Hello visitors of S.I.M.O.N. Welcome to a new year!! As is tradition we here in Nowhere like to ring in the New Year by highlighting the ups and downs of the previous months. 2016 is no different, well ok it is a little bit different. 2015 brought a lot of distractions to S.I.M.O.N. some good, and some bad. Usually Tekizen and I talk mostly about figure collecting, and while there was no shortage of PVC love in 2015 our attention was divided by a few other things. Amongst these grand distractions were the purchase of several new game consoles, and the discovery of a board game café in our vicinity. This may have lightened the load as far as figures go, but it has definitely broadened our topics going into 2016.
I am going to start this year in review with video games , and then over the next few days I will cover board games, and figures. Tekizen, and I decided to do separate posts this year due to the lack of specific categories, which is our norm.
This year was pretty exciting in the video game department. By May we had added a Playstation 4, Wii U, and Xbox 360 to our collection of consoles. This added quite a few options to our gaming repertoire. Be forwarned there will be ample spoilers, including endings and maybe a bit of bloody death. Read at your discretion!
Overall Top 3
I spent a lot of time dwelling on this, and in the end chose Story of Seasons as the “very best” Game I played this year! This game starts off with a well-paced, and easy to understand tutorial. This is something I thought needed retooling in the two previous Harvest Moon games I played. In these games starting felt slow and tedious. The suitors for both gender options are fairly appealing. Speaking of both genders, you do get to choose your route as well as customize your character. The farming is fun, and definitely challenging. Story has two different difficulty levels; one is for casual play, and one that is unforgiving. You may pick your poison. There are several challenges in this game; from gaining a monopoly on a field, to winning the farming festivals. It even has different points to end the game depending on the players goal. My personal goal was to marry Raeger, and have children. I met that goal, and continued to play casually for a while thereafter. If you want a greater challenge though, you can go on for the unlockables, which gives you another sequence of credits. (The first you get after your marriage). There are so many options to play this game it is really hard to find faults in it.
The second game I picked for my top 3 of the year is going to Final Fantasy Type -0. I never thought that in the remainder of my life I would put a newer FF game on my top 3 anything list…unless it was maybe in the “fails” category. I have been following the franchise since the Super Nintendo, and until we got to game 10 they had my full support. After that I tried. I really did, but 12 and 13 were garbage. I was done with 13. I wasn’t going to do it anymore, and then I found footage of Type-0. I loved the look of this game and desperately wanted to try it. My first impression was pretty poor, once again Final Fantasy chained me to the rails and set me off to “Explore”. A couple hours into the game though, they cut me loose. I was able to run around and find random battles! I was elated; it had been forever since I had the pleasure of random battles! The cast is fairly expansive, and mostly loveable. I had wanted this game for something ridiculous, like 9 years before it finally came to the states. It was originally released on the PSP in Japan, so the updated graphics are a bit funky at best. I don’t personally hold this against it because of the original limitations. What really made this game a gem for me was the immense library of side quests and unlockables. Type-0 also has a very high replay value. After beating the game once you unlock the alternate routes. You can play the entire game on an entirely different path! I am on my fourth play through, and still finding new things. The story is very compelling, the villain is great, and the battles are challenging. Did I mention that you can turn the difficulty up so that subsequent play throughs don’t get stale? This game gave me high hopes for Final Fantasy 15 which I was previously uninterested in.
My third choice was going to go with Fire Emblem Awakening until I typed up the entry and realized how flawed the game is. That being said my third vote goes to Braid. I wanted so bad to play this game, but I never had a 360. When I bought a 360 back in February, the first thing I did after creating a profile, was downloading this game. I had heard a lot of really cool things about this game, and it lived up to every one of them. The game mechanics are very original, the story keeps you guessing, and every single puzzle is incredibly hard. When you solve one of these things you practically hear the click in your brain as the pieces slide in to place.
Overall Worst 3
Most of the games I played this year were pretty great. There were a couple of exceptions though. Magna Carta 2 was the absolute worst. I am going to try this game again this year. People said it was really short, and my love for the previous game make me want to like it, but the fighting is generic now, and the characters are awful. I just don’t think this will come even close to its predecessor. Overall it just felt like the game wasn’t even trying. I am only a few hours in though, so I push it through in 2016 if I get really bored.
The second game that really pissed me off was Hyrule Warriors. I had never played one of the Dynasty Warriors games, but I had played Devil Kings which is similar, so I got pretty excited when this was announced. I proceeded to buy and play the heck out of Dynasty Warriors 7. I was amazed by how much there was to do. This was great! Hyrule Warriors could do some pretty cool stuff with this sort of thing. Nope! I was wrong. If I hadn’t played Dynasty Warriors first I might have found this game serviceable, but the lack of content is unamusing. There are about a quarter of the number of characters in HW as there are in DW. The choices of characters were pretty lame….I mean Agitha!? I liked her ok, but how can we waste a spot on Agitha, whom was barely a character instead of say Groose who was. Then there are the paths in the game. They were a lot of fun, but considering this was a 60$ game with so few characters it would have been nice to make that up in story. No again. The game is short, the roster is short, and the dollars are high. They do have some nice DLC costumes you can add to make you feel better for more money. Lastly is the complete slap in the face that is Legends, where Nintendo says, remember that piece of shit that you paid 60$ for? You can buy it again and get more characters, AND more story. Are you kidding??!! If nothing else at least Link and Zelda are gorgeous in this game!
The last one was kind of a toss up between Smash and Mario Party. Smash was a big deal to me, but I sold it off within a few days of learning that Nintendo had cut the story mode from the game. I was pretty hacked off about getting another low content game from Nintendo, but in the end an understanding that a lot of people enjoy randomly battling each other, mixed with its enormous nonsensical roster saved it, and passed this award off to Mario Party which there really is no saving. The mini games are really fun, but there aren’t many in each stage. You hit even less of them because you all move together in buggy, which is awful. The game feels really unbalanced and often leaves one player as a frontrunner through most of the board. It is a disaster!
My absolute favourite game this year ended up being Final Fantasy Type-0. I am still not done with this game. At four plays through I am still exploring things, and unlocking items. I still get teary over certain scenes, I still want to punch that guy every time he speaks, and I still want to save those blasted Tonberries. I get chills every time I hear Zero by Bump of Chicken. This song is amazing! I am pretty sure this game will stick with me from years to come! Have I mentioned how much I love the alternate playthroughs? Never before have I felt so rewarded replaying a game!
My second choice goes to Fire Emblem Awakening, whereas the flaws kept it from being in my overall top 3, the fun I had playing it can not be duplicated. Some of the characters hold a very dear place in my heart. Sully, Stahl, Frederick, and Donnel are some of my favourite characters from 2015, unfortunately Cordelia, Tharja, and Severa are some of the worst encounters I had last year. I loved the battle maps, and the support bonds are the best example of social links I have ever seen! These bonds are well integrated into the play as opposed to the Persona mechanism of waste a day= build a link. In FEA it feels like much less of a chore, and more like a tactical benefit! The story was pretty weak though, and Robin is one of the worst avatars ever. I loved him a lot, but he talked way to much to be a good avatar.
My last choice may come as a bit of a surprise, but it goes to Conception 2. I have not seen a positive review of this game yet, but damn I loved it. The main character Wake Archus, is fun and cute. His interactions with his friends are pretty entertaining. A little less entertaining are the harem’s interactions with him. There are a couple of fairly normal girls with typical anime clichés. There are also a couple of ridiculously annoying girls that I made it a point to stay away from. Fuuko ended up the mother of most of my adorable little warriors. Chloe would have been my back up choice. Ellie and Serena were tools that were rarely used. I love collecting things, games and figures in real life; children and Poke’mon in video games! The Star Children are my favourite part of this game. I love figuring out the options for each one. They are so damn fun!
Favourite Main Characters
Regardless of the fact that I am terrible at Kid Icarus, and will probably be playing this game until 2090, Pit is a fantastic character. He is Selfless, brave, and maybe even a bit brash. He is extremely funny, but when he gets serious you better watch out. Pit’s interactions with the surrounding cast are always entertaining, especially when those other people happen to be Pitoo, Paulutena, and Pandora. If all of that isn’t enough he is versatile fighter, and a cutie to boot.
Luneth is a character that I really wanted to get behind. I had never played FF3 (or at least one that wasn’t 6) before the DS remake was released. I finally got around to beating this game in 2015. From the intro on I wanted this character to win. I loved him, and his friendship with Arc. I loved his determination in the face of loss. I loved the way he never gave up. There was never a point where I felt that Luneth wasn’t worthy of the crystal’s faith. Up until I actually played it, I had been really upset that Square didn’t use him in Dissidia. After playing the game I was pretty disappointed in the way the characters were portrayed, and overall pleased that Luneth was left unmolested. (I did play the Onion Knight’s entire path with the Luneth colour skin).
My last pick has nowhere near the depth of the other two choices, but I adored Stahl from Fire Emblem Awakening. His bond building character interactions always felt genuine and in earnest, which in this cast was rather random. I especially liked them as they got more intimate. I loved his relationship with Sully, and it was pretty cool learning about his family. I went out of my way to get every one of his interactions that I could, because I was fond of him. Even on the battlefield when he asked if he could eat a battle axe, I was amused. If I ever play through this game again I will pair him off with Sully. I think they were a great match, and Cordelia was an awful choice. While he was being sweet and honest, she was bemoaning her distance from Chrom. In their S Rank conversation she says she is over Chrom, but through the rest of the game won’t shut up about him. I like Chrom too, but Stahl was my favourite and shackling him to Cordlia was quite the disservice.
Least Favourite Characters
If there was one thing that I would change about Final Fantasy Type-0, it would be erasing Machina Kunigiri from Annals of Time! I hate this character! From the beginning to the end. He is a whiny, hypocritical, selfish twit. He gets several people hurt. He does exactly what he swears he won’t. He doesn’t learn a lesson, and he gets his way in the end. After spending a large portion of the game dicking around in the background the epilogue heralds him as a hero. This amazes me, considering that without the efforts of “Everyone ” else in class zero, his last move would have been useless. Did I mention that he is ridiculously selfish? In the end I was pretty glad that I didn’t use him much. His loss in the ending actually made me laugh out loud. He seriously had the audacity to cry!! What a fake!
Number two is Lana/ Cia from Hyrule Warriors. So let me get this straight…there is this girl that fantasizes over Link sooo much, and gets sooo jealous of Zelda that her alter ego runs amok in Hyrule. She has an entire stronghold decorated with bush art, and photography of Link. Hell, he’s pretty hot in this game, but WHAT!? All of the images on the wall are of Link in his hero garb, so did she follow him around for the last two days, taking a ton of photos, and getting them developed; so that on day 3 this gallery would be in place??? This game was full of despicable characters. I could have given this spot to Midna or Ruto since they were both thoughtful enough to annoy me in 2015. Neither of them have anything on Lana’s uselessness. All of Ruto’s bitching, and Midna’s ear pulling don’t even come close.
My last pick is Serina from Conception 2. She is a diminutive little shrew that looks like she is ten, acts like a psycho, and wants to hump Wake’s leg. Sorry baby but my Wake isn’t a pedo so you can go get your jollies elsewhere. This is a shtick that I personally am not too keen on. If you feel funny about it though, her goal is through your interactions to magically become a woman. Not buying it honey. If you put a Hot Pocket in a Pizza box it doesn’t become a pizza. She is belligerent little monster. I would prefer a Tasmanian devil, thank you!
There was that moment in that game where they ask if I will let her die, and my choice was hell no! Unfortunately the game doesn’t give a shit what you want so lets go check out some really cool moments!
There was this moment in Portal 1 where this crazy lady, Glados told me the puzzle was unsolvable and that no one would blame me if I went home! I solved it in less than 2 minutes, but the dialogue was fantastic!
In Rayman Origins there is an entire level in which evil mariachi guys play Eye of the Tiger to the rhythm of your jumps! Need I say more?
My last really cool moment was Type-0’s Commander Kurasame teaching his students a lesson in tough love. His new class doesn’t like the idea of taking orders from this unknown source, so they pick a fight. Kurasame sends Nine flying over the desk. He is pretty tough, and this scene is pretty damn great!
Least Cool Moments
Mayor Veronica is stalking me. She shows up at my farm in Story of Seasons at 6 A.M. every time there is a festival or a new birth. Seriously, why is she in my chicken coop before sunrise checking my eggs. She is a freakshow….like a distant Nook cousin or something.
Near the beginning of The Witcher 3 (which I mostly leaving out of this post because I have barely scratched its surface) there is this quest in which you need to find a miscarried baby that has crawled off. Yeah, babies aren’t creepy enough, so this ghoulish baby is on the loose. Not cool at all, as a matter of fact it was downright mortifying. This is a Botchling…I mean seriously What The Hell!!??
In Type-0 near the end Mother seems to think it is necessary to revive that piece of crap that is Machina, because the story needed a narrator. I guess if the game is the story that he is telling; at the very least he isn’t leaving out any of his many moments of douchebaggery. Seriously Mother there are a whole bunch of people better suited, and more deserving of this task. Though I do secretly relish Machina’s despair.
In Devil Survivor 2 there is a scene in which one of your characters has been captured, and you need to sneak in for the rescue. Io’s bright idea is to hide half way inside of a box. I think she has been playing too much Metal Gear. She does indeed sneak in the back door under a cardboard box! This image is from the anime.
In the DLC for Fire Emblem Awakening there is this awesome training map in which you battle zombies? Not just any zombies though, these are vegetarian zombies. Anna must think we are pretty gullible. Every single character has a unique reaction to this mess, and they are all priceless.
Kid Icarus Uprising is probably one of the funniest games I have ever played. One of my favourites scenes is when Pit is being made fun of for eating off the floor, and his retort is “Floor Ice Cream gives you health”! I am not sure what is funnier; the fact that he doesn’t deny it, or that Paulutena is deliberately leaving food on the floor for him.
Least Funny Moments
Any time throughout the entirety of Paper Mario in which someone references mustaches as knee slapping funny joke, by that I mean exceptionally redundant. The gameplay is solid, but the only joke in the game that is funny is a Zelda reference….
In the beginning of Magna Carta 2 this crazy bimbo drops your lead character, whom is napping in a boat at the time, down a rather deep precipice. She laughs it off and blames his laziness. When she got skewered a bit later….I may have smiled a little bit!
The one that really flies over my head though, is that thing in Tomodachi Life. This is a very quirky, and super funny game overall. Every now and again though I will wander into a character’s room, and then bend over for an audible fart. Why is that even a thing? I mean it. Everything else is awesome, but then there is this weirdo fart joke.
Best Level Design
Number one goes to Rayman for the awesome “Eye of the Tiger” level. Your jumps are all to the tune of this song. This is one of the coolest levels I have ever played. The monsters were all wearing mariachi hats. Super cool!
The second one I am going to give to the level in Braid in which you use the puzzle pieces as a platform. It took forever to figure that out. This game is pretty much entirely made up of really amazing levels.
The last special mention I have for level design was near the middle of Fire Emblem Awakening. There is a specific battle map that has a bunch of boats connected by planks. This was one of my favourite battles in the game! If you can strategically hold the planks, you can win the day and collect the treasure.
Most Irritating Levels
There was this level in Yoshi’s Wooly World where you had to leap from hanging carpet to hanging carpet. This level really bothered me. The carpets were on tracks that moved. Really this level wasn’t so bad, but every level where the screen moved on its own was the worst level in this game. Whether it was a co op play, or using the faux Yoshi these levels always got something killed. We played the majority of this game co op, and every time the screen moved on its own one of us ended up dead. It was annoying, because these deaths had little to do with skill, and more to do with the other player getting bounced off the screen.
Mentioning Braid here is a bit ironic because I said almost every level was amazing, but to be honest, almost every level was a bit vexing as well. There is this level where you have to rewind through most of the level after opening a door, and then you must get back through the door before it closes again. I am stuck here. I do hope to finish this game in 2016, but I don’t want to look it up. I want to beat this beast on my own merit.
Anything on this stupid dinosaur consists of the worst level in Mario 3D World. Every time I saw him on my map I was filled with dread.
I know this a big surprise, but my favourite ending of the year goes to Final Fantasy Type-0. I was just describing this ending to a friend yesterday, and I got all teary eyed just remembering it. I have played my way through a lot of Final Fantasy games over the years, and the only one whose ending I could argue is as good is FF9. This was one of the most beautiful, and emotional endings I have ever witness. Machina mucked it up a bit with his hypocritical bawling.
Ironically enough the alternate ending is amazing as well and super happy! If you unlock the secret ending, you get another fantastic ending in which most of the cast is happy, and Machina is still whining. All is right with the world! It really isn’t fair to the other games I played this year, but if the shoe fits and all that jazz! Final Fantasy Type-0 is taking two slots.
All in the franchise gets all 3 spots, as the last award goes to Final Fantasy 3. In this game we get another fairly happy ending in which most of the characters go home, and a relationship or too might be confirmed. All in all it made me feel really great about finishing this game!
The worst thing ever is playing 130 hours of a game to find some generic text at the end telling me what happened to the characters. It was a sweet sentiment, Fire Emblem Awakening, but it was extremely unrewarding.
Hyrule Warriors also suffered from a terrible ending. After everybody worked together to vanquish the evil they said goodbye and went back to their home worlds. It was super casual and awkward, like saying bye to someone at the end of you work shift. It didn’t feel at all like these characters may never see each other again.
Then there was Runny Egg, which was a blast, but when I beat the game I actually went back and redid the level, because there was no ending. It was just a congrats screen. I was confused.
This isn’t really surprising given my earlier entries, but I really didn’t think I would like Final Fantasy Type-0 as much as I did. I knew I would like the music, and I was quite fond of the character designs. I had no idea that I would fall in love with the characters. I was entirely surprised by the return of random battles, and I was entirely immersed in the alternate routes. There are some pretty emotional points of the story, and some interactions between the characters that won’t be soon forgotten!
This was a really hard choice to make. I wasn’t excited about Smash Brothers, or Mario Party. Yeah….I played some unimpressive games last year. Given my love for Harvest Moon I thought I would give Animal Crossing New Leaf a shot. This was a terrible idea. I really liked the Villager a lot! I did not like that I got off a train and was bullied by a bunch of animals into sleeping in a tent, and building them a town. They call me mayor, but I think this is a fancy word for “slave”. They seriously stuffed me in a tent. I think I could have played this game and liked it if the animals didn’t come off as crazy bullies.
Best Side Character
My favourite character that I met in 20015 is hands down Kurasame Susaya. My first time through this game I was driven by the need to learn more about my mysterious commander. He was strong, he was fast, and he hid his face behind a mask. The more I uncovered the more I wanted to know. How could I not be curious, his companion was a Tonberry. Once I started down the path of Kazusa’s quest, there was no turning back! After completing Type-0 I made it a point to start reading Kurasame’s backstory manga. This did nothing but boost my favor! All in all I felt this character was the most interesting aspect of this game.
My best villain this year is easily Imperial Marshal Cid Aulstyne of Final Fantasy Type-0. This guy was evil with a reason, not that crazy, pointless evil but seriously on a mission for a greater cause. I think he had pretty noble goals, the problem was that he didn’t care what he had to destroy to get there. Unfortunately for Cid I have to disqualify him. To much of his story is told in unlockable reading bits. In a way this cool, but you can play through the entire game and have no idea what he is doing, which is a big downer.
Disqualifying Cid was pretty sad though, because my runner up is this guy. Yamato from Devil Survivor Record Breaker. I liked him so much that I had to look up his name just now. He is my default winner, because he was a run of the mill, boring villain that lies to his subordinates, and missuses his power. I never felt that Yamato’s cause was anything more than a selfish grab for power. He is however better than the evil school president, or the dragon that didn’t show up until the end, or the elf stalking non-vocaloid.
I can’t think of a character that fits the moniker of a selfless hero (from a game I played this year) than the Villager. An entire village of selfish creatures forced the little fellow into labor to better their lazy lives. He didn’t complain though. He took it in stride. While spending his days living in a tent, he worked hard to better their lives through his efforts. What a swell guy!
(unfortunately I was unable to list the cast of Type-0 as “THE” best hero, and picking any one of them would have been a disservice to the rest. That being said The Villager comes next.)
This one was kind of an easy choice. I played both Theatrythm games this year, but Curtain Call pulled out most of the stops. The only thing that could have made this soundtrack better would have been the addition of “Zero” by Bump of Chicken. As an honorable mention I would name that as my soundtrack song of the year!
Best Indie Game
Once again I am going give a nod to Braid. This is one of the most creative games I have ever had the pleasure and pain of playing!
Most Adorable Game
The cutest game that we played this year is Kirby’s Epic Yarn. I am glad that I played this game before Yoshi, because if it had been the other way around I may not have bought it at all. The characters are really cute, the story is adorable, and the level designs are pretty great!
Best Way to Waste Time
I can’t think of a better way to describe Tomodachi Life. This game is really fun, entertainingly random, and thoroughly enjoyable. You make a bunch of miis based off of friends, celebrities, characters, etc and have them all living in an apartment together. Sometimes they fight, and sometimes they fall in love. Whatever they are doing it is your job to take care of them. It is like having an apartment full of Tamagachi pets that interact with one another. It is a great filler game when you don’t have much time.
Best Puzzle Game
One of the coolest things that happened this year was getting to play a Puzzles and Dragons RPG. I loved the game on my phone, but the lack of an overall purpose kind of sucked. This game has the same play style, but adds some fun characters and hijinks. Also if you really want you can play puzzles and dragons with a Mario Skin, which is really cute, albeit boring in comparison to the actual game.
Coolest Thing To Collect
I am no stranger to collecting things in video games, but this is one of my absolute favourites. In Conception 2 you build relationships with the ladies in your life to create to through a magic incantation, these adorable little warriors. The call the Star Children. They are gifts from the Star God to help you purify the monster nests infecting your world. There are many different ones to add to your team, and some are really hard to get. Really this is the best part of this game!
Character Design That Sold Me A Game
While fussing around over Hyrule Warriors, and looking into the Dynasty Warriors franchise I stumbled upon Lu Xun. Initially I was only interested in Hyrule Warriors, but I ended up buying Dynasty Warriors 7 so I could play as him. He is absolutely gorgeous, and he turned out to be a pretty damn cool character as well. I will most likely move on to 8 this year since Tekizen and I had so much fun with the last one!
That’s it for things that really stood out to me in the video game department for 2015. This year I am hoping to complete some of the games I was unable to last year, and start many more. There are some great things to look forward to this year!
The one I am really looking forward to the most is Rime! This game looks pretty cool. Well here’s hoping! See you next time!