Mushroom Soup For The Pixelated Soul
I simply have no self control when it comes to videogames.
I tried to remain adamant with the Playstation Vita, vowing that I would not go and purchase one at launch. For a while, the cons seemed to dominate the pros, including a so-so launch lineup, the crummy battery life, and its ongoing struggle to make a dent in Japanese sales. By all accounts, this was going to be a repeat of the 3DS, a handheld I deeply regret buying at launch last year (and no, the Ambassador games did little to appease me…I have many grievances regarding the hardware of Nintendo’s new system, but that’s a topic for another time).
I knew that if I waited until the Fall or Winter of this year, I could nab a Vita with a reduced price and a match more appealing lineup of games. This was the smart thing to do, without a doubt.
So instead I went and did the stupid thing this week:
Before I knew it, the week leading up to Vita’s NA release had me feverishly planning out a strategy to get the best possible value on the system and its games. Before I knew it, I was already amassing a list of stores to visit, prices to match, and websites to contact in the hopes that becoming an early Vita adopter would entitle me to some of the games for review purposes.
Beginning on Sunday with Target’s “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” promotion, I ended up with the following games:
1. Uncharted: Golden Abyss (price matched Toys R Us’ ad to get $10 off)
2. Lumines: Electronic Symphony
3. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (as the freebie)
On Wednesday, I made my way to Best Buy in the morning to secure one of the WiFi/3G bundles. The odds of me ever using the 3G feature were minimal to nonexistent, but since I was willing to pay extra for the iPad 2’s 3G model (as well as the promotion that entitles you to a free download of Super Stardust Delta), I decided to play it safe and get the more expensive bundle.
From here on, I utilized my CAG-compiled data to take advantage of Best Buy in the most legal way possible, including:
1. Having them match Target’s promotion of including a free 4GB memory card (last one in stock, too)
2. Using the $20 gift card that I had them match previously for Final Fantasy XIII-2 (side note: yes, I ended up getting this too, but that’s a story for another time) to purchase a $20 PSN card.
3. Using my Best Buy card to sign up for six months no finance (which I used last year for my iPad 2)
I then made my way to the nearest target with the sealed copy of Lumines I bought on Sunday. Originally I was going to put this copy up for sale on eBay, but with no one taking up my Buy it Now price (which was slightly below store price but just enough to justify the download purchase), I instead turned in the copy to Target without a receipt, and was given a store gift card that I then used toward a $50 PSN card. Not the most honest method, but the store doesn’t lose money either way.
Gift cards redeemed, I went to downloading the digital version of Lumines (a game that practically begs to be permanently stored in your handheld, avoiding cartridge swapping altogether) as well as Tactics Ogre as a backwards compatible PSP game. I also transferred Corpse Party over as well as double-dip on Valkyria Chronicles II (thanks to my physical copy selling online at the price equivalent to the current PSN bundle, which also included over 20 DLC missions). If you skipped on Sony’s previous handheld, or avoided a good deal of their download games, the Vita launch becomes many times stronger with the amount of quality titles offered at a cheap price. Too bad Dissidia 012 is still too high for me to justify double-dipping on.
Usually this would be around the time where I began to feel the buyer’s remorse for investing so much on a handheld that will undoubtedly go through a revision or two before it hits its stride. As of this writing, however, I am much more satisfied with the Vita launch then I was with the 3DS. In fact, I’m downright loving the system, from its unbelievably gorgeous OLED screen to its numerous social online features (the ability to see the progress your friends are making with their games, for example, is a wonderful concept). They have removed much of the clunkiness from the PS3’s online service and have set the stage for a promising new online future once the PS4 rolls out.
Being an early adopter has also instantly paid off, as I was provided a download code for BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend, which will be my first Vita review. The downside is between three PSP games and two Vita games, the included 8GB card has already been filled to the brim. I absolutely will not pay $100 for a bigger card, so I can only hope some massive discounts occur in the next couple of months.
Speaking of reviews, I have a new batch to share with you.
Also included are my first two articles of Final Fantasy XIV. Due to technical issues, I was only able to write two weeks worth of material instead of four. Fortunately, the site I’m working for seems pleased enough with my contributions, as they have reactivated my account for another month. Perfect timing, too, with the latest big patch coming up any day now.
Lastly, my review of Fortune Summoners went live this week. This is an Indie RPG published by the same folks who localized Recettear, yet so far it’s remained a bit under-the-radar among PC gamers. I’m hoping my highly positive review helps spread the word on this game…so far it has remained the biggest surprise for me this year. It’s an incredibly enjoyable and highly charming experience that recalls classic 2D games like Zelda II (including the frustrating difficulty associated with those games). It’s fun, it’s adorable, and it gets my highest recommendation yet this year.