Shin Megami Tensei IV, Persona 4 Golden, 200000 hits - lots of Gaming Thoughts

I have had quite a few games in the cooker lately, which has mildly impacted how many articles I am getting out. I am still trying to make sure I hit two a week, but would prefer to be at three or more, so I will aim for that still. To kick things off though, I really wanted to just once again thank you all for helping me cross 200,000 views. For those keeping score at home, I have doubled my views in the last six months, so that has been amazingly from my stand point - thank you!

So I have had a couple people specifically ask me about Shin Megami Tensei IV and what I think of it. This has been an interesting game - I have not played any others in the series (though my son played Overclocked for the 3DS last year and liked it), but it does remind me a bit of another game I played recently.

My initial thoughts on SMT4 are pretty positive. It can be a bit hard to get into right at first. The story is nothing special, at least so far. There is an interesting twist early in, but beyond that the characters are pretty dull overall. The silent protagonist is not my favorite thing to find in an RPG, but if the supporting cast is good enough, I do not mind. So far, they have not been.

The game's controls are a bit of a challenge right at first - it feels like you should have a second stick for swinging the camera around, but instead need to rely on the left and right bumpers to do so. Hardly the end of the world, just not ideal. The combat is fast and approachable once you get the hang of building up your party (which is probably my favorite part of the game - recruiting and fusing demons to join your group), though the combat can be pretty unforgiving at times. If you die twice, you can scale back the difficulty a bit if you choose, but even having done that, I have been 1-hit killed by enemies lower level than me a few times. It is not a deal-breaker by any means, because the game itself is fun, but that might scare off gamers used to an easier type of RPG game.

There are some nice features though that keep the game rolling, such as an auto-attack so you do not have to input commands constantly. Another is the ability to save pretty much anywhere - a must for a portable device - yet something that gets overlooked in a lot of portable RPG titles. The 3D effect is quite good and the visuals as a whole are pretty appealing so far. All in all, it has been a good play. This was a tough title to find in my area, and some people may be put off by the $50 price tag since it comes with extras and you cannot buy a bare bones copy without them.

So, the similar game that I alluded to before was Persona 4 Golden. The way you wander around the map and swing to engage enemies and battle against crazy demons... well, the two games are similar for a reason, but Persona 4 Golden just exudes a ton more personality. Again, silent protagonist. I will have a review up now that I have finally beaten it (after roughly three months of playing), but this is the most I have cared about a cast of characters in a game since the Mass Effect trilogy. Tons of great moments where I was laughing out loud and others on the opposite end of the spectrum where you just really felt for the characters when their lives were threatening to fall apart all around them. Amazing game - though I have to say it was funny when a friend of mine said: So let me get this straight. The Vita's killer app is a 4 year old remake? He had a point, I suppose.

Moving on, Time and Eternity has gobbled up a good deal of time lately as well. I posted a review last week, and basically I enjoyed it more than I should have. When I sat back and looked at the collection of parts, it seemed like an almost poor game, but the finished product was decent in my opinion. It sort of reminds me of the Record of Agarest War games (I had reviews and impressions here, here and here if you are interested) - games that I thoroughly enjoyed, even though they had their flaws and a bevy of detractors all over the place.

Well, I did something different with Time and Eternity - and that was created a trophy walkthrough. It is one of the few games I have gotten a platinum on, and I would love feedback on this kind of thing. I usually do not get all of the trophies - but I have gotten most of them in the majority of games I play. Sometimes it is very easy to get a particular trophy - sometimes a bit of extra info can come in handy (this goes for achievements as well). If this is something you would like to see more of, let me know and I can maybe try to do so for more games in the future (like Persona 4 Golden, which I unlocked about 90% of).

Last but not least, the game I am most anxiously awaiting is this year's Madden 25 - due out at the end of this month. I know football titles do not appeal to everyone, but the Madden games still get a ton of love from me. Of course, they generally have a handful of annoyances and shortcomings, like every other title - but the series has become something of a yearly ritual between myself and one friend in particular. In fact this week we are finishing up our last Super Bowl of the Madden 2013 we plan to play. We are in season 9 of our online franchise, and he has the upper-hand by several Super Bowls. Here is hoping I can pull off a parting victory - I will let you know.

So, what have you been playing lately? Any upcoming games you are really excited for? Summer is nearly at an end - I know my son is less-than-excited about that, as he has no doubt enjoyed plenty of gaming over the course of the summer.

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