Tag Archives: 3DS

On The Road

This is going to be an interesting week. I’m packing up and moving halfway across the country for the 3rd time in my life, so computer access for the next few days is likely to be hard to come by. As a result, portable games are going to be the way of things for a little while.

The Summoner’s Journey

All the talk about FFX-2 on the podcast actually got me playing FFX on the Vita. The game is a bit prettier than I remember (which is the entire point of an HD remake, I suppose) and still plays pretty well. The Expert Sphere Grid (which was not in the North American release of the original) actually does a lot to fix one of my major complaints about the game. For the vast majority of the main game, everyone is locked into their particular path on the Sphere grid in the normal version. Yuna will only get white magic and magic boosts, Wakka will get status effects and physical bonuses, Auron will get all of the ability breaks, and so on. If you want any character to branch out, they can’t do so until late in the game. The only exception is Kimahri, who starts in the middle and can pick someone else’s path early.

In the Expert grid, everyone starts much closer to the center (Kimahri still starts in the center) and can venture down the paths intended for the other characters almost immediately. Yuna is generally the biggest benefactor of this, since she can get either Lulu’s offense or Tidus’s support abilities, giving her something to do if no one needs healing right away. Wakka can enter Auron’s section and do something about his generally low strength. You can have someone other than Kimahri learn to steal long before you get Rikku in the party. The cost of all of this is slower progression in the things the game expects you to be able to do (if you branch out) and a lower theoretical stat maximum compared to the standard grid (which you don’t need to worry about at all unless you’re a crazy person). It’s a change I like, and we’ll see how far I get this time through the game before going to play its better sequel.


On other hardware, there’s Super Smash Bros. 4. I miss certain things about playing with the GameCube controller, but other than that I really like this version of Smash. The character roster is good, although I find myself mostly sticking to old standbys like Marth and Pikachu. I like most of the changes from Brawl, especially the lack of tripping and the changes to grabs (a brief cooldown on grabs renders chain-grabbing impossible).

Bowser Spin
Unfortunately, hotel internet means I won’t be playing this with anyone anytime soon. Smash Bros. is best with other people; I had a lot of fun with it at a family gathering early last month. If you also have the game and want to play it, let me know. My friend code is 4897-6120-6518.

On Marching to Zanarkand

The original title of this post was going to be “On Nonsensical Titles”, but that would look silly if I ever end up writing about a Kingdom Hearts game in the future and the title is even worse.

Instead of leveling up in Destiny, I’ve been addicted to a rhythm game. (This is a thing that happens sometimes.) Theatrythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is the re-release of the original Theatrythm Final Fantasy for the 3DS, including somewhat expanded game modes and all of the first game’s DLC and then some. It came up on the podcast when I discussed what I’d been playing, and it’s really eaten a lot of my gaming time over the past week.

The Basics

Ignoring the EMS stages because no one cares about those, Theatrythm is about using the stylus or buttons to tap along with directions that move from left to right across the screen. The two modes that matter are Field Music Stages and Battle Music Stages, BMS and FMS from here on out. FMS involve a single character moving across the screen, potentially finding treasure along the way, and getting a prize if they go far enough. If you miss a note, your character might fall and be replaced by the next character in your party, they’ll also take a little bit of damage. Finishing the song before you run out of health completes the stage.

Crystal Cave Intro
BMS have your entire party lined up on the right in traditional Final Fantasy fashion, as notes and enemies come in from the left. Hitting a note does damage to enemies according to the characters’ strength, missing a note causes your party to take damage. Successfully beating up monsters can earn treasure, and the song is passed if you reach the end before your HP runs out.

Under the Weight

The “Final Fantasy” Part

The framework is more than just for show. Characters level up, increase stats, and can equip abilities that improve their performance in the various stages. Examples include Paeon, which provides constant healing over time, Focus, which does additional damage after a certain number of held notes, or Trance, which triples magic power once your chain is high enough.

A lot of XP
Every song has a “feature zone”, which does something special depending on how well you do in it. In FMS, this summons a chocobo to let you go faster, with the color depending on how many perfects you got. In BMS, this calles one of the series’ standard summons (Or Knights of the Round) if you don’t miss any notes, or a chocobo (which does very little damage) if you do.

Ifrit summoning
In addition, one of the primary modes of play involves going on “quests”, which give you a map of (initially hidden) songs to choose from which form a path to a boss at the end. Finishing one can get you a lot of experience and potentially rare items (crystal shards, used to unlock characters, are the most common reward). After completing a quest, you can attach its associated map to your profile, and anyone you play against in multiplayer can also do the exact same quest.

Quest Clear!

Nostalgia Overload

The songs in this game are from the entire series, including spinoffs. Without any DLC, Curtain Call has 221 songs taken from all 14 main series games and most of the spinoffs, including Crisis Core, Tactics, Crystal Chronicles, Type-0, Mystic Quest, both Dissidia games, and Advent Children. Most of the songs you would expect are included (except Liberi Fatali for some unknown reason), leaning heavily on battle themes (Yes, Fallen Angel from FF14 is in). There is some DLC for songs not included in the initial release (The game’s been out in Japan for a while) like FF5’s Ancient Library theme.

Dead Dunes All-critical

Overall, this is my Game of the Month for September. The original was good, and the changes to this version make it better in nearly every way. More songs, more characters, more modes, and more control options. If you like rhythm games and Final Fantasy, you should give this a look. If you like rhythm games and don’t like Final Fantasy, you should still give it a look, because the music is awesome.

On A Blue Bomber

At some point I need to admit that Mega Man is dead. Other people already have:

Thankfully, other companies are picking up the slack. Inticreates continues to put out action-platformers even though they aren’t tied to Capcom, and the latest project from them is Azure Striker Gunvolt for the 3DS. It’s a bit different from the games you might be used to. Gunvolt does have a dash and a wall jump, but the mechanics of the dash are a bit different than Mega Man X. Also, while GV has a gun, it does very little damage. The primary purpose is tagging things, which can then be zapped with electricity. The “Flashfield” damages things near you a small amount, and anything you’ve locked onto a large amount. To go with this, you have an energy meter that depletes when you use it, or if you get hit while not using it (getting hit while using it decreases your actual health). Depleting it completely will lock you out of things that use it for a few seconds, this includes it taking damage for you.

This causes the game to play somewhat differently in practice, as you can’t really kill things with primary fire. The fact that taking damage is a multi-step process also makes the game a bit easier than the Zero and ZX games that this takes after in looks. It makes up for this with a somewhat complicated score system in which you build a bonus and can “cash in” by either hitting a checkpoint or using a special attack. This bonus is lost if you’re hit, whether you take damage or not. Time is also a factor in the score, and the game grades you on how well you did. Outside of the levels, you can use materials and currency to get abilities in the form of equippable gear.

I’m only about halfway into the game (and much less than halfway done, since there are many challenges for levels I’ve beaten that I haven’t met). I really like what I’ve played, and if the second half maintains the quality of the first I’ll highly recommend this one.

Bonus content: The game comes with an 8-bit demake featuring GV along with Beck from Mighty No. 9. This is kind of like the “Model a” mode in ZX Advent, and I’m guessing it was thrown together after finishing Gunvolt before work starts in full on Mighty No. 9. It’s quite fun, and Beck controls a lot like traditional Mega Man, so it feels really familiar.

One more day of Blaugust, more posts can be found here.