Game diaries

Matriarch

Tom: This week’s villain is The Matriach, who rules over a bunch of crows. This week’s random die roll situates us in the Wagner Mars Base. Here we are, fighting birds on Mars. You can’t make this stuff up.

Jay: I’m glad we don’t have to, as Sentinels of the Multiverse provides so many wonderful, quirky interactions. I’ll let the readers in on a little secret as we begin. This is the game that made me fall in love with Sentinels all over again. The ebb and flow, tragedies and triumphs, made for a story worthy of a Hollywood production.

After the jump, birdocalypse. Continue reading →

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16417_persona_4

It took 93 hours for me to realize that I’d been tricked in thinking I was capable of completing Persona 4. Where I was once unable to settle into the game, it had recently made a home upon me, as does a cat who’s decided to nap. I hadn’t noticed, and in standing to take my leave, we were suddenly tumbling to the ground alongside each other, its claws caught in my clothes as I tried to escape. It pondered a lifetime in seconds, “How did I come to be owned by this person?” before we hit the floor.

And this time, it was personal. Find out just how personal after the jump. Continue reading →

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p4-4

I’d been at Persona 4 for three years. Playing any kind of game for that long requires a different approach than what committing regular hours to it asks of someone.

This was like building a sand castle that would take all summer long — constantly at risk of being washed away or stomped on by some uncontrollable force. Construction would be put on hold for the tide to lower, or to recover from having to fight some beach jerk. Once I’d picked myself up, operations would continue. I’d refresh myself on the game’s story, re-familiarize myself with my registered personas, and soldier on.

The end of 2012, however, brought with it a tidal wave. After the jump, we will rebuild. Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
p4_vs_3

That’s right — two years in this entry. We’ve got a lot to cover, and that’s not even counting all the stuff I had to leave out just to make sense of everything.

Also, I gotta say, it really killed the mood to fixate on Chie like that. Not when Persona 4 gives you the chance to be a player and go romantic with all the female S-Links. Truly, this was the land of opportunity, Japan. Opportunistic lands out there. Really fertile stuff, if you go for it — girl-wise. Game-wise, though, Persona 4 may as well have been dead to me by February of 2011.

After the jump, two more years closer to the end. Continue reading →

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La_Capitan

Jay: After copious amounts of research for this week’s challenge, which consisted of watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and yelling “Arrr” around the house, I have come to the conclusion that pirates are pushovers. Seriously, how scary can a pirate be? All they do is sing sea shanties, drink rum and apply generous amounts of mascara to themselves. In what way is any of that threatening?

Sentinels of the Multiverse knows how to make a pirate formidable. Give her a time-traveling galleon and she will rule the world, right after she destroys me and Tom.

After the jump, crossing oceans of time. Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
p4

So there I was, asleep, 8PM, fighting an addiction to caffeine the only way that I knew how: having crawled into a dark corner of my bedroom underneath a pile of blankets and laundry. I’m not a drug addict, but I feel like if I’m ever curious about how withdrawal feels, that I can stifle that curiosity by shutting off my grip on caffeine.

The shock of finishing Persona 3 had rendered me aimless. Without a compass, I was capable of reckless decisions like ignoring my subservience to energy drinks which resulted in three-hour post-work naps. Naps around 6:30PM. All the great decision-making that I’d been doing that summer was suddenly unwound by completing a video game.

After the jump, that could only mean one thing Continue reading →

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, | Game diaries
persona3_persona4_game_diary

I’m going off memory for most of this, so things aren’t 100% accurate. Fortunately, it being my own memory means nobody will know how right or wrong I am, leaving me to falsify information as I please. Vote for me in the primaries.

But yes, I’ve been playing Persona 4 for the last four years. It’s still the same PS2 disc and original save file. What’s wrong with me? Maybe we’ll find out. Before that, we have to talk about Persona 3. Numbers come in a certain order, according to some scholars, and it just so happens there’s some groundwork to lay here.

Jump ahead for the story I gotta tell ya first… Continue reading →

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Kismet

Jay: I don’t usually pair songs and games together. I know many folks love to have theme appropriate music while they wage war against orcs or travel the high seas. Hollywood has trained us that all epic moments come with their own soundtrack. I’m just not that kind of player. I’m so focused on the rules and the flow of the game that I tune everything else out, so anything I would play is drowned out by the chatter in my head as I manage the game.

This week, however, I decided to change things up a bit. I couldn’t help myself. The villain we are fighting just demands a theme song. You don’t have to look far, either, for the perfect fit. So with the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra belting out “Luck Be A Lady”, I commenced battle with Kismet.

After the jump, charmed, I’m sure. Continue reading →

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The_Dreamer

Jay: Superhero fiction is at its best when it goes beyond the simple trope of a hero trading punches with a villain. Often, the more powerful a hero becomes, the less interesting they seem as their problems and solutions become farther removed from our own experiences. Bringing those conflicts and troubles closer to home can make a superhero tale more relatable and appealing. I have dealt with a two year old throwing a tantrum and I’ve soothed a child roused from slumber due to a nightmare. Now, spin me a tale of a super powered child that throws a tantrum that levels a city block and you have me hooked. Better yet, tell me a story of a child so powerful that her dreams and nightmares are made manifest. In one version of the story, the child is secreted away to a government facility and experimented upon in the hopes of controlling these demons. In an alternate version, the child is never taught how to control her abilities and those same demons run amok. Now, it is up to super heroes to rescue the child and put a stop to those projections. This is what we face in today’s battle, as the Visionary faces her greatest foe, the Dreamer, and is forced to confront this version of her past that grows ever more dangerous as her nightmares consumer her.

Tom: While Jay plays over over to today’s game using heaps of backstory, I’ll be in charge of the gameplay angle. This week’s villain, The Dreamer, is a superlative example of Sentinels developer Greater Than Games at their very best. The Dreamer plays unlike any other villain.

After the jump, awakening the dreamer. Continue reading →

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Plague_Rat

Jay: For today’s Sentinels of the Multiverse battle, we take on a pest. Plague Rat, a former Rook City drug lord mutated by his own illicit product, roams the sewers of the city looking for victims. His bite transmits a terrible virus that not only damages the heroes, but potentially turns them against each other. Plague Rat’s nemesis is Chrono-Ranger, a bounty hunter who travels the timestream, hunting monsters for fun and profit.

Tom: Plague Rat doesn’t have a lot of fancy tricks because he doesn’t need them. He is a brutal damage dealing machine who heals himself up once he’s infected all the heroes. This is going to be nasty, brutish, and short.

After the jump, you dirty rat! Continue reading →

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SOTM_Vengeance_Three

Jay: This week, we dive into the new expansion for Sentinels of the Multiverse, Vengeance. Vengeance is a new twist on the traditional Sentinels game. Instead of playing just one super villain, you play against a team of super villains in a new mode called Vengeance Five. In other words, get ready to have your teeth kicked in. Make no mistake, these super villains are out for revenge and aren’t interested in playing nice. I may have wimpered a bit.

Tom: I certainly whimpered a bit. But not for the reason you think.

After the jump, three vs three Continue reading →

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Apostate

“Read it again,” Fanatic says.

“I can’t,” Nightmist cries. “It’ll kill us all.”

Fanatic throws back her white cloak to reveal the dazzling silver armor underneath. She has worn it today. She has worn it for Apostate. “I know,” she says grimly. “Read it again.”

Nightmist casts a questioning look at Wraith. Wraith nods sadly.

After the jump, Sentinels of the Multiverse at its best. Continue reading →

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Akash

Jay: Our villain this week is Akash’Bhuta, a chaotic spirit of nature and destruction. She is so large the heroes have to scale her to fight her. If you’ve played a God of War game, this type of Titan fight will be familiar. Against Akash’Bhuta, the heroes are insects to be ignored. To chip away at this behemoth, who has more hit points than any other villain in the game, the heroes hack away at her various killer vines and rocky appendages. As her limbs are destroyed, Akash’Bhuta deals damage to herself in some sort of self mutilation ritual. In effect, the heroes mostly fight the appendages and ignore the giant herself.

Tom: Sentinels of the Multiverse has one of the worst boardgame interfaces I’ve ever managed, partly because it has absolutely no idea how to express gameplay in any way other than blocks of tiny print. It can be like vetting a legal contract. This self-mutilation concept is a perfect example. The idea is that as you destroy these appendages, you’re destroying parts of Akash’Bhuta herself. So when you destroy her cards, the cards tell you the tree inflicts damage on herself. Which can lead to weird things like casting a buff on the tree so she damages herself even more. But that’s not the worst of it. This will turn out to be one of the most convoluted games of Sentinels I’ve ever played.

After the jump, Disrupt the Field indeed Continue reading →

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Baron_Blade_game_diary

Jay: Today, we put an end to Baron Blade’s nefarious schemes. He begins the game as the Terralunar Implosion Beam inventor. What does this mean?

Tom: This means if you haven’t beaten the Baron’s first stage before he discards 15 cards, the ingame text explains what happens: “Baron Blade’s Terralunar Implosion Beam activates, pulling the moon into the earth. Game over.”

After the jump, will worlds collide? Continue reading →

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Omnitron

Tom: Sentinels of the Multiverse is one of the purest sandbox games for how freely you mix and match its components. There is no set way to play. You must make choices. Every game consists of at least three components, each a small deck of cards. The villain is a deck of cards, the environment is a deck of cards, and however many heroes you want to bring along is each a deck of cards. Although the idea is that it’s a co-operative game in which each player controls one hero, it’s also a fine solitaire game. The villain’s difficulty supposedly scales by the number of heroes he’s facing, so you could presumably play with a single hero. But we find that three heroes is the sweet spot for maximum synergistic superheroics.

Jay: I love this game for the stories it generates while you play. The mechanics can be fun and are full of little rules interactions that I enjoy exploring, but more importantly, the combinations create unique narrative experiences. One game you can be fighting a mad scientist on a tropical island filled with dinosaurs and the next game you are defending the earth from a hostile galactic invasion while on a martian space base. As a way to explore these stories, we’re going to fight each of the villains, with the stipulation that the heroes will consist of that villain’s rival and two others of our choosing. We’ll start with the easier villains and work our way up.

After the jump, robot roll call. Continue reading →

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