Monday, July 16, 2007

PSP Holiday Journal - 16-July-2007

In spite of lots of other holiday activities, I'm making fast progress with my PSP games. Playing mostly MMORPGs one tends to forget how short really those single-player games are usually. Anyway, I finished Puzzle Quest, beating up Lord Bane on the first try after very few moves. The warrior's Deathbringer spell is a great finishing move. And of course the way I tend to play these games helps: I'm doing all the side-quests and all other activities in the game. So at the end of Puzzle Quest I had reached the level cap of 50, had gathered all the runes there are, captured all the cities, and had used the money from the cities to boost my stats pretty high. That is a slow way to finish a game, but you get the most out of a single game. The disadvantage is that there isn't much motivation to replay it with another character class.

I found that the best strategy for a high level warrior in Puzzle Quest is to use the rune items you can craft, giving you lots of initial mana before the fight even starts. Only the weapon I used was from a quest, the bow that gives +1 to damage for every 5 levels you have, which is pretty devastating at level 50. So I only needed to collect some more blue mana at the start, cast Bloodlust to fill up my red mana gauge to full, and then finish the opponent off with a Deathbringer or two.

After finishing Puzzle Quest, I quickly finished the first Metal Gear Acid. I had played that in the Christmas holidays until nearly the end, and just needed to do the last couple of missions in the last building to end the game. That got me in the mood to start Metal Gear Acid 2, which I found to be the better game: Not only are the graphics prettier and the story less weird, but also there have been some good improvements to the gameplay. I particularly like the surprise shot you can do when pressed against a wall, jumping around the corner and shooting enemies by surprise. But the upgrade function to improve your cards in the deck editor is also very nice.

Again I'm playing not on the fastest path to the end, but am trying to get a big card collection first. It helps that by having played MGA1 you can "import" one of your MGA1 save games and get a few points and one card from your old collection. So I grabbed the Big Boss card, which doubles my victory points. That, plus an upgraded Military Gain card for more bonus points, quickly gained me huge point scores to buy cards and upgrade them with. That is important, because in the first pack of cards you only find rather ineffective "use" type weapons, and not very many of them. But if you gather lots of those and upgrade them, you get the much better "equip" type weapons, which even at the harder difficulty setting are able to shoot a guard or even an armed patrol bot. As in most single-player games, playing it slow and preparing more makes the rest of the game easier. In MMORPGs that works less well, especially at the level cap.

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