Tag Archives: Pokemon White 2

Every click burns a little brighter in Torchlight II

torchlight 2 ghostboat011

Though I’ve not really mentioned it much here on Grinding Down, I’ve actually been playing a lot of Torchlight II for the last month and a half. Well, more than I expected. It’s a game that I bought during the most recent Steam Winter sale for a sexcellent deal and boot up for a bit every now and then, like while I’m waiting for my hot cocoa water to boil or if I got a half hour to kill before Tara and I head off somewhere. Bits and pieces, clicks and flicks. So far, I’ve not really thought of anything profound or illuminating enough to create a blog post around, but having just beat Pokemon White 2, I see some similarities between the two, and that’ll do just fine as a place to launch.

Now, to start, I liked Torchlight. Alas, I played it first on the Xbox 360, and so I had to experience tiny text syndrome on my TV, which lead to me missing out on reading all the various loot stats and spells descriptions and just going with what seemed best, defeating the purpose of caring about loot and equipping my character to the nines. It was not the most involved way to play, I’m afraid, and I later purchased the very same Torchlight for just under $4.00 for the PC during last year’s Steam summer sale, which helped rectify that problem. Though I didn’t really play it again for too long as there were a number of other distractions available. And then I picked up its sequel, which quickly eradicated it from my mind as something I needed to play.

In Torchlight II, you do a lot of the same things from the previous game, but it all somehow feels new. Or at least polished to appear new. Switching things up, I am playing as an Embermage, which is a highly trained spell-casting class with elemental attacks. His name is Mosley, and he uses gem-enchanted wands and relies on a lot of electrical-based spells, as well as some random happenings. My favorite being when a giant meteor falls from the sky onto everyone. His pet is a Badger, but sadly, I don’t remember what name I gave it. This class is a great mix of things, and trying to decide on skills is a fun challenge, as the Embermage can totally go in a number of ways. It’s definitely spicier than previous classes like…the Alchemist (basically, a wizard) or the Vanquisher (in short, a ranger).

Allow me to now compare Torchligh II with Pokemon White 2, as well as probably enrage some diehard fans from either boat. In both games, there is always something to do. For the former, it’s clicking on things until they are dead and picking up loot; for the latter, it’s battling Pokemon to gain EXP or capture them for your team. It’s all about collecting, moving forward. That said, there’s a story around both these main game mechanics that exists high above, nothing more than a blur and disembodied voice telling you where you should go to next. You can, if you want, get invested in this, but there is very little point. I don’t remember any specifics from the the original Torchlight‘s story, and I couldn’t tell you what is going on in this one. Same goes for Pokemon White 2. The story is such a non-issue that it is nothing more than perfunctory, which is a disappointment, especially in a fantasy realm as colorful and quirky as Torchlight II.

And with that odd comparison, let me say that I’m really enjoying my time with Torchlight II. Constantly finding new and interesting gear is a joy, as well as customizing it with gems and enchantments to make it even more unique. You are constantly improving with every new piece of armor and skill perk. Everything is streamlined, and playing solo is completely viable, even against some of the huge raid-like bosses. My Mosley is creeping up near LV 20, and I have no idea where we’re going story-wise; I just head to the starred locations, click on things until a new starred location pops up, and then I head there. That probably sounds a little underwhelming, but all along the way I’m clicking and having an excellent time. Looking forward to more with Mosley, though I suspect he’ll be my only character and playthrough for Torchlight II. Eventually, the light will gently fade.

2013 Game Review Haiku, #4 – Pokemon White 2

pokemon white 2 beat

Capture Pokemon
And level them up for keeps
Was there a story?

These little haikus proved to be quite popular in 2012, so I’m gonna keep them going for another year. Or until I get bored with them. Whatever comes first. If you want to read more words about these games that I’m beating, just search around on Grinding Down. I’m sure I’ve talked about them here or there at some point. Anyways, enjoy my videogamey take on Japanese poetry.

Elite Four Shauntal and her Chandelure are a phantom pain

elite four shauntal

All right, Trainers everywhere. I’ve made some progress–and changes–since last I updated y’all on where I was with Pokemon White 2. Y’know, that post from three days ago.

Since then, I’ve learned that my Munna won’t evolve on her own by reaching a select level, and so I’ve given her a Moon Stone to hold in hopes that will help speed up the process. She recently gained a level, going from 62 to 63, but nothing happened otherwise. Not sure if it’s just a random happening. I also made some changes to my team overall, especially once I figured out how easy it is to transfer Pokemon over from my previous Pokemon White galavanting. This involved finding my Nintendo DS Lite, which was sadly at the bottom of a box, bereft and cold, an old thing forgotten in the midst of shinier toys. Sorry about that, my dear friend. Anyways, all I then had to do was go to a Poke Center in both games–Pokemon White 2 on my 3DS, and Pokemon White on m y DS–select to enter some weird chat room thing, and then trade with…myself. Yeah, that part was a little odd, having to switch back between menus that both mentioned a Pauly, but I figured it all out in due time. In the end, I gave away three really low level Pokemon that I never used (or planned to), and took back my three original main staples:

  • Trashy, a Garbodor (poison)
  • Snape, a Serperior (grass)
  • Vick, a Victini (um, fire and maybe psychic)

Before attempting to take on the Elite Four for the very first time, I removed my Terrakion and did some light grinding, getting Trashy up to LV 59, Vick around LV 56, and Snape somewhere near 53. To be honest, I was glad to have them back with me after spending so much time with them last year, but I suspected I really wouldn’t need them, with my now LV 72 Genesect able to just destroy everything in its way by simply spamming Bug Buzz and keeping him healthy and healed. And that plan went swimmingly…until I met Shauntal and her army of Ghost-type Pokemon.

So, just using Genesect solely, I was able to defeat three of the four Elite Four members. With ease. Bing, bang, boom. Oh yeah. They were not exciting fights, but I’m okay with that, as I actually prefer exploring and capturing pocket monsters more than struggling through a back-and-forth type of battle and dealing with what one might call “strategy,” and you get to a ton more of that fun stuff once you “beat” the game, opening up the map and letting new types of Pokemon appear in the wild. Mmm yes. More of that please.

However, Shauntal’s Ghost Pokemon are super strong despite being the same levels as other Elite Four’s teams, especially her Chandelure, which is the second Pokemon out of the gate. I can’t get past it. The blasted thing one-shots my LV 72 Genesect, and my other critters barely get a hit in before fainting as well. Seems like I need a Dark or Ghost type Pokemon myself to deal sufficient enough damage back, and well…I don’t really have one of those at a decent level. Got a Jellicent around its early 40s, but it mostly has Water attacks. Please suggest something better, as I really don’t want to grind several more hours just to get one Pokemon up twenty levels to stand a chance. Is there a way I can turn one of my existing Pokemon Dark of Ghost-like?

Until we meet again, Shauntal.

Readying myself for the Elite Four in Pokemon White 2

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If you’ll recall, I finally, after stuffing myself full for the time being from the daily puzzle buffet that is Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask‘s bonus features, removed the cartridge from my Nintendo 3DS and replaced it with…well, at the time, I wasn’t exactly sure. There were many choices. But I can now say I settled on Pokemon White 2, as I was fairly close to the “end” when I last left off, having finished the eight main gyms, but still doing story-related stuff before moving on to the Pokemon League and taking on those dastardly Elite Four.

Well, that story-related stuff, which involved rescuing Hugh’s stolen Purrloin  and and fighting the legendary White Kyurem from threatening the realm and some other points that I kind of glossed over because, well, this is a Pokemon videogame, not the latest and greatest China Miéville novel, is now done, and I’ve crawled through Victory Road, finding myself and my small team of pocket monsters on the Elite Four’s doorstep. However, I don’t believe I’m ready for them just yet. Truth be told, I don’t even remember how I was able to beat them in Pokemon HeartGold. I couldn’t get through them in the previous Pokemon White, where the only solution seems to be grinding, which I won’t do now that I’m on the sequel.

The problem is, as always, I have four very powerful Pokemon on team, one spot-filler, and then an empty spot altogether. Not the most balanced party. For the Elite Four, which you have to fight one after the other with the only chance to heal up and recover taken from items, I need all six Pokemon on my team to be in great shape. Here’s what I’m rocking currently:

Genesect (no nickname) – LV 70

genesect pokemans_649

Munna (nicknamed Mona) – LV 62

munna pokemans_517

Terrakion (nicknamed Akion) – LV 53

tera pokemans_639

Emboar (nicknamed Hamstring) – LV 55

emboar pokemans_500

And that’s it. I have a low-leveled bird Pokemon as a spot-filler who I dumped both Fly and Surf on to help get around the map faster, but it’s no fighter. Now, I was able to get Genesect so high at a much faster rate due to two tricks: one, since I got him as a special download from GameStop or whatever, he is considered “traded” and thus gains bonus EXP from each fight and two, I gave him the EXP Share item to hold so that he is constantly gaining the stuff. I’ll probably take that item away from him and put it on either Hamstring or Akion to help get them up into the high 50s or low 60s.

But now I’m not certain who I should get for the final two spots. I have the following types covered from my main four: Fire, Fighting, Rock, Psychic, Bug, and Steel. Some websites suggest a Ghost type, like Chandelure, or creating a special Eevee through evolution. I’m kind of looking for a faster solution, maybe a decently leveled wild Pokemon that I can capture via a Pokeball that can still be useful. If you happen to know of a good one, please let me know. I doubt I can take on the Pokemon League with just the above four, and it seems like you really only gain access to better Pokemon and legendary types once you beat the game, which helps me not.

Hmm…maybe I should look into how to transfer previously caught Pokemon in other games, like Pokemon White, as I’d love to get Garbodor (nicknamed Trashy) into the action, as well as Victini (nicknamed Snape) and Serperior (nicknamed Snape); so far, after thirty-some hours, I’ve only ever come across one or two Garbodor, and they were being used by Trainers so I couldn’t steal them away for myself. The nerve. I love me some trash monsters. Hopefully it’s not a complicated process, but I suspect it just might be. Will report back.

More like Professor Layton and the Unceasing Daily Download Puzzles

prof layton miracle mask daily download puzzles

I think I’m nearly ready to take the cartridge for Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask out of my Nintendo 3DS. It’s been in there for…at least over a month, possibly a month and a half. I know that as soon as I finished off Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion I popped that piece of gunk out and dropped in the professor’s latest adventure, and that was some time early in December 2012.  So yeah, a month and a half going by the time of writing. The kicker is that I beat the main game just before the new year hit–so why have I not taken it out of my portable gaming system? Let me tell you, dear readers: daily download puzzles.

That’s right. More puzzles.

Every day since the game’s release, you can connect to WiFi and download a new puzzle. Simple as that. I believe the plan is to do this for one whole year, ending on October 28, 2013. There are twenty puzzle categories, and it seems like you’ll get multiple puzzles within each to ultimately hit a year’s worth. Here’s a list of all the puzzle types and my thoughts for each:

  • The Alchemist’s Lair – Connect different colored flasks a specific number of times without overloading the system. Pretty fun, and the later variants get pretty tricky.
  • Tile – Match four distinctly different tiles to clear the board. Gravity factors in, with tiles falling into place if you clear ones below them. Not terribly difficult.
  • Ghouls and Guards – Similar to The Alchemist’s Lair puzzles, you have to connect light with guards to kill ghosts. Use mirrors to bounce the light around the area. Gets really overwhelming in later difficulty levels.
  • Big Block Box – Have to fit a bunch of Tetris-like blocks into a single area, with special rules and limitations in place. A lot of fun though pretty easy to figure out.
  • Pen Pals – Have to pen in a bunch of giraffes in a non-breaking fence by moving blocks around in different directions. Can easily solve these through constant trial and error.
  • Food Chain – Guide a rabbit to collect all the carrots without getting eaten by the wolf behind it. These are pretty tricky. I used the “undo” button a whole bunch.
  • Bewitching Night – Turn on the correct number of lights to guide the witch’s way. With the memo feature, this one is fairly easy to get through.
  • Kingdoms – Section of a castle and its grounds from other neighboring castles. Simple and easy, but still enjoyable to solve.
  • Vault of the Ancients – Connect one rune to another with a single line, as well as other runes to their respective matches. The larger puzzles are trickier to manage with so many lines everywhere, but one will eventually solve them.
  • Perilous Voyage – Guide a boat from start to finish in one single path. Absolutely hate these puzzles, as the inclusion of “invisible” rocks means a lot of guesswork for guiding the boat around obstacles. Have not solved the last four yet.
  • Whose Tile Is It Anyway – Place tiles on a board in a specific way to reveal the answer. A bit like Big Block Box, but with new rules to abide by.
  • Sweet Truth – Rows and columns of candy must contain only one of each candy type, but no empty spaces next to each other. Nothing terribly mind-breaking to solve.
  • A Dish Too Far – Unstack dishes with touching other stacks you’ve cleared out. Just managing space in the end.
  • Little Lost Ducklings – Strangely, this puzzle type is nearly exactly like A Dish Too Far, only with ducks and obstacles added on the board.
  • St Bronto’s – Lead baby dinosaurs back to mommy dinosaurs. Pretty easy so far, but I suspect later versions will become cluttered and harder to manage.
  • Aerial View – Create a runway for the plane to use for takeoff by rotating tiles. Kind of like Pen Pals, but with a few new rules to mix things up.
  • Trains and Train Spotters – Direct a train as well as a photographer around a map. Really dislike this as it is not explained very well, and I never much liked that train minigame from The Last Specter to begin with.
  • Sun, Sand and Turtles – This one is weird. You have to place water between facing turtles and then also fill in the gaps so the entire board is covered. Not sure if I’m into it or not despite adorable turtles.
  • The Barking Beat – Guide a cop along a single path to arrest…animals. It’s okay, but at this point I’ve only gotten to play one puzzle from this category.
  • Pipework Patch-up – Connect pipe sections with the exact number of pipes to get the fountain working properly. It’s like The Alchemist’s Lair and Vault of the Ancients, but with water and numbers. Not bad.

Whew. I hope you can see why I’ve struggled with taking Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask out. The content–it just never ends. I don’t remember if there were additional downloadable puzzles in Professor Layton and the Last Specter, but the bonus mini-game London Life kept me more than busy. However, I remember there being additional puzzles for Layton’s first adventure in Professor Layton and the Curious Village, as well as some huff-and-puff over the fact that these puzzles were technically already on the cart and were only being “unlocked” by connecting to the Internet. Also, these were not daily puzzles, but rather one a week, and I got through a few of them, but they were not very exciting. Remember several matchsticks puzzles in there, and nothing more.

Alas, I don’t love every puzzle category, and the second set of categories from Whose Tile Is It Anyway to  Pipework Patch-up feel strangely similar. Most use a small nine-by-nine square grid as their play place, which is a bit boring one after the other. Really, the duck and plate puzzles are nearly identical, and maybe that’s showing that the developers have stretched themselves a little too thin and overshot with promises. And since these categories are the ones to get subsequent puzzles for the next few months, I think I can do without my daily fix and just download them all later on when we return to more enjoyable ones, like Kingdoms.

Now, a choice: what to put into my 3DS after Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask has been removed. I have a few candidates. Such as Pokemon White 2, which I’m pretty far along in, but haven’t played since I bought like three 3DS games all at once back in November 2012. Think I’m on my way to the sixth or seventh gym. Also, there’s Paper Mario: Sticker Star still to eat up, especially since I glanced at a walkthrough guide last time I was in GameStop and kind of have a better idea how to knock down those bowling pins. Lastly, there’s Radiant Historia, one of my five games I want to beat in 2013. Decisions, decisions, so stick around and see what game I’m blogging about next for my answer.

This little Sticker Star is gonna go far

My Nintendo 3DS is getting a lot of love as of late, and I blame all these big name games coming out at once. Mostly Pokemon White 2, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Crashmo, and Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Y’know…to name a few. Today’s post will be about that last one mentioned, but I am sure to be talking about that bizarre and totally unneeded horseback chase scene from the newest Layton adventure, as well as the overall creepy 3D models. Because somebody needs to tell that world that Luke looks like he’s tripping balls, and I guess it’ll be me.

Anyways, Sticker Star. It’s a game I’ve been really excited for since it was first revealed to be coming to the 3DS. I think back then, when we knew very little about it, many thought it was just a remake of one of the older titles from the franchise, but it turned out to be its own being. Maybe a remake is still on its way though. Who really knows. Nintendo doesn’t like to give us too much information, and one can only look to the missing North American release date for Animal Crossing: New Leaf to confirm this. Regardless, it’s here, and while I waited for it to get here, I picked up and played an hour or two of Super Paper Mario for the Nintendo Wii a month or so back, which has a great look, an interesting, Fez-like mechanic that distorts the way you see a screen, but is horribly paced and far too hand-holdy. I meant to play more before Sticker Star dropped, but alas, that never happened.

Despite how bad I am in real life at peeling stickers off books or DVD cases, I’m really enjoying Sticker Star so far. A seemingly unanimous complaint about the game is that it is a much more simplified RPG, and that since battles don’t grant you much other than coins, you’re better off avoiding than fighting and “wasting” your depletable sticker collection. I haven’t felt that way yet, though there has been a few occasions where I have just jumped over an enemy instead of on it to initiate a fight. Fights consist of using a sticker for every action, and so they disappear fast, but also reappear twice as fast, as they are everywhere. You really can’t walk more than a few steps before finding one behind a bush, stuck to a wall, or within a question block. If you’re really good at timing pressing a button when you attack or block–think Costume Quest‘s battle attacks but without the prompt–you’ll save on stickers and wheel in more coins. I’m liking it all, even the inventory management aspect, which is constantly changing as a new sticker comes in or a larger sticker gets used to free up space.

The story is a story. There’s a Sticker Festival held in the Mushroom Kingdom, but then Bowser shows up and ruins it all by breaking apart the Sticker Comet, which is now scattered across various parts of the map. A magical floating crown called Kersti deems that only Mario can…blah, blah, blah. You know it from there. It exists to serve the gameplay, and that’s all–at least from what I’ve seen. However, the writing of each individual character you come across is fun and light-hearted, with a lot of wink wink and puns, so there’s potential for great story beats, but time will tell on that. Regardless, it gets you out into the world map, collecting stickers, defeating Bowser’s endless army of goons.

Whereas I found Super Paper Mario too hand-holdy from the start, the exact opposite can be said about Sticker Star, and that seems to be where a lot of gamers got frustrated. The lack of button prompts on attacks and defense stances is fine, as it teaches you how to use those stickers correctly, but a lot of sticker/puzzle solutions are hidden in the world, and to find them, you really need to experiment. The game will not tell you what to do, and if you get a hint, it is paper-thin (hey-o!). For example, there’s a part in World 1 where you need to stop water from flowing into a fountain to collect a special item. When you approach the faucet’s knob, there is no button prompt, and previous puzzles like this required the use of a specific item, such as a fan or pair of scissors. I tried paperizing the world to no effect. Then, out of ideas, I jumped on the faucet, totally just trying to hop down to the bottom part of the level, and by jumping on it, the knob turned, slowly shutting off the water. That’s not the best example, as maybe it highlights my slowness more, but it does show that not everything is spelled out for the player, harking back to an age when trial and error was how things got unstuck (hey-o x2!).

Okay, back to it tonight. I’m currently at the fortress in World 1 and trying to figure out how to stop those fans from blowing so much wind and knocking Mario off ledges. I’ll give it everything I got, and if I end up spending more than an hour trying to solve that level–well, I’ll give in and look up an answer online. If one exists, that is. The fun for me in Sticker Star really is in exploring as the colorful, diorama-esque visuals get my eyes dilating every time, but to do that one must constantly be moving forward.

Doing it all over again in Pokemon White 2

I firmly believe that there are two types of Pokemon videogame fans: those that play on a surface level, and those that really dig deep. Insert joke here about the  damage-dealing Ground-type move called Dig. Nah. I’m most assuredly the former despite my love for stats and intricate systems in RPGs like Fallout: New Vegas, Borderlands 2, Dragon Age: OriginsSuikoden IIGrandia, and so on. But with the pocket monsters? I just like collecting them to fill out my Pokedex, giving them cutesy nicknames like Birdbutt and Trashy, and then exploring towns for silly side stuff. That’s about it. I don’t have friends that also play to battle against or participate in tournaments or breed to get the best of the best attributes Gattaca style. And I’m not really sure if Pokemon White 2 has the makings to change me in this regard.

But first, I failed. My goal was to jump back into Pokemon White, grind like mad, and defeat the Elite Four before moving on to the sequel. Alas, no. A few test battles against the first member of the Elite Four showed me just how much further I needed to crawl, and it looked dire. There’s actually a limit to the amount of grinding I’m willing to do for a game, and the rewards did not seem to justify the time spent doing battle after battle after battle, resting when needed, and then getting right back to it. No thanks.

So I went into Pokemon White 2 without knowing how Pokemon White ended. After about six to seven hours, I can safely say: it doesn’t matter. At least not yet. Everything plot-wise so far is follow-able; you begin anew, picking your gender, the name of your “rival”, and then a starter Pokemon. Last time, I went with Snivy, the grass-based beast, naming it Snape. This time, I switched things up, picking Tepig, the fire-based one, dubbing it Hamstring. He’s pretty good. And then you’re off, to fight Gym Leaders and keep those pestering Team Plasma grunts at bay. It’s going pretty well. With four gym badges collected, I’ve also gotten further into the game to open that silly side stuff that I secretly croon over.

The two big ones are Join Avenue and Pokéstar Studios. I like them both, but have really only just dabbled in each. For Join Avenue, you become the owner/manager of a long stretch of space between two towns. Here, you can ask people passing by to open shops or visit shops you’ve already opened, and doing so raises the shops’ rank, as well as the overall rank of Join Avenue. There’s a reason for all this, because as the shops increase, so do the benefits. Right now, I have two beauty salons, a cafe, and an antique store opened, ready for business. It seems like a neat idea that I’ll be revisiting in between gym battles to see how things are evolving. The other main side activity is Pokestar Studios, which has the player filming a script for a big theatrical release. You go through a bunch of decisions and then even get to see your film in a theater. I’ve done it once, but plan to sink more time into later. A few other mini-games carry over from Pokemon White as well, like participating in a play and dressing up with props.

If that’s not enough, Pokemon White 2 introduces…Achievements. Well, they call them Medals, but we all really know what they are. You get them for everything: walking, saving frequently, purchasing 10 Pokeballs at once, nicknaming X caught Pokemon, and so on and so on. You even get hint Medals to help you figure out just what you need to do. It’s a nice addition even if, ultimately, just like Achievements, they are meaningless. Unless something crazy good happens if you get them all–I don’t know, I’ve only gotten around 18 or so at this point.

While I picked Hamstring as my starter Pokemon, he’s definitely moved aside to make room for Genesect, a special robotic bug ‘mon that initial purchasers of the game can download for free. It is mighty powerful and considered “traded” so you immediately get a boost to all its EXP earned. Can’t go wrong with that. No way, no how. At first he felt extremely overpowered, but I just got my butt whooped at the fifth gym, so he is not all that and a bag of rice. Need to find some water-based Pokemon to help out in that fight…

I’m already planning for the future, meaning the final battles. I want to keep at least four of my chosen pocket monsters all around the same level, all different in tactics and nature and powers. It’s working out okay so far. I really don’t want to hit the same wall as I did in the previous game, and, as can be expected, a whole bunch of other content unlocks once you finish the game.

For me, it’s a great game to play a little bit of before turning in for the night, so while I’m playing it slowly, I’m also playing it methodically. At least, I hope I am. There’s so much in this game–these games, really–to take in. Layers upon layers of stuff, from berries to held items to the difference between TMs and HMs, to learning a new move or keeping old ones, to evolving or not evolving, to raising a friendly pocket monster, to earning money, to riding a bicycle, to playing mini-games, to using C-Gear, to withdrawing and depositing team members. At times, it’s like getting lost, and the safest way through is just to stay on the main path and do only what is necessary. Again, this is why I’m a surface level player; any more, and I’m just burying myself.

Okay, enough writing; back to training.