Tag Archives: Bravely Default

The Top 10 Videogames I Didn’t Get to Play in 2014

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Actually, I played and beat a lot of games this year, somewhere around 73 according to my well-kept list. That’s my highest count yet since I started keeping tabs. Many of those games were from last year, years past, or tiny indie darlings. I did get to a few titles that came out this year, such as Transistor, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and Fantasy Life, to name a few, but as things often go, I missed out on a big chunk of the heavy-hitters.

Truth be told, this is one of my favorite lists to put together at the end of the year. Sure, it can seem like a bummer to miss out on some of these, but I’m a patient man and will get to some of them in due time. Or maybe not ever, given that Red Dead Redemption showed up on these lists a few times in a row, and I’ve still not ridden a horse to Mexico. My bad.

And for those curious to see how this feature ran in the past, here’s a bullet list:

Remember, this is a list of games I didn’t play that, if I had the time, money, and chance to, would totally play. Just putting that out there if you’re wondering why Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Titanfall isn’t showing up below. I don’t want to touch those, not even with a ten-foot pole. Your thoughts and mileage may vary.

10. Destiny

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Hmm. I really like Borderlands II and the idea of a loot-driven first-person shooter. Shoot things with guns, get cooler guns, do it all again. That’s perfectly fine. While the Borderlands series might not have the most illuminating or powerful story, it at least has a story, with characters and twists and resolutions. Sounds like Destiny doesn’t, which is scary, given Bungie’s plan for ten years worth of content. I don’t know. It looks pretty, but I’m a solo player, and a lot of the later game content is slanted towards group play.

9. Assassin’s Creed: Unity/Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

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Another year, another new Assassin’s Creed game to slip past me in the crowds while perfectly pilfering my purse. Based on reviews and fan feedback, neither of these two titles sounded all that great, riddled with bugs and repetition. Still sounds like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has been the series high point. That said, this year, I did finally start playing Assassin’s Creed II and am enjoying it very much, though I wish the feathers showed up on the map. Collecting is hard.

8. Child of Light

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Visually pretty RPGs make my knees buckle, but I never got around to trying Ubisoft’s take on the genre. Heard some complaints about the rhyming mechanics and the lackluster combat, but I can see past that for its watercolor painting graphics. It came out on a bunch of platforms, too, though I feel like this might be a good one to grab on sale sometime next year. Until then, Child of Light

7. Divinity: Original Sin

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Instead of playing Divinity: Original Sin this summer, I dabbled in The Temple of Elemental Evil. It was decent fun, but not the same. Hoping to see the newer, better CRPG pop up in some bundles next year.

6. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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Generally, if I can’t play a specific game or have trouble gaining access to it, I’ll search out a similar experience elsewhere. See above with Divinity: Original Sin. For Hearthstone, a card game everyone was gaga over this year in the same vein as Minecraft a few years back, I just never got to play it. I don’t have an iPhone or iPad, but I did discover Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, which is a lot of fun. Maybe next year I can try this and say “Job’s done!” myself.

5. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

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Remember in the blurb under Destiny where I said I really liked Borderlands II? Well, that’s true. I really liked it. I still like it. I’m still playing it. And so I’m not ready to move over yet to another game that is very similar save for a different setting and an oxygen mechanic. Sounds like there is some collection coming for the series, and it would be awesome to see Borderlands, Borderlands II, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel all together, bundled with every bit of DLC that’s ever been made for the series. One can dream, I know.

4. Bravely Default: Flying Fairy

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Here’s the thing. While I did not play the full retail release for Bravely Default: Flying Fairy, I did get to try out the special demo put out a few weeks before the game dropped. It’s fun and gorgeous and a modern take on the older style of Final Fantasy games. I meant to pick up a retail copy, but never did. And then a few weeks ago, I had to remove the demo from my 3DS to save space and make room for important things, like new puzzle pieces and themes.

3. Shovel Knight

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An old-school action platform where you hop around on your shovel like Scrooge did his cane in DuckTales. I really shouldn’t have to write any more to sell you on the title, and I’m very sad I never got around to this. Think it would be perfect to play on my 3DS, so maybe some Christmas money can help with that plan.

2. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

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One of my goals for this year was to play through every Metal Gear game in order of release. I got all the way through Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Still, a pretty good effort. I won’t be able to try out Ground Zeroes, purported to be the Metal Gear game with the best controls yet, until I finish a few others ahead of it. Hopefully by the time I get to it I can play it like a prologue to The Phantom Pain. Fans believe we’ll hear the release date for that one in just a few days, on Christmas, a gift worth unwrapping violently.

1. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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All right, here’s the big one. A Lord of the Rings game, and I didn’t play it. I try out just about every title I can. Yup, even Aragorn’s Quest. Yes, even The Fellowship of the Ring on the PlayStation 2 despite its terrible grammatical errors. That said, the reason one plays Shadow of Mordor is to experience the Nemesis system, which is deep and complicated and cool; however, the last-gen versions of the game have the Nemesis system removed due to limitations, leaving behind a more hollow product. My laptop certainly can’t run a game like this, so I will have to wait until the day I get a new-gen console, which won’t happen until I also know when Fallout 4 is definitely coming out. Sigh. This one hurts the most.

Right. That’s my list. Those are ten games I wanted to play, but ten games I didn’t get to play. Boo-hoo. What titles did you miss out on this year? Speak up in the comments below, and may you get to everything you want to in the next, new year! Until we meet again, dear Grinding Down readers.

Some JRPGs demand you grind from the get-go

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I finally got around to trying out that free and standalone-like 3DS demo for Bravely Default: Flying Fairy last night, but this post is not going to be explicably about that game. I need more time with it to both figure out my thoughts and overall opinions, as well as to decide on whether or not I’ll pick up the full retail copy, which drops today. I suspect I will, whether I love or loathe the demo to pieces, because these kind of strange JRPGs are far and few between, and my thinking is that by supporting it with a purchase, I’m helping to make strides towards a North American release for Fantasy Life. Wishful thinking, sure…but it’s better than doing nothing.

But Bravely Default got me thinking about the various RPGs and JRPGs that really make you grind for levels and money from the very start, because, at least in the demo, it downright demands you do it. The very first fight outside of town resulted in one character in my party of four dead, two badly hurt and poisoned, and the remaining member okay at half of his HP. I’m on the default–pun intended–level of difficulty, and I’m pretty good at turn-based combat, but I don’t think I have the whole brave and default techniques down just yet. That said…yowzas. The combat is brutally tough, and so for my first hour and change with the demo, I’ve just been going back and forth to the inn to heal up, fight monsters in the desert, and rinse and repeat until my eyelids grow too heavy to keep playing. It’s honestly not terrible, as I’m used to grinding, but I always find it strange when a game makes it impossible to progress without it at the very beginning of the journey. Let me list a few other examples.

One of my fondest gaming memories, just in general, always comes back to Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. See, when I moved out of my parents’ house and up to northern New Jersey for my newly acquired post-college job, I lived off the grid for several months, relying on previously purchased videogames and DVDs for nightly entertainment while I held off on getting cable and Internet. DQVIII filled that space greatly, but it’s a slow game, and you do have to grind for a little bit in the very beginning at the Waterfall Cave section, otherwise the final boss of that area can wipe your party out quite quickly. If I recall, there’s a small section of healing water you can keep drinking from to restore your team’s health, making this place perfect for grinding, and, at the time, it certainly seemed necessary.

Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) is made up of three different storylines and a strange one-off inspired by all things Minecraft. Ignoring the latter and focusing on the former, of the three separate but connected plots, one storyline, by its very design, requires you to grind a whole bunch before you can even get to the first dungeon and safely explore it at a decent clip. In Ogden’s storyline, he is an old, washed-up man out to make a name for himself again, but that means fighting all the battles by himself, which is slower and more grindy than the other two campaigns. It meant fighting battles until Ogden was nearly out of health, run to the nearest inn, spend some gold to heal, and go back out to do it all over again. Not the most exciting time, but I ended up playing a lot of Dragon Fantasy (Book 1) while watching Netflix or Giant Bomb videos.

The first hour or so of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is both magical and devastating, and not just because something terrible happens to Oliver’s mother. I’m talking about the area just outside the Golden Grove. It still gives me the shivers to this day. The monsters here are so powerful and aggressive that your small team of nobody really doesn’t stand a chance, and so you have two options: run and hope to avoid every fight, or go back into the woods and grind a bit for levels, money, and health-restoring items. Naturally, me being me, I ran for it. Which was not very successful for the first few attempts, though I did eventually get out of the area, only to find myself in an even more dangerous spot, though much more suited for grinding.

Oh boy. Now, truthfully, I only stopped playing Phantasy Star II because the cold weather is here, and the Xbox 360 is in the living room, which gets no heat for the whole horrid season, and so it must wait until the snow melts before I can get back into it. And by it, I naturally mean grinding for levels and much-needed moolah while trying to figure out exactly where to go next. Thankfully, the music is so good that it makes grinding more pleasant than not, but it took me forever just to reach the first Bio-Systems Lab areas.

Hey, remember Eternal Sonata? I sometimes do. Beautiful grass in that game, and it’s not every day you come across an RPG so heavily themed and dedicated to that theme. I mean, really…Polka is a terrible name for a young girl. But whatever. Every now and then, I think about going back and playing it some more. But that would mean starting over because I got to that ghost ship section and found myself severely under-leveled with no hope of gaining enough levels quick enough to defeat…uh, the boss Captain Dolce. From reading up some walkthroughs, it sounds like I messed up and didn’t spend enough time aimlessly grinding when I could. Oh well.

I’m sure if I spent some more time looking through my collection I could come up with another five to ten RPGs that are grind-heavy early on, but I need to end this post somewhere. If you have one I missed talking about, let me know about it in the chat! That is, if you can spare some time away from your efficient, but meticulous level-gaining strategy.