Blogs are wonderful things. Most of the ones associated with the Star-Advertiser, including this one, are informational. Which is great, but it would be a shame, really, to limit it to that. Because here, we can talk about whatever (almost). We can be informal. We don’t need to adhere to strict grammar rules or AP style. And it certainly has been some time since we here at Otaku Ohana have just, well, shot the breeze.
So that’s what this post is about.
Well, not completely. It’s more like me going on very long ramblings about video games, because this is probably the best place for me to ramble about them. So if that’s not what you’re here for, and you just want to pass on by, then I’ll understand.
Feel like entering the possibly rough currents of my stream-of-consciousness typing? Then read on, intrepid adventurers…
There have been a lot of games that came out this year that my husband and I were interested in. Most of them I’ve mentioned in passing on my Twitter feed, but none of them I’ve reviewed in-depth here. I know I reviewed nearly every single entry in the Professor Layton series, but I passed on doing the same for the last one, subtitled Azran Legacy. Why? I have to admit — and it’s something I touched on in my last couple reviews — it’s because I was just tired of the series by then. Plus, the story was just…unreal. As in, “Seriously? THIS is the story?” Sure, the ending was emotional, but it also felt like it was tacked on as an afterthought. As if the creators felt as though there wasn’t enough dramatic tension, so they threw in some stuff that TOTALLY WAS NOT HINTED AT in ANY of the other games. (And if there WERE hints, then obviously they were way too deep for me to catch.)
So yes. Azran Legacy: an overall disappointment. I did try a few of the daily puzzles, but after getting completely frustrated with one set — if you make a wrong move, you have to start ALL OVER again rather than being able to take back the move — I haven’t touched the game pretty much since I finished it back in March or so. I should probably turn it on again, just to grab the rest of the daily puzzles.
Then there was Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds, which takes place in the same world as the Super Nintendo game A Link to the Past. Which actually was released late last year, but for my purposes I consider it a 2014 game, mainly because I took it around with me at the 2014 Kawaii Kon. If you didn’t play it, the game has a feature in which other players’ Links can enter your game as Shadow Links via the Nintendo 3DS’s StreetPass, and you can challenge them to duels to gain rupees (money). I nabbed a lot of Shadow Links during K-Kon, as was to be expected, but again, I haven’t gone back to that game since I finished it, so all those Shadows are still waiting around to be challenged. Or so I hope. I hope the game doesn’t delete them after some time of inactivity.
The game itself was great, but then again, I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of the Zelda games for their clever level designs and all the things to explore and collect. I’ve read in various sources (none of which I can name at the moment) that Link to the Past was one of the most popular games in the Zelda series, which is why they decided to make another one in the same world. It did have its annoyances — one for me was the fact that you have to rent all your non-sword attack items, including the iconic bow, bomb and boomerang. If you die, all items return to the rental shop, run by an annoying purple-rabbit-suited proprietor named Ravio who TAKES OVER YOUR HOUSE for the purposes of his shop. Actually, this is probably one big reason the rental gimmick annoyed me. (You can also buy the items outright, but the prices were relatively hefty, about 800 rupees for most items.) But the supposed positive to this was that you could, theoretically, complete the dungeons in any order. (Which is NOT TRUE; you need a certain item to enter the Desert Palace, and you will NOT be able to enter until you beat the dungeon that has that item. So if you haven’t played the game yet, take heed and don’t be like me and beat your brains out trying to get into the Desert Palace.)
I loved the back-and-forth in Link Between Worlds, which has a Light and Dark realm (called respectively Hyrule and Lorule — get it? Get it? Yeah, that made me groan too) that are connected to each other, and many times you reached a certain area in one realm by making use of open areas in the other realm. The mechanic does test your memory of both areas, especially since the way to go from one realm to another is through magical crevices that are located only in certain locations. So you need a little ingenuity to figure out just HOW to reach that heart container that you see juuuust out of reach across a chasm or on an upper level of a cave.
Keeping with the Zelda theme, another game we played was Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U — and by “we” I mean that, yes, both my husband and I played this. This button-masher is a cross using the Dynasty Warriors engine and the Zelda mythos. If you’ve never played a DW game, it’s based on the famed book Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and it’s essentially you against the world. You fight hordes of enemy soldiers as you play through the stories of those who sought to unify mainland China.
So take that premise and apply it to Zelda. Hyrule Warriors takes characters from three Zelda games — Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword — and brings them together to do battle with the dark sorceress Cia. And, naturally, Ganon. (Come on, wouldn’t be a Zelda game without having HIM as the last boss, would it?) You have to slice your way through skeletons, mummies, Moblins and more to save the world.
Even if Link had been the only playable character, this game caught my attention because it was a mixture of two favorite game series of mine. But of course, in the style of Dynasty Warriors, there are multiple playable characters, including Zelda and her bodyguard Impa, each with their own weapon speciality. I was curious to see what kind of moves Nintendo would give these characters, seeing as only Link, Zelda and Sheik have had fighting moves because of their appearances in the Smash Bros. fighting game series. After seeing trailers for the game, my husband really wanted to play Zelda because she used a bow. (He was somewhat disappointed when we discovered that the bow isn’t her main weapon; it’s a rapier. She uses the bow only when you activate certain special abilities.)
The one PC that was revealed that I had qualms about was Agitha, a girl from Twilight Princess who collects bugs, dresses in lolita, and is actually a pretty dark and morbid kind of girl. (Go play TP one of these days and go bring her bugs, and when you see the kinds of things she says in gratitude, I think you’ll agree with the “dark” assessment.) There were lots of other characters that Nintendo could have chosen, but they went with Agitha. After finishing the game, I have the feeling she was chosen because she fit with storyline. Still, though, I think they could have easily chosen another character and made it fit with what was needed in the story.
Not that we’ve played Agitha, although we have seen her work her magic on the field, alarming me to no end when a huge translucent image of a bug suddenly appeared in front of me where I happened to be fighting. I’m willing to give her a chance, but we didn’t unlock her yet, and it’ll probably be some time before we do so, because vying with Hyrule Warriors for our time was a game we had been anticipating for months: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
But that will have to wait for another post.