Back in the day, Game Boy was my jam. I had absolutely loved the original Final Fantasy Legend game. Even knowing now that the Legend games weren't actually FF games, but rather the "Saga" series, I don't care. TO ME, they were new Final Fantasy games on GB, and that meant a lot.
When I was in elementary school, this kid on the playground told me that he had Final Fantasy Legend II - which seemed impossible, because it didn't exist yet. Well, it just didn't exist in the US yet. See, his mom had gone to Japan for some reason and brought him back some GB carts - one of which was Final Fantasy Legend II. I somehow convinced him to trade me that cart, and though I was confused why it said "Saga 2," sure enough, it played and looked just like Final Fantasy Legend.
Of course I was a kid, and I couldn't read Japanese, so I had no idea what was going on. But the story sticks with me because it was my first import game. It was also the first time I realized that video games were global, and that most of the ones I liked were made in Japan, not where I lived. Interesting.
Anyway, I now possess a US cartridge, and I MIGHT be playing it for the first time in English. I know I replayed Final Fantasy Legend, and Legend III about a decade ago. But I'm not sure if I replayed the second one at the same time. Unfortunately, I don't have the cool manual/guide that came with it, but I do have my trusty issue #27 of Nintendo Power which has some maps and stuff.
This game, like the other "Legend" games is weird. For instance, your stats do increase as you grind, but I don't see a discernible level. So I don't know what level I am; I can only look at stats. So far I have found 15 Magi, out of 77 I believe, so I'm like a fifth of the way, progress-wise.
My party consists of a human (NOIS, because you can only name your party members with four characters); two mutants named Toxi and Jean (Grey); and a robot named Ash, because Alien rules. RIP Ian Holm.
Anyway, this game is fairly great - just like I remember the series. It's weird, and unique. But it's also massive and fun. It's amazing to me how we got such quality JRPG's on the GB, and how some of them - like this series - seems unloved, or at least rarely remembered. The Legend games did get DS remakes in Japan, but in the US they seem to remain curious lost to time.
I've made some more progress, but I'm feeling mixed on my experience playing Final Fantasy Legend II. On the positive, I think this is a truly impressive game, especially given the time period, and hardware. However, it's also a truly old school RPG. And it feels way more hardcore than its closest contemporary, Final Fantasy IV (AKA "Final Fantasy II") which was released on SNES the very same month as this game was in the US.
Even after the four or five hours I've put into Legend II, there's a lot of stuff I don't really get. A lot of stuff I'm not sure about. Like, the whole leveling thing is weird since it's just stat increases to individual stats. It's not truly gaining levels. So I'm never really sure if I'm grinding enough or way under-leveled. I got to Giant Town and the armor there is absurdly expensive. Is that because I SHOULD be grinding enough to afford it, or is it there to almost laugh at you because it's prohibitive? And what's the deal with upgrading the robot? And these weapons break, really? And why can't my human use the rapier? I mean he CAN, but it seems to miss 100% of the time? What's up with that?
I could have really benefited from a full strategy guide for this one, but alas none was ever made. The game did come with a starter guide, but I don't have that. All I have is my Nintendo Power #27, which helps a bit... with maps anyway.
I feel like the original Legend game was pretty hardcore too, but at least a bit more straightforward. Maybe because it wasn't as vast. This is the sort of old school RPG you're probably meant to spend A LOT of hours with. In that regard, it feels even meatier than Final Fantasy IV did to me. At least in FF IV it feels like there's a pretty linear path to follow.
I left off after I shrunk done and started exploring Ki's body, but I feel very under-leveled at the moment.
Overall, I feel like Legend II is not as good as the original or the third game in the trilogy. But it is an amazingly impressive game. And one I'm glad that I played a bit of. And in fairness to the game itself, I might just not be in the mood for a huge 8-bit RPG at the moment, which is certainly not the game's fault. But I like this game, and it further cements my love of Final Fantasy as a whole, including all the weird spin-offs like the Legend series.
The Trine series is one that I've always heard good things about in passing, but never really paid any mind to. To be honest, I didn't even really know what the games were. They looked like basic platformers to me - albeit with pretty graphics. But that's all I really knew. But after reading a very positive review in Nintendo Force, I added Trine 4 to my Amazon wishlist, and recently saw it at an especially low price and grabbed a copy.
It's kind of fun going into a game not really knowing what to expect. At this point all I knew was that it was a platformer with puzzle elements. Having now played for an hour or so, I can say that it's nothing mind-blowing, but it IS fun.
So Trine 4 reminds me a bit of a modernized take on like The Lost Vikings or something like that. Yes, it's a platformer. And yes, it has puzzle elements. But what's neat is that you constantly switch between three party members, each with their own skill set which will aid you in the puzzle solving.
I'll be honest, I don't care AT ALL about a story in a game like this. So I've skipped every cut scene. And I don't know the characters names. I don't care.
There's a wizard who can pick up objects and move them with telepathy, and he can create a box out of thin air. There's an archer who plays like she's in a 2D Assassin's Creed game who can shoot ropes. And there's a little warrior dude who can attack with a sword, or deflect objects with his shield. These are your tools. Now go solve puzzles.
It's too early to really tell, but it SEEMS to me that puzzles don't have a "right" solution, so much as just you need to figure out how to proceed using any of these skills. That's how it comes across to me right now anyway. And I'm having a good time with it. Few of the puzzles have been true brain busters, though some have taken me a few minutes rather than just breezing through. And it's interesting to have boss battles in a game like this.
So yeah, I'm not in love with the game or anything, but I'm having fun and it's been a nice surprise so far. A google search says this game is about twelve hours, so we'll see if it gets compelling or overstays its welcome. But so far, so good.
Trine 4 actually works well for what it is. Like I said, I skip all the cut scenes because I don't care. But as a pure puzzle platformer, I like it. It's a nice game to fire up for an hour before bed, make a little progress and then that's it.
As opposed to something like say Boxboy + Boxgirl which I played a while ago, this is a better fit for me. It's more interesting. It looks better. The puzzles are more interesting but less annoying.
There have been a couple spots where I felt stumped and it took me a little while to figure out how to proceed. But I've never been frustrated or annoyed. Again, this is nothing ground-breaking. I don't see myself delving further into the series or anything. But I like it for what it is.
The fatigue has set in. It's apparent to me that I LIKE puzzle-platformers, but I don't love them. They just tend to overstay their welcome with me. Like you're doing the same stuff over and over again. Sure some puzzles in Trine 4 have been tricky or satisfying. But sometimes it just feels like, how many times can I move a few boxes around to make a platform I can climb to get to the next screen?
Case in point: I got to a boss battle that involves a witch's cauldron. You need to rearrange mirror boxes to deflect light into the cauldron. Fine. I did it once. Then it rearranged and I did it twice. Then again. The fourth time it asked me to complete this same task but in a SLIGHTLY different way I just felt like giving the game the middle finger. I'm done with this.
Back when Super Mario Maker was released, it actually sold me on the Wii U. I remember listening to the Idle Thumbs podcast and being so interested in this game. Hearing those dudes who were all working in the game biz talk about the potential of this Mario engine just blew my mind. And finally I saw that the Wii U was unique and could offer experiences that other consoles couldn't.
I told my wife that I thought we should get a Wii U, and she was all aboard for Mario Kart 8, so we headed to Target and... realized we had some house upgrades we should pay for first, so we ended up doing that instead.
So all these years later, while everyone is talking about the latest update to Mario Maker 2, I finally popped in my copy of the first game and my wife and I messed around with it for a while over the weekend.
It certainly seems like a game with near endless replayability. First we spent a little time messing around with making short levels to get the hang of it. I found it really cool switching between the 8-bit look and the HD look. Very neat. But really, we'd need to spend a lot more time to make anything really interesting.
We seemed to have more fun running through some of the pre-made levels in the little 10 Challenge mode. Most of these levels were pretty short, but they were always interesting and actually reminded me a fair deal of NES Remix (which is a good thing!).
When I have the time, I mostly want to check out some of the user made levels to download. A big selling point for me on this game was that people like Derek Yu and Igarashi had made content for Mario Maker. So I'll get to that. Someday. But for now, I'm just glad to have this one in my collection and know that we can come back to it when we have time.
I guess Trine 4 is NOT keeping my interest because instead I pulled Mario Maker off of my shelf. It's funny because the original reason I was really interested in MM was because people like Derek Yu had created levels for it and I wanted to play those levels, made by developers I enjoyed. I figured I could view them as mini indie games or something.
So I finally downloaded Derek Yu's level and... my goodness. This "level" is beyond difficult. And here's the juxtaposition - as interested as I am in these levels made by actual developers... I hate this kind of sadistic level design. I just don't have the patience. And possibly I don't possess the skill. Oh well.
So then I messed around with the 100 Level Challenge, which gives you 100 lives to play through 100 random user levels. It was kind of fun, but the quality is all over the place of course. And after fifteen or so levels I realized that way too many people are interested in making the most chaotic experience possible. Not my cup of tea.
But alas, I found something I found truly interesting here. There are "Event" levels, which are officially sanctioned Nintendo promotions. And they are actually super cool. I like reading the little blurbs about each one and why they exist. And I like the deep dive into the Nintendo's history. For instance one level was a tribute to Super Mario Land - a game often kind of buried by Nintendo themselves. Another level was a promotion for Splatoon. It's neat.
So I've started playing through some of these levels, and I kind of have the goal of beating them all. We'll see how that goes. The Mario Land level was a cool throwback, but ultimately very short (and easy). Same goes for the Super Mario Bros 2 level, but appreciated the charm. The Splatoon level was awesome. And I've been trying to beat the 2017 NWC level, but it gets pretty tricky toward the end - a section involving jumping over some spinning blades via bopping a flying koopa.
Ultimately, Mario Maker just cements my belief that the Wii U is a paradise for modern-retro gaming. The Mario Maker toolkit along with releases like NES Remix or Nintendo Land and things like that are these awesome experiences that feel like they're perfect for solo or multiplayer and short bursts of gaming. In a way, it recalls he arcade experience. The Wii U is an awesome and misunderstood beast.
I think I (briefly) played Drill Dozer around 2009 or so, and I didn't really remember much about it. In fact, in my mind I thought it was developed by Treasure. Mostly because I remembered it being (A) a very graphically impressive game, and (B) a game structured around a gameplay gimmick that I wasn't overly fond of. That tends to sum up most Treasure games for me. And replaying Drill Dozer now, it seems to also sum that one up even though it was actually developed by Game Freak AKA The Pokemon People.
Over the years I've heard Drill Dozer mentioned numerous times on various hidden gems type lists. And most recently, I read a glowing review of it from an old Nintendo Power magazine, which I collect and tend to go through and play some of the highest rated games for the heck of it. Amazingly, Drill Dozer is on the Wii U Virtual Console, so I figured hey, why not?
It is a good looking game, by the way. While the GBA is often thought of as a portable SNES, I don't know - this looks way too good to be a SNES game. It's super impressive. And it's cute, like most Game Freak games would be.
That gimmick, though. Ugh. So you ride around in this tiny little mech thing with a drill on it. And you can - you guessed it - drill stuff. The R button drills forward, and the L button drills back. So yeah. You're basically playing the game as an electric screwdriver.
At first this seems interesting. Y'know, kind of solving logic puzzles with this device. But soon enough it became a total drag for me. How exciting is it to stand there and turn a crank to open a door? How exciting is it to then go through that door and turn another crank to shut that door? Wow.
Not to mention you start each level powered down. So you run around these maze-like levels, looking for doors and stuff to find a couple of parts to power your drill up and get to the end.
I finally gave up at the second boss battle when I realized that this truly would be the full game. Attacking bosses are all just variations on drilling either forward or back. I guess there's strategy to it, but it's not exactly thrilling for me. Oh well.
As a pallet cleanser, I decided to fire up Sonic 2 on the Switch's Genesis Collection. I was a pretty big fan of the Sonic series back in the 90's. Heck, I remember getting this game on "Sonic Tuesday" along with a free t-shirt, even. But if I'm being honest, my fondness for the Sonic games seems to diminish with each passing year. I appreciate them for what they are, but my platforming preference lies heavily with Mario these days.
Although the first Sonic game hyped the speed, that game seemed better played when taken a bit slower. The same cannot really be said for Sonic 2. This one is all about going fast and pushing right. It definitely is an improvement over the original - both visibly and with its soundtrack and even its level design (mostly). Thank goodness there's no water levels for one thing. Although I do find the Casino Zone slightly annoying.
I ran through the game in about two hours with minimal trouble. And towards the end, that two hours felt overlong. Though I'll admit to happily using the rewind feature during the last level which is pretty annoying and expects you to really memorize everything since you've got no rings.
It's weird, though. The nostalgia is certainly there for me, but a part of me feels like I've outgrown Sonic to some degree. Maybe I'm wrong though. I do remember that Sonic CD was always my favorite of the original 2D games, so maybe I should revisit that one again at some point.
I originally played Mario + Rabbids at launch, and went into it expecting "Mario XCOM," and sort of lost interest in it quickly because it's not QUITE Mario XCOM. My initial feeling was that it was a fun game, but it was kind of light compared to the depth of XCOM. It felt like it wasn't as meticulous or something. I don't know.
But this past weekend I found the game on sale for $20 and decided to give it a go after recently re-reading through an older issue of Nintendo Force where the game was mentioned in their year end awards section.
This time I was approaching the game with a completely different set of expectations. And y'know what? I'm kind of loving Mario + Rabbids right now. The battles are way faster and rely a lot more on movement around the map than in your typical XCOM or Fire Emblem or what have you. This gives the game a way different flow than most strategy games I'm used to playing. And in turn, this makes it a really fun and unique experience for me. It's a genre I love, but now it's candy-coasted and fast and fun. It's good stuff.
I'm really glad that I came back to it, because I'm spending so much more time experimenting with different team layouts, weapons, skills, and so on. I'm now playing the game how it was meant to be played. And though it's definitely meant to be more inviting than the usual tactics game, it's also a lot deeper than I had originally seen.
This game is great.
I've been thinking about this, and the partnership between Ubisoft and Nintendo is fascinating during this generation. It reminds me a bit of the wild west days of the 80's and 90's when Nintendo was letting various companies try their hand at making games with big-name Nintendo franchises.
What's cool about this is that Ubisoft is making INTERESTING games. I mean "good" or "bad" is obviously subjective. And I can't really say how successful I'd call Starlink. But for all intents and purposes, that was an open world Star Fox game. It's just that the version that appeared on Xbox and PlayStation was missing, y'know, Star Fox. But it's bonkers to think about that game even existing. An open world Star Fox, that's KIND OF like No Man's Sky or something - oh, and it has toys-to-life elements. It's just nuts. And though I lost interest over time, I'm glad it exists. And I'm glad that the starter set came with an Arwing to display, haha.
Likewise, it's amazing to me that Mario + Rabbids is even a thing. And that it has gotten post-launch DLC expansions. It's a truly great time to be a Nintendo fan, because they are doing some super interesting things - sometimes with outside developers.
I'm pretty far into World 2 right now, and things are starting to get pretty tricky. There's definitely some serious strategy to put into this game, which I certainly appreciate as a big fan of the genre.
I'm so glad I gave this game another chance, because it is soooooo good. Like, legitimately this is one of the best Switch exclusives I can think of. Although, that might be over-praise, because there are a lot of Switch exclusives. But still. I love this game right now.
One frustrating limitation I came across is that you have to apparently always have a mix of "Mario" and "Rabbids" characters on your three person team. I didn't realize that. I just unlocked Peach, and I wanted a team of Mario, Luigi, and Peach. Can't do it. Which sucks. That would have been a dream team. Peach is awesome, as she plays like a mix of offense and defense. But I'd have to swap out Luigi to use her, and he's a killer sniper. So I can't do it. So I'm still using the same Mario/Luigi/Rabbid-Peach combo instead, because I need Rabbid-Peach as a healer. Oh well.
But the game itself continues to be awesome. I'm now in the middle of World 3, which is like the "ghosthouse" world. My kind of stuff.
Okay, the only thing I find at all off-putting about this game is that between some of the actual battles there's little puzzles you need to solve to open up the next one. Most of the time these are fairly easy block-pushing things. Nothing difficult if you've played your Kwirk as a kid. (Remember Kwirk? He was even in that show Video Power). Anyway, SOME of the puzzles just feel time consuming. I left off at one where you need to keep climbing up platforms but then going back down to adjust the height of bridges, and it's just annoying to me because it feels like it's just here to kill some time. I'd honestly have just preferred none of this. Just give me battle after battle, and I'm happy.
Anyway, I might take a break for now and play something completely different. I'm thinking I'm in the mood for just a really simple old school platformer or something to break things up variety wise. Hmm.
It's weird that it's been so long since I've played a mainline Animal Crossing game. The original was one of my favorite Gamecube games of all time. I sunk so many hours into that one that I actually took a break from GAMING for a couple of years afterward. And then I played a bunch of that game again when I got back into gaming, haha.
Oddly, I actually bought the 3DS entry when it came out because my wife and I had listenend to a podcast where Brie Larson talked it up so much that we were both interested. Then I ended up giving the game to my wife and I never actually played it.
But Nintendo couldn't have picked a better time to launch New Horizons. With everyone shut in their homes due to Coronavirus, this thing flew off shelves. So much so that I couldn't get a copy for my birthday last month. But finally I was able to track a copy down, and spend some time with it.
Like many of Nintendo's first party offerings this generation - think Smash Ultimate or Mario Kart 8 - it feels like New Horizons is meant to be a sort of DELUXE EDITION of everything the series has done before. Which is fine. If you want to play the ultimate version of Animal Crossing in 2020, you're in luck.
Animal Crossing is of course a game about "nothing," at its heart. It's a sandbox and you can really just do whatever you want. Sure, there are goals. But it's up to you to progress that story, or just plant pretty flowers or whatever you feel like. Back in 2010 or so when I played the GCN game again last, I spent so much time doing nothing but just trying to build the best collection of NES games in my village. My neighbors hated me because I never talked to them, and my house was full of cobwebs. I ducked out on Tom Nook because I owed him a lot of bells.
To start off New Horizons, I only had one thing in mind: get an aquarium onto my island ("Pandora") ASAP. So that's what I've been focusing on in the early game. I immediately built a fishing pole and started bringing fish to Tom Nook, and then to Blathers. It's been super fun exploring the island and catching NEW fish (hello, squid!).
In the meantime, I've racked up Nook Miles and crafted new things. I paid off my tent, and a house is being constructed. The museum is coming to town soon. I took a trip to a random island and brought by coconuts to sell. I'm truly having a blast doing nothing too serious. And that's exactly what makes the AC series so good.
You can dismiss Animal Crossing as "Busy Work: The Game," but I'm okay with that. And sometimes that's what your brain needs. These little menial tasks, each one checked off as "done."
Now I've got a house instead of a tent, and the museum is under construction. I've been gathering building supplies for Timmy Nook to help get the visitor's center set up. None of this sounds exciting, but that's the point. This is a true relaxation game, and I love it.
It was an interesting night on Pandora. First Tom Nook announced that the museum was open. So me and my wife went and looked at the aquarium for a while. Good stuff, but lots of work today - lots of empty tanks.
Then I got a visitor who dropped in to gift me some iron nuggets so I could get the Shop built with Timmy Nook. He also gave me some extra gifts and bells, which was super nice.
After that, I received an invitation from my buddy's daughter to come check out her island. When I got there, I found she had pulled a prank on me and wouldn't actually let me in, instead demanding that I leave a gift of cherries and get out. Haha.
Then she invited me back, and gave me free reign over her orchards where I was able to pick up a bunch of coconuts, pears and apples to bring back and sell for big bucks. I'll tell ya, there's always something to do in New Horizons.
I think the initial excitement of "NEW ANIMAL CROSSING GAME" has worn off, and now I'm not pulling myself in every direction to do stuff constantly. Instead, the game now feels like a more gradual paced thing. Something I'll jump into briefly each night to see what's up. Maybe have one specific goal each night kind of thing.
I'm working on recruiting some new villagers right now, and I've had three say they're coming, but they haven't arrived yet. I did upgrade my house, though.
I spoke too soon. Things are happening. I built a bridge. Three new villagers are moving in soon, so I'm out collecting furniture for their houses. So things are happening. I guess I don't like the days when there's nothing really happening, and I'm just waiting for a construction to finish up or whatever. But yeah. This game is a good time suck when it's working out right.
When the Wii originally came out, my wife and I were both interested in it. But at the time, we were young and buying a NEW console felt like a big investment. So we waited it out for a while, and finally bought a Wii in the summer of 2009 as an anniversary gift to ourselves. The very first game that we bought along with the console was New Super Mario Bros Wii.
It seemed like a really cool and unique thing to have a co-op Mario game. And we played it quite a bit back then. Although to be honest, the co-op part actually made the game feel more difficult than it is. It's easy to get in other players' way and mess things up. So we never did actually finish that game.
Over the years, I've dabbled with this one on and off myself. At this point, I think I've played every entry in the NSMB series. And this one is one of the better ones. Which is saying... something. See, I don't actually think that the NSMB series is great. None of them hold a candle to classic 2D Mario games. But they're enjoyable.
Actually, wait - just to sidetrack for a second here... I think I'd rank NSMB2 on 3DS as the best in the series. That one was pretty awesome as I recall. And then this one and the Wii U entry are probably tied for second. The original DS game is probably last, because that one is just kind of a weird cakewalk.
ANYWAY. I probably rank this one higher than it deserves to be based solely on the nostalgia. Which seems weird. 2009 doesn't seem THAT LONG ago in pure numbers. But man, we were living this totally different life in 2009. We were in our twenties, living in a one bedroom apartment. Just a completely different life. So playing NSMB Wii is like taking a warp-pipe (sorry) back to those days. And it does make me smile.
Not that my life isn't awesome now. It is! We have a beautiful daughter and a nice home and we're so much more secure and everything. It's a great life. But, y'know, the pandemic that's going on right now - we could all use some nostalgic escapism.
My one complaint about this game is the dumb motion controls that feel totally shoehorned. I hate that. And I don't think the new power-ups are all that interesting. To be honest, I try to just stick to a classic flower fireball. That makes the game feel more pure and fun to me.
I played for a while last night using the Wii U gamepad as a portable monitor, and made it to World 3. I'm having a good time.
And inevitably I start to lose interest. Maybe my problem with the NSMB series is actually just that the games overstay their welcome. Like, they're throwbacks to classic 2D Mario games and yet they're built to be two to three times as long. My brain can't really handle that enigma. These are old school platformers, so why not make them the length of old school platformers? I think that if this was a four hour game, I'd be happy (and the majority of gamers and critics would be annoyed).
As a fan of horror and sci-fi, I grew up watching things like Lawnmower Man, Brainscan, and Existenz. So it should be no shock that VR gaming has always interested me. Heck, years ago I picked up a Gear VR when I realized my phone was compatible. And later, when I was very into PC gaming, I even had an Oculus Rift set up. So I'm no stranger to VR. So I pretty much had to get Nintendo's VR Labo kit. I mean, it was a cheap VR kit. Made by Nintendo. I had to.
On launch my wife and I had fun building the cardboard kit and messing around with the included Toy-Con cart. But to be honest, it's nothing more than a bunch of glorified tech demos. It was neat but nothing to really write home about. If anything I just thought to myself, "okay, Nintendo did it. They brought VR gaming to the best console of the generation. Let's see what they do next."
Unfortunately, a year's gone by now and they've done very little. So I don't know. I'm not expecting much now.
But one thing has hung in the back of my mind - you can now play Zelda: Breath Of The Wild in VR. And I really wanted to do that.
BOTW is one of the greatest games every made. And playing it in VR was super appealing. So I went ahead and ordered a third party VR headset that actually straps the Switch to your face so you can use a Pro Controller and fired it up this week.
The experience was impressive. BOTW is a game I'll slowly play forever. And I told my wife I was going to play around with the headset for a bit while she took our daughter outside one afternoon. Messing around turned into and hour, and then I dived back in when the baby went to bed. I ended up doing lots of exploring, discovering two more shrines and opening up more of the map.
The draw distance seems poorer in VR mode. And that is what it is given the shortcomings of the hardware. But it was always impressive. A wolf attacked me out of the blue at one point and I literally jumped. It's that immersive.
The only real drawback here was that I did experience some motion sickness, something I've only rarely encountered in VR in the past. I'm not sure if this is chalked up to low resolution or the sort of cheap shakiness of the aftermarket headset or what. But it kind of put a damper on things.
But still. Zelda. In VR. I'd like to continue playing in this fashion in the future when I can.
Somehow I ended up with copies of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on both 3DS and Wii U. Well, I know why. Because at a time I was toying with the idea of collecting a full Wii U set, so I grabbed MH3U pretty cheap. But then I got the 3DS version in a trade, and knowing that you can transfer saves between versions, I couldn't see a reason to get rid of either.
Anyway, my past experience with the MH series has been with Monster Hunter World on Xbox One back when it launched. I had a blast with that game, and called it one of my favorite games of that year. But, I knew it was a streamlined experience as opposed to previous entries. So I wasn't sure what to really expect playing a true numbered entry in the series.
I started playing this sucker on the Wii U, but I couldn't figure out how to get everything (gameplay and HUD) on the Gamepad, and I wanted the option of playing it portably while my wife was watching TV. So pretty quickly I transferred my save over to the 3DS and figured that I'd reserve the Wii U version for when I have time to hide out in my game room and play on the big screen.
The interesting thing here is I got a chance to try both versions and compare and contrast. So far, HD visuals aside, the 3DS port does a fine job of retaining the experience from its big brother console version. But, I'm happy to have both.
The compelling game-loop is here. It's what I've loved about games like Phantasy Star Online for instance. You start in a hub world; go out; do a mission; come back; level up equipment and so on and go back and repeat. I could see how some folks might find this game tedious, but me, I kind of love this kind of comfort game. It's probably why I dug Xenoblade Chronicles X so much - it reminded me of these kinds of games.
I've only played a couple of hours so far, so I'm still very early in getting things going. It's basically a bunch of easy tutorial missions to get your feat wet. Speaking of, the swimming levels are different. I'm not sure if I like them or not yet. Time will tell.
But yeah. Monster Hunter games are fairly awesome, at least from the bit I've played of the series so far (along with rip-off companion, Dauntless). So I think I'm in for a treat here. Though one thing I notice about games like this - I tend to start them, get sucked in a while, take a break and come back in between other games. Which is fine. These kind of time-suck games certainly serve their purpose for me.