The insatiable and adorable Captain Toad has infiltrated my past few posts, nefariously suppressing the wonder that is Editorial Miscellany. For this readers, I apologize, bow, curtsey, backflip, and moonwalk. But I have no excuse this week, so how about we dive back into the scattered madness that is forever swirling inside the aberrant paths of my brain.
Finally I can play this game and not have to dip into my secret loonie and toonie treasure trove that every Canadian is required to keep in order to do it. Despite Sony’s opportunistic price hike, the game was relatively cheap and after beginning the original Suikoden a number of times, enjoying it, but never really progressing past the point when I reached the fort, I was excited to try out what is often cited as the best entry in the series.
So far it appears to capture all the stuff I enjoyed about the first game while filtering out the elements that would always eventually cause me to lose interest in the original. Before I continue praising Suikoden II, I have to clarify that I do not think that what caused me to generally lose interest in the original is so much a fault of the game itself, but rather my ability to commit myself to it. In some ways, I actually prefer the tone of the writing and characters in the original.
In any case, the pacing of Suikoden II is harder to resist. It is a more immediately exciting opening and it lays the disasters on thick to let players know that it means business. Collecting party members and participating in army battles happens far more quickly without overwhelming, and the environments are often gorgeous, yet another example of how platform and technology limits have little to do with how good a game’s graphics are. It is sad that the Suikoden series is one of many RPG series that got swept away with the current of exceedingly fast technological progress. RPGs are generally too large and complex to match the direction that technology has been shaping expectations, and so the wonderful story-telling and the creative and satisfying elements of role-playing in a series like Suikoden appear to be held to the entries that remain. I am very excited to complete the game over the holidays.
So. Much. Smash.
Some days are filled with studying and writing and thinking and flashes of inspiration, plagues of doubt, and the satisfaction of hard work. Other days are filled with Super Smash Bros. Nonstop, continuous Smash Bros. I went to my friend Joey’s place yesterday and played for about three hours before driving over to Matti’s house and playing for another six or seven. It felt like about two hours. Surprisingly, it is R.O.B. who is turning out to be my best primary character. He was a tertiary character for me in Brawl, one I would use to have fun or against weaker players to create a more level playing field, but once I figured out which moves are weaker, which are stronger, and have serve new purposes in new ways compared to Brawl, R.O.B. has suddenly become my most effective character. Joey’s previously unstoppable Samus suddenly does not seem so powerful when I can reflect all his projectiles and get a punch in in the process.
I am still trying my darnedest to improve as Peach, because she seems like such a satisfying character to win with. Highly strategical, she is surprisingly advanced and my fingers just are not nimble enough right now. Otherwise I am still finding success with Sheik, Lucario, Iggy (Bowser Jr.) and – to some extent – Robin. The game is going to last forever. Every character takes such a long time to get to know, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint, and the game is so good at allowing playstyles to be king in competition that it feels like every time I reach a new plateau of skill, there is more to discover.
Although, after nearly an entire half day of Smash Bros., we did eventually end up playing “Sexy Shulk Wars” in which every player must play as Shulk, but only the winner of the previous match gets to play as the Shulk clad in his skin-tight speedo. We soon ended up replacing every word in our sentences with “Shulk”. That was when I know I had to go home.
There is not much else going on with me and video games, except for my surprise at the quality of Kingdom Hearts II during my playthrough of the very nice-looking 2.5 remake, but I want to talk about that more at length, so you all have something very exciting to look forward to in next week, LusiKeyblades! Until then, who else downloaded Suikoden II? Who else has played Sexy Shulk Wars? Don your speedos and dive into the depths of the comments.