My Journey Down the Street Fighter Hole: Part 1

So EVO just happened recently. Fighting game hype was (is?) at its usual high. Coincidently SSF4AE was on sale (just about everywhere) for 15$.

As a bit of history, I've always really enjoyed fighting games. I don't know that I've ever been good at them or thrown myself into them seriously, but I've always enjoyed them. I've played a large number of fighting games; from Street Fighter to Guilty Gear to the Vs series (Marvel vs Capcom, Capcom vs SNK, X-Men vs Street Fighter, etc.), to Soul Calibur to Bloody Roar to Mortal Kombat. I've played a lot of different games but not necessarily ever dumped a whole lot of time into any specific game. Actually, the game series I've probably spent the most time playing was Guilty Gear. Anyway.

This was my jam back in the day, but I'm now trying a much slower paced Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition.

A stylish gentleman who takes it to you with good old fashioned fisticuffs, what's not to like? Apparently maybe a lot.

So with EVO having just happened I picked up SSF4E on steam for 15$. My goal here isn't just to play this game and enjoy it, but I want to actually dedicate some time to it. I don't expect or plan on getting seriously deep into the game or have any hopes of grandeur here, but I'd like to know what it's like to go down the rabbit hole of taking a fighting game seriously and trying to learn it on a genuinely competitive level.

I haven't really gotten into it yet. I'm taking it slow right now. What I have been doing is playing through arcade mode with different characters to try and gauge who it is that I may really enjoy playing. This started with me picking out characters who I just liked the look/character of.

I started with Dudley, he was a character I really enjoyed using in SF3. I quickly fell out of like with Dudley. I may go back to him now that I've warmed up my fighting game muscles a bit more, since I recognize that I was definitely rusty coming into this. In arcade though I realized I was having some serious problems using him. Characters with a zoning game were just wrecking me wholesale and I felt like I just was incapable of understanding the tools that Dudley had at his disposal and utilizing him as a character well.

From there I moved on to Oni. I feel I did fine enough with Oni and I could probably play him if I really wanted to, but the whole time I just kept thinking I'd rather be playing Akuma (I played a lot of Akuma in SF3 and got the Raging Demon down solid.) Oni also held the problem of feeling like there are so many other characters like him in the game that I don't know which of the many variants would be the right one for me and I didn't feel entirely like trudging through them all to try and pick up on subtle variances in them that I'm probably not actually ready to understand or commit to. That said, I still enjoy 'this style' of character, but I just feel like I want something more.

Then I moved onto E. Honda. I rocked arcade mode with E. Honda. He was the first character I felt competent with in arcade mode, I was understanding most of the tools he had at his disposal. Getting down some of his charge moves has been challenging. Base charge moves I'm not terrible at but I still find I screw them up too often (for the record right now I'm just using a plain old PS3 controller for playing. If I commit myself to this deep enough I'd definitely like to pick up a fighting stick, but, if I start playing online and find myself just absolutely hating the experience then I don't want to say that I dropped 100$+ on a fighting stick that I now have almost no use for.) Ultras were especially difficult for me to pull off - both the charge ultra and the double-half-circle ultra. Over all I found myself enjoying E. Honda a fair amount.

Not wanting to commit to a single character to early though I've continued looking at characters whose play style I may enjoy; after all, it is possible to find myself liking a handful of characters. So next in line was Seth. I've fought against him enough times at this point that I just wanted to see what it was like to use him. This was another character that I felt 'ok' on. I enjoyed him having relatively less in the way of difficult/annoying to perform moves, but as far as character design goes I just wasn't really feeling him. He's on the back burner for me, I think, as a character who I enjoyed playing but who I'm not overly excited about the idea of trying to play.

E. Honda worked pretty well for me and I found that the sumo style helped me blow through Arcade Mode easier than with any other character so far.

From there I moved on to Vega. For as much as I don't like charge moves I seem to find myself drawn to the characters who are almost entirely based around the idea of charge moves! What is wrong with me? Anyway. I enjoyed Vega. I think he was the first character who I really stopped relying on special attacks for. I could pull off his super fairly regularly (though I was still finding I was screwing it up at some times when I think I was just trying too hard to pull it off. Plus it seemed very easy for anyone with an anti-air attack to counter and too hard to set up without telegraphing it.) His Ultras I could never pull off for the life of me; either of them. I like his design, his reach, and all of that, but his normal special attacks seem fairly difficult to pull off in any meaningful way that doesn't just leave me open for punishment. So as much as I may have liked Vega, I think he may go on a back burner somewhere as a character I may look into just how to play him well, but with no hopes of ever being able to understand how to play him.

That's where I've left off. I don't know if I'll play through arcade mode with everyone just to be thorough or not, but there are certainly other characters who I'd like to try out just to see if any of them click with me.

I know I may not have been incredibly in depth about what it was that I liked or disliked about each of the characters, but, if anyone has any suggestions based on who I did and did not enjoy the play style of just in general, I'm open to whatever. Or if anyone thinks I'm going about this the wrong way, let me know. Or if there are any suggestions or anything for this potentially insane mission of mine to go down the fighting game path, let me know. I'm not really sure I know what it is I'm actually getting into here, and I know that finding strategies and stuff isn't too hard (and SRK is a good place to go to for guidance) but I'm open to as much help or info as I can get.

I'll be back maybe in a day or two, depending on how much time I have, with part 2 which will probably be a lot like part 1 unless I find myself brave enough to try some actual online play where I will undoubtedly get wrecked over and over and over again, trial by fire style.

3 Comments

My Journey Down the Street Fighter Hole: Part 1

So EVO just happened recently. Fighting game hype was (is?) at its usual high. Coincidently SSF4AE was on sale (just about everywhere) for 15$.

As a bit of history, I've always really enjoyed fighting games. I don't know that I've ever been good at them or thrown myself into them seriously, but I've always enjoyed them. I've played a large number of fighting games; from Street Fighter to Guilty Gear to the Vs series (Marvel vs Capcom, Capcom vs SNK, X-Men vs Street Fighter, etc.), to Soul Calibur to Bloody Roar to Mortal Kombat. I've played a lot of different games but not necessarily ever dumped a whole lot of time into any specific game. Actually, the game series I've probably spent the most time playing was Guilty Gear. Anyway.

This was my jam back in the day, but I'm now trying a much slower paced Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition.

A stylish gentleman who takes it to you with good old fashioned fisticuffs, what's not to like? Apparently maybe a lot.

So with EVO having just happened I picked up SSF4E on steam for 15$. My goal here isn't just to play this game and enjoy it, but I want to actually dedicate some time to it. I don't expect or plan on getting seriously deep into the game or have any hopes of grandeur here, but I'd like to know what it's like to go down the rabbit hole of taking a fighting game seriously and trying to learn it on a genuinely competitive level.

I haven't really gotten into it yet. I'm taking it slow right now. What I have been doing is playing through arcade mode with different characters to try and gauge who it is that I may really enjoy playing. This started with me picking out characters who I just liked the look/character of.

I started with Dudley, he was a character I really enjoyed using in SF3. I quickly fell out of like with Dudley. I may go back to him now that I've warmed up my fighting game muscles a bit more, since I recognize that I was definitely rusty coming into this. In arcade though I realized I was having some serious problems using him. Characters with a zoning game were just wrecking me wholesale and I felt like I just was incapable of understanding the tools that Dudley had at his disposal and utilizing him as a character well.

From there I moved on to Oni. I feel I did fine enough with Oni and I could probably play him if I really wanted to, but the whole time I just kept thinking I'd rather be playing Akuma (I played a lot of Akuma in SF3 and got the Raging Demon down solid.) Oni also held the problem of feeling like there are so many other characters like him in the game that I don't know which of the many variants would be the right one for me and I didn't feel entirely like trudging through them all to try and pick up on subtle variances in them that I'm probably not actually ready to understand or commit to. That said, I still enjoy 'this style' of character, but I just feel like I want something more.

Then I moved onto E. Honda. I rocked arcade mode with E. Honda. He was the first character I felt competent with in arcade mode, I was understanding most of the tools he had at his disposal. Getting down some of his charge moves has been challenging. Base charge moves I'm not terrible at but I still find I screw them up too often (for the record right now I'm just using a plain old PS3 controller for playing. If I commit myself to this deep enough I'd definitely like to pick up a fighting stick, but, if I start playing online and find myself just absolutely hating the experience then I don't want to say that I dropped 100$+ on a fighting stick that I now have almost no use for.) Ultras were especially difficult for me to pull off - both the charge ultra and the double-half-circle ultra. Over all I found myself enjoying E. Honda a fair amount.

Not wanting to commit to a single character to early though I've continued looking at characters whose play style I may enjoy; after all, it is possible to find myself liking a handful of characters. So next in line was Seth. I've fought against him enough times at this point that I just wanted to see what it was like to use him. This was another character that I felt 'ok' on. I enjoyed him having relatively less in the way of difficult/annoying to perform moves, but as far as character design goes I just wasn't really feeling him. He's on the back burner for me, I think, as a character who I enjoyed playing but who I'm not overly excited about the idea of trying to play.

E. Honda worked pretty well for me and I found that the sumo style helped me blow through Arcade Mode easier than with any other character so far.

From there I moved on to Vega. For as much as I don't like charge moves I seem to find myself drawn to the characters who are almost entirely based around the idea of charge moves! What is wrong with me? Anyway. I enjoyed Vega. I think he was the first character who I really stopped relying on special attacks for. I could pull off his super fairly regularly (though I was still finding I was screwing it up at some times when I think I was just trying too hard to pull it off. Plus it seemed very easy for anyone with an anti-air attack to counter and too hard to set up without telegraphing it.) His Ultras I could never pull off for the life of me; either of them. I like his design, his reach, and all of that, but his normal special attacks seem fairly difficult to pull off in any meaningful way that doesn't just leave me open for punishment. So as much as I may have liked Vega, I think he may go on a back burner somewhere as a character I may look into just how to play him well, but with no hopes of ever being able to understand how to play him.

That's where I've left off. I don't know if I'll play through arcade mode with everyone just to be thorough or not, but there are certainly other characters who I'd like to try out just to see if any of them click with me.

I know I may not have been incredibly in depth about what it was that I liked or disliked about each of the characters, but, if anyone has any suggestions based on who I did and did not enjoy the play style of just in general, I'm open to whatever. Or if anyone thinks I'm going about this the wrong way, let me know. Or if there are any suggestions or anything for this potentially insane mission of mine to go down the fighting game path, let me know. I'm not really sure I know what it is I'm actually getting into here, and I know that finding strategies and stuff isn't too hard (and SRK is a good place to go to for guidance) but I'm open to as much help or info as I can get.

I'll be back maybe in a day or two, depending on how much time I have, with part 2 which will probably be a lot like part 1 unless I find myself brave enough to try some actual online play where I will undoubtedly get wrecked over and over and over again, trial by fire style.

Start the Conversation

My Journey Down the Street Fighter Hole: Part 1

So EVO just happened recently. Fighting game hype was (is?) at its usual high. Coincidently SSF4AE was on sale (just about everywhere) for 15$.

As a bit of history, I've always really enjoyed fighting games. I don't know that I've ever been good at them or thrown myself into them seriously, but I've always enjoyed them. I've played a large number of fighting games; from Street Fighter to Guilty Gear to the Vs series (Marvel vs Capcom, Capcom vs SNK, X-Men vs Street Fighter, etc.), to Soul Calibur to Bloody Roar to Mortal Kombat. I've played a lot of different games but not necessarily ever dumped a whole lot of time into any specific game. Actually, the game series I've probably spent the most time playing was Guilty Gear. Anyway.

This was my jam back in the day, but I'm now trying a much slower paced Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition.

A stylish gentleman who takes it to you with good old fashioned fisticuffs, what's not to like? Apparently maybe a lot.

So with EVO having just happened I picked up SSF4E on steam for 15$. My goal here isn't just to play this game and enjoy it, but I want to actually dedicate some time to it. I don't expect or plan on getting seriously deep into the game or have any hopes of grandeur here, but I'd like to know what it's like to go down the rabbit hole of taking a fighting game seriously and trying to learn it on a genuinely competitive level.

I haven't really gotten into it yet. I'm taking it slow right now. What I have been doing is playing through arcade mode with different characters to try and gauge who it is that I may really enjoy playing. This started with me picking out characters who I just liked the look/character of.

I started with Dudley, he was a character I really enjoyed using in SF3. I quickly fell out of like with Dudley. I may go back to him now that I've warmed up my fighting game muscles a bit more, since I recognize that I was definitely rusty coming into this. In arcade though I realized I was having some serious problems using him. Characters with a zoning game were just wrecking me wholesale and I felt like I just was incapable of understanding the tools that Dudley had at his disposal and utilizing him as a character well.

From there I moved on to Oni. I feel I did fine enough with Oni and I could probably play him if I really wanted to, but the whole time I just kept thinking I'd rather be playing Akuma (I played a lot of Akuma in SF3 and got the Raging Demon down solid.) Oni also held the problem of feeling like there are so many other characters like him in the game that I don't know which of the many variants would be the right one for me and I didn't feel entirely like trudging through them all to try and pick up on subtle variances in them that I'm probably not actually ready to understand or commit to. That said, I still enjoy 'this style' of character, but I just feel like I want something more.

Then I moved onto E. Honda. I rocked arcade mode with E. Honda. He was the first character I felt competent with in arcade mode, I was understanding most of the tools he had at his disposal. Getting down some of his charge moves has been challenging. Base charge moves I'm not terrible at but I still find I screw them up too often (for the record right now I'm just using a plain old PS3 controller for playing. If I commit myself to this deep enough I'd definitely like to pick up a fighting stick, but, if I start playing online and find myself just absolutely hating the experience then I don't want to say that I dropped 100$+ on a fighting stick that I now have almost no use for.) Ultras were especially difficult for me to pull off - both the charge ultra and the double-half-circle ultra. Over all I found myself enjoying E. Honda a fair amount.

Not wanting to commit to a single character to early though I've continued looking at characters whose play style I may enjoy; after all, it is possible to find myself liking a handful of characters. So next in line was Seth. I've fought against him enough times at this point that I just wanted to see what it was like to use him. This was another character that I felt 'ok' on. I enjoyed him having relatively less in the way of difficult/annoying to perform moves, but as far as character design goes I just wasn't really feeling him. He's on the back burner for me, I think, as a character who I enjoyed playing but who I'm not overly excited about the idea of trying to play.

E. Honda worked pretty well for me and I found that the sumo style helped me blow through Arcade Mode easier than with any other character so far.

From there I moved on to Vega. For as much as I don't like charge moves I seem to find myself drawn to the characters who are almost entirely based around the idea of charge moves! What is wrong with me? Anyway. I enjoyed Vega. I think he was the first character who I really stopped relying on special attacks for. I could pull off his super fairly regularly (though I was still finding I was screwing it up at some times when I think I was just trying too hard to pull it off. Plus it seemed very easy for anyone with an anti-air attack to counter and too hard to set up without telegraphing it.) His Ultras I could never pull off for the life of me; either of them. I like his design, his reach, and all of that, but his normal special attacks seem fairly difficult to pull off in any meaningful way that doesn't just leave me open for punishment. So as much as I may have liked Vega, I think he may go on a back burner somewhere as a character I may look into just how to play him well, but with no hopes of ever being able to understand how to play him.

That's where I've left off. I don't know if I'll play through arcade mode with everyone just to be thorough or not, but there are certainly other characters who I'd like to try out just to see if any of them click with me.

I know I may not have been incredibly in depth about what it was that I liked or disliked about each of the characters, but, if anyone has any suggestions based on who I did and did not enjoy the play style of just in general, I'm open to whatever. Or if anyone thinks I'm going about this the wrong way, let me know. Or if there are any suggestions or anything for this potentially insane mission of mine to go down the fighting game path, let me know. I'm not really sure I know what it is I'm actually getting into here, and I know that finding strategies and stuff isn't too hard (and SRK is a good place to go to for guidance) but I'm open to as much help or info as I can get.

I'll be back maybe in a day or two, depending on how much time I have, with part 2 which will probably be a lot like part 1 unless I find myself brave enough to try some actual online play where I will undoubtedly get wrecked over and over and over again, trial by fire style.

Start the Conversation

What Words Do You Say? (A Farewell to Ryan Davis)

I've been looking at the text block on my blog screen since Tuesday morning. Ok, not the whole time. I keep coming back here though, looking at the blank space trying to think of what to say.

I've had so many thoughts in my head over the past several days and even now I don't have them sorted.

I never knew just how big of a part of my life Ryan was until now. Before he was just an awesome duder who, with the rest of the Giant Bomb crew, got me back into the world of video games. I knew that he made me laugh, but that was about the extent of how I thought I felt about him.

Now that he's gone though, I realize that it was so much more than that. He was a man that didn't just make me laugh; he made me laugh daily. He was a man that didn't just make me laugh; he made me laugh with my friends. Him and his stupid jokes gave me inside jokes with my friend. He helped me reconnect with a friend that I had mostly drifted away from after highschool. He also gave me inside jokes to annoy the hell out of a third friend with (who found almost all of the jokes terribly inappropriate and offensive.) He gave me memories.

It took several hours after the news broke for it to really hit. I can't even remember what I was looking at on Giant Bomb now, but, I remember that it hit me. I realized that I'd never again hear him say "It's Tuesday!", make a snarky sarcasm filled remark again, have him host another TNT or Unprofessional Fridays or E3 event or a Pax panel or anything ever again.

Then I just started crying.

I didn't know what words to say.

I felt embarrassed; I was crying over the death of a man I have never met, who never knew me, who had never spoken to me. Yet, he spoke to me almost every day. He talked to me and many others all the time. I've listened to his voice more than I've talked to any friend I've ever had. I began to realize that there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Ryan was an amazing man: joyful, silly, happy, larger than life, a complete and utter asshole. He's shaped what things I like and find joy in over the last four or five years that I've been coming to Giant Bomb. I never met him, but I knew him.

Even now I don't know what words to say. I look back over what I've written and am tempted to scrap the whole thing and start over. It all sounds wrong. These aren't the right words. But I don't know that are right words for the void that's been left at his passing.

What I wanted to say though, more than anything else, is that I don't want this to just be a thing that happened. I don't want his passing to be a memory of a tragic week, or month, or whatever, and then just continue on in my life as if it meant nothing.

That's why I'm writing this, I guess. I don't write enough. I want to do things that I keep putting off. I want to be a better person because Ryan Davis was a better person. I want to follow my dreams and try new things and.. just live life. I've spent much of my life not living. Between horrible social anxiety, probably minor depression, and medical problems that kept me from following multiple career paths I had been interested in early on my younger years, I realize that I've just been doing what I need to to get by and not live my life.

Because of Ryan I want to enjoy what I do. I want to be who I am, the way he was always himself in front of the camera and behind the mic for all of us. I want to be out there.

But I don't know that it will happen. It's all in my hands. Whether or not his death inspires me to be a better version of me than I am now is entirely up to me. Maybe I'll drop the ball, I'll lose the way, and I will let this just be an event that happened. But I don't want that.

None of these words were the right words. I'm sure this is barely even coherent and it most likely sounds like the ramblings of a mad man who has no idea what he's actually trying to say.

Two of the things I've heard said over the last several days that I think may have stuck with me the most are the things I want to end on. I'm paraphrasing here, but John Drake and Jeff said these things, in essence, respectively.

- It's ok to be the center of a joke; it's ok to put yourself out there and be a goof and for people to laugh at you about it. In the video of the reveal of the Buckner & Garcia song - Found Me The Bomb Ryan falls over laughing. It was hilarious. Here was this grown man laughing so hard at a song that he fell to the floor in laughter. I don't think any of us thought less of him for it. Instead it endeared him to us because he was being himself; a great big lovable, goofy guy who was enjoying himself.

- Don't sweat the things you get to do again, sweat the things you only get to do once. It doesn't really matter if this blog makes any sense or not, or if it sounds dumb and stupid and makes me sound like a damn fool. I can write more, I can write again. So what if every time out with my friends isn't great? It doesn't matter because as long as they're still there, we'll hang out again and have fun again and nobody will remember the time that was kind of just ok, or was kind of bad. Always be working towards making the next time better, but don't be hanging on the last time like it was the only chance.

I will miss Ryan Davis. I will miss him more than I ever would have imagined. I wish I could draw up some amazing art, or put together some crazy video, or offer up a great tribute to him like so many others have in the last few days. I can't do those things. Not yet anyway. So instead, this is my tribute to him; in my own stupid, rambling way.

I will miss him. Those are the words.

Start the Conversation

Wrath of Heroes is A Game! You Should Maybe Check it Out!

I'm back again! Because I'm crazy and only half-heartedly persistent!

Ok, I'm a realist, I know that my blogs don't necessarily get many reads or responses. That's not going to stop me from trying to bring some attention to a game that I feel is kind of cool and has some decent potential but hasn't really gotten much recognition thus far (possibly because it's still only in Open Beta, but, all the same.)

This time, I bring you...

I suppose the place to start is telling you what Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is, because most of you probably don't know what it is.

What Is It?

Wrath of Heroes is a free to play PvP game created by EA Mythic and Bioware 's soemwhat newly merged Bioware Mythic that is currently in open beta. In it three teams of six players (that's 6v6v6, for the record) compete in short (15 minute time limited) PvP matches that resemble Battlegrounds (WoW), Warzones (TOR), Scenarioes (Warhammer Online), etc. Unlike an MMO's instanced PvP games, however, there are three teams (as previously mentioned), you don't have to worry about gearing up your character (not exactly, anyway), you only have 5 abilities, and you can change characters between deaths. As a result, it may be best described as the Call of Duty of MMO PvPing (thanks to for that one!)

Lucian The Blade's Mastery Tree

The game has a growing array of heroes from the Warhammer universe (I'll get to the heroes later, but some examples are a Black Orc Greenskin, a High Elf White Lion, a Skaven Gutterrunner, and so on.) Three heroes are freely available for play each week (as I write this, the Ogre Irongut, Human Brightwizard, and Chaos Marauder are the current free to play heroes.) While these heroes are free to play, you don't get the full experience out of their free to play versions. Their skill trees are not accessible, you cannot assign Perks, Tactics, or Abilities to them, and you cannot change their skins. To unlock the full potential of a hero you must purchase them using either in game gold that is earned from logging in daily and for participating in matches or with real world money buying gems that can be used to purchase them.

Each Hero Gets A Three Slot Load Out.

Once a hero is unlocked you can assign points to a Mastery Tree that is unique to each hero. Mastery points are earned as you gain levels by earning experience from playing matches. Mastery Trees will allow you to unlock load out buffs for that specific hero (such as reducing the duration of negative effects on your hero, increasing the range or damage of certain attacks, and so on.) Each hero that is fully unlocked has three load out slots that you can fill with abilities, perks, and tactics that are unlocked either from the Mastery Tree or as rewards from wooden chests (that are either bought with gold or earned randomly at the end of a battle.) I won't get into too deep of specifics because I don't want to bore you and it's probably best if you just check it out for yourself as I'm sure I won't do it justice.

Game Modes

There are three different game modes in Wrath of Heroes. When I say game modes, however, I mean three different maps, each with a different objective. All modes share a few things. One, there is a fifteen minute time limit. Two, the objective is to reach 250 points before either of the other two teams. Three, there is a list of six bonus objectives you can complete during the match for bonus rewards (which I'll get to later.) When you start a game of Wrath of Heroes, one of the three maps is chosen at random for you to play on.

The current game modes are

Arena - an all out fight between three teams with no objective other than killing enemy opponents.

Mourkain Temple - a point capture style map with three flags and a relic. The more flags your team has control of, the more points you earn per kill. As long as you control one flag, you can take control of the relic in the middle of the map which gives you points over time.

Black Fire pass - a capture the flag style map where the goal is to collect and hold 3 runes within your teams base to quickly earn points over time.

In all three maps you gain points for killing enemies, but the game mode determines just how beneficial killing enemies is to reaching the 250 point objective.

Heroes

The List of Heroes is Growing!

Right now, with the game in Open Beta, there is a limited number of heroes that slowly goes up every few weeks. At the time of this writing there are 10 heroes in the game. Heroes range from melee to range, physical to caster, offensive to defensive to support, and so on, offering an array of different play styles to choose from.

Each hero has 5 abilities available to them - one basic attack that has no cooldown associated with it, and then four others that range from offensive powers to utility powers to stuns and buffs and debuffs, growing in power the closer to number 5 you get. While there are only 5 abilities, it still takes a fair amount of skill to use those powers to their full potential and just hammering on every ability when it goes off cooldown will only get you so far.

Aessa, for example, gets more powerful when using her abilities on players that are attacking her allies rather than attacking her, so it takes good timing and a good eye to use her abilities to their best effect.

For a full write up of all of the heroes and their abilities, check out the Wiki entry for the game! (It's easy work for me to update it with each new hero, but it's easy points and hopefully will be informative to someone other than me some day.)

I feel like there's probably something more I could put here, but I'm not sure what it is, and I may cover it when I get down to my experience with the game thus far.

Rewards

Rewards! Everyone enjoys being rewarded for their time spent playing a game, and Wrath of Heroes rewards you with a slot machine.

As I mentioned earlier, each game mode has 6 challenges that you can do during the match to earn bonus rewards. This is best explained with a picture -

Slot Wheels Reward Your Success!

Some of these things are the same across game modes, and you always earn at least one slot just for playing in the game you completed. The challenges shared across modes are competing in the scenario, winning the scenario, placing in the top 3 scores, and queuing for the scenario in a warband (a premade group.) The other two challenges are unique to the scenario, such as getting a certain number of captures during the game, getting a certain number of kills in a single life, and so on.

The slot wheels reward gold most of the time, in varying quantities per slot, but the wheels can also reward wooden chests (which contain perks or tactics) and xp boosts.

The game also gives you the same slot machine type reward layout for logging in consecutive days, starting at 1 wheel and maxing out at 6 days logged (but as long as you keep logging in each day after that, you will continue to get all 6 wheels spinning.)

The gold that you are rewarded with can be used to buy heroes (which are, currently, between 30,000 and 60,000 gold - which periodically go on sale in the store), treasure chests, xp boosts, and hero skins.

In Closing

Ok, I'm probably forgetting something. Those that have played the game, please feel free to let me know what I happened to forget or what I should add to this. I'm going to do a follow up to this blog documenting my experiences with the game thus far (the game is in open beta and still has a long ways to go, there are some flaws that I feel really need to be addressed in the game in the near future, but, as it's in open beta and not actually completely live, I don't hold those things against the game that much as they're things that will get better over time - namely the hero selection.)

If you haven't checked the game out yet and you like MMO PvP but want to try something with less of a serious investment (leveling to max level, gathering pvp gear, learning talent specs, so on, so forth) I highly suggest you check this game out. If you don't know if you like MMO PvP but you like PvP games, I may also suggest you check this game out. It's free, so you have nothing to lose but time by checking it out, and the worst that happens is you think it's bad and you never pick it up again - or you get hopelessly addicted to it and spend way too much money on it.

The action in the game is fast paced, matches are quick, and (in theory) there should eventually be something for everyone in the heroes to choose from.

I'm hoping that since Jeff briefly mentioned the game a few weeks ago on the bombcast that maybe once the game leaves Open Beta he, or someone else from the crew, will do something to get the game some more attention, but until then, I suppose it's up to me to try and get the word out on this game. So go, give the game a shot! You can check out more of the game, and download it, from the official site at wrathofheroes.warhammeronline.com

I also have a topic going for players to post their IDs so GBers can play together and another one for people to just talk about the game. Neither one has gotten many responses yet, so, hey, shameless plug to encourage people to go check those out!

Start the Conversation

I Play(ed) Tales of Destiny! (P.S. It Kind of Bored Me)

So, after going and playing through more than a handful of hours of Chrono Cross (which you can check out over on my blog page!) I decided to take a look at other old PS1 RPGs that I own that I have either never beaten or for the life of me barely remember anything about the game.

After some eliminations this lead to me to one of four options - Beyond the Beyond, Thousand Arms, Tales of Destiny, and Final Fantasy 9. Of those, I sort of cut things down to Tales vs FF9. Beyond the Beyond I know is a game that's very rooted in an older style of RPG. I may give it a go some time, but, after being so frustrated with Chrono Cross I decided not to push my luck with something that may frustrate me for really dumb reasons. Thousand Arms also got knocked off of the list for a similar reason. I've never beaten Thousand Arms, but I remember parts of it. The one thing I remember most of all though is that it is a very Japanese ass Japanese RPG. I won't get into it a lot, but, the dialogue and what not in the game does not hold up well (though the unique battle system and some of the interesting systems they have in there still make me want to go back to it some day, just not today.)

So, I was staring down Tales of Destiny and FF9. I've never beaten Tales of Destiny before. I've owned it for a real long time, but never played more than a few hours in. FF9, on the other hand, I've beaten all the way through. I could not tell you anything about the story in FF9 though beyond a point and the very, very end. However, I wanted a small break from the Square Enix style of RPG so I went with Tales of Destiny. (As a side note, Suikoden was also on the list, but, my friend is currently borrowing it, so, I took it off the list for the time being.)

Oh, also, I'm playing the PS1 version, not the better, enhanced, PS2 version.. Because holy crap does Namco-Bandai love having two versions of every single Tales game.

Oh Tales of Destiny, where do I start with you.

How about with an image.

The effort that I went to to get that image sums up how I feel about the game, unenthusiastic with very little desire to put much effort into it.

Ok, ok, you may be worried that I'm just going to start going off about how bad the game is. Don't worry, I don't think that is going to be my intention here. For the record, I have yet to beat it. I've played it for maybe 11 hours and I think I'm maybe about halfway or so through the game (if I'm not and I have another 20+ hours ahead of me, then I really don't think I'll finish it.) That being said, the main things to focus on really are the negative things, but that doesn't mean that I think this game is bad. I kind of just think that the game feels half-hearted and like it fell short of some real potential. I'll cover each of the different things that has bugged me the most, starting with the thing that has bugged me the most.

The Combat

Ugh.

Ugh.

UGH.

The combat of this game. The battle system is fine. The line battlefield with four characters and real time action is fine. The concept behind the combat is fine. I actually really enjoyed the later iterations that they took this system in with Tales of Symphonia and the like. My problem with Tales of Destiny though is that the combat is so freakin' easy.

If the graphics looked like this, maybe combat would be more interesting.

I was something like six or seven hours in before I fought what I even thought was my first boss fight (against a man named Batista. No, not that Batista.) I then looked up an FAQ/Walkthrough for ToD and found out that, surprisingly, this was actually something like the 11th boss fight in the game. It turns out that I had done just under half of the boss fights in the game. They were so easy that as far as I was concerned they were just normal fights. Even the boss fights though (of which I've had several of now) are so bloody easy. I've killed a couple of bosses in 30 seconds to a minute. And I think I'm even somewhat under leveled. It's just so easy. The problem here though is that when you have an active battle system that's supposed to be really engaging, but then your fights are real, real easy, it's still real, real boring.

The best thing I can compare this to is something like Persona 4. Ok, ok, yes, comparing something from very different time periods, but it's two different styles of combat. P4 is a turn based combat system. But when you're fighting things at level, it feels like every battle matters. Every battle feels random and as long as you didn't waste a bunch of time grinding levels, things can really still feel dangerous. Boss fights feel like boss fights, they feel threatening. ToD, on the other hand, even with an active battle system, is just boring. The fights are so boring that I began to realize that every 'zone' of enemies will have something like only 4-6 different possible monster encounter builds (and even then, it's mostly just how many of what monsters show up) except that the monsters per zone is only about 4 monsters big. So every fight feels the same. There's no reason to not just blow through your TP (the points you use for mana and special abilities) and just annihilate everything because you recover some after every fight and eventually you get so many TP that you will almost never run out. Even if you do run out though it doesn't matter because you can just stop using them, still do every fight in about 30 seconds, and get back to full in just a handful of encounters. And boy oh boy will there be enough encounters for you, but I'll get to that next. In this same vein though, you get 3 other party members and you only control one directly.

Instead... They look like this (the game still looks good in my opinion, don't get me wrong.)

It feels like all of the fights were designed for you to be able to win them completely by yourself to make up for somewhat unreliable AI party members. The problem then, however, is that when you then have your 3 party members actively helping you (or even worse, when you issue commands to your party members) fights are just fields of slaughter for the enemies.

So something else weird, this kind of connects in with combat, is how it deals with encounters. That's maybe a bit of a weird thing to say, but, some games give you random encounters, some games let you see the monsters on the field and you fight them and then they're gone (i.e. Chrono Trigger, Persona 4, Earthbound, etc.) Tales of Destiny? It has both. I couldn't tell you why it includes both on-screen enemies for some locations and then random encounters for everything else. I can tell you though that I hate it. This game is so easy it doesn't need random encounters. The random encounters also happen way too often when you're in a random zone. When the enemies are on screen it feels like there's actually just enough. It feels right in those zones, like that's how it should be for the whole game.

Now I'm something like "14" or "15" bosses in out of about "26". I'm 11 hours in. I just don't want to keep playing the combat. I appreciate what it is and what it does, but because it's so easy, I'm just so bored by it. It's so easy it's just not fun to play it. I can enjoy a combat system that I don't particularly love but that is actually challenging and engaging at the same time. I don't even have boss fights to look forward to because even those are absurdly easy, and thereby, uninteresting.

The Story

The Main Character. I like to think his image alone sums up what character design is like in this game. Not bad, kind of just nothing special.

The story in the game isn't great. I won't complain about it very much, but it's just a very, very standard fair. The characters aren't bad though, they're kind of average, sort of stereotypical (but not painfully so.. partially because they almost never talk about anything at all.) I'd probably be more willing to keep playing if I felt like there was much hope for some serious character development. The most development to happen so far was with a character named Mary. The short of it is that I just got her to recover from her amnesia she's been suffering from the whole game. Even that though was just like 5 minutes or something of dialogue of her and her husband and then me kicking some ass and now she's out of my party for almost the entirety of the rest of the game as a result.

Then again, the Tales games have never had particularly strong story I feel like. Symphonia feels like it's had the strongest story so far, but even that wasn't fantastic, it was just pretty good, slightly above just average. So I can't hold it so much against the game other than to say that I wish they had more of a focus on a better story, or, at least a better character story. I think the character stuff has gotten a lot better, but the overall story seems to pretty much still come down to "bad guys want to destroy/rule world because that's what all bad guys want and for no reason other than just because they're bad guys" and that only carries something so far.

That's About It

Sadly that's really all I can think of to say about the game. I find myself bored and uninterested with it.

Has anyone else out there played through this game before? If so, can you tell me if this game picks up at all? I'd love to know if I'm like just on the other side of this game seriously picking up, or if maybe there's actually some challenge somewhere to be had in this game, or, hell, even just how LONG the game is. If it's taken me 11 hours to get Mary her memory back, how much longer do I have to go in the game? Am I about halfway through? Less than halfway through? Do I have another 20+ hours to go? I kind of want to finish the game to mark it off my list, but, if I have another 20 or so hours to go, I just... no, I won't do it, I have other shit to play.

It's really not that I dislike the game, I just feel very apathetic towards it. It at least ranks somewhat higher than Chrono Cross does so far though, so, that's a good thing for it!

I may try and finish it up sometime. Right now I'm playing some Bully but I'm looking at some of my older RPG collection debating what I may want to go to next or if I just want to finish up Tales of Destiny before touching another RPG in my collection. We'll see though!

6 Comments

Chrono Cross This! (Six and Done!)

That's right, this is the last (for now, at least) installment of -

Chrono Cross This! 6!

This is going to be a bit more freestyle. So, let's see where to start. (as a warning, this is going to be long. Really long.)

I'm done with Chrono Cross. I didn't beat it, I just can't keep playing it. The last thing I did was clear out the Hydra Forest in the normal world and go back and 'save' Kid. So much of the last two hours or so that I played just felt so downright half assed and shitty that I just can't keep playing. The hydra forest was bad, containing something like the equivalent of SIX boss battles in that place (two beeba fights, a fight with a giant dragonfly, a hectopus, the seven dwarves, and the hydra.) Then I went and saved kid and she told me she would have been fine even if I hadn't done anything, but she appreciated it (not that I get anything for this either) and then some kid comes and steals the elements from her element bar.

That particularly was where I just said I was done. I played for maybe a half hour longer, but I knew then I was done. The fact that the game acknowledges that the element bar is like a real, physical thing was so stupid. It's a bar that grows as you gain stars, and you socket elements in it so you can cast spells. Right? So... how is that a physical thing? Where does that go, physically, on a person? Do you tape it to your shirt? What goes on with it that makes it work? How can you steal elements out of it? Not to mention that the whole thing just reeked of "Oh, you mean like in FF7 when Yuffie stole your materia? Like that? Really?" After that though I went and hunted down the kid that stole it. This took me even longer than it should have because I started by going to the housing sector of the floating town, nothing there anywhere, then I went back over to the dragon hut where I was told that since she wasn't here she must be in the housing district (you know, the place I just came from) so I zipline down (because it seemed fun) then ran my way back up and over then, ran around there for a while, nothing, go back to the dragon hut, nothing there, then I WALK back to the screen I came from and then you see her run off to the housing district. Why did I not see this any of my three other times in this sector? This seems like a really poorly designed specific sequence you have to go through to get her. Anyway, I get her, I get the elements back and... nothing.

No. Really. Nothing happened. I got the missing elements back but I didn't get a new party member, I got no new items, nothing. What was the point of all that? To piss me off? To frustrate me? What?! Anyway. So, this is going to be kind of a recap of some of the things in the game that bothered me so much to the point of just needing to call it quits.

The Characters

The characters in this game, by far and wide (but not all), are terrible. You've heard my rantings and ravings over the fact that every character talks funny. There's no reason for it, but they do it, they ALL do it, they ALL talk funny for some reason or another. I don't know where this piece of land is located where people from countries that don't even exist in the Chrono Trigger world have migrated to (French, German, British, Australian, so on, so forth, all there) but it's a shitty place to be. Beyond that complaint however I have two rather large complaints about the characters.

Number One

I don't CARE about any of the characters. I'm probably something like 15 hours in and I don't care about anyone. Not a single character. I don't care about the dog with a lisp that joined my party only because I gave it a bone. I don't care about the voodoo doll that joined me because of... something...? I don't care about the magician, the luchador priest, the science lady, the Australian thug. I don't even care about the main character, Serge. I just don't. Nothing at all has endeared me to a single character. In fact, if anything, I want these characters to lose this mystery battle of the fates or whatever this is billed as.

The actions of the characters are honestly borderline villainous. I started the game as a poacher killing off komodo dragons for their scales and ONLY their scales (and only ever one scale per dragon) so I could make a girl happy (and then killed the mother komodo dragon for good measure.) I broke into some innocent mans mansion to steal his stuff. I didn't even want to go but a mage that wanted to steal something from the treasury and an Australian tom-boy that wanted to steal the frozen flame dragged me there to be a part of their nefarious ongoings. And then I beat up a bunch of guards, if not murder them. Oh, and then I killed off an ENTIRE FOREST to save one girl. I'm not shitting you. I killed a hydra in the hydra forest, which apparently sustains the life in the forest somehow, and was then told that my actions have doomed the forest to destruction (as you can see in the alternate world where all of the hydras in the forest have already been killed off and now the place is a poisonous shit hole that can only sustain the most befouled life forms.) I destroyed a forest. So, poaching, thieving, probably murder, and now the destruction of an entire forest.

These are BAD people. These are not good people here, they are bad. They are evil people, even if they claim their motives might be good, they are evil. If they showed any remorse at all for their actions I might call them morally grey, but they don't. They don't care what awful acts they commit. They do it happy and carefree.

Beyond that none of them have any stories. None readily apparent anyway. Most of them are just sort of nameless faceless figures with different ways of talking. That doesn't endear them to me. That just makes me dislike them more. The only character that seemed to have had any story at all whatsoever, Glenn, I missed. I made the wrong choices and I cannot get him in my party any longer. Glenn has story, he has more story than anyone else in this game so far. And the designers decided that this guy, this one guy that actually has story, is OPTIONAL. It's almost disgusting that they would design it in such a way as that. If only one guy out of the first fifteen guys you meet has a story, don't make him optional, make him mandatory.

It all just feels so lackadaisical. I think the game summed up my feelings about a lot of the story stuff perfectly when I finally noticed on the status screen that it gives you a brief description about every character in the game (like wandering magician, psychic ex-wrestler, voo-doo-doll come to life, etc.) and all they could be bothered to think of and put down for Serge was "Silent Protagonist."

Number Two

There are too many characters and too many of them are too poorly balanced. This is sort of a combat problem more than anything. When you have 40 characters in your game, balance them out. If you have 40 characters in the game, and you can get 20 of them on your team in one play through, but only 3 of them have stats that aren't total balls in combat, then why bother?

No, seriously, the degree to which I may be exaggerating is minimal. Guile, one of the guys I've been working with for a long time now sucks. His physical stats are bad. Really bad. Like 3 damage hits on 500hp monsters bad. He makes up for it by having a really high magic though. Which is then promptly thrown away in the gutter by giving him fewer spells than any other character. When your average character can have, say, 10 spells and he can only have 5 spells despite needing spells to be at all useful in battle, something is wrong. The Luchador Priest that had be super exited for the first time in the game turned out to be shit. He has lower physical attack power than Serge and only slightly better than Magus (I mean Guile. Really, I wrote this as Magus and then had to come back and add that his name is actually Guile.) His magic, however, is garbage. He casts spells of his affinity on full red fields for less than 10 damage.

Why give me choices if the game designers clearly felt there were right choices and wrong choices to be made. If a game is designed where you can go one of two ways, you can go left or you can go right, but going left kills you, so you can only go right, that's not a real choice. That's them wanting you to feel like you have a choice, but in reality, no, you don't. Except instead of only having two choices you have 20, and most of those 20 choices are the wrong choice. It's bad design. I already don't like the characters, so when the game tells me that I can't even use the characters that look interesting or seem interesting because they didn't bother making them useful? Fuck that shit. It's bad design and they should feel bad for it.

The Story

Ok look; I know that I'm early on in a JRPG. The story won't be in full blown awesome mode for like another twenty hours. I get that about most JRPGs. However, that does not mean that the story so far, 15 hours in, should be non-existent. There is nothing but uncertainty, questions, confusion, and an over all lack of a sense of direction.

I don't know if there are simply too many ideas going on at once here, but there's just too much and too little all at the same time. They've foreshadowed crazy end of the game stuff for me already. They've babbled on about the most inane shit. Things/terms get thrown around at random with zero context (who are the Radical Dreamers? Who is the Porre Army and why are they a thing (pssst, I know some things about them but only because of Chrono Trigger, this game doesn't do a damn thing to tell you about any of it though) and a bunch of other crap. It feels like they went halfway on developing this world, or this version of the world (as this is a parallel dimension to the one from Chrono Trigger.. or... something) but they just kept all of the detailed notes on what any of the finer points are or what they mean to themselves.

This is kind of a problem that happens when you play a character that has always been apart of a setting. The character should know all of this stuff. The character should know who and what the Porre Army is, they should know what FATE is, they should know who Lord Viper and the Dragoons are, and all this other random crap. But you, as a player, you don't have a clue. So if you just go through and treat the game as the character is going through it, nothing gets explained, or you have to really dig deep for some of it. But if you would go through treating the game as if the player is going through it, then the main character seems like a total freaking idiot to the world around him. Maybe I'm being a bit hard on it in this regard, but there are just so many things that have no answer or explanation and it just feels poorly written.

The Chrono Trigger References

This is a sequel to Chrono Trigger. Don't ask me to get into the details. All you need to know is that it's really not, but it really is. But it's really not. It was going to be. Then they got side tracked and then it's not a sequel, but it's billed as one. And the lengths they go to to try and make you think that it's a sequel is saddening.

You mean The Great Explorer Tomas the..something something number. He's just a one off thing. He's in the starting village gardening. That's all, he's just there and tells you who he is and that's all he does.

The Porre Army is a reference to the town of Porre in the southern part of the Chrono Trigger world. As it turns out, in some in between stuff that is NEVER shown, revealed, or detailed anywhere, Dalton from the Kingdom of Zeal finds himself located there and builds the town into a military state and creates an army that takes over the world. How do I know this? DS Version of Chrono Trigger's bonus ending and some half-hearted research.

Lynx directly references Serge as being "The asassin of time! THE CHRONO TRIGGER!" Yes. Serge, the main character, is the Chrono Trigger. Do I know what this means? Fuck no. Do I know why they used that term when the original Chrono Trigger was an egg that held infinite potential or some bullshit and then broke so that Crono could be saved from death? Fuck no. Does it sound real fucking stupid that they worked that 'phrase' into this game? Fuck yes.

Glenn, a knight in the Dragoon Army is more or less a direct call back to Frog (who's human name was Glenn. Dun-dun-dunnnn.) And he reeks of it too.

Magus is in the game as Guile. But it's not Magus. But maybe it is Magus. But it's totally not Magus because the developers said that he was originally Magus but then they had too many characters and so he's not Magus anymore. But the bonus DS Version ending in CT suggests that maybe it still is Magus. But the developers said no, so clearly it's not. He also looks like him. He even floats everywhere instead of running.

They remixed the Chrono Trigger victory music to be this game's victory music. This is slightly less offensive since the music is good and it's sort of like how the FF victory music is in just about every FF game.

And this isn't everything either. It all feels so much more like fan service and easter eggy inside reference bad-ness than in any way tying these two games together. It's done too often, too poorly, and without any real reason for any of it.

The Combat System

This is a bit more of a nitpick. The combat system is not great. It's not inherently BAD either. I actually somewhat enjoyed it up until I had a breaking point.

The short version of my problem with the system (go read all of my other blogs and their responses if you want to piece together the full picture) is that it makes backtracking far more of a hassle than it needs to be. Combat takes about the same amount of time fighting crappy things that pose no threat to you at all whatsoever and that you have far out leveled as it does when you're fighting something of comparable level. I'm just going to leave it at that since, like I said, details can be found in the other blogs.

It's Not All Bad

So much of this game is just annoying. If it was just one or two of these things maybe I wouldn't have so readily threw my hands up in the air. I don't expect, and didn't expect, this game to be perfect. There are just so many flaws and cracks that they all pile up ontop of one another that it makes it too hard to want to keep going.

That said, not everything in the game is bad. Visually this game is really good. The environments still look interesting and sharp. The corner of the world that they've created here is beautiful. The tropical setting is a nice change of pace and everything feels so vibrant and lively. It feels really good. The character designs, visually, are also pretty good. Characters look unique and interesting. It's a shame that their personalities suck and they don't even really have any reason for being around most of the time.

The music in the game is also really well done. I may have to listen to some of the later game music just to see how that progresses. What I've heard so far though is really good. It feels appropriate and almost 'right' for the settings.

Unfortunately, a game looking and sounding good, maybe even great, doesn't save it.

Or maybe my tolerance for bullshit in RPGs is just shorter than it used to be because I've played some truly better games now. I don't know.

I may add something more to this later, I'm not sure. This is all I can really think of for now. I think I may hold a poll to see which game sitting on my shelf I should try and revisit next. I'm not sure. All I know right now is that I have Chrono Crossed this middling game off my list of things I feel compelled to play.

(P.S. pictures getting added later.)

3 Comments

Chrono Cross This! (Fifth Element Style!)

Ok, not really fifth element style, I just recently caught the movie on t.v. and this is the fifth blog, so, there you go.

Chrono Cross This! 5!

Check my blog page for all the Crossings of This That is Chrono.

Last Time on Chrono Cross This!

Alternate universes, bad dialogue, a story that I honestly barely care about, poison, too many characters..

Where Have I Gone From Here!

So, last time Kid was poisoned by Lynx after we invaded Viper Manor looking for the Frozen Flame. I mean, looking for why Lynx attacked Serge. I mean, looking for something for Guile that I don't even know if I got. I think I got it, but I pretty much forgot about it because they, in game, even sort of just brushed that whole thing aside REAL quick. This reminded me about it though, so, looks like I need to go back to the alternate universe and go see the old fortune teller lady about that.

So, I recruited some more characters, a mexican wrestler priest named Greco. And a German scientist lady that I got when I went back to Viper Manor (because apparently everyone closed up shop and just moved on after I broke in that one time.) And then I went back to the other world, then I recruited that stupid ass dog because... I dunno. I don't think I can recruit Leena at this point, think that boat sailed.

I went to the Hydra Marshes and then got side tracked fighting Beebas or Beebos or something, and then a giant insect. I have no idea why I did this. Seriously, I have no idea why. It has no story relevance as far as I can tell, and I didn't even get any kind of real reward for beating the hardest boss I've fought so far. It felt like a giant waste of time and now I need to go back down and try and find this hydra again.

My Thoughts (I saved up a lot for this.)

I'm starting to actively dislike this game. I'm even over all of the terrible accents/dialects/dialogue. Whatever, it's shitty and annoying, but it's the least of the problems lately.

Some of this is my own fault, but at the same time, it's making me grow really sour on some of the aspects of this game. What is "this"? Lots of things, but probably primarily combat.

I did a great big rant about the combat in the comments on the last blog, but, something I didn't touch on is how tedious it is. Let's say, in something like Chrono Trigger, you're well over leveled for an area. What happens? You crush everything beneath your heel in one or two shots and combat lasts all of five to ten seconds. Or you just avoid the combat all together. In Chrono Cross what happens when you fight monsters in an area you are far over leveled for? You still spend a good minute or more in combat. 80-90% hit attacks miss constantly, you have no AoE attacks at all that don't FIRST require you to hit something at least 2 or more times, and you still constantly get interrupted by enemy attacks that don't hurt you at all but still take SO LONG to animate and finish and for you to get back to doing your thing that it's infuriating.

Where did this all break down for me? When I went back to Viper Manor. I went back to check for stuff I missed, and Viper Manor itself wasn't too bad. What WAS bad was when I went to check out the alternate entrance to Viper Manor that requires going through a forest and down through some caves to a well. I went from Viper Manor down into a cave and worked by way back into this forest. The enemies here only hit me for like 2 damage a hit, on a health pool of about 160. Every. Single. Fight. felt soooo tedious and boring, and there were so many fucking fights. I spent probably half an hour running through this cave up to this forest. It felt like it was something that should have taken me five minutes, at most. And then I get to the forest and.. Something is blocking my way. They won't show me what it is, or tell me what it is, they just tell me "something is blocking the way." If I want to find out, I have to go ALL the way back and then find this from the other way through the forest itself. ...So I backtrack all the way out of this cave and all the way back through Viper Manor, and got to this forest. And the forest was just as bad as the caves. Then I found the thing blocking my way. A giant sleeping plant monster. Can I attack this giant sleeping plant monster? No. Why not? I don't know. Literally, it's just laying here, dormant, and it won't let me pick a fight with it. I just get told that I have to wake it up first. WHY?! WHY THE FUCK DO I NEED TO WAKE IT UP?! Why did I need to run ALL the way around and approach it from the front? Why couldn't I have attacked it from behind and murdered it in its sleep? I don't seem to have any problem with killing innocent monsters (like the komodo dragons) so why do I have some moral quandary about this fucking plant? So I go and LURE ANOTHER MONSTER TO ITS DEATH so I can murder this other monster. WHAT THE FUCK! ARGGH!

Then the stupid Hydra Marshes. Combat is quickly becoming the worst aspect of this game because of how long and tedious it is and boring it is. Combat doesn't even look cool. Why? Because instead of being able to watch the action I have to watch these hit percentages so that I know if I need to worry about the attack at all or anything. And even if I watched the action, it would still be really bad because I would get two hits of this cool looking combo in and.. then get interrupted, for no reason, so that I can't even see this "cool combo" finish out. Spells are half hearted most of the time right now. Either much longer than they need to be or just not really enjoyable to watch for some other reason. Maybe that's a result of combat already feeling like it takes way too long.

On a related note, why do they have so many random characters you can recruit when so many of them are useless? Why does the best spell caster I have available, Guile, have THE WORST spell selection? Let me see if I can explain this. When your mastery level goes up, you get more spell slots, each dash is a spell slot. Most of my characters look something like this-

- - -

- - - -

- -

-

Guile, however, the character that is billed as a magician, and has the highest magic, looks like this

- - - -

-

Meaning he gets four spells (one is auto filled with a personal ability) where all of the rest of my characters get about nine spells. Why? Why does he get a fraction of the spells available as everyone else? It's stupid. No, there is no defending it, it is stupid. He sucks at melee, and he sucks at magic because the game decides to arbitrarily restrict the number of spells he can use compared to any other character.

And Greco, the Luchador Priest, he SUCKS at magic. No ifs ands or buts, he's awful at it. He has no magic skill to speak of. Spells that other characters cast and do about 50 damage with he casts and does less than 10 damage with - no this has nothing to do with innate color of enemies, and they're spells that SHARE a color with him, so he should be better with them, and they're not slotted below what their element level requires either, he just sucks at them. So you would think, maybe his physical attacks make up for it, right? Wrong. He does only slightly, marginally, even, better damage than Guile. Why have so many characters that just suck? Why have stats on characters that make them near useless/unenjoyable to use? What is the point of that?

I've come to the conclusion that the people that look upon Chrono Cross fondly must have some nostalgia goggles on, or, at least, are far more willing to look over the many faults and down sides that this game has for.. some reason that I'm not sure I can understand. I can get appreciating games that aren't the most masterfully crafted things, or that are kind of bad but do have some things in them that are still worth experiencing. I haven't come across a single thing yet, other than the music, that is worth experiencing in this game. The story feels shallow and hastily put together. I don't care about any of the characters, not the dying Kid, not the main character Serge, no one. The characters I would want to use because I think they're interesting are useless in combat. The dialogue is poor. The combat is tedious and there's no answer to fighting stuff well below your level, which actively discourages you from exploring or backtracking at all, and low level enemies still seek you out with malicious intent as if they stand any chance at all of killing you when all they're doing is wasting your time and making you want to quit playing.

I don't know if I'm going to keep playing this game. I really don't. Nothing is compelling me to want to keep playing. Maybe I'll write another blog or something talking about why I quit playing, or my deeper thoughts on where there story had been and was going, but at least for right now, I have zero desire to play that game any more. Which is unfortunate because I really did want to play through it, and after much of the start I felt like there could be something more to this game, even if buried, but, I'm not seeing it, or even glimpses of it.

PS- I'll add images later.

1 Comments

Chrono Cross This! (Four Times the Fighting!)

Welcome to...

Welcome to!

WELCOME TO!

Chrono Cross This! 4!

Heck yeah, still using this crappy MS Paint logo!

You can find all my other Chrono Crossings of This at my blog page, because, why not just give you one place to look instead of a bunch of individual links.

The Story So Far?

Not great. Bad dialogue, an ok combat system, annoying characters, crossing parallel dimensions, being attacked by dragoons, picking up Guile (still not the cool Guile, and also not Magus) and a bunch of other characters (most of which I couldn't care less about. I should go make the other Guile page though..) Foreshadowing, more foreshadowing, even more foreshadowing. Some demi-human racism, Chrono Trigger reference after Chrono Trigger reference (those aren't going away in this episode either.)

Last left off having recruited Guile and am breaking into some place called Viper Manor because everyone but me wants to, me, as Serge, couldn't care less. I'm supposed to believe that I will find all of my answers at Viper Manor (except I already have any answer that matters and I think I'd be better off if I just ignored all of it, went back to my own world, and called it good.)

This Time In The Days Of Our Lives.

I break into Viper Manor! Go figure, right? First I go get... Korcha? Something, I dunno, he uses CHA instead of "you" - "I gotCHA some cookies." and yes it's in capitals. Anyway, one of the lesser offenders for dialogue so far in the game, but, he seems sort of annoying, so, I still don't really care about him. But, we go by boat to Viper Manor (the supposedly impenetrable fortress) and climb some rocks while one single guard throws boulders down at me to try and get me to stop going up. (It doesn't stop me by the way, go figure.) Actually, the whole scene sort of reminded me of the mini game in FF7 where you have to stop the invaders from climbing up and attacking your outpost.

So, I get to the top (there are a couple of chests I can't figure out how to get to, but, whatever, they can't be that important) and the guard freaks out and jumps down and fights me. I whoop his ass then he throws another boulder which comically (not really) goes awry and angers some bird monster off screen and causes it to come and kill the guard and then attack me. Boss fight, I win.

I get up to the mansion then and... get told we should wait until night fall because... something? It seemed pointless, really. And why did this one inept guard not put the ENTIRE MANSION ON ALERT. I guess because he was inpet, but, really. This seems like the least impenetrable fortress... with some really awful guards.

Anywho, moving on.

So I find a guy and he wants me to feed some dragons as a mini game. I end up feeding them 10 times, 20 times, 30 times, 40 times, and 100 times, getting a different reward each time. Getting iron armor for 100 times (as difficult as that was before I realized I could just hold down the X button to feed the dragons) seems kind of silly. But that's nothing specific to Chrono Cross, so, whatevs. From doing this I earn a key to get into Viper Manor.

I bet this French clown joins me at some point, and is also probably evil or something.

Really barely anything happens. I learn that there's a guest at the Manor, that monsters have been showing up in the Manor (I don't know how, they house an entire military unit within its walls, apparently they're all so bad at their jobs that they can't even clean up these random monsters.) I fell to a trap (that you pretty much had to fall to because you have to enter a password that you have no way of knowing) and then stole some uniforms to impersonate soldiers. I found a handful of locked doors; I don't know if there was maybe some way for me to get into them, if they're something I get to come back to later, or whatever, so I just left them and kept going.

I met a scientist with a German accent, I met a French speaking Harlequinn, I met a science experiment that talks like Bugs Bunny, I met a big tough soldier THAT TALKS IN ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME, I met a little girl that talks like she's either a valley girl or from the 60's or something.. I dunno. Harle, the Harlequinn, I think maybe confounds me the most. Surprisingly I don't find her the most offensive on her own, but, why the fuck does she talk in French randomly? France isn't even a place in the Chrono Trigger universe. So why does she speak French?! UGH! So stupid. Whatever though, this isn't going anywhere, I gotta get used to putting up with it.

What else, let's see..

Oh, I met Belthazar. He told me he was a prophet, and explained the whole two worlds thing to me (again..) and then told me how to get to General Viper. Which, lo-and-behold, I get to General Viper's room, meet the viper, find out that Kid is looking for the Frozen Flame (for some reason) and that she's with this group called The Radical Dreamers and I met Lynx, who wants Serge and his soul so that he can...do... something.. then he called me -

THE CHRONO TRIGGER!

Probably not that Chrono Trigger though, probably the Chrono Trigger mentioned IN Chrono Trigger, but, eh, all sorts of references and mystery and so on, so forth. The important part is that Kid got hit by a poisoned dagger thrown by Lynx and now I need to go find a Hydra (which is extinct, I bet I can find one in my own world though) and then I can save her! I had a choice to just not go find a cure for her, and I kind of am curious where that would have lead, but, I know that Kid won't die one way or another, so, whatever.

This is roughly where I stopped, needing to go back to my world and kill a hydra (and probably drive them into extinction in my world too) to save this one girl (who is just a clone... but we'll be getting to that later in the future.)

My Thoughts?

The game is growing on me a little, but, I still think the people that say CC is better than CT are crazy people. I don't even think that this could be a case of personal preference, CT is just strictly a better made game. You may LIKE CC more than CT, but CT is, by far, a much better made game.

The dialogue in the game still bugs the shit out of me, but I'm putting up with it.

For as much work went into designing a new combat system, it's simply average so far.

Combat is ok. It continues to grow on me a bit, but, it doesn't seem 'great', just 'ok.' It's serviceable.

The pacing of the game seems really, really awkward. I couldn't tell you exactly what it is, but, it just doesn't feel good. So much of it feels so forced, and like I'm just kind of along for the ride, like, I have no emotional attachment to anything that's going on, it's just happening and I'm going along with all of it because I'm supposed to. CT felt more natural about that. I kind of went along with things in CT because I had to (I couldn't just let this girl disappear and not go looking for her) and after I get back I don't have a choice, I'm wrapped up in some serious shit where the Counselor wants to kill me, and then I get flung into the far distant future where I find out that some real bad shit goes down somewhere between my time and this time and that gives me an emotional attachment of wanting to see the story through, because I want to save the planet, if I can, somehow, because I know stuff is going to happen and who else is going to do it?

This guy and Serge are both chosen ones. The difference? This guy is interesting, Serge isn't.

In CC, though, I feel like random shit is just happening around me, and they couldn't figure out how to get it to all fit together so they just gave me really aggressive personalities around me that will force me to go places and do things for no reason. And then I find out that "I'm special and a chosen one and that I'm the key to everything that ever existed and.." ugh, sorry, I've never really liked the whole "chosen one" story that finds its way into so many JRPGs. One way or another you are always "the chosen one" because for one reason or another you're the only one so special that you can save the world/universe/whatever. But when they shove it down your throat blatantly telling you that you were chosen from birth to be this...key.. and blah blah blah, it just sounds awful. It sounds like they couldn't come up with any real story for your character so they just fell back on something easy. Maybe that's not the case, and hey, these people are, or were, talented enough to make a living off of the stories they wrote and created, but that doesn't excuse it for me, personally. Games where you are somehow 'the chosen one' can be presented better than this though. I look at something like Persona 3 or 4, where the main character is special and unique and is sort of a key to a puzzle and is unique in the world, they still make the main characters feel special and fleshed out BEYOND that trope. CC doesn't do that, and it's worse for it.

So where am I at with the game? At this point in time I could still just put the controller down and not finish the game and be perfectly ok with it. I don't feel compelled to keep playing the game. It hasn't done anything, at all, that has drawn me in so completely that I need to keep playing it. Will I keep playing? You bet. This gives me something to do and gives me a reason to write, and I want to write more. Plus, by the end, I think I'd like to be able to potentially write a review or something. But, we'll see where it goes. Anyway, thanks for reading.

Check out the other blog entries on my blog page and check back probably next week for part five where hopefully things start going a bit faster.

3 Comments

Chrono Cross This! (Third Time's Talking!)

Welcome to -

Chrono Cross This! 3!

I went all out on paint adding those letters, pretty impressive, eh?

You can find Chrono Cross This! 1! and Chrono Cross This! 2! at their links here, and down below at the bottom.

The Story So Far!

This will get increasingly long if I keep giving full recaps of what happened last time, so, I'm going to start giving very brief summaries here and if you want to know more detailed info on what happened last time, check out the other blogs.

So far in the game let's see what's happened!

I woke up like Crono in Chrono Trigger, I met Leena down at the docks, I listened to a bunch of people tell me about all of the major events in the game including a demon cat, parallel worlds, FATE, a dragon temple, and probably other stuff I forgot about. I listened to a bunch of terrible accents. I met Toma the 14th. I learned how to do battle. I killed an entire generation of a species for their scales and their murdered their mom to make sure no one else from the village can collect scales to give to the girl that they like. I was sent to a parallel world (told you.) I DIDN'T pick up an annoying dog. I DID pick up an annoying blonde Australian girl (ok, she's not that bad, it's just her accent and its somewhat inconsistency.) I met a talking skull. I fought off some idiot knights named Solt and Peppor, twice. Oh, and I met a voodoo doll that-om likes to raaaaandomly add -om to-om his woooords and stretch out other words for nooo reason.

I think that catches us up to the city (really it's a town, there's like maybe fifty people living here, come on) of Termina!

The Story Now!

This is the man that took over Porre because Crono was too lazy to stop him.

Last I left off I was just outside Termina, this time, I went into Termina. It's another sea side town. I imagine there are a lot of those, being that this is kind of all island-y down in this part of the world. Which as far as I can tell this game will only ever take place in this sectioned off area from the rest of the world. They keep talking about Porre (the southern most town in CT, that in the DS version Dalton turns into a military state and...something. It's not explained how he succeeded, why he succeeded, why I didn't just go stop him instead of worrying about the Dream Devourer that I couldn't ever beat, but whatevs) and its military from up above "coming down." I don't know, honestly this whole thing is really poorly explained. Maybe it gets explained later, but, I'm going to try not to worry about it.

Now that a small side tangent about the mystery of Porre is over, back to Termina. As I first enter town I see a man named Glenn (who looks a lot like what I imagine Frog in human form did.. so.. another CT reference. They really like getting those in here, don't they? "Hey, hey, remember that other game, CT? That really good game on the SNES? Ok. Just wanted to see if you remembered it." Maybe it's sort of in service of the fans or whatever, but I'm not sure it helps to remind people of a classic game that is so well loved in your sequel game. It kind of just makes me want to go play CT instead.)

Glenn is there talking to a flower shop owner about wanting a specific kind of flower (go figure, a kind I happened to pick up on my way here.) The owner doesn't have the flower, something about Dario being dead, Dario loving the flower and they want the flower for their formal praying at his grave. Long story short here, I ended up giving the flower to Glenn and some woman at the grave site. Maybe I should have held onto it so I could give it to the other world Dario at some point to recruit him (because I imagine he's still alive in Serge's version of the world) but oh well. They thank me, talk about the sword, about how Dario is Glenn's brother, how the sword at the grave has been passed down generationally (but Glenn doesn't use it, probably because of an inferiority complex) and then they're on their way.

This is Termina, but sadly this cutscene has yet to happen.

I spent a lot of time in Termina, by the way. A good hour or so just talking to people. The element shop keeper has a special portrait, so I bet I can recruit her or something later. I also met a kid with a mohawk who's name I can't remember, but adds CHA to his words randomly in no discernible pattern, that scared off customers to a guy showing off a fake mermaid. The kid likes mermaids, apparently, which brings me to -

Apparently Termina, or this entire continent is kind of shitty. There are "demi-humans", humans that are part animal part human, and apparently there's this great big racist thing going on with them. Maybe it'll get touched on more later, but, so far some guy was using them as slaves, people seemed to have no problem with the concept of shoving one into a tank (not that it was a real mermaid anyway, but still) and they use the term somewhat derogatorily "Go back to your demi-human friends you kid that I hate!" This kid also tells me that he has a boat and that he can take me around on a tour in the boat, but for some reason I don't have time for that.

Why don't I have time for that? Because I need to get into Lord Viper's Manor. Why? Hell if I know. No, really, at this point, I have no idea why. It's not until I meet a guy cleaning a statue of Lord Viper that Kid decides to pipe up with "we should go there because you need to find out why he was maybe after you and so that I can do..something... that I'm going to be very vague about..." For telling me all of the major enemies in the game, just about, and some of the big plot twists (by the way, there was a kid in bed being read stories by his mother that was friendly enough to tell me ALL about this thing called the Frozen Flame. I'm sure it's nothing important, though, right?) they seem very unwilling to ever tell me any specifics about what's going on in the now. So, whether I like it or not (I told Kid I didn't want to go, she's still making me) I need to find a way into Lord Viper's Manor.

He is NOT in this game. It was better to have characters like Poshul instead.

Which is where I meet Guile. Not that Guile, another Guile. A Guile that was going to be Magus, but then they added so many characters to the game that they scrapped that idea. I'm not kidding either. They felt it was a better idea to have 40 characters in the game, most of whom are useless, instead of have a potentially interesting story involving Magus and this alternate world and his search for Schala. So, Guile is a magician that looks an awful lot like Magus, but he isn't, that has a bet with a fortune teller. Guile needs to sneak inside of Viper Manor and obtain something from some room. Again, they're REALLY vague about this stuff. However, Guile tells me that even though Lord Viper's Manor is impenetrable, all he needs to get in is a boat. So looks like this fortress is impenetrable every place except for..nowhere at all because a mushroom man told me that you can also get into the manor from a "secret" underground passage in some forests. Do these people know the meaning of the word impenetrable? Because so far it's sounding like this place is anything but.

I know where to get a boat, I just don't want to go get it though. Because it requires I go spend some more time talking toCHA! that weird kid. So, in my reluctance, I spent some more time in town, helped a man sell his Lord Viper food by lowering the price from 100 to 50. I found the talking skull's (who's name is Skelly.. of course it is) mom, or grandma, or something, lamenting their son or grandson or whatever having gone off and disappeared. By the way, I looked up where ALL of his body parts are, and I kind of want to say fuck it. This isn't like "Go collect three things and we'll be good" this is along the lines of collect six or so things, all over the world, at different locations, some of which sound like they won't be available for a pretty long time. I also talked to a blacksmith and his wife. Zappa, and Zippa, Zappa's Wife. Seriously, that was her name every time she talked. How must she feel knowing that the only way anyone will ever identify her is as "Zappa's Wife." She even has a portrait and everything, but she's relegated to being Zappa's Wife every time she opens her mouth. The black smith was cranky, told me about putting a soul into the weapons he makes. I'm sure I can get one or both of them in my party later if I find out the magic way to make it happen.

Mojo is apparently looking for his brother, as I found a straw doll that he called brother, but then said no, that's not him, and he wondered where he might be. I also met a kid named Van, who's an artist and son of a wealthy merchant trader guy that doesn't really love his son and loves his work more because he came in and broke a promise to Van while I was just casually standing beside him and told him that he wouldn't get to go to the festival because he had to go work. I bet I get Van in my party later too if I really try for it.

I bet I get to meet you next time, even if just for a moment.

And I think that's about where I stopped. So, I found out what my objective is, though.. not really WHY it's my objective other than "come on, you have to find out the truth of what happened to the other you, why some people were after you even though they only seemed to try once and I kicked their asses pretty easily, and because I need to be a tool for two of the other party members. Really, there's more reason for me to go to Lord Viper's Manor right now for Guile and for Kid than it seems like for myself. But hey, I'm sure I'll met a cat demon named Lynx there who can fill me in on everything that's going on.

Impressions & Closing Out!

So, not a lot happened this time, despite me having a lot more to write about. It seems they're finally starting to get to at least some story stuff; though more of it seems to be about everyone but Serge. That's fine though. Serge will get his time to shine when he switches bodies with... eh, I'll cover that when I get there. I know it happens, it's one of the few things I remember from the game when I played it the first time.

The game's not bad. The dialogue in the game still seems pretty annoying. It also still looks pretty good. Well, good for its time.

I also spent some amount of time doing research on the Dream/Time Devourer, and, that shit is fucking convoluted as all hell. Apparently it's a combination of Lavos, Schala, some air ships that FATE the super computer made, and the dragons and it needs Serge for some reason to come to maturity. What the fuck? I'll cross that bridge more when I get there, but, what the fuck?! The Lavos-Schala thing I got. That kind of made sense. The fact that it's supposedly actually like five entities in one is absurd.

I definitely want to keep playing the game though, but I won't be back until Monday or Tuesday due to going on a trip for New Year's Eve. So I'll see you all then when I get back and hopefully things will pick up a bit more in game.

Blogs CCT1 and CCT2 can be found at their respective links.

1 Comments
  • 16 results
  • 1
  • 2