That doesn't mean I didn't play games, it just means I didn't finish any... It's game time!
Battle Chef Brigade
Years ago I saw a pre-release video of Battle Chef Brigade and it immediately caught my eye. It's an interesting mix of an action RPG and a match three puzzle game couched inside a fantasy Iron Chef. If what I just said sounds crazy, it's because it is. You play as Mina, a chef. She has run away from home to enter the tournament to become a member of the battle chef brigade. In the game world chefs are apparently super powerful and protect the land.
In order to join the brigade she must win a series of matches without losing three times. The game has you start your day by doing odd jobs for your teachers around town. This doubles as a way to get money and learn advanced game mechanics. You can do fun puzzles where you need to create specific patterns in the match three game, fight enemies, and make orders ads fast as possible in a busy restaurant. When you're all set you can find a fellow chef and challenge them to a battle. You than travel to a battleground and start the cool chef fight.
|If only it was this easy to cook in real life.|
Initially you're introduced to the judge for the event and they let you know what element they like the best and what the main ingredient of your dish should be. There are three elements earth, water, and fire. The more you have of the specific element the judge requests the higher you'll score. The buzzer goes off and then you need to get cooking! You have to run outside and kill monsters to collect their parts, which are made up on colored orbs. You need to drop the parts into your cooking pot and then match them. When you match three of a kind they fuse together into an upgraded flavor gem and you can repeat the process. Before the timer runs out you bring the dish to the judge and are scored accordingly. It has been a lot of fun the few matches I've played so far. It has a lot of charm, and I'm excited to see where the story and mechanics go.
Pokemon Ultra Moon
It's a well known fact that I love the Pokemon franchise. Despite that I can't bring myself to defend the newest duo of Pokemon releases. I have personally enjoyed my time with it so far, but it's hard to justify it as a purchase for people who played Sun and Moon last year. Game Freak billed this as an all new adventure with an alternate story, which is only a half truth. While there are new aspects to the story it is still largely the same as before. They made tweaks to the pacing so that things get going quicker, but a majority of the changes take place near and at the end of the game. I do think that it's a better overall package, but it just takes a while to see any of it.
|The games bring back Team Rocket, but not until very late in the story.|
Sadly I can't comment on any of the new story aspects other than the Ultra Recon Squad showing up every so often. When I last played the game I stopped right before getting to the wholly new story section dealing with the legendary Pokemon Necrozma. There is also additional content after the game is over where you fight against a new and improved Team Rocket which I am looking forward to.
In terms of gameplay it's pretty much identical. You fight with Pokemon in turn based battles. You capture Pokemon, level them up, and see them evolve. It's the classic gameplay that we all know and love from the franchise, but I hope that next time they can change it up even more. Sun and Moon were a nice departure from the previous games and tried a bunch of new things. Personally I hope that for future iterations they take the changes even farther. While I adore Pokemon I don't know how much longer they can get away with the current formula.
.hack//G.U. Last Recode
.hack//G.U. originally came out in 2006 for the PlayStation 2. I came into the three part franchise during its second outing in 2007. I played the second and third volumes a ton, and enjoyed them quite a bit. However, that was back then. The graphics were decent then, and the repetitive combat mechanics and melodramatic anime acting did it for me then. Now we're in 2017 and the games have been re-released in a collection on the PS4. What sets this collection apart from others of its type is that it adds a ton of cool features in addition to the improved graphics. On top of all that they created an all new volume 4, which I definitely have not played yet. It is really cool that this franchise has been revived in 2017, but I just am not having a good time playing it.
The combat is simple active combat. You run into a group of enemies and mach a button to kill them. As the games go on you receive more weapons to add variety, but in the opening hours there's little to no variety. You play as Haseo, who is a player in the MMO known as the world who is trying to find out what happened to his friend Shino. She was attacked by a mysterious character called Tri-Edge and was never seen again. Haseo learns he has special powers as all good anime protagonists do, and he goes on a journey while honing his skills.
|Haseo is back and edgier than ever!|
Even in 2017 the concept of playing a video game about being inside a video game is pretty novel. It still freaks me out that you can "log off" the game and retire to a PC desktop to read email and download sick wallpapers. I still like .hack, but I just don't want to play through it again. I already saw the story once, and the combat actually puts me to sleep. I played three sessions of it and almost fell asleep each time. It would be hard to recommend it to someone who has no nostalgia for it, but it's really cool for fans that Namco put this collection out.
Tis the Season
Pretty much all I've been doing since the 1st of December is playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The Switch finally has the hot JRPG action I have been craving. Sometimes I feel like if I go too long without playing one I will wither and die. So far I like it a lot, but it certainly has its fair share of problems.
The Director's Cut of Night in the Woods comes out Tuesday and I'm totally going to play through that again, because I love it so much. Other than that I don't really have a whole lot of video gaming plans. I'm just going to chill for the Christmas season and get really stressed out at work! See you next time!