Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Memorable Melodies: Guzma Encounter from Pokemon Sun/Moon


Song: Guzma Encounter
Composers: Minako Adachi, Go Ichinose, Junichi Masuda, 
Hitomi Sato, Tomaoki Oga, and Hideaki Kuroda
Games: Pokemon Sun and Moon

There's something about the release of a new Pokemon game that makes me genuinely happy. I'm always down to see what the new monsters are like and explore a brand new region of the Pokemon universe. Somehow I am never tired of these games, and it helps that they're improving over time. Sometimes I get to hype that I feel like I'm crazy, but then I see the sales numbers and that's enough to reassure me that I am not alone in my Pokemon love.

The new games came out last Friday, and I beat my copy of Sun just a few days later on Monday. I had two days off in a row and I played the game a ridiculous amount. I am now catching as many Pokemon as I can, and even trying to breed for a few shinies! I am still deep into my semi-annual Pokemon Hysteria, which is why I just had to put up a song from the franchise.

So the new "evil" team in Sun and Moon is Team Skull. As far as I can tell they're just trying to steal Pokemon in order to sell them for money. They don't really have a whole lot of motivation other than the fact that they're delinquents. Their whole ascetic is that they wear sick bling and a tanktop with their logo on it. The grunts also wear a hat that unsurprisingly looks like a skull. The whole ensemble looks great, but when you see them walking at you waving their arms trying to be all gangster their charm really comes through.

Team Skull just might be my favorite evil team in Pokemon to date. While their outfits and swagger really do it for me, the music composed for all of their battles is on another level. It has a ton of weird vocals, and hip-hop influence. The track I chose for this week is the music that plays when you fight the boss of Team Skull, Guzma. His music takes things up a notch, which is fitting of a true boss character. 

It's so ridiculous that the only discernible lyrics are "Yo" and "Uh". Team Skull rules!



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Memorable Melodies: Pursuing My True Self from Persona 4


Song: Pursuing My True Self
Game: Persona 4
Composer: Shoji Meguro

It's been about a month since I've done one of these and I don't really have a good excuse. That's all in the past though, because here I am to tell you how dope I think Pursuing My True Self from Persona 4 is. The reason I chose this song for this week is actually kind of a bummer. Persona 5 was supposed to come out on Valentines day (February 14th) here in the U.S. Now the date has been moved to April 2nd. It's not super far, but it's enough to bum me out. Hopefully the dub will be extar tight now!

The music of Shoji Meguro defines the Persona games I've played. He has a unique style that fits the overly stylish nature of the games. When I think of Persona 4 a very specific art sty;e and aesthetic come to mind, which I think is a rare thing in modern video games. A lot of things have become pretty homogeneous, and that bothers me. Around the time Persona 4 came out I remember games having a very brown color palette. P4 however, is ridiculously colorful and filled with fun, bubbly music.

When I hear the intro to this song I immediately think of the opening cinematic to Persona 4. Hopefully the music in Persona 5 will invoke the same feelings in me. I've tried to steer as far away from any possible spoilers as I can, so I haven't even watched the intro yet.

The iconic nature of Persona music is why I think that Persona 4 dancing all night was able to exist. Not every game series has enough cool music to support its own rhythm game.



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Podcast Episode 21 - Yo-Kai Watch 2

In this episode of the podcast I let out all my thoughts about Yo-Kai Watch 2. I played it for around 60 hours to bring you the most coherent podcast yet.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Game Time - October 2016

This month I'm a bit behind schedule, because I went on a short trip and streamed for Extra Life. For the trip I visited a friend halfway across the country which gave me a few hours on airplanes to play World of Final Fantasy. During Extra Life I played a bunch of multiplayer games with my friends, so nothing new to report there. We did however end up raising $269.69 for the Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse, New York. That's over double what we did last year! I always have a lot of fun doing it. The archive will be up on YouTube eventually, but I have to do some magic to get a 24 hour video up there. If for some reason you still want to donate it should still be up through December at www.extra-life.org/participant/gtwm.

Now let's talk about the hot new games I've been playing! I started off the month with the always hot Yo-Kai Watch 2. Level-5 churned out the second game here in the U.S. less than a year after the first one. It's a marked improvement over the first in almost every way. I played it way more than the original because of that.

Then a few weeks later I jumped right back into single player Rock Band, with the release of Rock Band Rivals. I still play multiplayer almost every week with a few friends, so the new modes were cool to check out. I do think that the single player additions are the true draw with this expansion though.

Finally, against my better judgement I ordered World of Final Fantasy on the Vita. I have been trying to be better with saving money recently, but I really wanted something new to play on the plane to my friend's house. I played the demo on PS4 and caved almost immediately. I think the game has a lot of charm, but the Vita version is pretty rough in spots.

It's game time!

Yo-Kai Watch 2

As most people know by now Yo-Kai Watch took Japan by storm a few years ago. It's popularity has waned a little, but it's still popular on a level that most games can only dream of reaching. For those who aren't familiar with the series you are a child with a magical watch (or pendant if you're playing as a girl) that allows them to see Japanese ghosts known as Yokai. The game revolves around you befriending the Yokai and using them in battle against other Yokai.

This game got railed in reviews for being too similar to the original game, which is certainly a valid criticism. In fact the first few hours are almost exactly the same as the original game, which is kind of a bummer. For the sake of this post I will be referring to the main character of the game as a male named Nate, because that's what I played through the game as. To start off, Nate gets the Yokai Watch stolen by two evil witches. He then forgets everything he knew about Yokai. In a strange turn of events he gets the watch back and relives the first few hours of the original game. He befriends Whisper the Yokai butler, and Jibanyan the cat who has a personal vendetta against cars. It's frustrating, because I just wanted to get to the new stuff. It's definitely good for people who have not played the series before though, because it allows you to get used to the town. You're forced to learn your way around, because you have to hoof it around town on foot until you unlock fast travel quite a ways into the game.

There are trains now. They're painfully slow!

The play area in Yokai Watch is the town of Springdale. It's not an exceedingly large area, and you get used to it quickly. Each area is very memorable and filled with detail. That's one of the things I love about Level-5 games. The places they make are just as big as they need to be and aren't filled with useless fluff. There are a few new areas in the game, but I didn't think they were super great. The crux of the story revolves around time travel, so you have access to almost every area in both the past and present.

While most people disagree, I actually like the combat in Yokai Watch, and the second game makes that a bit deeper. You have six Yokai in battle at a time. Three in the front and three in the back. The front row is attacking, while the back row is doing nothing unless they have special abilities. Your Yokai will attack and do spells on their own based on their personality and abilities. They're all on a wheel which can be rotated to fit the situation you're in. Bosses are my favorite part, because they test your mettle in ways the regular battles do not. You have the ability to place pins on specific enemies or boss parts, which makes your Yokai focus their attacks wherever the pin is. In boss battles this system is crucial, because you need to attack specific parts to stop special attacks or open up weak points. During the story your watch gets upgraded and adds some new abilities. Normally you can do special moves called soultimates, which expend a Yokais soul gauge to do a special attack. You have to successfully complete a mini-game in order to do the attack. With the new watch you can choose to do a moxie attack, which makes you complete the same mini-games but it expends the soul gauge of the two surrounding Yokai as well in order to power up the attack. I'm going to be honest, I never did this a lot. What I did end up doing is poking the enemy a whole bunch. If your enemy has a status effect you can poke it to do any one of the following: Increase affection, get more money, or do damage. These may seem like small additions, but they add a lot to the gameplay.

There are tons of new Yokai to befriend. Lie-in-Heart is my favorite.

The story is what doesn't really do it for me. The first quarter is a rehash of the original game. Once it moves to the time travel stuff it ends super quickly. It then transitions into a bunch of filler until you randomly have to go back in time again, which quickly leads up to the final boss who has no real motivation to be evil as far as I can tell. What bothers me about the story of Yokai Watch is that there are never any great interactions. Yes, Nate can talk to Yokai and control them , but there is no one else like him. Nate is experiencing all of this stuff and no other human (with a few rare exceptions) knows what's going on. I'm pretty sure something along these lines happens in the third game, so I'll have to wait for that.

I like Yokai Watch 2, but I now more than ever don't think it'll catch on in the U.S. like it did in Japan. It's a cool game, but I feel like a lot of the designs are holding it back. One of the main reasons I feel this way is that I don't remember most of the Yokai's names other than the main story related ones. The names are often lame puns that just didn't stick with me. I think that Yokai Watch has a lot of charm, and a great amount of detail, but its frustrating elements outweigh the positives a lot of the time. It's a pain in the ass to befriend Yokai, post game leveling takes too long, and the story is about as lame as it can get. Perhaps the third game can change all the issues I had with it and elevate it to a whole new level of popularity.

Rock Band Rivals

I've been playing Rock Band 4 on an almost weekly basis since it was released. Every Friday a few of my friends and I get together and rock out. For the past few months I've really only been playing the multiplayer with them and given up on single player. Rivals added a whole bunch of awesome features that got me right back into single player.

I'm going to be honest here. I love Rock Band 4, but it was a technical mess. Menus stuttered and everything took way too long to load. I literally couldn't stay connected to the in game store for more than five minutes and the leaderboards wouldn't update with my score half the time. When I first booted up Rivals my mind was absolutely blown. Everything ran silky smooth! The menus and in game store worked as intended, and even the animations when playing a song were smoother than they were before.

Getting together a crew is my favorite part of Rivals.

So previously I had beaten every show in the career mode, so there was literally no other content for me to play alone other than playing songs for high scores. I do enjoy that, but it eventually wears thin. With the Rivals expansion everything I do earns me EXP which is the best way to get me more interested in something. Now I level up just for playing songs! That's cool! The game also now measures your skill level on an instrument from 1 to 1,000. It made me feel good when my rating on guitar was 850. You can also now make a crew and gain experience by completing certain challenges and playing certain songs. These Rivals Crews give new life to the competitive Rock Band scene. Now people can recruit up to 29 other players for their crew and compete to get high scores every week. It gives new reason to try and get good scores on songs, which is really cool.

There is also a new story mode called Rockudrama, which I didn't end up liking very much. It's a documentary about the band you've created that follows their beginning to their eventual fade out from glory. It's presented in FMV sequences that are supposed to be funny, but I rarely laughed. There's something about FMV that really rubs me the wrong way. In old games it was trying to be serious, but since it was so low budget it ended up being hilarious. When it's in modern games I feel like it's often trying way too hard to be campy and funny, but it never really lands for me. Rocudrama is no different. It's a long series of people trying to make jokes work, but instead I found it to be really painful. At least it was fun to have a goal and unlock new venues and items.

This is Cool Terry. He's a character in Rockudrama. This is what you can expect.

Overall Rivals has impressed me a lot, except for the issues I've been having in multiplayer. The game ran and still runs perfectly for me alone. However, once we add in more instruments everything goes to shit. In case you've never played a rhythm game before, being on rhythm is very important. You know what ruins that? Constant hitching! For some reason the game randomly begins to hitch in multiplayer! We'll be playing, then the graphics will just freeze up and then skip ahead a little bit. This is absolutely unacceptable in a game where timing is literally everything. It makes the game unplayable. Restting the console works for a little bit before it starts happening again. I asked on the Rock Band Reddit if this was happening to anyone else, and it absolutely is. I really hope they fix this soon, or no one is going to want to play this with me anymore, which is a total bummer.

World of Final Fantasy

When I first saw World of Final Fantasy I convinced myself that I hated it. There's something about weird little chibi characters that really rubs me the wrong way. Then I found out that it's basically Pokemon, but with Final Fantasy monsters and fan service. Much to my chagrin I played the demo on PS4 and really liked what I played. You play turn based battles where two sets of three monsters are stacked on one another. The main characters are twins Lann and Reynn. They can be regular human size, and weird chibi size. There are three sizes of monsters you can get, small, medium, and large. When the twins are small they are medium size, and when they're big they are large. Each monster stack consists of one small, one medium, and one large monster. When the monsters are stacked they are stronger, because their skills, stats, and resistances pool together. The enemies are also stacked on occasion, so certain skills can be used to knock them down and attack them individually. The monsters can do the same to you, so you need to be careful.

In terms of combat it's pretty standard JRPG fare. I guess even the collecting of monsters is pretty standard now in most games. They're called mirages, I guess I should have mentioned that before. Collecting them is actually the entire goal of the game. Lann and Reynn wake up to find that everyone in their world is gone and they are alone. A god-like figure comes and tells them that they're lost their memories. In order to get their memories back she tells them that they have to go to another world called Grimoire and collect as many mirages as they can. Apparently they used to be crazy powerful mirage masters. I don't know if that's true or not, because I haven't beaten it yet.

They're so cute it sickens me!

So, most people in Grimoire are small. but the mirage masters are bigger and are referred to as Jiants. Yes, with a J. This means that the main characters often hide their true form, but you can switch between the two whenever you want. It's weird, because this game reminds me a lot of Kingdom Hearts, but with just Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy characters are scattered throughout the world, and they help out the twins in many different ways. Certain characters can actually be called upon in battle to perform powerful attacks. Generally a piece of music from their game plays when they show up, which is awesome as a fan of the franchise. Most monsters will be familiar too, which is always fun to see.

I don't have a lot to say about the game, mainly because I don't feel very strongly about it. I'm kind of shuffling through it in small chunks just to get to the end. I think it's interesting and I occasionally get pangs of nostalgia, but it's just alright. The plot isn't very interesting to me yet,  but I'm also only a handful of hours in. Hopefully it ends up blowing my mind, but right now it just seems like standard JRPG fare.

You battle as sweet stacks!

The thing that does drive me nuts is how bad the Vita version is. Man, does it not run well. Initially I played the demo on PS4 and it was totally fine. The Vita demo came out a few days later and it was noticeably not fine. The models are a lot more jagged as you'd expect from a Vita game, but it also doesn't run at a steady frame rate. In most parts of the game it runs at below 30FPS, and it gets even worse when your characters are big. It's nothing too horrendous, but it just doesn't feel good. What really bums me out is that the menus run slow. Often times I'll want to pop in and look at something only to have it hitch for a bit longer than it should. I get it, because it's on Vita, but man this should run better. However, the most egregious thing to me is that the voice acting isn't on the cartridge. That's right! You have to download the voices! For getting the day one edition you are given a code to download the Japanese voices. I was fine with this, because VO takes up a lot of space. Lots of games only offer English voices to save space. I booted up the game and quickly discovered something was wrong. Turns out you had to download the English voices too! Yes they're a free download, but I wasn't warned before starting the game that there would be no VO and to make it even better the download wasn't available on the store yet when I started playing! AGHHH! The download is just under 1GB, and Vita memory cards still cost a ridiculous amount. Do yourself a favor and buy the PS4 version.

It's happening!

I don't really know what I'll be playing this month, but I do know that Final Fantasy XV comes out on the 29th. To be honest I might wait a week into December and just write a thing about Final Fantasy XV, because man does it look awesome. I've tried so hard to keep my expectations down, but everything I've seen recently looks very impressive.

EDIT: I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT POKEMON! MAAAN, POKEMON IS GOING TO BE DOPE!

I am also getting the PS4 Pro on the 10th, so I can tell you all a little bit about that as well.

See you next time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Memorable Melodies: Let's Have Fun! from Gotcha Force



Song: Let's Have Fun!
Game: Gotcha Force
Composer: Mitsuhiko Takano

I'm a big fan of fighting robots, so when I found out about Gotcha Force I had to have it. I remember looking around the area where I live for it, but it was nowhere to be found. A few months later I found it in a now defunct retail outlet near my Grandma's house an hour or so away from where I live now. I was apparently one of the select few who actually got a copy of Gotcha Force, because it's quite rare now. The cheapest copy you can get on Amazon currently is about $150. It's a shame, because it's a really fun game.

Gotcha Force is one of the five games that Capcom  pushed out on the Gamecube in an exclusivity agreement they made with Nintendo. It's a game about small toy sized robots that land on earth. The robots interact with humans, and ask them to help in the fight against evil robots who have also come to earth.

The game has a very Saturday morning cartoon style, which is part of why I love it so much. There are tons of robots to collect and battle with and most of them are fairly unique. You play as the tiny robots in everyday locations such as a bedroom, or a garden. There's a lot of Anime yelling going on, and everything is very colorful.

Adding to the Saturday morning aesthetic is the music. Most of the tracks in the game are jazzy and upbeat. That's not very surprising, since the composer also did the music for Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. That's about as jazzy as you can get. It set's a happy tone despite the fact that you're fighting robots to determine the fate of the world.

 The track I picked for this week is the one I remember hearing the most. It makes me think back to being a lot younger and sitting with my brother for hours playing the game. There's something about jazzy tunes that makes beating down on robots so much more enjoyable.





Saturday, October 8, 2016

Podcast Episode 20 - No Man's Sky

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I just had to talk into a microphone about No Man's Sky. It's such a cool game that falls short of being amazing. Perhaps someday it will be patched a bunch, but right now it kind of bums me out.

In this episode I talk about my feelings on the game and discuss the studio behind its creation.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Game Time - September 2016

The crisp fall air is upon us, and so are tons of video game releases! As I said in last month's Game Time I had started playing God Eater 2 right at the end of August. I played it a whole bunch, but Sadly didn't finish it. I might go back to it at some point.

On September 6th Trails of Cold Steel 2 came out, and I tried to play it as much as possible. However, the Legend of Heroes series is known for having its games be ludicrously long. I played Trails of Cold Steel a few months ago and it took me around 60 hours to finish. The second game is a lot more open, so I have a feeling it's going to take me a whole lot longer.

On September 9th Ace Attorney 6 came out, so I put Trails on hold. Over the course of a week I put 40 hours into the game, and completed it. At first I was worried, because the game wasn't really grabbing me, but by the end I was super into it.

Now that we're in the heat of fall video games are coming out at a rapid pace. It gets even more crazy, because I actually want to play a bunch of them. I'm using up a great deal of my spare time, and money. Since there's a bunch I should be playing let's get right into this. It's game time!

God Eater 2

I initially played God Eater Rage Burst on the PSP. I played it for hours and hours with a friend. His PSP's analog nub broke and we never ended up finishing all the extra content. I definitely did enjoy the hell out of it though. That was before I had gotten into Monster Hunter, so I was afraid that I wouldn't enjoy God Eater 2 because of that. After playing the real thing I fell out of love with all the less complicated Monster Hunter clones I came across. Luckily God Eater 2 is just different enough to hold my interest.

At the most base level you could call anime Monster Hunter. That's mostly true, but it definitely plays a lot differently. You play as a person called a God Eater. God Eaters are essentially the protectors in a post-apocalyptic world that has been overrun by monsters. The monsters are essentially gods (duh). They were experimented on and given a wrist band called a God Arc. This allows them to summon a huge weapon, which is powerful enough to slay the beasts threatening humanity. These God Arcs can actually eat the monsters to gain power, which is one of the core game mechanics. If the monster you're fighting is alive and you bite into it you'll be powered up. If the monster is down and you eat it that's how you harvest its part.

There are new weapon types like the scythe in God Eater 2

God Eater 2 plays very much like the original, but now there are more monsters and a few more weapon types. Unlike Monster Hunter, God Eater tends to be very forgiving. While animation priority is still a thing, it doesn't matter very much. You can take a lot of hits, and your teammates can easily heal you. I'd describe this as a very arcadey experience. You don't always have to use a lot of strategy and can often just mash your way to victory. Obviously the difficulty ramps up over time, but it never gets anywhere near as hard as Monster Hunter.

One thing God Eater has over Monster Hunter is an actual plot. The first game was great and had a lot of deep characters to interact with. So far the second game is interesting but has not quite hooked me yet. There's a lot of creepy characters in this one, and a ton of religious symbolism. It's interesting, but very little is actually happening. At least it's diving into the back story of every character, but it goes a bit too slow for its own good. There have been times when the story starts going somewhere, but then immediately takes a sharp turn into some weird filler stuff.

This is the crew you'll be rolling with for the duration of the game.

Overall I think that God Eater 2 is a solid game. At the time of writing this you can also get the first game for free when you purchase the second, so it's a good way to get on board with the series. It's a competent hunting game that deals with style over substance. It's not the most complex game around, but it's fun to hold its own.

Trails of Cold Steel 2

Trails of Cold Steel 2 is hard to talk about. The first game takes a hard turn at the end, so any information about the second game, even trailers, spoil a ton about what happens in the first game. The last few hours of the original game absolutely blew my mind. I saw almost none of it coming, so if for some reason you want to play the original, then do not ready any further. You have been warned!

Spoilers start here:

A friend of mine played Trails of Cold Steel at the beginning of 2016 and absolutely loved it. The issue he ran into was he loved it so much, but had no one to talk to about it. That led to me playing through the whole game while he watched. At first I was a little iffy on the game, but in the end it ended up growing on me, The first game focuses on a group of kids at Thors Military Academy that are chosen for a special class called class seven, They were chosen because they come from vastly differing backgrounds. You spend most of your time at the school, but go on field studies as well. Throughout the course of the game you learn a ton about each character in your class. The reason I ended up liking the game so much is that each character is characterized very well. It's not like most JRPGs where only a few characters are built upon, which is great.

We're here to talk about the second game though, and man is it a lot different. The end of the first game has the main character Rean Schwarzer essentially getting his own Gundam. Seriously, he receives a giant humanoid robot, which he can then pilot. So now outside of the regular turn based battles of the original game you also have to fight in your robot, Valimar. These battles differ in that you can attack the enemy robot in one of three places. If you attack the weak point, then you do more damage and can perform a follow-up attack. Yes, there were two of these battles at the end of the first game but you do them much more often now.

Valimar, the Ashen Knight.

No longer are you at school, because now the nation is engaged in all out war. The noble faction has raised its own army, which is trying to take over the entire country. They assassinated Chancellor Osbourne, who was a proponent of making everyone equal at any means necessary. It sounds good at first, but you find out that he's actually done some pretty heinous stuff in the name of equality. It's a good old fashioned class struggle and class seven is at the center. Instead of learning in a classroom you need to travel around the country and try to keep everyone safe. Class Seven decides to remain neutral in the war and just try to keep civilians safe. This means that you go around the country and try to recruit other students from Thors to your cause.

What's crazy is that I've already played the game for 50 hours and I don't think I;m even halfway through the game. While the original was more or less linear, this game allows you to travel pretty much anywhere at any time. It takes a bit to open up, but once it does there is almost too much content.

All of Class 7 gets hot new clothing!

The issue that I'm having with the game is that it's not always holding my interest. The first game was paced rather slowly in order to learn about everyone, so I thought that the second game would have awesome stuff popping off all the time. That isn't necessarily the case. I've taken two breaks from playing it to complete other games, because I don't want to burn out. There are so many new characters that seem cool, but so far they haven't done a whole lot. Things are picking up where I am now, but it's still not making me as excited as I would like. Hopefully there's an insane third act plot twist in this one as well. I enjoy the game's battle system and characters, so I'm excited to eventually finish this game.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirits of Justice

I absolutely love the original Ace Attorney trilogy. I had always wanted to play the franchise, but the DS cartridges got pretty expensive back in the day. Capcom decided to re-release them on the Wii virtual console and I was able to net all three for a reasonable price. Prior to that I had never really played any visual novels, but ended up getting sucked right in. Ace Attorney may be mostly reading, but you actually have to use deductive reasoning and interact with the game. It has gotten me to try out a bunch more visual novel series and I am very grateful for it. However, even after playing other games like it I still think that Ace Attorney is my favorite.

The original trilogy is incredible. It ended in a way that gave me a feeling of closure. However, at the time I started playing the games the 4th entry in the series Apollo Justice had already been released. Most people really didn't like it, so I was hesitant to play it. In the end I did and ended up being one of the few people who really likes Apollo Justice. It seemed like the series was done for, but Capcom decided to try and revive the series with a 5th game. It brought Phoenix back to the forefront, but also had Apollo. It ended up being successful enough for a 6th game to be released, which is why we're here now.

OBJECTION!

Spirits of Justice is the end of the second Ace Attorney trilogy, and like the first trilogy it did not disappoint. Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, Ace Attorney is a game about lawyers. Phoenix Wright runs an agency where he hires people who have special talents. It turns out that included his magician daughter Trucy, and two defense attorneys Apollo Justice and Athena Psyches. Apollo has been around for a bit, but Athena was introduced in the previous game. She's still a bit green, but she seems like she's coming into her own now.

The original trilogy dealt a lot with spirit mediums, spirit channeling, and fantastical things in general, Apollo Justice, and the 5th game moved away from the spirit obsession, but the 6th game i right back at it, I guess with a name like "Spirits of Justice" you probably already figured that out. It's a bit hard to explain if you've never played the series, but Phoenix used to have a partner named Maya Fey. She's a spirit medium in training, She is the head of a village of spirit mediums called Kurain Village. Spirits of Justice opens with Phoenix going to the country of Khura'in to see Maya who is almost done with her spirit training. In order to truly run her village she must master spirit channeling. This sounds really stupid, but Kurain and Khura'in are two different places. Khurai'in is a different country in the world of Ace Attorney.

The new prosecutor Nayuta is from Khura'in

Almost as soon as Phoenix steps off the plane into the distant land of Khura'in he gets ropes into a murder trial. He quickly finds out that the legal system doesn't quite work the same in the foreign land. The royal priestess performs a seance with the deceased, which allows her to see their final moments. From that they determine whether or not the accused is guilty. However, due to a ludicrous thing called the Defense Culpability Act there are no lawyers. This is because under the act defense attorneys are given the same punishment as the accused should they lose. Phoenix being the upstanding guy he is ends up doing the trial anyways, and ends up getting the first not guilty verdict in 23 years!

From there the story spools out into a crazy adventure. Since it's a visual novel finding out the story is the entire game, so I'll refrain from giving away anything else. The adventure runs about 40 hours long, which is almost twice as long as the 5th game. I rarely got stuck, but it does suffer a bit from the classic Ace Attorney logic leaps. Sometimes you can see what the game wants you do do, but you're five steps ahead. It's always a bit annoying, but now you can get hints from the game if you get stuck for too long. That eases the pain of being stuck forever and having to look up a walkthrough.

The divination seance is a large component of trails in this game.

In terms of actual gameplay Spirits of Justice has a lot more going on than the previous games. This is because it uses almost every gameplay system from previous games. Phoenix can tell when people are lying with his Magatama, Apollo uses his magic bracelet to see nervous ticks, and Athena uses her psychology to find inconsistencies, When in Khura'in you have to watch the divination seance, which adds a whole new layer to cases. It's essentially a video that can be used as evidence. It doesn't sound too cool at first, but when you can see a crime from the victims point of view it opens up a ton of new things to look at. They even bring back the forensic science of Emma Skye. There's a lot more going on than than in any other Ace Attorney game, and I don't think that any mechanic outstays its welcome. It's another great end to a trilogy and I can't wait to see where they take things next. The ending means that a lot is going to have to change, which I'm very excited about.

Rocktober

Somehow a year later I am still playing Rock Band 4 at least once a week. What's even more amazing is that Rock Band 4 performed well enough to deserve an expansion. You can bet that I'll be playing that on October 18th.

I'm also kind of interested in trying out the PlayStation VR. One of my friends is getting it, so I'll at least be able to try it out. Hopefully it's good, otherwise I don't know if VR will continue to be a thing in the coming years. Only time will tell.

I took a break from playing Trails of Cold Steel 2 to mess around with Yo-Kai Watch 2 and I've been enjoying myself so far. Originally I was interested in Yo-Kai Watch! from an academic perspective, but now I am genuinely into it. Hopefully I can beat both of them this month, but I don't know if I'll have enough time. It's weird to be playing games that are 40 hours or more back to back.

Somehow I'll make it work! See you next month!