What’cha Been Playin’? February 2017


This is a weird What’cha Been Playin’ because almost everything that I talk about below will be pushed aside for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. My copy and the Nintendo Switch are shipped and expected to arrive tomorrow, and I might also grab Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (which would be the third time I purchase Shovel Knight). It’s exciting, although I don’t plan on tossed my 3DS or Wii U aside. I’ve too many games on both consoles that I haven’t played yet.

Beyond that, I’m happy to report that I am the proud over of a NES Classic Edition. I had finished grocery shopping at Meijer and dropped by the electronics department to check, never expecting to find the elusive gadget. They had only one left, so I quickly caught the attention of the employee of indeterminate gender and purchased it, more than a little relieved that my search for the damn thing was over. It’s still stupid how rare the NES Classic is, and it makes Nintendo look incompetent regardless of the quality of the hardware.


I continue to make progress with Revelation, sidestepping story chapters in favor of playing matchmaker and recruiting child units. What’s lovely is that I already have certain pairings established in Birthright and Conquest planned out. My character, Sylvan, is with Beruka, while Felicia falls for Kaze. Laslow gets together with Azura, Sakura with Hinata, and Takumi with his retainer Oboro. I’m the type of player who sticks characters together based on personality and prior support conversations instead of getting the child with the best stats. It feels a tad too much like breeding animals for my taste.


I continue to have concerns regarding the limited supply of Orbs, but to Intelligent Systems’ credit, they’ve offered a handful of ways to increase the supply on a somewhat regular basis, largely through special chapters and the occasional quest. That’s excellent because I don’t have the greatest luck when it comes to Summoning. All but two of my desired characters remained outside my control, and I’ve yet to gain a single five-star unit. Fortunately, I haven’t resorted to spending money, and the Gacha mechanics that I previously complained about haven’t driven me crazy, so the only thing lost by playing Fire Emblem Heroes is time. And I’m still enjoying myself, so I’m getting entertainment in return. That’s the important thing, right?


I expected progression comparable to Persona, forcing me to balance spending time with friends, studying, and dungeon escapades daily. I did not expect that the time in Trails of Cold Steel to jump forward a month and be given a handful of lackluster tasks prior to hitting the dungeon or be sent to a new location so quickly. At least I’m enjoying the cast. Rean has enough character to keep from being a completely generic hero, and the rest of Class VII is an enjoyable bunch despite (or perhaps because of) Machias and Jusis’ quarrels. It’s more realistic that not everyone is buddy-buddy immediately, although I’m sure they’ll come to an understanding in time.

There’s been hints of larger troubles on the horizon, but they’ve yet to surface. That’s probably a sign that I’m still incredibly early.


Speaking as a Twilight Princess fan, it’s impossible to downplay the beginning. Completing the inane tasks forced upon Link at the outset lasted an hour, and I noticed halfway through the first dungeon that I was at four hours of playtime. Compare that to Ocarina of Time, where you’re exploring the insides of the Deku Tree within the first 30 minutes. Majora’s Mask, The Wind Waker, and Skyward Sword postponed jumping into their respective first dungeons, but I rarely felt that I was doing busywork in Majora’s Mask and The Wind Waker. (Skyward Sword, on the other hand, is a mess.) A pity that I won’t play much more because Breath of the Wild releases tomorrow.


I’m back on the bandwagon, but for how long? The excitement of catching Pokémon introduced in Gold and Silver is fading, and I’m unsure whether Pokémon Go is substantial enough to keep me around. A big obstacle is how the game works best in larger cities, offering plenty of different Pokémon, where less populated areas get the same handful of monsters. Murkrow and Swinub are plentiful, but there’s not much else. Lurking around the Pokémon Go reddit suggests that this probably won’t change anytime soon, and since traveling to Chicago isn’t a regular event, it’s likely that I’ll delete the game sooner than later.


Streaming is amazing, you’ve gotta admit. I don’t own Resident Evil 7, but my dad does. He lives in Florida, I in Michigan. Through PlayStation 4’s Share Play, I’ve watched him run from a crazed hillbilly and pudding monsters. Later on, I took control of the game, and although there was a noticeable delay — why wouldn’t there be? Everything I do requires his console five states away — it was still quite playable. And that’s genuinely amazing to me. I never imagined this when I played Super Nintendo, my first game console. To add to that amazement is how Capcom pulled Resident Evil from the brink of irrelevance.


Never before had I beat Super Mario Bros. Not on Super Mario All-Stars for SNES, not on the Game Boy Advance port, and not on that lazy Mario All-Stars on Wii. That changed on the NES Classic, mostly because I bitched out and used Save States between levels in Worlds 7 and 8. Regardless, I’m now able to count myself as someone who completed the first Super Mario Bros. Finally. Please, hold your applause. That doesn’t make me special. (Completing The Lost Levels, on the other hand, might.)


Never before had I beat Super Mario Bros. 2. Not on Super Mario All-Stars for SNES or the same compilation on Wii, although I did reach the final boss in the Game Boy Advance version. That didn’t change on the NES Classic, where I am slowly crawling through level towards that final confrontation with Wart. I did become frustrated during an earlier level that involved descending through layers of dirt while Shy Guys follow me down. My handful of attempts to defeat those enemies caused my death, so I hurried through the layers until I reached the bottom and headed into another Birdo fight. I’m not looking forward to other digging adventures.

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