By Operation Rainfall / February 20th, 2023
While we here at Operation Rainfall love covering the latest in gaming news and sharing our reviews of titles new and classic, we also just enjoy playing games in our downtime. So with that, sit back, relax, and check out what the oprainfall gaming crew have been up to this week!
I’ve been playing two things mainly this week: The full version of Theatrhythm: Final Bar Line and Like a Dragon: Ishin! (I’m also working on a preview of Little Witch Nobeta but that will come in a separate article.) For TFBL I beelined to unlocking all of FFVI‘s music, since that’s my favorite game in the series, but now I’m clearing out all the other NES and SNES routes before moving on the PlayStation era. Gotta unlock Tactic‘s music at all costs! I really love the song and game selection here, and even without buying the DLC there is so so much to do. Multi-battle mode alone is just the most fun I’ve had in a long time with a rhythm game, and bursts add so much chaos to the proceedings. If nothing else, I’m glad TFBL might introduce folks who’ve never played it to the wonder that is Final Fantasy Mystic Quest‘s music, because say what you will about that game, the soundtrack is a certified banger. If you’re unsure on this one, try out the demo, which provides a ton of content for free and really gives you a sense of what you’re in for.
Because we couldn’t wait until launch day to play Ishin!, we also bought the digital version, so I’ve been traipsing about ancient Japan as Sakamoto Ryoma for the past couple days during early access, and it’s basically everything I want in a Yakuza game, but also has cemented my preference for the more modern style of gameplay from Judgment. Ishin! is a return home in terms of combat, playstyle, and general feel, and it’s great to hear Kuroda Takaya again (along with everyone else in this jumbled up star studded cast, I’m looking at you specifically, Yamadera Koichi). Picking up the game just felt incredibly familiar. But it’s also a remaster of a PS3 title and that comes with both the good and bad of that era. Ryoma feels sluggish and the camera sometimes gets in my way, especially in tight corridors during fight sequences. We’re also back to the old style of karaoke, which is probably the game’s greatest sin. On the other hand, combat – while slow – is incredibly responsive, and I am in love with Wild Dancer style. I’m enjoying unlocking more abilities to get a better flow in combat and expect to be back into proper form sooner rather than later. This is definitely worth picking up if you’re at all a fan of this series. – Leah
At the beginning of this past week, I played some Triangle Strategy, which I’ve been continuing to enjoy since picking it back up a few weeks ago. Although, I am now officially at the end of my very first playthrough…I just have to survive the final stage. I ended up siding with Frederica when it came down to the end and choosing between three characters’ plans. Frederica’s seemed the most logical path to me at the time and fortunately, I got to keep one of the other characters who I didn’t side with, they ended up seeing the error in their plan. The final battle stage however, has been pretty difficult. The second to last one I actually completed was also a challenge, but I managed to scrape by on only my second attempt at it. Then the stage after that had a bit of an obvious gimmick and was a breeze. This final stage though, is giving me significant trouble. I’ve been choosing to retry each time I fail and get the option, because all of my characters keep their levels gained and I get my items back. I may just end up grinding this stage until I complete it. Or I may consider lowering the difficulty to be done with it already and finally have the game completed. I’ve already got so many partially played yet unfinished games in my backlog, it’d be good to finish it. Though, I definitely want to return to Triangle Strategy someday and see the other routes. The story had me so sucked in, I’d love to see how things would have gone with other decisions made, regardless of how illogical those choices seem to me.
Surprisingly, I’ve also been playing Theatrhythm: Final Bar Line this week. This isn’t a game that was at all on my radar. But I have always kind of wanted to play a Theatrhythm game. The last 3DS title to be localized, Curtain Call, has always kind of been in the back of my mind as something I wanted to get into. I mean, who doesn’t love quality video game music? Plus, there are a handful of Final Fantasy games I find quite nostalgic and enjoyable. I’ve only played a fraction of the series but again, I enjoy quality game music. What kept me from ever getting into the series on 3DS though, is the fact that I always thought it seemed like it catered to touch controls. I remember briefly trying a demo once on 3DS and I feel like maybe I had trouble with the button controls and/or it was tiring using the stylus the whole time. I’ve never been a fan of touchscreen controls, like I don’t even enjoy using my smartphone keyboard. I love quick internet access and playing Mahjong, but I long for the days of a good flip phone number keypad for texting. Anyways, seeming to cater towards touchscreen controls is why I never got into Theatrhythm before.
Thus, on a bit of a whim, I played the demo for Final Bar Line a bit and went and bought myself a digital copy afterwards. Now, as much as I love physical releases, things like this where I might get on for only a few matches/songs and play for less than an hour, then go play something else, I find to be ideal as digital copies. I end up not playing as often as I’d like, if I have to constantly switch my cartridges around merely to play for 20 minutes. I kind of regret getting Splatoon 3 physically. Well nonetheless, I’m really happy with having bought the latest Theatrhythm on a whim. I can definitely see myself slowing down and not playing it constantly, but for now, I’m gradually getting a little bit better at it and enjoying the charm, plus all the unlockables. At the moment, I’m sticking to the basic difficulty since rhythm games aren’t my forté. I’m playing through each song, mostly once, simply to unlock each game and get more songs and characters. I haven’t gotten to a point yet of practicing one song over and over again and then trying to attempt it on the next difficulty. I was only able to get the Standard Edition for now, but I hope to eventually get the Digital Deluxe Upgrade DLC pack for the iconic main series songs they cut out of the base game. Then in the future I might not buy anymore than certain individual packs from games I’ve actually played and enjoy. Oh also, aside from playing to unlock everything, I’ve tried the online multiplayer for a bit too. The online is really fun. You can wait for, or create, a room in the difficulty you prefer pretty quickly and easily get a few people to play with. I like playing online to get new summonstones and other player’s ProfiCards.
This upcoming week, I’m hoping to enjoy more Theatrhythm and I’ll also be getting into Like a Dragon: Ishin!. From what Leah and others have said, I worry about the clunky gameplay, I’m not a fan of the games where Kiryu feels super clunky early on. But it looks like it has a ton of fun minigames and I actually enjoy the old school karaoke style personally. The new style in more recent series entries, I have a hard time focusing my eyes on with the button commands moving so fast over so many lines. – Jenae
What games have you been playing this week? Let us know in the comments!
You can read previous Week in Gaming entries here!
Like a Dragon: Ishin!THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINETriangle StrategyWeek in Gaming