Saturday!

I was playing my Halfling assassin (motto: “if you could (secure a good outcome) by (evil act), wouldn’t you *HAVE* to do that?”) and we got into a bad fight that included a spectator. It was flying about, trying to hit people with its confusion ray, and the DM was telling us that it was yelling that it was a beholder. He gave it a funny voice as he was having it yell things that was like a toned-down version of the underpants gnomes from South Park.

I had my assassin yell something like “Oh no, a beholder! Shoot it in the butt!” and the DM told us that the spectator yelled “I’m a beholder! I do not have a butt!”

I rolled a 17 on my attempt to shoot it with my crossbow. This hit.

The DM then used the silly voice and yelled “AUGH! MY BUTT!”

And I have been laughing at this for about a week now.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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11 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. When we got to the spectator’s lair, we made jokes about finding the spectator’s underwear drawer.

    The best joke involved finding a pair of briefs that had printed on the back the word “BEHOLD”.

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  2. Last night I was playing Singularity, an FPS I got off Steam during a recent sale. After I started playing it, I thought to myself, “this looks really familiar”. Sure enough, the game is from 2010, & I remember playing a cracked version of it that had a fatal bug for my system, and since it was cracked, I had no access to a patch (well, I could have searched for a cracked patch on a DOX site, but I didn’t care enough at the time).

    Anyway, seems they fixed the bug, or my setup is different enough, or maybe it was amateur hour in the crack group, but the game works now.

    So in the game, you are a US SpecOps investigating a Russian research island that was abandoned decades ago, but which has recently been showing signs of activity again. You get to fight Russians and mutants, and jump between 2010 & 1950 through temporal rifts, and every time you come back to 2010, things have changed every so slightly, because you killed or saved someone in the past. Also, you have a nifty device that can rewind or fast forward time for certain objects, and can do a bit of gravity gun, and you use it to solve puzzles & cause bad things to happen to bad guys.

    I am enjoying it so far.

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      • They sneak it in on ya, too. First 15 minutes of the game, you enter a hall with a big ol’ statue of Stalin and all sorts of Stalin propaganda on the walls. Then you wander through a rift and wind up saving a guy in a burning building. When you wander out of the rift, the statue isn’t Stalin anymore, it’s the guy you saved.

        Later, when you get the time device, you jump through a rift, find the guy you had saved before about to kill a scientist you really need to talk to, so you kill the guy you saved, talk to the guy you need to, go back to 2010, and you start wondering when the Time Wraiths are gonna… oh, wait, there they are, and the time gizmo makes it easy to kill them.

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  3. Gave up on Xenoblade Chronicles for the time being, but still had the JRPG itch, and so I’m on to Persona 5. I really dug Persona 4[1], and this game is better in virtually every respect. A good four dungeons in it hasn’t fallen into any bad traps yet, though of course one should always be ready for a game, especially a JRPG, to go to absolute pieces in the final act[2].

    Some of the improvements are of things that basically didn’t work at all in P4, like the dungeon crawling. Dungeons have gone from blocky procedurally generated mazes, distinguished by little more than the difficulty of the encounters and the color of the wallpaper, and offer nothing but fighting a bunch of mobs until you get to the boss. Here, they are (so far) impeccably designed mazes with very distinct visual themes, and a good balance of exploration, puzzle-solving, fighting, and narrative cut scenes. The dungeons in P4 were among the worst I’ve ever tolerated in a game, and the dungeons in P5 are, so far, probably the best.

    The same goes for the overall story. In Persona 4, the game was about Ordinary High School Student Life, punctuated by missions where you have to stop a serial killer carrying out serial killings via mostly nonsensical occult means. The tone of most of the game (lighthearted high school antics) clashed brutally with what should have been a tense race against time, and the PC and his Scooby Gang seemed to have very little interest in finding and stopping the killer when he wasn’t in the process of using his weird TV thing to murder people.

    P5, being an episodic series of heists (carried about via somewhat more sensible but still occult means)[3], makes the Ordinary High School Life segments seem much more sensible.

    Other things that worked pretty well in the first game work at least as well here. The time management aspect of the game has even tougher choices, because the dungeon crawling takes up more of your time, and the resource management in the dungeons is trickier because it’s harder to recover spell points, at least in the first few dungeons[4]. The combat system gets some nice new wrinkles, most taken from other SMT games, and you now negotiate to get new Personas, instead of just finding them as random loot draws.

    The Persona fusion system has some neat little bonus aspects that make it more interesting. Sadly the interface for managing and searching through your dozens and dozens of personas still blows goats.

    Finally, the interesting characters are (so far) not quite as interesting as their P4 counterparts [5], but the annoying characters are distinctly less annoying, so it balances out. Your idiot sidekick is still an idiot, and the dubiously humorous mascot character is still dubiously humorous, but both are pushed enough in the “less obnoxious” direction that I spend a lot less time cringing. One area where the game has not improved much at all over it’s predecessor is its handling of gender and sexual orientation, but if you could take it in P4 it’s not really any worse in P5.

    All in all, I have to say that the game does a good job of having somewhat improved good parts with many fewer parts that have me anxiously glancing at a clock wondering how long I have to deal with irksome trash before getting back to those good parts.

    [1] I have not played any of the first three games Persona. I have played some of the other Shin Megami Tensei games, though.

    [2] I will never forgive Xenogears for raising my expectations to epic heights and then… turning into a bunch of boss fights interspersed with sprites sitting on rocking chairs lecturing me.

    [3] The dungeons you infiltrate are based on the emotional issues of various people that you are trying to resolve, mostly because those people are behaving abominably and you want to get them to stop. It’s a bit like Psychonauts as a JRPG, but replacing the sublime humor with decent game mechanics.

    [4] Eventually, in both games, you get the means to more-or-less ignore spell points as a constraint, but at that point you face mobs that will straight up murder your face if you get sloppy. Still, overall the difficulty curve is a little backwards.

    [5] Of course, “genius high school student detective” is bound to be less interesting the second time around.

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      • Yeah, it’s a part of the Xeno* “series”, which are slightly less closely related than the various Final Fantasy games: they share some mechanics, character names, monster designs, and themes.

        Xenoblade Chronicles (the first) is actually my second favorite JRPG after Chrono Trigger. It lacks egregiously long cutscenes, which is good I got off the Xenosaga train for pretty much the same reason you did.

        Xenoblade Chronicles 2 incrementally improves on the first game in terms of mechanics, graphics. and the like, and then screws it all up with some of the dumbest, most fanservice-y character designs I’ve ever seen from a major publisher.

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