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Calendar Man – Week of 7/23

Nothing of consequence comes out this week, so I’m skipping right to the deals. If something comes out that strikes your fancy, be it Prototype 2 for the PC or Inversion for the PC or miCoach by Adidas (360, PS3) then I apologize for labeling them as inconsequential.

On the deal side, Target has buy one get one at 50% off on a bunch of games and Best Buy is hosting their own summer blow-out sale on a ton of games. There may not be anything new out, but at least you can find something on sale that you haven’t played yet. Provided you haven’t gone broke buying games on Steam, that is.

READ ALSO:  Calendar Man – Week of 3/25


Brandon loves games, which shouldn't be a surprise given where you're reading this. He has written for GameShark, The Escapist and G4, and made them all less relevant as a result.

19 thoughts to “Calendar Man – Week of 7/23”

  1. Damn Steam sale!

    I got a ton of crap. That I bet I don’t touch until the Winter Sale.

    Playing tons of Tales of Graces and Secret World here. Graces is fabulous, it is the new Xenoblade Chronicles of the Mark world.

    1. That’s awesome to hear about Tales. I’ve hit the 70 hour mark in XC and it’s looking like I might have to actually finish it soon, but there’s still so much I want to do! Well, really, I just want to try to access all the heart to hearts… I’m not as worried about building the happiness levels of all the areas (which is a blatant lie, considering I’ve gotten two of them up to 4 hearts at this point and the other three up to 3 hearts).

      But, once I finish this, I think I’ll need a break from JRPGs (so no Tales, just yet). Not sure if that will mean starting a hardcore character in Diablo 3 or getting around to finishing Kingdoms of Amalur or playing Dead Island…

      1. I said I wouldn’t do another JRPG so soon, but then I just started and couldn’t stop.

        Tales games do characterization better than most any JRPG out there, maybe excepting the Persona series.

        I love the combat and title system and the big stumbling block for me was the 4 hour prologue I had read about, but it totally set up the rest of the game and was done so well I just kept digging at it. Worried for no reason, really.

        And I like that the skits have no prerequisites; the heart-to-hearts were so cool but I barely unlocked like 10% overall.

        1. All I care to play right now is JRPGs, believe it or not. It’s not a genre I’ve been into since the 1990s. But something about them right now is HUGELY appealing to me. Some of it is that it gets back to how it felt to play Japanese Playstation games, some of it is because they are so completely anti-AAA blockbuster, and some of it is because I’m actually digging the slow pace after a couple of years of barrelling through just about every major release of note.

          Really want to play XC, hopefully it’ll run on Wii U.

          1. Oh man, get Persona 3 from PSN.

            If you never played it, it is absolutely fantastic. It is my first recommendation to everybody who misses a classic JRPG with memorable characters and unique systems.

            I think I need to make the time for Valkyria Chronicles since you and fring seem to love it so much…

  2. Inconsequential? Really?

    You realize that EA just said that the PC is the fastest growing gaming platform nowadays, don’t you?

    Never mind. I’ll go to that corner and cry a little bit.

    Also, Prototype 2. Weeeee!

    1. The PC itself is not inconsequential. A PC port of a game from a studio that has been shuttered due to the game not catching on with people is. Sorry, but I calls ’em like I sees ’em.

    1. Oh snap, Barnes! Now you’re playing Valkyria Chronicles? Man, that game was good, but it’s been years since I played it. What made you think of it?

      1. It was actually one of the first PS3 games I bought, but I shelved it and kept meaning to come back to it. I’ve been wanting to play nothing but Japanese games lately, so it’s back on the decks.

        It is absolutely fucking amazing. I’ll probably write something about it here soon. I think it’s on that list with Demon’s/Dark Souls, Witcher 2, Bayonetta, Vanquish, MGS4, Arkham City, Mirror’s Edge, and Metro 2033. Yeah, that list.

  3. Replying to Mark above…

    Yeah, I did get Persona 3- for $10 too, since Atlus is doing a sale right now. It’s really good, but I kind of wish that I had played it before The World Ends With You, which I think does the whole youth culture thing much better. And I think I actually like Devil Summoner better, which was the first of those that I’ve played.

    I’m actually really digging FFXIII. Maybe because I’ve been away from the series since I played VIII for about an hour and hated it and I have fresh eyes for it…but I think the combat system is brilliant. I can see where dumb people would think it was dumbed down, but the fact is they took out all of the micromanaging and menu-fidgeting and developed a system where you can direct the flow of battle and engage in some real-time tactical decisions while not taking away control or decision making. Yeah, it’s linear as hell, but instead of pointless mazes and time-sucking dead ends it gets you to where you’re going just the same. I laugh at these people who said there was no exploration in it…there never was any in any of the FF games to begin with. Being able to turn both left and right is not exploration.

    Anyway, yes, Valkyria Chronicles is a _masterpiece_ that you should look at. It’s technically an SRPG, but it’s so much more than that. It’s almost a J-ed up Combat Mission, but simplified. It has the X-Com/Jagged Alliance teambuilding dynamic, and everybody has strengths and weaknesses as well as teammates they like and don’t like. It also has a very tabletop miniatures feel, which of course I love. The art style is to die for- it’s like Miyazaki meets Osprey books. Holy crap, I wanna go play it right now. Egh, that or barrel through FFXIII…or Persona 3? So many choices, and none of them current AAA games.

    1. Part of the reason I love the Persona series so much is that they always have something unique in each game that really stands out for me. The third did have that whole Japanese school vibe, plus the great visual for summoning the Personae (love to see a AAA-mainstream company put that shit on the market intact). The fourth, which I actually prefer, runs like a whodunnit with supernatural overtones, plus the way the small town feel comes through and the way the story plays out… Fantastic.

      TWEWY is a goddamn masterpiece, that being said. It flies off the rails with the usual last-act Square nonsense where the story goes totally WTF batshit, but I loved the button system so much that I was happy to forgive it.

      Now I want to check out FFXIII, dammit. But I haven’t enjoyed a game in that series since VI…

      Anyhow, no worries about me looking at Valkyria Chronicles, I have actually owned a copy for the last two years and just not played it yet. JRPGs take ridiculous amounts of time, but I do love them, so it’s hard to get them out.

      Portable-wise, they just reprinted Radiant Historia as well, which I need to get back to but is a delightfully charming and complex time-travel game. Bump Chrono Trigger up a notch in terms of cause and effect and you’d have the idea.

      As I have many a time, I also recommend the Tales series. They are my go-to when I’m sick of JRPG combat; fast, awesome, and great storytelling to boot.

      1. Yeah, I’ve got Tales of Vesperia on the way actually…kind of crazy, starting all of these games. I tend to play them in lumps of four or five hours before switching.

        Good to know about Radiant Historia, I wanted to check that one out.

      2. You know, I’ve passed on so many TWEWY sales over the past couple of years. Told myself I don’t need another JRPG to add to my collection of unplayed JRPGs I might get to in the future, but I’ve been playing games like crazy since graduating and thought I might pick it up. Of course now that I want to buy it, it’s $60 new….should have just paid the $10 before and let it sit on my self for a rainy day, oh hindsight how you mock me so.

    2. Yes to FFXIII. I was also amazed at how much slag it got for that incredibly fun battle system. Man, now I want to go and get back to FFXIII-2, which takes the battle system to a whole new level. What was always interesting to me was how FFXIII and this little known JRPG called, um, Resonance of Fate came out within just a couple weeks of each other and how they both had incredibly interesting things to say about just how fast paced and strategic a good battle system could be. I remember in some long-ago discussion, you mentioned playing that one as well.

      It was actually really interesting for me to play those two games, back to back and contemplate the different attitudes of the developers. If I recall my summary reaction was that FF simplified the inputs while increasing the pace, which resulted in a slight increase in complexity overall. Meanwhile Resonance dramatically decreased the number of available moves and such, but increased complexity at every other point (spatially, rock/paper/scissors effectiveness, timing requirements, etc) and the pseudo-realtime system allowed the player to slowly increase the pace.

      On the topic of Persona 3, that is the only game I’ve ever played that visually punished me for executing powerful attacks. The extra powerful attacks (which were secret and had to be discovered) have a different summoning mechanism that is downright disturbing. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to use them except in an emergency. But, easily one of my favorite JRPGs of all time. I have to admit that I never finished the fourth. This sounds terrible, but I just couldn’t handle the graphics after having been playing on my PS3 for the previous year (and which is downright silly after admitting to playing a Wii game that looks about the same for the last 3 months).

      1. Too much JRPG love for me not to comment:

        Resonance of Fate is an amazing game. You’re completely right about the battle system, it does a great job of taking simple actions and making very complex choices out of them. The story and characterization are completely spot on, and they combine to actually make you think about the plot and themes of the game instead of just swallowing whatever swill the writers came up with. It’s one of those rare games that leaves a lot of things open to interpretation and is the better for it.

        Valkyira Chronicles is well worth the playtime. The character development system is a bit shallow, but the battle system is very entertaining and the whole thing looks gorgeous. It’s also one of the few games about war that manages to bring out the tragedy of the enterprise.

        Persona 3 is excellent in most every way, but especially in how to make side-quests meaningful. Some of the best moments of storytelling in that game come from the random social links that you just stumble upon. The same development team also made the Digital Devil Saga series for the PS2 which is a great exercise in dystopian-future-craziness done well.

        The thing that bugged me about FFXIII was never the linearity (which I see as a storytelling mechanic), but it was the fact that you’re stuck with 2 person parties for the first 20 hours. The battle system really doesn’t shine until you get 3 party members with 3 roles unlocked; its only then that you can really start to play with your Paradigms and have some fun. This transition is also accompanied by a great cutscene with Hope and Snow.

        Xenoblade is a bit of a slow start, but the story kick in nicely after about 5 hours. It’s much more similar to Xenogears than the Xenosagas which I find slightly disappointing, but I’m only 40 hours in. There is still plenty of time for philosophical soliloquies and awesome-yet-crazy plot twists.

        1. Xenoblade is pretty lucid and I found most of the twists were telegraphed, if told well.

          That said, the revelation at the very end of what really happened and what’s really going on is so… fabulously wtf… that it’s worth playing just for that alone.

  4. You forgot the incredible major release of the week : Pinball Crystal Caliburn II for iOS!
    Well, yes, that one came out of the blue…

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