2016 Was a Hell of a Year!

2016 was definitely a year of change. Major change. When I look at the world as a whole, much of that change has been negative. When I look at my own personal experiences, most of that change has been positive. Regardless of its impact, though, change is very difficult and extremely stressful. Oh, and did I mention exhausting?

The first half of the year or so was pretty steady for me. I was streaming on Twitch regularly and making steady, albeit small progress on my video game backlog. My son graduated from college and then around the end of summer, my universe got turned upside down. Most of it was good, honestly! But all at once? Oh man…

So earlier this year, I had decided to pursue my Master’s degree. I decided to apply to an MBA program since I’ve had over fifteen years of real life experience working in accounting and management. The school I chose had an Accounting MBA, so I’d be able to prepare for either the CPA or CMA exams with this program. I was accepted around the beginning of summer and while I knew that this would affect my streaming schedule, I would only be taking 2 classes per term, so I’d still be able to Twitch, just not quite as often.

But then around late August or early September, two things happened. First, my boss found a new job and we suddenly needed to find a new Controller asap. After discussing it with my boss and the president of the company, I was promoted from the Accounts Receivable and Payroll Clerk to the Controller of the whole company! I had a crash course in my new position over the course of about two weeks. Second, right around that same time, my husband’s older brother suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. And then a few weeks later, school started. I had one evening class and two independent study accounting courses. (The two accounting courses are required as a catch-up since I don’t have an undergraduate degree in accounting.)

So I was regularly working 12 hour days and coming in on the weekends to figure out my job, trying to support my husband after the loss of his second brother, and cramming school work in whenever I could. I didn’t pick up a game controller for months! I was completely exhausted and even when I had a few moments to myself, all I wanted to do was be a complete and total vegetable. I didn’t want to hang out with anyone. Even gaming felt like too much work!

In October, my husband and I went to the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival in Las Vegas. I would love to tell you that it was awesome, but it wasn’t. By this point, I hadn’t logged into the game in about a month, so I felt disconnected from it. I know that if I wasn’t completely drained, standing in endless lines and dealing with the fact that it was rather disorganized probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much. I was really happy to be present for the announcements of new game features, of course. And the two concerts were amazing! But overall, the best part of that trip was the fact that I wasn’t at school or work. I spent one full day just lying in bed in the hotel doing absofucking nothing and it was amazing. XD


If you look carefully, you can see that Koji Fox photo-bombed our Cactuar Server group photo! ❤ He’s wearing the black hat, holding the purple bahamut plushie kind of in the middle!


Someone in the Cactuar Server Facebook group designed a t-shirt for Fanfest, so we had shirts printed with our character and Free Company name.


LOL My husband wearing a Horde World of Warcraft shirt while carrying his bag of FFXIV swag. XD


Signing the Cactuar wall 🙂


Here we are! Hatsumi Mitsuha and Severus Snape!

Other cool things we did in Las Vegas included eating and drinking a LOT of fabulous food and checking out the Bodies exhibit.


All wines should come in a half bottle.


This club sandwich was HUGE!



What better part of the Bodies exhibit than the digestive system? I love to eat and thank goodness for these organs! XD

By around election day, my life was starting to calm down somewhat. I was no longer going into the office every weekend and instead of leaving at 8 or 9 at night, I was leaving between 5 and 6. However, I had fallen VERY behind in my two accounting classes. I had managed to keep up with the evening class since it only met once a week, thank goodness, but I suddenly found myself with almost an entire semester’s worth of work that I needed to complete for two classes in less than a month! When I explained my perfect storm of circumstances, my professor was very understanding. He gave me extensions on all the homework and we scheduled the exams throughout December and the first week of January. (As of right now, all I need to complete are the two final exams. Whew!)


Here’s a little stack I created while cleaning house of games that I haven’t even OPENED yet!


Haven’t opened this up yet, either…


I started this, but haven’t played more than the first little tutorial mission thing. It’s so kawaii! I love it!


I’m playing Moon. My husband is playing Sun.


Fancy shmancy Collector’s Edition of FFXV on XBOX One, which I didn’t really open. The PS4 one was already sold out and I wanted to play it on PS4, so I just bought a Day One version of whatever of the PS4 version. Square Enix loves consumers like me. 😛

Unfortunately, I still didn’t really have any time to play my video games. It didn’t keep me from buying them, though! But now my backlog is even WORSE! I’m also trying to catch up in Final Fantasy XIV, but my intense fear of the Duty Finder is making this quite difficult. I’m looking forward to patch 3.5 because we’ll be able to create cross-server parties. So maybe I can get my friends on other servers to help me. Although honestly, I really just need to develop thicker skin and stop freaking out whenever I have to play with strangers… So if anyone wants to help me, I still need to clear Sophia Normal and the current Alexander Normal stuff. 😀


Eorzea is home to some of the biggest cocks…

In other FFXIV news, my son started playing again! He’s level 37 on his highest job right now, so I’m working on helping him level and gear up. It’s a bit slow going since he’s in New York and I’m in Hawaii, so we don’t get to play together as much as I’d like and he doesn’t seem to like playing by himself. I keep bugging him, though, to get his questing done so that we can do group content whenever we’re online together.

I did start playing a few games during the last few months, although I haven’t made much progress yet. Pokemon Moon and Final Fantasy XV have gotten the most of my attention. I’m hoping that I’ll finally finish a Pokemon game for once. I’ve bought every Pokemon game since Diamond & Pearl, but I’ve yet to actually FINISH one. I can’t resist this new one, though, because of all the Hawaii references. I’m almost done with the 2nd island challenge. In Final Fantasy XV, I’m on Chapter 3. I am REALLY enjoying FFXV, although the battle system, even with Wait Mode, is somewhat challenging to me. The targeting system is giving me trouble. Sometimes I’m COMPLETELY CERTAIN that I’ve locked on to a specific enemy, but nope! I go warping in some completely different direction!


PSVR! (Sorry, my house is a mess!)

The other cool gaming thing I tried recently is the Playstation VR. Sadly, it makes me motion sick if I play games with a lot of movement or if I play for longer than about 15-20 minutes at a time. The demo I enjoyed the most was the Thumper VR demo, but since I can’t even get through the demo song without feeling like I’m going to die, I didn’t buy it. I DID buy Harmonix Music VR and Perfect. Neither of those is a game, per se, but they are enjoyable virtual reality experiences that I can have without losing my lunch. I particularly enjoy Perfect because it’s beautiful and relaxing. It’s exactly what I wanted from a virtual reality experience. I love being able to sit near a crackling fire and throw snowballs.

So what can you expect from me during 2017? Starting sometime in the second half of January, I am planning on returning to Twitch. I haven’t nailed down a schedule yet, but it will probably be only two or three times a week. I’m also hoping to participate in a video game music podcast with a friend of mine starting this year. When that takes off, I’ll be sure to link it! My goal for 2017 is to play a non-FFXIV game for at least one hour per day. This doesn’t sound like much, but I figure it will help me slowly work through some of my backlog. I’m also hoping to post here once a week, listing what games I’ve bought or played. You know, to try and hold myself accountable. We’ll see how I do. I’m not optimistic. I’m terrible at this kind of thing! LOL

In any case, I apologize for the length of this post. I hope everyone has a great 2017! Happy New Year!


Happy Birthday to Me! LOL XD

I have to admit that I’m always somewhat disappointed that when I was young, reckless, and rebellious, I had NO IDEA that my birthday fell on Pot Day. 😛 Now that I don’t do that stuff anymore (although I probably would if I lived in a legal state), I feel like I just didn’t ever celebrate my birthday properly! Hahahaha!

Now I have video games and this past week or so has been a good week for those! On Friday, I picked up my Bravely Second: End Layer Collector’s Edition:


And then on Monday, my Dark Souls III Collector’s Edition finally arrived in the mail from Amazon. (Side note: Why does it take almost 5 days for Amazon to SHIP something when you preorder it MONTHS in advance?)


In other news, I finally glamoured my Crafting and Gathering classes. I spent hours looking at pictures to try and get ideas, but I just couldn’t come up with anything I liked. So I just did this:


I also took another (hopefully better) picture of my Kongamato mount. Somehow I miss daylight hours in this game, so that’s why so many of my pictures are dark. I really need to pay better attention to the Eorzea clock!


Not much else is going on today. I’m at work until 5. And then I have dinner reservations with my husband at 7. Then drinks afterward with one of my good friends. I took tomorrow off so that I can sleep in and enjoy tonight. 😀

No stream tonight, but I’ll be back tomorrow.

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FF Fabulous!

There’s a new Final Fantasy XIV gear/fashion video. I think Final Fantasy XIV should be called Final Fantasy Fabulous. There’s a long standing joke that glamour is the true end game. It’s hard to argue with that since a lot of players spend countless HOURS and loads of gil on getting their characters to look EXACTLY how they want. I tend to glamour JUST ENOUGH to avoid being a complete fashion emergency.

Last night in FFXIV, I didn’t accomplish much. I did Expert and Level 60 roulette, hung out in that crazy Teamspeak channel again, and made a couple new friends. I DIDN’T cap my red gatherer’s scrips like I wanted to, but I DID trade in some red crafter’s scrips for a NQ main hand tool for my Blacksmith. My Craftsmanship stat is ALMOST high enough to craft the good stuff. Just a few more materia overmelds and I should be good to go!

Once I logged off Twitch and the game, I took my 3DS to bed and played some Final Fantasy Explorers. I really like the Monster Hunter games, but they tend to be a BIT too hardcore for me, given the amount of time I have to play handheld games, so FF Explorers is perfect. Monster Hunter purists will complain that FFEx is too care bear, but whatever. I’m having fun with it. I’ve played some multiplayer with my husband and multiplayer is DEFINITELY where it’s at. Sure, you can create and level up monsters to fight with you, but having an actual, thinking (hopefully) human being playing with you makes a world of difference when the mission you’re on is difficult.

Today in Game News:

It’s another slow news day, but there are a couple things of note.

Nintendo announced a release window and preregistration date for its new Nintendo Account and phone app. I’d like to think that Nintendo is going to finally join the 21st century and make things tied to your account instead of your device(s), but I’m not holding my breath. They really have no fucking clue how to handle DRM AT ALL.

The Overwatch closed beta will be resuming on February 9th. This pleases me. I had beta access for about a month before the servers were shut down, but I never had a chance to actually try it out. Assuming there’s no rules against streaming, I’ll likely stream that at some point in the near future. I warn you now. I am TERRIBLE at games like this, so you’ll be laughing your ass off at me, I’m sure.

No Twitch stream tonight because I have a hot date with one of my best friends. I might be able to convince him to play Talos Principle with me while on stream, but I make no promises.

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Extra Life 2015 Silver Medal! For the Kids!


I don’t remember exactly when or where I first learned about Extra Life. Since I am a rabid follower of video game news, it was probably when one of the websites I follow announced that they had a team and that they’d be participating in a gaming marathon to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. I remember thinking, “Ooooh, that sounds cool!” I checked to see if there were any groups in my state participating, but couldn’t find anything. Since all of my experiences with fundraising for charity always involved groups of people organizing together and doing things, I didn’t think I could actually participate alone. (I was totally wrong about that, of course.)

So how does Extra Life work? Basically, on one day every year, gamers across the country play games for 24 hours to raise money for their chosen CMN hospital. The rules are very flexible, though. It doesn’t HAVE to be the designated day if that day doesn’t work for you. And you don’t have to play 24 straight hours (although a lot of people do). You can play board games, video games, outdoor games, whatever. You’re encouraged to stream your gaming and post on social networks to raise money and you’re absolutely encouraged to HAVE FUN.

I participated in Extra Life for the first time in 2014. I joined a team organized by the board game store I frequent, The Armchair Adventurer. (If you’re into board games and live on Oahu, this is THE PLACE.) I spent part of my time playing games at home on my computer and consoles and then spent several hours at the store, playing board games with other gamers. Naturally, I dragged my husband along. (That guy really does support me in EVERYTHING I do. I’m so lucky.) We had so much fun and I raised $405.00. I couldn’t wait to do it again.


So naturally, I signed up as soon as I could for 2015. I even got a special gift for signing up early: a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals wrist band. I increased my individual goal to $500. I joined the same team, but never actually made it to the store that night. Again, I had a BLAST! This time around, I streamed my gaming on Twitch and even played games with one of my viewers. I beat my goal and raised $610.00 plus a monthly recurring donation of $10/month. That’s how I scored the silver medal – raising more than $500.

I love playing the hero in video games and Extra Life lets me be a hero in real life, too. It doesn’t get any better than that. Did I sign up for 2016? ABSOLUTELY! Game Day is November 5, 2016, but raising money to help sick and injured kids is something we can do 365 days a year. If you don’t already participate, I HIGHLY recommend it. DO IT.

If you want to donate, you can click here for my donation page. (I also have a link embedded on my Twitch channel page.)

For the Kids!

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Final Fantasy Explorers Collector’s Edition…GET!


Ever since I found out about this game, I’ve been really looking forward to it. As a hardcore fan of Phantasy Star Online, this just looked perfect. After all, I’m a HUGE Final Fantasy fangirl. So combine Final Fantasy with one of my favorite online gaming experiences of all time, and you get a VERY excited woman.

I was also excited because I’d be able to play this with my husband and my son. A family that plays together stays together and even though my baby is 5000 miles away at college, he still plays games and we can still play together.

IMG_20160127_182046 (1)

So of course, when they announced a collector’s edition on the Square Enix store, I had to preorder. I debated just getting a CE for myself and regular editions for my two favorite men, but whenever I do that (and it’s quite often), I kinda feel guilty about it. I always wonder if my son is thinking, “Man, why the hell does Mom always get all the cool shit?” (Honestly, I could answer that…hehehe…) So I splurged.

When people started playing this game on Tuesday, I was a little jealous, but I figured that waiting for the CE was a worthwhile price to pay. I’m actually surprised I got it on Wednesday. Because we live in Hawaii, I often get games WAY after release if I order them on the internet.




So far, I’ve pretty much only just made my character and completed the (rather pathetic) tutorial missions. Aside from being COMPLETELY confused about Crystal Surges (even after reading the Help Menu stuff), I love how combat feels. (And yes, I understand Crystal Surges and Abilities now.) And not to complain too much, but my feminist self can’t help but ask… What’s with the skanky ho starting outfit? Once I get gear, I’ll get over it. (Really, I’m always torn between feeling offended by outfits like this and loving them because I used enjoy dressing rather provocatively when I was younger…) In any case, hopefully I get a chance to play more tonight.


It even came with special weapons and quests, apparently. I didn’t know this before I opened the box. Not sure how I missed that bit of info, honestly…

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Neglect Your Animal Crossing: New Leaf Town, Get Messy Hair

BRc2GlXCEAAgmO8Since I’ve been trying to finish Shin Megami Tensei IV, I’ve been COMPLETELY NEGLECTING my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town of Chagai. I logged in for the first time in a couple of weeks, I think and my hair is a mess. I’m curious what the game thinks that I’ve been doing that would make my hair a complete disaster. Honestly, emerging from my house with a weird look on my face and this messy hair immediately led to impure thoughts. Hahaha!

Every Sunday in August in AC:NL there’s a fireworks show. My assistant, Isabelle, gave me some cute glowing flowers to wear in my hair for this occasion. Fun stuff!

Review: Shin Megami Tensei IV *Minor SPOILERS*

IMG_20130805_214624I got the Neutral ending after playing through Shin Megami Tensei IV on the Nintendo 3DS. There are apparently four endings: Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic, and Nothingness. Perhaps if the state of JRPGaming was like it was in the 90’s, I would try to play the game and get the other endings. However, when I look at my backlog of games in addition to the new games that have come out in the last month or so, I can’t justify spending another 100 total hours or so in order to experience those endings first hand. I spent 57 hours on this game and I enjoyed almost every minute of it, so I certainly feel that I got my money’s worth out of it.

Moral Choices: The Story (*SPOILERS*)

In SMT IV, you take on the role of a Samurai of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, a large, floating mass of land hovering over an extremely desolate Tokyo. In the beginning of the game, you become a Samurai by being “chosen” by a high tech, futuristic gauntlet. Within this gauntlet is an AI called “Burroughs,” who has a rather sexy voice and refers to you as “Master.” Burroughs keeps track of quests, demon data, and acts as the game menu. When you level up or if you’re lucky enough to find a certain item, you receive App Points, which can be spent on buying Apps to enhance your gauntlet. These apps can do things like increase the number of demons you can have on reserve, increase stats, or replenish HP and MP by walking.

As a Samurai, you receive quests that send you into a cave that ultimately connects to the Tokyo Sky Tree and allows for travel between Mikado and Tokyo. When you are sent to Tokyo, it is for the benefit of Mikado, but you end up in the middle of a morality power struggle between three groups: the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, the Ashura-Kai, and the Ring of Gaea. In my opinion, the game does a good job and ensuring that none of these groups can easily be called the good guys or the bad guys. All three of them clearly have their own agenda in furthering their cause for their ideal for a future and all three of them are utilizing morally questionable means to get there.

Throughout the game, the player is presented with choices and options that add to an alignment score. This score determines the ending. I did my best to answer questions and make choices based on how I think I would really react if I was in that situation. In other words, I did my best not to sway the ending. This allowed me to feel connected to the story because it was MY moral compass that was used to set the direction of the game. It’s important to note here that you can choose the Nothingness ending without worrying about this alignment. Near the end of the game, you’re given this option.

IMG_20130805_190539There was one thing that really irked me, however, with regard to story. It wasn’t the story itself, but how a certain play mechanic affected my perception of the story. Whenever you complete a quest, whether it’s part of the main story or a side quest, Burroughs will say, “Congratulations on completing the quest.” There were two or three occasions where an intense or story-heavy scene would play out and all of a sudden, in the middle of whatever was going on, Burroughs would say, “Congratulations on completing the quest.” This totally jarred me and pulled me out of the immersive experience I was having.

Getting Megaten’d: The Battle System

Enemies are visible on screen and by swinging your sword at the right time, you can initiate a preemptive strike, which allows your team to go first and will also do a small amount of damage to all the enemies in the group. Of all the SMT games I’ve ever played, IV’s battle system was probably the most accessible. Once I killed a demon, its weaknesses were available to me during combat without using up a turn casting some kind of scan ability. Since SMT IV is a turn based game, if I couldn’t remember an enemy’s elemental weakness, I could simply choose a spell, select and enemy, and look for the weakness or repel icon. This made normal enemy encounters a lot easier than previous games.

That said, I still got Megaten’d a LOT. SMT games are notoriously difficult. Some would argue that their difficulty level is on par with games like Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Non-boss enemies can get a critical strike on you, you become unable to defend yourself, and it’s game over. Or you’ll get to the boss after doing reasonably well against the other enemies in the area only to have the boss strike your entire party down in a single turn. Players will construct the perfect team of demons with all the right spells and resistances and STILL get their asses handed to them. This is known as being “Megaten’d” and after only an hour or two of playing the game, I was getting Megaten’d HARD.

IMG_20130805_200416When you die in SMT IV, you are transported to Charon at the River Styx. For a fee of Macca (the currency of the game) or Nintendo Play Coins (the ones you get from walking around with your 3DS like a pedometer), he will resurrect you to the spot you were at right before you got into the fight that killed you. As you can save anywhere in the game and I knew that I was going to die a lot, I rarely took Charon up on the offer. Particularly at the beginning of the game, Macca is rather hard to come by so I was feeling cheap. As for my Play Coins, I use those for buying Fortune Cookies in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, so I didn’t want to spend too many of them. But it’s in your best interest to die and resurrect twice. After the second time, you’ll unlock an easier difficulty level called “Fellow.” The description reads, “Lowers the difficulty of the game. The story and quest rewards are unchanged.” (Emphasis added.) I wasted no time in changing the game difficulty. I knew that I was only going to play through this game once. Why torture myself? And even on this easier difficulty, I STILL got Megaten’d on a regular basis.

The demon recruitment system seemed easier than previous incarnations of SMT, which made me very happy. You can talk to the demons during battle and possibly convince them to join you. I can’t remember which  SMT game I was playing earlier this summer that it was COMPLETELY RANDOM if a demon you were fighting would start talking to you. You had no control over that, which made it worse than trying to catch all the Pokemon in a Pokemon game.

Bad Game Design Decisions (Gameplay *SPOILERS*)

1. I spent between three and four hours attempting to defeat one of the last bosses in the game. Not only did I have to retry the fight over FIFTEEN TIMES, but I had to summon and fuse new demons and then level them up at least 20 levels in order to get the right spells and abilities to defeat the final boss. Up until this point, which is near the very end of the game, certain strategies are effective for boss encounters. These strategies had very little variation throughout the game. UNTIL THIS BOSS. When a game essentially TRAINS you to fight a certain way and then throws something that doesn’t fit into that mold at the very end of the game, it makes me angry. It’s cheap and it’s bullshit. Had there been other bosses interspersed throughout the game that required the use of these abilities, I would have understood their importance and utility and I would have KEPT THEM. Instead, since the game only allows you to have so many skills, if you want new ones, you have to discard old ones. So I chose to keep the skills that I was using ALL THE DAMNED TIME and discarded the ones that I wasn’t using AT ALL. Hardcore fans of the SMT series will undoubtedly argue that this is a “feature” of the difficulty of SMT games. That may be true, but if it is, it just leads me to believe that the developers of the SMT series were bullied as children at school and are now taking it out on their players. So just so you know, the last White boss for the Neutral ending has no elemental weaknesses, starts with three turns per round, and he WILL crit and smirk so that he essentially gets SIX turns per round. You’d better have your defense as high as you can get it. Or it’s game over. Or better yet, make sure you have Tetrakarn.

2. While I almost never get lost in real life, I don’t have the greatest sense of direction in video games. My theory is that when I’m playing games, I’m more relaxed, so I don’t consciously pay attention to landmarks or whether I turned left or right. Thankfully, SMT IV has a GREAT map system. There are a few places and situations where the map doesn’t function, but those are fairly few and far between. However, it doesn’t really matter how awesome those maps are if you don’t have any information on where you’re trying to go.  Throughout both the main quest and the challenge/side quests, there are several instances where it tells you to go somewhere, but it doesn’t give you any information at all about where that somewhere IS based on already known locations. It’s not EVERY quest, but it’s enough to make me angrily wander around, wondering where the hell I’m supposed to go. The other issue is when you have to turn in a quest to a specific person. Most of the time, quests either auto-complete or you turn them into a bartender in any city. However, once in awhile you have to turn it in to a random NPC somewhere in the game.  There is nothing in the quest description OR on the map, showing you where to turn in these quests, so unless you do each quest as soon as you get it, either write it down or be willing to look it up on the internet.

3. If you get the neutral ending, you’re required to complete all the challenge/side quests that are still open and unfinished in your game. On top of that, as you complete them, some new ones will open up and then you have to complete those, too. While I did complete quite a number of quests before I got to the point of no return where my alignment was determined, I still had quite a few unfinished ones. So I spent a LOT of time just running around, completing side quests and feeling annoyed that I couldn’t just FINISH THE DAMNED GAME. As I was running around, trying to find some random item or fight a mini-boss, I was forced into battles with groups of demons that were some 40-60 levels LOWER than me. I could run away from battle, of course, but the load times for that were about the same as just taking a single turn to demolish them. All told, once my alignment path was determined, I spent THIRTEEN HOURS on completing these challenge quests! Once I finished those up, the remainder of the game took approximately four hours.

Other Stuff

Making Macca (money) in this game is almost its own little mini-game. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, they say, and that is how you make money. Throughout the game, on the overworld as well as in dungeons and towns, are points where you can harvest Relics. Generally speaking, these are random items ranging from yen bills to saxophones to desks. Basically, it’s all discarded trash. I vaguely remember reading another review for this game that referred to this method of money-making as dumpster diving. That’s a pretty accurate description.

I’m not a fan of English dubs for video games or anime, but SMT IV’s English voices were decent. I never felt compelled to turn off the sound because of bad voice acting. There are some random NPC voices that could use a little work, but you hardly ever have to listen to them speak more than a sentence or two tops.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was an enjoyable entry in the series. If you’re a fan of Shin Megami Tensei, this game doesn’t disappoint. There are a myriad of side quests and even more demons to recruit. If you’re a completionist, this game will occupy you for far longer than the 57 hours it took me to complete. If you’re new to the franchise, this is a fun game to start with. If you have a 3DS, I recommend it.