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EGM’s Weekend Play: Whisked Off to Another World

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Posted on January 18, 2013 AT 11:40am

Welcome to EGM’s Weekend Play, a weekly account of what games the editors of EGM are currently playing, and an open conversation with you, the reader, about what you’ve been playing.

After reading what we’re playing, let us know what games you’ve been playing and what games, if any, you’ll be escaping to this weekend in the comments below!

 

It’s been a while since I’ve played a competent Japanese RPG that didn’t have “Tales” or “Persona” in the title, but Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is shaping up to be a big-time exception. You won’t find brooding Gackt lookalikes or shrieking AKB48-style heroines here, and the Studio Ghibli animation imparts a more wholesome, innocent backdrop to the proceedings—a refreshing change from the majority of recent games in the genre that just take themselves way too seriously. I’ll take a down-to-earth, standard fantasy tale like this every single time, thanks.

It’s kind of an ongoing joke around the EGM office that I’m the last guy you’d expect to enjoy a JRPG. Yet, I might enjoy these games just as much as Andrew or Eric—even if you’ll rarely catch me admitting it (guess my cover as a dude-bro is blown now, eh?). So, when our review copies of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch came in earlier this week, everyone got a good laugh when I showed my excitement around the office by jumping up and down like a kid at Christmas.

Now, I’m only about three hours in, but I absolutely love what I’ve seen so far. The animation is spectacular (we’d expect nothing less from Studio Ghibli) and the story is the most endearing we’ve seen from a JRPG in a long time. I’m so wrapped up in this game that I think I might have actually been happier when Oliver got his first cape than he was in the game. I’m a long way away from completing it, but I definitely can’t wait to continue my journey with young Oliver and Drippy in another world this Saturday and Sunday.

This was a pretty bad week for me to be out of town, as I’ve got plenty of games to play through for my duties here at EGM. Probably the biggest for me this weekend will be Corpse Party: Book of Shadows. As I’ve written here on EGMNOW many times, I utterly adored 2011′s Corpse Party—it was a dark and disturbing horror game that did some truly amazing things with its limited graphics and gameplay.

For Book of Shadows, gameplay has now gone more the route of the traditional Japanese adventure game/visual novel. I’m extremely curious to see how this decision will play out, as by far the strength of the first game was its storytelling and character interaction—and certainly not its gameplay.

Then—if I have any free time at all from work-related gaming—I’ve been itching to get in some more Minecraft. I hadn’t touched the PC (or, more specifically for me, Mac) version in some time, so I’m very behind on all of the additions that have been put into the game in the last year. For example, I’d never even built a piston before—and after playing around with them a bit earlier in the week, I want to see what more I can do with them. Also, I’ve not once encountered an NPC village in the game—so I’m on the hunt to finally track one down.

Well, thanks to the anemic gameplay by my beloved Denver Broncos, I have a lot more time to immerse myself in video games this weekend. I have still not beaten DmC: Devil May Cry, so I look forward to getting my action Jones going and slashing my way to victory. However, I will have a couple of other games competing for my attention.

First there is The Cave, the new adventure game from Double Fine. I have purposely not been following this game very closely as I have not had to write about it yet, and I trust Ron Gilbert to take me on a fun and twisted adventure! Then there is Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Again, I’m not sure exactly what to expect from this gorgeous looking JRPG, but as soon as I heard Studio Ghibli, I was in.

Come to think of it, that’s a lot of big games to play over one weekend. Perhaps I will have to call is sick Monday—but do me a favor, and don’t tell anybody.

So much for that post-Christmas lull. Every year, the spring launch season starts sooner and sooner, and I lose any hope of ever getting a good night’s sleep. This weekend, I’m going to valiantly attempt to tackle Ni no KuniSkulls of the Shogun, and at least three other games I can’t even name yet. According to my doctor, a schedule that packed means there’s at least a 75% chance that I’ll contract a disfiguring, potentially fatal case of Nintendo thumb. At least I’ll have died doing what I love.

Remember how last week I mentioned playing Skyrim and Far Cry 3? Well, turns out that was a terrible idea—juggling open world games becomes very exhausting very quickly. I visited the Greybeards and gained the Shout ability, slayed another dragon, but I can only seem to muster enough interest to play for an hour tops. An hour really isn’t enough time to make any progress in Skyrim—especially considering how often I die. I suspect that it’s time for an equipment upgrade, but I haven’t found anything new in quite a few levels. Never said I was any good at these games.

Fortunately, I finally got my hands on DmC: Devil May Cry, which offers the more focused, narratively-guided experience I prefer in videogames. It’s a welcome break from the massive scope of Rook Island and Skyrim, though I really haven’t had much time to spend with the game. I’m maybe three missions in; my goal this weekend is to sit down, start over, and tear through it. Let out some aggression on urban architecture-turned-demon spawn. I’ll save what I have to say about DmC for the next Weekend Play, after I’ve completed the game.

As for a palate cleanser, now that I’ve found everything there is to find in Fez, it’s time to move on to the next indie gem. I’m thinking Spelunky. That is, after I finish Skulls of the Shogun.

After promising to complete The Walking Dead last week, I’m sad to report that I failed—I only managed to make it to the end of episode 3. So, this weekend will be spent exploring episode 4. Luckily, the entire of the U.K. is under a couple of feet of snow, so I’ll have plenty of time for gaming.

Never in my long history of being a gamer have I ever regretted a decision—except buying certain games and hardware, but that’s another story. However, Telltale has managed to make me care just enough about the characters that I find myself second guessing choices and really considering the consequences. This is a hell of an achievement on their part, and I can’t wait to see how season one ends.

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