Guess who accidentally hit enter and managed to post a very short few lines of text? winnar!
Anyway... I was running in to pick up my reserve for Tales of Vesperia when I realized that Chocobo's Dungeon was already out. The dude at the counter told me they've been holding a SRPG for me for ages now that I forgot to come and pick up, so I brought home Spectral Force 3 as well. It has such a silly and generic name. I haven't gotten around to playing that one yet, though. Infinite Undiscovery came out a few days later, and that was also very exciting. Last weekm Spore came out on a Sunday and that didn't make any sense.
I decided to play Chocobo's Dungeon first, since I was in the mood for aother cute dungeon crawler. It is indeed a cute dungeon crawler. It's so much easier than some of the others out there, because if you die, you get to keep everything you have equipped. It doesn't auto-save either. This means if you die, you don't lose the weapon/armor you spent a ton of time and money upgrading, and if things go really wrong, you can reset it without losing anything. Some of the bonus dungeons are really challenging. They have themes like "Hey, you only have 1 HP and the monsters like to attack with ranged attacks! HAHA" I finished the core story without too much trouble, and did maybe around 1/2 to 3/4 of the bonus dungeons. After you beat it, a super huge bonus dungeon opens up. I didn't mess with it too much, because I had a ton of other games to play!
The only gripes I really had about Chocobo's dungeon are pretty minor. The voice acting is really horrible. There are maybe 2-3 well cast voices, and I hated the stilted and akward bits from everyone else. The mayor of your town sounds exactly like the mayor in The Nightmare Before Christmas, and that made me laugh. The aunt lady that owns the farm isn't that bad. I like her character design a lot too. Cid is OK, and Shirma is back in yet another Chocobo game, but her voice isn't too bad either. Everyone else.. I wish I could just turn off the voices. My god D: Actually, one of the item shop guys has a very silly accent, so I loved him :P I know they are just NPCs, but they don't all have to sound like Mrs. Garett from the Facts of Life. Gameplay wise, it was really much easier than other dungeon crawlers I've played. It was easier than I remember the PSX Chocobo's Dungeon to be as well! I'm kinda mixed about this bit, though. I actually finished the story on this one! So I think overall, it was a more pleasant experience because it was easier. It wasn't like Shiren the Wanderer, where I was beating my head against the wall if I moved incorrectly for 1 turn.
Despite having picked up Tales of Vesperia first, I was really anxious to play the new Tri-Ace game, so I started Infinite Undiscovery. I finished the main story in less than 30 hours, if you don't spend the 2+ hours I spend uselessly crafting things I didn't need. It was pretty short, but I can guarantee I didn't get all of the optional bits. I even missed some character development story bits because I didn't talk to the right NPCs at the right points in the game. I really didn't mind that too much, but I was a little suprrised to learn my little ninja girl was actually the daughter of one of my unplayable ninja guys, and not just the servant of the samurai guy that sounded like he was voiced by Johnny Young Bosh. Not that there's anything wrong with him. He has a great protagonist voice! He was awesome in Trigun, but after he was cast as Ichigo in Bleach, he's been showing up EVERYWHAR! It's like what happened with Steve Blum. He's awesome, and was cast in some awesomely popular shows, so he's been EVERYWHAR. It's really super distracting now when either of these guys do random voicework for minor characters, bit parts, etc.
Anyway.. that's neither here nor there. I really loved Infinite Undiscovery. This is one of those games that I think everyone else on the planet hates, but was made for my enjoyment. Unlike many, MANY other RPGs, I LOVE the main character here! He's a silly flute-playing spoony bard named Capell that isn't really great at anything, but manages to get by on luck. He loves the ladies, but hasn't ever really gotten any. He doesn't like to get in trouble, and is kinda forced to follow this Liberation Force around because he looks like their ringleader, and that gets him into trouble. They all have titles that change throughout the game, so every time Capell sees another hot lady, his title changes to reflect his current preferences in women. He also gets a REALLY stupid look on his face everytime Boobs McGee hugs him. (She's my healer! Her name is Michelle, and she's an dopey idiot with huge boobs)
There's also a part in the game where plot happens and Capell gets all grouchy, and EVERYONE's titles change to reflect how grumpy he is, since other player's titles are based off of how Capell feels about them. The title system is really a small minor thing, since it doesn't modify stats like in Tales of Symphonia, etc... but I love it.
There's a lot of mindless buttonmashing in this one, just like in Valkyrie Profile. Actually, in VP, you wanted to be pretty strategic with your button presses, but I always sucked at it, so I rolled my face across the controller until somthing good happened. It's the same with this one, at any rate.
There is no overworld map in this game. There are no airships, mounts, flightpoints, teleporters, etc either. Many of the outdoor maps are epic and take hours to explore, and if you ever want to go back to old towns, you're hoofing it! These little things made the game feel a little like an MMO, but not in a bad way. Some townspeople give you little optional quests as well, but there isn't a quest log to record them, so you have to remember what you are doing. Little things like this also remind me of when I first started playing RPGs and sometimes you didn't know WTF you needed to do, but if you explored enough, or talked to enough NPCs, everything moved forward like it was supposed to. Like FF IV! Man, you had no overworld map and you were totally screwed if you saved and logged out in the middle of the lava fields. hahahah. Anyway... There's a map for Infinite Undiscovery, thank god. I pretty much memorized it all by the time I was done, but it was really helpful at first when getting overwhelmed by the first plains map.
Seraphic Gate is back as well! When you finish the main story, you can save a completed file that dumps your party back at the spot of your last save on the world map. (I think... that's where it put me) You can then book it back to town and go to the ENORMOUSLY HUGE OPTIONAL DUNGEON WITH EPIC LEWTZ. I made it to the 4th boss, where Gabrielle Celeste kicked my ass and I was so sad I decided to go try Tales of Vesperia.
There was a lot more I had to say about this game. Most of it was fangirl gushing about how great it is, and I don't remember it all. I've been promised steak for lunch, though, so I'm taking off :X
I am really good at the Tales of... games. I start them off strong, get halfway through them, and never finish them! I can tell it will be the same way with this one. The game is gorgeous, though. It really bothers me that I can't go back and check over the tutorials again. I'm used to playing the Tales of... games on controllers that don't have a million buttons and joysticks. This game uses ALL of them, and it's hard for me to keep things straight. I also died on the first major bosss, and it set me back the whole dungeon, so I've turned it off and haven't played it in a day or so. I was mad >:(
The voice acting on this one is awesome. This is how videogame voice acting should be! It's really bothered me, though, that I notice everytime Debbie Derryberry pops up. She voiced the twins in the Rugrats cartoons, and has played every small child ever in every series or game since then. She has a great cartoon voice, but people always want that one little kid voice. That also makes me sad. I also think that a good portion of the cast of Naruto is in here, which made me laugh.
Anyway, it looks like another typical Tales of... game, and it'll probably be great if I could only finish it. I should really go back and finish Tales of Symphonia, too, sine I'm right before the dark shrine, and I'm pretty sure that's the end of the game, but whatever.
After I finish Tales of Vesperia, I have to start Spectral Force 3, and so much stuff is coming out this fall, I simply can't keep up!
Disgaea 3 came out a while back, but Matt's been playing it so much I haven't had a chance to touch it :X