Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Current State of Gaming

Haven't made a post in quite a while. But that's just normal for this blog, I guess. Anyway, my main desktop PC broke down a week or so ago, and I just managed to fix it last Monday. In addition, my backup laptop's HD crashed! Having had no computer nor internet access for a week is maddening; only dying would be worse. Nothing like being deprived to get a lazy writer to finally write a blog post. And nothing like a post about gaming, my one and only true love.

Most of my gaming these days is done on the Nintendo DS Lite (I'd love to get a DSi XL when I get enough funds, but let's not hold our breaths for that).

Roguelike Gaming + Pokémon = FUN FUN FUN
My free time in the past few days have been consumed logging in hours to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of the Sky. This game allows you to enjoy the best features of the roguelike genre without the over-sadomasochism present in most of the noncommercial games. It's also the only Pokémon game I can play for long: the original monster-taming games bore me before the first Gym leader.

My main character is a ChimChar which I named Bong, after every RPG's favorite hero name (all the RPGs I've played before that allowed naming the hero have had the same name, for some strange reason, and since it coincides with my own nickname, I'm not complaining). The game gives you another pokémon as a partner and I picked a Pikachu, mainly because it's the only one I really recognize. Together, Bong and Pikachu form Team Punks, the latest apprentices of Wigglytuff's exploration guild. Along with up to two others, they delve into "mystery dungeons" (the series name for roguelike dungeons). Hi-jinks ensue.

Currently, the plots been kicking in and the guild's now preparing to hunt down the thief who's been stealing the Time Gears, artifacts that make time in the pokémon world flow freely. Team Punks is ready to kick some Grovyle ass!

The Best RPG Ever (On The DS)
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies fulfills this role quite effectively, boasting a sandbox world that can do both solo play and adhoc wifi multiplayer. Downloadable content, in the form of new quests and items, add to its already impressive list of features.

Unlike Dragon Quest VIII though, this installment harkens back to the good ol' days, when you create whole parties from scratch rather than assemble them from all-too-often-cliched characters. With 6 different character classes plus 6 more advanced ones that you can freely change into any time after getting access to All-Trades Abbey, not to mention different skill paths, there are plenty of options to keep even the most jaded RPGer playing for more than 50 hours.

And the game looks great too. Gear you wear, both weapons and armor, can be seen on your avatar and those of your party mates. The battle system is based on DQ VIII's visual style, where you can finally see your party members moving around while attacking, unlike previous Dragon Quests where you just get the traditional turn-based menu-driven combat that only offers a view of the monsters you're facing. At least one of my gaming friends, who likes playing RPGs, got turned off by DQ IV because of that.

All in all, a solid role-playing game experience, and one I look forward to spending more time with once my present addiction to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon wanes.

Other DS Games
I'm currently playing too many DS games to mention here, as my gaming ADHD kicks in every now and then. But sometimes, I do manage to finish one or two. Recently, I've finished Squishy Tank--a quirky puzzle game--and Alice in Wonderland--a quirky platform game from Disney Interactive that breaks the mold of film-to-video-game adaptations (i.e. it does not suck) and is actually quite a charming adventure.

That's All, Folks! (For Now, At Least)
Like all good things, we've come to the end of this post. I've run out of steam, and until the posting bug bites me again, I'll be gaming. I sincerely hope you will be too. Game on, everyone!