I skipped a week and didn’t write a journal entry because I was busy with work and with another blog that I started writing for recently. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have time for video games – on the contrary, I was able to squeeze in a lot of video game playing in my tight schedule. I’m here to talk about the highlights of the previous two weeks, and these involve Pokemon Shuffle, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Fantasy Life, Brain Age: Concentration Training, and 3D Streets of Rage 2.
Brain Age: Concentration Training is shaping up to be a really good buy for me. Whether it’s effective in helping improve my ability to focus is still in question, but what really matters is how much entertainment we’re getting from it – it is, after all, a video game. And I’m glad to say that we’ve found it entertaining enough to accumulate just over 28 hours of playtime. My girlfriend enjoys it and I think it’s an entertaining way to introduce mental exercises to my two colleagues’ weekly routines.
I’ve been playing Brain Age: Concentration Training every day for almost three weeks now and yet I still haven’t unlocked all of the different mini games that are available in this game. I think it was a good idea to have these features unlock based on the number of days this software was used, because it really forced me to try all of the available exercises at least twice, allowing me to really experience and understand them before passing on them. I now have my preferred set of exercises that I go through each day. Definitely a good buy for me.
Whenever my girlfriend wants to play Brain Age: Concentration Training, I let her use the New Nintendo 3DS XL so that she’s got bigger screens to play on. That leaves me with the Nintendo 2DS. I saw that as an opportunity to revisit my Fantasy Life profile.
For those not aware, the save files of Fantasy Life are stored in the memory of the device that you’re using, not on the cartridge like most other 3DS games. This is a big disadvantage (and one of the reasons why I regret not doing a System Transfer), but I saw an opportunity to exploit the StreetPass feature of the 3DS.
For more context – I’ve tried exploiting StreetPass on two 3DS devices when I used to live in the same house as my nephew. Even if he didn’t have his own copy of the game that I was using StreetPass on, I used my games (Mario Kart 7 and Resident Evil: Revelations) on his Nintendo 2DS and enabled StreetPass for them. This messed up the StreetPass data, and I think it’s because the games’ programming code got confused because essentially, I was StreetPassing myself. So I stopped doing it.
Because the save game file isn’t on the cartridge, I didn’t have the same problem with Fantasy Life. So I created a new save game for my New 3DS XL and played on that profile until I was far enough to enable StreetPass. In just a couple of days, I managed to increase the number of my Criticaline + (an item used for forging) from one to 96 pieces thanks to StreetPass! Unfortunately, I can’t do this for all of the in-game items without having to shell out an additional $10 for the Origin Island DLC. But hey, an advantage is an advantage.
Right now, I’m on item-gathering mode for this game. Once I’m done with The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, I’ll revisit Fantasy Life and try my hands at forging more powerful weapons and beating the rest of the post-game dungeons.
Have I ever mentioned that I hate Pokemon Shuffle‘s Pokemon Safari events? If I haven’t, I’ll say it now – I hate these Pokemon Safari events. Last week’s update featured a new set of Pokemon to catch via Pokemon Safari, a total of seven. Well, I managed to catch every single one EXCEPT this little Water-type Pokemon called Phione, which I have yet to encounter on my girlfriend’s Nintendo 2DS profile. Turns out that Phione has a 1% encounter rate. It’s been 7 days since, and I still haven’t even seen Phione on the 2DS. Unfortunately, even just on paper, Phione looks to be one of the more useful Pokemon available.
Later during the week, there was an additional update. This time, it marked the start of the Mega Garchomp Event. If I needed any proof that Phione is useful, this event had it – the Top 5 players with the highest scores for this event all had Phione in their team.
I have barely seven days left to catch Phione, and all I can do is keep using Hearts on Pokemon Safari and hoping to encounter the little bugger. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with very low encounter rates, but not in a game with limited plays. It’s not like I can keep playing Pokemon Shuffle for hours – the number of Hearts that I can get is finite. Even if I spent money to get more Hearts, that wouldn’t guarantee a Phione encounter – I might end up wasting the said money on encountering Pokemon that I’ve already beaten and caught. I haven’t given up but at this point, I’m kind of preparing myself for missing out on Phione. It’s just too bad that I may miss out on getting all Pokemon and not due to a lack of effort on my part.
Two weeks ago, I was working on beating the fourth major dungeon of Majora’s Mask 3D – the Stone Tower Temple. I hate to admit it, but this dungeon just did made me dumb all of a sudden. I’ve been playing Legend of Zelda games since I was young and I’d like to think that I’ve gotten really good at understanding the puzzles of any Zelda game. But for some reason, I got stumped by the Stone Tower Temple on more than one occasion – and these weren’t even unusual puzzles. Thankfully, Majora’s Mask 3D has a built-in hint system – the Sheikah Stone – so I managed to figure things out without consulting walkthroughs. I beat the Stone Tower Temple by the end of that week with my video gaming confidence a little shaken but still relatively intact.
That put me in a position to finally beat Majora’s Mask 3D, but I opted not to because I had skipped a lot of the subquests and as a result, I had a really weak character. I missed out on the defense upgrade, the sword upgrade, and only had ten Hearts out of a maximum twenty. I had a lot of trouble with the Stone Tower Temple’s mid- and end-level boss, so I knew I was far from being powerful enough to take on the game’s final boss.
So I spent a lot of time last week ticking off the sub quests that I knew about. I finally got the defense upgrade and the sword upgrade (I should have gotten these prior to taking on the Stone Tower Temple) and I managed to get enough heart pieces to bring my Heart total to fifteen.
I opted to save the subquests for last because of how different Majora’s Mask 3D is from other The Legend of Zelda games. I could be wrong, but I’m under the impression that Majora’s Mask 3D has a lot more interconnected sub quests than any other Zelda game that I’ve played. Let me give an example – there’s this requirement involving putting a certain character to sleep, which for some reason also triggers a few torches to light up. These torches can then be used to light a chandelier set, which (I think) gives you access to a piece of “rock meat”. If you give the “rock meat” to a certain character, he’ll give you a special mask that will allow you to gather the members of a choir. Once the choir is complete, they’ll give you a piece of heart as a reward.
Aside from being interconnected, some of the subquests are also triggered depending on the in-game time. For example, you need to wait for a specific time of day in order to speak to a certain character, who will then ask you to talk to them again later during the day. Once you’ve that the required conversation, you have to wait for another time-specific event so you can sneak into another character’s hiding place and force them to talk to you. Miss any of these and you won’t be able to complete the quest. It’s tricky and really requires you to observe the routines of the characters involved.
Well, I’ve only got a few more heart pieces to obtain. After I get those, I’ll finally be ready to take on the Skull Kid and finish this game once and for all. I can’t wait.
I’ve been saving 3D Streets of Rage 2 for a day when I have more than an hour or two free. This is an old fashioned game and I want to play it the old fashioned way – straight through from the start to the end in one session, instead of saving and loading at different points. I got the opportunity this past weekend, so I went ahead and started my session.
I set up my game to have nine lives (not a cheat – this is available in the Options menu) and played it at the Normal difficulty setting. Initially, I regretted my decision because I blazed past the first two stages without losing any lives and even gaining a few more in the process. But by Stage 4, I started getting beat up and by Stage 5, I was getting creamed. I lost all the nine lives that I started with, along with the additional lives that I obtained, before I even got to the end of Stage 6, resulting in me using up the first of two continues that were available. I used the remaining continue in the middle of Stage 8, and by the time I got to the final boss, I was down to just two lives. Those weren’t enough, and for my efforts I was rewarded a Game Over screen.
I’m not disappointed or sad or anything like that – I actually think this is awesome. It’s been a while since I was really challenged by a game, so this experience was a welcome one. Beating 3D Streets of Rage 2 isn’t impossible – I’ve done it at least once before on the original Megadrive 2 way back in the day, so I know I can do it again. I just can’t expect to beat this game without playing it wisely and not making an effort to recognize patterns and reacting accordingly.
I’ve already identified areas of opportunity – for one, I shouldn’t stop myself from using Special Moves. During this attempt, I opted not to use Special Moves because they drained my character’s life bar. But I eventually resorted to using Special Moves out of frustration with one of the end-level bosses and I realized that it’s better to lose a little health in order to do some damage to the boss rather than to just lose health because I’m getting beat up. I also need to be wiser in using Health powerups – sometimes, these Health powerups are placed in such a way that they can be used in the middle of a boss fight and thus can be saved until after I’ve gotten a significant amount of damage. I hope I can get another go at this game soon. If the standard mode is causing me this much trouble, I can only imagine how challenging beating 3D Streets of Rage 2 is going to be on Rage Relay mode.
3D Streets of Rage 2 is another great purchase for me. I only spent $5.99 on this game, and it’s already given me a lot of entertainment value.
And that’s it for this week. I don’t usually write about as many as five games in my journal entries, and I didn’t even cover all of the games that I’ve been playing. Until next week!