Portable gaming is alive and well, but not in the form this writer wishes. There doesn’t seem to be as much hype for portable gaming as there used to be because of phones. Not only are phones more readily available, always on in a pocket, but also the 3DS and PS Vita are old news compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, which dominate the gaming discussions around the web. And even more recently it’s all about VR.
Now this writer isn’t preaching phones are evil for gaming. There are some great titles on both iOS and Android devices and people are playing games more than ever thus ushering in a more accepted age for geeks and nerds alike. That’s awesome! However, these apps just aren’t the same as playing a finely crafted experience found on a dedicated handheld, or console. Convenience wins every time.
While there may not be as many articles about the 3DS, or PS Vita on his page, this writer spends more time on handhelds then his consoles every year. It’s not because of travel either, but multi-tasking. Playing a great RPG on either handheld make for excellent companions when listening to podcasts, or watching TV. It’s the only way he’s able to stay on top of all of his interests. There’s’ two games in particular that he keeps going back to, but for one reason or another hasn’t written about yet. That would be Fantasy Life and Legend of Legacy.
Fantasy Life was released on the 3DS on October 24, 2014. It’s an action RPG from the fine folks at Level-5. Players create their avatar and choose one of twelve classes to begin their adventure. The starter job doesn’t matter because it’s easy to switch between all twelve early on in the game and it’s kind of a must to get the most out of it. It’s all about the gameplay as the story is cliché and way too talkative for a simple save the kingdom plot.
Of those twelve classes, four of them are action types, while the other eight are crating jobs. Let’s talk about the strong and defensive Paladin for example. It’s a good starter class to get accustomed to the gameplay. Once it becomes available, switching to a Blacksmith would be a good idea to create weapons and armor for the Paladin. It’s a lighthearted, kind of mundane RPG, but it’s amazing nonetheless. Forty hours in and he’s still plucking away at it.
Legend of Legacy launched on the 3DS on October 13, 2015. It’s a classic turn-based RPG and is a spiritual successor to the SaGa series. Players begin by accepting three out of seven party members to begin. It doesn’t matter whom, as all characters become available eventually. Everyone has his or her reasons for venturing out to the island of Avalon, a land of treasure. Past this, there’s not much of a story. Small snippets here and there, but it’s a game about going on quests, slaying monsters, and collecting loot.
Despite it’s whimsical art, akin to Bravely Default, LoL is a tough nut to crack. Jokingly this writer thinks of it, as Portable Souls as in it’s a cuter, portable version of Dark Souls. Getting a new item, or slaying a tough boss is just as rewarding as any Souls game. It’s a grind, but the simple nature of the gameplay is perfect.
Those are just two, brief examples, of which he could sing their praises for hours, or in this case, pages. For more contemporary examples of 2016, check out Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, Axiom Verge, Fire Emblem Fates, Project X Zone 2, Bravely Second, and so many others. Plus there’s an upcoming RPG for the PS Vita and this writer will have his impressions up on Friday so stay tuned.
Admittedly this article has been kind of all over the place, but this writer’s passion just kind of burst forth. Using dedicated handhelds isn’t for everyone, but perhaps the Nintendo NX will change this perspective. If the rumors about it being both a console and portable are true then maybe interest in portable gaming will be renewed. All will be revealed in two months at E3. For now, make sure to give some love to those aging handhelds if they’ve been gathering dust. And as always, happy gaming!