“Guardians of the Galaxy”

I finally watched Guardians of the Galaxy last night. Yes, I am very late the party. The sad thing is I’ve owned it since the home release.

Movie poster

Anyway, it was absolutely fantastic.

I can’t comment on how faithful it was the original comic because I know absolutely nothing about it. Like everyone who isn’t a comic nerd — and the vast majority of those of us who are — I hadn’t even heard of the Guardians before this film. Turns out they’re no different than every other superhero grouping and are a ragtag group of misfits. Except they’re also space pirates. Also, in Star-Lord’s own words, they’re losers. You know, they’ve lost stuff.

What amazed me is that it was a movie that literally sucks you in completely. I had debated live-tweeting my initial reactions while watching since I was astonishingly completely unspoiled for this and went in with zero context. I opted instead to text a friend, who remarked that it was going by quite fast and I looked down to discover there was less than a quarter of the run-time left. It truly felt like a fraction of that had gone by.

It was a fun ride. Though, I can’t pick out anything that specifically stands out in my mind.1 Rocket was a treat and they did a thoroughly amazing job animating him. Groot was interesting and very amusing. I especially loved the little dancing baby a la the music-activated flowers of my childhood.2 It was appropriately action-packed and humorous and my only complaint is that the exposition dump that’s given doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. And if you’re about to say “it’s answered in Avengers 2” I don’t want to hear anything further because I haven’t seen that yet!

So, yeah, it was super fun and I enjoyed it greatly. I’m also glad you can all kindly get off my back about finally watching it. :-p

  1. It’s always harder for me to natter on when I can’t pick things apart.
  2. Yes, I had one. It was incredibly mesmerizing.

Playing Games

The master wizard, a talking cat named Jinx, seems wary of any novices with cat allergies

Funny, despite the fact that I am allergic to cats, in all my years playing mages in RPGs I’d never before thought about the two going hand-in-hand.

Despite the talking cat’s ascertain that I might not be wizard material, Fantasy Life is fast proving itself to be one of my new favorite games. Props to li’l brother for the excellent birthday gift because honestly I’m convinced Level 5 made this game specifically with me in mind. In fact, the only complaint I have with it is there is just too much to do and I can see myself easily getting burnt out on the game.

Luckily there is a rather decent multi-player feature in the game and I also have several other games to switch out with. Most of these are pretty amazing in their own right like Persona Q, Devil Survivor Overclocked, Bravely Default, and my newest acquisition Etrian Odyssey Untold . . . along with Pokémon X.

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Seventeen Years Ago

Portrait of Dolly in harness

On this day back in 1998 a little black Labrador retriever literally bounded right into my lap and totally changed my life! It’s been several years since Dolly passed and even more since we worked as a team, but in some ways she’ll always be missed.

Megami Tensei

My birthday happened and not surprisingly I got a bunch of new games. And a thing happened:

The "true demon" ending to SMT Nocturne

Now I’ve played both Persona 3 and 4 in a few different formats and they are easily among my favorite games. However, I hadn’t played any titles in the broader Megami Tensei1 series. Partly this was because there are so many games and I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, but mostly I was intimidated by the reputation that the other games are much harder. To be fair, Atlus is notorious for making hard games in general and the reputation of the SMT series is that they are rather difficult as a whole.

So, I find it quite an accomplishment that I not only beat Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (SMT3) but did so with the True Demon Ending (TDE), collecting all 25 magatama and completing the compendium. SMT3 is generally considered to be the most difficult of the MegaTen series.

So, why, you ask, why would I bother to get the most difficult ending and do all this other optional stuff? Because I can’t imagine ever playing this again and this way I won’t have any regrets about missing out on something I could have done.2 Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic game. It has a truly amazing story and it is incredibly fun. However, it also shows its age and because of this the game is arbitrarily more difficult than it would be if it were released more recently. Dungeons are long and almost entirely lack a means to heal your party, which only emphasizes the absolutely absurd random encounter rate. Save points are sprinkled quite liberally around, but using them is often incredibly inconvenient. And while there is a fast travel system, the specific locations almost always require a long journey to activate and even still are not entirely in the most opportune places.

That isn’t to say it’s not a legitimate challenge in its own right. The Press Turn Battle system was introduced in this game and has become somewhat of a hallmark of MegaTen games.3 It’s a rewarding system when you can make it work for yourself and incredibly punishing when the opposite occurs.

I didn’t find the game to be as difficult as I expected and I personally don’t think the reputation it has is quite fair given the arbitrary challenges it presents. More than anything I found it tedious. I had to grind a lot to complete things. Not only do you need to reach level 95 to fuse the highest level demon to fill out the compendium in its entirety, but it takes a lot of money to do so. Not to mention the ending I went for includes an additional five dungeons and eleven bosses to fight. The bosses are collectively difficult, though, only a few really present a challenge. The extra dungeons, however, utterly suck. Oh, and all that doesn’t take into account the optional bosses needed to get all the magatama, which is absolutely necessary in order to beat the ultimate boss fight to get TDE.

I feel very accomplished to have done all that, but overwhelmingly exhausted.

So, of course, right after this I started playing Digital Devil Saga. . . .

  1. Often (technically incorrectly) called Shin Megami Tensei because these games make up the “main” MegaTen series. Additionally, until recently most releases outside of Japan had the SMT title added regardless of which sub-series they belonged to.
  2. Like fighting Lucifer.
  3. Albeit with some tweaks, such as the One More! system in Persona games.

Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you! ^_^