Friday, July 18, 2008

Sand in the City

These guys are awesome, and their annual display of awesomeness is happening at Pioneer Courthouse Square this weekend. I was there at about noon, enjoying a hot dog and watching teams of people crafting monoliths of sand into...things. Really it was too early to tell. There was a sort of sea lion/Buddha figure, and one of the sculptures looks to be topped with bananas. Probably going to swing by tomorrow and take a closer look.

There is much to be said about puppets, narrative, the projected self, Avenue Q, and so forth. For now suffice it to say that you should kick down some bills to the felt people.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ha ha, overconfidence

So, the second stratum is kicking my butt. This is the classic Etrian Odyssey moment - "dude, I own this Labyrinth...ow, what's that guy? Oh noes, random encounter! Trap floor! Where's my warp wire...too late."

I'm not sure that saving map data is kosher, but I suppose that you could say that your guild recovered your map along with your remains...anyway, I always say yes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Etrian Odyssey II

W00t! Who woulda thunk that the thing that brought me back to this blog would be a turn-based RPG?! Hard to imagine.

Anyway, now it's better, with more classes and burly craziness. I just beat the bejeebus out of the Chimaera (sp?) at the bottom of the first stratum, and it turns out that I might have been a little more cautious than necessary in the first stages. I went after the boss with full Force bars on all five of my level 20 characters and the first round left him stunned and whimpering. I'm not actually sure that he got more than one attack. I also have no idea who all the swarming baddies were - they never got to the battle.

The familiarity is awesome, but I fear that I'm missing things due to my expectations of the older title. For example (and I swear to god that this is new) you can now sidestep with the L and R keys. That is sick mojo when marching along. The "Auto" button in combat also seems to have improved targeting (or maybe I'm just lucky). You also get to start with Ronins, although I didn't immediately take advantage - I started with landsknecht, warmage, landsknecht, alchemist, medic, per Awesome Party of Destiny (APod) in Etrian Odyssey I*, but it just felt too mechanical. Plus, although it's nice to get the "mono-axe" and "mono-sword" versions of the Landsknecht, you miss out on 2-Hit that way. So, the party that is rolling upon restart is landsknecht, ronin, survivalist, gunner (ooh!), medic. Gunners are like Alchemists only with, y'know, guns. They get 2-Hit but can also hit with elemental ammo. So far I haven't felt the lack of an Alchemist. He also seems to hit his Force bar hard and since the Force skill for gunners is - wait for it - a really big gun, there are obvious advantages to that.

I'm liking APoD 2.0, just because the combination of mad beats with dead useful passive skills lends a certain evil genius-ness to combat encounters. Also very unlike my previous forays, I'm utilizing "resource slaves" for mining/taking/chopping missions. No skill points for gathering, thanks.

You gain the Beast class when you clear the first stratum, and I have to say that the prospect of fighting baddies with a panda is pretty delightful. The skill set, however, is really foreign, and I'm not quite sure how/what to make the most of my panda pal. Plus, he's named "Ettin," which is awkward, because I figured he'd be more threatening than a godsdamned panda. In Ettin's defense, I could have chosen portraits of tigers or grizzlies, but dude, you get a panda option, you take the panda.

The mapping is so much better, now, too. There's multiple colors of floor paint, item spots, etc., as well as a variety of directional arrows for the passages through the wooded walls of the labyrinth.

I'd geek out more, but really, you should be playing the game. It has completely supplanted The World Ends with You, and that's saying something.

*I say "per EO I" although of course in EO I it was a Survivalist in the front row, not a Warmage. The point is, Tank Utility Tank is the front row of choice. APoD 2.0 re-articulates this strategy, only with more diverse character mix. I still see absolutely no use for Protectors.

Now playing: Dungeons & Dragons - Episode 6: Penny Arcade (these are must listens)
via FoxyTunes