52 Weeks of Gaming: Week 3 (1/14-1/20): Old Video Game: Definitive Edition

After playing around 15 hours of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, I think I am hooked. The best way I can describe my experience so far is that I feel like I am playing through a binge-worthy anime series. I really enjoy the party members, especially during the skits, since it shows that there is a dynamic between through despite being mostly different from each other. The journey starts by Yuri Lowell trying to find the stolen blastia from the lower quarter of the capital and then runs into future party members who have conflicts and goals of their own which adds more depth to the story. I can understand if the game’s writing is one of the reason why the Tales of series is recommended by many gamers.

            Being semi-new to the Tales of series, I appreciate that the game does a good job in teaching me the many mechanics at a good pace. When I played Tales of Symphonia a few years back, I remembered struggling through the tutorial dungeon while having a hard time understanding the game’s mechanics. This is why I ended up dropping the game an hour in. With Vesperia, I am still learning different mechanics 10 hours in. Looking back at all of the different mechanics, I can imagine new players being intimidated if all of the mechanics were introduced all at once. However, I can understand how it would be annoying for someone who replays the game with most of the game’s mechanics locked behind in-game tutorial sequences. It is similar why some gamers did not like the way Xenoblade Chronicles 2 handled tutorials, although you can review the tutorials in Tales of Vesperia.

            The dungeons had some Zelda aspects to them with switch puzzles. In RPGs, I like it when I feel like I am doing something other than walking around when I am not in a battle. For a while, some of the boss fights felt very challenging, especially when I game overed a lot against Gattuso. The strategy I used to beat it was to run around while having Rita use fireballs to slowly dwindle its health, which took a long time. I realized near the end of part 1 of the game (when you stop Barbaros & the Blood Alliance and retrieve the blastia) that I was actually unequipping my skills instead of equipping them. After noticing that and actually equipping skills for all of my party members, I felt like fighting was easier. Out of all of the party members, I felt the most comfortable playing as Yuri, Rita, Judith, and Flynn. For Yuri, Judith, and Flynn, I felt that they are the easiest to combo with. The reason I enjoyed playing as Rita is because I enjoy playing black mages in RPGs.

            Besides the game having 720p resolution in handheld mode, everything felt the same as playing in TV mode. I can’t wait to continue the game and to see what twists/conflicts will arise considering that we accomplished our original goal.

            At the beginning of the week, I ended up buying Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition from the PlayStation store since it was on sale. I really enjoyed playing this game a few years back at a friend’s place. The game reminded me of GTA, being open world and being able to do whatever in the city. I initially thought when I bought the game that this would be the game I would play alongside Tales of Vesperia. Whenever I play a long RPG, I tend to have another game that is not an RPG to play so I don’t burn out playing the RPG.

            The combat is simple and its fun to make a lot of combos and doing environmental kills. I also like the premise of the story. You play as Wei, a lose cannon under cover cop who returned to Hong Kong to take down the Triads. What makes it interesting is that he actually knows some of the triad members from his childhood. I definitely enjoyed the first hour of the game, however I cannot say the same with the rest of my experience.

            Even though the game is titled ‘definitive edition,’ the game does not look like an enhanced version of the game. I experienced frame drops that were very noticeable and some visual glitches. One example that was funny was when I did a favor for a person that was about to commit a hit-and-run, the guy was trying to get into my car, but when I started to drive away, the NPC popped on top of the car and I accidently left him at the crime scene.

            The game does not do enough to differentiate from typical open world games. You have various missions to do and have many collectibles that can be used to upgrade Wei. The game also has horrible driving controls. When I was attempting to do a race, I had a hard time steering my vehicle (whether it was a bike or a car) so I ended up crashing into a lot of corners and incoming cars. It was also funny to watch NPCs race because they kept on crashing into obstacles, buildings, and each other, making me lose the immersion of being in a real street race.

            At this point, I am probably not going to spend more time playing this game any time soon. If I don’t, I will probably start Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes since I got it on Friday.

            I tried out the demo for Octahedron: Transfixed Edition after reading good things about it. Although it took me a while to understand the game’s controls, I enjoyed what I tried. The neon visuals were cool and it reminded me of a combination of Pac-Man Championship Edition and VVVVVV. I like the stage design, as it was made with the platform gimmick in mind and made me use my abilities in various ways. I also enjoyed the soundtrack as it fit the neon theme of the game.

            The demo definitely made me want to pick up the full game, and I probably will at some point this year. However, there are other games that I am looking forward to play in the near future (specifically Kingdom Hearts III) that I want to spend a good chunk of my free time to play it.

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