Trials, failures, and wiping the slate clean.

So today was one of mighty triumphs, dismal failures, and ultimately wiping the slate clean. Definitely learned some more very harsh lessons courtesy of Demon's Souls. In fact I broke down and started looking at the wiki. It was then I learned how badly I had screwed up my character and how I missed out on some freaking awesome items. It started so well too, I actually beat the Fl amelurker in one try! Had to do a lot of rolling and there were a few times I was trapped in a bad place. Hell there were points where I probably shouldn't have survived that fight but I did! And when he went down, fuck I felt like I was on top of the world. I thought i had this Demon's Souls thing down!

Then I got to the second area of the Tower of Latria and was disabused of that notion. I managed to make it all the way to the Maneater boss and just could not get past it. Not only were there two of them but I just didn't have the stats to make it work. So I thought "okay, I'll just go to another part of the game and level up a bit", so I went to the second area of the Shrine of Storms. There I was getting my ass handed to me by just regular enemies. I had hit a brick wall and just could not progress further, I didn't know what to do or how to fix my build.

So I turned to the Demon's Soul wiki where I discovered I had picked on the hardest classes to start from, (wanderer) and had missed out on some powerful weapons because I consumed the Demon's Souls to level my character. Demon's Souls had defeated my first playthough, so I scrubbed it and went with the Royalty class!

First off magic is awesome, like super awesome! I can just stand back and let my spells do all the work and my class starts with a nifty ring of MP regen as well! Second of all the game goes much much faster when you have some idea of what you are doing. Took down that Phalanx like it was nothing, didn't even break a sweat. I am definitely gonna make my new character a magic and faith powerhouse, slinging spells like Merlin and taking down fools eldritch style! I haven't given up, I will beat Demon's Souls, and hopefully this new mage character is what let's me achieve that!


And much progress was made!

So I feel like I have made some significant progress today and am starting to get a handle on more of how Demon's Souls works. I've worked my way through every world and now am ready to start taking on the second parts of most of the worlds. Let us get into my adventures and I shall share with you more tales from Demon's Souls.

So decided to run through the first part of the Boletarian Palace so that I could find places I had missed, mostly cause I learned you can climb over certain ledges. Sure enough there was a whole bottom area I did not check out and guess who I found there? That's right, Ostrava of Boletaria! I saved him from some dredges and in gratitude he gave me a telescope. Not the best gift in the world but with the isolation they build in this game it's a big event when you meet someone else who is not out to kill you.

After that it was back to the dungeon of Hope in the Tower of Latria. Taking down more cthulu demons I managed to find the keys I need to open more cell doors and freed Sage Frake, The Visionary. Not really useful to me since I don't use magic, but I couldn't leave him in that dungeon. I fought me way further through and found an NPC who said "i am just a servant, I won't get in your way promise". Ignore the messages sayign he is a liar I continued on to the boss. Four tries...FOUR TRIES before i took down the False Idol only to find out that NPC i left alone resurrected it. Needless to say I went back and stabbed the bejeesus out of that damn liar and then killed the boss again, which wasn't too bad since i had figured out her pattern now.

Next was a jaunt into the Shrine of Storms where I learned the value of a good bow and how to manage my stamina. Demons come fast and furious, rolling all over the place and constantly striking at you. I took my new lessons to heart and managed to make my way to the boss. The Abjucator was actually not too difficult and I managed to figure out his pattern and take him down first try! Definitely getting more competant with the battle system, dodging, blocking, all that jazz. So that's boss 2 down and I got a sweet shield and ring that give me health regeneration!

Finally I decided to end the night going through the Valley of Defilement, which actually was much much easier than the Shrine of Storms. Again it wasn't too bad, a short jaunt to the boss Leechmonger where I promptly died by falling off the platform. yeah, it was pretty dumb but I fought my way there a second time and just stabbed it to death. Again the boss wasn't too difficult and victory was mine! That's 3....count em, 3 bosses taken down today. Like I said I made some significant progress and feel pretty good, though I know I am still missing a lot of systems and such. Still, today much progress was made! Next Sunday I venture further into the Tower of Latria!


I killed a Knight and a Spider!

So it's my second Sunday of playing Demon's Souls and I feel like I am slowly gaining some understanding of the game. I still don't really know much but I learned some hard lessons and those led to awesome triumphs! As the title says I took down both the Tower Knight and The Armored Spider after many many many hours of playing today.

So I started by taking a break from the Palace of Boleteria and deciding to delve around in Stonefang Tunnel for a bit. Found my sword to be very ineffective and realized I had a spear in my inventory. Using the spear worked much much better, it happened to be their weakness and also I realized I can have my shield up and still attack with a spear. This of course was learned through about 3 deaths before I started experimenting.

It wasn't long after discovering this, that a laughing man set me on fire and I realized heavy armor had encumbered me. Basically armor and weapons have weight and if you exceed half your maximum it slows down your run speed and drastically reduces your roll. Rolling is good my friends, rolling saves your life, once I got back into leather armor I was dodging that fire with ease!

My final lesson about the battle system was understanding how to use auto-targeting. While the bad part is it locks you into an enemy, the main benefit is you are always facing that enemy for shield and attack purposes. Now I was dealing damage consistently, blocking or rolling as needed, and basically tearing enemies apart. This also meant my arrows and bolts hit with much much more frequency!

These lessons combined allowed me to get close to the end of the first area of Stonefang Tunnel. I was doing great until BAM! At the end of the bottom tunnel was a giant fire-breathing spider. Too surprised to really do anything I kind of just died very quickly. Lost 2000+ souls on that little mistake and couldn't get them back as I died again when I tried to get back to my body. Still, I payed attention enough to see there were safe areas I could just pelt him with arrows from. So the next step was to get arrows.

I decided at this point to try the second area of the Palace of Boletaria, basically a castle wall where a dragon strafes and shoots fire across certain portions. I had given up before but now that I better understood the battle system I could run through and harvest souls to buy arrows for that damn spider! There were a few setbacks but I managed to be more cautious and spend my souls on arrows when I could so I wouldn't lose them.

Ironically while doing this I stepped through some fog into a boss battle with The Tower Knight, who is about as tall as 3 story building! I ran around the parapets around him to take out all the archers, can't be dodging arrows and fighting a giant knight at the same time. At first I grabbed a ledge and fired arrows at him, but the process was taking to long and wasn't very reliable. I didn't have enough arrows anyway, so I sucked it up and went to go toe to toe with him. I learned with the arrows that his feet were his weak points. So dodging his attacks, I rolled around his feet and attacked when I could. I almost beat him my first time but he fell on me with about one more strike of health to go and I died.

After much swearing and yelling at the TV I decided it was on, that I would beat this damn knight. It took 2 hours and 3 tries later but I conquered that bastard! Lots of rolling, healing when necessary, and patience really payed off. I cannot stress enough how on the ball you need to be with this game, you can't slop your way through it. Beating him was yet another awesome feeling, it is the release of massive amounts of tension and I think I am now hooked on the feeling.

After beating the Tower Knight I upgraded my character and had enough strength to use the Flame Shield, the increased fire resistance definitely came in handy for my next fight. Feeling cocky I ran into Stonefang Tunnel to take down The Armored Spider. At this point I had enough arrows that i found the safe place I noticed earlier and just shot it full of arrows till it died! That's two more demons down and definitely made me feeling like Demon's Souls is a surmountable tasks.

I decided to dig deeper into Stonefang Tunnel and entered an area where you have to drop down a mineshaft very carefully, catching yourself on little walkways. On the way down I met Scirvir, The Wanderer who is looking for a sword said to be able to kill dragons. After chatting with him for a bit I tried to go further down but couldn't seem to find the right way. Fell to my death like four times.

So I decided to end the days adventures with checking out the first area of The Tower of Latria, the prison of Hope. My friends magic enemies really really suck, especially when they look like weird Cthulu demons that can paralyze you then one hit kill you. Still I managed to wander around and open a few doors but then decided I didn't want to lose the 3000+ souls I had accumulated. So I popped back in the nexus, spent my souls, and decided I shall continue again next Sunday.

And so ends my adventures for the day in Demon's Souls. I learned a lot of hard lessons, died more times then I care to admit, and yet when I killed those two major demons I felt so damn good! I actually am enjoying the game and part of that I am sure is because I am an emotional masochists. In any case until next Sunday!


Shoot many arrows at a dragon and get a Demon's Soul!

So played some more Demon's Souls today, definitely learning about repitition and how quickly you can die. You cannot slack in this game, even the easiest of enemies can kill you if you get sloppy. The hard part is that some things require some tests before you figure out what you are suppose to do, still going in with no guide, and that test may mean dying and realizing you shouldn't go that way.

I learned today that you can shoot a dragon with a ton of arrows and he won't do anything until that 151st arrow, yes literally 151 arrows. I had to shoot it full of arrows because it kept setting a bridge on fire that I needed to get across. Demon's Souls is definitely about repitition and exploiting the system when you can. Nothing is too cheap and you gotta use all the tricks at your disposal or again you are dead. In fact you will be seeing that "You are dead" screen many many many times.

In any case I scared off that dragon after shooting at it for a solid 20 minutes and made my way to my first boss the Phalanx! Another ten minutes of running around the room and striking when i could meant that I defeated my first Demon's Soul boss! Let me tell ya the release of all that tension when you beat a boss is euphoric, goddam did I feel awesome afterwards! And my reward was that I got to live again and now I can upgrade my character.

After running for 10 minutes I finally met the monumental and understood the purpose of the Nexus. Now I have accepted the quest to put the Old One back to sleep for eternity by defeating all the demons. I decided to try the second area of the Little King archstone and now I'm stuck getting killed by a pack of dogs. Oh well, i'll tackle that next week cause I need a break. I'm getting sloppy and dying all the time. Still...scared a dragon and beat a boss! Doesn't get better than that!


Let us talk of a Demon's Souls.

So all the hubbub about the Souls games and Amazon having a buy 2 get 1 free sale has cause me to purchase Demon's Souls. I thought it might be fun to blog my journey through this game as I am going to go in with no hints or guides, just pure exploration and see what the heck this game is all about. I am going to just dedicate every Sunday to making my way through this game and just writing that experience down here.

Today began my journey into Boletaria where King Allant the twelth has awakened The Old One. Now the grey fog shrouds his kingdom and the demons come to harvest our souls, driving men mad in the process as they harvest them one by one. Into this land ventures Shara, a wanderer come to free this land from it's curse and send The Old One back into it's slumber so that humanity may not fall into extinction. She enters this land and encounters the maddened men who's souls have been stolen. Fighting her way through these wretched victims she comes face to face the a true demon and faces the first of many deaths. Defeated in a mighty blow her soul is drawn into the Nexus where it is awakened by The Maiden in Black. From here she shall scour the land of Boletaria to not only to regain her life but to free Boletaria from The Old One.

Just a little flavor text there, once in the nexus I headed to the first world from the hub that is the Nexus. While there are messages to help you get along there is a lot of the game that is no explained. I definitely had to start learning from trial and error, died 3 times today and each time had to go right back to the beginning of the level and fight my way back through the respawned enemies. The game definitely teaches you to be prepared at all times, I haven't experienced losing all my souls yet as I have managed to get back to my bloodstain every time but I am early in the game. I will say I made it far enough to see some dragons and decided I want to sleep on it before diving into that madness. Tomorrow I fight a dragon, wish me luck!


Two Games down!

  So since my last post I have managed to finish two excellent games. The first was Assassins Creed:Brotherhood, a epically fantastic game that once again has me dying to play the next one.  Once again they have tweaked, fixed, and improved upon AC's gameplay to deliver an awesome experience that takes everything you love about the first two and ups it to 11! Rome is a lot of fun to run around in, the story is engaging and i like Ezio as much as i like Desmond. I was really scared that this would just be a side story and to be honest i had written it off as not worth my time, how wrong I was. If you like AC at all and are interested in the story you need to play this game as it delivers a pretty satisfying single campaign. It starts off right where the 2nd one ended and further escalates the plot while giving us more insight into the battle at hand as well as what Abstergo truly is.  I haven't even touched the multi-player and I still find this to be on of my games of the year.  All I can say is play it and make sure you get the subject 16 stuff so your mind is sufficiently blown! 
  Also finished Vanquish as well, in two sittings as it's not a very long game. I have to say as far as making video game ass video games Platinum really has the formula down. While it's not as strong as Bayonetta, Vanquish is still a lot of stylish fun and definitely feels like a Platinum game. Scores, frenetic action, style, and taking a common game design to the next level are all hallmarks of their style.  Vanquish is pretty much Gears of War on crack and then a japanese filter is placed on it. It's interesting to see western culture through the eyes of the Japanese and it's just as weird as we see them. It's definitely a game worth playing through at least once and i want to see more of Platinum has to offer as this year they have really shown their video game chops.   
  That's pretty much it, i also made my top 10 list and of course Mass Effect 2 won my GOTY.  There were a lot of pretty awesome games this year so it was actually pretty tough, hell i still have more to play but probably won't since once again first quarter is packed with solid games. Well until next week!


FF what now!?

  Okay i'm back, finally got internet and everything settled in my new apartment so I can continue to update this blog regularly now.  Haven't had a chance to play Resonance of Fate since it's practically unplayable on a SDTV due to the fact you can't read menus.  Usually it's not a big deal unless you happen to be playing an RPG, then it's freaking madness to try.  So i've been playing a smattering of other games on my PS2 and some PS1 classics on my PS3. I have rediscovered a love for Guitar Hero playing some GH2, it's not a game you play  long by yourself but it's fun for a few hours still and even with covers it's a blast. I'm considering getting one of the newer ones for the PS3 once I get an HDTV. I would get Rock Band because i prefer them but they don't offer just a guitar bundle so that's out giving i couldn't play drums in this apartment.  Oh well it's not like i'll buy a lot of DLC, just the occasional game when i get bored. 
  Also jumped into Shadow Hearts: Covenant some more, really really good game still.  It's probably one of my favorite RPG's of all time (it's on my list) as it's both hilarious and serious at the same time. The Judgement Ring system is actually rather interesting and provides a skill based component to the battles that give them more tension and involvement then you would find in your typical JRPG.  If you like a weird occult version of WW1 with demons, luchador vampires, and intelligent wolves then brother do I have a game for you. It's a bit hard to find but if you can get your hands on this game it's truly a PS2 RPG classic that was sadly overshadowed by FFX. 
  Speaking of Final Fantasy for some reason i have found myself playing FF8 again.  It's funny how the cut-scenes remind me just how technically crazy this game was when it came out even though they look terrible now.  The dialogue still is terrible but i like the story concept itself and I'm having a good time with it.  The Junction system is interesting and just makes me wish the draw system wasn't so tedious as I enjoy the ideas present.  It definitely is the first game to make summons rather worthless as they are more style then functionality at this point, mostly you just use them open up junctions for your character and abilities as actually summoning takes longer then just buffing up attack and waling away at an enemy.  All in all I'm enjoying it though, it's easier to appreciate now then it was long ago and i miss the days of world maps and airships in RPG's, oh well.   
  Next week i might talk more about my GOTY picks on top of what i've been playing, we'll see.


Japanese Ass JRPG!

  So haven't had too much time for gaming with this moving into my new place and all that.  Sadly have to go back to a regular SD TV until i can afford to get one of m own instead of using my roommates. And also I'll have to save up for a new Xbox 360 as well which sucks, I would get one now but moving cleaned me the fuck out.  Oh well i should have a new Xbox 360 by the end of December and a new HDTV by the end of February at the latest.  In the meantime I have had a chance to get some gaming in and I've been using it to play Resonance of Fate. As the title says it is a Japanese Ass JRPG and it is quick to let you know this right off the bat. I've got about 8 hours logged into the game (technically 12 but we'll get into the discrepancy later) and I think i'm starting to get the hang of the battle system...sort of.  The game doesn't really hit you over the head with story so far, so I have a very very very very basic idea of what is going and that is about it.  The battle system is mad complicated and even after taking the optional tutorial I still have a lot to learn about how it works.  The game really has a trial and error quality to it and is very unforgiving of mistakes.  You die in battle you can either retry for a small sum, get your hero points back and retry for a large sum, load up a save, or just straight up quite the game. I've encountered a few spots with boss like enemies that are super powerful and won't let me run, so after banging my head against them for an hour I've found myself having to start over from a save that sometimes was several hours ago.  It definitely subscribes to the the old style of saving early and often.  There is a lot more I could say but honestly I'm not that fair in so i think i'll reserve judgement until I get further.  I will say that after a few hours i've actually found myself enjoy the challenge of the gameplay, I do want to know what the fuck is going on, and getting clothes to dress my characters up in is oddly compelling to the point where i'm disappointed if all i get as treasure are battle items which is kinda sad. Hopefully next week i'll have more concrete things to say, so far for $25 though I'm finding not regretting the purchase and warming up to the game.



  Man it's been awhile since i've written here, i've neglected you for too long little bloggy blog. Heck i've been severely lacking in my social networking obligations, even if no one reads this stuff.  Well as part of my plan to get back into the things I love and improve myself I am going to start updating here again. Gonna keep it weekly, Sunday is pretty much bloggidy day for all the different blogs that I have.  As far as video games go I just finished Enslaved on PS3 and man that game is amazing.  Probably one of the best new IP's to come out in awhile (though the best still belongs to Bayonetta sorry). The controls can be a bit sluggish at spots but once you get used to the feel you barely notice except for a few pathfinding issues when doing the traversal stuff. Honestly though the gameplay takes a backseat to the real reason you play this game which is the story and visuals.  First off this game is gorgeous, the world they have created is an interesting mix of clockwork destruction and lush new growth coming together to form Earth after a devastating war. The story itself is very well written especially the dialogue and the mo-cap acting is top notch with Andy Sirkis leading the show.  The relationship between Trip and Monkey is very believable and the game touches on some pretty heavy subjects, plus the ending is pretty crazy and I definitely did not see that coming.  I highly recommend the game as it's pretty solid and I managed to snag it from Amazon on their day sale where it was only $25 dollars.  Between this and Heavenly Sword I am actually really interested to see what Ninja Theory will do with the new DMC game. If they can bring they excellent story telling to that series and keep the over the top action while making it accessible (i.e. cribbing from Bayonetta) I think it will help revitalize that series.  Enslaved at least has me willing to see what these guys can do for old Dante and the gang.
  Other than that been working my way through Batman: Arkham Asylum on 360  again, which was one of the best games of last year. With it's metroid/vania gameplay, authentic Batman feel, and a story as good as anything in the old animated series or comic book the game is solid from top to bottom.  I am stoked for the sequel and can't wait to see if lightning strikes twice for Rocksteady.  Playing through the first game again i am definitely on board for the sequel. 
  Other than that just been thinking about my person GOTY as i've played enough games this year to make a qualified decision this year. Though i still need to get the money together to build a PC just to play Starcraft 2, Civ 5, and get prepared for Diablo 3 when it comes out in the far flung post apocalyptic future.  Well that's all for this week, until Sunday adios!


Gears of Contra!?

  So borrowed Gear of War 2 from a friend and am actually having a blast.  I'm not really a shooter guy and Gear of War one was bland and overrated in my opinion.  Yet 2 seems to be sucking me in and i am having a lot of fun playing it.  From the crazy story that has an awesome Contra homage vis a vis being inside the Rock Worm, to the most excellent Horde mode that makes multiplayer fun for people like me who hate competitive multiplayer.  Heck i sat down for six hours today with one of my best friends and we went through all 50 waves of Horde mode.  Took us forever but i had a blast the whole time and felt like i accomplished something awesome!  I finally get it as Gears of War 2 really brings the elements together and make for a very compelling game. I haven't beaten the story yet but so far it's been awesome, (minus a super frustrating driving sequence up a moment filled with cheap deaths and bad controls).  It's too bad i took me this long to play it but i may consider actually purchasing this game and playing it  more after i've beaten the campaign.

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