All About danfordun
For a long while now, I've watched about every season of Digimon ever. I don't admit this to anyone due to complaints of the series being a Pokemon rip-off, but now that I'm older I'm not scared to admit that I watch Digimon.
15 episodes are in for Xros Wars and although I had a negative opinion about Xros Wars, I've noticed that the series has gotten a little better. It follows a basic, straightfoward formula in which the heroes go to a zone, defeat the enemy, and move on to the next zone. It might be simplistic, but it does get entertaining seeing the heroes reacting to these new zones.
The story stars a kid named Taiki, who I hated at first because he was "the perfect child". He would end up helping out everyone to a point of exhaustion and it was annoying at first because it was too unrealistic. However, my perception did change a little about him because apparently him helping others to a point of exhaustion stems from a traumatic experience he had where he didn't release that his friend was injured badly and walked off only to see an ambulance heading towards the same spot. The one thing I ask for in order to make this series even deeper is if Taiki's development involves him realizing that his recklessness may hurt others and that he learns to take better care. To some people, they might not care, but I really liked Digimon because of how well Digimon Adventure handled its character growth. Also, it's been too long seeing characters grow like this and it would be deep.
Anyways, the story involves him and his friends Akane and Zenjiro entering into the Digital World after saving the life of a mysterious voice by using a device to absorb his data. Afterwards, that voice was revealed to be the main Digimon partner named Shoutmon, a red dinosaur-like Digimon who yells a lot. It might have been an annoying trait, but thankfully Shoutmon has so much enthusiasm to a point where he's either humorous or loyal. The main goal in this series is for Shoutmon to become king of the Digital World and save it by fighting against an army of evil Digimon working for the Bugra Empire. To do this, they must find these cards called Code Crowns so that they may claim a zone.
For those who are fans of Digimon, you'll be shock to see that Digivolution is removed. Instead, Taiki recruits other Digimon and uses his device to perform a cross fusion for Shoutmon to become even more powerful. This results in Shoutmon taking the form of a Gundam and thus be powerful enough to battle against very strong opponents. To be honest, I like this method a lot because it feels surprising with every battle. With the old Digivolution, you know that it's going to come up soon when enemies become so powerful that it's required. But with cross fusion, it all depends on the Digimon who joins with Taiki.
My only complaint is that both of his friends Akane and Zenjiro don't have partners of their own, so they end up as support characters. Zenjiro is alright since Taiki can fuse certain Digimon into weapons for Zenjiro to use in battle, but Akane barely does anything. She's only there for cheering and it's a shame that she's not used in battle because on one episode she used her gaming skills in order to sink multiple battleships. It's pretty absurd how she was able to do that just by playing shmup games, but they did point out this absurdity by having Taiki and Zenjiro look dumbfounded. Still, the series is only 15 episodes in and maybe they'll do more of that.
I've decided on writing my thoughts of this series after seeing a youtube user doing a retrospect of Digimon 02. It brought back my interest in the series and I'm planning on making a list of all Digimon series in the order from best to worse. So far, I'm really liking it compared to other series and if I do have to put it on the list this early, I'll place it on #3.
Back then I hated RPGs. To fulfill your gaming adventure needs, it was either selecting actions on a turn-based system of gamplay (Final Fantasy) or pusing buttons to swing swords, attack enemies, and finding/using secondary weapons (Zelda). However, because of a risk I took recently with Dragon Quest, I finally found enjoyment in playing these turn-based games. I went even further with these games as I started playing an RPG series that is also considered the hardest, most badass RPG series ever made: Shin Megami Tensei.
Created by Atlus, SMT usually focuses on the destruction of the world and the choices you make that impacts how the world will end up. I uses the "type" system seen in Pokemon where each demon has certain strengths and weaknesses towards different types of skills such as physical, elemental, or ailment. Most of us who played SMT remembers how important these strengths and weaknesses are, especially those two different instant-death spells that exists only to piss us off even more (since it's most likely that you would only be immune to one while being weak to the other). Beating these games requires tons of planning and strategy as you need to prepare for exploiting weaknesses while protecting your own. Demon negotiate is also necessary to increase your party, but it's usually difference in other SMT games. Either way, it's an awesome-yet-hard series that seems to be overlooked (with few exceptions).
Therefore, these are my Top 5 picks for Shin Megami Tensei both mainstream and spin-off.
Strange Journey (NDS): The most recent mainstream SMT game to date, Strange Journey for the Nintendo DS focuses on a group of soldiers and scientists who entered into a large spacial anamoly called Schwartzwelt in order to destroy it before it swallows up the Earth. It was discovered that this anamoly is made up of several dimensions each representing humanity's darkside and lurking with hordes of demons who all want to destroy the Earth. Like most SMT games, it follows 3 different alignments (Law, Neutral, and Chaos) that affects how the story progress and the climax that leads to how the Earth will turn up. The gameplay is 1st-person RPG and although it isn't new, it's the first time the U.S. experienced how Shin Megami Tensei was originally played; yet it add a few twists in exploration and progression similar to what's seen in Metroid. However, I've placed it as an honorable mention because the gameplay itself may feel somewhat dated and niche. I do recommend it, but it's only for those who either enjoy FPRPG or is curious to try this genre out.
5) Digital Devil Saga (PS2): One of the most classic of RPG gaming and also a rare game to find, Digital Devil Saga for the Playstation 2 is one of the few SMT games that is easier enough for RPG gamers to get into. The story focuses on a world called The Junkyard where soldiers fight against other soldiers from different tribes so that the winners can enter into a paradise called Nirvana. However, during a battle an unknown machine bursts and beams that came out of it hits everyone in the Junkyard and turns them into demons. As confusion increases and soldiers starts devouring other soldiers to satisfy hunger, an unknown forces called Angel tells everyone that the rules had changed and devouring is the key to victory. The main characters are from a group of 5 soldiers called The Embryon and each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. Their names are Serph (silent character; customizable stats), Heat (hot-head; strenght type), Argilla (compassionate; magic type), Gale (logical; battle type), and Cielo (cheerful; speed type). Unlike other SMT games, there is no recruiting and negotiating of any kind as these 5 soldiers makes up your entire party. There's a system you use to learn different spells and attacks called mantra that you buy in saving terminals. You have to increase your mantra to learn these moves by collecting Atma, which could either be collected by defeating enemies enemies (small amount for everyone) or by devouring them using hunt skills (large amount for one with some exceptions). Level grinding isn't really an issue in this game, but you'll end up grinding just to either collect atma or collect money to buy more mantra. Seriously, I was turned off from this game at first because of how much grinding you do for money and atma, and it's even worse when skills you get from them doesn't transfer to other characters. It does get easier to grind the further you are in the game, but it's still annoying as hell. Although DDS is easier than other SMT games, bonus bosses in this game will give you a run for you money. I won't get into detail about them, but one in particular might as well be considered the most difficult bonus boss in all of RPG gaming history. The ultimate boss (only accessible in 2nd cycle) is the Demi-Fiend, the main character of SMT Nocturne, and saying he's hard as hell is an understatement. He's so badass that 1) it's required to max out all of you characters' stats and obtain highest level and even then does this battle requires heavy luck, 2) his ultimate move does 7000+ damage to each character (which is bad considering that the max HP your characters can reach is only 999), and 3) the music in this battle is Nocturne's "random battle theme", to which may be appropriate seeing how he sees you as just a random battle. Other than that, there's a mystery to the Junkyard and what it is as you'll notice that most of these characters don't understand most things that would otherwise be common knowledge. This is only the first party of the series as there's a sequel that finishes the story. However, it's not on this list because the story becomes absurd at some point and it has the stupid RPG trend where members of your party comes and goes. Unfortunately, I still say get DDS2 only because it's the second half of the full story.
4) Devil Survivor (NDS): To me, this was the SMT game that introduced me to the series. I was looking up info on another Atlus game Knights in the Nightmare, but Devil Survivor keeps popping up. KitN ended up getting good reviews and all, but I was astounded to see Devil Survivor with very high scores. So I bought this game instead and I'm glad I did because it was very fun. The plot of the game is that the main character and two of his friends Atsuro and Yuzu are trapped within Tokyo along with many other citizens under a lockdown from the Japanese government. Earlier, the main character's cousin, Naoya, gives him and his two friends 3 handheld devices called Communication Players (ComP) that have been modified to summon demons. The Comp also allows the main characte to look at numbers floating over other people's heads that tells how many day these people have left until death, adding a sense of urgency to escape the lockdown as soon as they can. The gameplay is a cross between an SRPG and turn-based RPG as you move on a grid like a piece while battling in first-person view. Collecting demons foils down to an auction that sells them for Macca (demon currency seen in other SMT games), while fusing demons helps you get more rare demons. Learning spells and technique requires "skill cracking", which is practically stealing your opponents' moves. Just like Digital Devil Saga, you can store these skills and switch them out with whatever may be necessary for battles. Unlike DDS, each skill only needs to be cracked once and can be equipped by anyone in the party as long as they have the necessary amount of stats. However, only one person can equipped a specific skill at the time, meaning that your party members can't equip the same skill if it's already equipped by someone else. Along with the story it has several important human characters that adds to your party as well as different paths to determining an ending. Each path has different battles and outcomes that adds to replayability.
3) Persona 4 (PS2): I'm going to be honest here: I HATE Persona 3. What would have been an astounding experience turned out to be so much of a pain. The fatigue system was BS since it forcefully reduces the amount of time you can spend on Tartarus and forces you to go back if you don't have any more characters to use. You also have no control over any other character's actions. The music is repetitive as hell and the scenery barely changes as it all takes place in a single tower. Persona 4, on the other hand, fixed EVERYTHING. You get more varied levels, different music, an option where characters are given direct command, and best of all no more getting tired. Your allies also get more powerful the further you increase their social link. But anyways, the story with P4 is that the main character moves into the rural town of Yasoinaba to live with his uncle and cousin for the year. The plot thickens as murders start to occur, starting with an announcer and then a schoolgirl who discovered the body. The main character and 2 of his friends Yosuke and Chie discovers another world within the TV and finds a connection between it and the murders through a program called the Midnight Channel, which airs during midnight on rainy days when the TV is off. During their escapades in this other world, the characters obtain ablility to use Persona, a manifestation of ones self in a form of a demon, to fight Shadows, creatures who are the manifestation of other people's darksides. Most of the game involves saving more victims who gets thrown into that world, fighting shadows, and recruiting allies who awoken to their Persona. However, the bulk of the gameplay is a sim game where you make friends and organize how to spend your time since you follow a timeline. Unlike P3, P4's social linking leads to incentives that helps you during your battles, such as friends protecting you from death or doing a follow-up move. Battle gameplay is turn-based and uses the same "type" rules present in other SMT games. In this case, exploiting weakness knocks enemies down and allow you to either get an extra turn or allow your ally a follow-up move. Also, knocking all enemies down would allow a group attack in which everyone charges in and attack in a cartoonish style. On last thing, though, is that every main character feels more real than other characters you see anywhere and they are very likeable in their own way. The voice acting is superb as well and it's one of the best dubs I've heard. It's a 60+ hour adventure that is worth every penny.
2) Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon (PS2): This is the 4th game in the series of Devil Summoner games and the 2nd and most recent game to have come out here in the U.S. The first game, Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, is a decent game but really felt mediocre. It's fun and all, but it gets repetitive. It's an action RPG and it plays out with you and one summoned demon fighting other demons by mashing the same buttons over and over. I did enjoy using different elemental bullets to exploit demon weaknesses and the story was interesting, but sword combat is reduced to the same 3-hit combos and demons wastes their MP. Devil Summoner 2, on the other hand, fixes most of those problems and improves on both story and combat. What would have been bland combat was altered for more combos, evasive maneuvers, a special hard-hitting move, three different sword types that changes those moves, and the addition of using two demons at the same time. Using MP from the first game has been dropped in exchange for using MAG instead, which was originally used from the first game to summon demons but was more unnecessary since you'll never run out. Using MAG in this game now requires more strategy since all special attacks, including hard hits and spells, drains MAG and collecting more MAG depends on exploiting demon weaknesses to stun and attack them. Collecting demons is much harder now as it requires demon negotiation seen from other SMT games, as opposed to just stunning them and sucking them in your tube like the first game. The story stars Raidou Kuzunoha XIV, the devil summoner the fictional year of Taisho 20 and from the first game. Oh, and if you were wondering, it's not necessary to play the first game to get this game's story since it's a different adventure and not that much related to this one. You do get incentives if you upload your save file from the first game into this one, but it's not even worth it since you just get items you can sell and a few selection of demons automatically joins you. Anyways, he's been called by The Capital to check out a disturbance that's occurring and to put a stop to it. The disturbance involves people losing and gaining luck and Raidou has to find the source of it by investigating around the Capital. There's many things that occurs as the story goes along, but most of the story's progression involves your alignment. It's the same alignment system that SMT is known for and it's more based on either you "sugarcoat" your dialogue or say it as it is. The best part about this game and the main reason why this is on the #2 list is the addition of the case files. They act as your sideqeusts and thus adds a lot more to the game. Some quests involves trading items while others involve fighting bonus bosses. Some of these cases ranges from being a pain (such as fighting Mara) to being very memorable and amusing (such as The Jack-san Five). Overall, the story is great, the characters are memorable, there's a lot more packed into this game, and most of all combat has improved significantly.
1) Nocturne: By far the best SMT game ever, Nocturne focuses on a teenage boy who was minding his business and visiting his teacher in the hospital with his friends until suddenly THE WORLD ENDS!!! Actually, it turns out that his teacher and a man named Hikawa planned for the world to be destroy in order to recreate it in their image. As the world end, Tokyo is turned inside-out and every living being dies except for the people in the hospital. Afterwards, the main character wakes up seeing an old lady with a veil and a blonde boy who implants a bug-like thing called a Magatama that transforms you into a demon. You are then left to wander around this world in order to find your friends and the world's purpose. The gameplay is turn-based and has all the SMT rules present except that demon negotiation is much easier since you're a demon and the lack of an alignment system in favor of multiple endings. It also introduces a "press turn" system that DDS took later on in which exploiting weaknesses uses up half a turn and gives you an extra one, but missing attacks or enemies voiding them reduces one of your press turns and repelling or absorbing them removes all press turns. You learn skills by equipping Magatama and each Magatama has different strengths and weaknesses as well as different stas. Equipping the right Magatama is vital to fighting bosses since they can either make battles easier, more difficult than it had to be, or even impossible. The best thing about this game is the Labyrinth of Amala, an optional labyrinth containing more powerful enemies and bosses and a lot of treasure. The best thing is that completing the labyrinth gets you the most awesome ending in the game as well as access to the hardest boss in the game. Opening up the entire labyrinth, however, requires you to obtain ten different candelabra by fighting against Fiends, demons who personifies death and are very difficult (heard many horror stories with Matador, and he's only the first Fiend). And if that doesn't sound awesome, how about freakin' Dante from Devil May Cry as one of these Fiends?
What does that mean anyways? I'm guessing it means that it's made specifically for the Wii. That's all find and dandy until you realize that there's another meaning to it. I don't think it's intentional, but might as well be when you start seeing most of the games developers made making this statement being either bad, cliche, or uninteresting. To me, this means using whatever worked on the Wii in the past while removing the main elements presented in the other versions.
Dead Space is an awesome game; it's pretty much Resident Evil 4 in space, but what made it even greater is how every turn you make might screw you over and panic. This is done by allowing you to move around the ship and exploring it to find items that will either help you or inform you of what had happened. When I heard that Dead Space was coming out for the Wii, I got excited, thinking that since RE4 worked well on the Wii that Dead Space might work too. They even said it was going to be built from the ground up and that got me more excited since this game wasn't going to be half-assed like most Wii iterations of games. However, my excitement was turned to disappointment and anger when I heard that Dead Space was going to be an on-rails game. I got mad and started shouting "What the hell!" To me, it was BS how Visceral was building this game from the ground up by using a genre that worked before on the Wii. I did play the game, but I really didn't like it since you barely make choices on which path you want to go and how you're always expecting enemies since you always have to shoot them. It doesn't have the same appeal as Dead Space and that's a shame regarding the fact that the actual Dead Space gameplay would have worked on the Wii.
You'd think that stuff like that has ended, but then the new Transformers game came out. I don't know anything about War of Cybertron, but I heard that the Wii version, Cybertron Adventure, is pretty bad. I was checking it out online and I was appalled by how it had on-rails elements. I did hear it did have the cover system, but that's really the only thing you'll find that has any form of gameplay from the other consoles in this version. It's not like this has been an issue that's recent, but something that has been going on since the beginning of the Wii. Hell, I've yet to see any form of gameplay that's present in the other console's version appear in any Wii game that has been done well except for the new Prince of Persia game that was built from the ground up and is good. Now a new Tron game has been announced and the Wii version is going to be different from the rest like the other games, but I'm hoping that it would end up good if only because it's being made by Disney and Disney are trying hard to make games for the Wii. Hell, Toy Story 3 Wii version is just as good as the others, so I trust Disney on that.
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