Working through the backlog- Zero Mission and Project Diva f 2nd Complete

A little while ago I posted a list of games I plan to finish up this yeah, some of which had been on the back burner for a long long time. While it hasn’t been a long time since I wrote the list, often I get a little side tracked with my gaming pursuits and don’t achieve any of what I planned, so far this list has kept me a little on track!

A little…

So between playing Wonderful 101, Persona Q and Super Mario 3D Land I have managed to finish not one but two games.

Metroid Zero Mission

I have never been the biggest fan of the series to be honest. But I have played and enjoyed all the 2D ones, with this having been my favourite as well as being my introduction to really liking the series. Since originally playing this I have gone on to play Super and Fusion. So, I thought it was time to go and look back on the game that got me into the series, which I long held as my favourite.

It is a stunning game. Lean, carefully crafted, gorgeous and maybe a little too easy. The map is large enough to discourage needless running in circles, but it can also be traversed side to side in a fairly short amount of time despite the absence of teleports the Castlevania series needs to make it’s castles work. The power ups change how you view and deal with the environment to varying degrees, and keep you on your toes with trying to think about where you have been and needed to go.

It was very rare I felt stuck, but I never felt like I was just going down the one true path as the game intended either. Early on I mastered multiple bomb jumping, making any vertical distance traversable. Something that sounds game breaking and totally fails to do so.

Although the game ended rather abruptly, I wasn’t expecting it end so close after getting the Super Bomb power-up. But at the same time, it is rare that a game doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, which I appreciate.

Having said all that, the game is fairly easy if you play it how you expect. Going and collecting all the things. If you want to make the game more challenging, you can quite easily, by collecting less stuff! A dear friend of mine is a huge fan of the game and does Hard mode !5% runs, the minimum required to finish the game!

The game goes to the effort of incentivizing these runs with different pictures of Samus for different times and percentages. Despite what we games often teach us, and even what Metroid does, you are rewarded for getting less OR more. The worst is to be slow and middling with your collection, fast and very low collection, or high collection is what gets you the “good” ending images.

The thing with Zero Mission is that it manages to remain a great game if played in any of these ways. That low percent run makes it a great action game more about using that limited tool set so very precisely. The quick perfect percent runs make an amazing and intricate speed running experience, and the middle path, is a pleasant adventure that is that more typical Metroid experience you’ve come to know and love.

Zero Mission about 5 years later is just as amazing as when I first played it, and given the popularity of the genre right now, is almost more relevant now than it was then, which is not something most games can claim.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd

Do you really finish a Rhythm game? Not really? But it showed me credits after I did one of the levels so it’s fair game. One of the worst things about this genre is that it is so hard to break down why games in it are good! The Project Diva series from the second PSP game in this currently 5-7 game series (depending if you include the 3DS Mirai games) has long been the Rhythm action series to get into. While changing very little in mechanics, these games always shine through sheer polish. To take the obvious joke, they really don’t miss a beat. The series simply gets better each time. If you like super well polished Rhythm games, and can enjoy the vocaloid music, be sure to pick this one up.

So that’s two games off my list! I’ll be sure you keep you updated on how the list goes.

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Attempting a new study method.

Recently (yesterday), I have started reading a site called “All Japanese all the time” which generally shouts the same advice to you in many different ways and altering which group it’ll jokingly offend…

But the advice is worth reading, ultimately it comes down to this though… “Have fun and it’s never too early to do what you think you should wait to do. Oh and textbooks mostly suck.”

So basically, if you really want to read One Piece just DO IT, and slave away with that dictionary as you have to. I mentioned something a little similar in an article about learning from games.

So what is my method? Well, I enjoy a lot of obscure anime and/or games that are a pain to explain. Revolutionary Girl Utena isn’t easy to explain to people full stop, but my limited vocab does. So where can I find good, not overly complex descriptions of shows and various topics I might want to discuss…

Wikipedia.

So, I am going to start and see how learning Japanese with the intention to help me talk about specific topics rather than ambling about in the practical Japanese of JLPT that has been tiring me so much over the past two months to the point I have actually not picked up my ipod for revision in 2 weeks.

Make your language learning fun, by making it relevant. Let’s see how this pans out.

Hiroshima Holiday

Just before the end of the year I opted to holiday in Hiroshima for 4 days. Unfortunately I failed to realise that most things are shut from the 28th or so. Meaning that 3 of my 4 days were a little more challenging to fill with things.

But let’s start with perhaps two of the most famous things in Hiroshima, which were unsurprisingly, the first things I did. The Peace Museum, and the Peace park. The Peace Museum, well what was open of it, was outstanding. A lot of great pieces well chosen to put into the museum, and a lot of great model work too. These really helped convey various aspects of the event in a much more real way. The piece that most sticks with me is a portion of a brick wall in the museum, with shards of glass embedded into the bricks because of the force of the explosion. Tattered or destroyed clothes are a powerful exhibit too, but this one it etched into my mind. Unlike the other aspects, which were somewhat expected or inevitable, like tattered clothes or broken walks. This was something both more unique, but instantly understandable. The other stand out for these kinds of objects were the roof tiles that had started to bubble, and now have a distinctly different texture.

Being told the explosion was powerful enough to make roof tiles bubble, and feeling/seeing roof tiles that bubbled, are very different things. And this is something Hiroshima’s Peace Museum understood.

The Peace Park itself is also worth a mention. There are a lot of Memorial/Peace monuments in the park. A cenotaph, bell, the Atomic Dome, all of which beautiful or significant in their own way. But the thing that really kept coming to mind while in the park was the honest feeling of peace. Despite being in the middle of a city, and while I was there, always filled with people, the park really does inspire a peaceful and quiet feeling throughout it. In fact, a non-trivial amount of writing was done in that park. I would normally include a photo, but it seems I didn’t actually take any of the peace park much to my surprise.

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