Like Choosing Your Favorite Child. My (Current) Top 5 JRPGs.

The Japanese Role-Playing Game genre is my go to for gaming. It might have something to do with my love for reading at a young age, or being slow paced enough for me not to fumble my controller. I just enjoy experiencing stories, learning each game’s combat rather it’s turned-based or in real time, and just losing myself (hopefully) in the world. I’m getting to the point in life where I can’t spend 60+ hours on one game anymore, but I try to find ways to tackle the many JRPGs that I haven’t finished as best as I can.

In 2020, Pix1001 and Craig Rathbone (Winst0lf) collaborated to bring us the Great JRPG Character Face-Off! This was an event to vote for our favorite characters from any JRPG. With thousands of options, it was fairly easy for me to decide which characters I enjoyed the most out of all the games that I’ve played. This year, they have up the ante and presented the Great JRPG Showdown. This was surprisingly easier than my character choices. There was still some heartache when choosing my top 5, but at the end of the day I feel confident in my response. So without further ado, here are my choices for the Great JRPG Showdown!


Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

I wouldn’t say that I’m the biggest Dragon Quest fan. The games are fun enough if you are in the mood for a classic JRPG and some can be an instant classic for some. At this point I have only played four games in the series being Dragon Quest 7, 9, 11, and of course Dragon Quest 8. I remember my brother borrowing this game from a friend and finding it difficult at some points. I would watch him and help him along the way as best as I could. One day I just decided to pick the controller up myself and finished the game before he did. 

I became captivated by the world and story that the game presents. There were lots of twists and turns that kept the adventure alive, and the intense fights that I faced kept pushing me to come up with new strategies. Dragon Quest VIII follows the protagonist and his group on a quest to defeat an evil court jester named Dhoulmagus. Dhoulmagus has put a curse upon the kingdom of Trodian, turning the king into a troll and the princess into a horse. The plot seems simple, but the heroes find themselves battling more than just a clown’s evil schemes.

I think that’s why I like this game so much. The fun but difficult enemies were fun to fight, the characters were memorable, and up to that point I had not played another game like it. Finishing this game may have been a turning point in my life since it was one of the most challenging games that I had finished (I didn’t have enough points in my courage stat). It pushed me to start looking at other “tough” games and start using my brain more than just running away from all of my problems. Video games were teaching me better life lessons than school ever did.

Tales of Symphonia

Of course I was going to include my favorite game of all time. Tales of Symphonia felt like a masterpiece when I played it for the first time in the mid 2000s. It was one of the first games I played that made me believe that video games were just as good at telling a story like books and film. 

Tales of Symphonia follows the journey of Lloyd Irving as he helps his friend, Colette, become the new Chosen of the world. You finish the journey in the first 10-15 hours, and then the real quest begins after that. What follows are great twists and revelations that most games fail to deliver since they are easy to see coming. I don’t want to spoil this 17 year old game for anyone who hasn’t played it. It goes on sale on Steam for like $5 often, so you have no excuse to play it (unless you don’t have a PC…)!

Persona 4 Golden

Persona 5 is a damn good game. If the Persona series wasn’t popular enough, the fifth entry brought it to the top. While I enjoyed the game and the joys of rebellion, my favorite Persona game will always be Persona 4 Golden

The thing I like the most about Persona 4 is the theme. Pursuing your true self. At a young age I struggled with my identity and how I wanted others to see me. I was a quiet, timid person who didn’t have a lot to say or things to really bring to the conversation (some things hardly change…). I used to hate being myself around people since it’s hard being a nerdy black guy in an area where you are either in a pretend gang or a good ‘ol southern child. I didn’t fit in anywhere except for the band room and my confidence stat was undeveloped. I’m not going to say Persona 4 changed things around for me, but it did start helping me understand that it is okay to be me if I’m true to myself. To this day, I know exactly who I am and what that means. I refuse to just blindly follow the same thing that the people around me believe, and instead choose to follow what I believe in my heart. I’m [REDIACT] and I am no longer afraid to be who I am.

Oh yeah. The whole mystery murder story is great. Yes Yosuke and Teddy can be annoying, but that’s life. Not everyone that you meet is going to be a respectable citizen with high morals. Both characters have good qualities about them, but you also have to acknowledge the flawed parts of their character. Let’s see what else. I did not guess who the murderer was the first time playing until the final hints. Everyday’s great at your Junes. I will murder anyone who tries to hurt Nanako again. Anyone.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

I am a recent fan of the Legend of Heroes games. I may be at the end of the Cold Steel Saga, but I already have the Sky trilogy ready to go and now the Crossbell games are officially coming this year and next. That is a lot of games to play, but I’m committed since this has been one of the best series I have ever played.

Trails of Cold Steel follows the trials of Class 7, a group of students at Thors Military Academy. While the main plot focuses on Rean Schwarzer, the whole cast of Class 7 have equal importance to the story and help make this series so great (and a pain to complete). Every character is important to the story even if it is just for backstory notes. Just when you think you are done with a side character in the first game, they magically come back in the final game and reveal they have been helping you in the background. It’s the type of character development that you like to see the main cast go through, but you see it for every character introduced. Sure it gets overbearing to try and remember each important main and side character you meet, but that is where the character notes section in your journal comes in handy.

Outside of that, the combat system is one of my favorites. You are able to fully maximize a character’s strengths using the game’s orbital system or challenge yourself and make them the opposite to what they are meant to be (kinda like the materia system from Final Fantasy 7 but fleshed out way more). My favorite characters and setups have to be Elliot, Emma, and Kurt. Elliot is designed to be a healer and support character. With his master quartz, he is able to restore more health using basic healing spells at a reduced cost. If you give him the right set up, You can fully restore anyone using the base level healing spell and reduce his delay time. Emma can use powerful spells and with the right setup, not only can she cast the most powerful magic at a reduced cost, but she can make them critical hits and restore her magic points with each hit. Kurt is my new favorite. He starts off with a master quartz that makes him deal critical damage for each attack he evades. If you find the right equipment to raise his evasion to 100%, you can send him to the front lines and let him deal well over 10,000 to anyone who tries to hit him. The system can be broken if you know how you want to develop your characters and that makes going into battles so much fun.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

There were a lot of games that I could have chosen as my number five pick. I ultimately decided to go with this game since it was the very first JRPG that I ever played. Some would call Super Mario RPG one of the greatest JRPGs right there next to Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. I am in the camp that it is not a game I go back to often, but it is a really good game. This was another game that I would watch my older brother play. I remember during some of the boss fights, we would select our attack and then run out of the room because we were scared our attack wouldn’t finish the boss (don’t do that there are reaction inputs). Out of all of the games on this list, this is the only game that I have never finished, but I have played it so many times that it feels weird to ever think about seeing the end.

The story is the same old Mario flair. Mario goes to beat up Bowser for kidnapping Princess Peach (Toadstool in this game), but is interrupted when a giant sword falls onto Bowser’s Castle. From there, Mario learns about the Smithy Gang, a bunch of weapon themed enemies that are trying to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. During the invasion, the Star Road is destroyed and seven stars fall onto the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s up to Mario and Co. to gather the stars so that people’s wishes can come true again and defeat the Smithy Gang from taking over. It is a story that fits in the Mario universe and sadly something unique that we will never see again.

Ok. I’m going to go ahead and say it and you can all hate me later. Geno is an overrated character. Besides looking “cool,” having cool attacks, and a cool blue cape, there is nothing interesting about the guy. He has no development. He is just a star warrior who takes the body of a doll and helps Mario so that he can repair the Star Road. That is all to his character and he gets replaced quickly by Bowser. I understand the cool factor about his character, but I don’t think he is worth all the praise people are willing to give him. That’s my opinion and if you want to fight about it, come find me on the streets.


And those are my choices for The Great JRPG Showdown. Thank you again to Pix1001 and Chris for hosting an awesome event! Tune in next time where at least one of my picks will be different.

Backlog Report – January 2022

New year, same-ish format. This month has been busy and slow for me as I’m still trying to figure out what I am doing this year. I don’t currently have, in a depressing way of saying it, something that excites me each day. I go with the flow of the day. I have come to learn that I am the type of person who needs some type of exciting project to get my motivation going. It is a character flaw that has negative effects. Eventually I will find something, but things are really dull without that “thing.”

On the writing front, I have slowed down on releasing posts just so I can have extra time to polish them. As I try more and more to reflect my voice in my writings, I also want to make things clearer on what I am saying. If my speech impairment already makes my normal speaking voice hard to understand, then I want to make sure that my writing is as clear as it can be. The old goal used to be to have a post ready every week, but now my goal is to post something every other week and make it the best that it can be. There are some games that I have finished that I haven’t talked about yet, some thoughts on gaming that I want to talk about, and a series that I’ve wanted to include for the longest time that I haven’t written anything about. This is the year that I want to produce the most content that I have since starting, and I want to see how far I can take it.

Now moving onto the games:

Finished This Month

Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2

There was only one game that I finished this month. I choose Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 as the first game to finish on the first day of the year. It has been a tradition to finish a game on day one for a while now, and I chose this game since I didn’t have time to prepare the week before. Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 has some of the best locations in the series with actual destructible environments that the later games do not have. I will say that I am not a fan of this game for different reasons. I don’t like how you acquire skills in this game, and the amount of times your gundam feels like a ragdoll gave me multiple rage moments. The fact that giant gundam fights are still hard even on the easiest difficulty made the process much longer than it needed to be. Overall, I don’t see myself returning to complete all the achievements, but if I’m bored one day I may consider it.

New Additions

Yu Gi Oh! Forbidden Memories

I had the chance this month to attend an event where I could scout out some retro games. The first game I acquired was this; Yu Gi Oh! Forbidden Memories. I remember as a kid seeing this game in a promotional disk and wanting to play it. Alas, the game was only for PlayStation and I was a Nintendo kid. Getting this game now after it being off my radar for a while is like completing a task for younger me. I will give it a go in the near future and embrace all the jank it probably has.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

I saw this and decided that I should finally add this to my collection. I had some good times playing this game back in the day on band trips. We would play the multiplayer mode where we would pass the DS around for everyone to make their move. I don’t think we ever finished a match, but it was a good game to pass the time. I have never played the campaign mode in this game, so I’m looking forward to it.

Yu Gi Oh! The Falsehood Kingdom

I have never heard of this Yu Gi Oh! game before. I stumbled upon it while browsing a vendor’s wares, and my curiosity kept drawing me back. It doesn’t play like other Yu Gi Oh! games and seems to play like a team building strategy game. I don’t know what to expect, and I kinda want to keep it that way.

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen

I was allowed to splurge on one item. Out of everything that I saw, I decided to splurge on this game. The Dragon Quest games on the DS escaped me when I didn’t have an interest in the series. I would have been content playing the mobile version one day, but I decided to treat myself for once and buy the complete copy they had. The only one missing out of my collection now is the sixth game, and I believe that is the rarest one of all.

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny

I didn’t have any real plans on getting this soon, but when I was helping my brother buy a new game, I found this for a really good discount. I haven’t finished the last two Disgaea games, but I’m hoping this and the Makai Kingdom rerelease in a few months will get me back into the series.

Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel

I’m sensing a theme here. This free-to-play game came out to basically everything current gaming device out of the blue. It is a fun and frustrating game if you are a fan of the TCG and haven’t played in a while. I’m now just getting the hang of the new meta and finding a playstyle that works best for me and not just copying the best decks out there (you freaking unoriginal POS). I don’t know when I will consider myself “done” with this since content will keep coming out for it, but it does provide a nice secondary game when I need a break from what I’m currently working on.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

I have a lot to say about this game. While I was left disappointed by the Diamond & Pearl remake, this game has exceeded my expectations from a gameplay perspective. The visuals and graphics could definitely be better, but it doesn’t offend me. If I don’t finish Trials of Cold Steel IV it will be because of this game and the fact that I am having more fun playing this over that.

Currently Playing

I am getting closer to finishing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV. It is my own fault that I’m taking so long to finish it since I am trying to get as much done on my first playthrough as possible. This will help when I replay all four games to get all the achievements. Turbo speed and skipping cutscenes that I don’t need to see again will help make that process go by quicker. I have to get this done before Horizon: Forbidden West comes out and Kat kicks me off the PS5 so she can play it.


As I mentioned before, Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel will continue to be my secondary casual game when I need a break from the current list. I will probably play it less often once I reach the highest ranking and drop in and out as events and new seasons get started. Pokémon Legends: Arceus will definitely get done this month and that will prepare me for the next two games on my list.

I also forgot to mention at one point I was playing SaGa Frontier: Remastered. When my in-laws came to visit during the holiday season, I couldn’t hide myself in my gaming room. So I brought my Switch downstairs to play games with the family, and for some reason I started SaGa Frontier. My father-in-law was interested in watching me play it, so I did and finished one character’s story while they were visiting. Since each story doesn’t take long to beat (just some grinding to prepare for final boss), I am going to count this game “finished” when I go through all eight stories. Seeing as it took me a week to finish one character and you get to keep stats and weapons to the next story, I don’t see this taking a lot of time.

Plans for Next Month

My plan after finishing Trails of Cold Steel IV is to start Tales of Destiny. This is the first Tales of game that I want to play to finish off my Tales of games. I have a tendency to finish older JRPGs faster, so I’m hoping that it will take me less than a month to finish this.

While I’m banished from the PS5, I do have the next big release already planned out. Elden Ring comes out on the 25th of February, and I will be enjoying that on my PC. I’ve asked a friend of mine if we wanted to play it simultaneously that day and share our experience since we have not been keeping up with the details. We are really looking forward to it and I can’t wait to experience this new hellhole.

Now that the PC crowd has had a chance to play Monster Hunter Rise, I kinda want to get back into playing it. I finished the game real fast when it came out on Switch and haven’t had the drive to keep playing afterwards. With Sunbreaker coming out in the summer, this seems like the time to gear up and do some farming before G Rank/Master Rank/Whatever they are calling it this time comes out. Still don’t know if I’ll switch to the PC version if Capcom doesn’t want to add cross save.


So that was January. Tune in next month when something else has taken over my life that prevents me from finishing Trials of Cold Steel IV. Until then,

November 2021 Report

I’ve been meaning to come up with a better name to this post then just the monthly report. It gets the premise to the point, but with others who do the same thing it just stands out as a generic title.

Besides my lack of talent to come up with good title names, welcome to the Backlog Report for November 2021. I went from feeling like crap at the beginning of the month to feeling lazy and accomplished at the end. My mood is all over the place around this time of the year. This could be due to me anticipating the holiday break from work and feeling overworked before then. Writing took a back seat during this so that I could focus my remaining energy on taking care of my responsibilities while trying not to feel bad playing games during my free time. Being an adult is hard and makes me look at the world jaded a bit, but I look at the good of things to help with the bad times. With all of that, I am surprised with what I was able to accomplish under these stupid mind times.

Finished This Month

Mario Party Superstars

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This is one of two games that I finished this month while attending a wedding. That might sound like I was just randomly playing my Switch during the cutting of the cake, but it was nothing like that. As part of the wedding party, I was tasked with not only being the best man, but to also bring games for people to play (being the resident gamer). The night before we played a round and doing so got me to level 50 to view the credits. By my definition, getting credits equals me beating a game, so I counted it. Outside of that, Mario Party Superstars is a fun return to formula for Mario Party. It is a fun game to play or just watch other people play and have a good time. Plus, the online works perfectly and explains where all of Nintendo’s R&D for internet connectivity went to (I’m looking at you Switch Online). Play with friends and have a good time like it’s 1999 okay.

Castlevania: Dracula X

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This was the second game that I finished while attending a wedding. No, I did not do this during the sharing of the vows. I woke up early like I normally do while everyone else was still asleep. So I just casually beat this game to pass the time. I was sure that I wasn’t going to get around to finishing this game anytime soon, but as you read in my Castlevania Advance post, I found a doable way to get this game done. The only thing I’m upset with is that I couldn’t blast the music during the final stages since I didn’t want to wake anyone up and invoke the wrath of the bride. I would be fighting my own curse for generations to come.

Dark Souls Remastered

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Hold up a second. Did I really just beat this game that I thought would take me years to beat? What started off as a curiosity into the series to me learning about all of the lore that I could, I can finally say that I have beaten the first game in the Dark Souls series. I know saying that in 2021 is not the biggest achievement that it was a few years ago, but damn it I’m going to have this moment since I literally thought I was never going to finish that game. I can definitely see myself replaying the game and finishing the other versions that I have since I am familiar with the game now. Will I still hate most of the things that you have to deal with in the game? Oh yeah. Will I be wiser to know different solutions to get around said annoying things? Absolutely. Will I be less annoyed about it? No. I will still be annoyed by some things.

Pokémon Shining Pearl

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As with tradition when new Pokémon games come out, Kat and I will spend time together playing through the different versions and comparing out thoughts. After replaying through the Sinnoh region and remembering why I didn’t like this version in the first place, I am have come to the same mindset that this is one of my least favorite regions. I just don’t like it, but some of the quality of life changes makes it easier to go back to than the originals. The improved Grand Underground is addictive for some reason and now I want a Pokémon spelunk game where you just dig underground and find horrific things. Doing things in the post game, but as it stands this is one of the weaker generations for me personally.


New Additions

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition Box Front

What happened here? Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite games on the GameCube and have a lot of nostalgia for. Whatever this is that I bought for $7 USD is not even close to that game. How did this port go so bad and worse than the source material? You would think they would fix the game up a little before bringing it to the PS2 on PS4 library, but no, they didn’t! I had to boot up my GameCube copy to compare the differences in audio, performance, and gameplay and was sad with how bad this port was. Jokes on me since I’m going to play it and get that platinum trophy eventually just so I can scare people one day.

Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland

Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland Box Front

Ha! You thought I wouldn’t return and get this game after my mass Harvest Moon buying spree. You fools! No Harvest Moon game will escape my grasp; and it’s only a moment of time before I catch them all!

It was on sale the same time I saw A Shitty Life and it actually plays way better than it. Enjoying it so far.

Shin Megami Tensei V

Shin Megami Tensei V Box Front

I wouldn’t say that I am a big Megten fan, but I do enjoy hard JRPGs that reward strategy and pushing your limits. I won’t lie and say that this game would look and perform better on something with a bit more power, but I have warmed up to the game’s aesthetic at this point to enjoy myself. I’m still in the beginning area but hope to play this one and off and not take as long as I did with SMT IV.

Pokémon Shining Pearl

Pokemon Shining Pearl Box Front

I am a simple person who will play a new Pokémon game when it comes out. They normally tend to come out when I’m feeling weighted down by the world and need some type of escapism to relive my childhood days. While Shining Pearl managed to take my mind off things, it didn’t succeed in bringing back good memories. I had forgotten most reasons why this is one of my least favorite generations, but they are still present and the remakes made them even more apparent. Spending time playing with Kat side-by-side while she played Brilliant Diamond was a bonus however.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Box Front

I almost forgot that I picked these next two games up. I hardly ever see this game in the wild, so I scoped it up when I did see it. Wind Waker was one of the 3D Zelda titles that I got almost all the way through and derailed towards the end. The quality of life changes in the version may be enough for me to set sail and give it another shot.

Super Smash Bros for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Box Front

I saw this the same time I saw Wind Waker and said why the hell not. Blame the collector in me for just collecting things I find neat.

SaGa Frontier Remastered

SaGa Frontier Remastered Box Front

I thought I was safe during the Black Friday shit to avoid buying anything. Most games I saw on sale I already had, so it was much easier then years before. If I hadn’t finished and enjoyed a SaGa game earlier this year, I might not have been interested in picking this up. I know it plays different from Scarlet Grace and people’s opinion of the game are either good or bad, but I’m willing to make my own judgement on this and give it a try.

Romancing SaGa 3

Romancing SaGa 3 Box Front

Pretty much what I said about Frontier.


Currently Playing

With me wrapping up Shining Pearl and Dark Souls Remastered, I have a clean plate at the moment. I haven’t decided on what to tackle next, but I do know Trails of Cold Steel IV has been calling my name for a while. I do have some urges to jump into another Dark Souls game (probably finish DS2), but I may take a look at other short games that I can finish over the holidays.

Plans for Next Month

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and that means a three week break away from work. This is perfect time for me to get the house in order, but I know I will spend the majority of time knocking out time for some of the longer games that I have on my list. This is why ToCS4 might be the best choice with other games sprinkled in there just to give me a break from the cycle. I do want to get my post out on Tales of Arise by then and maybe some fun other things for the blog.

50/50 Challenge Update

I don’t have much to really update. I finished four games this month and that has helped keep me on track with my gaming accomplishments. Whatever weight I lost during the first half of the month was probably regained during the second half, but I felt I did a lot of work preparing for the feast instead of enjoying it. If there is any proof that I am sliming down a little bit is that I had to increase the notches on my wristwatch by 1. It was feeling way looser at my normal setting, so that tells me something besides the time. I will try my best to incorporate some morning exercise activity during my break so I’m not just getting my exercise by pacing around the house.

Challenge Statistics:

Weight loss: 7 pounds
Pounds to go: 43

Games Finished this Month: 4
Total Games Finished: 12/50

And away I goooooooooo….

September 2021 Report

I now have a backlog of posts that were suppose to be done but are not. Go me! One day I will have dedicated time to just write and not get stuck with writer’s block for a week on one topic. Like a unclean truck stop restroom, once this clog is out of the way better things are sure to come.

Anywho hello! I hope this month treated you better than it did me for the most part. I have no idea where the month went, but now we have entered the best part of the year. Summer is gone and the bone chilling air of Autumn is now here! I am not a fan of the heat, so having cooler weather and watching the environment change around me is a nice welcome. Plus, this is the first Fall in a while that I don’t have to waste staring at textbooks and can enjoy the nature around me. It is the small things at this point that keep me going, but that is not a problem when you have good things around you.

There were little posts posted this month due to the writer’s block that I mentioned. I’m happy to say that that is now over. A new post will be out on Monday, and after that should hopefully remain constant for a while. Other than that, work has been busy since we have reached evaluation month. Since I supervise multiple people, I have to write out each of their evaluations and their documents for next year’s performance cycle, so yeah a lot of writing that I’m doing for work. On the free time side of things, I would say that I have been productive in getting somethings lined up.

Finished This Month

I finished one game this month. Not only that, but it was a game that came out this year that I didn’t put on the backburner for once! I finished playing NEO: The World Ends With You after finishing the first game for the first time last month. I had a good time playing NEO. It was definitely more TWENY that I wanted, and the game succeeded in being a good sequel minus a few things. The Backlog Tale for that game is already in the works and should be out soon.

New Additions

NEO: The World Ends With You

Is it weird to see a game in my “New Additions” section that is also in my “Finished This Month” section? Yeah its weird for me to but at the same time something that feels like this is how I’m supposed to play all of my games. Huh. Weird.

Tales of Arise

The game that I’m currently working on right now. So far I am having a great time with it. It definitely scratches that Tales of itch that I like to play, while also including a lot of new elements that makes this feel like a true next-gen game for what’s that worth. Also any game that has an owl party member and a mechanic where you have to search for more owls will automatically be the best game that I’ve played.

Trauma Center: Second Opinion

I was buying something offline and this showed up in my suggestions area for $11. I borrowed this game from a friend a long time ago, but never finished it since I got to hard stage in the later levels. I still have my save data from the game, so I said sure. Besides that, this is a good game from what I remembered and it has some decent challenge to it.

Final Fantasy (PSP)

This version of Final Fantasy is considered one of the better ones. I found it in a thrift store for cheap one day and decided to add it to my collection. Now I just need to dust off the new PSP I got a while ago and actually play the games on it.

Castlevania Advance Collection

I have been waiting for this collection to be announced. I wasn’t expecting it to be shadow drop the day it was announced, but I do love me some Castlevania and this collection saves me from spending stupid money to buy the originals (or the Wii U versions). I plan on playing as many Castlevania games that I can in October, so these will definitely be in the mix.

Currently Playing

I am in the second half of Tales of Arise. I think I can finish this month, as long as I can pull myself from doing every side quest that I see available. On top of that, Kat got Deathloop and has been enjoying that on the PS5. So being the good partner that I am, I am sharing the PS5 with her. While she is playing that, I got sucked back into Civilization VI. I still don’t know how to play the game effectively, but I’m winning so far for now I think. While I think I am bad at Civ, I do have a good time playing it and the meme about “just one more turn” is real. If I do manage to win, I will count that as “finishing” the game and can check it off the list.

Plans for October

Tales of Arise will be done this month. There aren’t that many October releases that I’m excited for. I know people are excited for Metroid Dread, but I’m in the wake me up when Prime 4 comes out boat. I’ll eventually play it, but I’m not in a rush to. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania looks fun despite me buying Super Monkey Ball 2 a few weeks before this was announced… If there are any games that you would like to see get rereleased for current hardware, let me know so that I can go buy it and speed up the eventual rerelease. Other than that, my wife and friends are excited for Back 4 Blood since they played lots of Left 4 Dead back in the day. I have no attachment to it, but I will never turn down the opportunity to play games with friends.

After watching Capcom’s presentation yesterday, the itch to continue Monster Hunter Rise has returned. Even though I finished the main story and everything, there is still a lot of content that I haven’t gotten around to yet. With even more content coming out in Summer 2022, I think now is a good time to head back in.

Also starting this month, I will be streaming Castlevania games over on my Twitch channel (twitch.tv/danamesx). That starts tonight at some point when I make up my mind on which one I’m playing first. My plan is to play, stream, and beat as many as I can during the month of October. Streams will happen on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.

50/50 Challenge

On the gaming front, I’m doing good so far. In the exercise department, the low motivation from last month is still lingering. I have all the desire to workout after work, but when the time comes my body and mind just want to shut down. I do little things to keep myself active so that I don’t feel like a complete failure already. I have a standing desk at work which I have been using more frequent. Since I work behind a close door, I sometimes do squats or push-ups to get my body moving. I have been eating much better at least and have significantly reduce my portion intakes for every meal (maybe not lunches if I forgot to eat/bring breakfast to work). I still haven’t fixed my scale/bought a new one…so this challenge is going greeeeeat.

Challenge Statistics:

Weight loss: ???
Pounds to go: 50

Games Finished This Month: 1
Total Games Finished: 3/50

That’s all I got this month. Maybe if I can train my body to stop falling asleep so early I can maybe finish more things.

DanamesX

Backlog Tale – The World Ends With You: Final Remix

*DISCLAIMER! I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT SPOILERS FOR THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU. THAT IS YOUR DISCLAIMER!*

I remember when I first heard of The World Ends With You. It was this mobile RPG that was ported to the Nintendo DS on April 22, 2008. Published by Square Enix, this weird title utilized a hybrid combat system that required the use of the touch screen and D-pad to get through its challenges. At the time, I was interested in the titles that Square was releasing, but this game never grabbed my attention. It didn’t look like an interesting RPG to me at the time, and I opted out from checking it out for some other game that was probably crappy.

Thirteen years later, I am kicking younger me for not giving this game a chance. I feel like younger Danames would have really enjoyed The World Ends With You at that time of his life. The themes of friendship, change, and acceptance would have made the final years of high school go by with a little more optimistic outlook. Nevertheless, what I experienced from this title left me with a positive experience with the game’s enjoyable story that is full of twists and turns, and short playtime that manages to not waste your time with anything. This is my experience with The World Ends With You.

Synopsis

Hell looks like a mid-2000s Japanese metropolis. Neku Sakabura wakes up in the middle of the Shibuya Crosswalk and amazed that he hasn’t been run over or trampled to death at this point. Like a true anime protagonist, Neku has lost his memories and has no idea what is going on and why people seem to be ignoring him. The only thing that he has going for him is a message and a cool clock tattoo on his hand. Young Neku must learn the rules of this altered Shibuya to survive at the end of seven days. Throughout his journey, he meets people who reluctantly enter his new life and do the young people thing of becoming friends at the end.

The Reaper’s Game

I am going to go ahead and get my biggest complaint out of the way. They turned this DS game into a Wii game for the remaster. In an attempt to keep the original gameplay and feel of the game, the game can only be played with one joycon and by pointing and clicking at the screen. This will be an immediate turn-off for some people. As you can expect, some of the motion actions that you are require to do to activate pins will sometimes not work. This would happen to me constantly with pins where I had to click and drag objects into enemies. Despite clicking the item and trying to drag it, the game would not register it and I would have one less move at my disposal. One saving grace is the option to push a button to realign your pointer to the center of the screen. If you are not position exactly center to your monitor, pushing the realign button will make wherever your joycon is pointing to the new center point. Learning how to abuse this a little bit helped me during some fights as losing my pointer happened constantly. This will not however help you for one of the most annoying minigame that I have ever played in a video game.

Let the hate flow Neku

Fuck Tin Pin Slammer. Fuck the rules, fuck the mechanics, fuck the anime protagonist who wants to be the best Tin Pin Slammer, and fuck the bonus day at the end of the game that revolves around this broken, garbage game. I hate this minigame with a passion and congratulate those with the patience to deal with it. Tin Pin Slammer is a minigame where you take the pins in your collection and use them to knock your opponent’s pins off the table. You can use any pin in your inventory since each come with their own stats for Tin Pin. There are pins however specifically designed for Tin Pin Slammer, so you want to get those if you want to be better at the game. I would argue that that is all pointless since Tin Pin Fuck has terrible controls. This is still a motion control game, so in order to slam your pins, you need to hold a button down and use your joycon to flick your pin into your opponents. The issue obviously is that the joycon can’t register what a simple flick is or you just tossing your pin across the room. Most of my matches ended with my pin going over the edge when I’m just trying to position it. What makes things worse is that you can’t see the entire board; little alone your opponent’s pin until it is close enough to yours. I haven’t gotten to the Tin Pin Slammer part in the DS version, but I imagine that it was easier to control than the unresponsive motion on the Switch. I hated Tin Pin Slammer.

Trust Your Partner

Okay so I had my beef with the motion controls. What kept me engaged with the game? If I were to tell you that this has one of the best stories that modern Square Enix has made, would you believe me? What kept me playing each day in this game was to solve answers that the game was throwing at me. I like to believe that I can see a twist in a story very earlier since some writers like to make the evidence obvious from the get go. I got most of my guesses correct, but I was surprise when the narrative took a new turn that I didn’t predict. It’s simple hooks like this that keep me invested in games and find ways to tolerate difficult controls if the game is short enough to keep me invested.

*SPOILER SECTION* SPOILER SECTION* SPOILER SECTION*

At the end of the game, you come to realize that Neku is not the unexpected hero that the game builds him up for. It turns out, Neku is meant to be the villain and bring about the destruction of Shibuya. Some of the actions that Neku does during his three week tour help lead the world to it’s destruction. Neku is an unwilling pawn in the schemes of the Conductor; who happens to be Joshua.


Early in the game, you are taught to always trust your partner. This is difficult for Neku who sees the value of friendship worthless and more of a hassle than a good thing. This makes him a perfect pawn for the Conductor (Joshua) to use in his own Reaper’s Game with the Composer of the game, Megumi Kitaniji. If Megumi can erase Joshua’s proxy in the allocated time, he can save Shibuya. If Megumi fails, both he and Shibuya will be erased. Joshua chooses Neku for his bleak perspectives of the world and believes that he is incapable of change. Things go to plan, until Neku has to replay the Reaper’s Game in order to save Shiki’s soul. On the seventh day with Shiki, Neku begins to open up the idea of letting people into his life even if they are a stranger. It’s when he has to fight for someone else’s life do we see him more concern for others than himself. Even when he has to team up with Beat in the final week, he finds a way to get along with him and earn each other’s trust. This accumulates at the end where Neku has to make a final choice and it is something Joshua was not expecting.

At the end, Neku has to make the choice of killing Joshua to save Shibuya, or be killed. As much as Neku wants to kill Joshua for everything that he put him through, he can’t find himself to pull the trigger. He instead decides to trust Joshua’s final decision on rather to erase Shibuya or not. Joshua has no hesitations of killing Neku right then and there, but is impressed with Neku’s personal growth over the previous days. Joshua declares himself the loser and revives everyone who has died and restores Shibuya. All of this is heavily implied since the final scenes are Joshua shooting Neku, Neku waking up in the real Shibuya, and all the characters live a happy life together. It is cryptic storytelling, but unlike other Square Enix games (Kingdom Hearts), it is easy to understand the events that transpired. You have all the understanding you need to know all of the character’s motivations and the story wrapped up nicely for a 15-20 hour game. The game offers some explanations in secret reports that you can get in the post game, but they serve as extra explanations in case you are still confused about the story for some reason.

This is what I loved about the game. The characters, plot, and buildup were perfect to me. Every character had a purpose to the story and there isn’t anyone that I hated (maybe except that fucking Tin Pin Slammer kid). I was left wanting more which is rare for a game to make me want. Sure I could play to get all the secret reports, but that would mean I’m playing for the gameplay and not the story that I became invested in. I want a side story where you play as Beat during the second week while he was a reaper. I want to explore Shibuya with Yashiro and Kariya and learn more of their lives before becoming reapers. Hell, I’ll take a math educational game with Minaminoto where his stupid math puns are in full scale. The World Ends With You isn’t one of my favorite games in the gameplay department, but it nails personality and character development for me that I was not expecting at all.

Tell me you wouldn’t play a math game with him

It’s So Wonderful

With everything that I loved and hated about The World Ends With You, there is one thing that was a constant plus, the soundtrack. Takeharu Ishimoto did a fantastic job of combining different genres to match the ascetic of Shibuya in the mid-2000s. There are mixes of solemn tracks with high energy hip-hop that matches the tone of each given situation. My favorite tracks from the game would have to be Hybrid, Someday, Satisfy, and Owari-Hajimari. The entire soundtrack can be found on most streaming services if you want to give it a listen.

At the moment, I am slowly playing through the DS version of the game and comparing the original to the Switch version. Immediately I can already tell you that I have mix feelings about the gameplay. The touch controls work perfectly in the DS version (shocker), but I have a problem keeping up with the different things happening on each screen. You control the characters on the top and bottom screen separately and it can get annoying sometimes. Luckily, you can switch your partner to auto-play and they will take care of themselves. You miss out on building your sync gauge quicker, but it takes some of the pressure off. That’s not to say that I’m breezing through the DS version. I have gotten more game overs just in the first chapter than I did in my entire playthrough on the Switch version. This is mostly because I am not used to your partner having a separate health gauge that I have to keep my eye on. The game looks like you share on health bar, but that is not the case. Once one character’s health reaches zero, then you immediately lose the battle and have to start from the last place you saved until you unlock the “retry battle” option later on. It made me realize that despite having issues with the motion controls, at least I was able to win most of my battles. Also if the final boss and the partner mechanics annoy you like they annoyed me, then change the difficulty level (which you can do at anytime) to easy and mop the floor with him. The final battle is not hard at all if you change the difficulty to easy.

In my playthrough of The World Ends With You: Final Remix, accomplished the following:

  • 1 full playthrough
  • ESPer Rank: Supernatural (D) – I mostly stuck to pins that didn’t give me a headache using
  • Noise Report: 65 (61.9%, B) – Some noise you can only encounter by adjusting the difficulty, which I never went above Normal
  • Item Collection: 134 types (24.6%, D) – I didn’t utilize food effects enough to make getting some clothes worth the effort.
  • ESPer Points: 201 (E) – No idea what ESPer Points are or how to you get them
  • Pin Mastery 28 types (8.6%, E) – Again, I didn’t want to bother with pins that gave me a headache trying to activate.
  • Level When Finished: 30
  • Total Game Time: Around 20 hours

I would highly recommend the story to anyone, but hesitate playing the game if you are not a fan of motion controls. If you do want to watch the story, you can either find it online or watch the anime adaptation of the game. It sticks to the story of the game and is the easiest way to enjoy it without breaking your controller or monitor. I wish I had the motivation to go back and collect everything, but that would involve playing Tin Pin Slammer and I do not have the patience for that.