Ongoing Investigations: CaseĀ #046

I picked up one of the blind box Gundam 00 Calendar Characters and got lucky! My pick turned out to be Allelujah for May/Children’s Day. There are 12 figures total, one for each month, so each meister has 3 figures. As you can see Allelujah is in his flight suit here, but each of the others has a different outfit. Some look more fun than others. They also come with two accessories related to their month/holiday. Though since the pose and heads are basically the same across the board I don’t have the desire to collect them all. But it is certainly worth having my favorite of. He is quite cute and tiny, and easily worth my $6.

Suikoden Tierkreis is a fine return to form for the Suikoden series even if this is a side story. After some lackluster entries, I am glad to see a very solid renewal of the franchise. Suikoden Tierkreis involves parallel worlds and destiny vs. free will. I won’t claim that it is high literature but it competently handles pretty weighty topics in a competent and entertaining manner which can often be hard for video games. The story starts after some friends who are part of a small village defense force find a book that revels the memories they have are lies. A new organization that believes everything is predestined seek to make a single world where everyone believes as they do. So this rag tag team must rally together to defeat this fanatical organization. I really like that your main allies, the Magedom, are almost as nasty as your enemies in the Order of the One True Way. One of the biggest strengths with 108 recruitable characters is you will always like at least one or two characters. However, many charters don’t get detailed character development. The main charters is sort of the generic plucky never give up shonen hero but at least he has a personality beyond silent protagonist everyone likes for no given reason. The main cast is all enjoyable so you don’t have to cling to side characters in the game. The game play is the standard turn-based RPG battles. Without a doubt the two biggest flaws are the encounter rate and the voice acting. The random encounter rate is really high which makes exploration a pain. Also, there are only one or two decent voice actors making it overall quite bad. Unfortunately, there is a lot of voice acting. I tend to play it on my commute on the subway so it often does not matter but when I do hear it I tend to skip.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #035

I think I will just talk about video games this week. We’ll start with Street Fighter IV. I had an interest in the game but since I don’t own an PS3 or 360 I had no real plans to buy it. Then everyone and there mom was talking about it. When I was on lunch break I even heard the manga cows in a bookstore talking about it. So I broke down and bought the game to play on my brother’s Xbox. Playing Street Fighter IV reinforced a valuable lesson. I am not very good at fighting games. I have enough knowledge to be above a button masher but not anywhere near enough skill or practice to be any sort of capable player. This is a well executed game with high level of technical finesse. It is also amazing that you cannot play arcade mode with the online challenge function on because you will get a request to fight every few seconds. I am not sure how long this amount of community will last but this is a good game to play if you like the idea of playing a fighting game online. I think Narutaki got a big kick of of it when he played it as well. Oh and for everyone who says easiest is to easy I stick my tongue at you.

I have started watching Zettai Shonen, I am four episodes in so far. It is an odd little show about a strange town in the country. Ayumu goes there to stay with his dad who he is clearly estranged from. In the midst of exploring the surrounding land and neighbors, weird things start happening and cloudy memories keep coming up. The towns folk are an odd lot that you just don’t know about them. They include a few kids around Ayumu’s age, a younger girl who seems to know a lot about what is going on, a news reporter, and a cat. The mystery of this town doesn’t seem to revolve around something horribly tragic and I am hoping it stays that way, but one never knows.

I am pretty much at the end of Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings which has been quite enjoyable. I amusingly enough have yet to play Final Fantasy XII itself. I would have gotten more out of the game had I played the original but was still worth playing. When characters from the old game pop into the story it would have been cooler had I already know who they are. Vaan, Panelo, and friends are still going around being sky pirates. They find an air ship that takes them to a series of magically sealed floating islands. Using their newly gained ability to summons creatures, they go about stopping evil pirates and the evil powers that control the island. I was interested in seeing Square do a real-time strategy game. It is a rather simplistic, enjoyable RTS game but you cannot go in expecting the next Warcraft. The end game extra material seems significantly harder than anything that came before but that is Square Enix side material for you. If nothing else the game has piqued my interest in playing Final Fantasy XII just to see more of Panelo. She is super cute.

I watched more Raoh Gaiden, up through episode five. My favorite episode so far has been the one I named Raoh: Horse Whisperer. His first meeting with Kokuoh is epic. Since Kokuoh’s army of horses takes out a good number of Raoh’s minions, Raoh decides to meet this beast. As they stand face to face a tiger attacks which Raoh promptly rips in two and tells it to not interrupt a conversation between kings (which actually just consists of staring at each other). Also Kokuoh’s size varies in every scene after this. He ranges from being the same height at Raoh to being about 30 feet tall. This show is so entertaining I can’t stop watching. And for some unknown reason the fan-subbers have skipped the sixth installment, perhaps it was too powerful for them.

I also played My World, My Way. Princess Elise falls in love with a handsome adventurer but he correctly dismisses her as a spoiler brat. So she decides to become an adventurer to win his approval. The king assigns a poor guy to run around and set up monsters for you to beat and tasks to accomplish that are challenging while not being deadly. You also have the ability to change things about the game by being so selfish that the world changes just to shut you up. The idea is cute and the story can be funny at times, but it very quickly becomes the same thing again and again. You go to a town; they ask you to collect x number of items; and defeat y number of monsters. When you finish the missions you get the key to the next town and have to fight a boss on the way out. They sometimes throw a dungeon into the mix but it’s not that much different from wandering around the world map. You eventually get a little mimic slime to fight along side you. This mixes things up a little but does not radically change the game play. It feels much more like a 20 dollar game than a 30 dollar game.

I read the second volume of Mixed Vegetables. I was a little disappointed in the direction they decided to take it though I felt it righted itself a bit as the book went on. The relationship between our two main characters has really changed.

I must end with Panelo, so this is the pic of the week: