Hello everybody! I know that none of you were awaiting the triumphant return of this blog, but eh, whatever. I want to try the new profile functionality on the site, and I thought I'd give this blog thing another go. I've decided to change the format to something less rigid too. Like the Bombcast! Yeah right. Ah well. Onwards!
The game I've been playing most recently is Fire Emblem: Awakening. I started playing Fire Emblem because of Brisulph's Let's Play of Sacred Stones, which I then picked up. This was my first Fire Emblem game. I know that a lot of the fans consider Sacred Stones to be a weaker entry in the series, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. My second title was Shadow Dragon, and both of these games I actually beat, somewhat of a rarity for me. Awakening is a really, really good game. It's a huge meaty beast, with tons of content, and DLC to boot. I don't know about the pricing for the DLC stuff, but there is free spotpass content, which is a cinch to get. It's so easy, that I didn't know how to do it and basically accidentally downloaded a mess of characters, items and maps purely by turning on spotpass and ignoring it. It was a fun surprise when I finally checked that bonus box. There's been a lot of chatter that this may be one of the best Fire Emblem's to date. I wouldn't be able to make that judgement, but I can say with some certainty that it's one of the best games on the 3DS and that I can't recommend it enough to strategy and RPG fans.
I decided to buy this game basically on a whim, having never played any other games in the series. I enjoyed it quite a bit actually. I can't make any comparisons, but I find the combat to be fun and engaging, especially on the higher difficulties. I'm not that great, most out of a lack of consistency I think. I beat the game on the normal difficulty, and have jumped to a Son of Sparda run, which is a lot more difficult. Some groups of enemies I'll dispose of with damage whatsoever, others will kill me. It's a fun skill based challenge. I also like the story a decent amount. I think the acting is good, and it takes itself seriously in a tongue-and-cheek sort of way. Almost like the fact that it's so serious is the joke? I don't know if that makes sense. Some stuff I think is a bit on the unnecessarily gross side though. Not a fan of that sort of thing, but it's really pretty minor.
I don't really have much else to talk about really! In fact, I'm in a class that is starting right now! So, that'll be all! Keep you mind open folks!
Do you like things that are good? Do you own a DS or 3DS? If so, I suggest purchasing 999 and completing it in it's entirety. That is all.
Ok, but seriously, this game is fantastic. However, it's really not much in the way of a game, that is, a thing that you "play". The gameplay consists primarily of "escape the room" style puzzles, where you are presented with a room, and must examine objects and solve smaller riddles and puzzles in order to find your way out. The puzzles are in the style of games like "The Crimson Room" one of the most famous escape games, but the puzzles in 999 as a whole involve a lot less moon logic. (Moon logic refers to puzzles in video games that dismiss standard logical progression in favor of things just being weird, it's generally considered poor game design unless cleverly done).
Really, though, 999 is about the story, and the characters. There are 9 of them, obviously, and what determines which of the...6 endings you get is the various decisions you make about which door to go though, as well as some character conversation stuff. I'm not going to spoil any of the details of the plot, but it has some fantastic twists and is extremely well written. Askys Games developed the game, and their previous game was a visual novel like Katawa Shoujo, so that probably says a lot about why this game is the way it is. You're going to spending a lot more time reading than doing much of anything gameplay wise as a result. I think this is totally ok. You may not, and if that's the case, then you will probably grow tired of this game quickly. For everyone else, I cannot recommend this game highly enough.
One more note, this game does a great job of handling the fact that you need to replay the game in it's entirety in order to get the other endings. It includes a skip feature that automatically skips all text that you've already read, and it shows you decisions you already made in previous playthroughs. In fact, one of the endings is required before you can get the true ending. (Otherwise you get an incredibly disappointing half-ending that simply tells you that you're not ready to see the true ending yet.) While this seems pretty cruel, the chances of you stumbling on the true ending first I think are pretty slim, and you would be really confused without the required prerequisite ending. The only thing I suggest is after playing through the first time blind, you consult a spolier-free flowchart in order to get the other endings. Otherwise, it's very easy to end up getting the same bad-endings over and over, which is annoying. The path to the true ending does make sense, but it's difficult to see without hindsight.
OTHER GAMES I'VE BEEN PLAYING AND OTHER STUFF
I played the Diablo 3 beta the other day, and I'm pretty excited for that game to come out right now. I have my pre-load all ready to go. I wasn't sure what to think of the changes they were making to the game at first. I own Diablo 2, but I didn't really play all that much of it due to the fact that it's pretty impenetrable without reading up on a lot of builds and what not, and I got discouraged at the fact that if I wanted to build a character that had multiple abilities, it would be essentially useless in the long run. So my perspective on Diablo 3 was from the big internet stink about the "dumbing down" of it. After reading some fantastic posts on r/diablo and the Battlenet forums, and playing the game for myself, I no longer have any doubts as to the customization and quality of what is going to be an amazing game. If you don't agree, please read this: http://www.d3sanc.com/news/blue-posts-the-customizability-story-wasd-movement-waypoints-more/ before saying anything.
The Guild Wars 2 Beta starts tomorrow! I have this client all preloaded too. I won't be able to play though, at least, not till Sunday night or something. Maybe. I'm off to a Catholic Teen Retreat that I'm staffing, something I've been looking forward to for months. So I'm a little bummed the first open beta is this weekend, but really, whatever. There'll be another in a month I'm sure, and I'll have lot's of footage to watch in the coming week.
The other game I've been spending a lot of time with is Xenoblade Chronicles. I'll probably do a blog post about it in the coming week. Long story short, it's as RPG as you can get, and that's excellent.
WILL LISTEN TO MOST ANYTHING ESPECIALLY IF VIDEO GAMES
It's a bad sign when I need to double check the wording of my extraordinarily shitty title.
Hey guess what! 999 has awesome music to go with it's general level of awesome! Try to count how many times I've used awesome on this blog! I assure you it's too many!
I'm not sure what it is about this song that's so great, it's quite rhythmic for a theme that plays as you're trying to escape from a room, but it fairly lighthearted. Probably because it's one of the early themes, unlike
this one is quite a bit more forbiding, and as the word "Senary" betrays, occurs much later. This song is no less excellent though.
And as a preview of the quality of next week's offering, I offer you it's Unique Enemy theme:
If that's not a sweet battle theme, than I guess we just differ in opinion :)
Contrary to popular belief, I'm totally still planning on doing this! Just got a little busy. And maybe a little lazy to, but hey, we're back, and this time with
GAME OF THE DAY: RHYTHM HEAVEN FEVER
I haven't really played a game on my Wii in something resembling forever. Mostly because the Wii has been at home and I'm here living in this crappy dorm room. But that has changed and I have my Wii here now, which means of course that I played the shit out of Rhythm Heaven Fever.
I've always been a fan of crazy Japanese stuff, emphasis on the crazy. As a result, I had a really good time with the WarioWare series, which I think may be this game's closest analogue, at least when it comes to art style and sheer randomness. However the goal of this game isn't randomness, rather, it's Rhythm. And this game has it in spades.
I'm not going to go into the minutiae of how the game works, you can look for the Quick Look if you want that, this is just going to be my thoughts.
This game is just a lot of pure fun. It's silly, weird and kind of adorable at the same time. Everything is so friendly and upbeat, and this carries over to the music, most of which is catchy and a joy to listen to. A lot of the songs with words are also really quite good, and the remixes really stand out as far as quality goes. I found something to enjoy about pretty much every game, as far as I'm concerned, none of them are bad.
Reading some of the reviews and forum chatter about the game, I encountered some people who were complaining about the difficulty of some of the games, saying some of them were "borderline impossible" words like that. I've always been pretty good when it comes to rhythm. I was a band nerd in high school, so I've had experience with that. Perhaps this is why I was able to Medal every single game. Now, this did take some effort, quite a few of the games took quite a few tries before I was able to manage a suburb rating, especially Remix 10, which I still managed to fail every few attempts. But I pulled it off, and I must say, it felt pretty damn good. Now perfecting all the games? That's another matter. I've perfected about 20 of them, and while there are a couple I think I'll be able to manage, I'm pretty sure I don't have the patience or time to be able perfect all of them. But I'm sure it's possible.
Overall, this game is just straight up fun, and I think has a surprising amount of content despite consisting exclusively, of minigames. And this content will last you over all especially if you care about getting the best rating or perfecting everything.
OTHER GAMES I'VE BEEN PLAYING AND OTHER STUFF
These titles just get better and better. I've been playing a lot of persona lately. Both Persona 3 Portable for the PSP and Persona 4. Persona 3 portable is a lot of fun, I'm really looking forward to golden for vita as a result, since I find Persona 4 to be superior. I enjoy my on the go RPGs quite a bit. This will continue the trend of me buying a Sony portable device for the sole purpose of a portable Persona game. I'm kind of an idiot.
I also bought Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 for some reason. I just really liked the idea of just tons of characters, and I've always liked both Capcom and Marvel's characters. Usually I'm pretty awful at fighting games, and I'm pretty sure compared to anyone with any degree of skill I still am, but I'm enjoying experimenting with the characters and watching videos to try and get better. It is kind of annoying to watch tournament videos and see the same characters over and over, especially since they tend not to be the characters I like. But eh, whatever. It's made me more excited for the persona fighting game though. Speaking of which
WILL LISTEN TO MOST ANYTHING ESPECIALLY IF VIDEO GAMES
Continuing the trend of awesome persona music is the fighting game! I still can barely believe this exists, and with all the effort their putting into it, with things like this awesome song which happens to be Yukiko's theme, one of my favorite characters from Persona 4. Which doesn't mean much, since I really like pretty much all of the main cast. I know the story excuse is some kind of tournament, but I really want to know what it's for and why the Investigation team has no qualms about beating the crap out of each other. And why does everyone have their basic persona's? You'd have to play like a moron to fail to get a level 10 S. Link with ALL of your party members. Eh, w/e, it doesn't matter at all really!
This is the last bit of Katawa Shoujo music I swear! I posted this one because it's a pretty excellent piano cover of a great song. There's a couple people who've taken it upon themselves to learn the pieces and perform them on the piano, and having used to play piano myself, and having also taken a look at the sheet music, it's pretty impressive.
The connection here to video games is pretty loose, but I've been listening to this song a lot both because I like Electronic Drum and Bass stuff, and because Veela's voice is amazing. And I had never heard of her till a couple of days ago when I stumbled on this video. And to top it off, that's Veela there in the video, the Pretty lady cosplaying as Kerrigan. Pretty cool. I'd say the enjoyment of the music is a matter of taste though, I sure like it, but I could understand why you wouldn't I guess. Her voice shouldn't be your reason. If so, then your opinion is wrong.
And that's all! I hope to write a bit more frequently from here on out. Despite my rambling nonsensical writing, these posts do take quite some time to write! But I'll keep it up.
Hey! It's been a while. I've been both busy and incredibly sick, a smashing combination for productivity, especially with things that I don't actually have to do like this blog! But I'm back, and am writing this time about
GAME OF THE DAY: KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RECKONING
I'm just going to come out and say that the Chakrams are pretty much the coolest weapon. Moving on!
KOA:R is very much a video game. I know that might sound a little weird, but it's honestly one of the things that this game wears on it's sleeve. It is a game, and it is proud of it. One notable example would be that no matter how you build your character, you have a shield, and you're able to bring it out pretty much whenever no matter what weapon you're holding. It just appears out of thin air really, with your weapon magically disappearing along with it. Which, I, for one, am really thankful for, because that shield is damn useful, and two-handed weapons are cool and it'd be a drag if you couldn't block with them like in most games. Of course, in most games, it's like that for a reason. In this game, everything about the combat was really built so you can have fun.
I built myself a Battlemage type character in my 30 or so hour run. She uses Battlehammers and Greatswords, along with a set of chakrams always ready in the secondary slot. At first, I didn't really use the spells that much, but as soon as I learned the Ice Spell, I started using that all the time because it does a ton of damage and is really satisfying to use. I'd say that satisfying is a good way to describe the combat in general. It just feels good. You really feel like you're doing damage to the enemies with your strikes, and it's awesome to scoop up a bunch of enemies in your sweet greatsword into chakram combo, and end a fight without taking a scratch. That said, the combat is pretty easy a lot of times, even though I'm playing on hard. Like Jeff, I invested in sagecrafting and put in lot's of health regen, which is incredibly helpful. I also really enjoy the blackmithing system. It encourages salvaging the random equipment of the type you want to build, and using different parts to make powerful and unique equipment, made even better when you get the ability to use gems in the crafting process. It's very well done, and the loot lust is in full effect.
I gotta say though, getting caught into enemy stun loops and sometimes be really annoying, especially when it's because of spell casters. Pretty much all of the spells home in on you, so you pretty much have to block them, and it's really irritating to have your combos interrupted by a fireball flung at you from across the screen. It's also kind of irritating whenever you have an AI partner around, simply because they suck so much. The hope would be that they'd serve as a tank or something, but they seem to pull no aggro whatsoever, made especially apparent in fights with spell casters, where all the spells still go to you even if they are being attacked by the AI directly. They also tend to interrupt combos too. These two points are really just me whining like a baby about little things. They really only stand out to me because I like the combat so much, that when the flow is interrupted it's a drag.
However, one thing I need to mention is that I encountered a game breaking bug that caused me to lose about 4 hours of game play
It was a quest you get later in the game, once you reach the second continent, that involves killing tuatha around these giant red crystals. Apparently, I killed the mob that spawned by one of these before I got the quest, resulting in the quest becoming impossible, and that was a main quest as well. Because I was overwriting my saves, my last save is quite a few hours in the past. Luckily, the game has probably one of my favorite things in it, the fateweavers.
The Fateweavers are essentially respec NPCs that allow you to pay a fairly small amount of gold to completely reset your character. It's awesome. You can get rid of skills you don't like, experiment, and completley remake your character whenever you want. So, to make up for the fact that I need to redo a good chunk of the game, I'm going to respec my battlemage into a...stealthmage? (I dunno what to call it). So hopefully that'll alleviate some of the fatigue from having to replay a good chunk of the game. Keep that glitch in mind though!
I also have to say that I found myself skipping a lot of the dialogue in the game. I really didn't have the patience to wait for the voice actors to finish, and I didn't really care about what most all the random NPCs had to say. The world seems neat in conception, but for whatever reason, seems kind of flat. I like the idea of being someone that can mess with fate when no one else can, and yet, it feels like what you do barely affect much of anything. It's really too bad, should the story stuff have been more interesting, this could have probably been one of the best games of it's type, up there with a skyrim. Because of this though, it's a fun action game with a ton of quests, but pretty much all of the content in Skyrim had more interesting storylines.
All in all, I highly recommend the game to RPG fans and action fans alike. I could see the action wearing a little thin after awhile, but should you mix it up with fateweavers and combos, I think it'll last you a very long time.
WILL LISTEN TO MOST ANYTHING ESPECIALLY IF VIDEO GAMES
I'm having some trouble getting the youtube embedding to work, and I should really get back to homework. I'll post extra music next time to make up for it I guess. Sorry!
There are a couple of games that come to mind when I think of games from my youth. (Which, admittedly, isn't really all that long ago at all). My first video game system was a NES, and while I was terrible at pretty much all games, I really liked to watch my dad as he played them. And he's continued to play games with me, even going so far as to be a member of a TF2 clan today. He's a pretty awesome guy.
Anyways, one of my fondest memories is sitting with my dad on the couch and watching as he beat Banjo-Kazooie, using his standard Caravella-esque game play style of collecting absolutely everything like a crazy person. As far as I'm concerned, Banjo-Kazooie is one of the classic 3-D platformers of the N64 era (this is back when I was a die hard nitendophile). At that time, Rare, the people behind Banjo-Kazooie was what I suppose you would call a 2nd party developer for Nintendo. They did work exclusively for Nintendo as far as I can remember, and were even given Nintendo properties to work with like in Donkey Kong 64. The last game that Rare did for Nintendo was the polarizing Star Fox Adventures, a game that I admit I never played because it was extremely dissimilar to one of my all time favorites, Star Fox 64. Rare was then bought by MIcrosoft, and became a developer for them.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was an interesting title by Rare, one that I eagerly purchased soon after release. I enjoyed the game, but it was just too different from the Banjo-Kazooie that I knew and loved. That's not to say that a modern platformer collect-a-thon in the vein of those older games is a good idea, but I suppose it's what my nostalgia tinted mind wanted. I never finished Nuts and Bolts unfortunately, thought I'd still like to go back and finish it some time. The vehicle building was creative and unique, and the music was awesome.
And so we finally come to the game that this is supposed to be about: Banjo-Kazooie. Re-released on XBLA back in 2008 alongside a pre-order promotion that was included with Nuts and Bolts, I was ecstatic to play the old game again, as my ailing N64 had it's fair share of issues.
So did it hold up?
My 200 gamer score for the game says yes. (And I don't give a shit about achievements).
The game received an upgrade to 1080p, which actually manages to look pretty fantastic despite the fact that I'm pretty sure there are no new assets made or anything. The cartoonish art-style manages to hold up really well. The other big change was the massively improved draw distance. It makes it really hard to go back to the N64 original in my opinion, after standing on top of the lighthouse in Treasure Trove Cove and being about to see the treasure chests opening and closing down below instead of a soupy white fog.
There's a good possibility that it's just my nostalgia talking, but I loved going through the game again. Especially considering I never beat it as a little kid, it was rewarding to finally complete it, getting 100% of all the collectibles.
Now, that said, I did it all in practically one sitting. The game, if you know what you're doing, really doesn't take all that long to complete, although it doesn't feel short or insubstantial or anything. (It is much shorter than Banjo-Tooie though). I was kind of surprised at how much I remembered, even with the later levels. The one thing I found I didn't remember well though was the difficulty. Banjo-Kazooie really is quite an easy game in my opinion. It's certainly not hard to beat at the minimum, it only starts getting difficult when you start trying to 100% it, and even then it's not so bad. That said, a couple of challenges stand out. Most notably, the entire level of Rusty Bucket Bay wants to kill you really, really badly. And it even brings back that damn shark! It's still one of my favorite levels from any game ever though, a big part of it being the level's theme, which is simply amazing.
I am listening to that song right now on loop as I write this.
There are so many little things about Banjo-Kazooie that makes it stand out as a game that was lovingly crafted. It's the little things. The way that the lair theme meshes into the level themes as you walk near the level entrances, or the way the music changes to a simpler tune as you go underwater.
I simply can't accept that it's just nostalgia clouding my judgement on this game. I'd say this breezy old-school 3-D platformer is certainly worth the $10. And you may as well get Banjo-Tooie as well, that game is pretty good too, albeit much longer. The interconnected levels are still one of my favorite things in any game ever, but the difficulty, mostly from gigantic and confusing level design, is much higher.
WILL LISTEN TO MOST ANYTHING ESPECIALLY IF VIDEOGAMES
I'd like to say that awful title is a joke, but if I don't leave that alone I will sit here for hours trying to come up with a better one.
Like a freight-train of feelings delivered straight to your skull! (Sorry Ryan). Here's more Katawa Shoujo OST!
The way this song rises and falls is absolutely gripping, fitting for a song that plays in the big decisions of most every route. It's funny, I chose this uploader for this song because picture is less spoiler-filled. I suppose if you're looking for music from the game you'd have played it already, but the big drawn art pieces tend to have really important moments in them, the other picture certainly was of one in Hanako's route. That said, if you've read my other posts then you've gotten plenty of spoilers from that. Whatever. Listen to the song.
Here's one from left field.
I don't actually know if I like this song or not. I'm serious. But every time I played Saint Row I found this song stuck in my head some time or another. I had to seek it out on youtube, and then I favorited it. And then I was looping it behind my homework. Maybe it's because I was trying to figure out what the girl is saying in the background at the end of the song, I have no idea. So maybe you shouldn't listen to this.
Here, I'll make it up to you!
Really, all you need to see up there is Bastion. It gave me chills when they launched into Setting Sail, Coming Home.
Hello again! I don't have a game of the day today, I'm just going to ramble about stuff I've already talked about! Yayyyy! Also spoilers abound.
OVER-ANALYSIS CENTRAL: KATAWA SHOUJO
First off, I'd like to mention that the chatter on the internet about this game has been as a whole rather overwhelmingly positive, in more ways than one. By that I mean that the internet isn't being as much of a terrible place as it is want to be sometimes. Don't get me wrong, there's still some people being total assholes about this game. At least I assume so. I haven't really seen much of that at all. What I am seeing a lot of is people getting a lot out of the game emotionally. In one example, there was a post on the Katawa Shoujo subreddit about a person who had been having some struggles with his relationship, and after playing the game and experiencing the stories found himself a better person. I paraphrased heavily there, but that was the gist of it. And that's so great! This stories in this game are told in an inspiring and enlightening matter, and it's nice to see that getting through to people. As well as people being really nice about the story that the person shared.
On the other side of the coin are people who take things just a bit too...seriously? When I mentioned before that Lily and Hanako's stories caused me to cry, it's not that I was sitting there at my computer bawling my eyes out or anything of the sort. It was really more me tearing up, and having stupid smile on my face, coupled with the "feels" as a lot of people seem to put it. Someone, also on the KS subreddit, explained, with a large degree of embarrassment, feeling a serious emotional attachment to the character I have posted above, Hanako. He went so far to mention thinking about her, staring at her picture, dreaming about her, etc... As one somewhat insensitive redditor explained, that person has fallen prey to the "waifu" effect or something like that. (Every time I read or write that word I have to connect my hand with my face in an exasperated manner).
I find that when I read, watch, or play things that connect to me on an emotional level, I find myself thinking about them a lot. Really well written characters tend to be my favorite things, and like I mentioned before, I'm kind of a sucker for a romantic story. However, I always think of them in the context, of, well, stories. I like to imagine the future for character who's books have come to an end. Or imagine a world where me and my friends have to play SBURB from Homestuck or something. A lot of people do this I believe, at least, this is what the frequency of fanfiction lead me to believe. (A medium that can go from harmless and interesting to disturbing so quickly it's horrifying. This is the right sentiment here: http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/05/04 )
It's all just, well, fiction though. Something that's fun to think about, but not reality. It's nice to get things out of stories and use them to make yourself a better person, it's one of the reasons that I love reading so much. All the characters from, well, everything fictional, exist in their own made-up universe. It's fun to imagine what they'll do once their stories end, but, well, none of them exist outside of the context of the mind. It sounds terrifying to me to be so consumed with a fictional character that you end up feeling romantically attached. Emotionally I understand, as far as I'm concerned, if I'm not emotionally attached in some way than I'm simply not reading that great a story, but that's just me, and I get attached to fiction easily, I have a good imagination for that sort of thing. I'm trying to be as tasteful as possible as I discuss how, well, absolutely crazy the concept of being in love with a person that doesn't exist except in a game is. It's an easy thing to make fun of for sure! Which is why I was impressed so much by the responses the guy got. They were sympathetic, gave advice, and posted things like:
Hey! That was well written! Nice! (Too bad it's so damn big jeez). There's just some good advice in general there, certainly stuff I wish I thought about in a past relationship. And that's really the type of thing I think that you should get out of Katawa Shoujo, I like to think I did. That guy from the reddit post sounds like he took the advice to heart, and is doing better for it. Good for him! It's nice that the internet of all places was able to be a sympathetic friend in an embarrassing situation, something it's usually, well, the absolute worst at.
What I had written here previously before I came to my senses was an insufferably wordy analysis of Hanako's route. It was about 5 large walls of text long and was basically me awkwardly explaining the ending of her route. In short, her Bad/Neutral endings defy what her character arch type is generally like (shy girl with traumatic past), and the path to the good ending has some real awkwardness and serious screwing up on both their parts, but ends with an incredibly heartwarming confession by both of them, with tears shed on both sides, that really shows that despite how early it is in their relationship, they're going to end up happily ever after. The final image is truly heartwarming.
I was going to talk about Lily's too, but I all you really need to know is I've never gotten emotional because of a little tune from a music box before.
(And the other routes are pretty good too)
Ok, that is quite enough! I need to stop writing wordy nonsense about this game that other people say infinitely better on random message boards. If you want some good love stories, than read this damn game. That is all that there is to be said on the matter.
And now introducing a new section!
WILL LISTEN TO MOST ANYTHING ESPECIALLY IF VIDEOGAMES
Man, what a great title.
Anyways, I like video game music. Some of it isn't really very good! But some of it is great. I hope to show you non-existent readers some of the good stuff! In my opinion at least.
I've always really liked the piano, and the Katawa Shoujo OST is full of it. This song is so good just because of how evocative it is of the moments when it plays. It means more if you've played the game, but I think it's worth a listen even if you haven't.
Cave story has great retro styled music, and this piano cover of Running Hell, one of the best tunes to begin with, is really just amazing. I've listened to this on loop so much.
Welcome randomness fans! Bet you didn't see this one coming...
GAME OF THE DAY: SAINTS ROW THE THIRD
Seriously. It cannot be overstated just how much damn fun I had with this game. I play a lot of my games on PC, including this one, simply by virtue of the fact that I like steam so much. I'm normally not too much for games like this, but the GB crew's ramblings on this game eventually won me over and I knew I had to try it out after the game of the year deliberations. I'm so glad I did.
Seriously though, if you use this site, than you are probably already aware of the awesomeness of this game. The stupid grin that I had on my face from the crazy happenings coupled with the witty dialogue kept me playing it all till it was done. But like Ryan, I was sad when it ended, I want more of this game! I did buy the season pass, so I hope that I'll get some good content in the future so I can justify going back and cleaning up all the stuff left to do (Genki Bowl didn't count unfortunately).
I think that the PC is the way to go with this game too, I thought the shooting felt pretty good, it was easy to make headshots and the like, but I could see the combat being a bit frustrating until you get going on the upgrade stuff. Especially if you get the morningstar to mad before you have exploding pistol rounds, those helicopters are a total drag to take down until then. After that point though, the insane amount of upgrading you do until you are an invincible behemoth of never-needing to reload destruction is loads of fun. Gotta say though, I wish I could just keep reloading the gun like you could with the typewriter machine-gun in Resident Evil 4. I'm a sucker for reloading animations. (Yup that's me, mattscout007, Sucker for romance stories and reloading animations).
That said, my stupid PC has some horrible...something...that's causing it to hitch up and stutter every once and a while. It's a result of a rogue svchost process that spikes in CPU usage for no reason, and me and all my tech-minded friends cannot figure out what the hell is wrong. Despite said hitching occuring every 10 minutes or so, I still played the entirety of Saints Row the Third and loved it. That's how good it is!
And you fly a VTOL Jet. Yeah. Go play the game.
See, I told you I'd play most anything!
OTHER GAMES I PLAYED/HAVE BEEN PLAYING/PLAYED BEFORE/FINAL THOUGHTS
Anyways, I keep playing around more with Katawa Shoujo (Help meeeee), yet I've still managed to not get any of the bad endings on purpose yet. I hate sad endings I suppose, but since I've played this much already, I'll probably go get them anyway eventually (the skip feature is nice for getting through what you've already read, I used that for Act 1 when I was getting the other character's stories). I've also been listening to the music from the game, you can download the soundtrack from the developer blog for the game which you can find pretty easily with a simple google search. I'm warming up to it more and more as I listen to it, it's nice background music for working on homework, and the breadth is impressive considering that the people who worked on it received no funds whatsoever for this. Heck, the whole game is of astonishing quality for something that nobody is making any money off of. Kudos to them! Also the name Enigmatic Box of Sound for the soundtrack is excellent.
Been meaning to play more of Devil Survivor: Overclocked on my 3DS as of late. I got a good jump on it over winter break and I really liked it, but haven't been playing it much what with school and all. That and Persona 4, and Persona 3 Portable I need to finish still. Damn you Shin Megami Tensei series and your time sinks! And yes, it's the fault of the Endurance Run that I even looked at these games ever. Damn you Giantbomb!
I managed to get a friend hooked on Spacechem I think. Pretty pleased about that. The one sentence description of "Puzzle game about chemistry" doesn't exactly get people excited, but as long as they give it a shot and are of the right mindset, they'll get hooked. Or they'll give up really fast when it becomes complicated. One or the other I suppose.
Full disclosure here: I haven't really gotten all that far in this game. But this is a blog not a review so who the heck cares about when I write about the damn game. Anyways, I'm going to go ahead and say that this game is really, really hard. I enjoy a good puzzle game now and then, but they're not really my forte, I get bored of them fairly easily generally. Spacechem is so difficult and involves pretty much 100% of your mental faculties that I couldn't possibly be bored because I'm so busy trying not to throw my laptop out the window in a chemistry filled rage.
Spacechem has you, essentially, creating various chemical compounds using what is essentially a visual programming language involving two simultaneous streams of actions called waldos, divided by color. The game starts out pitifully easy to teach you what the commands do, and lead you unto a false sense of security I'm sure. It then gives you what seems like a simple task, and just says "go do it". The game switched from tutorializing to meat of the game so fast that I was left puzzling out the next solution for like a half an hour. And whenever you complete a mission you get a nice series of charts that show you how complex your solutions were compared to others. (Complexity is bad!). And it turned out that more often then not my solution was really, really complex.
Now this could very well be that I'm terrible at the game. I would accept that. There are some incredibly Youtube videos of awesome creations people have made online that are staggering in their complexity and length. Despite the game's difficulty, the game still manages to give you a huge feeling of satisfaction upon completion of any of it's puzzles. It's difficult, but not in a way that makes it seem impossible. It's difficult in a way that leaves the solution dangling just out of reach, as if one more piece of the puzzle would solve it and make everything work off without a hitch. And when you finally get that whole system working, and sit back and watch as the program sets up 10 of whatever chemical you had to make, it's very satisfying. It's similar to the feeling you get from beating a tough boss in Dark Souls. And, to top it off, the game is really cheap and even available on IOS. You have no excuse not to check it out!
OTHER GAMES I PLAYED/HAVE BEEN PLAYING/PLAYED BEFORE/FINAL THOUGHTS
Played some more Dustforce the other day, and have realized that there are some clear differences between the character. The pink one seems to be the best at jumping, for example, and as a result has become my favorite. She also attacks the fastest, but has the shortest reach. I got a bunch more keys and unlocked a lot of levels, and I look forward to playing more of that.
I need to stop playing Katawa Shoujo. Please. Somebody help.
Today I'm going to talk about a game that a lot of people know about! (Kind of)
GAME OF THE DAY: DARK SOULS
I like to think that I'm pretty good at video games. And of all things, my time with Dark Souls has proven me I think correct. I think it helps that I do tend to look up stuff on the extremely helpful dark souls wiki and the subreddit, but honestly, that's kind of what this game is about. It prepares you very little for the trials you have to face, and instead really depends on word of mouth as it's guide. It's practically a system built into the game, with it's unique online features allowing for all sorts of useful tips to appear from your fellow players.
I honestly think that the combat in Dark Souls is some of the best melee combat of any game I've ever played. It seriously requires all of your focus at all times, enemies that you've slain over and over still requiring focus, lest you find your self stamina-less in a corner, dead before you could get out of stun lock, your souls now lost as your were trying to rush your way back to the last spot you fell to some awful beast.
The combat has clearly been fine-tuned to a very sharp edge. All of the animations, the weapons, the amount of stamina you use with each action is clearly intentional. Blindly swinging your weapon about is a surefire way to die very quickly. Same with keeping your shield up between strikes, your stamina, almost as important as your health, doesn't refill as fast with your shield up, and with the stamina too low you will be stunned the next time you're hit, and more likely than not, felled quickly.
So I understand that all of that just sounds difficult, and rather off putting. But it's not! It's really rather fun! The feeling of exploration! The getting completely wrecked when you stray to someplace you shouldn't be! Killing an innocent NPC because it's the only way to get a certain ring that let's you do ninja flips which you would have no way of knowing about lest you look it up! Yeah. Look, all in all, I agree with Vinny in how it's honestly one of the best games of the year. I managed to have loads of fun, and despite sinking 50 or so odd hours into it I'm nowhere near finishing it, and I plan to go back to playing it. Just got a little distracted with a considerably less hardcore title as of late. Freakin' romance novel disguised as a game...
Anyways, I think I've managed to do quite well game play wise. Ornstein and Smough gave me absolute fits, but all the bosses before that I beat pretty much my first try. Course, now I'm getting my ass handed to me constantly, and I HATE the catacombs with a fiery passion, so yeah, that ease has quickly faded. Part of the reason I've only gone so far though is I keep making new characters. My first one is a pretty standard Jack of all trades type, but the newest one, which hasn't faced O&S, is a Katana wielding sorcerer. So I'll see how I do when I make it there.
Despite my enjoyment of the game, I'm going to have to say that you really can't plan on playing this game unless you have the time to spend on really digging into the game. You can make it just stumbling around the environment, but it would be a lot more frustrating of an experience I feel. The difficulty of the combat though I could see really turning off someone focused on a more quick action game experience. That said, it's a beautiful game, with sweet music and a feeling of accomplishment through completion that other games can barely touch.
Hello again! And welcome back! I have no idea what my update schedule will be like, probably not daily.
* Holy shit, this ended up being really long. I have no idea who'd want to read this. I'm going to post it anyway, but damn, if your read this, kudos to you.*
GAME OF THE DAY: KATAWA SHOUJO
This is the recently released VN (Visual Novel) that finally came out about what I think was about 5 years of development. I remember stumbling into some information about it some years ago, and being curious about the characters, but I pretty much forgot that this existed until RPS (Rock Paper Shotgun) did a story on it. It wasn't overwhelmingly positive, but it sounded more like the writer didn't like the whole idea of a VN to begin with, and I decided to download it and give it a shot, since it's free and all.
Three days or so later, I've gone and gotten the good endings for all 5 of the characters. This would be because I ended up really enjoying it. (And it became to me like a book, which when I pick up I finish) Some things first I suppose I should mention! (I'm assuming here you know nothing about the game)
1. I've never played a VN before, but I like reading, so I figured it would be a lot like that. I was right. It's a lot more like reading a illustrated book.
2. The characters all look like they come from the animes despite the artist being of western descent. Since I generally don't mind that style at all, I suppose this makes me a jerk (hah). But if you hate the art in the picture above, than you will probably not like the game much.
3. All of the characters are, well, disabled. (Including the character you "play" as). Katawa Shoujo translates loosely to "Cripple girls" or something along those lines. It's all very tastefully done, and it is nowhere the focus of the story. It comes into play often, it's a school for the disable after all, but sometime in the story of all of the girls I pretty much would forget about their disability at some point, since the disability is not what defines any of the characters.
4. There are adult sequences. These can be disabled in the options, if you want. I don't really know exactly what this does to the scenes, since I didn't take that option, but I hear that this doesn't censor the nude character portraits, just the larger scenes, so be warned about that I guess. I believe that are fairly tastefully done, they're similar to what'd you see in a rated R movie I suppose, and they avoid being overly explicit. You could make the argument that they are unnecessary, for a myriad of reasons, but whatever your opinion on that matter is, this is NOT a hentai game. The sequences I'd say total about 5-10 minutes in each character's 3 hour or so story. If you want to play this game for the boobies, well, that'd be an awfully inefficient way to do so, don't you think? Just don't, you'd be wasting your time.
5. The game was conceived on the 4chan boards, but became it's own thing and really has nothing at all to do with the infamous message board. (Despite the name of the studio being a reference to the message board's logo.)
Alright, moving on, Katawa Shoujo follows the story of Hisao, a boy who discovered that he has a debilitating heart condition (Arrhythmia) when he suddenly has a heart attack after being told that he's liked by someone. After a long hospital stay, Hisao begins his new life at Yamaku High School for disabled children, a fictional school in Japan. In Act 1, you're quickly introduced to the characters, and the decisions you make decide little aspects of Hisao's personality, and decide which character he will end up with, so to speak. The story will then move on to Act 2, and at that point, you're "locked in" to one of the girls and the story will continue from there. This means that the game has a rather large amount of content, I'd say roughly about 20 hours if you want to see the endings for all the girls. Act 1 will tend to play out roughly the same, but once Act 2 begins, it's completely different for each character.
The art is really well done. It's still scenes for the most part, and character portraits that move around and show different emotions, poses, and clothing, but are stationary. The only exception is the really nice animated sequence you get when beginning Act 2 for each character. It's a bit confusing, since they sequence is just a short montage about the character, and actually will display events that don't happen or won't happen for a long time, it's just eye candy really. In the extras menu on the main menu you unlock all the pictures as you seem them in the story, allowing you to look at them whenever you want.
The music is pretty good. Simple, but it set's the mood nicely. It's kind of jarring when the music takes dark turns, to signify bad things are happening/about to happen, but it's pretty easy to tune out especially if you're engrossed in the stories.
This brings me to the main event, which are the stories. I'm a sucker for romance, despite being a guy, and some of the stories were really touching, played out believably, were interesting, and, well, I'll admit, made me cry.
The 5 characters are Lily (blind), Hanako (burn scars on most of the right side of her body and face), Shizune (mute and deaf), Emi (doesn't have legs, uses prosthetics), and Rin (doesn't have arms). Despite the fact that I just defined these characters by their disabilities, like I said earlier, the characters are far from defined from them. They are affected by them, and they are important factors, but in the end not really what the story is about.
My favorite was Lily's. To put it bluntly, with the best ending, I was basically crying. This may be because I'm a wuss about this stuff, but I still found it powerful. It's also the only ending with an epilogue that takes place after the credits, and firmly cements Lily and Hisao's relationship for the future. It makes Lily's story feel like it's the "real" ending.
Hanako's story I would probably rate second (also cried), followed by Emi's. Shizune's, for some reason, I found kind of long, and in a kind of weird way didn't really focus on the relationship between Hisao and Shizune much, which felt odd since all the others did and they were dating since the second act. It made the sudden scenes of romance seem jarring and out of place, both times they occurred. The ending is kinda of up in the air as far as where it's supposed to go from there as well, at least compared to the others I felt. It's too bad, because I really like the character of Shizune, it's just the story of their relationship that falls by the wayside.
Rin's story is kind of the odd duck out. Her story is considerably darker than all of the others, and was really kind of sad throughout. It's also really confusing, it's meant to be really. The best ending though is really nice, and does leave hope for the future of the characters. I did her story last, and I still can't really decide how much I like it compared to the others.
Well. I ended up writing a lot more about this then I planned to. It's probably because I like to discuss things like this, but I'm way to embarrassed to run around and tell my friends to play this game due to it's content and the fact that I'm the only one of my social circle that likes sappy nonsense like this. Thus, my recommendation will have to be told to just the anonymous internet masses, who won't even read this anyway, heh.
SO! In short, I recommend you give it a shot. You just may find the stories quite touching!
*Note* RPS Just came out with a good "Wot I think" article about the game which I highly recommend you read should you be interested. All the things she says in that review are pretty accurate (I think the art is a bit better than she says), which continues to make me a bit embarrassed about how much I enjoyed the thing. Her review is refreshingly honest, and explains the history behind the game rather well. To sum up my opinions basically, I like the emotional stuff too much, and I don't mind excruciating detail because I read really fast, and I get easily sucked into things and have an optimistic attitude about them. I won't notice the bad things very much in favor of how much I like the good. I suppose this is why I call my blog "Will play almost anything". It's true. I'll play almost anything and probably enjoy it all too. This is not to say that i'm doubting my previous verdict. Books and movies and such make me tear up pretty often, but I like to think the story needs to be powerful in some way for that to happen to me at all, so to me, Lily, Hanako and Rin's stories were powerful in their own amateurish, hyper-detailed way.
Ok, I continue to write wayyy too much about this. Just play the damn game.