Petty Reviews: SMT Nocturne

Never in my life have I simultaneously loved and hated a game so much. I’ve spent over 70 hours on Nocturne. I am SO CLOSE to the end of the game! I will beat Nocturne. I will write my full review. I can do this! I will beat Nocturne! 

Within this week or the next, I will dedicate the time to finish my playthrough. So why make a Petty Review? Two reasons. The first is I have way too many feelings right now. The second is while I may get to the end of Nocturne, the game has already beaten me. 

*Spoiler warning: I will be talking about one particular boss fight. No story spoilers*    

In Nocturne there are bosses called Fiends. You encounter them in various parts of the world as you continue the story. There a few that you automatically encounter. They are part of the story and unavoidable. However, after you defeat them the rest of the Fiend fights are optional. They only occur if you continue to progress in the optional dungeon the Labyrinth of Amala. 

For the second to last Fiend battle, you fight The Trumpeter. He has the magical ability of “Holy Melody”. Which is the most overpowered recovery spell I’ve ever seen in any video game. It’s the equivalent of that bratty kid who makes an “everything proof” shield when playing pretend. This ability allows The Trumpeter to regain all of his HP and MP in one move. ONE MOVE! Not even one full turn! After 3 or 4 rounds of combat, he will use it. There’s no escaping it. No matter how many prayers you send to RNGesus, it will happen. He will undo all your progress in one move and put you back at the start point, worse for wear. 

Up until that point the game rewarded strategies that favored endurance. As long as I could withstand attacks while doing some damage meant that you win. It didn’t matter how many turns it took. As long as I stayed alive I could win. 

Not this time. No. Staying alive wasn’t enough anymore. I had to change up the entirety of my core strategy for this fight. I knew what I had to do. I had to level up and optimize my team for damage output. 

So I did. I changed out my demon team and tried again. And failed again. My numbers weren’t big enough to win. It was at this point that I gave up. Instead of trying to “git gud” and use careful strategy, I abused Nocturne’s systems. I used one of the DLC dungeons added in to the PS4 version of Nocturne to level up fast. Within 10 minutes I went from level 66 to level 75. 

Normally, this wouldn’t feel like cheating. After all, what could be a more gamer move than cheesing the system to your advantage? However the dungeon I used wasn’t part of the original PS2 Nocturne. Doing this felt like admitting that the original game was too hard for me and I never would have beaten it without the assistance. It was demoralizing. The pride of being able to say “I’ve beaten SMT Nocturne, one of the hardest JRPGs ever.” was diminished in that moment. 

At higher levels I did more damage and was able to fuse high level demons. The third and last attempt at The Trumpeter lead to victory! It was a bittersweet victory. Since that moment I no longer cared about playing the game the “right way”. Now I look up the stats of bosses before facing them in order to pick out the best strategy ahead of time. I no longer care enough to try to face a boss blind, fail, adjust strategy, and retry. SMT Nocturne broke my patience. As much as I love this game, I just want to get to the end and be done with it. 

*This post is dedicated to all the people who put SMT Nocturne guides and walkthroughs on the Internet. I love all of you. I hope you get to eat all the pizzas, pet all the dogs, and experience every happiness this world has to offer. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you. I never would have gotten this far without you.*

*Image does not belong to me. It’s a screenshot from SMT III Nocturne HD Remaster.

Petty Reviews: Subnautica

The ocean is scary! Too scary! Humans can’t survive in that environment. We need all of our scuba gear and submarines to spend any length of time down there. Anything and everything can potentially hurt you or poison you. We haven’t even finished mapping it out and figuring out what’s down there. For all we know, Cthulhu might be napping in the dark deep down. Humans don’t belong in the ocean!  

And an alien ocean is even worse! In Subnautica you are the only survivor of a crashed spaceship stranded on an alien ocean planet. Everything is weird! Anything could hurt you! You’re a tiny fragile human in a very scary completely unknown world. The whole situation is terrifying. I hated it so much. 

I don’t know why I played Subnautica. It was one of the WORST decisions I’ve ever made. I have never, NEVER, been more scared while playing a video game. Ugh… I hate the ocean. 

The first time I went swimming it was both pretty and panic-inducing. I had to figure out how to master the controls and what would hurt me. Then my faithful computer warned me about my remaining oxygen. Drowning was a whole new fear on top of the regular scary ocean fears! That was almost enough to make me quit right then. 

Still, I thought the game deserved a more thorough try. I got to the point where I was enjoying parts of the game. The environment biomes of Subnautica are well done and interesting to explore. Despite acting like a sniveling coward every time the sun went down, I was mostly okay. 

Until… the sand-sharks… stupid evil water gremlins.

This is a subnautica sand-shark. They’re all jerkwads.

I was an hour into the game. I was starting to get frustrated with how difficult it can be to figure out where to find the correct materials. When all of a sudden I saw a big chunk of wreckage from the Aurora (the spaceship). I started investigating to find supplies and blueprints. While scanning one of the fragments laying about, I heard a loud low pitched growling. Naturally I freaked out and got the heck out of there as fast as possible, all while screaming. It was not one of my finer moments. 

What made the whole thing worse was that I didn’t see anything! I only heard something mean and then nothing happened! Absolutely terrifying! Still I mustered up what little remained of my courage and decided to try again. Because I needed that fragment scanned, gosh darn it. 

I waited for a bit just in case but I didn’t see anything. So I went down again. Much more scared than the first time, but I was there. Then the same thing happened again! But this time I saw the sand-shark coming for me! After the second round of screaming and swimming away as fast as the sea-glide could go, I said “Screw this.” and turned the game off. 

I will not be playing Subnautica ever again. It’s too scary. The ocean is way too scary. I have learned if I was ever in the position of the protagonist in this game, I would die. I would die so fast. 

Petty Review: Fallout 4

I’m a pretty chill person. Normally… You want to know the fastest way to make me lose my sanity? Insects and spiders. I swear seeing either one in MY HOME is enough to turn me into a frantic murder machine. I’m willing to use whatever it takes to destroy these tiny, villainous abominations who have the AUDACITY to trespass into my territory. I don’t know exactly what it is about them, but I hate them. Yes, I know they play an important part in the environment, but they can do that somewhere else. Far, FAR away. 

There is one game I will not play. I don’t care how many people like it. I won’t do it. I refuse. Fallout 4 and the rest of the Fallout series are games I will not play. Not because I have any particular issues with the gameplay or the narrative. No, it’s those giant irradiated monstrosities of insects! Those things are absolutely terrifying! 

I was just minding my own business, getting the laundry done, when I happened to see my husband playing Fallout 4 on the PS4. Seeing those things… I immediately reacted in horror. I said a lot of things, none of which I’m willing to write about online. There was no higher thought process occurring. It was a purely visceral reaction of horror, disgust, and “what are THOSE??!”. The answer to that question turned out to be giant mutated mosquitos and bees. Knowing what they were did not make it any better. In fact, that made it worse. The idea of bugs becoming THAT is absolutely terrifying. 

Naturally, my husband being the loving and supportive man he is, thought the whole thing was hilarious. 

After seeing those mini Lovecraftian terrors, I had no desire to ever play the game. Before I had heard good things about Fallout 4 and it was on my “to play” list. But once I saw the giant bugs, my entire reaction to the game was “Nope”. 

*Image doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the developers of Fallout 4.

Petty Reviews: Steven Universe

A long time ago I was studying abroad with a friend in Spain. Let’s call her Aqua, it’s her favorite color and sort of fits the naming system anyway. Hopefully, it’s not a name used by a character. Because I’m way too lazy to double-check. She was, probably still is, the one who loves Steven Universe. 

During our time in Spain, Aqua watched a ton of Steven Universe. I’m pretty sure the series was still ongoing at that point. She told me a ton about the show. It was practically second-hand watching with how many details she gave about the characters and story. It was a reoccurring topic. Aqua would sing praises about the show and multiple times told me how I “needed” to watch it. 

Honestly, it was because of how aggressively enthusiastic about this show which made me not want to watch it. Aqua would tell me over and over how I should watch it and that I’d love it. Her continual insistence made me dislike Steven Universe simply because I was tired of hearing about it. Plus it didn’t help that my normal reaction to being pressured about something is “Well, I don’t HAVE to do anything.” I know, I know, not very mature of me. Still can’t keep those thoughts from popping up. 

She did convince me to watch a couple of episode with her. I think I saw the first episode. All I remember was Steven freaking out about a snack called “Cookie Cats”. The second one I remember parts of it but not a lot. It involved a fusion of Steven and a human friend. Then Pearl trains her with sword fighting at some point. Pretty sure? The singing was kind of fun. I do like a good musical. 

My overall impression was that Steven Universe was okay. It didn’t really seem like anything special to me. Not to mention the reactions of the characters felt over-exaggerated and unrealistic. Normally I’d consider watching more than that to see if it gets better. With this particular show I couldn’t shake the feelings of annoyance I had. Even now, despite all the years, Steven Universe still reminds me of being pressured and annoyed by a friend. 

*Image doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to Cartoon Network and Steven Universe.

Petty Review: Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon is a game with simple mechanics and ideas but it is extraordinarily hard to master. The basis of the game is pretty straight forward. Get to the end of a procedurally generated dungeon in order to obtain a magic time gun. There are four playable characters at the start. You pick one, enter the dungeon, and then try to survive. Shoot everything that moves until it dies or you die. That’s the whole game. 

The real nerd description that best fits Enter the Gungeon is rogue-lite. My husband described it as such. Of course, I immediately understood what he meant. I had no need to google its definition… Don’t look at my search history, it’s lying!

This game has an old-school pixel art aesthetic. It’s done really well. It has all the vibes of  Dungeons and Dragons combined with good ol’ ‘Murican gun love. It’s fast-paced, with no wasted time on cutscenes after the intro. If When you die one button press is all it takes to instantly restart and try again. Honestly, this made it really fun to play. The combat was simple to learn but hard to master. The fast pacing made it easy to keep trying. I like the style of it, fantasy western with a hint of creepy. 

So why is Enter the Gungeon part of my petty reviews? Because it is hard! Dang hard! Bathing my cat was easier than this game. I died so many times. At least half of those times was just because I was dumb. I kept trying and trying but I couldn’t make any progress. Every time I thought I was getting a little bit better at the game, Enter the Gungeon was ready to “lol. Nope:)” and immediately kill me. While there were moments I raged at this game, most of the time I wasn’t even angry. I died because I was dumb or just plain bad. My normal reaction to “You Died” was “Understandable”. 

Eventually after dying like 15 times without even coming close to beating the first boss (most of the time not even reaching the boss) the effort to get good at the game didn’t feel worth it. I didn’t feel angry at it, I felt tired. I felt tired of continually trying without anything to show for my efforts. The best word for this feeling is demoralizing. Beating the game seemed next to impossible. On rare occasions, I might like a rogue-lite game enough to be determined enough to finish it. This is not one of those times. 

Enter the Gungeon would have been far easier to play if they had added an upgrade system. So that every time you died you would have points of some sort to spend on improving maximum health, stats, or starting equipment. It would have made dying so many times feel less like a pointless slog. Whenever I died I would be able to work towards things that would make beating the game possible. They could have at least added a second mode where that was an option while still having the original “git gud” mode.

Maybe I’ll play it from time to time for fun. But I’ll probably never beat Enter the Gungeon. So I’ll never be able to write a true review of it. It’s a shame because it is a pretty good game. I like its style and gameplay. If you ever do try it, good luck. You’re going to need it. 

*Image does not belong to me. It’s a screenshot of Enter the Gungeon posted on a EuroGamer review

Petty Review: Persona 5 the Animation

Persona 5 is one of my favorite video games of all time. I pretty much love everything about the game. I played through the entire game twice. This isn’t a short game either, I’m talking about over a hundred hours devoted to a playthrough. I loved this game enough to look into the previous games in the Persona series, the other games made by Atlus, and the anime recreations of these games. I’ve already watched the Persona 4 anime series and Persona 3 anime series. I’m working on playing through Persona 3 and 4 on the PS2. Hopefully, I have established that these atmospheric, weird, story-heavy JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Game) are my gaming niche. 

Naturally, when Persona 5: The Animation was released on Hulu I had to watch it. I had high hopes for this anime. It had the perfect source material to work with; high school life, dramatic fight scenes, and righting the wrongs of society by fighting in a supernatural world based on human cognition. All in all, this seems like it should be the perfect foundation for a good anime.  

Sadly that isn’t what happened. The story that had been so engaging in the video game became badly compressed in the anime. I would have been confused as to what the heck was going on if I didn’t have previous knowledge of the story. The show moved through the events so fast there wasn’t time to feel any connection to the characters or get invested in the plot of the episodes. All the little details that added to the experience were lost because there wasn’t enough time for them. 

Even the quality of the animation was just a pale reflection of the original anime cutscenes in the game. How ridiculous is that? The video game had better animation than the anime! That’s how good the game is, which is how bad the anime looked by comparison. 

There was one scene that felt like such a slap in the face with how laughably bad the animation was. In the game, there is a move called “All Out Attack”. This happens when you knock all enemies down and a flashy, stylized beat-em-up scene plays ending with a unique character graphic. Instead of fleshing out combat scenes that are limited by gameplay, Persona 5: The Animation put in a pathetic attempt at the same “All Out Attack”. They would have been better off just taking recorded video game footage. Words can only convey so much of this travesty so I have a link to a short comparison video here

I didn’t even finish watching the anime. I only made it to episode three or four before I gave up on watching. The whole anime felt unnecessary. It didn’t add anything to the Persona 5 experience. Don’t waste your time with this anime. Go buy Persona 5, start up your PS4 and start playing for the real Persona 5 experience. 

*The YouTube video belongs to Woozy Vids. The image used does not belong to me. Persona 5 belongs to Atlus and CloverWorks who produced the anime.

Geek Aporia News

Hello, my lovely readers! This is just a quick update about two series that I have been planning on this blog. 

The first announcement is a new series! It’s called “Petty Reviews”. Sometimes when I’m watching tv or playing games I have moments of strong feelings. This series is going to be all these moments of strong opinions, snap judgments, and “what the heck?!” reactions. Now, normally I only post full reviews of things I have played or watched to the end. I try to make them fair and comprehensive. That’s not how “Petty Reviews” is going to work. They are going to be short snippets not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s not a reflection of how I feel about said topics as a whole. Right now the plan is to post this new series every other Wednesday. Look forward to it!

Next, we have the “Gaming with Grandma” series. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading about me (and my husband) playing video games with his grandma. A big thanks to her for giving me permission to post our gaming sessions on Geek Aporia! As you can imagine, we don’t always have the opportunity to visit her and play video games. My next post in this series will be the last for a while. Don’t worry, I will post more “Gaming with Grandma” entries whenever I have the opportunity. 

Comment below or send me a message to tell me what you think and what content you want to see. Thank you! 

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog posts.