Dark Souls and Difficulty, an unfair reputation and a misundertood game.
I’m joining the club of blogging about Dark Souls. Though it’s not going to be about why I love it, or my experience with it, because we already have a few dozen of those. Just know that I love it a lot.
What I’m actually here to talk about is an issue which has been bothering me for a bit, the issue of integrating another easier difficulty level, and how that could possibly be bad.
The common sense answer to issuing an easy mode is obviously that more options are good and letting more people enjoy a game is a good thing! That is most definitely what I would think if I didn’t know as much about this game as I do. The enjoyment of Dark Souls, does not come from finishing it and it does not come from just simply seeing different environments or enemy types. You are supposed to learn, explore, and try things out. The game is entirely based on gratification of by achievement. You feel happy when you beat a hard boss, you feel happy when you figure out the patterns and level layouts to proceed forward. The sense of exploration and exhilarating risk are just overpowering and amazing in this game. So, what would happen if we made it a lot easier? Firstly it would make the game short. The meat of the game is trial and error, trying things and failing until you finally succeed. If it was possible for most people to run through everything first try. Then we would have a really mediocre, awkward 8 hour RPG, without any distinguishing features. While now it is seen as a 60-80h game filled with atmosphere and engaging mechanics. If you don’t enjoy this kind of Trial and Error learning process, then I’m sorry. This plain isn’t for you. Having everything be fun for everyone is a noble goal, but it’s ultimately impossible if we want something uniquely appealing. The Souls games are niche games, and that is something that isn’t easily changed, not without changing the entire core of the experience.
That wall of text is the first reason why a standard easymode isn’t needed. The second and most important reason is that there already is one. Don’t believe me? Dark Souls can be incredibly easy, even the first time through. All you need is information.
Every boss has a weakness, every fight has a trick. Every build or character can be made incredibly strong. The choice of difficulty come from using different methods. For example, I belive myself to be decent at this kind of game. So I chose to play it through alone. But every boss, and most areas has a way to summon a companion, human or not. A little help make bosses a cakewalk. On top of that there are easily abusable tricks to kill several bosses. The Taurus Demon for example, he is weak to fire. And you can get firebombs from enemies, the merchant and even from some chests and corpses. They are cheap and easy to find. I can take him down the normal, hack and slashy way with some effort. But if you want to, just keep the range and spam firebombs in his face. He immediately went from pretty hard to incredibly easy. And it works the other way around too, if I find Taurus to be pathetic, I can just try and go at him with a low level, or a crappy weapon. I might even try going at him naked, wielding a tiny dagger. Now the fight is stupid hard! And it goes out further with choices of equipment or stats. There is a ring whose only purpose is to make you die faster. It gives literally nothing in return. Except bragging rights and a crazy challenge. This game doesn’t need conventional difficulty modes, because it’s based on adapting to situations and gathering information. Just play however you feel will be the most enjoyable! Finding stuff out can be fun, but sharing information with others is also fun! If you have any issues or feel frustrated/stuck, look stuff up in one of the two major wikis. Or hell, just head on out to a forum and ask for advice, the community for this game is insanely helpful and nice 90% of the time. There are people literally just waiting to be of help to someone else.
So in a nutshell, the difficulty isn’t really as high as the game’s reputation. The real barrier of entry comes from the grindy/trial and error nature of the content. If you think the game sounds interesting, but are afraid of the difficulty, don’t worry. Several thousand people have your back. In any situation you could possibly get yourself in.
Thanks for reading this far, I’ll gladly take any counteropinions in the thread if you made it through that wall.
TLDR: Easymode is already built in, it’s just hidden, From Software style. Pay a a bit of attention and ask the fans, even bad players can make it through. Oh, and not all games are for everyone, I totally respect disliking this kind of game. It's niche for a reason, its just that the reason isn't difficulty, it's trial and error.
Yo, It's been a while since the last blog, but we intend to keep the train rolling with these reviews. If anyof you follow Tireyo at all, you will probably know that he's not that easy to reach at the moment, for good reason. That won't stop the the anime though! He had the good will to let me post his stuff at my leisure. So no worries for anyone interested in this series of blogs.
Here we go with the reviews!
My 5 star pick!
Baccano is a pot, filled to the brim with an insane mix of amzaing characters.
Baccano! is set int the early 30'sm in the golden age gangster culture. The majority of the series take place around an incident on a famous transcontinental train called "The Flying Pussyfoot". The incident is seen through the eyes of a large cast of characters in a way that defies chronology, the closest comparison would be something like Pulp Fiction. The Tarantino comparision continues with the large majority of the charcters being related to the mafia, or are in some way criminal. The comparison falls off though when the main crutch of the series makes itself clear, the charcters aren't just immoral, many of them are also immortal.
I have a hard time coming up with words to describe the plot, since really, there barely is one. The real enjoyment to be had is getting to know all of these interesting characters, and seeing a pretty awesome chain of events through a lot of different perspectives. After the train events are over, which would be 13 or so episodes in, the show tries an actual short storyline for the last 3 episodes, which I didn't think was nearly as interesting as the rest. And the few new characters it presents aren't as well developed as the previous ones.
I'd like to bring up examples of characters or personalities, but since that is the meat of the show, I feel like it would be spoiling the experience. I guess, watch this opening and if the style is in any way appealing to you, then you will probably enjoy what Baccano! has to give.
Just trust me when I say that anyone who enjoys a good mafia movie and don't frown too hard to a bit of silliness or ridicolous gore, will have a freaking blast. All the way through. This is literally one of the best show's I've ever watched, anime or not.
Duders, watch this when you can.
Tireyo643's 5 Star Picks - Clannad + Clannad: After Story
Clannad and Clannad: After Story
I actually known about this series for a while, because I listen to an Irish music group called with lead singer Moya (Maire or Mary) Brennan, because I’m a huge fan of Celtic and New Age music. Whenever I Google Clannad, I would either get the Irish music group or the anime series. I never paid much attention to the anime until I got into doing this project. I can say now that I listened to the group Clannad, and I watched an anime series with the same name! Never would I have imagined that I actually come to LOVE BOTH!
The moment when Tomoya (our center character) said, “I hate this town. It’s too filled with memories I’d rather forget. I go to school every day and hang out with my friends… then I go home. There is no place I’d rather not go ever again. I wonder if anything will ever change. Will that day ever come?” I was instantly captivated and was sent into euphoria. It’s as if I already knew that I was going to love this anime.
In all the craziness, bug-eyed/precious moment eyed characters, slight repetitiveness, and corniness; I have to say that there was still a fantastic story to be told. Truth be told, the beginning intro with the introduction of some of the characters and the horrible music was just a major turn off. Afterwards, everything else (instrumental music, atmosphere, story) was captivating, except for the ending credits that also had horrible music. The beginning and ending credit roles really can damage ones perception of this series, so it’s best to fast forward the hogwash. Any show that can match my interests in instrumentals will score good points with me, and that’s exactly what Clannad did. Needless to say, I have the soundtrack to Clannad now, and I listen to it nearly every night because it reminds me of something that musician would do. Country Lane is probably my most favorite song, and may I say that the image on this youtube video is truly beautiful and magnificent.
This anime touches some serious issues that we as humans come to think about one time or another.
1. Are our loved ones watching over us, even though they are not with us?
2. Do you ever feel like you did your parent’s a huge injustice because of something you did or did not mean to do intentionally?
3. What would have happened if you did something differently or something happened differently in the past?
4. Is there another world?
5. Most importantly, can you accept reality?
While Clannad is probably one of the stupidest things that I have ever watched, Clannad is also one of the greatest and saddest shows I have ever laid my eyes on. I actually cried for a good 15 minutes due to a really life changing moment in Clannad, and it really made my heart sad after watching it. The only other time I ever really cried over some cartoon was when I was young. It was a Disney cartoon named Fox and the Hound. To this day, I think Fox and the Hound is very sad, though I don’t cry at it anymore. Any show that has the ability to make me cry like a bitch will indeed receive my praise, and Clannad touched that tip of the iceberg. Clannad had some great funny moments throughout, so spoiling one funny moment isn’t really going to hurt! Nagisa being drunk is absolutely hilarious.
I’m actually attached to some of the characters in this anime. It is actually weird, but I would probably be Tomoya’s friend if he was real and beat the hell out of Sunahara since everyone else is doing it. LOL! Sunahara has the worst and most shrill voice I’ve ever heard in a male, and he is such a moron; however, I like it! Nagisa is a sweetie, and her father Akio is wonderfully psychotic! Kuyo and Tomoyo are two bad ass girls that can kick your ass, and it would of been great to see them fight each other! There was never really a dull moment for me in watching any episode of Clannad.
Some of the voice acting is pretty bad but honestly I didn’t particularly care, because I could really relate to Clannad! Many of the girls looked the same, as most of them had purple hair. They do have different personalities, so after a while you know them all by name. I didn’t particularly dislike like anyone in this anime, just wish they were more differentiated.
I cannot believe that I got all these thoughts and wrote about them all over a very stupid anime series; I cannot believe that I actually teared-up once and cried once for 15 minutes while watching; also, I cannot believe that I watched these series from beginning to end. I don’t usually LOVE cartoons, but Clannad in its entirety is very special to this 23 year-old! You could almost say that this was the perfect match! Though the series may not be too appealing when it first starts off, it does get better over time. The After Story truthfully helps shape Clannad, and it makes me appreciate the entire Clannad series/genre more. This anime is not for everyone as it is almost like a soap opera on life and chick flick high school drama garbage and what happens afterward. Even though Clannad never really came to any conclusions, as there are multiple realities, I thoroughly enjoyed this hogwash. I’m not much for soap operas, but Clannad was a series that reached out to me that I could actually relate to in a way. Clannad is my kind of special garbage, stupid, drama, visual novel and psychotic show, and I’m not ashamed to say that I absolutely LOVE IT! This series turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. This series has really gotten me to think about the decisions I make in my own life, so in a way Clannad was a cerebral series for me… which may explain why I can feel like that I can relate to it so much. I don’t know about you all, but I’m going to listen to more of the amazing soundtrack right now and conclude this review!
Hello and welcome to our joint review blog on anime that TobbRobb and I have watched! After getting into and watching a ridicolous amount of anime recently, we have decided to write a few short reviews every week or two weeks to share our opinions on a bunch of series and movies, both good and bad. TobbRobb will be reviewing Angel Beats and Black Lagoon, and I (Tireyo643) will be reviewing Tales from Earthsea and the Eden of the East series along with its movies The King of Eden and Paradise Lost.
Anime Reviews From User TobbRobb
Angel Beats is a short one Season series with an interesting premise and a unique style.
Angel Beats tell the stories of a group of high school kids in the afterlife. Very early on it's esatblished that all the characters are, in fact, dead. The afterlife doesn't present itself as either heaven nor hell though, but instead chooses to show itself as a normal japanese school. The specific kids the show follows have noticed that following the rules of the world ends up with you disappearing into thin air. They don't take this especially well and decide to rebel against god, making damn sure that they keep their bodies and their freedom.
The story picks up with a new arrival into the afterlife who can't remember the cause of his death. Through his eyesand ears we hear the stories of all the other kids and their incredibly traumatic deaths. These are shown through flashbacks and even though they are creative and sometimes thoughtprovoking, they still feel malplaced. That is because the vast majority of the show is very lighthearted and comedic in a slapstick kind of way. Most of the dramatic tension that the shows creators obviously wanted, is almost immediately crushed by the wacky nature of everything else.
And this is where the make or break for the show comes, it goes all out for it's sillinesss and distinct sense of humour and style. It feels like a one of a kind thing, but I think it alienates a lot of people just by being the way it is. I myself found it charming it's own way and most of the characters and their silly gimmicks endearing, but seen from a critical standpoint there really isn't a lot to it. If I didn't think it seemed excessive I might even call it shallow.
Visually it looks really good, the characters animate great and it has a distinct style, which I don't think is fantastic in it's own right, but does it's trick to distinguish the show. I'm not about to start lying and call myself an expert on voice acting, especially since I watched it in Japanese, but I generally though it seemed good. There were no moments where I wished someone would shut the hell up, "which otherwise happens a lot, believe me" and I think the voice and tone generally fit the scene at hand.
Though the place I think the presentation really shines through is the music, espescially the opening. Just listen to this!
All in all, I thought the show was cute and full of personality, but from a critical standpoint it might not be that great. I won't recommend it to everyone, but I think fans of the style will find something special in here.
3 / 5
Black Lagoon is a series about a small gang of mercenaries smuggling goods by sea. It's mostly seen out of the eyes of "Rock" a Japanese salaryman who joins up with the mercs after being kidnapped by them, for whatever reason.
My connection with this series stretches back quite a bit, in the way that I've seen screenshots and short clips from it all over the internet. From that small interaction I concluded that it might be something I would enjoy, since I really liked the sharp animation and cool design. Oh, how I regret going in with high hopes, if I would have been a bit more restrained with the hype this review could have been more lenient.
Before I start really bitching and tearing the show a new one, I should note that I did not feel the need to watch more than 5 episodes before deciding it was not for me. If it gets radically better afterwards then I'm sorry. But as it stands now, I wouldn't watch more of that show unless I really had to, like at gunpoint.
To begin with I'll give props to the animators, I really like the style and flow of the characters and the action is really well made and stylish. But I just can't say that it's enough for me. Where the show succeeds in looking good, it fails in everything else. All the characters feel incredibly onedimensional, the story is inane and there are more holes in any given scenario than there is actual plot. On top of the characters being horribly uninteresting and predicatable, they literally sound bad. The voice acting is terrible, and I think that is more because of a bad script then bad actors. Though I won't rule out the possibility of it being a combination of both.
And to top it off, they couldn't even get a remotely decent opening song.
It's so obviously meant to be badass, but in my eyes it fell flat on it's face in the first two seconds. It sounds like crap and the lyrics are as nonsensical and dumb as they possibly could be.
Seriously, read these lyrics. I don't know what the fuck.
I can't even appreciate it as "so ridiculous it's funny". It's just plain dumb.
Now, I sound unneccesarily harsh throughout all of this and that was partially my point. But I don't really think it is unwatchable in any way. I'd even go so far as to say that there is a group of people for whom this is the perfect show, I'm just not part of that group. It's bad, but It's still flashy and good looking. So it might be a fun watch with friends. I wouldn't recommend it as a dumb action flick though, since there is a lot more mindnumbing exposition than combat.
Don't watch this.
2 / 5
Anime Reviews From User Tireyo643
Tales from Earthsea
I’m a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, but I’m not a fan of Harry Potter like I mentioned several times before. When I saw this anime on Netflix I decided that I should watch it, because it reminded me of The Lord of the Rings. Above all, it was absolutely no Lord of the Rings.
I liked the atmosphere (art style) of the movie, but there was nothing really engrossing about the story. Maybe this medieval and stuff isn’t totally for me. WHAT AM I SAYING? This movie is just a bad seed. Anyways, the movie is about a deteriorating kingdom with people who are not acting like normal civilians. The people of the kingdom start to see dragons, and they believe that dragons aren’t really meant to be seen. One dragon ends up killing another dragon, so a wizard named Sparrowhawk sets out to see what is causing the conflict. Along the way, he comes across and befriends a boy named Arren or Aaron (I don’t know how to spell his name). The boy has a run-in with a girl named Teru. Even though boys and girls relationship had a rough start, they end up becoming friends. Everything else is for you all to watch, if you can hold an interest. Sure this all sounds interesting at first, but everything just turned out real dull and flat when I watched this movie.
There was one point where I went to the bathroom and had no desire to pause the movie, because most of this movie was just boring. The PG-13 rating is probably the most awkward thing about this movie, as I haven’t really seen any content that is PG-13! The action is so minor and uninteresting, it’s pathetic. This movie focuses more on story than action, so be prepared for some downtime. Also, the ending was pretty stupid. There isn’t really much more to say about this anime, because I didn’t really like it.
Out of all the characters, Sparrowhawk was the most annoying character, as he had terrible voice acting; he actually reminded me of Ben Stein with his long drone of a tone. For sure, Sparrowhawk is not as cool as Gandalf, and NEVER WILL BE! The characters monologues and lines can get VERY ANNOYING VERY QUICK. It’s like you could almost predict what the characters were going to say next, though you really can’t. I hate that feeling of predictableness in words when I watch a movie.
Summary in a nutshell: Tales from Earthsea is an anime that is just too boring and way too droned, though it has a good art style. If you watch and enjoy this movie, you are truly bored… and I feel sorry for you! This review was so hard to write, but at least my point is across that I do not recommend this anime… unless you like this sort of dull medieval stuff. Tales from Earthsea was not an anime for me.
2 / 5
Eden of the East, The King of Eden, and Paradise Lost
I liked this series and its movies very much. Although there wasn't a lot of violence in this anime, as there was more mystery than action, it was very much entertaining and attention grabbing. This series was about a young man who lost his memory, Takizawa, and he ends up naked in front of the White House with just a phone and a gun in his hands, and he comes to figure out that he is filthy rich as well later on. He meets and befriends a Japanese girl that he met in front of the White House, which was a rather strange encounter worth watching. Throughout the series the young man tries to figure out what exactly he is supposed to do, and to see if he is the terrorist behind the Careless Sunday attacks. In the process, he meets people who are just like him in playing a dangerous game to save Japan, and there are a total of twelve people selected; Takizawa does not meet all twelve selecao. If anyone loses the game, Mr. Outside will supposedly kill the losers. The people playing along with Takizawa haven’t really had a good glimpse or idea of who Mr. Outside is, except one. Takizawa ends up erasing his memories again, but that will be way later on in the series, and you’ll be able to witness what happens next in the movies.
There were quite a few perverted moments in this anime, and mostly they were incredibly pointless and did absolutely nothing to improve the story. I did not really want to see any asses… though everyone has one. It’s crazy and a bit strange that there was one female that showed her ass out of the entire series, which is something that I don’t get as everything else was just Japanese men. The good thing though is that you will not see any penises in this anime, as the frontal parts are censored. I was quite restless when I watched the episode where the Johnny Hunter cuts off men’s penises with a cigar cutter just for her satisfaction! The Johnny Hunter part of the series probably is the only good and not pointless perverted moment in the series, as it was actually more humorous and yet unsettling than anything. Also, the Johnny hunter likes showing her ass, so it’ll give you all a break from the men, LOL. There isn't really any content that I would consider mature in this anime, as I think that everything is just PG-13. Blood is blood, asses are asses, and who doesn't curse anymore? So, it's all something that we haven't already seen before.
Getting past the perverted and pointless moments in this anime, I think that it had a good and interesting enough story even though it was very unclear at times. The introduction and ending credits were really great, and even though I do not understand Japanese, I liked the music that went with it! Take a look at the intro and the ending credits to this show! The ending credits is very creative.
My big reoccurring interest in this anime can be described by the amount of curiosity on what would happen next. Anything that can make me curious is a good sign, so keep that in mind. The environments in Eden of the East are very realistic and visually appealing, and the voice acting was pretty good (I like to watch English-dubbed stuff, because it's in my language and no reading is involved). The two movies that came after the series did a good job summing everything up, though at times it again was not clear on explaining what was exactly going on.
So all in all, this was a very good and enjoyable series and the two movies were also good! You could almost say that this anime is a guilty pleasure of mine! Although, there were unclear moments in the story, this series is sure to grab your attention if you like this kind of crazy dysfunctional stuff and if you don't mind a little bullshit. This anime is not for everyone; however, it was an anime for me! It’s on Netflix streaming, so do check it out!
4 / 5
Thank you for reading our reviews, and we look forward to seeing you all in a week or two when we review even more anime shows or movies just for you!
Best Soundtack of the year, best atmosphere of the year and best goddamn fast paced hack'n'slash of the year. I love how every weapon is viable, I love how the narrator works, and I love how good it looks and feels. Game of the goddamned year.
I thought I had lost it, I thought I couldn't enjoy a bullet hell shooter again. Then Jamestown came along, with it's incredible music, gorgeous design and insane story. This is a indie ass game with some great production. Even though I only got like less than 5h out of it, they felt like 5 very well spent hours. I can't recommend this enough. Especially to people who usually don't enjoy the genre.
Best fighting game evah! It was a close call between this and SSFIV:AE (which technically is "better"), but this game has provided way more stupid fun than Street Fighter ever could, and as we all know: Stupid fun is better than serious fun. It's one of the universe's genreal rules.
Before ending this blog, I would like to make a call out for my actual most played game of 2011. League of Legends Even though this didn't come out this year, 2011 still has been a very big year for the game. With big addition like Dominion, the game is better than ever. Give this a try, it's free! Though my bank account says otherwise.
So, I'm not a regular blogger or even writer, but I thought I would write down a little about some games I've been playing, if only to support a noble cause.
Ever heard of a little game called Street Fighter 4? I picked up the arcade edition the other day and have been playing a fair amount and just have to say, it's pretty damn amazing, most notably in the graphics and framerate but also the superb feel of the gameplay.
Even though I'm a complete newbie, with only about 20h+ of MK9 to my name, the game feels fairly easy to get into. I could pretty much immediately do all the simple moves and make the cool effects go woosh, which is always a plus when just starting out. And after a few matches "150? I'm not sure." against similarily skilled friends I seem to have improved a lot and the game gives me a great feeling of progression in skill instead of unlockables/experiencesystems and that feeling just makes me want to keep on going. That said though, it might have felt easy to get into early on, but the step up from "I DID AN ULTRA! YAY!" to actually doing something meaningful and strategic with your arsenal of moves "not to mention trying to combo them!" is quite large and I havent really managed to step all the way over. That is the point I believe most people lose interest in fighting games and find something else to play and I can understand it, seeing someone who knows how to play really makes you feel inadequate. Though I intend to keep on trucking and aim for the lower hanging stars!
If this blog survives for another post, I will try and fraps a match or two and hope that someone could comment on my play ^^ or if someone just have any general tips or tricks/wants someone to practice with, I live in Sweden and main Juri. A seecond post will hopefully not look like a shitty wall of text either, but I can't be arsed in the middle of the night.
In addition to SSFIV:AE I've been playing a goddamn lot of League of Legends, though that has been going on for a few months, at 281 wins "and several amounts more losses" I say I've played enough to know what I"m talking about. It's just insane how addicting a game with this kind of slow methodical pace and LONG "40min" matches can be. Somewhere down the line looking up at what I've been doing most of the game, seems really freaking boring. And any outsider watching will tell me just that. But there is this feeling you get, when you know you are better than the opponent, when you know that he is outfarmed, outzoned and completely under your will, that is just unbeatable. That feeling and the one you get when a gank/teamfight was successful is worth every damn loss, every damn minute spent doing nothing but farming, every GODDAMN time Karthus got you with his ult. That is why I play the game and probably will for a long time forward.
As said previously, I'm in sweden "EU west" lvl 30. And if you want to play, just add me.
I think this is enough random rambling. If you read all of this, then I apologize and sincerely ask you to leave a comment, about anything.