Review: Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey Redux (Nintendo 3DS)

SMTSJ_boxI’ve been a big fan of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei games for a while now (okay, close to 25 years – yes, I’m old) but I’d say one of my favorite portable entries in the series was Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey, released back on the Nintendo DS in 2010. Like the other SMT games, the first person dungeon crawling (like some of Atlus’ early Persona games, was inspired by Sir-Tech’s classic Wizardry series), the mix of sci-fi, horror, and mature dialog all made for a pretty compelling experience. Remade and expanded for the 3DS, Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey Redux ($39.99) still manages to be an excellent game well worth a replay or even a first experience for those new to the long running series.

New to the game are a new character with her own side story, a new multi-floor dungeon and new side missions, a great new animated intro and optional DLC (which is one reason this review is a few days later than expected). Additionally, 20 save slots (the DS game had a mere two!) allow for a bit of experimentation with the game’s demon fusing mechanic as well as let you tackle certain tough sections and deal with the potential outcomes or just mess around trying to cause demon fusion accidents, some of which can be rewarding in the long run. Oh, and for those who’ve played the DS version, yes, some of those old demon passwords still work.

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Review: Symphony of Eternity (3DS)

SOEtitleFor the record, I was so tempted to write this review in 6-point type just to vent a little at Kemco and World Wide Software for this port of their otherwise decent mobile game, Symphony of Eternity. But I kind of like having regular readers so that plan died a merciful death and you get something a lot more readable. Anyway, the game, taken on its merits is a fine and dandy revisit to the nostalgic days of 8-bit console RPGs and there’s a decent amount of content for that low price point of $7.99 (yes, it’s worth a buy).

The big caveat is the playing the game on either the standard 3DS or worse, a 2DS will subject your eyeballs to some pretty darn tiny visuals on the main screen and a tinier map on the second screen. Worse, the game uses a few different camera positions and only one allows you to see what you’ve paid for with a full screen. Amusingly enough, that viewpoint is a standard overworld view… but you actually only use that map for getting from one point to another as the game has no overworld combat. Every fight takes place in dungeons of assorted size where that larger screen would have been very welcome, thank you much.

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Etrian Odyssey V: The Big Blowout Strikes

How “funny” is this? Yesterday I get my Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond The Myth review code (Thanks, Atlus!) and I’m giddy about that because it’s been a really good year for games and EO has been consistently awesome (although it needs to be on a more powerful system, in my opinion). Having put some quality time into the recent eShop demo meant I’d start off with a party pretty prepared for the challenge ahead (whee!). So, I fire up the game and play for a few hours until I need to recharge my 2DS, whip out the AC adapter, plug it in and about a minute into recharging… the adapter ups and dies on me. One word sprung to mind and yes, I have the WORST luck with technology of anyone I know.

(Sings) I’m Mister Tech Miser, I’m Mister Dumb… (now I need to write the rest of this at some point, but with my luck, the I’ll cut myself and bleed on the keyboard, which will summon a demon I can’t control or something) – back in a bit. It’s a good thing I have a few other games to review on systems that still work while I wait for my replacement charger to show up.

-GW

Symphony of Eternity VS My Old Eyes

SoE_Nintendo.PNGGrrr. I like a few of Kemco’s old-school style JRPGs, but I avoid the mobile versions because I hate playing games on a phone and having ads pop up every five minutes because I’m a complete cheapskate who doesn’t like buying additional content if a game says it’s free to play or has a budget price point.

Amusingly enough, I’ve picked up a few of their PSP, Vita and Nintendo 3DS releases over the years and for the most part, like what I’ve played. That said, their latest Nintendo 3DS/2DS game, Symphony of Eternity, ($7.99, Nintendo eShop) is making me go cuckoo because while I like it so far, warts and all… it’s hard to see the darn game thanks to a kooky design choice.

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Monster Hunter Stories Hands-On: Sweet Spot Central

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MHS_3DSWell, Monster Hunter Stories will very likely be a big ol’ very well deserved smash hit for Nintendo, Capcom and developer Marvelous! when it lands at retail and on the eShop September 8, but it really needs to be on a more powerful system that would allow it to be even better visually.

Yeah, I said it – the well-aged 3DS hardware just can’t handle all the game wants to show off and that’s too bad in this day and age.  So you get NPC’s popping in, occasional frame rate drops, some nice-looking (but would be nicer looking on an HD system or handheld) cinemas and a few other issues. That said, the game is fun as heck and absolutely the most accessible Monster Hunter game to date.
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Granted, I’m someone who has a huge love/hate thing going with this franchise for over a decade. The character and enemy designs are great, but up until this turn-based installment, the combat has always been what left me annoyed. The funny thing is, MHS grabbing at the brass ring cash cow Pokemon has been for decades makes for a game that’s hard to dislike unless you’re not a fan at all of “Gotta catch ’em all!” styled play.

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Humble Friends of Nintendo Bundle: Big Deal on Some Big Deal Games

Humble friends of Nintendo Bundle 

As if I didn’t have enough of a backlog. Wow. Humble Bundle and Nintendo need to do this more often, especially in the case of the Wii U needing more love in what’s looking like its final year or two as a “current” console. Anyway, a mere buck for Retro City Rampage DX (3DS), Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U) and Shantae & the Pirate’s Curse (3DS AND Wii U versions!) is awesome enough of a steal. But toss ten bucks into the mix for more fun, thirteen for two more games and both those tiers unlock even MORE games in a week’s time. Deal of the century of the week, I say!

Humble Nintendo BUY IT Bundle 

Yeah, BUY IT already if you own a Wii U and/or 3DS. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some downloading to do… (*poof!*).

Nintendo 3DS Review: Sadame

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SADAME boxPlatform: Nintendo 3DS

Developer: Mebius

Publisher: Rising Star Games

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $14.99

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B 80%

Logo1It’s somewhat surprising that with so many RPGs available on the Nintendo 3DS, the old-school dirt simple hack & slash sub-genre is somewhat underrepresented. Granted, you’re probably not going to get a fancy looking Diablo or Torchlight-style game up and running on the 3DS hardware without some miracle coding skill and Nintendo completely missed the boat on localizing the fantastic DS game Soma Bringer to the west some years back. Thankfully, Rising Star Games has taken up the chase ‘n chop mantle with Ishi-Sengoku-Den “Sadame” (heretofore shortened to Sadame for the remainder of this review).

The game takes the basic formula found in Blizzard’s classic franchise and adds a feudal Japanese setting, simplified gameplay and multiple routes through four acts that feature multiple routes which add replay value if you want to explore every inch of the maps. While the results aren’t flawless, gamers with more open minds and a willingness to deal with a few quirks will get a lot more out of what’s here than those who come in with a load of expectations.
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Sadame Looks Like An ARPG Winner on the 3DS

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If Sadame is what I think it’s aiming for, I’m going to love it even more than I did when I saw the art and trailer below. coming from Rising Star Japan, Intergrow and Mebius, the upcoming game looks like a nice Diablo-inspired chase ‘n chop set in feudal Japan with four playable classes, loot to collect and some particularly pesky bosses to take down. SOLD! Even better, it’s coming sooner than later, arriving February 25 on the eShop for JRPG fans looking for something a bit different yet somehow comfortably familiar. It’s too bad this one isn’t Wii U compatible, as it would be even cooler to play this on a larger HD set at home. But hey, that’s what sequels are for, correct?

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Sega 3D Classics Collection: A Throwback That’s A Keeper For Nostalgic Fans

Sega 3D CC_3DS Longtime Sega fanatics have probably been wondering when the company would get to revisiting some of it’s well-aged classics outside the usual suspects and come April 26, those fans who (paradoxically) own a Nintendo 3DS will get to dive into Sega 3D Classics Collection for the more than reasonable price of $29.99. The retail and eShop release will contain nine games total:

7 Classic Games:
Power Drift
Puyo Puyo 2
Fantasy Zone II W
Sonic The Hedgehog
Thunder Blade
Galaxy Force II
Altered Beast

2 Bonus Games:
Fantasy Zone II
Maze Walker

In addition, you can disguise (or try to disguise) your 3DS with a set of Sega-themed stickers that will come included with launch edition copies of the game. Or you can save that sticker sheet for future use or even slap them on all the actual Sega consoles in your collection. Of course, if you’re a collector, those stickers will stay stuck to the paper they come on, right? Yeah, I figured as much. Me, I want this for Maze Walker, Galaxy Force, the two Fantasy Zone games and Power Drift, but everything will get played to death at some point. As much hard work went into getting this set of games out, it would really be nice to see a follow up at some point just to get Space Harrier II, After Burner and a few other classics onto the 3DS in that eye-popping 3D. As usual, we shall see…

Capsule Reviews 1: Some Games You May Have Missed (Me Yak About)

Well, 2015 zipped by too quickly (he typed, knowing that the year isn’t quite over but hey, everyone else seems to be doing year-end articles) and I while didn’t get to write as many reviews as I’d have liked to, I took a ton of notes on things so I could sit down and catch up a some point. The best laid plans of mice and men (and Bemis!) often go wildly astray, so instead of long form full reviews, I’m going to do a bunch of capsule commentary on games, films and books over the next few days just so you have a little something to read when you pop by. Anyway, some quickie game impressions to get started: 

Tales of Zestiria Cast 

Tales of Zestiria (PS4/PS3/PC, $59.99/$49.99 respectively) – Namco’s Tales Studio pulls out all the stops in this latest installment in the long running JRPG franchise (15 Tales to date!) with a game that’s part throwback and homage to the first Tales (of Phantasia) back on the Super Famicom while bringing in an all-new cast, storyline and for the first time, an open world map to explore. Although PS4 owners get the better visual end of the deal on console, the PC version should more than please those fans who pick it up looking for something to play and show off to friends. The game is consistently entertaining from the fast-paced combat to the usual humor found in character interaction and dialog choices. Yes, the use of classic literary references, myth and other tropes is piled on thicker than your mom ever spread mayonnaise, but it works well enough to keep the game fun. I’m actually still playing this one because there’s an extraordinary amount of things to do, stuff to collect and some 93 hours in, I’m close to the endgame but will probably dive in again at some point to revisit a few save files. There are enough divergent paths and interesting encounters (make friends with the Normin you meet!) to keep this one in the play stack for a while. Score: A- (90%)
 
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