This week’s post might be a little shorter than normal, but that is because I am on vacation at this beach this week. It’s always nice to have time for a vacation, but even better when you have some handheld gaming to keep things interesting.
For almost every vacation I’ve been on, I’ve relied on the trusty Gameboy iteration of the time to keep me entertained on the travel portions, or any associated downtime. Books are fine and dandy too, but sometimes you need to finish off training a Gengar for the Elite 4 right?
For this vacation, we have driven by car to the beach was an awfully long road trip. I brought both my Vita and my 2DS, as well as a cache of games I have not been able to get through. I’ve given my 2DS a lot of love recently, so I have tried to utilize the Vita as much as possible.
Steins;Gate and Vita
While I had been chipping away at Persona 4 Golden on Vita, I recently got Steins;Gate, and really wanted to give it a try. I am completely new to visual novels, and have thankfully remained unspoiled as to its plot.
After having played a lot of 2DS recently, the super slick presentation and easy navigation in the Vita ecosystem is refreshing. I love the 2DS, but Nintendo really needs to cleanup its menus and ease of access.
Further, I now have the Nyko charging grip for my Vita and the thing fits like a dream. It really makes it easy to grip the Vita for long periods of time, and also comes with a little extra battery boost, which is perfect for long car rides.
On top of all that, Vita also has had amazing battery life so far. Granted, I’ve only been playing through a visual novel, but its barely wasted any battery, and the idle suspension wastes almost no battery at all. So easy to pick up and play.
Anyway, I’ve started Steins;Gate, and I had previously been made aware of its great fanfare. I’ve wanted to try a visual novel for awhile now, especially now that Zero Time Dilemma has been released. Like I said before, reading on the beach is a common pastime, so why not merge it with a game aspect?
It’s hard to talk too much about the game without giving hints to the plot, but suffice to say, I am really enjoying it so far. The game does a good job of bringing you in during the initial sequence, and then slowly fleshes out the characters and setting.
The concepts explored (so far) are also intriguing. The main catalyst revolves around time travel, and the game has thus far done a solid job in explaining some of the more abstract concepts associated with such a difficult idea. I’ve actually had more trouble trying to decipher some of the Japanese cultural references, but the game has an ingame “Tips” section that defines specific terms.
The game also has a great presentation, obviously important for a visual novel. The art is well done, and the “slide” presentation is enough to not feel too static, and the voice acting helps with engagement.
I can’t say too much more until I’ve actually finished the game, which I’m excited to get back to. Sorry Persona 4, but Steins;Gate gets the attention for now.
Pokemon GO Fever
The other big thing that has happened this week is the release of Pokemon Go. I had downloaded the app when it released, and was unable to log in because of server overload.
I knew the game would be interesting, but did not expect the absolute madness that has ensued. Friends of mine, who have never even uttered the word Pokemon, are knee deep in trying to capture Pidgeys in their yards. It has become pervasive.
The whole Go phenomena requires a post by itself, as it is extremely interesting how it has hit the perfect nerve. The Internet is now saturated with stories, some good, some funny, some bad, about the antics caused by the simple little app.
The main criticisms I have seen involve the lack of attention people have paid to their surroundings (ie wandering into areas they should avoid), but this result was inevitable based on the gameplay. The other knock is the lack of depth in the game.
It seems a certain segment of people would really like traditional Pokemon mechanics, like turn based battles, implemented into the game. While I haven’t been able to do a deep dive into the battle mechanics as they stand today, I have had no qualms yet. That may change once I’m able to really get into it, however.
I’m just glad that the app has gotten the attention of so many people. Like I said, I’ve had people that have never mentioned the series ask about it. There was a bar crawl I saw. People are embracing the game wholeheartedly. As a long time fan of the series (and Nintendo in general), I’m glad this is successful.
Again, sorry for the shortness and lack of depth in this week’s post. Vacation makes it hard to really get detailed with any reviews, but now I’ve got a week to delve into some topics for better content right? I’ll be back in full force next week.