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Malik (7/2/12)

With my HDMI issues behind me and no further thought ever needed on Mass Effect 3, I think I was able to enjoy my first weekend in about a month. At least I was able to mostly enjoy it.

I put Saints Row The Third behind me, once again, after beating the game while taking every choice I didn't take the first time around. It was interesting to see how some of the choices played out. I mean most of them are just events that only give something minor like a respect or cash boost. The only true choice comes down to if you beat the game with one mission choice or the other. I honestly never tried to ignore saving Shandi and Viola for revenge on Killbane the first time around. I feel like I really missed out on something since getting Killbane opens one pretty epic final mission (instead of a really silly final mission).

With Saints Row now behind me, unless I want to be price gouged on DLC or finish some of the activities (snatch and trafficking missions never were something I consider fun), I am now playing the latest Penny Arcade Adventures title. As an old school RPG fan, this is amazing to behold. I mean for $5 (instead of something closer to $15 that the first two cost) you get a nice SNES looking RPG with a pretty fun job system and room for some really cool strategy.

I am on the fifth or sixth chapter (equal to the fifth or sixth dungeon) now and am loving the flexibility and fun of the job system that really does offer some tricky choices. Since jobs will level up and gain new skills even when not equipped (each character can carry up to two equipment based jobs and then their base job), you can see some cool abilities and penalties become balanced or broken over time. For example, the hobo job eventually offers an immunity to being a hobo (the same general status effect as poison in most old RPGs), or some jobs offer a loss of control but will also offer stat bonuses for just being equipped making them natural secondary selections to buff you primary job choice.

If I had to find anything to complain about with this game it's only that the difficulty can go from too low to too high in a span of a single battle. As soon as I entered the current chapter, the battles became something that just didn't mesh with the challenges I faced earlier. I went from occasionally healing to constantly cranking out the revive spells, up to ten times in a single battle...a single non-boss battle. Still, it could just be that I need to rearrange my job selections and find a new strategy. Since the game doesn't allow grinding (no enemies ever respawn), I'm hoping it's just a need for a strategy shift.

Even with that one minor issue, I'm thinking Penny Arcade Adventures 3 is definitely the best value I've seen from a $5 MSRP game, possibly ever in my life.


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