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!
After finishing up Gears of Dragoon I decided to move on to VenusBlood GAIA. I loved the previous two releases, so I had pretty high expectations going into this one and so far I’m pretty pleased. The story here follows Archduke Theofrad who has discovered a new energy source to help bring back his dying world. The Holy Dragon Empire Granleyd doesn’t like this and has declared war on him and the Sorcerous City of Energeia. Theofrad is willing to take on the empire and the rest of the world if it means he can save them from certain doom!
While I am loving the story and characters, there has been a huge change in the gameplay here as well. In the previous games you would move squads and formations around on a map taking nodes on it. VenusBlood GAIA changes this up to be more of a tower defense type of game that is turn based. You will have to defeat would-be invaders in the labyrinth under the city. This is done by placing units and traps to slow their progress and planning out how to deal with surface units as well.
I’m still pretty early on in the game, and I’m doing the Law Route first, so we’ll see if my feeling change on this by the end of both routes. – Steve
So I’m back to Star Ocean: The Second Story R now that I’ve wrapped up Like a Dragon Gaiden. I finally advanced the story to the second continent despite only levelling up to around 45 or so, but I was eager to get to the Laceur tournament sequence and recruiting Precis in Linga. Booting up this game seriously feels like coming home. It’s comfy and familiar and everything I remember from the PS1 days, but with really welcome quality of life changes that my 20-plus year older self appreciates immensely. I just don’t have the time to grind in the Lasgus Mountains like I did when I was 17. The Bodyguard skill has been a godsend, and is honestly one of the best features in SO2R that I think other RPGs with world maps should adopt. It’s the only game other than Earthbound I’ve seen that lets you immediately win fights without entering battle and I cannot fathom how this has never become standard fare after all these years. I’m also head over heels in love with the fact I can see my relationship status with my team now, so I don’t have to wait until the end of the game to know what character ending I’m actually going to get. Right now I’m on an Ashton/Rena trajectory, but knowing I can course correct at any time because I can see where my relationships all stand is spectacular. There is something to be said for the original PS1 version’s opaque systems, but again, I just don’t have the time I used to to have for needless fiddling and bullshit. I’ll still likely end up using love potions near the end just to see other character endings but knowing where I’m at is wonderful.
In the real world, I also got to visit a neat arcade! It’s called Robot City and is a comfy little store-plus-arcade setup in Binghamton, N.Y. with an assortment of pinball machines and classic arcade titles. It’s also the only place I’ve ever seen a Baby Pac-Man exist. I’ve never seen one in person, let alone played one, so having the chance to was neat. The game itself was mediocre (and I’m crap at Pac-Man to begin with), but the novelty of it was worthwhile and a nice surprise. My son thought it was the coolest thing. It’s nice being able to visit hole-in-the-wall arcades still, and this place had a very nice vibe. The store was well-kept with a decent stock of games from Atari up through PS5, while the arcade was dimly lit and a little crowded, so it gave off a really comfy atmosphere. If you’re ever in the Southern Tier region, it’s worth checking out. – Leah
What games have you been playing this week? Let us know in the comments!
You can read previous Week in Gaming entries here!