I’m going to start chronicling my gaming habits from day to day, seeing as this is a blog and all. For the first entry, I’ve been playing Noby Noby Boy (PS3, download) and Valkyria Chronicles (PS3, retail). Read on for more details:
Noby Noby Boy
I’ve pretty much got everything out of the game that I intend to (including all trophies), at least until (if?) Mars unlocks. My nephew really enjoys it though and plays it for a short while each day, and recently the game has started multiplying your score by increasingly larger amounts. On Saturday it was just doubling the score, but today it was multiplying it by 57, so we’ve been playing together on his save and increasing his contribution.
This multiplier is presumably a way of getting everybody much closer to Mars (the next set of level components). In a recent interview the game’s creator, Keita Takahashi, said that at the current rate of progress it would take 820 years before Mars is reached, which is a little lengthy for a PSN game and somewhat of an unlikely level of commitment from the PS3 community.
Before the multipliers were introduced the best efforts of the community had not even achieved a combined length of 2 billion, but today it has almost reached 8 billion. Mars is still a long way off, but now we could be talking a few weeks instead of centuries.
I originally got this back near the end of February, but for some reason stopped playing it for a while after reaching the eighth chapter and didn’t go back to it. I finally decided to resume play a few days ago and opted to start from the beginning again, aiming to get the best rank possible. It generally means playing each mission several times just to learn the optimal routes and what you can avoid, but I’m now up to the sixth mission with straight A ranks.
I’m not sure quite how long I’ll keep chasing A ranks though because I’m not really fond of the tactics required. Rank seems entirely dependant on how many turns it takes to win, with the highest rank being awarded for taking the minimum amount of turns. It essentially rewards speed and shortcuts over actually killing the enemy, and I much prefer systematically advancing across the battlefield and taking out all troops in the region, and as the difficulty increases I think it’s likely that I’ll grow weary of that approach and sacrifice the (very nice) bonuses to XP that the A rank brings.
For now though, everything continues as planned. I played through the seventh mission – the first desert encounter, The Battle of Barious Desert – once, playing it ‘properly’ and clearing out the enemy and taking their camp. This took about 40 minutes across 6 turns and earned me a C rank, for a final score of 15,050 EXP (for upgrading troops) and 21,610 DCT (for upgrading weapons and tanks).
The next three paragraphs detail my strategy for gaining an A rank, so feel free to skip if that doesn’t hold any interest.
Replaying for a better rank, I started by sending a shocktrooper (Hannes) up the west side of the map, killing two enemy shocktroopers and making it safe for a scout (Alicia) to follow him, killing a rival scout on the way. I then moved Alicia again, killing a shocktrooper and getting her through the sandstorm and near the enemy base, worryingly close to a tank as I ended the turn. The enemy took several shots at Alicia (including with the tank) but didn’t manage to kill her. Another tank and a shocktrooper did a bit of damage to Hannes, but also left him alive as they ended their turn.
On the second turn, Alicia moved right into the enemy base, killing another shocktrooper en route and throwing a grenade at the base’s sole defender, failing to kill him. With Alicia now in place to win the match, I sent Hannes charging east to kill as many enemies as he could in the moves remaining. He managed to kill one shocktrooper and two lancers and claimed the enemy camp, then was left with so few action points that I had to leave him in the camp, victorious and heavily wounded.
With five CPs (which allow you to move characters) remaining, I had my two snipers, Catherine and Oscar, take out a sniper and shocktrooper, then brought Jane (another shocktrooper) forward from my starting camp, managing to take out two more lancers. With only one CP remaining I switched back to Alicia, killed the wounded shocktrooper and claimed the enemy base, winning the map.
This took about 15 minutes across 2 turns, achieving the A rank and giving me 20,800 EXP and 30,640 DCT. That’s a third more EXP and 50% more DCT for less time spent, which is certainly nice (though I wouldn’t have managed it without the initial playthrough to help me learn the layout, so technically it’s an additional 15 minutes).
It also doesn’t really support my point above – that striving for an A rank means missing out most of the level. On my C-rank playthrough I killed most of the enemies, two of the tanks and took the optional base, whereas on the A-rank playthrough I killed most of the enemies (at least as many as in the C-rank playthrough) and took the optional base, but not the tanks. This level does dish out a lot of CP though (ten per turn), and as it only takes about five CP to reach the enemy base that means there’s a lot left over for mopping up the enemy before claiming victory.
Valkyria Chronicles – Story (Possible Chapter 06 spoilers follow)
Chapter six is the one that first starts to flesh out the story of the Valkyrur of the game’s title, as well as beginning to elaborate on the plans of the Empire and its leader, Maximillian. As introductions go it isn’t much of one, being a fairly typical jRPG mix of ancient civilisations (and what appears to be one of its last survivors in Selvaria), ancient weapons and the evil ruler who craves that power for himself.
Clichéd elements don’t necessarily mean a bad story though, and so far Valkyria Chronicles has proven to be lots of fun. The next mission, The Battle at Barious, is one that annoyed me before and may have factored into why I stopped playing, so we’ll have to see how it goes next time.
Noby Noby Boy image: One Last Continue
Alicia Image: Dark Diamond
Selvaria image: Flickr (Abriael)