Thursday, January 22, 2009

Return of the Dragon

Part 1 deals with my attitude toward my goal to raise my completion percentage to 75%, and changes I'm making to how I pursue that goal. If you're only interested in what I played today, skip to Part 2.

Part 1: Changes to the Operation Jedi Rules

I've been working on my goal to improve my completion percentage for a little over a month now, and progress so far has been excellent. I'm up over 4000 points, about 3,200 of that was pure completion percentage improvement (Maw was added for fun, and Argonauts as a review). I'm quite pleased with everything so far. However, my desire to improve my percentage by playing older games won't work forever. Bouncing around between the numerous games I own and haven't completed yet has sustained me so far, but every so often, I'm going to need to inject some new life into my xbox. I've come up with a system to keep me on track for my goal while giving me motivation to earn some new games. (I'll still be throwing review copies on my card no matter what)

My new system is simple. For every 3 completed games, or 3,000 points of pure Op. Jedi progress, I can try out a new game. I can also rent/buy something for 5 arcade completions (I put that in there because my arcade percentage is horrible... not even 40%). With Dark Sector, Deadliest Catch, The Incredible Hulk, and Lego Star Wars: TCS on my shelf, as well as Onechanbara coming next month, this will help me cycle those games in. (Really, I just want to feel like I've earned the right to play Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad lol)

The current lists are as seen below:


1. Condemned 2
2. Alone in the Dark

1. The Maw

I could say my 3,200 points progress is enough to earn one, but I'm going to try for one more completion anyway.

Part 2: Return of the Dragon

Since I've done a great job to already get on pace for the year, I felt no desire today to really wotk after points. I was flipping through my collection, deciding what to play, when I came to my RPGs. I'm pretty good about finishing Western RPGs, and cite my 1000 in Fallout, 1050 in Mass Effect, 1220 in Oblivion, and 900+ in Marvel as evidence of that. My track record with JRPGs is, to be blunt, crap. I have 1000 in Enchanted Arms, but that's as far as the JRPG success pony rides. I've completed the story for Eternal Sonata at least, by am well short of 1k there. Before I allow myself to pick up Tales of Vesperia, Infinite Undiscovery, or Last Remnant, I feel I have to finish (the story at least, if not all the points) all the JRPGs I still have, which means Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.

Looking at Mistwalker's two RPGs, I was torn between which one to pick. Lost Odyssey is certainly the better of the two, but they're both great games. Since I want to finish both anyway, I decided to start with Blue Dragon, since it's been sitting on my card as an absolutely abysmal 20 of 1000 for over a year. It's one of the worst games on my card in terms of points scored, and that had to change. It's also even more traditional an RPG than Lost Odyssey, so even after the long time away from the game, I knew I'd have no trouble getting into Blue Dragon again.
I decided upon starting it up to go back to a few old saves to try again for a few of the missable achievements. Every time I got to a sequence where achievements could be earned, I made a separate save. If I failed to get the points, I could reload it and try again. If I kept failing, I could just keep playing the game and come back to that save to try again later. There were two different saves where I was camped before an achievement-related task that I had not earned yet. I started with the first Mechat shooting challenge, which is at the end of Disc 1. I kept failing it, but once I realized I could go into the options and invert the shooting controls (I'm a little slow sometimes) I got it on my 2nd attempt.

After scoring those 30 extremely satisfying points (trust me, every point earned in a JRPG feels amazing), I loaded up another save from even earlier in the game, where you have to escort wagons without them taking any damage from enemies. Quickly killing enemies so they don't damage wagons isn't easy, and the fact that my guide's directions for the 2nd-to-last encounter weren't right didn't help matters either. After about 45 minutes of trying, I finally scored those 30 points as well. Therefore, I've taken a game that stewed on my card for over a year at 20/1000 to 80/1000 in one afternoon.
I know I also have all the DLC for Blue Dragon sitting on my hard drive, and I haven't even come close to the point where I can use it yet, so I really did need to get back into this one. I had no idea how badly I'd missed JRPGs until I loaded this game up (Eternal Sonata isn't a traditional JRPG, and therefore isn't the type of game I'd been missing). I'm going to try to keep working on this between breaks for more action-intense fare, and we'll have to see how far I can get.

I think the below image speaks volumes about how long Blue Dragon sat in my collection before getting to see the light of day again:


Note the huge gap between "Pulled in the Flying Fortress" and the other two... rofl.


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