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17. Persona 4 Golden (Max Social Links + True Ending)- Vita; 4/20/2013 9/10- I REALLY wanted this game to be my first 10/10 game, & for awhile it looked like it was going to be, but it started to fall apart after awhile (obviously not so much that the game became horrible as I wouldn't have given it a 9 if it had but nevertheless).

The mechanics of this game (as for its prequel, Persona 3) are extraordinary unique. Instead of your typical "Fantasy Warrior must save the princess & the world" story... well... you do get that story in a manner of speaking, but it is told in such a unique way & in such a unique setting. Get this... it takes place in the REAL world. Crazy... I know. The real world isn't the game's only setting however, it is just the setting that you will be seeing the most in your time with the game. Persona 4 also features a secret world that you can only access via entering a TV (see, I told you it was unique). This TV world is the area where you will do all of the games dungeon crawling, that thankfully, is rarely forced upon you. All of the dungeons within the TV are randomly generated but at the same time feature a theme surrounding the character that you are going there to rescue/capture. A few of the themes that stick out immediately in my mind are Heaven, A Strip Show, A Love Castle (just play it to understand) & my personal favorite... the classic RPG dungeon.

The battle system is amazing (evidenced by the fact that I actually beat the game) & keeps things interesting until the very end (unlike most turn-based JRPGs in my experience). Instead of the annoying random battles of several games, you can see all of your enemies on screen. If you can sneak up behind your enemies & attack them before they are able to react, that gives you initiative & allows you one whole turn of free attacks. When it comes to the actual battles you can either attack directly with your character or use your Personas. You Personas all have specific abilities that are useful in certain fights. See, every enemy in the game has strengths & weaknesses to specific types of attacks & your various Personas make defeating those enemies a bit easier to defeat (in fact there are even enemies that you literally can't defeat without the use of personas as they are immune to physical attacks). You may be wondering how to get these personas... well the answer is also through battle (& fusion... which I'll get to in a minute). After a battle is complete you will sometimes get the ability to do Shuffle Time, which is a process in which you pick cards to decide what rewards (or lack thereof) that you get for winning the battle. Unlike Persona 3 (if I remember correctly) this isn't random. You can see every card available & choose freely... certain cards offer permanent stat boosts to the equipped persona, others offer health restoration, skill cards, Personas & the ability to sacrifice varying degrees of something from the battle (exp, money, items, etc) in exchange for the ability to pick more cards. You may ask why you'd want to do this.... well if you are able to get every card on screen, this will result in sweep bonus (which not only results in the ability to keep all of the cards you selected during the current Shuffle Time, but a guaranteed shuffle time in the next battle as well as starting out with the ability to pick 3 cards instead of one (which also GREATLY helps you continue getting sweep bonuses & therefore continuing the process).

Social links return from its prequel & are just as big of a part of Persona 4. For those that don't know, social links are the points you get for hanging out with the friends that you make throughout the course of the game. You may be asking what is the point in doing the Social Links? They are just side quests right? Well.... yes & no. Technically you don't have to do the social links (the game would be kind of boring if you didn't though), but they have actual effects on the combat portion of the game as well. See, by doing the social links you rise up in rank with the Arcana that the friend in question represents. This effectively allows you to to create more powerful personas through the fusion system (& by that I mean that the personas you create get automatic stat boosts), create the ultimate persona of said Arcana once you reach Max friendship level with them & in the case of your party members make them much more effective in battle by giving them new skills & allowing them to evolve their persona into a stronger one at max friendship (as well as allowing them to obtain their ultimate persona & skill if you hang out with them AGAIN afterwards).

The only flaws that I really can point out are the optional dungeon (which basically sucks all of the fun out of the battle system) & the story. Its not so much that the story is bad, as there is just too much of it at a time. Most of the time, you won't encounter the main story for anywhere from a couple of weeks to a whole month at a time (which can be very good or very bad depending on your preferences) but when it comes time for another main story segment, instead of spreading the story out over the course of say a week, they just throw it at you in a gigantic block of text over the course of a day or two. The worst part of this is that in the majority of those situations, the scenes are nothing but (to steal a phrase from the Nostalgia Critic) Big Lipped Alligator moments.... they are mostly random, serve no point to the overall story & are rarely (if at all) mentioned again. One such scene that instantly sticks out in my mind, just from the sheer absurdity, is the scene where the group are on school break & visit Yukiko's family's inn to spend the night. While there, the girls in the party decide to use the bath. Seems pointless & random enough right? Well...

then Naoto walks in... after which all of the other girls proceed to basically RAPE her. They comment on her breast size (which I call BS on. No way could any human being hide those things that effectively) & on how smooth her skin is.... then use it as a way to proceed to touch her. This on its own is a bit creepy, but when Naoto proceeds to say the next line... things get WAY too creepy for my taste... "Where are you touching me!?". The look on my face through this entire scene (which I am sure was priceless) was nothing compared to it when she uttered that line. Then to top it off, the boys come into the bath (which we later learn is because it was actually there turn to use the bath... riveting stuff... I know) which causes the girls to respond by calling the boys perverts & attacking them. What is wrong with this, you may ask? I dunno... maybe because those hypocrites were bad touching Naoto just seconds before in the exact same scene.

Was that scene random? Incredibly. Does the scene serve any point whatsoever? No. Is it ever mentioned again? THANKFULLY NO.

Two last things I feel I should mention is the way to get the game's ultimate weapons & what my personal recommended party is (not only for this fight, but for the game in general). As for the ultimate weapons... dear god is it random. Basically you open 20 chests (which will be signaled by the sound of the chains rattling) & then, without moving to the next floor of the dungeon, open another. If you are lucky (or really unlucky depending on your party & level) you may face the reaper. I would not recommend even attempting this fight before you reach level 70 with the weakest member of the party you will be using. If you do manage to defeat him you get a member of your party's ultimate weapon as a reward. I only managed to get two, due to the random nature of this, but when I did manage to fight (& beat him) he was a pushover. Why? My party is why....

That party was Yu (the main character) using the Trumpeter persona (which may have been mostly as effective as it was due to the skills passed in fusion. He basically had immunity to certain kinds of attacks & a strong spell from most of the elements), Yukiko (for her strong recovery & fire abilities), Naoto (because she is basically unstoppable... if you aren't using her once you get her, you are playing the game wrong) & Teddie (for his strong healing, buffing & Ice abilities). All my party members had reached Max Social Link status at the time of doing this & therefore had there 2nd best persona & 2nd best ability.

Overall I would still say the game is well worth playing, especially to the game starved Vita gamers such as myself, & I do still highly recommend it despite what I personally see as flaws.

Thank you for reading.

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Post edited April 22, 2013 by Roberttitus
Finished a couple more games this week.

4-17 Saira - I liked it. It has some nice areas to explore and a variety of puzzles to solve in order to progress in the story. The ending could be better. It just ends abruptly and promises more episodes, but I don't know if they are still working on a sequel.

4-21 Waking Mars - I feel like I should have enjoyed this game more than I did. I thought the environments looked good, and it seemed smartly written, but for some reason I just didn't care for it. I guess going around collecting seeds and planting them got repetitive. I did manage to finish it as I try to do with all the games I start, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed it.

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Post edited April 21, 2013 by OvaltineJenkins
Just finished Baldur's Gate 2 Throne of Bhaal. I think this expansion is one of the hardest games I've ever played. After finishing the Baldur's Gate saga I feel empty :) I regret that I missed them when they were released but I'm glad I was able to get them from GOG. Awesome games.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

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Post edited April 21, 2013 by Master911
Just finished Halo: Combat Evolved for PC and enjoyed it. Probably not much needs to be said about Halo but I had a good time with plenty of action, decent story, visuals that hold up surprisingly well for its age and good sound and music.

People still play the multiplayer too!
Just finished RAGE: Scorchers DLC (PC).

It's more RAGE. So, if you liked RAGE, you're surely going to like this.

Oh, plus - NAIL GUN returns!

And geez....there's an actual finish to its own self-contained story (for the most part) & you can actually finish base game and/or its DLC and keep on playing in the game-world (that should've been there in the first place).

Added it to my list of games finished in 2013:
Post edited April 21, 2013 by MysterD
just finished Sam and Max Season 1 Episode 4 Abe Lincoln must die! [2007]
I finished RAGE.

The game is awesome, really. But the end is crap. Wait, the end ? This game don't have end ! Where is the end of the story ? And where is the boss ? Please id Software, WHERE IS THE FUCKING FINAL BOSS ? I didn't use BFG because I kept it for him, but where is he ???
Post edited April 21, 2013 by benderz
Managed to beat two games this weekend:

Driver: San Francisco
They managed to get the steering pretty much same that it was on the original Driver. Making the game really fun. Also the Dare's, short side missions are really fun to do. The story and the switching thing, well it works. They go all crazy with it, which is nice. Of course hokey as hell, but at least it comes together in the end.

To The Moon
Didn't really care for this. At times really interesting story, but that's about it. Had to run the game from a virtual machine to get it work.
Fear 2

Good solid shooter with some nice horror aspects to it. Although the gun play didn't feel quite as good as the first fear and the AI didn't seem as tactically aware all other aspects were much improved.

I was afriad it was going to end up with the same boring level design as the first game as it starts out this way but after the first few missions they change enviroments often enough after those levels for it to remain intresting. The story also plays out in an intresting and unexpected way. Looking forward to diving into the 3rd in the series now.
I just beat The Walking Dead. Not an incredibly lengthy game, or a challenging one, but the characters were among the most well written I've ever seen in a game. And the choices that has to be made over the course of the game, those were not easy, and I actually feel bad about some of them.
Pokemon FireRed Gameboy Advance. After 120 hours finished.

Fucking Fallout 3 still continue. Started from scratch 3 times. Now 90 hours passed still playing =)
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Drakhyrr: I'm kind of ignoring this thread this year, but I just finished something I considered special, so I decided to post.

The game is Metro 2033, and I now put it among the best games I have ever played.
I loved the atmosphere in that game, but I'm just so bad at FPS's; I'm not very far in (my traveling companion just got dragged off by bandits, or whoever those guys are), and I've already passed my level of competence; maybe I'll restart the game on easy mode.
Congratulations! Perseverance pays off! :D