All aboard the oppai train Estival Versus is imminent!

Overview

The girls of Senran Kagura are back and this time they are bouncing and shedding their clothes on the PS4. This marks the first time the series has been on a non-handheld platform. Which is super exciting for me being a fan of the series. So I guess first question is if you are new to the series WHAT is Senran Kagura. Senran Kagura is a "musou" game. Musou is referencing the Dynasty Warriors approach to beat em' up action where multiple characters are played and the action is focused usually on large scale battles with dozens of enemies on the screen at once. The latest entry in the franchise Estival Versus is currently only a Japanese release but is ripe for localization. It is the 4th main game in the franchise and the 6th overall game in the series. I'm writing this blog as a way to catch people up on what is going on with the franchise as well as a information roundup for Estival versus. Note: Credit to CureVylash over at NeoGAF for some of these pictures I'm going to use.

Senran Kagura: Burst

Developer: Marvelous

Publisher: Marvelous

Platform: 3DS

MSRP: $29.99

Release Date: August 30, 2012 (JP) November 14, 2013 (NA) February 28, 2014 (EU)

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus

Developer: Tamsoft

Publisher: Marvelous

Platform: PS Vita

MSRP: $39.99 - $49.99

Release Date: February 28, 2013 (JP) October 14, 2014 (NA) October 15, 2014 (EU)

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson

Developer: Marvelous

Publisher: Marvelous

Platform: 3DS

Release Date: August 7, 2014 (JP) Summer 2015 (NA/EU)

Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit

Developer: Tamsoft

Publisher: Marvelous

Platform: PS Vita

MSRP: $14.99

Release Date: March 20th, 2014 (JP) November 11th, 2014 (NA) November 12th, 2014 (EU)

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Developer: Tamsoft

Publisher: Marvelous

Platform: PS4, PS Vita

Release Date: March 26, 2015 (JP)

TGS 2014 Gameplay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC2R5mU1bE8

20 Minutes Raw Gameplay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vYYjTwgHdE

Announcement Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp3V3IzhTDQ

Girls of Choice PV - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4dQ0cfnhQI

Girls of Choice PV 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTBrbCBaZxo

Character Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b00vUM5jqJY

Lore / Story

Despite what pre-conceived notions you may have about the writing and the story the SK games are actually for the most part pretty well written. They aren't going to re-define storytelling in gaming or anything but they do a good job of making the girls more than just pairs of tits and make you care about them as characters.

Only having a Vita I've only been able to play Shinovi Versus and Bon Appetit which is a spinoff. The basic premise of all the games however revolves around four groups of five girls. Each group of girls are shinobi that train at academies designed to teach and hone teach aspiring shinobi. The stories usually revolve around conflicts between the various schools/factions and the interpersonal relationships of rivalries and friendships between them.

Each of the girls are given rather fleshed out backstories most of which revolve around personal loss or some sort of tragic event that shaped their personality and place in life. The game also occasionally takes fun detours into sillier more lighthearted side stories such as Homura's quest to find out why she is so awful at telling jokes.

Gameplay / Combat

The combat of Senran Kagura is surprisingly deep. Its no Bayonetta but for a game that could have gotten away with flashing tits on the screen and making you mash a single button for attacks they sure put in a lot of effort. The DS series and the playstation "versus" series are slightly different in game play with the 3DS series being a bit more of a standard 2D brawler while the versus series is more of the 3D musou action that I referenced at the top of the post. Battles in versus are usually waves of enemies that cluminate to a "boss" battle with one of the other characters.

While taking out dozens of fodder enemies with flashy moves is all good fun the boss fights are where the game really shines. Guard breaks, parries, combo breakers, air combos all things that you would find in proper fighting or character action games are present and accounted for. Hell, you can even extend your combo window Devil May Cry style by taunting mid-combo. The cool thing is also that if you want to just mash through you can do just that as well. So the combat is accessible to everyone. Its honestly a lot of fun.

What's new for Estival Versus

Estival versus has a number of new features and additions first of which is obviously a new story. Which features events surrounding the Kagura Thousand Year Summer Festival. There is also an entirely new faction featuring five new characters. One of those characters is Ryoki Ryona and Ryobi's dead sister. One of the other characters is Sayuri is Hanzou’s wife and Asuka’s grandmother who comes with an interesting mechanic.

Upon entering her "shinobi" state which is a transformed state all of the shinobi girls go through before battle (think magical princess like transformations) Sayuri goes through a most unique transformation of actually shedding years off of her body and transforming into a much younger version of herself for a short time allowing the now elderly woman to fight like she is still in her 20's. The remaining 3 characters are a trio of sisters who are traveling with Sayuri during the Kagura Thousand Year festival.

Renka: Renka is the eldest of the Mikagura sisters with a fiery and confident personality. She hates cute things and is the first to jump into the fray when the action gets hot.

Hanabi: The middle of the Mikagura sisters Hanabi isn't too bright but she is very straight forward. She knows a lot about gunpowder and fireworks as her name literally means "fireworks" in japanese.

Kafuru: The youngest of the 3 sisters Kafuru is a calculating brat who looks down on other people and gladly provokes them by using internet slang or baby talking them. She likes to tease her older sister Hanabi due to her explosive temper.

Multiplayer

One of the big new features is the multipalyer. The previous games being limited on handhelds were only 4 players over ad-hoc or Internet connections. Estival versus on the PS4 features 10 player online battles.

Point Battle: Point battle is very straight foward. You fight against other opponents and receive points for damaging or taking them out. The person or team with the most points wins. Think of it as the vanilla death match type of match.

Panty Battle: Panty battle is a mode where players scramble to collect as many pairs of panties as possible which are scattered across the map. You can attack other players along the way to have them drop their panties in an attempt to foil their chances at winning.

Capture the Bra: This mode is like the traditional Capture the Flag mode except you know Senran Kagura style. The flag is made out of bra's and your objective is to capture said bras taking the flag back to your base to score a point.

The game also features a very robust photo mode where you can dress and pose the characters to take advantage of the PS4's share function of sharing screenshots. The mode was demonstrated by the series creator on a stream a few days ago.

I'm very excited for the release of this game I currently have it on pre-order. There are several sites still accepting pre-orders if you'd like to get in the action. My current plans are to stream the game the day I get it on my Twitch page and do sort of a "Quick Look" style look at it where I'll most likely stumble through the first few hours of the game. The game is to release on 3/26 in japan.

If anyone has any questions or comments on the series I'd be happy to answer them. Also, if you have a NeoGAF account consider stopping by the Senran Kagura Community Thread. Lots of good people there discussing the series at large. I don't know if anyone will actually care about anything I just typed but I had fun writing it. I do hope that a few of you will give the series a chance beyond the gratuitous fanservice lies a really fun beat em' up game with some good stories to back it up.

Until next time thanks!

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Falling in Love one more time: Dead or Alive 5 Last Round

So almost 3 years ago a little game called Dead or Alive 5 came out that I was excited for. You know the one I posted endlessly about for months? Well, who would have thought that this game would still be relevant to me this many years later. Now I've bought some re-releases in my time but this is the 3rd yes count it 3rd time I've bought this game. And strangely, I'm more excited about it than ever. I've been thinking the last few days what makes this game so compelling to me. Now the cynical answer obviously would be BOOBS. And guilty as charged I do enjoy the fanservice elements of the series. I've developed a crippling costume DLC addiction. I sort... of bought the $93 season pass? Yeah, ok I know... part of the problem.

Yeah...I know. I know.

Really though, the reason I enjoy it SO much is how the game plays. The back and forth of the triangle system makes for some thrilling game play. Without going into to serious detail the triangle system is basically paper , rock, scissors. Strikes beat throws,Holds beat strikes and throws beat holds. Its this synergy along with the top tier production and spectacle of the living breathing stages that make DOA's combat so flashy and fun. One of my favorite levels is the one that was in the DOA 5 demo "Scramble" its called. Both combatants start on top of a unfinished skyscraper under construction. When one combatant is smashed into a power generator it causes an explosion which sets off a chain of catastrophic events including the floor nearly buckling and a giant crane to wildly swing giant steel beams around. Its the essence of a hollywood action movie. Everyone can feel cool while playing DOA.

Action pose Kasumi is too cool to look at explosions.

While the game has depth to it its also very accessible. Its a three button game Punch, Kick, Block. That is it. No having to watch a dozen meters fill up no confusing HUD elements just two combatants pummeling the ever loving shit out of each other. I also have been a fan of the characters of the Dead or Alive series. At least in my opinion they are some of the more memorable fighting game characters. And I enjoy thatTeam Ninja is starting to dip into the Ninja Gaiden series and bringing in characters like Momiji and Rachel.

I've been feverishly playing the game over the last week and really enjoying it. I was originally leaning to sticking with Rachel one of my real go to characters for Ultimate but Marie Rose has come onto the scene and stolen my heart. Part bubbly and cute and all deadly she is a ton of fun to play as. I'm sorry that I missed playing as her in Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate as I quit playing the game before any of the character DLC was added.

Training mode with Raidou!

So, whats new in Last Round? What is worth buying this for the 3rd time? Well for starters two new characters. Raidou comes back from the dead to enter combat now looking like a Japanese Kano. The other new entry is a new fighter described as "Super Secret Fighter chick" Honoka. Not much is known about her at due time other than she has some mysterious power that lets her copy moves that she sees other fighters do. So naturally, her move set is cobbled together mostly with other fighters special stances and moves. She also seems to be a not so subtle nod to Love Live! character Honoka Kousaka. Beyond that two new stages have been added. "The Danger Zone" is a call back to a DOA 1 stage with exploding floors the other addition is "The Crimson" a Japanese shanty town.

Costumes range from the risque to the stylish and sleek.

Few other cool things about Last Round. Firstly, a large chunk of DLC is included with the game. Secondly, all DLC and Saves can be carried over from a previous generation consoles. Which is awesome as all previous titles and stats will carry over for you so you don't have to bother unlocking titles or costumes yet again for the 3rd time. There are some other smaller changes like the addition of a details menu allowing you to select hairstyles and glasses for the girls.

I can see how some might look at 2 new characters and 2 new stags and costumes and scoff and that is a fair enough reaction I suppose. However if you've been itching for a fighter on the PS4 there is no better choice right now. I think its also priced right. At $40 for the retail version you get everything and I think that is a good price.The game also looks really snappy and great on PS4 the skin textures look way better thanks to the new "Soft Engine". Now granted its not going to blow your socks off but Its a reminder that Team Ninja can make some good looking games and has me excited for possible future titles. I'm always down for a friendly challenge if anyone decides they want to play. My next blog will most likely be on the bouncy and curvacious girls of Senran Kagura. As Senran Kagura Estival Versus is coming out next month and I have an import copy on order! Till next time.

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My top 5 games of 2014 for cool people who like cool stuff!

Intro

2014 for games has been a weird year! There have been a ton of great games but none at have really been the obvious media darling choice that games like Bioshock or Gone Home were last year. Its also been a weird year personally for me gaming wise. I'm....back into a MMO again having logged at least 1000 hours into Final Fantasy XIV since its PS4 launch in April. I've actually adjusted my work schedule to better accommodate my raiding schedule. Thats how into it I am. I've also played other things though believe it or not! The beginning of the year and the end of the year were nicely footnoted with excellent reasons to keep my PS4 and now PS Vita on. My list is below of my top 5!

5. Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd

I'm guessing most people expected this to be on my list. I mean, its no secret that I'm a vocaloid fan of the regulars that still frequent the forums I'm probably the most outspoken about my enjoyment and adoration of the project diva games. What I didn't expect is that it would be only here at my 5th spot. The english release of Project Diva f 2nd was just a few months ago. I however imported the game back during its original release in March in japan.

Its structurally a better created game. Much more thought put into every aspect. The Diva Room actually has more substance to it. There are secret unlockables tied to specific objectives on each song. The song mechanics themselves have even been improved. Its track listing is pretty solid as well pulling in a ton of new tracks and also taking older tracks from the PSP project diva games like the famous "World is Mine" or "The Intense song of Hatsune Miku" and giving them a HD coat of paint to their MV's. I even had a ton of fun using the included picture mode to create fun scenes such as this.If you're a fan of the previous game or rhythm games in general I'd highly suggest you give Project Diva F 2nd a try.

4. Dragon Age: Inquisition

The first game in the Dragon Age series is pretty much one of my favorite games of all time. Period. The only thing that beats it out in my mind is Ninja Gaiden Black. So, I was supremely hopeful over the last few years as I saw Bioware meticulously collecting surveys from fans and taking feedback on the forums. It seemed like they were listening. It seemed like well... that they might do it again they might get close to the apex that Origins ascended to. The harsh reality is we'll never get another Origins. Back when DA:O released Bioware was still independent and not under EA's thumb.

EA's influence on the game is apparent. Multiplayer is here and there are micro-transactions and some systems have been stream lined. Yet, I feel like there is passion behind this game. I imagine the team fighting for every inch they got. The fans spoke and the developers responded back to the fans and the way they responded didn't sound like people parroting PR speak. It sounded like people who knew that they got their asses handed to them with Dragon Age 2 that they wanted to do better. And hey, turns out Inqusition is a pretty damn amazing game. I'd say without a doubt the best thing Bioware has released since being picked up by EA.

Now lets be clear there are flaws and there are plenty of them the tactics system has been pretty much lobotomized allowing you to only select a few basic behaviors. The game in general is pretty easy requiring players who want a real challenge to be required to bump it up to Hard or Nightmare. Yet, I've had a ton of fun with it. The characters are great the overarching story while meandering and mostly empty calories gives you enough reason to explore amazing open areas full of elfroot to harvest and demons to vanquish. Even the combat which while dumbed down in some areas is still plenty fun with plenty of fun skills to play with. As a dagger rogue I teleported behind enemies plunging my daggers into their flank for extra damage while using the menacing Iron Bull to tank all the enemies keeping them distracted while I move behind them. Its not the Dragon Age I quite knew but its a Dragon Age I accept. Its fun and its peppered with enough call backs and even bringing in events and characters from the extended fiction like the novels and comics that if you're a serious Dragon Age fan I think you'll have fun. Full disclosure, I haven't finished the game yet so I honestly don't know what my final opinion will be but seeing as I've put 100 hours into it I felt I've seen enough to make a judgement call on the game.

3. Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus

Oh, boy. So this is where everyone looks at my list and laughs right? I don't blame you but if you'll entertain me please read on. Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a game that took me completely by surprise. Lets be frank I buy a lot of weird or niche japanese titles that get localized simply and solely for the reason that I like to support these sort of games getting localized. I just think its cool that in america were getting this kind of stuff and companies are taking fair financial risks. Especially doing a pretty extensive physical print of Shinovi Versus.

I thought I would buy the game and play it and lets be honest chuckle at some anime boobs and then be done with it two weeks later. I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong. So lets get the obvious out of the way. This game has fan-service and tons of it. Its a pretty lewd and filthy game. Panty shots and exposed jiggling breasts are everywhere and in your face. Its a game made for a specific audience and it very well knows who it is going after. Here is where I probably lose some people. Its actually really good. Well written and fun to play with memorable characters. I know a lot of people won't believe me and i know that to many they are going to see the anime aesthetic and the boobs and automatically dismiss the game. The game basically plays like a mashup of Dynasty Warriors and Dissidia Final Fantasy. Story sequences play and then you typically are loaded into the stage and fight the trash enemies which is the Dynasty Warrior part smashing dozens of enemies with your flashy array of attacks. The last part usually culminates with a boss fight which is one of the girls on the roster.

I'm not going to try to sell the combat as being deep or complex like a Bayonetta or a Devil May Cry but I'll be damned if i wasn't impressed that there is some actual skill needed to beat some of the stages especially on Hard mode. Parries, guard crushes, air juggles there are a lot of mechanics going on in a game that could have gotten by by just flashing tits on the screen and making you mash the square button. The characters themselves are all also very different playing none really being a copy of the others. Their stats are different their attacks are different and they also all have their own flashy Ninpo attacks. The combat is fun without being too complex but also gives you plenty of options to explore for the people who want to dig more out of the combat.

The writing is where the game surprised me the most. Again, a lot of awful anime tropes do rear their head obviously pandering to the audience its trying to appease. Then on the other hand you've got these stories of these 20 girls from 4 different schools and their stories and personalities range. Almost all of them though are pretty compelling. Stories of loss, regret, revenge, friendship. Maybe I'm just a big sucker but I got pulled in to the stories of the girls. Eagerly awaiting the next chapter. I obviously can't say too much without spoiling things but if you're remotely interested in the game play portion of it I'd say to give it a shot. This really seems like a game stuck between worlds almost. Its a game series that I don't ever think will be taken seriously by mainstream audiences because of how sexually pandering it is. Yet at the same time the game could hold its own without that stuff but at the risk of losing its already established audience.

2. Final Fantasy XIV

Yeah, okay. I know. Technically FFXIV came out last year. I however didn't jump in until the 2014 release of the PS4 version along side the 2.2 content patch. I really don't know where to begin with this. Do I talk about how for the first time in a MMO I care about the story and the characters? How much of a handcrafted love letter this is to Final Fantasy fans with constant fan service everywhere? Do I talk about the combat system and how each of the classes has its unique and fun hook and how its really well designed for a controller? Because all of these things are true.

I honestly had no plans to check this game out. Square's obvious marketing decision worked out for them. They made the first beta testing phase on PS4 free for everyone to join. You just had to download the client and sign up for an account. It was February I believe and there wasn't a whole lot to play and boy did this game come at just the right time. A MMO filled with content arriving just before the spring/summer drought of games? Brilliant move on Square's part for positioning. The thing that initially jumped out at me was just how beautiful the game was. Running at 1080p and ~60fps on the PS4 its one of the best looking MMO's on the market today. Really, it makes World of Warcraft even with its new update look like an ancient relic. Its not just a beauty queen though. Its got some bite to it. Its a game that obviously was designed from the ground up to work on a controller for one. Its also really fun to play. You're first 50 or so hours will be most likely spent grinding through the story. Which, is an indirect continuation of the events of the 1.0 version of the game.

It plays on a lot of themes found in final fantasy games and rpgs in general. You're a chosen one and there are a lot of references to fate and crystals and well you know... final fantasy shit. The thing is though it manages to make this pretty engaging. There are obviously a number of fetch and filler quests that pad out the more interesting quests that move the beats of the story along but I mean its a MMO you have to expect some grinding going in. The real meat comes after you've gotten to level 50 though. As of patch 2.45 right now there is a ton of end game content to dive into. Its a buffet of content allowing you to tackle as much or as little of it as you want at any given time.

There are continuing side stories of a bumbling detective Hildebrand. There are the new main story beats that usually introduce new bosses based on characters from final fantasy past like Ifrit or Shiva or even the giant Sea Serpent Leviathan. There are opportunies for crafters and hardcore raiders or even just a bunch of fun casual and social quests. And with a free trial on PC and now PS4 for PS+ members there is no reason why everyone can't jump in and get a taste of the game. If you ever want to hit the Giantbomb Free Company (ie Guild) up join the "Ultros" server on the Primal Data Center. I'm Musubi Azeyma and I'm usually down to help with things.

1. Lightning Returns :Final Fantasy XIII

I've basically waited for this for 4 years. 4 years ago Square released Final Fantasy XIII in 2010 to a much polarized reception. Some hated it some loved it. I was in the latter camp. Being a fan I was excited when Final Fantasy XIII-2 was announced for a 2012 release. What I didn't expect was that the story would become way way more complicated. So it was with Lightning Returns that everything was to conclude. Lightning now basically a demi-goddess is tasked with not only saving the world but well... existence of the world. Time itself is warping and bending with a literal doomsday clock ticking down.

Lightning is by far the coolest female protag ever in my opinion. She is beautiful, strong willed lady who will stop at nothing to rescue her sister and save the world. Now I get that the whole "save the world" setting and having a literal christ-like chosen one is on the first page of RPG tropes yet LR:FFXIII makes it compelling. Its a balancing act and It can be extremely fun once you figure out how the whole thing works. The more you help people the more people you save the more time you buy yourself. You're constantly on the clock with limited time each day and only 12 days to solve the problems of the world and get to the bottom of how this time bending calamity can be put to rest. This sounds daunting at first but then once you figure out the tricks once you figure out how to bend and manipulate the game to you're very whims then it becomes a ton of fun. The general principles of the XIII series combat are still at play with the only difference being the mechanics being tuned for a single character party. You're your own backup. Switching to your own custom made classes.

And that is what is most fun about this game. The combat and the systems surrounding it. The freedom to figure out how to exploit and bend the combat. Around the time of the games release I talked to several other Giantbomb members that I follow on twitter about their progress. The conversations I had were amazing. They told me of strategies I hadn't even thought of. We tackled a few of the same bosses with very different setups exposing and exploiting weaknesses in the enemy that were most suited for our builds. The Garment system is a blast to play with. Half virtual dress up simulator and half war room planning there are literal thousands of combinations of garments, weapons and accessories to try out. The other thing that kept me glued was the story itself. The conclusion to all of this was really fun to see play out. I had four years of investment in these characters. Seeing everything pay off in this final game was extremely satisfying.

Honestly, I don't think I've ever felt more satisfied with a ending to a game story arc other than possibly Metal Gear Solid 4's wrapping up of the Metal Gear Solid storyline. All of my questions answered all loose ends wrapped up. Its not without its flaws to be sure. Its a rather technical mess. Its sort of blurry and awful looking in several spots with a clunky frame rate at times. Yet I don't think I felt more compelled to squeeze every last drop out of a game like I did LR:FFXIII this year. At the end of the day I had fun and whats more its a game that made me satisfied and happy. So I can look past a lot of its faults because of this. It accomplished its goal regardless of it it drunkenly stumbled there along the way at times. And that is all that matters right? Games are supposed to be fun. And this is by far the one that I had the most fun with this year warts and all. I'm sort of sad on one hand to know I'll most likely never get another adventure with Lightning proper although I'm also glad that they gave this story its proper arc and conclusion and didn't set up for any more spin-offs or side stories.

Epilogue

So, I only did a list of 5 this year because honestly the top 5 are the ones I had the most to say things about. However, did want to call out a few other games I really enjoyed that didn't quite make the cut this year.

  • Call of Duty :Advanced Warfare
  • Dark Souls II
  • InFAMOUS Second Son
  • Senran Kagura Bon Appetit
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • Conception II

Well, there you have it. My long rambling list of dumb electronic entertainment that I played this year that I enjoyed the most. I look forward to 2015 as the expansion for Final Fantasy XIV hits as well as several other major games. If you read this far then I thank you! I'd be happy to answer any questions in the comments below. :)

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Year in Review 2014 Pt1 January - June

Hello lovers and friends! Well, its almost June which will mark two things E3 and the second half of the year. So, as we gear up to find out just exactly what we will be playing the second half of the year I figured I would review what I've already played so far this year. Take note this isn't EVERYTHING I've played just simply 2014 releases and this does include *some* re-releases as you'll see but everything listed here released in 2014. I'm just going to list them in the chronological order that I've played them.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (Ps4)

Ah, Tomb Raider. A game I did play in 2013 and readily enjoyed it just barely missed my 2013 best of list. While this game is way more Uncharted than classic Tomb Raider I think it actually does Uncharted better than Uncharted does. All the little things in this game add up to really make an excellent game and playing on the PS4 1080p at 60fps was a great treat to start out the year.

Don't Starve (PS4)

The first release of the year on PS+ for the PS4 in 2014 this is a game which I also own on PC which funnily enough I didn't pay any money out of pocket to buy on there either (bought it all with money from selling steam trading cards). Its a fun enough game but honestly, I'm terrible at it and that probably hampers my enthusiasm for it. Although playing this version I did get further than i ever did on the PC version so...hey that is something right?

Outlast (PS4)

Yet another PS4 PS+ release this is one of the best horror games I've played in quite some time. I was actually pretty terrified to the point of having several false attempts at starting the game. So while that didn't last through the entire game and the scares sort of lost their edge through the rest of the game the world building and environments are some of the best I've seen in a horror game. I know a lot of people didn't like the latter half of the game but I found parts of that interesting as well. The story to me at least isn't as bad as some people are saying it is. I mean, horror plots in general are pretty bad and at least this one has some extensive lore backing everything up. Well worth playing if you already haven't I think I might get that whistleblower DLC very soon.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)

So, I really really like this game you guys. Yeah, I know a large chunk of you could care less about the XIII series and think Final Fantasy is a shade of its former self. I however adored every single moment I spent with this game. Its the culmination of investing in these characters for the past 4 years and it paid off in spades. To be able to see everything wrap up like it did was frankly heartwarming. Which, is probably a really saccharine thing to say about the game but its how I felt. The combat was as great as ever playing on the same mechanics of the last two games in a slightly different variation. The best thing about the combat was how you could approach scenarios. I talked to @hailinel on twitter a lot while playing this and our approaches to a lot of the fights were entirely different which was super cool that the game didn't really box you into one strategy being the be-all-end-all.

Oh, and did I mention outfits? CAUSE OUTFITS YOU GUYS. So many. Outfits. I've always enjoyed dressing up characters and boy does Lightning Returns have options. I just want more games that adopt a dress mechanic of some sort it amuses me to no end.

Dark Souls II (PS3)

You Died. Familiar words for anyone who has played a game in the Souls series. Fantastic game from top to bottom I know a lot of people took issues with things like the game feeling very patchwork as far as level design goes but honestly being someone who never was in the game for lore just the straight up PLAYING of the game was way more satisfying than the previous game in the series. After 200 hours I managed to Platinum the game. Every second spent with this game was well spent. Going to be a front runner for me at the end of the year.

Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition (PS4)

Not much to say about this one... spent about all of like two hours with it? Mediocre game. Glad it was free on PS+ although the one cool thing is its tie-ins with twitch streaming. Bringing an interactive element to the game is a neat idea shame though that the rest of the game is so forgettable.

Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z (PS3)

There are a few things about me when you get to know me that you'll instantly know about me. One is that my favorite game of all time is Ninja Gaiden Black and I'm in general a huge mark for Team Ninja stuff. That being said I played this game for all of an hour one time and quit. Its fucking garbage on all accounts. Shame too because it had so much potential. If you're thinking of buying this game literally do ANYTHING else with your money and you'll have a better time. Fuck this trash.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)

I really enjoyed my time with this game well... all 3 hours of it. Never-the-less it was a fun peek at what MGS V is going to be. There have obviously been critics of Kojima and his use of Paz in the story and in general how fucking dark MGS V throws but I think I'm going to reserve final judgement until we see if this turns out to be Kojima's magnum opus or just a flash in the pan. I do however really enjoy the new mechanics. And if anyone has questions I'm sure @mooseymcman has the answers. Seriously, he's played this game more than is healthy for any one human being.

inFAMOUS Second Son (Ps4)

So, I hated the previous inFAMOUS games. Honestly, buying this was a combination of bordem and really wanting to see how pretty this game looked in person. I was surprised when I actually ended up really enjoying this game. The non-conventional nature of the origins of the powers were pretty fun especially the 3rd power. I don't think I'll ever play through the game a second time BUT I had fun and it was worth my $60.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS3)

Guys, I've come to the conclusion that I'll never finish FFX. I was all geared up for playing this and then well..... I just kind of quit playing? I dunno this game just feels old in a way that I can't get over. Especially the voice acting. Its bad. Just flat out bad. Granted, this is the first voiced Final Fantasy game and also the beginning of when Voice Overs in games were starting to become the standard. That however doesn't make it any easier to go back to. So, I guess I'll sort of just respect FFX for what it did for the PS2 and the JRPG genre and sort of leave it at that. Cause I can't see myself going back to this.

Mercenary Kings (PS4)

A fun little game by the same studio that did the Scott Pilgrim game. I can appreciate this game for being well made and for what it does but honestly its just not my cup of tea. It has some interesting hooks and bringing the borderlands gun-loot lust to Metal Slug game play is an interesting concept on paper however I just....kind of don't like playing it? I do however dig the art style.

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (PS3)

So, unsure if SEGA was bringing this game to North America I imported this game. Which is my first import game in a good long while. For reference the last import game I bought was Parasite EVE 2 on PSOne. Anyways, the game is much improved with new scratch note mechanics and songs and an overall stronger setlist I think Project Diva F 2nd will impress fans of the first game when SEGA does bring a localized version out here later this year.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4)

Boy, where do I begin with this one well... this game is my current crippling addiction and I haven't seriously played anything since I started playing the PS4 version? Yeah, that is a good start. Seriously though, the game is amazing and its gotten me back into the MMO scene for the first time since like 2007. Thanks to the Giantbomb Guild its made my time playing all the better. If any of you start playing look me up on Ultros "Musubi Azeyma"

Conception II Children of the Seven Stars (PS Vita)

Hey! Its a vita game! Yes, finally after years of not being convinced Vita was worth a damn I bought one and am finding tons of neat stuff to play on it. Including this. I'll be honest though haven't dug super deep into this one. I want to soon though but everything about this game seems absurd enough that I had to play it.

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F (PS Vita)

Yet another Vita game. And while this game was originally brought out in japan in 2012 it was just finally released as a digital download on the PSN store earlier this year. Even with already having the PS3 version this was a no-brainer buy for me as having this game on the go is awesome. The only thing different from the PS3 version is some of the songs are DLC which sucks cause they are among my favorite songs from the game (Sweet Devil, Tokyo Teddy Bear, Tell Your World) the other thing is that you swipe the screen for the scratch notes instead of flicking the sticks like you do on the PS3 version of the game which was an interesting change for me to adapt to. Love it all the same though. More miku is always appreciated!

Stick it to the Man (PS4)

Yet another game in a long list of games from the "Yo, you know all these hot indie games you played in 2013? Yeah, here is a PS4 version" club this was a PS+ game and I figured I'd at least check it out. Watching Jeff and company play it on Unpro Fridays kind of bored me but actually getting hands on the game is actually decent fun! Some of the puzzle solutions are pretty silly and the fact that it is puzzle oriented instead of just being a combat platformer has kept my interest in the game way longer than it would have otherwise. It works really well on PS Vita remote play too!

Transistor (PS4)

So, I'll be honest here I've only played an hour of this game. Blame FFXIV for that.... I do however REALLY like what I played however. I even went and threw SuperGiantGames an extra 10 bones and bought the soundtrack. Which hilariously enough I've been listening to a lot while playing.... FFXIV. Good game though and I will have to go back and try to finish it soon. SuperGiant Games are a stupidly talented studio. I can't wait to see what they roll out next.

Monster Monpiece (PS Vita)

If you bypass the obvious low hanging masturbatory and anime boob jokes here you'll actually find what is a low budget yet pretty solid card battling game. I've played the game for about 2-3 hours so far and I've enjoyed what I've played thus far. If you can get past all the aesthetic elements of the monster girls and the "rubbing" mechanic I think you'll find a game which is actually pretty fun and at $30 its not going to break the bank either. Can't wait to play more.

2014 The rest of the year! My Hype list.

These are in no particular order:

Akiba's Trip 2

Sort of surprised they are localizing this. However, I think it might be a fun distraction. One of the coolest things is how insanely detailed they model Japan's akihabara district. You beat up vampires (male and female just so everyone is aware) and strip their clothes off. Seems silly and worth supporting something dumb like this.

Senran Kagura : Shinovi Versus

In a near stagnant Vita release schedule Senran Kagura is one of the few standouts. I've had it described as "playing like Dissida Final Fantasy" to me so hey I figured I'd give this a whirl and see if its worth a damn.

Destiny

Relax folks its not all anime boobs up in here. I have room for some space marines. Well, okay I have no idea if space marines is an apropos description here but honestly I don't know much about this game period. Regardless, what I have seen looks damn impressive and while I lament Bungie not talking their talents in another direction other than sci-fi this game looks to be pretty amazing regardless.

Dragon Age Inquisition

If any game has the potential to break me away from FFXIV long enough to invest my time into another game its Dragon Age. Origins is among my favorite games ever. And while I didn't hate Dragon Age 2 as much as others did it sure didn't live up to the potential of the first game. I'm really hoping Bioware has learned from past mistakes with this release.

WWE 2k15

Look, the fucking get me every goddamn year. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn't buying this. Seriously, I've played every goddamn WWE game since like the first Smackdown. Its a disease. We know absolutely nothing about the game yet but like I said... they get me every year. But hey, as long as I can create Hatsune Miku and piledrive people through tables with her I'll be satisfied on at least some level.

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Year in Review 2014 Pt1 January - June

Hello lovers and friends! Well, its almost June which will mark two things E3 and the second half of the year. So, as we gear up to find out just exactly what we will be playing the second half of the year I figured I would review what I've already played so far this year. Take note this isn't EVERYTHING I've played just simply 2014 releases and this does include *some* re-releases as you'll see but everything listed here released in 2014. I'm just going to list them in the chronological order that I've played them.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (Ps4)

Ah, Tomb Raider. A game I did play in 2013 and readily enjoyed it just barely missed my 2013 best of list. While this game is way more Uncharted than classic Tomb Raider I think it actually does Uncharted better than Uncharted does. All the little things in this game add up to really make an excellent game and playing on the PS4 1080p at 60fps was a great treat to start out the year.

Don't Starve (PS4)

The first release of the year on PS+ for the PS4 in 2014 this is a game which I also own on PC which funnily enough I didn't pay any money out of pocket to buy on there either (bought it all with money from selling steam trading cards). Its a fun enough game but honestly, I'm terrible at it and that probably hampers my enthusiasm for it. Although playing this version I did get further than i ever did on the PC version so...hey that is something right?

Outlast (PS4)

Yet another PS4 PS+ release this is one of the best horror games I've played in quite some time. I was actually pretty terrified to the point of having several false attempts at starting the game. So while that didn't last through the entire game and the scares sort of lost their edge through the rest of the game the world building and environments are some of the best I've seen in a horror game. I know a lot of people didn't like the latter half of the game but I found parts of that interesting as well. The story to me at least isn't as bad as some people are saying it is. I mean, horror plots in general are pretty bad and at least this one has some extensive lore backing everything up. Well worth playing if you already haven't I think I might get that whistleblower DLC very soon.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)

So, I really really like this game you guys. Yeah, I know a large chunk of you could care less about the XIII series and think Final Fantasy is a shade of its former self. I however adored every single moment I spent with this game. Its the culmination of investing in these characters for the past 4 years and it paid off in spades. To be able to see everything wrap up like it did was frankly heartwarming. Which, is probably a really saccharine thing to say about the game but its how I felt. The combat was as great as ever playing on the same mechanics of the last two games in a slightly different variation. The best thing about the combat was how you could approach scenarios. I talked to @hailinel on twitter a lot while playing this and our approaches to a lot of the fights were entirely different which was super cool that the game didn't really box you into one strategy being the be-all-end-all.

Oh, and did I mention outfits? CAUSE OUTFITS YOU GUYS. So many. Outfits. I've always enjoyed dressing up characters and boy does Lightning Returns have options. I just want more games that adopt a dress mechanic of some sort it amuses me to no end.

Dark Souls II (PS3)

You Died. Familiar words for anyone who has played a game in the Souls series. Fantastic game from top to bottom I know a lot of people took issues with things like the game feeling very patchwork as far as level design goes but honestly being someone who never was in the game for lore just the straight up PLAYING of the game was way more satisfying than the previous game in the series. After 200 hours I managed to Platinum the game. Every second spent with this game was well spent. Going to be a front runner for me at the end of the year.

Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition (PS4)

Not much to say about this one... spent about all of like two hours with it? Mediocre game. Glad it was free on PS+ although the one cool thing is its tie-ins with twitch streaming. Bringing an interactive element to the game is a neat idea shame though that the rest of the game is so forgettable.

Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z (PS3)

There are a few things about me when you get to know me that you'll instantly know about me. One is that my favorite game of all time is Ninja Gaiden Black and I'm in general a huge mark for Team Ninja stuff. That being said I played this game for all of an hour one time and quit. Its fucking garbage on all accounts. Shame too because it had so much potential. If you're thinking of buying this game literally do ANYTHING else with your money and you'll have a better time. Fuck this trash.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4)

I really enjoyed my time with this game well... all 3 hours of it. Never-the-less it was a fun peek at what MGS V is going to be. There have obviously been critics of Kojima and his use of Paz in the story and in general how fucking dark MGS V throws but I think I'm going to reserve final judgement until we see if this turns out to be Kojima's magnum opus or just a flash in the pan. I do however really enjoy the new mechanics. And if anyone has questions I'm sure @mooseymcman has the answers. Seriously, he's played this game more than is healthy for any one human being.

inFAMOUS Second Son (Ps4)

So, I hated the previous inFAMOUS games. Honestly, buying this was a combination of bordem and really wanting to see how pretty this game looked in person. I was surprised when I actually ended up really enjoying this game. The non-conventional nature of the origins of the powers were pretty fun especially the 3rd power. I don't think I'll ever play through the game a second time BUT I had fun and it was worth my $60.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS3)

Guys, I've come to the conclusion that I'll never finish FFX. I was all geared up for playing this and then well..... I just kind of quit playing? I dunno this game just feels old in a way that I can't get over. Especially the voice acting. Its bad. Just flat out bad. Granted, this is the first voiced Final Fantasy game and also the beginning of when Voice Overs in games were starting to become the standard. That however doesn't make it any easier to go back to. So, I guess I'll sort of just respect FFX for what it did for the PS2 and the JRPG genre and sort of leave it at that. Cause I can't see myself going back to this.

Mercenary Kings (PS4)

A fun little game by the same studio that did the Scott Pilgrim game. I can appreciate this game for being well made and for what it does but honestly its just not my cup of tea. It has some interesting hooks and bringing the borderlands gun-loot lust to Metal Slug game play is an interesting concept on paper however I just....kind of don't like playing it? I do however dig the art style.

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (PS3)

So, unsure if SEGA was bringing this game to North America I imported this game. Which is my first import game in a good long while. For reference the last import game I bought was Parasite EVE 2 on PSOne. Anyways, the game is much improved with new scratch note mechanics and songs and an overall stronger setlist I think Project Diva F 2nd will impress fans of the first game when SEGA does bring a localized version out here later this year.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4)

Boy, where do I begin with this one well... this game is my current crippling addiction and I haven't seriously played anything since I started playing the PS4 version? Yeah, that is a good start. Seriously though, the game is amazing and its gotten me back into the MMO scene for the first time since like 2007. Thanks to the Giantbomb Guild its made my time playing all the better. If any of you start playing look me up on Ultros "Musubi Azeyma"

Conception II Children of the Seven Stars (PS Vita)

Hey! Its a vita game! Yes, finally after years of not being convinced Vita was worth a damn I bought one and am finding tons of neat stuff to play on it. Including this. I'll be honest though haven't dug super deep into this one. I want to soon though but everything about this game seems absurd enough that I had to play it.

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F (PS Vita)

Yet another Vita game. And while this game was originally brought out in japan in 2012 it was just finally released as a digital download on the PSN store earlier this year. Even with already having the PS3 version this was a no-brainer buy for me as having this game on the go is awesome. The only thing different from the PS3 version is some of the songs are DLC which sucks cause they are among my favorite songs from the game (Sweet Devil, Tokyo Teddy Bear, Tell Your World) the other thing is that you swipe the screen for the scratch notes instead of flicking the sticks like you do on the PS3 version of the game which was an interesting change for me to adapt to. Love it all the same though. More miku is always appreciated!

Stick it to the Man (PS4)

Yet another game in a long list of games from the "Yo, you know all these hot indie games you played in 2013? Yeah, here is a PS4 version" club this was a PS+ game and I figured I'd at least check it out. Watching Jeff and company play it on Unpro Fridays kind of bored me but actually getting hands on the game is actually decent fun! Some of the puzzle solutions are pretty silly and the fact that it is puzzle oriented instead of just being a combat platformer has kept my interest in the game way longer than it would have otherwise. It works really well on PS Vita remote play too!

Transistor (PS4)

So, I'll be honest here I've only played an hour of this game. Blame FFXIV for that.... I do however REALLY like what I played however. I even went and threw SuperGiantGames an extra 10 bones and bought the soundtrack. Which hilariously enough I've been listening to a lot while playing.... FFXIV. Good game though and I will have to go back and try to finish it soon. SuperGiant Games are a stupidly talented studio. I can't wait to see what they roll out next.

Monster Monpiece (PS Vita)

If you bypass the obvious low hanging masturbatory and anime boob jokes here you'll actually find what is a low budget yet pretty solid card battling game. I've played the game for about 2-3 hours so far and I've enjoyed what I've played thus far. If you can get past all the aesthetic elements of the monster girls and the "rubbing" mechanic I think you'll find a game which is actually pretty fun and at $30 its not going to break the bank either. Can't wait to play more.

2014 The rest of the year! My Hype list.

These are in no particular order:

Akiba's Trip 2

Sort of surprised they are localizing this. However, I think it might be a fun distraction. One of the coolest things is how insanely detailed they model Japan's akihabara district. You beat up vampires (male and female just so everyone is aware) and strip their clothes off. Seems silly and worth supporting something dumb like this.

Senran Kagura : Shinovi Versus

In a near stagnant Vita release schedule Senran Kagura is one of the few standouts. I've had it described as "playing like Dissida Final Fantasy" to me so hey I figured I'd give this a whirl and see if its worth a damn.

Destiny

Relax folks its not all anime boobs up in here. I have room for some space marines. Well, okay I have no idea if space marines is an apropos description here but honestly I don't know much about this game period. Regardless, what I have seen looks damn impressive and while I lament Bungie not talking their talents in another direction other than sci-fi this game looks to be pretty amazing regardless.

Dragon Age Inquisition

If any game has the potential to break me away from FFXIV long enough to invest my time into another game its Dragon Age. Origins is among my favorite games ever. And while I didn't hate Dragon Age 2 as much as others did it sure didn't live up to the potential of the first game. I'm really hoping Bioware has learned from past mistakes with this release.

WWE 2k15

Look, the fucking get me every goddamn year. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn't buying this. Seriously, I've played every goddamn WWE game since like the first Smackdown. Its a disease. We know absolutely nothing about the game yet but like I said... they get me every year. But hey, as long as I can create Hatsune Miku and piledrive people through tables with her I'll be satisfied on at least some level.

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30 Days Addicted to Final Fantasy XIV

* Note to the Mods: I tried posting this in the proper forum but the site search refused to work.

Damn it they got me again. Last year when I saw Squarenix relaunch their troubled MMO Final Fantasy XIV I was awestruck at the amount of positive praise the game was getting from both the press and the fans. I even had one of my friends yammering to me for months about how he was excited for it. I thought it looked cool but I had sworn off MMO's. The last I had played was oddly enough Final Fantasy XI. I played it for about two years and had a ton of fun. Eventually though my time with it came to and end. Its no secret to anyone who reads any of my posts that I'm a huge Final Fantasy mark.

Hanging out at the Giantbomb Free Company House.

So when I saw XIV and subsequently heard the praise it was getting part of me really really yearned for that same experience again. Like a drug dealer all it took was for Square to give me the first hit free. Back in February they launched a four day beta period over a weekend where any PS4 user who wanted could try the PS4 beta. I was instantly hooked again. So I took the final steps and bought a retail copy at the beginning of April upon the PS4 launch.Its now been 30days and my trial period has ended and I've paid my first 14.99. Its also been the only thing I've touched all month.

So what hooked me again? Well, for starters FFXIV is an absolutely gorgeous game. It looks and performs incredible on PS4. The only noticeable slowdown was in the city Mor Dhona which is a late game area so naturally it attracts a lot of high level players. The other really noticeable thing for me was the battle system or rather how GOOD it felt on a controller. You can clearly tell the game was designed around a controller and it does it really well.

The final thing that really has gotten me excited is the community. Now let's be clear, there are the fair number of jerks you will run into. The Giantbomb Free Company (what FFIXV calls guilds) has welcomed me with open arms....furry cat-girl arms. Seriously though they've been great and I don't know everyone's GB names or how many of you actually post on the forums but thanks guys! Almost any time I've needed help with a dungeon people have been there to help me out. And they've been patient with me as I get up to speed and learn how to properly fill my role as a Black Mage in the dungeons.

This game has some fun mounts like a Goobbue!

It also helps that so much of XIV basically feels like a modern XI and is just in general full to the brim of FF series fan service. From Magitek to Moogles its all there. They even recently added Diablos as a boss and he looks almost exactly like he did in FFVIII! So then, what have I done in my 30 days? Well plenty! First off I managed to finish the story. The main scenario is about 256 quests long and actually tells a simple yet fairly compelling tale. It even has a few twists! And better yet it actually got me to pay attention to it since a lot of the characters are actually kind of memorable. I actually really enjoyed my time with it.

Along the way though I managed to level my Black Mage job to level 50. Which this marks the first time ever that I've maxed levels in a MMO. Oh, I guess I should also mention the Thaumaturge guild (the prerequisite to black Mage) was pretty great as well. I've also messed around with being a Botanist and a Weaver both which are non-combat crafting classes a little bit. I'm eyeballing furthering my Conjurer who is the starting healing class into a lvl. 50 White Mage but for now the scramble like all end game content in MMO's is for gear.

Mid-cutscene with my gal Musubi Azeyma along with FC members Mirri Midori and Cyrus Borg
FFXIV isn't afraid of puns and referencing modern pop-culture.

So, I've been doing a lot of farming for Allagan Tomestones of Mythology and Allagan Tomestones of Soildery both of which are the currency used to buy high level end game i90 and i100 gear. Doing so requires running dungeons quite a lot so I figured that I'd pick out a few of my favorite Dungeons and Trials and talk about them.

First up is The Wander's Palace this is a dungeon filled with everyone's favorite knife and lantern wielding bad-asses Tonberries. It has some fun and awesome looking architecture as well as getting to finally fight Tonberries was a real treat. It has some fun bosses and mechanics as well. Early on there is an unstoppable giant tonberry that is hunting you down and you must outrun him as quickly as possible. This is usually done by the tank pulling a fair share of the mobs a good distance before killing the entire group. The 2nd boss "Giant Bavaoris" is a giant slime looking creature who will summon smaller versions of himself that will heal him. DPS is a crucial part of this fight and downing him requires some fairly quick thinking to keep pressure on him and take him down. The last fight of course is the Tonberry King who while not that difficult is a fun fight for anyone who is a longtime fan of the series. I recorded my first encounter with him the other night. Yay PS4 video exporting!

I've talked about a Dungeon now lets talk for a second about my favorite Trial in the game. Trials are usually the huge set-piece bosses of the games requiring for the hard and extreme versions full parties of 8 people. Most of the Trials are revolved around known names from Final Fantasies past like Ifrit, Titan , Leviathan or my current favorite Garuda. First off flat out Garuda's music is the most bad-ass music in the game hands down. Nothing remotely touches it and that is saying something considering FFXIV has a killer soundtrack with ton of good tunes on it.

The boss fight is mostly straight forward on normal difficulty but when you play on hard or extreme things get amped up when you have to start dealing with garuda clones halfway through the fight. Failure to kill the additional enemies will result in the entire fight going sideways quickly. Also, Garuda is just the perfect kind of psychotic and really makes her seem like a legitimate bad-ass.

One of the more complex fights in the game is the recently added Diablos who I mentioned earlier. He despite taking the longest of any boss for me to beat is still one of my favorites. The big catch in this fight is walking in you'll see several doors around the circular arena with different symbols. Some of them match in pairs and about ten seconds after the fight starts the symbols disappear. This is extremely important because you need to memorize what doors are what. At various points through the fight diablos will cast an extremely brutal AoE attack that is capable of killing pretty much guaranteed 100% to everyone but the beefiest of tanks. Its an instant game over and the only way to avoid it is to time opening to of the same doors which temporarily sucks your party into a void in one door and spits you out of the other allowing you to dodge it.

Hi there Ultima Weapon

So here I am 30 days in and I feel like the adventure is just beginning with more promised content updates in the future and a fresh influx of players from the PS4 launch there has never been a better time to get into XIV. And man am I looking forward to continuing playing. There are few games that capture my attention quite like Final Fantasy games and this one is no exception. I'm kind of glad I never ventured into trying the 1.0 version of this game as it sounded as dreadful as everyone was making it out to be. They have really seemed to nail everything with this game though. And the Giantbomb Free Company still has plenty of room left (I think) so if you decide to play make a character on Ultros and join up with us! I'd be totally down with helping fellow FC members out with whatever tasks I can. I just really wanted to write SOMETHING about this game and a review felt stupid and pointless since the game is constantly changing so I hope that if you actually read all this drivel you might give the game a chance or if you used to play sign back up and join us on Ultros!

See you next time!

10 Comments

30 Days Addicted to Final Fantasy XIV

Damn it they got me again. Last year when I saw Squarenix relaunch their troubled MMO Final Fantasy XIV I was awestruck at the amount of positive praise the game was getting from both the press and the fans. I even had one of my friends yammering to me for months about how he was excited for it. I thought it looked cool but I had sworn off MMO's. The last I had played was oddly enough Final Fantasy XI. I played it for about two years and had a ton of fun. Eventually though my time with it came to and end. Its no secret to anyone who reads any of my posts that I'm a huge Final Fantasy mark.

Hanging out at the Giantbomb Free Company House.

So when I saw XIV and subsequently heard the praise it was getting part of me really really yearned for that same experience again. Like a drug dealer all it took was for Square to give me the first hit free. Back in February they launched a four day beta period over a weekend where any PS4 user who wanted could try the PS4 beta. I was instantly hooked again. So I took the final steps and bought a retail copy at the beginning of April upon the PS4 launch.Its now been 30days and my trial period has ended and I've paid my first 14.99. Its also been the only thing I've touched all month.

So what hooked me again? Well, for starters FFXIV is an absolutely gorgeous game. It looks and performs incredible on PS4. The only noticeable slowdown was in the city Mor Dhona which is a late game area so naturally it attracts a lot of high level players. The other really noticeable thing for me was the battle system or rather how GOOD it felt on a controller. You can clearly tell the game was designed around a controller and it does it really well.

The final thing that really has gotten me excited is the community. Now let's be clear, there are the fair number of jerks you will run into. The Giantbomb Free Company (what FFIXV calls guilds) has welcomed me with open arms....furry cat-girl arms. Seriously though they've been great and I don't know everyone's GB names or how many of you actually post on the forums but thanks guys! Almost any time I've needed help with a dungeon people have been there to help me out. And they've been patient with me as I get up to speed and learn how to properly fill my role as a Black Mage in the dungeons.

This game has some fun mounts like a Goobbue!

It also helps that so much of XIV basically feels like a modern XI and is just in general full to the brim of FF series fan service. From Magitek to Moogles its all there. They even recently added Diablos as a boss and he looks almost exactly like he did in FFVIII! So then, what have I done in my 30 days? Well plenty! First off I managed to finish the story. The main scenario is about 256 quests long and actually tells a simple yet fairly compelling tale. It even has a few twists! And better yet it actually got me to pay attention to it since a lot of the characters are actually kind of memorable. I actually really enjoyed my time with it.

Along the way though I managed to level my Black Mage job to level 50. Which this marks the first time ever that I've maxed levels in a MMO. Oh, I guess I should also mention the Thaumaturge guild (the prerequisite to black Mage) was pretty great as well. I've also messed around with being a Botanist and a Weaver both which are non-combat crafting classes a little bit. I'm eyeballing furthering my Conjurer who is the starting healing class into a lvl. 50 White Mage but for now the scramble like all end game content in MMO's is for gear.

Mid-cutscene with my gal Musubi Azeyma along with FC members Mirri Midori and Cyrus Borg
FFXIV isn't afraid of puns and referencing modern pop-culture.

So, I've been doing a lot of farming for Allagan Tomestones of Mythology and Allagan Tomestones of Soildery both of which are the currency used to buy high level end game i90 and i100 gear. Doing so requires running dungeons quite a lot so I figured that I'd pick out a few of my favorite Dungeons and Trials and talk about them.

First up is The Wander's Palace this is a dungeon filled with everyone's favorite knife and lantern wielding bad-asses Tonberries. It has some fun and awesome looking architecture as well as getting to finally fight Tonberries was a real treat. It has some fun bosses and mechanics as well. Early on there is an unstoppable giant tonberry that is hunting you down and you must outrun him as quickly as possible. This is usually done by the tank pulling a fair share of the mobs a good distance before killing the entire group. The 2nd boss "Giant Bavaoris" is a giant slime looking creature who will summon smaller versions of himself that will heal him. DPS is a crucial part of this fight and downing him requires some fairly quick thinking to keep pressure on him and take him down. The last fight of course is the Tonberry King who while not that difficult is a fun fight for anyone who is a longtime fan of the series. I recorded my first encounter with him the other night. Yay PS4 video exporting!

I've talked about a Dungeon now lets talk for a second about my favorite Trial in the game. Trials are usually the huge set-piece bosses of the games requiring for the hard and extreme versions full parties of 8 people. Most of the Trials are revolved around known names from Final Fantasies past like Ifrit, Titan , Leviathan or my current favorite Garuda. First off flat out Garuda's music is the most bad-ass music in the game hands down. Nothing remotely touches it and that is saying something considering FFXIV has a killer soundtrack with ton of good tunes on it.

The boss fight is mostly straight forward on normal difficulty but when you play on hard or extreme things get amped up when you have to start dealing with garuda clones halfway through the fight. Failure to kill the additional enemies will result in the entire fight going sideways quickly. Also, Garuda is just the perfect kind of psychotic and really makes her seem like a legitimate bad-ass.

One of the more complex fights in the game is the recently added Diablos who I mentioned earlier. He despite taking the longest of any boss for me to beat is still one of my favorites. The big catch in this fight is walking in you'll see several doors around the circular arena with different symbols. Some of them match in pairs and about ten seconds after the fight starts the symbols disappear. This is extremely important because you need to memorize what doors are what. At various points through the fight diablos will cast an extremely brutal AoE attack that is capable of killing pretty much guaranteed 100% to everyone but the beefiest of tanks. Its an instant game over and the only way to avoid it is to time opening to of the same doors which temporarily sucks your party into a void in one door and spits you out of the other allowing you to dodge it.

Hi there Ultima Weapon

So here I am 30 days in and I feel like the adventure is just beginning with more promised content updates in the future and a fresh influx of players from the PS4 launch there has never been a better time to get into XIV. And man am I looking forward to continuing playing. There are few games that capture my attention quite like Final Fantasy games and this one is no exception. I'm kind of glad I never ventured into trying the 1.0 version of this game as it sounded as dreadful as everyone was making it out to be. They have really seemed to nail everything with this game though. And the Giantbomb Free Company still has plenty of room left (I think) so if you decide to play make a character on Ultros and join up with us! I'd be totally down with helping fellow FC members out with whatever tasks I can. I just really wanted to write SOMETHING about this game and a review felt stupid and pointless since the game is constantly changing so I hope that if you actually read all this drivel you might give the game a chance or if you used to play sign back up and join us on Ultros!

See you next time!

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30 Days Addicted to Final Fantasy XIV

Damn it they got me again. Last year when I saw Squarenix relaunch their troubled MMO Final Fantasy XIV I was awestruck at the amount of positive praise the game was getting from both the press and the fans. I even had one of my friends yammering to me for months about how he was excited for it. I thought it looked cool but I had sworn off MMO's. The last I had played was oddly enough Final Fantasy XI. I played it for about two years and had a ton of fun. Eventually though my time with it came to and end. Its no secret to anyone who reads any of my posts that I'm a huge Final Fantasy mark.

Hanging out at the Giantbomb Free Company House.

So when I saw XIV and subsequently heard the praise it was getting part of me really really yearned for that same experience again. Like a drug dealer all it took was for Square to give me the first hit free. Back in February they launched a four day beta period over a weekend where any PS4 user who wanted could try the PS4 beta. I was instantly hooked again. So I took the final steps and bought a retail copy at the beginning of April upon the PS4 launch.Its now been 30days and my trial period has ended and I've paid my first 14.99. Its also been the only thing I've touched all month.

So what hooked me again? Well, for starters FFXIV is an absolutely gorgeous game. It looks and performs incredible on PS4. The only noticeable slowdown was in the city Mor Dhona which is a late game area so naturally it attracts a lot of high level players. The other really noticeable thing for me was the battle system or rather how GOOD it felt on a controller. You can clearly tell the game was designed around a controller and it does it really well.

The final thing that really has gotten me excited is the community. Now let's be clear, there are the fair number of jerks you will run into. The Giantbomb Free Company (what FFIXV calls guilds) has welcomed me with open arms....furry cat-girl arms. Seriously though they've been great and I don't know everyone's GB names or how many of you actually post on the forums but thanks guys! Almost any time I've needed help with a dungeon people have been there to help me out. And they've been patient with me as I get up to speed and learn how to properly fill my role as a Black Mage in the dungeons.

This game has some fun mounts like a Goobbue!

It also helps that so much of XIV basically feels like a modern XI and is just in general full to the brim of FF series fan service. From Magitek to Moogles its all there. They even recently added Diablos as a boss and he looks almost exactly like he did in FFVIII! So then, what have I done in my 30 days? Well plenty! First off I managed to finish the story. The main scenario is about 256 quests long and actually tells a simple yet fairly compelling tale. It even has a few twists! And better yet it actually got me to pay attention to it since a lot of the characters are actually kind of memorable. I actually really enjoyed my time with it.

Along the way though I managed to level my Black Mage job to level 50. Which this marks the first time ever that I've maxed levels in a MMO. Oh, I guess I should also mention the Thaumaturge guild (the prerequisite to black Mage) was pretty great as well. I've also messed around with being a Botanist and a Weaver both which are non-combat crafting classes a little bit. I'm eyeballing furthering my Conjurer who is the starting healing class into a lvl. 50 White Mage but for now the scramble like all end game content in MMO's is for gear.

Mid-cutscene with my gal Musubi Azeyma along with FC members Mirri Midori and Cyrus Borg
FFXIV isn't afraid of puns and referencing modern pop-culture.

So, I've been doing a lot of farming for Allagan Tomestones of Mythology and Allagan Tomestones of Soildery both of which are the currency used to buy high level end game i90 and i100 gear. Doing so requires running dungeons quite a lot so I figured that I'd pick out a few of my favorite Dungeons and Trials and talk about them.

First up is The Wander's Palace this is a dungeon filled with everyone's favorite knife and lantern wielding bad-asses Tonberries. It has some fun and awesome looking architecture as well as getting to finally fight Tonberries was a real treat. It has some fun bosses and mechanics as well. Early on there is an unstoppable giant tonberry that is hunting you down and you must outrun him as quickly as possible. This is usually done by the tank pulling a fair share of the mobs a good distance before killing the entire group. The 2nd boss "Giant Bavaoris" is a giant slime looking creature who will summon smaller versions of himself that will heal him. DPS is a crucial part of this fight and downing him requires some fairly quick thinking to keep pressure on him and take him down. The last fight of course is the Tonberry King who while not that difficult is a fun fight for anyone who is a longtime fan of the series. I recorded my first encounter with him the other night. Yay PS4 video exporting!

I've talked about a Dungeon now lets talk for a second about my favorite Trial in the game. Trials are usually the huge set-piece bosses of the games requiring for the hard and extreme versions full parties of 8 people. Most of the Trials are revolved around known names from Final Fantasies past like Ifrit, Titan , Leviathan or my current favorite Garuda. First off flat out Garuda's music is the most bad-ass music in the game hands down. Nothing remotely touches it and that is saying something considering FFXIV has a killer soundtrack with ton of good tunes on it.

The boss fight is mostly straight forward on normal difficulty but when you play on hard or extreme things get amped up when you have to start dealing with garuda clones halfway through the fight. Failure to kill the additional enemies will result in the entire fight going sideways quickly. Also, Garuda is just the perfect kind of psychotic and really makes her seem like a legitimate bad-ass.

One of the more complex fights in the game is the recently added Diablos who I mentioned earlier. He despite taking the longest of any boss for me to beat is still one of my favorites. The big catch in this fight is walking in you'll see several doors around the circular arena with different symbols. Some of them match in pairs and about ten seconds after the fight starts the symbols disappear. This is extremely important because you need to memorize what doors are what. At various points through the fight diablos will cast an extremely brutal AoE attack that is capable of killing pretty much guaranteed 100% to everyone but the beefiest of tanks. Its an instant game over and the only way to avoid it is to time opening to of the same doors which temporarily sucks your party into a void in one door and spits you out of the other allowing you to dodge it.

Hi there Ultima Weapon

So here I am 30 days in and I feel like the adventure is just beginning with more promised content updates in the future and a fresh influx of players from the PS4 launch there has never been a better time to get into XIV. And man am I looking forward to continuing playing. There are few games that capture my attention quite like Final Fantasy games and this one is no exception. I'm kind of glad I never ventured into trying the 1.0 version of this game as it sounded as dreadful as everyone was making it out to be. They have really seemed to nail everything with this game though. And the Giantbomb Free Company still has plenty of room left (I think) so if you decide to play make a character on Ultros and join up with us! I'd be totally down with helping fellow FC members out with whatever tasks I can. I just really wanted to write SOMETHING about this game and a review felt stupid and pointless since the game is constantly changing so I hope that if you actually read all this drivel you might give the game a chance or if you used to play sign back up and join us on Ultros!

See you next time!

Start the Conversation

So I went artRAVE'ing last night.

Well last night I got to see my two favorite pop stars in one place. Last night was Lady Gaga's artRAVE show in Pittsburgh and it was a fantastic show. Now of course Gaga didn't come alone she had an opening act which was none other than Hatsune Miku. Sadly I missed like two possibly three songs Miku did because like a bunch of dumb-asses driving up we missed our exit and had to back track to the arena.

I did get to hear hear Miku preform about 3-4 songs including closing with one of my favorite songs of hers "Tell Your World". so that was pretty great. Next up was Lady Neptune who is a DJ and also one of Gaga's personal friends. She played a pretty good set although gonna be honest here the anticipation for Gaga at that point was high so I don't think the crowd was that into it. Still, she makes some pretty cool music.

Gaga was finally on and this is what the setlist looked like:

Video Intro

Band "Art Pop" Intro

"Art Pop"

Greetings Himeros

"G.U.Y."

"Donatella"

Fashion Intro

"Fashion!"

---

(Venus Intro)

"Venus"

"Manicure"

"Cake Like Lady Gaga"

---

"Just Dance"

"Poker Face"

"Telephone"

---

(Partynauceous)

Brief Ambient Music

"Paparazzi"

"Do What U Want"

"Born This Way"

---

(Jewels & Drugs)

"Aura"

LG will talk before "Sexxx Dreams"

"Sexxx Dreams"

MJ Intro

"Mary Jane Holland"

"Alejandro"

---

(Ratchet)

"Bad Romance"

"Applause"

"Swine"

---

"Gypsy"

Quite a setlist spanning all four of her albums. The one song you might not reconise on that list is "Partynauceous" which is a new song that she is debuting at artRAVE. She's also recently said there might just be an Artpop vol 2 coming out soon as well so I expect that song to be on there if so.Anyways the stage was pretty crazy and it was really less of a stage and more a series of interconnected catwalks.

I've got some (mostly crappy) pictures I took with my sub-par camera phone last night. Sort of wish i bought a proper camera although the crazy lighting setup made it hard to actually take pictures regardless because it definitely lived up to the RAVE part of the show.

Right before she preformed "Bad Romance" she walked to the main portion of the stage where they had this sort of weird translucent coffin prop and said "Everyone always wonders how I change into my costumes so fast...so we're going to show you." Her stylists then came out and she stripped down to just pasties and a thong on stage as her crew put the next costume on her. I'd post pictures of that but uh... I'm not sure I CAN without getting modded. Photos of the change are easily enough to find if you google them.

Speaking of costumes, she had PLENTY of them my favorite being a blue octopus costume complete with a tentacle headdress and skirt. (not my pictures here BTW)

The night ended with Gaga performing "Gypsy" (secret best song on Artpop even though Applause is getting the biggest push) in a beautiful long white dress as the large screen in the back panned around the arena showing off all the fans on the screen. It was a fantastic show. If you even remotely like Lady Gaga and she is coming close to you totally worth your money. Oh I should also mention for you K-pop fans the second half of the tour Miku is getting replaced by Crayon Pop. Which if you haven't heard of them you really really should. They are adorable. It was tons of fun and I'm for sure going to see her next time she comes near me!

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Piano Wire and .45's a trip down memory lane with Agent 47

Intro

Hello everyone!

So last time around March I did a feature all of March I called "Metal Gear March" in which coming freshly off of playing Metal Gear Rising I went through the entire Metal Gear Solid game lineup from MGS1 - Peace Walker. Well, its early in the year again and besides picking up Tomb Raider next week I've got a few weeks to kill with nothing on the horizon. I also well... bought every Hitman game on steam the other day?

So after clicking the purchase button I sat there and pondered. Would these games just sit in my steam library doomed to never be played like the majority of my other games? Around the same time I've been starting recording my Spelunky Daily runs and uploading them to YouTube. So, two and two game together in my head and I figured that for fun I'd record me stumbling my way through the games.

First up is Codename 47 the very first game in the series and the only one that I've never played. As of this writing I've done two play sessions and recorded them. Now why am I posting this here?

For a few reasons namely by putting this out in public now I've kind of put the fire to my feet to actually go through with this and go through all five games. And if any of you care to actually watch me stumble through these games well you're welcome to come along for the ride.

As I post new episodes I'll try to throw out a quick synopsis or highlights of that days run. I'll also post my overall feelings about each game as I beat them. I probably won't do this every single day but considering I've been having fun with this you can more than likely expect 2-3 a week. Below I'll be making a grid separating the games and the episodes as I go along. Also, any feedback on the videos would be welcome as this is my first time really trying to commentate and play a game at the same time. But, you know don't be a jerk about it. Also I totally realize the first two episodes have weird aspect ratios and some of the screen is cut off. OBS wouldn't direct capture the game so I had to capture the window and for whatever reason it did that. Don't worry though I think I have that issue sorted out. Thanks guys.

Episodes

Hitman:Codename 47
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Episode 11
Hitman: Contracts
Episode 1
Episode 2
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