As the wise, late popstar Madonna once said, “sheeeiit, Ethan, time really does fly by, right?” I could not have said it better myself, Madonna. Rest in peace.
Let us talk about gaming, shall we?
Back in the glory days of the First Phase of Editorial Miscellany, I reached out to all you lovely readers in an effort to collect thoughts on Radiant Historia. Because of the overwhelming and unified chorus of people stating that it was without a doubt the greatest game they had ever played or ever would play, I decided to order a well-priced copy from Amazon and then I promptly forgot about it.
Flash forward a few weeks when I have been exhausted on the engaging, detailed, fun, but ultimately hollow experience that is Assassin’s Creed IV. It is also a time when I need a change of pace from the satisfying but notably difficult task of trying to open up the final level in the flawed but still incredible Super Mario 3D World. Combine this with the fact that I have been feeling distinct pangs when I remember that this is the longest I have gone without playing Final Fantasy IX (a fact for which I can only blame myself and my uncanny ability to lose PSP Gos) and I realized that it has been far too long since I have played a JRPG that was not Etrian Odyssey.
So I waddled my way down to my PO Box and picked up the copy of Radiant Historia which I had forgotten about up until that point and plopped it in my 3DS. I am about 4 hours in, but it is the most promising start to a new handheld RPG IP since 4 Heroes of Light. I only hope that Radiant Historia does not continue to follow 4 Heroes of Light into what became something entirely antithetical to what made it exciting in the first place.
My sense is that I do not have to worry much. The battle system rides the fine balance of being slightly more involved than “mash attack to win” yet remaining swift enough to not inspire dread. And while the writing is nothing above the norm, the focus is on character and relationships while not hesitating to jump into the main time-traveling hook of the premise. Combine that with a pretty great soundtrack and I am feeling confident in my purchase.
Super Mario 3D World. The “D” Stands For “Difficult”
Granted, the main levels never get nail-bitingly difficult, but the surprising amount of post-game content (consisting of both new levels and challenging remixes) serves up a less exciting but more satisfying offering that reminds me of the truly excellent later moments in Super Mario Galaxy 2. The only downside to this is the fact that the multiplayer starts to show its seams. On one hand, having another person to pick up the slack is a big relief, but on the other hand it exposes that while the game is more polished than most AAA content, it could have done with another six months of Nintendo-style obsessive fine-tuning.
I understand the need for the camera to never pull too far back in order to keep the levels visible, but Galaxy 2 was supported by section-specific camera work that really enhanced the playability. Super Mario 3D World seems to occasionally forget that it is intended to be played by more than one person, which is especially strange considering that some of its greatest elements are drawn from outstanding couch co-op. The biggest gripe in addition to the camera is how the action button and the “pick up your ally” button are the same, even on the more button-heavy controllers. This leads to far too many deaths that are of no fault of the player.
These flaws are notable, but so is the impeccable level-design and ramping challenge of the end-game.
Q&A? More Like Q&No Way!
I am just going to gloss right over that one.
Link Between… Something, I Think?
Oh yeah, I was playing this game too. I got up to right before the final dungeon and just stopped. The game is awesome, so I am not really sure what the reason is. Maybe I am coded to self-destruct when I complete a 2D Zelda game and my failsafe is kicking in.
This has certainly been the sort of scattered week that befits an Editorial Miscellany. Remember to keep gaming and to keep talking about gaming. And THAT is how to incoherently throw together a patchwork of thoughts in a failed effort to create something barely resembling an editorial, Gyme Peggle!