get impatient I'll just make a rush for Sigma instead.
I've been enjoying the slow trickle of NES games being added to the Switch Online service. Sure, it's no Virtual Console. But I've bought plenty of those games over the years on Wii, 3DS and Wii U. So I'm happy to just kind of get a surprise handful of 'free' games each month now. It also serves as a weird impetus to play stuff that I probably wouldn't otherwise. Case in point - The Lost Levels.
I should put up the disclaimer that the Super Mario Bros 2 we got in the US is actually one of my favorite Mario Bros games period. As insane as this might sound, I probably like it more than SMB3. I certainly revisit it more often. And in truth, I didn't even know that a more 'traditional' SMB2 existed in Japan until it was localized as part of Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES. I remember getting All-Stars for Christmas in 1993 and being really excited to play this new-to-me game, now dubbed "The Lost Levels." And I also remember being really underwhelmed when I finally played it and moving on pretty quickly.
And that was the last time I played The Lost Levels. December, 1993. Even when that Wii All-Stars compilation was released (and seriously lacking Super Mario World), I didn't even bother replayinig Lost Levels then. I don't know. I just used it as an excuse to revisit SMB2 and 3 in their 16-bit reimagined glory.
But something about it rolling out to Switch piqued my interest. I think it's the fact that (correct me if I'm wrong) this is the first time that the original 8-bit version of the game has been released in the US. It's kind of neat to see that Fami box art in the games list, with the US title of The Lost Levels. Of course, any real localization efforts are clearly minimal given that the title screen itself just reads "Super Mario Bros 2." But whatevs.
So yeah, I fired it up while my wife was watching a movie last night and... I'm still pretty underwhelmed. Look, the original Super Mario Bros is an undoubted classic. However, if I'm being honest I think that for me personally, I kind of think of the game highly because of its historic importance. And I don't just mean GAMING history - I mean, my own gaming history. Before the NES dropped I had a C64 and an Atari 2600. Those were the primitive games that I knew. And when a friend got a NES and showed me Super Mario Bros for the first time, it blew my young mind properly. That game (and a small handful of others - Ice Hockey, Excitebike, etc) were responsible for making me beg my parents for a NES and turning me into a video game junky from a young age.
I played the hell out of the original back then - as we all did. So everything about it remains iconic. Yet, when I revisit it every few years, I find that it's more a nostalgia thing. It's like going back to see an old friend. It's comforting, but at the same time it's not quite as fun to me as Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros 2 (US). Those are the ones I go back to the most because I just love playing them.
So now playing Lost Levels feels to me like... I don't know. Like playing a ROMhack of SMB. It's like the first game but stripped of those things that give me the tinges of nostalgia. The familiarity of the levels is gone. And dickish things like poison mushrooms are present. You can totally argue that those dickish inclusions are what makes the game so interesting - and I could even agree. But I just don't find myself having much fun playing it.
That's a lot of background just to say that I fired the game up again for the first time in 26 years and found out I still don't really like it. But it is what it is. I played for an hour or so and it felt like masochism. I kept getting annoyed, and rolling my eyes, and finally decided to move on. But on that note, I guess it's interesting that you could look at this game as sort of the beginning of these uber hard trial-and-error platformers that are still pretty popular today. I mean stuff like Super Meat Boy or maybe Celeste or MAYBE even Cuphead share some DNA with The Lost Levels, right? I guess you could make the argument that something like Spelunky (OMG we need a Spelunky port on Switch!!) took some cues from the difficulty of The Lost Levels. Maybe I'm stretching. New Super Luigi Bros definitely, though.
I started playing DQ5 this week (thanks to rlh). I've been in a pretty JRPG mood lately. I think it's a gamer's version of nesting. Our first child is due in June, and I've found much of my gaming habits have shifted over to playing sort of slower games on a handheld next to my wife on the couch while she watches TV/falls asleep. I don't really feel like hiding in the game room lately, less I miss the baby kicking and things like that. Also, RPG's on 3DS are pretty great for doctor's waiting rooms, so there's that.
I haven't had a TON of experience with the Dragon Quest series in the past. Although, as best my memory can recall, my first RPG ever was Dragon Warrior on NES. I got it free with my Nintendo Power subscription back in the day, and played it a lot. Although I was too young to really understand how it all worked back then. So like, grinding made no sense to me for instance. I'd just dive headfirst and get slaughtered. Not long after that, I got Final Fantasy and found myself much more connected to that series over the years. By the time I could really understand how RPG's worked, it was games like Final Fantasy Legend that really clicked with me.
I finally played another DQ game around 2008 - this time the rather raved about Dragon Quest VIII. It was an impressive game. Super pretty. And gigantic. But alas, my attention span around this period of my gaming life just wasn't really meshing with huge RPG epics. I was more in an arcade-y zone at the time. So I really didn't stick with DQ8 for long. It's one I'm sure I'll revisit again at some point. But, as I said - my Dragon Quest series experience has been limited thus far.
I should mention up top that for the past few weeks I had been playing Final Fantasy IV, so I can't help but now compare DQ5 to that game - unfairly perhaps. I'm sitting about three hours into DQ5 right now, and it's a bit slow starting so most of my current thoughts are just initial reactions. First of all, the DS remake looks completely gorgeous. The way it utilizes both screens for a big portrait mode looks great. Going from FF4 which used one screen for the gaming area and another for a map, this port makes it look like I'm playing DQ5 on a big screen.
There's some sort of QOL stuff that feels like a step back from the FF4 DS remake, though. And again, that might be unfair. Effectively, I'm comparing systems from a Famicom game to a Super Famicom game. I get that. But just little things like some of the menu navigation, or not being able to properly save my game 'anywhere.' (I know quick save is there, so maybe I'm being pedantic). A run feature would have been nice for the slow-moving world map, though. And I don't personally care for the camera rotation with L and R buttons.
That said, I'm having a good time. I'm certainly getting flashbacks to the original Dragon Quest even. Namely, the grinding. I didn't feel like I had to put too much thought into grinding in FF4 for example. But I just spent a whole hell of a lot of time dancing around this first village trying to get me and the girl (I'm super bad with remembering names, FYI) leveled up enough to afford all the good gear before we made our way up to the tower. Once we got there though we were level 10 and 11 respectively, so ghostbusting was a cakewalk.
I don't love this game yet, but it's still early. And I definitely like it. Probably I like it a lot. At least the charm of the graphics and music and cute little slimes.
I'm a little over 7 hours into Dragon Quest V, and really started to enjoy it. There's a definite charm to it that's keeping me happy. And my gawd, the visuals are fantastic using the two DS screens in tandem. When the game started, our hero NOISE was just a kid. But now it's ten years later. The biggest development here is that I've got myself a wagon which means I can now recruit monsters. Oh, baby. It's like Dragon Quest x Pokemon. Except this game was originally released long before Pokemon. So y'know. Whatever.
In my mind, the Slime is the face of Dragon Quest. So in that sense, recruiting a Slime and keeping him in my part for the entire game is akin to recruiting Pikachu in a Pokemon game. Luckily for me, the ever abundant Slime was the second monster to join up. I've also got a little whack-a-mole dude who was actually the first to be recruited, and some kind of mushroom guy who I have in the wagon. I plan on keeping the Slime around forever but I'll prob swap out the other monster whenever I find something cooler.
Noise is sitting at level 14 and Prince Harry is 12. The Slime just hit level 10 and has learned some magic. I have him decked out in some fangs and armor and he's holding his own pretty good by now. This game is good stuff.
Remember how I said I couldn't help but compare this game to FF4 just because I was playing that one last month? Well here we go. One thing that is SUPER nice about DQ5 is that when a character leaves your party, they give you all their gear back. That's a great touch. NO idea if that was in the original SNES version or something that was added as QOL in the DS remake. But it's welcome! I'd get so pissed when I'd spend a bunch of money to deck out Kain or Cid and then kiss that stuff goodbye when they left the party. I suppose I could have checked walkthroughs first, but where's the fun in that? I want to play the game with all the surprises left intact. But yeah... not losing all the gear is a welcome touch.
So where am I? Oh, I went through this portal thing and found Ra's mirror and brought it back to the castle so we could find the imposter queen. That boss battle was laughably easy (so maybe I'm leveled up right where I want to be). Harry left the party, as did Maria. So now I'm rolling with my three monsters. Fingers crossed that I find myself a Slime Knight soon. I wouldn't mind a full party of various Slimes. Anyway, we hopped on a boat and headed for a new area... which made me realize just how big the overworld is and how little of it I've seen so far.
Made some decent progress in DQV last night. First off, I went off to find a monster who had been terrorizing a small village. It turns out... it was the cat I had a decade earlier. Sweet! So now he's in the party along with my Slime and Mole. I did some grinding for a while, hoping to get a Slime Knight. No luck. Grabbed some other monsters in the wagon that I probably won't even use. Meh. Then I went off and helped a professor with an experiment which granted me the Zoom spell. Visited the homey Harry, and found out he and Maria had gotten married. He gave me a love contract thing, so I guess that means I'll be able to 'ship. Then went and visited a new village where I briefly met the blue haired gal who I think has a crush on me. I'm about 11 hours in now... still a great game.
I started playing Final Fantasy IV over the weekend. I last dabbled with this game via the GBA port around 2009 or so, and at the time was sort of overwhelmed by a large backlog which tended to keep me away from longer RPG's. I think at the time I was way more focused on fighting games, shmups and other arcadey experiences. And so my memory was firing the game up, playing it for an afternoon and then bailing because I got distracted by something else. It had nothing to do with the quality of the game. It was always a "someday I'll get around to this classic" deal.
A few years later when the PSP version was released I picked that one up with the intention of playing through the After Years prequel first, and then the full game. Except... I was still pretty much in that same phase referenced above.
And so... it's been a long time, but here we are. I'm now playing the remake on DS and I'm quite impressed with it. For a split second the updated graphics threw me off. I guess I forgot this was a full-on remake - which I should have remembered given that I'd played the Final Fantasy III remake a few years ago. And though the beautiful SNES sprite art is missed, I have to say they did a good job translating the visuals here.
So far I picked up Rydia and spent some time grinding so that she'd not get killed in a single hit. The benefit is that she's learned a few new spells on top of that. We met up with that guy... um, Anna's dad? His spells were pretty killer, but after we (easily) beat the kraken he got swapped out of my party for the spoony bard. We're off to kill an antlion except the bard is quite a few levels beneath Cecil and Rydia, so I'll prob want to grind him up a bit first as well.
Continuing on with Final Fantasy IV, and having a really good time with it. I grinded a bit so Edward could survive a fight. His Hide ability helped make that happen too. Then we went and explored the Antlion's cave. Dungeons are fun to explore in this game since (at least in the DS version) you get some extra loot for opening up the full map. It gives incentive and makes it feel less tedious. Having said that, I zigged when I should have zagged and entered into the bossfight prior to finding a safe place to heal up and save the game. I didn't realize the eye color thing on the Antlion right away, so got beat up pretty good. So unfortunately I had to redo the whole dungeon over again, which killed some time. The Antlion was no problem the second time around.
Went back to rescue Rosa and then picked up the bald karate dude and now we're chilling just outside a village north of the icy mountains there. So making some good progress. I'm glad I'm taking the time to really focus on this one. I've played a lot of Final Fantasy games over the years - the majority of the mainline and quite a few spin-offs, and I'm already feeling like this one is absolute top-tier.
I just checked a walkthrough to gauge how far I am into Final Fantasy IV. It looks like I'm just about 50% through, as I'm sitting at the boss battle against Scarmiglione. I am absolutely loving this game. Exploration is so rewarding. And because your party is constantly getting switched up, it makes grinding feel interesting and meaningful. As it stands, this is easily in my Top 5 FF games of all time right now.
I didn't have much time to play FFIV last night, but made it to what I think is a pretty big milestone in the game: Cecil is now a Paladin. Winning a battle against his own dark side by NOT attacking was a pretty great touch. Of course it threw me off to leave that battle and realize that becoming a new class meant that he was now lvl 1. Yikes. So I'll do some grinding and go buy some new armor and everything. But that's what I am loving about this game - it just keeps tossing curveballs, which isn't always what the Final Fantasy series is known for.
Final Fantasy IV continues to be awesome as I approach about the ten hour mark. I've had a tough week, and this game has been a great way to unwind before bed. I spent some time grinding Cecil back up to level 20, and it fit well with listening to The Office on Netflix. Then went back to Baron and found um, the bald dude again. I'm so bad with names. You know who I mean. Anyway, we did some sneaking through some underground tunnels and backdoored our way into the castle. There was a big battle against this water based boss and that was a ton of fun as three members of my party had access to thunder so we roughed him up pretty good. Then I sat thru a long Kojima-ish cutscene that at least had that classic soothing Final Fantasy title screen music that lulls me so well. Then I noticed that I should have already been in bed.
I'm a little over 11 hours into FF4 now, and still having a blast. I went into that cave that has a magnetic field, which was interesting. I did a bit of grinding in there, so my party is all level 30+ now. Took me a couple of tries to defeat the boss in there - his dragon form was pretty strong. Anyway, now I'm following Kain to go find Rose. We'll see.
Okay so this was infuriating. I went into that big tower that Kain led me to in FF4 and I could tell I was a bit underleveled. Everyone was around lvl 30, so I figured I'd take it slow to grind for a bit on the first couple floors. Then I got cocky. So I kept going up. By the time I got to the fifth floor, everyone was around lvl 34 and then... I got wiped out by some enemies I hadn't encountered yet. And I lost a good hour plus of grinding. Bah!
Spent some time in waiting rooms yesterday, so worked on FF4 s'more. I meticulously went thru Zod Tower. I decided to maximize grindage, I'd do a floor, leave, heal up/buy potions, save, go do the next floor, rinse & repeat. By the time I got to the three sisters, they were a breeze. My main mage is gone now (I'm bad with names... begins with a T...), which is a bummer because I'd have unequipped his armor first haha. But now I've got Rosa and Kain back which is awesome. The next boss was that serpenty looking one that uses tornadoes and lightning. It was a little bit of a tough battle in that it required a bit of strategic thinking, but I ended it pretty quickly.
I still love this game. Hard.
Alright so a lot of stuff has happened in FF4. I'm 16 hrs in now. Cecil is lvl 35 now if I recall. We visited a small island town and looked at the moon from an observatory. This game just oozes charm. Anyway, we opened up the underworld and made friends with dwarves. Took on a couple of bosses. Rydia came back and now she's got black magic and better summons. Next up, we're off to try to snatch seven crystals from the enemies' keep. This game rules. I'm pretty sure it's now my favorite Final Fantasy game that I've ever played.
I'm about 20 hours into FF4 now. And have now seen (spoilers) Yang and Cid sacrifice themselves. There's a lot of that in this game. It's interesting that the party changes so much so constantly. Although, it sucks when you lose some good gear with no notice.
Made some progress in FF4 over the weekend. I'm like 25 hrs in now. I'm in the little cave in the southern end of the underworld map. The one where you need the upgraded flying ship to access it. I'm doing a bit of grinding in here to level up the guitar player from U2. I feel like I'm heading into the end of the game, and everyone's around level 50 right now.
Alright well, I made it to the moon. I'm definitely not leveled up enough to be there though, so I'm thinking that I'll take a break from FF4 to focus on DQ5 for a while now. This seems like a good stopping point so I can come back to it later.