52 Weeks of Gaming: Week 4 (1/21-1/27): Brave Vesperia

It took me a weekend, but I finally got around to Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes on Monday. I was looking forward to playing the game since I enjoyed what I played back at PAX West.

Just like the past No More Heroes games, the writing is really good and charming. There are a lot of references to previous games in the series, the different games that Travis goes through, and breaking the fourth wall. I also enjoyed that the game represents other indie titles in the game by having game logos on t-shirts that you can wear in-game.

The game plays like a typical top-down hack-and-slash game with some No More Heroes flare. You have a normal attack, heavy attack, and a button for special skills. However, the gameplay got repetitive after a while. Most of the time, you are fighting enemies in a room, beat them, move on to another room, and repeat that over again. I figured that’s probably why the game got mediocre scores. The introduction of new enemies and hidden collectibles made the game less repetitive during my playtime. Even though I haven’t tried the mode yet, I believe that the game would be an enjoyable co-op experience.

It would be best to play the game in short chunks without it feeling too repetitive, which is perfect for a handheld system. The only major problem I had with the game was the loading time, which was much slower than I though it would be. Although I haven’t played it since then (mostly because Tales of Vesperia was very interesting this week), I think that I am willing to complete the game at some point this year.

The majority of my playtime this week went towards Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. If there was something that impressed me during my time playing the game this week, it would probably be the story and character development. Yuri killing Ragou and Cumore brought up an interesting moral question about whether or not its right to kill criminals who can’t be properly punished by the law. It made me understand why Yuri left the imperial knights in the first place and why he was interested in starting a guild with Karol. I also enjoyed Karol’s character development since he is becoming more of a leader. From being a coward and being indecisive at the beginning, Karol has started to make decisions about Brave Vesperia on his own and starts to face challenges head on instead of running away from them. The reason why I like his growth is because its relatable to most people and me.

The game’s story keeps on growing in scale, similar to the Xenoblade Games. It went from finding a blastia to restore order in the lower quarter to learning certain blastia and Estelle using too much aer to the point the planet will be destroyed soon. If the story is just like Xenoblade, I predict that there will be another twist that would involve god-like conflict.

In terms of gameplay, I finally feel comfortable in battle and fully grasp the critical hit mechanic. Encountering giga monsters were a joy to fight because the fights lasted a long time and it felt like an achievement to beat them. It reminds me of the unique monsters in Xenoblade since they are stronger than typical enemies. The Sands of Kogorh part was intimidating for me since it was a very open area with a mechanic that acted like a time limit (water meter). Since I always try to get every single treasure chest, the fact they were scattered at various parts of the area made it frustrating to get through. This part was tedious and it was a struggle to get through. This also made me question why isn’t there a map for areas that is not the overworld. That would have made me feel better navigating this part.

I knew going in that some characters have multiple voice actors since Bandai Namco did not bring some of the original voice actors back. However, I noticed the difference with Yuri’s voice actor, since I thought during one cutscene that he sounded more like Shuichi from Danganronpa V3 instead of Troy Baker. That kind of broke the immersion for me for a second. I also read that the game occasionally crashed with the Switch version. This week, my game finally crashed 23 hours and 42 minutes after I saved. Since then, it never happened to me again, so it probably isn’t a big problem.

In gaming news, it was announced this week that Wargroove will release on February 1st. Wargroove is a game that I was interested in for a while, since it was a strategy game similar to Advanced Wars and a little bit like Fire Emblem games. I was also intrigued with the map and campaign editor. However, I probably won’t get around to the game anytime soon with Kingdom Hearts III coming out next week. The game is probably my most anticipated game

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