By Heath | February 10, 2008 at 1:15 am
For those that read the forums, this is not news, so here’s your catchup read. In short, I was “on the border of death” in a Japanese ER for a while there. Blah blah, yeah yeah, RPG Land keeps it real, so it wasn’t time for that. But being in the hospital for six days, I sure did suddenly find myself with quite a bit of game time, so I’ve got some fairly recently released handheld recommendations for those of you who will soon find yourselves in the hospital. Especially you, Dave.
Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony (PSP)
While you’re on your own “throne of agony” of sorts, you won’t mind the repetitious combat of a Diablo-style dungeon hack. Plus, after the initial phases, there comes to be a lot of customization. In a hospital, where your clothes and meals are consistently chosen for you, this is a good contrast.
Final Fantasy (PSP…or GBA version, whichever)
I spent some time replaying the original Final Fantasy, recently remade on PSP. For one thing, it’s amusing to follow up a near-death experience by taking a fun look at the roots of one of the most popular RPG franchises and remembering how young you were and/or how you felt the first time you played it. Secondly, you will likely be on drugs during some of your time in the hospital, and this is a game with which a lot of people are familiar enough to play when totally high. Personally, after the life-threatening trauma I’d been through, I actually got misty-eyed when the Elf Prince woke up. He makes the speech like “I was dreaming and couldn’t wake up” or whatever he says, and it was a lot like what I went through just hours before, so it hit home, and I was all like, “Whoa, that’s ME, man ;_;.” Yeah yeah, make fun if you want, but really, screw you.
Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground (PSP)
I submit this idea because of its overall concept. Players start from scratch with the goal of building a superbig maze, luring monsters into it, and then battling them to the death. It’s a game with a lot of progression and customization, and for someone sitting in a bed all day with like, old guys dying all around them, this gives a needed sense of personal accomplishment and reward. There’s strategy, there’s combat, there’s dungeon crawling, and if you’ve got a friend nice enough to visit you in the hospital, you can play his (“his” because it will be a dude) dungeons. There’s also Sim City DS (on yonder non-RPG front) to get this same type of “Hey I built that” feeling without the dungeon crawling.
A solid tactical RPG, such as Front Mission (DS) and/or Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness (PSP)
Here are two good SRPG offerings from this past fall. Lots of the good ol’ army customization and grid-based battles that fans of the tactical subgenre love. Also fulfills that “lots of long-term progress” theme that’s so essential, mentioned above.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (DS)
This one isn’t released in America yet, but it will be, March 11, 2008; March 14 for Europe.
It’s a good one to play when a friend is kind enough to visit you in your time of peril. You see, when you’re visited in the hospital, it’s easy for things to get real awkward real fast, because the visitors won’t have much to say after a few minutes, and everything about your situation is readily apparent. So this is a great excuse for visitors to stay longer; they can feel better about a longer visit, and their visit can provide more of the needed time passage you desire. It’s got easy local connectivity and is a very fun multiplayer romp overall, supposing you’ve got friends that don’t suck (ie, they have DSs). When Janelle would visit, we’d make it a point to whip ‘em out and have some fun. And then also give Crystal Chronicles a try.
There are probably others I didn’t play during my stay and didn’t think to mention, though there’d be other good picks. Oh well. If you find yourself in the condition desccribed here, you’re probably like, focused on being glad to be alive rather than sitting in your bed thinking, “Can’t believe that idiot Hindman didn’t mention Etrian Odyssey!” And then facepunching a nurse about it.