Let’s go live to the Rhythm Arena.

Aside

“Rhythm Paradise Megamix, THAT TRUE?!”

“EH!”

“WHOA, YOU GO TSUNKU♂!”

“HUH-YA!”

Hahaha YES! Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus is coming to the West! I am absolutely friggin’ DELIGHTED. I thought it would never happen. 😀

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チョコレートバスタブ!!

(That means “chocolate bathtub”. I’ll get to it. 😛 )

So, I got a few new games for the 3DS recently. Well, when I say “recently”, I mean “within the last three months or so”. 😛  I got Paper Mario: Sticker Star for my birthday. I friggin’ love the Paper Mario series, and I’d been wanting to get Sticker Star for a while now.

Before I headed up to my parents’ place for my birthday, though (before I had Sticker Star), I was wondering what to play on the journey. I’d stopped playing Monster Hunter because all of a sudden, the difficulty pretty much doubled and the item grinding got utterly stupid, a combination which slowly made the game more frustrating than fun. I mean, come on; a 3×1% chance of finding a Monoblos Heart? So, with those odds, if I had exactly average luck, and with my skill level and equipment, I would have to fight the same monster repeatedly for 8 1/4 hours. And I hadn’t even reached G level yet, where I imagine it gets even more retarded! So no, fuck that shit! 😛

I’d finished Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, too, and I didn’t really feel like playing that on Hard mode. Buuuuut, the night before my trip, I found a game on the eShop that I’d never even heard of before: Project Mirai DX. It had a demo, so I gave it a try because “why the hell not, it’s free”. It went beyond my expectations and I friggin’ loved it, so I went ahead and bought it for the journey.

So, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a game I’d been really looking forward to, and Project Mirai DX, a strange game I’d never even heard of. Which one have I been playing the most?

Sticker Star, of course!

Just kidding. Project Mirai. By a LONG shot. 😛

So… what is it, exactly? Well… it’s a rhythm game… mainly. 😛 It’s centred around Japanese “vocaloids”, which are… kinda difficult to explain. The best description I can think of is that they’re “virtual singers”; computerised “instruments” that can “sing” whatever you want, however you want. I don’t know much about them, but it appears Hatsune Miku is the “original” vocaloid, or at least Sega’s original vocaloid. It’s pretty amazing, actually; they’re effectively specialised text-to-speech engines, but they sound really, REALLY good. 😀 Japan seems to agree; Miku is apparently like a superstar over there, and she doesn’t even exist. I mean, she’s just a piece of software. 😛

The “core” of the game is the Rhythm Game. It’s fairly simplistic; you have a ring which follows a line automatically. Notes appear on the line, and all you need to do is hit the correct button when the circle lines up with the note. There are a few extra gimmicks thrown in to make things interesting, such as double lines, where you have to use the D-Pad to hit the notes on the other line, and long notes (which require you to release the button with good timing, too). Long notes can also be rainbow-coloured; in that case, you can spin the Circle Pad for bonus Mirai Points (the game’s currency). Also, you’ll come across strings of notes which are sat on a on a gold line. These are “SP Sequences”, and hitting all of the notes in the sequence with good accuracy scores you a bonus. Each song also has a “Tap Mode” note chart, where you have to use the touch screen to tap on the colour that matches the note, and Tap Mode also features slide notes, where you have to slide/flick the stylus in the given direction. Sure, the controls and mechanics may be fairly simplistic, but… somehow, I find it REALLY fun to play. 😀

Your accuracy is rated with a series of interestingly-selected descriptive words: Cool, Fine, Safe, Sad, Miss and Awful. “Awful” is especially interesting; it’s technically “Miss”, but it’s seemingly only there to rub in the fact that you didn’t even bother trying to hit the note and just let it sail past. 😛 Hitting a note with an accuracy below “Fine” breaks your combo, despite the fact that “Safe” sounds like it would keep your combo… safe. 😛 If you make it to the end without ever breaking your combo, you’ll get a Perfect. If you don’t do that, but manage to hit every SP Sequence, you get an SP All rating. Along with your score, you also get given a percentage; breaking certain percentage barriers increases your grade, from C to S+. The percentage will probably never reach 100%, unless you’re unrealistically good, or unless you’re playing Tap Mode, in which case, your final percentage can end up being quite… peculiar, like… like this one, for example:

Finder (Tap, Normal), 138,609, 101.81%

I think I can explain why you can get percentages like this, actually. The game drops you a hint after you play enough Tap Mode, telling you that you can get more points if you hit several slide notes in a row without removing the stylus from the screen. However, I’m pretty sure there’s a bug where if you tap a normal note before a slide note but don’t remove the stylus from the screen before you hit the slide note, it counts it as a 1-Chain, but it shouldn’t count a 1-Chain until you hit two slide notes in a row. This makes the game give you more points than it should, and if you do it enough times during a song, you can break 100%, sometimes even if you didn’t get a Cool rating on all your notes! Yay bugs! 😀

Since the game’s characters are all vocaloids, every song contains vocals sung by up to three of the seven vocaloids featured in the game. And holy SHIT I’ve just realised, you can switch the vocaloid(s) in some of the songs. 😛 There are quite a lot of songs, about 44, I think. Each of these songs has a Tap Mode and a Button Mode, so that’s 88 note charts… if you just play on Easy. 😛 If you include Normal and Hard difficulties, there’re a total of 264 note charts. Nice! 😀

Similar to DJ Max, Beatmania and DDR, each of the difficulty levels has a rating. Project Mirai uses a rating from 1-9, 1 being pretty easy and 9 being HOOOOOOOOLLY FUCK THIS IS CRAZY. There’re only a handful of songs with a rating of 9. First one I played was “Matryoshka” on Hard, which is 205BPM, and boosts up to 295 near the end. Second was “Invisible” on Hard, which is “only” 192BPM, but you often find two notes right next to each other, so I end up using the D-Pad for one of them. 😛 Further down the list, there’s Kimi no Taion at 220BPM, but that only feels like a 9 for a small part of the song. But personally, the most painful one has got to be “Gaikotsu Gakudan to Riria”. It’s 130BPM, but the rhythm is so crazy it plays like 260BPM, and it FREQUENTLY puts notes right next to each other and I failed it five times in a row when I first played it and I still can’t get an S+. 😛

About the difficulty range, though…? Actually, I lied. 😛 See, I wrote part of this post while I was still midway through the game, but now that I’ve cleared every song on at least one difficulty… the game told me that some songs contain Super Hard note charts, much to my disbelief. But oh yes, they do. Super Hard songs have a difficulty of “MAX”. And they are all completely psycho. Romeo and Cinderella on Hard (difficulty 7) has enough notes already (788 to be exact; I nearly exploded when I perfected it), but it has a Super Hard chart with EVEN MORE notes. Matryoshka has a Super Hard chart and it should really have a health warning on it. But Invisible? That also has a Super Hard chart, and it should be friggin’ illegal. I reckon I’m at my peak skill level, and I can’t even get an S on it. 😛 Strangely though, Gaikotsu Gakudan to Riria doesn’t have a Super Hard chart. Maybe that’s because it’s hard enough as it is. 😛 Anyway, songs with difficulty 9 or MAX all make me cry inside because I know I’ll never get a Perfect on them. 😛

That’s the core of the game. Thankfully. You see, the core is good. The rest of it is… pretty odd. 😛

When you start the game for the first time, you get to pick a “partner” out of six vocaloids, and a place to live. Hrmmm. After that, you’re treated to a two-page menu with all sorts of stuff in it. If you want to play the Rhythm Game, the core game, the game… you select the darkest, smallest option on the first screen: a piece of paper with “Rhythm Game” written on it stuck to the wall with a drawing pin. It’s like they don’t want you to do it, or something. 😛

IMAG0570

(Yes, that is a Dress-Up option you see there.)

When you complete songs, you get MP, Mirai Points. What can they be used for? Upgrades? Stuff for the Rhythm Game like maybe new note skins, new button sounds, that sort of thing? Nope. Hey, maybe you can buy some boosts or assists or something, kinda like DJ MAX? Nope, you buy those items with Play Coins, and the only slightly useful one is Do or Die (which gives you an instant Game Over if you break your combo (you also get double MP if you clear the song, but that’s just gravy)), although Role Model (which makes the note chart play itself perfectly, doesn’t count as clearing it, obviously) might be good if you can’t seem to get the timing on really hard songs down and you want a demonstration. No no, you use MP to buy furniture for your home which does nothing, outfits for your partner which do nothing (you can use them in the Rhythm Game but the default outfits match the theme of the song anyway), and food/drink to give to your partner, which is not only pointless, it’s also weird. I mean, when you give them cake, you watch them eating said cake for nearly a minute. Sorry, did I say watch? No, you staaaaaaare at them eating cake. And then you find out you can even take pictures of them doing this.

Miku SHORTACAKEY

Want some tea? LET ME TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU DRINKING IT

Miku TEA

It’s so creepy, it makes me laugh. But then you start to realise… it’s a Japanese game with cute anime girls in it. Of course it’s gonna have weird content like this. 😛

That picture taking function is available basically everywhere outside of the Rhythm Game. If you leave the game hanging for long enough in the home screen, your partner might do something other than walk around aimlessly, and you can take pictures of whatever it is they do. Look, here’s a picture of Miku sitting down in a strange way:

Miku Sitting WEIRDLY

Here’s a picture of her lying down on the floor to use her super-high-tech-transparent-tablet-of-the-future instead of sitting on the sofa I paid for:

Miku NOT USING THE SOFA

If you buy a fortune box and set it in your room, your partner uses it to get your “fortune” every day. Yes you can take a picture. Funny thing is…

Miku NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS

It’s not localised, and as much as I’d like to be able to understand Japanese, I don’t, so I have no idea what that means. From the way she’s smiling massively, I’m guessing it’s good. 😛 (UPDATE: I’ve learned that it says “daikichi”, meaning “great luck/fortune”. So yeah, it’s good. 🙂 )

Then there’s the ultimate picture. If you spend 100,000 MP on a plane ticket you can go to the Villa for a week. It’s no different from the standard houses, apart from being able to set every type of item. Oh, and the beach. If you give Miku a swimsuit and leave the game alone long enough, OOSH:

Miku OK THAT'S PERVERTED

Oh, Japan, you so predictable. 😛

You can also give MP to your partner. They seem to like you when you do this, especially if you give them the maximum amount. Yes you can still take pictures while they celebrate:

Miku YAY MONEY

They then use the MP on STUFF, keeping it in a log for you to perv over. 😛 They might buy room items or outfits on their own volition, or waste it on shit that does nothing apart from maybe giving you a chuckle when you read the log. You can’t actually take a picture of this cuz it’s on the bottom screen, so here’s a picture I took with my PHONE:

IMAG0571

I feel that the developers wanted to make some form of metagame, something for the player to come back to and chill with after playing some songs, but couldn’t really think of anything other than this. At least… that’s what I guessed several weeks ago when writing this post. But today, I booted up the game to see this:

IMAG0588

Yes. Seriously. My virtual girl was pissed off because I hadn’t played the game in about 3 days. I was asked to use the microphone and say “I’m sorry”, but this was my lunchtime at work, so I opted for the infinitely less embarrassing option of pressing a button labelled “I’m sorry…” about 50 times before she got over her period. 😛  I now feel that the developers wanted to make a romance simulation but weren’t really allowed to. 😛 Maybe the Eastern audience can see the point, but I can’t. This whole metagame might as well just not be there. 😛 Although… heh, well, maybe it does have a point in the West. It’s a bit of a laugh, a distraction, maybe even a welcome break for your 3DS’ buttons. 😛 It’s the kinda thing you might share for a laugh, on a blog, for example, saying “hurhurhur look how pervy and stupid this is, but actually it’s a really friggin’ good music game at its core”. 😀

As for the post title, that’s actually a line in the song “LOL -lots of laugh-“. The song has a fair amount of English in it, and this is funny to me because Miku sounds like a proper upper-class Japanese person who’s lived around the south of England for years but hasn’t lost her Japanese accent. 😀  The lyrics appear on the bottom screen so I had to use my phoneage for this one too:

IMAG0507

Yes, in Gallery mode you can do all sorts of pointless stuff like leave microscopic comments, which I think is shared through StreetPass. No idea, because I’ve only had one StreetPass hit for this game, and even that was surprising. 😛

That’s Project Mirai DX. Demo’s on the eShop. 🙂 If you’ve got a 3DS and like music games, I massively recommend it. Just ignore the metagame. Unless you’re… I dunno, Japanese, or something. 😛

“Oh, but wait, what about Paper Mario: Sticker Star?” Hmm, it’s… well, I wouldn’t recommend it, sadly. It’s super-disappointing. I got near the end of the second world and just haven’t had much of an urge to play it again. It’s really annoying, because I’ve loved all the Paper Mario games up until now. :/

The battle system is weird. It’s not an action RPG like Super Paper Mario; it’s gone back to a turn-based system, but there’s no levelling or badges or abilities or secondary party members or anything. To attack, you use stickers you find in the field, which have different effects. Sounds unique and interesting, but it just doesn’t work. The battle system is so watered down that you can’t manually choose your target, and sometimes you don’t have a sticker suitable for the situation. It’s okay if you get hit, though; the game is so goddamn easy that I eventually stopped bothering to carry stickers that recover HP. Oh, and normally you can only use one sticker per turn, but you can use up to three… if you pay coins to spin a friggin’ roulette and use epic timing to get three-of-a-kind. Yaaaaawn.

It’s not just the battle system. It’s the story, and the characters… and the dialogue. Those things are basically half the point of an RPG, and the old Paper Mario games nailed every one of them. The Thousand Year Door (my favourite Paper Mario game) contained all sorts of awesomeness. Hooktail, for example! She’s a dragon boss who you can weaken with a badge that makes the sound of a cricket (she hates crickets). Then, when she’s low on HP, she tries to bribe you with coins (more than you can actually carry, lel), a badge (Really Ultra Rare!) and her feet (no, seriously), and after all that, she suddenly eats the audience to regain HP. It’s so good! 😀 Oh, and the moment where a character suddenly breaks the fourth wall out of nowhere (YOU, IN FRONT OF THE TV!), and that bit near the start with the contact lens, and that part where you can get an instant Game Over by reading a diary. 😀 In Sticker Star? Pfft. Your helper character is boring and a bit irritating. And… well, because there’s so little story, that’s basically all I can think of. Maybe I haven’t played it enough to find some good dialogue, but that’s ridiculous. Meh, oh well, never mind. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. is great so far, so at least Alphadream’s still got it. 😀

Man, the 3DS is so great. I’ve got Paper Jam to finish, along with Elite Beat Agents which someone at work recommended to me (he mainly recommended the original game, “Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!”, but Elite Beat Agents was wayyyyyyy easier to get hold of for a good price). There’s also Project X Zone 2, a tactical RPG which I’d never heard of but is apparently quite popular; I played a demo of it and found it pretty fun, so I might consider getting that too. But most importantly, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon finally lands over here in mid-February!! I really can’t wait to play that one! 😀

Right, enough shite from me. I’mma see if I can perfect Matryoshka on Hard. Heheheh, yeah right. 😛

UPDATE!!

WOW GG WORDPRESS, it actually just posted this in the PAST, in October 2015. I copied it and deleted the old one so it would show up that I posted it TODAY, not THREE MONTHS AGO. HERPADERPDERPDERP

And OH MY GOD THIS NEW CRAP EDITOR THINKS UNDERLINE IS AN ADVANCED OPTION

FINALLY, they got this monster right.

Well, I’ve had a 3DS for a couple months now. Not regretting it even slightly. Even if I’d bought it for full price I wouldn’t be regretting it. 🙂 It’s so nice to have a portable console with more than 4 games on it. 😛

I got a few extra games since I last posted. The first one was Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. I bought that because of Explorers of Sky, its predecessor, that I played on an emulator. Twice over! I quite liked the gameplay; it was a pretty simple dungeon crawler, but occasionally, it got quite brutal, and you had to stop and think about what you were gonna do next or you’d get hammered. It almost felt like a roguelike at times. Almost. 😛 Its strongest point by far was its story, though. Explorers of Sky had such a great story and such good characters that I can’t actually think of a game that surpasses it. It’s almost embarassing to admit that, and I feel like there has to be a game with a better storyline or better characters, but I don’t know why I can’t think of it. 😛

The new one, Gates to Infinity, didn’t disappoint either. The gameplay is almost the same, but a bit easier; they disabled the hunger system in all dungeons apart from the uber 99-floor endgame dungeons, they removed lookalike items (dangerous items that had very similar names to helpful items, eg: Oran Berries heal you, whereas Oren Berries cause damage), and Monster Houses (random rooms that contain more items inside than usual might turn out to be almost completely rammed with enemies) seem less frequent since I managed to get through more than half the game before I stumbled upon my first one. I mean, I only wiped out twice throughout the whole storyline, and one of those was due to insanely bad luck; an enemy used Peck which steals and uses a random item if it hits, and it just so happened to pick a Blast Seed I had lying around in there which does big damage to anyone in front of the item user. 😛 But despite the lower challenge, the story and characters were the highlights once again. I just found the characters so great that I actually ended up caring what happened to them. And okay, I’ll say it; I was that close to losing it at the end of the main story. 😛  Why? Why can this spin-off do it and pretty much no other game can?! I mean, even my most favouritest game of all time, Diablo II… the story was goodish, and some of the characters were good but I never really cared about them. It’s weird, especially when you consider I don’t actually like the vast majority of Pokémon, so it’s nothing to do with the fact that they were Pokémon or anything. I guess the Japanese are just better at making heartfelt stuff. 😛 The game time in Gates to Infinity was a little shorter than Explorers of Sky; I clocked 50 hours on the storyline compared to EoS’s 61 hours, but that’s not exactly something to snort at, especially when EoS has a much longer secondary storyline. I really hope they make another Mystery Dungeon, but judging by the sales and general reception of GtI (even in Japan), that really doesn’t look likely. Interest in it looks like it just divebombed from Explorers of Sky. 😦 No idea why, I mean, Victini could sell it on his own:

V-WHEEEEEEEEEEEL!!

I also got Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies. It took me friggin’ ages to realise it was a download-only title. 😛 I was a bit wary of it for some reason, but it turned out to be really fun as usual; completely ridiculously convoluted cases, over-exaggerated speech, a guy who is allowed to throw shurikens at you in a courtroom, the same overworked judge presiding just like almost every previous case, it pretty much has it all. 😛 Although, I dunno if it was just me, but it felt like there was much less interaction this time. Like… there was much more reading and less actual thinking and cross-examination than usual. And the end of the final case was kinda strange and felt kinda unfulfilling. That, and I never really got stuck. Made some mistakes, but I never got stuck like I did with some of the previous games. Still, I reckon it was pretty good. Lasted quite a while, too. 🙂 The one thing that pissed me off about it the most, though? The sheer. Amount. Of spelling errors. I cringed the first time I noticed one. “Nggggggg, a spelling error in a visual novel?! Noooohohohooooo, that’s bad.” But then they just kept appearing again and again. And again. It eventually went beyond human error and beyond a joke. It was just flat-out careless. I started taking pictures after the fourth mistake; here’s a few samples:

The truth will always WIN*...You cannot POSSIBLY* overturn my claims...In which WE* live...To OVERLOOK* critical symptoms...

Since I have about 15 more, I’ll just leave it there before I post way too many. 😛

Despite the immense spelling errors in that one game, I have no regret for buying the console. But that’s just because of the games, not because the system is any good. The 3DS itself is pretty average. Well, no, I’d say below average, actually. There are a bunch of issues that just annoy me. Take the ergonomics. I’ve already mentioned how uncomfortable the system is to hold before, but it’s really annoying now. If you’re not playing an action game, it’s fine. However, if you are, you tend to grip the console a bit harder than normal, and it starts to hurt pretty quickly. This brick of a console presses into the bottom right of my right palm really firmly, and the bottom left of my left palm too. Whatever you call those locations. 😛 After it presses too much, it gets quite uncomfortable. :/

Another annoying thing is the 3D effect. I’ve gotten used to it enough now that I can have it on max. But eventually, I noticed something was wrong. Certain objects, usually objects that stand out amongst their surroundings, seem to appear appear “ghosted” quite strongly to the left and right. At first I thought it was my eyes, and tried turning down the effect. Then, after noticing the issue on the setting I used to use, I started to think it was a calibration issue. I’ve recalibrated about 4 times and messed with the manual calibration (whatever that’s supposed to do) to no avail, so it can only be the crappiness of the effect itself. I still like the effect and think it makes a pretty significant difference, but this ghosting issue ruins it almost completely. Faulty device, maybe? I doubt that; it seems like this kinda thing would be a software bug.

Other gripes include the stupidly low pixel density yet significant frame drop when using the 3D effect which, in combination, demonstrates the device’s idiotically low power. And despite this low power, the battery life is fairly short, meaning that the battery is probably cheap and low-capacity. Nintendo can’t seem to let go of the past, either. In this age where it’s common for a 6-year-old kid to know what kilobytes and megabytes are, Nintendo still insists on using blocks as a unit of measurement. Fucking blocks! What the hell is a block?! The last non-Nintendo console I know of that used blocks as a unit of measurement was the Xbox, and I’m pretty sure even they don’t know why they used it. I mean, Sony had already dropped it and switched to KB after the PS1! One other thing? Nintendo sucks at the Internet. I mentioned in a previous post that you can only save three sets of wireless access point information, which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. But the amount of time it takes to connect to various online things is amazing. No, I can assure you it’s not my connection. 😛 Connecting to the server to browse DLC for a single game takes about 40 seconds, which isn’t much less than the amount of time it takes to open the entire eShop! Oh, and about the eShop? It can either download one file at a time while the console is open as long as it’s not interrupted, or it can queue a bunch of stuff to download, but only if the console is put into sleep mode! What the hell? Why can’t it download while I’m doing something else with the system?! Christ. Even the new C-Stick is pretty shoddy. It’s weird and completely devoid of feeling, and because it’s so small, it has a microscopic range.

Hah, YES. Finally. Been waiting to find the right place to mention the C-Stick for ages. 😛 Since I’ve mentioned the C-Stick, that means I’ve got a game where I’ve been able to use it, and that game was supposed to be the focus of this entry but I DO THIS ALL THE TIME SOMETIMES. 😛

This game has pretty much been my nemesis ever since I played it way back when. The reason why it’s my nemesis isn’t really because of the gameplay or challenge or because the game was crap. It’s because it’s the only game I seriously wanted to like, that I couldn’t like. It had an awesome concept, but it’s like they made the game without thinking about anything important at all. It was a great game hidden behind layers and layers of artificial challenge, a terrible learning curve, stupid choices and tons of catch-22s.

Monster Hunter.

Fuck you Kut-Ku. And fuck you Kushala Daora. 😛

So from my words, obviously, my experience with Monster Hunter has been pretty rocky. The first one I played was the original on the PS2, but I can’t remember it that much. All I remember is that I gave it a try out of curiosity, but it pounded me into the ground somehow and I gave up. Some time later, after I managed to get custom firmware installed on my PSP, I thought I’d try out Monster Hunter Freedom 2, which I’ve actually posted about a couple of times before. I went through the tutorial quests and did pretty well, and started to think they’d greatly improved their game’s difficulty curve from the original. Nope. 😛 After I left the tutorials and started on the quests, I immediately noticed something. The weapons provided in the tutorial were different from the ones you start with. “Different” as in “WAY more powerful”. I had serious problems with the Velocidrome, which is a… well, guess. It’s a velociraptor. 😛 Wait, was it the Velocidrome? Nonono, it was a Giadrome; that’s it. Although it’s pretty much the same thing, just a texture swap and possibly different spit. 😛 Anyway, it’s the first large monster. It took me 20 minutes to beat it. And no, I didn’t complete it first time.

I didn’t really understand why I was having such a hard time. I mean, it was the first quest. I didn’t have the materials to upgrade my weapons or craft any armour. Eventually, I made some headway by switching to the Light Bowgun and suddenly ended up destroying the Giadrome. I start riding the wave, clearing quest after quest, but then all of a sudden, the Yian Kut-Ku turns up and wipes me out. It’s the first wyvern you come across, a quite-scrawny-definitely-looks-kinda-like-a-chicken wyvern, but a wyvern nonetheless. 😛 It nuked me. Absolutely nuked me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t beat it. Because you don’t know exactly how much health your target has left, I was convinced the AI was cheating by switching areas and recovering most of its health when I wasn’t looking. This was the monster that made me give up.

It wasn’t just the Kut-Ku. It was that absolute spastic learning curve that gets you used to the power of weapons you don’t own before suddenly dropping you against the same monsters with dramatically weaker weapons at your disposal. There was the complete inaccessibility of multiplayer, too. To play with your friends, or anyone, you need to be in the same room at the same time, which isn’t really possible when you live so far away from each other. Not many of my friends owned a PSP, and none of them really seemed interested in Monster Hunter anyway, but I reckon it would’ve been way easier with a team-mate, even some other random nooblet like me. 😛 I believed that having two targets would make the AI lose the plot completely. 😛  My biggest problem with the game, though? The controls. On the PSP, they didn’t make any sense at all. There’s no lock-on, and I can’t really see why not, because lock-on eliminates the “camera wrangling” layer of Fake Difficulty; making the camera impossible to control makes the game more difficult for no good reason. In Monster Hunter, you can make the camera look in the direction your character is facing by tapping L, but if you wanted to move the camera to look at the monster you’re targeting, well, the camera controls are bound to the d-pad. Which, on the PSP, is above the analog stick. So to control your character and move the camera at the same time while still having access to the rest of the controls, you needed 2 left hands. -.-

Or, well… so it seemed. But I’ll get onto that in a bit. 😉

About a year after dropping Monster Hunter Freedom 2, I was playing Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker when I discovered to my complete surprise that it contained secret missions based on Monster Hunter. 😀 After I made Snake cook a Well-Done Ration and shoot a Rathalos about 30 times in the face with a rocket launcher, I thought I’d give Monster Hunter yet another chance. Why? I dunno. MGS Peace Walker may have had Monster Hunter missions but it played completely differently and I only just hesitate to say that I reckon it was the best PSP game ever (I only just hesitate because Patapon 3 was also immense 😀 ). I mean, I found it possible to use the camera while moving for one thing. 😛

MHFU annoyed me when I started it up because it looked exactly like MHF2. 😛 It turned out that it was an expanded version of MHF2, meaning it was exactly the same apart from at least two things: G-Rank endgame quests against stupid monsters no-one in reality could ever kill short of using many many anti-tank missiles and/or a nuke, and when playing solo, a Felyne companion (they’re epic anthropomorphic kitties 😀 ) who was completely useless at dealing damage but amazing at taking hits by distracting stuff away from me. 😛 But no, soon, I noticed something else. I cleared most of the quests to the end of 2* and only fainted twice. One of those faints was “uber-cheap”, as I explain here:

Fighting Velociprey, took two of them out. As I was gathering from them, the camera screwed up and got stuck near the wall, and the sound of the Felyne throwing bombs at the other Velociprey drowned out the sound of Tigrex entering the area. I heard the danger music start, thought “What the fu…?”, spun my camera around, and saw Tigrex’s grill right up in my grill. He fired an ice blast, which knocked me down and took out a massive chunk of my health bar. Got up again… but the Random Number God said “you’re stunned”. Couldn’t do shit. Tigrex then bit my head off. Screwed by the gayness that is the RNG.

Yep. Sounds pretty cheap. 😛 But despite this… I was doing alright. And it didn’t make any sense, since it was exactly the same game as MHF2. Either they had dropped the difficulty dramatically, or I had improved by not playing it for about a year. 😛 I kept piledriving through the quests all the way up to 4*, and ended up switching to the Long Sword midway through. I also ended up mastering a technique I later found out to be called “the claw”, allowing you to both move and control the camera. Basically, while you have your thumb on the analog stick, you bend your index finger back and curl it forward like a claw. This is generally incredibly uncomfortable, but it places your index finger on the d-pad, so you can control the camera. 😀 Hell, I was doing so good, I even ended up making a complete mockery of my old rival, the Yian Kut-Ku, by accidentally killing one with a kick. 😛

But then, just as I thought I was really “getting” it, SPLAAAT! I ran into a difficulty cliff.

There were two quests that stopped me from breaking past 4*. One was to beat a White Monoblos, which is a sort-of-wyvern that frequently burrows underground and just moves around aimlessly with its fin poking out of the sand, and there’s no point in running after it because it can move about three times faster than you. The standard Monoblos took 25 minutes for me to beat, and apart from rendering the quest as cleared, it was actually detrimental because I used a lot of items but didn’t get any materials I needed. The other one that stopped me? Kushala Daora, the first actual dragon you encounter. Er… “actual dragon” as in “not a wyvern”. Even though wyverns are dragons. Oh whatever, what I meant was that Kushala’s a Western dragon, not a wyvern like nigh on everything else in Monster Hunter. 😛

Kushala Daora was Fake Difficulty personified. Or… well, dragonified, if you prefer. 😛 He has a wind shield that makes you stumble if you go anywhere near him, making close combat insanely difficult. But since insanely difficult isn’t hard enough, he’s ultra-fast, and his scales are so hard that the very few attacks I managed to land using a weapon with green sharpness usually ended up bouncing. I couldn’t GET anything higher than green at the time! I didn’t actually understand what the game wanted me to do about it!

But wait, there’s more! I haven’t told you about the catch-22’s! Apparently, if you attack Kushala’s head and break his horns, the wind shield completely disappears. However, you can’t, because the wind shield knocks you back if you get too close! In the event you DO land a hit, it bounces, because the sharpness required to cause meaningful damage is higher than is available at that point in the game! Now, you can poison him to stop the wind shield temporarily, but I hit him with five poison throwing knives and nine poison smoke bombs and didn’t poison him once, so I’m pretty sure he’s IMMUNE to poison. The only way I can imagine beating him is by being a distraction while a team-mate with a bowgun/bow shoots the crap out of him.

I even tried looking for some kind of guide. Just a few hints on how to deal with the wind shield, what weapon and armour people recommend, how to go about attacking, any tell information, whatever. Best recommendations? Use a weapon made from unobtainable Rathalos materials, and a full set of armour made from unobtainable Tigrex materials. WHAT. THE FUCK. They were monsters that appeared in THE NEXT TIER UP, or maybe even higher! That made me feel like the game really was impossible, because they’d obviously had to hack that equipment into their game just to beat it. Either that, or I was playing some broken version of the game or something. What’s more, because Capcom are stupid as hell, you only unlock arena missions against specific monsters for practice and bonus materials until AFTER you beat the monster for the first time. DURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

I deleted it and swore I’d never play another game from the series. Monster Hunter 3 came and went, and I laughed at it because it came out on the Wii, an even less suitable console for it.

I’m crap at keeping my word, though. 😛

Ever since I got the 3DS, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate has been breathing down my neck. I kept seeing it on the eShop store, kept seeing it in the recommended list on Amazon because it probably knew I had a 3DS, kept seeing it advertised by Amazon in the sidebar on Facebook because Facebook is fucking creepy and spies on my browsing habits, and I kept seeing it in newsletters from GAME and ShopTo. It was all over the place probably because it’s basically The Game That Sells The 3DS. 😛 I kept thinking “No, I’m not playing it. It’s screwed me over way too many times.”

I can’t remember when I did it or why, but I eventually buckled and downloaded the demo from the eShop. 😛 It was a pretty bespoke demo. The first thing it asked was whether you were new to Monster Hunter or not. The first time I played the demo, I said I was a beginner. That option makes you stronger than normal and gives you two missions, one to fight a Great Jaggi (a bigass dinosaur), and another to fight a Tetsucabra (a bigass frog but it’s quite a badass bigass frog 😛 ). I did them in order using the weapon I remember the most from MHFU; the Dual Blades. The fight with Great Jaggi showed off the new mounting system, and the fight with Tetsucabra showed off the insane vertically-inclined environments and your protagonist’s legs of steel. 😛 Great Jaggi was beaten in a blink and Tetsucabra wasn’t too hard either. So, I switched to experienced, and not at all to my surprise, a third mission appeared; one to take down Gore Magala, a completely badass black dragon who definitely hates you. 😛 I got him using the Dual Blades on my third try, which was way faster than I expected. I actually kinda enjoyed the demo, but I was still super-wary. I mean, you were given preset equipment and items. I wasn’t convinced that the equipment the demo gave you would be obtainable at that point in the real game. Still… Monster Hunter was back on my radar. I thought “Well, I’ll consider it if I find it cheap somewhere, but £35 is way too steep to take a chance on it.”

Guess what was on sale recently? 😛

I picked it up for £20 a couple weeks ago now. And I can barely believe how much I am BULLDOZING everything.

Seriously, I’m at the end of 4*, where I was blocked in MHFU. I’m about to fight the Gore Magala that I fought in the demo and I am completely confident that I’m gonna win. On my way here, I’ve fainted ONCE, and that was because I couldn’t fucking MOVE. It was during a mission where Gore Magala appears for the first time, shows off, and attacks your boat. Since the dragon takes about 60% of the space on the boat when he’s landed, there’s pretty much nowhere to move when he does. I got pinned against a corner underneath Magala while he did some attacks that I couldn’t really see as I desperately tried to run or roll THROUGH him somehow, and eventually I just gave up and let him drain my health. But that’s literally the only time I’ve fainted. What the hell? Have I just gotten better at games or something, or is MH4U just easier?

I think the main reason why is because I did some proper weapon tests and found a new favourite. I went through the majority of the weapon training, getting used to each of the weapons before entering the arena with a Great Jaggi, timing myself from that point. I logged 4 minutes 16 seconds with the familiar Dual Blades, and finally proved to myself that I’ve been wasting my time with that mediocre weapon all along by posting a time of 2 minutes 56 seconds with the Long Sword. Then something unexpected happened. I picked the Insect Glaive, one of the two new weapons. Without fully understanding what I was doing, I FLATTENED the Great Jaggi in 2 minutes 17 seconds. What. Thinking it was a fluke, I tried again. 1 MINUTE 53 SECONDS. Holy crap!

Understandably, the Insect Glaive became my new weapon of choice. This overpowered-as-hell I-can-do-literally-everything-except-block-but-why-would-you-waste-your-time-with-blocking weapon has nuked every single anything that’s gotten in my way so far. Was that my problem from the very beginning? I’d been using the wrong weapon? It must’ve been at least part of it. 😛

But anyway, now that I can actually play the game properly without being butt-raped by the weakest monsters in the game, I can progress through the game and attempt to enjoy it for once. And as for the biggest, most immense improvement MH4U has over the previous games aside from the more reasonable difficulty? Wanna know? Go on, guess.

It haaas… A NARRATIVE.

Top lel, yes! It actually has an additional sense of progression outside of the number of stars shown by the name of the quest. There’s a STORY. It only took them THIS many years to realise Monster Hunter didn’t have one despite the fact it’s a role playing game and could easily have had one from the very start. 😛

It’s not the best story in the world, but because it has one and it’s interesting enough, I want to know what happens next, and it’s cool to make the story unfold. “Hey mate fuck up this Gypceros because we need its stuff to make a boat!” Ooh, where’re we going? What’s the boat gonna look like? Ahh, I’m not gonna know until I help out the village by splattering this bigass Nerscylla first! OHHHH SNAP I’M ON A BOAT, take a good hard look at the motherfuckin’ boat, yeaaaaaaah! OH SHIT, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING OH GOD IT’S A DRAGON WITH AN EYE FOR CRAFTSMANSHIP AND IT HATES THE BOAT A 13-YEAR-OLD-GIRL DESIGNED, BOOOOSH SMASH WHAAAAM oh damn we barely made it to land. Gore Magala, I’m totally gonna smash your face for messing up my boat BIIOOOOTCH!

*ahem* Yep. So because of the things I madly wrote down in the previous paragraph (if it even qualifies as that) without re-reading them yet, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is actually a good game for once. 😛 It has a story, a unique vibe and good sense of humour, a camera that can be controlled properly, a deepish combat system with a large selection of weapons that feel unique, and a realistic difficulty curve. Finally, I can enjoy the game I’ve always wanted to enjoy.

Obviously, there are some flaws. The most obvious one is the weapon balance. I can’t believe that the Insect Glaive is that powerful. It’s overpowered. Hell, even the Charge Blade is overpowered, because I still don’t understand what I was doing with it when I managed to rank it second fastest at mullering a Great Jaggi on my second attempt. Hell, it was faster than the Long Sword which I know how to use already. I’m gonna have to go back through the weapon training at some point and post a list of my best times with each weapon.

Another flaw is their inability to teach new players properly. Going through the weapon “tutorials” feels like trying to cram for an exam; it gives you ALL of the information while the game is paused. You can’t move around while the dialogue appears in the corner and try out the weapon as he explains the controls. -.-  Also, some of the tutorial messages only appear when you do what the tutorial message teaches you. I ran off a ledge and was immediately interrupted by some dialogue that said that you can run off a ledge (or evade off a ledge if you have your weapon drawn) and attack for a mid-air attack that has a chance of knocking down monsters and opens up a mounting attempt. I’m pretty sure I could’ve figured that out for myself eventually. 😛 Thankfully, you mount your first monster automatically in a cutscene, so I learned how to do that before I did it for myself. However, it still felt like a cramming session, because the game was paused while it explained what buttons to press while mounted.

I don’t like this looming feeling of needing to grind for equipment, either. Well, I say “looming”, but it already happened, actually. I spent about 4 hours a day for the past three days trying to get TWO friggin’ materials I needed to complete a set of armour that I wanted before taking on Gore Magala. I needed two Gypceros Heads to trade for Basarios Scalps. Now, if this game made any sense at all, this would be no problem. I mean, you just kill two Gypceros and take their heads, right? Noooooo! You see, item drop chances and conditions are hidden from the eyes of normal players. After killing about 12 Gypceros and capturing another four without a single one dropping a Gypceros Head, I had to turn to the Internet where people somehow have this kind of information. You know what the drop chance of a Gypceros Head is when you carve its body? One percent! ONE!! Despite the fact that I can see its head riiiiiight there! Goddamn it, no fucking WONDER I never found one! It turned out that the best way to get one was to go for the much more realistic 30% chance when you break the crystal on its head and then complete the quest, because breaking its crystal means you can cut its head off, obviously. 😛 Anyway, this was kind of a good learning experience because I decided to try the Hammer after finding it does big damage to Gypceros when you hit it in the head but reduced damage everywhere else. I thought that would reduce the chance of accidentally killing the monster before breaking its crystal. After breaking one of their crystals but failing to kill either of them and almost running out of potions and antidotes after 25 minutes, I gave it up to recover my items, registering my first ever failed/abandoned quest in MH4U, and concluding that while the Hammer may have a massive damage value, it’s actually a steaming pile of shit and I will never touch it again outside of training. 😛

I got the two heads in four kills after switching back to the Insect Glaive and being more precise. 🙂 So, with this armour, I’m pretty much ready to kick Gore Magala’s badass tushie and bitchslap that “Ace Commander” after he says “WHOOOOAOOAOAOAOAAHHHAHHAHH”. 😛 If I do that, I’ll reach 5* for the first time. 😀

Well, fuck. 5000+ words. Sorry, I’ve written waaaaaaaay too much. I’ll shut the hell up now. 😛 But I’ll probably be back tomorrow at some point to update this monster of an entry to tell you about how I smooshed Gore Magala which will make it EVEN LOOOOOONGER! 😛

Problem rectified!

I got a 3DS charger last Saturday. Nope, it wasn’t the one I ordered from ShopTo. Had to settle for a GAMEware one which cost more than an official one because high street and lack of logic. That, and the fact that there were about 700 trillion people walking around Brighton at the same time basically explains why I never go into town. 😛 Funnily enough, the one I ordered from ShopTo arrived on Tuesday, but it’s just sat at the post office because I don’t need it. Just waiting for them to return it to sender and get a refund. And inevitably I’ll have to send ShopTo an e-mail when they don’t refund me. And then counter their inevitable “no refunds after 7 days of receipt” argument with “I never took receipt of the goods because they were late so fuck you”. 😛  That’s how it’s playing out in my head, anyway. 😛

RIGHT, YES, the console. I’ve played… three games on it now, excluding the AR games I had a go at. My thoughts so far? It’s… almost awesome.

First let me confirm that there has been absolutely zero problems with it despite the fact that it’s an Australian-region 3DS. It acts in exactly the same way as a European 3DS. All the games I bought from the UK work perfectly, the Nintendo Store says it’s for Europe and Australia when you open it for the first time, and StreetPass works, too. 🙂

The only real problem I have with the console is the ergonomics, but it’s such a big problem it almost ruins it. I’ve never had anything that I’ve been unable to play for more than a few hours because of how uncomfortable it is to hold. I played a time attack on Space Invaders Extreme 2, and my hand was starting to go numb by the time I reached the final stage. It only took about 13 minutes. 😛 It’s essentially just a large, unfoldable brick, and the corners of the unfolded brick dig into my palms quite firmly as I’m holding it. It’s fine for a short while, but it starts to hurt eventually.

Another issue is the shortish battery life. I’ve barely played it today, maybe about 3 hours, but it’s already gone through half its battery. So about… 6 hours of battery life? It’s reasonable, it’d definitely last me if I went back home on the train/bus and took it with me. Not like my hands would last that long holding it. 😛

Apart from those things, it’s really good. The 3D effect is still fun yet weird; it’s like peering through a window into a room that isn’t there. 😀 I’ve also gotten to understand the firmware a bit more. It comes bundled with a step counter which awards these “Play Coins” every 100 steps you take in a day, but doesn’t give more than 10 a day. Apparently today I’ve taken 2756 steps, which is pretty eye-opening. I had no idea it takes that many steps to get to work and back. 😀 Of course, I can imagine it’s pretty inaccurate, especially since it’s in my bag. 😛 The Play Coins can be used to unlock AR games or to make progress in StreetPass games. I think that’s all they’re for.

StreetPass is really cool. It’s like the PlayStation Vita’s “near”. Well, apart from StreetPass absolutely obliterates the living turd out of Near. Near only works through WiFi or 3G if you bought that version of the Vita for some reason, and it takes people who were within several miles of your location at some point and tells you what they’ve been playing. As if you care. 😛 StreetPass runs all the time while your device is sleeping (when the cover’s closed) and attempts to communicate with any other 3DS that comes into range.

The firmware has a game which uses StreetPass already built-in, called StreetPass Mii Plaza. The devices exchange Miis and information such as your greeting and where you’re from. When you check your 3DS and open up Mii Plaza, all the Miis belonging to people you passed on the street show up in your plaza. You can then use them in a couple of free mini-games. Puzzle Swap lets you take pieces of an image from Miis you met, with the aim of completing all the images. StreetPass Quest is a mini-RPG where the Miis you met fight through dungeons in a simplistic turn-based RPG, with the aim of rescuing your Mii (who happens to be the king). It’s actually a really fun feature. 😀 The only problem is… finding people is surprisingly hard. I’ve only had 9 StreetPass hits so far, despite the fact I live in a fairly big city. The first day I got no hits at all, and wondered if it was region-locked or something. I actually changed my route to work the next day in an attempt to get more hits, and suddenly got 4 on the way to work. I kept on the same route the next day and got zero. Today I got 5 on the way back from work. Same route, but all completely different people. I have no idea where I’m picking these people up. I have a feeling it’s because I go over a bridge that passes over a train station now. Maybe I picked up some commuters with 3DSs. 😛 If that’s the case, holy crap, not a single one of the ~100 houses I pass twice has a 3DS in there? Not a single person I pass on the street has one, either? Eh, maybe everyone around here is so obsessed with running around and desperately trying not to get fat overnight that treadmills are more popular than video games, or something. Everyone seems to vote Green around here, after all. But the 3DS has a STEP COUNTER! That’s healthy living, right?! 😛

I played the built-in AR games, too. I’m pretty sure AR is already dead in gaming, but these games shit all over the Vita’s offerings. 😛 There’s a target game, which presents a bunch of different interesting arrangements of targets to shoot, and you really have to move the DS around to get some of them. For some reason it culminates with a boss fight against a dragon. 😛 There’s a mini-golf style game, too. That also culminates with a boss fight against a dragon. There’s fishing too. Guess what? It culminates in a YES, boss fight against a dragon! It was pretty funny. I didn’t really expect it in the first and second games, but by the time I got to the third game I was like “Yep, time’s up, where’s the dragon?” 😀

The main problem with these games, though, is that the DS keeps losing track of the AR card as you try to reposition yourself, and it’s insanely intolerant. It wants you to be at a distance of about 30cm. It’s impossible to do that all the time, but getting just a bit too close or moving a bit too far away messes up the AR and/or the 3D. I don’t know exactly what kind of surface it expects you to use. A coffee table is too low, the floor is far too low and it’s super-difficult to move around the card, and a desk or dining table is too large so you can’t manoeuvre around the card very easily. For AR, though, it was pretty fun. Good demo for the 3D, too. 😀

As for the full games, well, the only one I’ve played specifically for the 3DS so far is Super Mario 3D Land. It’s pretty fun, but it’s a bit simplistic and far too easy right now. You start with 4 lives, and I ended up with about 40 by the time I entered World 3. 😛 Haven’t played any levels in World 3 yet. I’ve heard it gets harder, though. 😀

The only other games I’ve played are standard DS games. Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call, and Space Invaders Extreme 2. This Professor Layton is pretty much like all the others, including my opinion of it. Great story with a bunch of cool mysteries, and nice FMVs with good voicework, too. The puzzles are a mixed bag, yet again. Some are genuinely good, whereas others aren’t explained well enough, are completely subjective or require you to use stupidly obscure methods to get the answer. Like one puzzle where it asks “which key fits in the door” and the answer is a key that definitely doesn’t look like it would fit, but it so happens to be a special key that you have to insert, turn partway, insert further and turn it the rest of the way. It’s not really a puzzle, because I’ve never seen a key like that ever, so I would never get the answer by myself! It’s still a good game, but I’m hoping the newer games at least have some better puzzles.

I’ve played Space Invaders Extreme 2 on DeSmuME (a DS emulator) before. It was so good I just had to have it if I was going to get a real DS. It’s difficult for me to explain why it’s so good in detail. It’s just a combination of the different scoring methods and features, how it uses both screens so effectively, and the epic music, along with how almost every sound is synchronized to the rhythm, and just the energy and feel of the game. And holy shit, that announcer is a god. 😀 It’s just so much fun. It almost feels like an epic game show! 😀 It’s probably best if you see it for yourself. I did record a video of it a long time ago when I played it on DeSmuME, here it is. Just me trying to amass as many points as I could on Stage 1. “YOU MADE IT OUT THIS TIME, BUT THIS ISN’T THE END! IT’S FEVER TIME!!” 😀

All in all, yep, it’s a really good console. Especially for the price I paid. 😀 And hell, it actually has GAMES on it! 😛 Got plenty more games on my list that I need to get, but I’ll play through the ones I’ve got first! 😉

Order is 71.4% complete! That’s almost enough!

Hewwo. 🙂

Aaaaas I mentioned in my last post, I went about ordering an Australian n3DSXL and a bunch of other stuff to go with it, partially worried about the console’s region. Here’s an update on the everything.

I ordered seven items in total. Five games (the three newest Professor Layton games, Space Invaders Extreme 2 and Super Mario 3D Land), the 3DS (obviously) and a 3DS charger, since one isn’t included. Five of those items have arrived. Thankfully, and amazingly, one of them is the 3DS. Y’know what one of the others isn’t? The charger! And now it’s Friday and almost certainly won’t be delivered tomorrow so now I can’t play it over the weekend!

TYPICAAAAAAL!

Of the other items, I recieved every 3DS game and Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call, a standard DS game. Space Invaders Extreme 2 was only just shipped this afternoon. Bit of a slow marketplace seller on Amazon, but it’s no biggie. So pissed about the charger though. That 3DS has come all the way from China, gone through Germany and somehow got through London on its way down to me in Hove, and it only took three days on economy shipping. FedEx gon’ give it to ya indeed. 😛 On the other hand, this charger hasn’t even made it through the friggin’ Royal Mail 2nd Class postal service yet. The game sent by 2nd Class however, did make it here. Both ordered from ShopTo. The only difference is that the charger was manually packed and the game was packed by a robot. So I have a feeling that it wasn’t sent at all, or Royal Mail have lost it. I’ll probably head into town to buy it if it’s still not arrived by tomorrow afternoon. If there’re any left, that is. I mean, the new 3DS was only just released today. Tons of people will be needing chargers. 😛

The 3DS did have some residual charge left, however, so I’ve been able to play around with the system for a li’l bit. First impressions? Well, it’s way bigger than I expected. It’s almost as wide as the Vita, and folded up, it’s about half a centimetre taller! It’s slightly thicker, as well. This isn’t a bad thing for me; I’m completely happy with how big it is. Surprisingly, it’s actually heavier than the Vita, too. Not by much, but… this device doesn’t have quite as much power. As is kinda demonstrated by the fact I can see the pixels on the screens from quite a significant distance away. The screens are large, but the resolution isn’t, so the pixel density is… not great. The LCD monitor on my keyboard isn’t far off beating it. 😛

The controls are pretty cool. The circle pad is nice and feels pretty grippy. The D-Pad is almost great. It’s slightly loose and rattles around a little bit, which is weird. The buttons are good, and the ZL and ZR buttons are better than I thought they’d be. The C-Stick is just… huh. I don’t really get it yet. It’s tiny and doesn’t feel like it moves. I haven’t been able to play any game yet, let alone ones that support it, but it feels like it might be pressure-sensitive or something. I dunno. We’ll find out eventually, I suppose. 🙂

The system software is, in true Nintendo fashion, really friendly, fun, smooth and responsive. Unlike my last experience with Nintendo system software, however (the Wii), this one is nice to use. It’s got some cool, little things embedded in the software, too, like a step counter which rewards you in some way I’ve yet to see. 😛 Of course, being Nintendo, there’re also some stupid things. First thing I noticed is that you can only have three saved wireless connections, which is… retarded. 😛 It doesn’t make any sense at all. I’ve connected it to my home wireless and my work’s wireless, meaning I only have one slot left. If I went to visit my parents but went over to my sister’s house for one night while I was there, I’d have to keep deleting and re-creating the third connection every time I switched locations. Durrrrr. Another stupid thing is that the “Health and Safety Information” software is permanently embedded on your home screen. Lel? I don’t need or want that. The PS Vita does the same damn thing with stuff like e-mail. Why can’t I choose what is and is not on my system?!

The 3D effect is… well, I’m not really a fan of 3D. But even I have to say that it’s pretty awesome. I don’t really understand how it can do it without requiring glasses, but damn, it really works! I don’t know what it was like on the standard 3DS, but the new 3DS appears to track the position of your head and adjust the 3D effect accordingly, something they call “Super-Stable 3D”. It seems to work pretty well; I never noticed any problems when my attention was focused on the device, but the effect starts to break if you stray too far from the screen or don’t look at it directly. The effect is far too much for me on maximum power, though; I have to put it at about 50% otherwise objects start doubling-up and I end up having to try focusing on stuff actively. 😛 I can imagine the novelty wearing off eventually, but it’s awesome for now. 😀

That’s about all I’ve been able to go through. I’m not yet sure if there’re any compatibility problems due to it being an Australian 3DS, but it recognised the game card I inserted just fine. Couldn’t play it though; the power ran out before I could start the game. 😛 I’ve set up a Mii and activated the Mii Plaza, so we’ll see what StreetPass is all about soon. Probably on Monday, but maybe even tomorrow if the charger finally arrives. Wonder if anyone along my route to work has a 3DS? We’ll see. 😛

I guess I made the wrong choice.

Luigi’s Mansion. Super Mario. Professor Layton. Rhythm Paradise. They are but a small selection of games that AREN’T available on the handheld I chose.

I’ve come to the realisation that I made a pretty big mistake.

Way back in… 2012, I think? Maybe even 2011. Anyway, I bought a Vita at least three years ago. I started out really liking the console, but… my “relationship” with it has been on a steady decline ever since. I’ve only just realised how bad it really is. Would you like to know how many PS Vita game cards I own? Four. That’s barely one game a year. Of course, in reality, I also own Pinball Arcade with quite a few tables. Plants vs Zombies is in my collection, too, along with the rather good Super Stardust Delta. I also recently bought Resogun, which is… meh, okay. Hasn’t really blown me away. Oh, and I also own digital copies of Patapon 1 and 2, but they aren’t PS Vita games, so they don’t really count.

But I can’t even remember the last game I bought before Resogun. I think it was LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, but it might’ve been DJ Max Technika Tune. Either way, that was two years ago. Since then, only two games have been released that I kinda-want-but-not-really, Dragon’s Crown and Disgaea 4. Dragon’s Crown looks cool but I don’t think it’ll be that much fun single player. As for Disgaea 4, I’m tempted, but I know it’ll demand far more time that I’m willing to spend. I played the original and really loved the storyline and dialogue, but it was so repetitive that I never played through the entire story, let alone reached the point of insanity where your stats go out of the box and you can do billions of damage and get counter counter counter counter counter counters. 😛

Everything else coming out on the Vita is a joke. It’s got great graphical capabilities and the most features and control options I’ve ever seen on anything, so what’s out for it? Generic JRPGs no-one has ever heard of outside of Japan, and CONSTANT VISUAL NOVELS. I thought that Monster Hunter 4 would be released for it eventually and that would generate some serious attention, but hysterically, they released MH4U on the 3DS, a much weaker and graphically unimpressive console, while we get some really shite knockoff called Freedom Wars, the synopsis of which is impossibly stupid! It doesn’t even make any sense! Capcom has always stuck with Sony when it comes to Monster Hunter, but now they’ve suddenly gone and turned to Nintendo instead! It’s so retarded that I can’t decide whether to laugh or get pissed off!

A couple of days ago, I heard that a new Rhythm Paradise game was in development for the 3DS, and it made me sick as a parrot. I fucking love Rhythm Paradise. I played it on DeSmuME (a DS emulator) a while back after someone mentioned it to me, and it caused me to buy the awfully-named Beat The Beat: Rhythm Paradise on the Wii. Dunno why they didn’t call it Rhythm Heaven Fever like the US version. But who cares about that. It was so good. So goddamn good. It’s probably my favourite game released for the Wii. (No, I didn’t really like Super Mario Galaxy. 😛 )

Because of this news, I went through ShopTo’s stock of 3DS games, and tried compiling a list of games that I want. The total? ELEVEN:

Super Mario 3D Land
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Kid Icarus Uprising
Luigi’s Mansion 2
New Super Mario Bros 2
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Rhythm Paradise for 3DS
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Paper Mario: Sticker Star

But that’s not the whole story, oh no. You see, there are an additional six games that I’m not 100% sure on. And if that’s not enough, there’re two standard DS games that were so good that I’d want them on the 3DS to play on the go.

Mario Kart 7 (Maybe)
Super Smash Bros. (Maybe)
Kingdom Hearts 3DS (Maybe)
Kirby Triple Deluxe (Maybe)
Yoshi’s New Island 3DS (Maybe)
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Maybe)
+
Space Invaders Extreme 2 (DS)
Rhythm Paradise (DS)

This list may even be missing some games, because ShopTo don’t stock some games, and some extra games I want may be available on the DS’s marketplace store thing, whatever it’s called. I dunno, I’ve only ever owned a 1st generation DS, and I’ve never accessed it. 😛
Naturally, this list completely exploded my brain. I can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake. It almost feels as if I was tricked. Sure, at launch, the 3DS looked pointless, and its game lineup didn’t really thrill me. I didn’t even realise it was a completely different console for a while. The Vita, on the other hand, broke my “Release Titles I Want” record by tempting me with five games, but I actually only own two of those five, because the other three turned out to be shit. In fact, I didn’t particularly like Wipeout 2048, which was one of the two I bought. But now, with the 3DS rocking SEVENTEEN titles I’m interested in, it makes the Vita look like a complete joke. Hell, it even makes the PS4 and Xbox One look stupid!

After looking at the games, I seriously began to consider getting a 3DS. I looked up the price of the console. Of course, since this is Nintendo, there’re about 74,000 different 3DSs to choose from (okay, four 😛 ), so with Wikipedia’s assistance, I decided the New 3DS XL was probably the best thing to go for. The price? £205, with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate or Zelda Cheap Re-release Part 7. This was… a bit steeper than I expected, considering its low power and the fact an Xbox One with two games was only £80 more. Of course, those two games were just junky AssAssins Peed games, so… 😛 Anyway, I ended up making a mental note of the price and went to bed.

On Friday evening after work, almost as if someone had been spying on me, a promotion landed in my inbox from ShopTo. £10 OFF 10! it exclaimed. It turned out to be a thing where if you bought any of the ten selected items, you’d get a £10 store credit for each item. Guess what one of the items was? A New 3DS XL. Guess what three of the other items were? 3DS games on the wishlist!

ARRRRRRRRRRRGH!!

I’m this close to giving in and buying it, but I shouldn’t. I really shouldn’t. Why? Well… I don’t know. There’s no real reason apart from the price, but that isn’t even a valid reason. It’s not that expensive when you consider the offer, it’s £240 for the console, a charger (because apparently one isn’t included, *shrug*) and three games, and it’s not like I can’t afford it. (Big shout out to my dislike of alcohol and because the concept of “going out to a pub for fun” makes my brain throw a “does not compute” error. 😛 ) This is probably the reason why I’m writing this entry; I’m attempting to convince myself to get it. 😛

Well, the mulling continues, I suppose. 😛 If anyone out there wants to push me one way or the other, or shoot down any of those games in the list, that’d be swell, so feel free. 😉 For now, though, g’niiiiight! 🙂

UPDATE!!

So, I made a choice. I decided to get one… FROM AUSTRALIA. Bonza!

“Eh, wot?! Why?”

Well, it came with a free kangaroo. Heh. 😛 Naw, I kinda lucked out after… un… lucking out.

See, that promotion at ShopTo was retarded and wasn’t explained clearly enough. It was supposed to expire on the 31st of March. At least, that’s what the terms and conditions in the e-mail appeared to state. However, the reality? The promotion was only on for the weekend. Yyyyyep. I found out when I ordered something and didn’t recieve the credit after quite some time, then re-read the e-mail verrrrrry carefully. The “weekend only” part was only ever mentioned in the friggin’ subject line. I believe the “expiry date March 31st 2015” was relating to the £10 store credit you recieve, not the promotion. Dumbasses. I would’ve cancelled it, but they pack your order far too quickly, so it’s basically impossible to cancel. That, and they take payment immediately without any confirmation. If GAME didn’t suck so much nowadays, I wouldn’t ever use ShopTo again after this.

Y’see, my plan was to order on Sunday, but they have a policy where your first two orders must be delivered to your billing address. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten around to changing my billing address, so if I did order, it’d get sent to a place about 150 miles away. 😛 I went about changing my address that afternoon, but there was another problem. Since I live alone and I’m at work from 10 till 6 every weekday, I wanted to get the stuff delivered to my work address. It’s no biggie if the postie attempts to deliver my games to my home address when I’m not there, because there’s a letterbox and my neighbours aren’t douchey. Even if he doesn’t post them through there, picking them up from the post office is easy. However, the console is shipped via courier and requires a signature, and because their depots aren’t easily accessible from where I live, it gets a liiiiittle tricky if they keep turning up when I’m out, which will pretty much always happen. My plan was to order two games in two separate orders, wait for delivery, then change my address and order the console while using the promo credit from the other two games. Simple, but… my bank takes 24 hours to update the address on my account. Hell, it’s been more than that and it still hasn’t updated. The only way I’ve managed to do this is by removing my card from PayPal, leaving only my bank account linked, and setting my new address to my primary address. Then I was able to use PayPal to order and get it delivered to the correct address. Despite the delays and fudging the rules a bit, everything would’ve been perfect if the promotion had just lasted as long as I thought it did.

So yeah. I ended up screwing around changing my bank address, mutilating my PayPal account and waiting 24 hours just to order a game and not receive credit I thought I was gonna receive. Then I couldn’t cancel and would have to return the game at my cost. Fantastic. Just my fucking luck. I felt like I got scammed.

Some time afterwards, though, my luck kinda evened out. After a random search to see if I could get the console for at least a little less and soften the loss a bit, I came across the same console on PlayAsia. The base cost was already low, but it actually had an additional discount, knocking the price down to below £130.

Below £130. *ring ring ring ding whooop whoooop alarm bells*, that’s too good to be true, what’s the catch? Come on, show me the hacker group.” Well, actually, the only catch is that it’s an Australian n3DSXL, and the shipping cost is high-ish. About £14 for basic 3-5 day shipping. But in total, that’s still about £40 below the cost of a European model. And since the Australian model is region-locked to PAL, the same as Europe, it’s pretty much the same thing. What gives?

After a lot of research on the differences between the European and Australian model, I came to the following conclusion: one has a different set of letters to identify it. That’s it. You can set the region to UK, you can sign into the eShop with a UK account, you can play PAL games, it communicates with other 3DSs normally. Even the screens are the right way up. There is no difference at all other than the device ID.

I decided to go for it. Even though pretty much everyone says it’s absolutely fine and it’s identical in functionality, it still feels like a huge risk. If it is fine, though, it’s actually going to be cheaper than the ShopTo promotion I just missed out on. Well… if I buy the same items I was going to from ShopTo, only just. I’m about £3 and a free case better off. 😛 I can’t complain if all goes well, though. It’s been a really lucky save. If I hadn’t found PlayAsia’s offer, I would’ve abandoned the 3DS and waited until there was another offer. 😛

Anyway, I’ll letcha know how it goes, and I’ll talk about the games I got and if they sucked and if this was a big mistake or not. Hopefully everything’ll be alright! 🙂