I’m getting too old for this…

Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.

Shadow MitsuoSo I’ve been playing Persona 4 Portable (P4G) this week, and am in the Void Quest dungeon. Up to this point, the game hasn’t been all that difficult, and actually, most mob battles are too easy since you can gain advantage every time and Rise will tell you the weaknesses of most enemies. As a result, they rarely get a chance to take their turn.

But this guy, Shadow Mitsuo, is a different story. The difficulty spike almost seems like a mistake. I’ve now been wiped out by him 5 times using different party setups, and each of those battles has lasted approximately 30-60 minutes. Looking online yields a couple suggestions: Grind more or fuse the Black Frost Persona. Well, grinding’s out since it’s terrible here. Battles aren’t fast and painless like they are in Bravely Default or Dragon Quest. As for fusing Black Frost, I don’t have the money to buy back the 5 Personas required for this, so that brings me back to grinding, or getting lucky with Shuffle Time. Talk about a lose-lose situation.

I don’t mind difficult games, and in fact, some of the hardest games I’ve ever played rank among my favorites. I did everything in Super Meat Boy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Rayman Origins, Super Hexagon, and others. The thing is, a game needs to be fun. This? It makes me want to throw my Vita out the window.

p4g_difficultyAs the great Bill Cosby once said about getting older, “After a while, you learn what you want to burn your energy on.” That’s so true when it comes to games. If it ceases being fun, you either have to find a way to make it enjoyable again or move on. The thing is, I’m not ready to leave. I really like the game’s story, characters, world, and music, and want to see it through to its end.

Being close to 40 hours in, do I put in the work to get my party battle-ready, or just start over on Very Easy to focus on the more personal simulation aspects of the game?

A tough decision draws near. Command?

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I turn 40 in May

Four decades. That’s a long time. That’s a lot of gaming, too.

When I was younger, I believed I’d lose interest in videogames eventually. I remember being told that they were just a fad, and that other hobbies and technologies would render them obsolete. What’s happened, however, is that my interest and love for them has grown, not waned.

What is it about them that makes them so appealing? Part of it is that they aren’t a passive form of entertainment, and require close attention and skill. The other part of it is the craft itself. As someone who is not by any stretch of the imagination a good artist, musician, programmer, or designer, playing the end result of a year or years worth of work is admirable, and when the game is great, what you get are lasting memories and a lifetime’s worth of discussion topics. Best Final Fantasy anyone?

Right now, I’m playing Batman: Arkham Origins on the PC. 15 hours in, 58% through Story, 24% overall.

It’s quite good so far, and I certainly think it’s better than a lot of reviews would have me believe. However, I do agree with most that it’s to WB Games Montreal’s detriment that they put this out in the wake of the previous two Arkham games from Rocksteady,¬†which were both spectacular games. In any case, I was very happy to run into Barbara Gordon earlier in the game. Oracle is a fascinating character to me, and hope she returns in Arkham Knight.

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