Welcome to Gamer Diary, my personal thoughts and feelings on games I play as I keep trying to scale Mt. Backlog. Most of the time I focus on one game at a time since I tend to favor longer RPGs and VNs, but for this edition, I’m going to cover a few games at once since I don’t need to play them to completion in order to make my opinions on them. First off:
Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley
The first Harvest Moon game after the developers split from Natsume and Natsume was forced to make the games themselves. I got this on clearance at a gaming shop for a new copy to pass the time since it’d been a while since I had some easy portable games to play. If I were to describe this game I would sum it up as Harvest...Crossing. Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing comparisons have been made for years. While they are both life simulators, I’ve always found that while they were of the same genre, their tones were pretty different. You still get a farm and have to run it, but instead of going to the town or forest to get supplies and meet people, characters from town come to you. The style and expressions also scream Animal Crossing rather than the more moe, animu look the previous games had. You also can’t give characters items unless it’s part of a quest and the cast is pretty small. There are actually only three marriageable characters for either gender, unless you’re willing to invest in a mail order bride. Yup, this game has DLC. When I saw that my reaction was pretty LOLWUT. You can pay for additional clothes, crops, buildings and marriageable characters. A lot of the DLC is free, but it still strikes me a weird thing in a Harvest Moon game. That being said the game’s not all bad. The in game clock is pretty good, and there is a feature with crop mutation and elevation that makes the game a bit more challenging than previous versions. However, you can’t upgrade your tools so you have to water your crops one at a time unless you use the harvest sprites (which need a day off between chores) and animals (except your dog) eventually die. I don’t think it deserves the low scores I see on various review sites, but I think this will be my last Harvest Moon game. I don’t know if Story of Seasons is any better though. It’s a fun enough game to play if you’re trying to wind down after being stressed out or agitated, and that was exactly what I needed it for.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd
First off I need to admit I really don’t ‘get’ Vocaloids. I can’t really wrap my mind around the idea of being a fan of what’s effectively nothing more than a brand icon than a character, so I don’t follow Vocaloid music or videos and it didn’t even dawn on me to go to the free Vocaloid concert NDK had earlier this year. I do, however, very much like rhythm games and pretty much everyone told me Project Diva games are amazing, and very, very hard. So when I spotted a copy for less than 20 bucks at Gamestop, I figured, why the hell not. Well, I got exactly what I was told I’d get. The game contains 40 songs and they are hella hard. Even the so called ‘easy’ levels are amazingly challenging. I think I’ve cleared all of 4 of the ‘normal’ level songs. If you hate J-Pop though you probably aren’t going to enjoy it much, as with maybe 2-5 of the songs are anything besides cutesy bubblegum tunes that pretty much blend together. Part of why I’m sucking so bad is my brain can’t memorize the melody like I normally can with rhythm games. Also, Miku, Len and Rin have really high pitched chipmunk voices that can be a bit grating if the tv is too loud. As you unlock more content the game you access new outfits for the characters to perform in during the videos as well as ‘gifts’ and ‘food’. There is a section called the Diva Room where you can interact with the characters including like...petting them on the head. I think the idea of treating human looking beings like gigapets is a bit weird, but it’s done fairly innocently (it’s not like you can poke them in the breasts or butts, only their heads and faces) and some of the costumes are pretty cool looking. I actually would play other Project Diva games if I could my hands on them, because for all the cutesy stuff, the game is pleasantly challenging.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Honestly, I love fighting games but really suck at fighting games. Luckily, this game is great for people who suck but still want to have fun. I originally played this game at a con, and while I lost more times than I won, losing didn’t feel too frustrating. Most of the combos aren’t too hard and if you are paying attention you can pretty safely dodge, plus those support attacks help a lot as well. I almost forgot about this game when I finally got my PS3, so I’m happy I stumbled across it and remembered ‘oh yeah, this was a thing’. I especially love fighting games that are completely and totally goofy. It’s one of the main reasons I love Smash Bros, and with MvC3, clearly Capcom hadn’t any fucks to give. The roster is so ingeniously nonsensical with it representation that naturally I have to always pick the most absurd team possible. Some characters make a great deal of sense, Ryu, Chun Li and Darkstalkers characters, obviously, but Capcom also pulled out the most obscure fighters imaginable: Tron, Arthur, and of course, their crowning glory, Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney. I have yet to unlock Phoenix, but trust me kids, I have every intention. With the exception of Deadpool, it’s sad the Marvel side isn’t quite as extreme, though maybe fore Marvel vs. Capcom 4, they might include Rocket Raccoon, Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck.