[something different] 9-2-13

No, it's not the name for a new blog series or whatever. Just a suggestion someone made to me as a joke, thought I might as well use it at least once.

So What The Hell Have I Been Doing?

That is a good question.

Well, it has been two weeks since my last blog entry with the [insert title] name, so during that time I've been getting programs and files transferred onto this laptop and getting packed up for my trip down to Redmond. The trip from Alaska to the apartment I am staying in was less than ideal. The plane ride was fine for it being a red eye, but it was being dead tired all throughout Friday in Mount Vernon visiting relatives that wasn't as fun. Saturday I moved into the apartment and met my roommates, and I got all my stuff unpacked. Though looking at my roommates computer setups, can't help but feeling a bit jealous and wishing I had my desktop with me (one of them has a three monitor set up). The weekend was all getting adjusted to living in the apartment, while Monday through Wednesday have been the busiest days for me so far.

So the apartment I'm in is actually one of three complexes that DigiPen has allowed freshmen and international students to live in, which is definitely handy as I'll have ton of people to contact easily for projects and what not. A group of people from one of the apartments did not have internet working in their place, so they came over to use ours at about 11 PM and we ended up hanging out until 1 AM, somehow wondering how we didn't wake up the neighbors in the process. Tuesday involved a ton of walking, as I started the morning walking to Starbucks over on Redmond Way, went with my roommates to buy a board game from a store in the town square, then walk a long ways to Marymoor Park for a new student meet up, followed by a walk to a tabletop game store and picking up a pizza, and then back to the apartments. I had never done as much walking and talking with other people in my entire life.

Wednesday was the student orientation at DigiPen, which was another all day affair. Took the shuttle to the campus, got to meet the faculty and learn about the different programs and what not, had lunch and listened to a speech by Claude Comair, the founder of DigiPen (and a really witty guy. His speech was quite entertaining), it was quite busy. Walking back to the apartments only took about half an hour and I didn't feel like waiting for the shuttle. Again, more exercise.

The last couple days have been just me relaxing and playing video games, but I'm definitely looking forward to starting school at DigiPen, even with everyone saying the work load is going to be intense.

Video Games

So yes, I've been getting some video games, trying to get as much done with games that would be heavy time investments. Like Fallout New Vegas.

As of right now, I am around level 20, completed Old World Blues and currently in the middle of Dead Money. Gotta say, I like the game a whole lot. Obviously Obsidian is really good at writing characters and story, but the elements of a Bethesda game like the freedom to go and do whatever in the game world are present. On top of using patches and mods to play the game, I've also been going through it on Hardcore mode and it is an interesting challenge. Especially in Dead Money where resources are so scarce and you're constantly losing health slowly. Off and on I've been tempted to include the JSawyer mod to make things even more challenging, but I only think I'm ready for that once I've finished the playthrough I'm currently on. Which might take even longer to complete while school is going on.

Other games of note include Burnout Paradise, which I played back in 2008 on PS3 and am now playing again on PC, and it is still fun as I remember. The two favorite things I enjoy most are the takedown missions, and just driving everywhere. Just hold down the boost button to go as fast as possible and see how long I can drive before slipping up and crashing.

Also got Unreal Tournament '99 and McPixel. I haven't done much multiplayer with other people in UT and instead been messing around with mods in bot matches, seeing which mutators and stuff go best. And McPixel is pretty hilarious, though I've not played too much of that.

And this was quite a while back, like almost immediately after my last blog post, I played some F.E.A.R. and really enjoyed it. The horror elements didn't put me off as much I would've thought, as they're relatively subtle and atmospheric rather than being a bunch of obnoxious jump scares. The combat in the game is fantastic though, with the bullet time and different melee moves that you have, and fighting the replica soldiers is a fun and challenging experience. Might check out F.E.A.R. 2 at some point, perhaps?

And That's It

Tomorrow classes start, which again I am excited for though at the same time a bit worried because of the workload. Still, my plan is to put out at least one blog at the end of each month detailing what games I've been playing (or what little I've played, it'll depend), as well as anything else interesting I experience at DigiPen. Hell, this was actually supposed to be posted Saturday, but whatever. Spent that time playing New Vegas instead.

Later.

1 Comments

[something different] 9-2-13

No, it's not the name for a new blog series or whatever. Just a suggestion someone made to me as a joke, thought I might as well use it at least once.

So What The Hell Have I Been Doing?

That is a good question.

Well, it has been two weeks since my last blog entry with the [insert title] name, so during that time I've been getting programs and files transferred onto this laptop and getting packed up for my trip down to Redmond. The trip from Alaska to the apartment I am staying in was less than ideal. The plane ride was fine for it being a red eye, but it was being dead tired all throughout Friday in Mount Vernon visiting relatives that wasn't as fun. Saturday I moved into the apartment and met my roommates, and I got all my stuff unpacked. Though looking at my roommates computer setups, can't help but feeling a bit jealous and wishing I had my desktop with me (one of them has a three monitor set up). The weekend was all getting adjusted to living in the apartment, while Monday through Wednesday have been the busiest days for me so far.

So the apartment I'm in is actually one of three complexes that DigiPen has allowed freshmen and international students to live in, which is definitely handy as I'll have ton of people to contact easily for projects and what not. A group of people from one of the apartments did not have internet working in their place, so they came over to use ours at about 11 PM and we ended up hanging out until 1 AM, somehow wondering how we didn't wake up the neighbors in the process. Tuesday involved a ton of walking, as I started the morning walking to Starbucks over on Redmond Way, went with my roommates to buy a board game from a store in the town square, then walk a long ways to Marymoor Park for a new student meet up, followed by a walk to a tabletop game store and picking up a pizza, and then back to the apartments. I had never done as much walking and talking with other people in my entire life.

Wednesday was the student orientation at DigiPen, which was another all day affair. Took the shuttle to the campus, got to meet the faculty and learn about the different programs and what not, had lunch and listened to a speech by Claude Comair, the founder of DigiPen (and a really witty guy. His speech was quite entertaining), it was quite busy. Walking back to the apartments only took about half an hour and I didn't feel like waiting for the shuttle. Again, more exercise.

The last couple days have been just me relaxing and playing video games, but I'm definitely looking forward to starting school at DigiPen, even with everyone saying the work load is going to be intense.

Video Games

So yes, I've been getting some video games, trying to get as much done with games that would be heavy time investments. Like Fallout New Vegas.

As of right now, I am around level 20, completed Old World Blues and currently in the middle of Dead Money. Gotta say, I like the game a whole lot. Obviously Obsidian is really good at writing characters and story, but the elements of a Bethesda game like the freedom to go and do whatever in the game world are present. On top of using patches and mods to play the game, I've also been going through it on Hardcore mode and it is an interesting challenge. Especially in Dead Money where resources are so scarce and you're constantly losing health slowly. Off and on I've been tempted to include the JSawyer mod to make things even more challenging, but I only think I'm ready for that once I've finished the playthrough I'm currently on. Which might take even longer to complete while school is going on.

Other games of note include Burnout Paradise, which I played back in 2008 on PS3 and am now playing again on PC, and it is still fun as I remember. The two favorite things I enjoy most are the takedown missions, and just driving everywhere. Just hold down the boost button to go as fast as possible and see how long I can drive before slipping up and crashing.

Also got Unreal Tournament '99 and McPixel. I haven't done much multiplayer with other people in UT and instead been messing around with mods in bot matches, seeing which mutators and stuff go best. And McPixel is pretty hilarious, though I've not played too much of that.

And this was quite a while back, like almost immediately after my last blog post, I played some F.E.A.R. and really enjoyed it. The horror elements didn't put me off as much I would've thought, as they're relatively subtle and atmospheric rather than being a bunch of obnoxious jump scares. The combat in the game is fantastic though, with the bullet time and different melee moves that you have, and fighting the replica soldiers is a fun and challenging experience. Might check out F.E.A.R. 2 at some point, perhaps?

And That's It

Tomorrow classes start, which again I am excited for though at the same time a bit worried because of the workload. Still, my plan is to put out at least one blog at the end of each month detailing what games I've been playing (or what little I've played, it'll depend), as well as anything else interesting I experience at DigiPen. Hell, this was actually supposed to be posted Saturday, but whatever. Spent that time playing New Vegas instead.

Later.

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[insert title] 8-16-13 THE FINAL

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The Final what? Eh, just a Japanese style naming thing that sounds cool. Still, this is it. Final entry under the [insert title] name.

GAMES!!!!

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Game's been out for two and a half weeks now, and it's been interesting to follow. The game delivers on an old school first person shooter experience. It's really fast, level design isn't linear, there are secret areas to find, all sorts of stuff. But the game has had severe optimization issues that not even people with a Titan can get good framerates consistently. The game has already had two hot fix patches, the last one being this previous Wednesday, and Interceptor are at work on version 1.1 that will (hopefully) fix the optimization issues and will release the mod tools around that time. Regardless of issues faced with the game, it's been absolutely fun, both single player and multiplayer

I don't have any particular nostalgia for Rise of the Triad, but from everything I've seen and heard, this game is incredibly faithful to ROTT '95, while adding in a few mechanics of its own. For one, you can actually jump in new Rise of the Triad and have proper mouselook. And since you have a ton of rocket based weapons, you can utilize that to rocket jump. You also have an off hand melee option, where you whip out 2 knives to stab people with. Enemies will sometimes roll out of the way of fire and may even try to steal your weapon. The first level is a remake of the first level in ROTT '95, while everything afterward is its own thing. Everything else from the weapon system to jump pads and tokens you collect is faithful as can be to the original game.

Multiplayer has been very fun, which is what had gotten me interested in this game after seeing the 18 minute video of the game months ago. There are only 5 maps to start, and the two I've enjoyed the most have been Drop the Base and Castle Grounds. The former I like the most because of the small size, and when you get enough people in there fighting it is pure chaos. While I had enjoyed the multiplayer side of the game a lot, the amount of servers in the browser shrunk to a small handful (as to probably be expected), and god mode in multi was deemed way to over powered in a game where every weapon was over powered. Thankfully patch 1.0.2 addressed that so it's fun to play on Drop the Base again without some asshole getting god mode and winning the game in less than a minute.

Going back to the single player stuff, I've tried my hand at speed running through the early levels of the game. Two things that make it incredibly fun to do are rocket jumping and the off hand melee. Reason for the melee is that in single player it has you basically teleport to the enemy and stab him, so if you get enemies position just right you can save a few seconds of running by warping and stabbing dudes. Though rocket jumping is ultimately more effective as you can bypass certain sections of levels and even not trigger the scripting. It's really cool, plus rocket jumping is never not fun. More games need it.

I'm still playing the occasional multiplayer match with people in the steam community chat for the game, though like everyone there I am waiting anxiously for the 1.1 patch and the major fixes it will bring. Hopefully it does fix those things as I'm not bringing my main computer down with me to Redmond and I got an average 15 FPS on my laptop.

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Last time I had used my Wii U was sometime before E3, and the last thing played on it was that Rayman Legends Challenges App. Now I've played through the game with both the Gamepad (off TV play) and the Wii Remote controls, and have enjoyed the game immensely.

The only Pikmin game before this that I played was Pikmin 1. I know about the premise for Pikmin 2 and how it dispenses with the time limit of the first game. Pikmin 3 strikes a good balance between those two games by having a time limit via the amount of rations you have, but you can increase that limit by finding fruit and juicing it. When the game started and was trying to get the handle of things, learning the layout of the maps and trying to solve my main objectives at the same time, getting fruit felt like the biggest priority as you only start with 3 rations. When you get to about 10 or so rations worth of fruit you can worry less about getting more fruit and focus on the main objectives at hand. Although there is a particular moment later in the game that for story reasons leave you at 0 rations, which is makes things even more stressful as you gotta find fruit ASAP.

One thing I like especially about the Wii U is being able to play games on the Gamepad screen, should the game in question support Off TV play. Pikmin 3 supports it, and even better it's as simple as pressing select and it will switch instantly. Playing the game that way was nice and convenient, and controls felt much like they did on the gamecube, with the inclusion of a lock on mechanic when holding ZL. While this isn't to say that the Gamepad controls are bad, the Wii Remote control scheme is the proper way to play the game. Heck, proper way to play it is with the Wii Remote and have the Gamepad next to you to access the map and other functions. It might seem weird that the game is designed around a controller from Nintendo's last system, but honestly, all you're missing is just a certain level of accuracy with the cursor. The lock on helps make up for that. I don't really mind it to much, since I prefer having the proper control setup for the proper game. Plus, where I play the game isn't exactly a living room set up as my desk is right next to the TV so I can easy reach the Gamepad's touch screen while sitting in front of the TV playing the game.

Also a minor detail, but I experienced some minor amount of slowdown on the TV while I did not experience any on the Gamepad's screen. So if that sort of thing bothers you than off TV play is a good option.

I've had a ton of fun with this game, especially since it's given me a good reason to use my Wii U. It looks great, it plays well with both control scheme (even with the advantages of the Wii Remote), and it's polished like you would expect a Nintendo game to be. Now to wait a couple weeks for Rayman Legends, and then another for the Wonderful 101. Games are starting to come out for the damn thing again.

And the Rest

The Wonderful 101 Demo

First, if you did not watch the Director's trailer for the Wonderful 101, stop reading this and watch it now. Second, the demo is great. It's cool having the experience of playing the game at PAX Prime last year, back when it was called Project P-100, so I've noticed many improvements in this game since that demo. If only Nintendo didn't have their stupid limited uses on demos.

Old School Shooters

Duke 3D, Shadow Warrior, Shogo, Brutal Doom, etc.

Other Things

Well, this past Thursday was my final day of work at Michaels, and the day before that I got my new laptop that I'll be bringing with me for school. I've already got most of my programs and files on there. My anime, music, Chrome bookmarks, games, and so on. I was surprised to find that it actually had a disc drive, so I got my disc games on there as well (NOLF, AVP 2, Diablo, and so on). It's pretty nice, though I'm not big on the lack of resolution options, compared to the dozen I get from my main monitor. Oh well, it's just something to tide me over until I settle down in Redmond for good and all my stuff is down there. I can only bring so much with me this first semester after all.

In Conclusion

Considering that I'll be living in Redmond as of this coming Thursday, it kinda doesn't make sense for me to keep using the name "Alaska_Gamer," since I won't be in Alaska anymore (duh). Considering I had been preparing for this by using a different name for new accounts I make, I'll be changing to ArclightBorealis. It's my PSN name as well as my WiiU account name. Of course that's assuming if there isn't a 15 character limit on names here, otherwise it'll be ArcBorealis.

And as I said at the top, this is the last blog entry I'm making under the [insert title] name. Not necessarily the end of me blogging, but I'm gonna try changing things up. I'll try to get atleast one blog entry in per month, probably at the start or end, whichever I decide to do. I don't even know if it will be it's own new series as well, but again, this is all very early. Changes are happening. I will say that doing this blog thing for the last two years has been fun. Before that I had not been doing as much blogging even though I felt I had plenty of thoughts to say about different games.

Thanks for everyone that read these posts I made every week or every other week or whenever I posted them because I got lazy and missed a deadline. It'll be great to not hold to it for a while.

Peace.

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[insert title] 8-3-13

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Well, I've certainly been pretty shitty with keeping my schedule with this blog thing, huh?

GAMES!!!!

No fancy headers for any of them this time, just straight up text. This may or may not be a long one.

Drakengard

It's been about 2 weeks since I finished Drakengard, and it almost feels like a blur at this point. Still, I gotta say...what the fuck?

While the game does hit you with the fact that its world is dark and Caim is a complete opposite to a typical Japanese fantasy protagonist, the really weird and fucked up shit people talk about doesn't really happen until after Ending A. After that, things get progressively weirder, and not only do the endings get worse, but the conditions for earning them and the gameplay gets worse as well. Even the soundtrack, which at the beginning is designed to sound like an obvious loop of a section of an orchestral piece, gets progressively weirder and messed up by the end as it starts to sound like a CD getting skipped. I'll admit, I thought it was something on my end with the PS2 disc, but no, the audio is designed that way.

I normally don't make these kind of comparisons between works in different mediums (none of this Citizen Kane of video games bullshit), but I'd make an exception and say that Drakengard is the video game equivalent of Evangelion. It's a deconstruction of its genre, the characters are unlikable (or likable because of their unlikableness), and the quality of the product degrades further and further before ending with one giant WTF. One thing I'd say is different is that there was probably more intention on Cavia and Yoko Taro's part to make the game feel shitty than Gainax did, since they had sponsors pulling out near the end and had to cut corners on the animation.

Regardless, for how dull and depressing it was having to play through all 5 endings, getting all 65 weapons and all that, I don't regret going through it. It doesn't excuse the fact it's got tons of bad game design, but the way it meshes together with everything makes it something that needs to be experienced. Don't just get the info from a Let's Play or something, play Drakengard and see for yourself.

Shin Megami Tensei IV

While I have not played any in the last week because of other stuff, I have played just under 30 hours of SMT IV and is now another candidate for favorite game I've played so far this year. The game feels incredibly polished, especially for a handheld title. The writing & voice acting, the slick interface, the gameplay, it's very well done. It's pretty clear that Atlus had taken everything they learned from their other MegaTen games and applied it to IV, making it feel like a big step forward for the series.

The parts that impress me the most with the game are A) how streamlined everything is interface wise, and B) Tokyo itself. With the interface, you can save anywhere, access fusion at anytime, you can take side quests automatically from taverns or bars and even complete said quests repeatedly (which is similar to Neptunia Victory's quest system, though you had to manually select each quest at the guild). Burroughs is both a great character and an excellent helper, as she does all the stuff that would've been tedious to do otherwise. As for Tokyo, I was especially happy to see it was a world map that you navigated around with a cursor instead of a menu. Pretty much from Digital Devil Saga onward it seemed world navigation in MegaTen games was primarily done through a menu, and in Mikado at the start of IV, it's very much like that. Going to Tokyo and moving a cursor through the streets gave me good SMT I vibes.

Heck, the game has several nods and throwbacks to the first SMT game. IV starts out with you in a dream like state where you meet your party members before seeing them in the real world, the monastary members' outfits resemble that of the Law Hero in the first game, you're introduced to Steven very early on, and where I'm at in the game I came across another character that wasn't taken exactly from SMT 1, but the names and personality are straight from there (When Yuriko transforms into Lilith, which was her true identity in SMT 1, though her goal was to seduce the protagonist and not represent one of the alignments). Needless to say, there's ton of good stuff for both new players and people who are familiar with past SMT games. I should probably get back to the game soon, as I'm very close to going down one of the alignments.

Devil May Cry 4

I beat the game on Human mode, got through most of Devil Hunter mode, and then decided to download a 100% save so I could go straight to Bloody Palace with all upgrades for Nero and Dante. To sum up, the regular missions are kinda ass, but the combat system is sublime and Bloody Palace is where the game's true value is.

I really like Nero's combat style, and feel very comfortable using him, more so than Dante surprisingly, even though his arsenal is ridiculously deep and incredible. Even with one sword, one gun, and the devil bringer, there is a lot of things you can do with Nero's moves, more so in comparison to Dante's arsenal in DMC 1 I feel. The Ex-ACT and MAX-ACT system is brilliant, and having your sword revved at all times is key to doing tons of damage and raising your style meter more effectively. It took me a while to find a proper use for the Blue Rose as it doesn't work the same way as Ebony & Ivory so I largely ignored it. Charge shots are key to using Blue Rose effectively, especially level 3 charges. They can be handy in taking down the electric shield that surrounds the Blitz enemies. And while it's the only boss you fight once and as Nero (or Dante in BP), Credo Angelo is my favorite boss in the whole game. Using the debug patch settings to fight him indefinitely has been a good way for me to kill time, practicing on how to react to his patterns and try maintaining a high style ranking for a long period of time. That's one boss I would not have minded fighting 3 times.

DMC 4 Dante's combat, in theory, should be my favorite because of the options he has and DMC 3 was a kick as game, so having all styles accessible on the D-Pad should be fantastic. It is, the problem is more on my end and that I still can't wrap my head around using all his tools effectively. I have to consciously think and plan beforehand which styles to use and switch between rather than doing them instantly as the situation arises. And the Devil Arm and firearm switching is something I'm not fond of, as I'd rather not have to cycle twice to get to a particular weapon, not to mention there's no Cerberus or Agni & Rudra equivalent, which were my weapons of choice in DMC 3. Regardless, in the levels he's playable he is mad overpowered because the enemies were designed and balanced with Nero in mind, and given how Dante just laughs at everything like it's easy, sorta makes sense he'd wreck enemies faster and more crazy than Nero could.

I'm still playing the game on occasion, but it's only for Bloody Palace mode, or for Mission 8 just so I can fight Credo Angelo. As a game in general it's underwhelming in comparison to the greatness that is DMC 3, but man is the combat so good. And when the real meat of these kind of games is the combat system, any other issues are just minor.

And the Rest

Rise of the Triad

It's fun, though a bit rough performance wise. It is an old school shooter with single player and multiplayer designed from that era.

The Witcher

Out of the blue I decided to finish where I last left off in November (midway through Chapter IV). And I did. Took me all the way into the early morning between 2 and 3 AM.

Fallout

After finishing the Witcher, felt like doing the same with Fallout. Except that I felt I was better off starting over since it only takes a couple hours to get the water chip if you know what you're doing, and then a few more hours to beat the rest of the game. Game's kind of short for an RPG, when you think about it.

Other Things

SGDQ 2013 happened last weekend, which is the reason why I did not post a blog entry then because I was so busy watching it. The event was a whole lot of fun from most of what I saw. I still have a few runs I need to watch that I missed out on (the Twilight Princess one is amazing from everything I've heard). And since that stream was occupying my computer and TV, that's when I figured I'd make more progress in SMT IV, and progress I did make. I certainly wish it had not ended, but I was fortunate enough to not have work on Friday and Monday so I could watch as much as I wanted. Already can't wait for AGDQ 2014.

Besides that, it's about 20 days away until I leave Alaska and fly down to Redmond for DigiPen. School doesn't start until after Labor Day, but the weekend I fly down will be when I move into student housing. Been coordinating with roommates on what to bring and just recently go the address of where we're staying. Looking forward to it in a few weeks.

In Conclusion

Yep, only a few weeks I'll be leaving Alaska and will be when I retire this [insert title] series. I think the fact I'm being very lazy with keeping a schedule is because I know the end is coming and kind of want to stop now. But I've still got other games to talk about. I'll have more in depth things to say about ROTT in the future and Pikmin 3 comes out tomorrow. I'll still see what I'll do in regards to blogging while I'm at DigiPen, but as far as schedule, if I can just do a blog a month on my progress there, that's good enough for me.

Peace.

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[insert title] 7-20-13

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Last couple weeks have been rather interesting, game wise.

GAMES!!!!

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Reasons for why I did not have a blog last week was because of the news of Ryan's death, which was pretty depressing for the whole week. Not only did I take a break from preparing a blog that week, but the only game that comforted me, I guess you could say, was the Binding of Isaac.

I actually had owned this game for a while now. I bought it at some point during the Steam Christmas sale in 2011, and played it on occasion. But I was always terrible at it and never made it to the Depths and just gave up after a few sessions. Since no other game last week, particularly bright or colorful or optimistic ones, were able to hold me during that time, I played way more of Isaac than I did in months past. And eventually I defeated Mom for the first time and got the first ending. I felt pretty damn good about myself.

But then I saw the game was far from over, as there was a new area after it. And then I started playing more and more of the game as I wanted to get the next ending. Hell, I even went ahead and bought Wrath of the Lamb, which initially made me think "oh god, so many unfamiliar elements, I'm back to square one" but it all merged seamlessly with the base game. Needless to say, I used to think Binding of Isaac was a neat thing that I didn't get too far in, but now that I've gotten a lot deeper in I absolutely love this game.

With the time spent playing this game, I particularly got used to the keyboard controls and the nuances that come with the shooting. I was initially bummed that it didn't have proper 360 gamepad support and used the two sticks like modern top down dual joystick shooters. But the gameplay does feel more retro as a result, like playing Smash TV on a SNES pad. It's something that you get used to after a while, and since the game is designed around it, you can better find out the different tricks with shooting, like angling your shots while moving, or running towards the enemy so the amount of tears that hit are increased. There's some good risk reward elements in the combat.

The randomness with each playthrough is pretty impressive. Just about every time I start the game I check the Collection screen and see how many items I've come across and then see how much I still haven't seen yet. It's even better with the Wrath of Lamb as it can switch out environments whenever with their other counterpart (Basement with Cellar, Depths with Necropolis, etc). That's definitely something that has to be good about a roguelike, is how much stuff is going to be different each time. I will say, the game can be a bit assholish early on with some of its item placement, like keys. Sure, go ahead and put them on a single tile in the middle of a huge chasm I can't cross. Nice going. But that's part of its charm I guess, given the game's difficulty.

I've not really been playing it this week as I've been messing with other games, but I will no doubt return to Binding of Isaac to give another shot at reaching Ending 2. Absolutely enjoying it.

And the Rest

Drakengard

Well, I've actually finished the game as of yesterday, but I still feel like I need to formulate my thoughts on it. All I can say is "what the fuck?"

Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines

I had not played the game since October last year, but I enjoyed what I had played. Now not only am I replaying the game, but I'm also recording and livestreaming my playthrough. Mostly just for my own personal fulfillment, as I'm trying to see what I might improve with my setup. If anyone's perhaps interested, link to my channel: http://www.twitch.tv/arclightborealis

Devil May Cry 4

Pretty solid game so far. Parts of it resemble DMC 1 more than 3, and the parts it resemble to me are not the good ones. Combat is amazing though, and ultimately that's what matters.

Other Things

Only about a month or so until I leave Alaska and head down to Redmond for DigiPen. Just recently got my roommate assignments, and I've been going through all the stuff I own in this house and seeing what to keep or get rid of. Obviously I'm not getting rid of anything video game related, but for stuff like manga and what little anime I actually own (just the entire DVD set of Yu Yu Hakusho), I'm holding on to that. I was successful in selling my old legos for about 50 dollars, though other stuff like Bionicles (technically Legos, but not the same kind) and Transformers have still not been sold.

Still quite a bit of stuff to do before school starts. Pretty excited for when I'm finally there.

In Conclusion

Well, with the amount of games I have to go through, hopefully that will give me enough material to write indepth about for the next few weeks. My Japanese copy of F-Zero X arrived a couple days ago, finally, and while I have bought Fallout New Vegas, I'm gonna wait to install that on the laptop I'll be bringing with me down to Redmond, as my desktop computer won't be coming with me until next year.

Peace.

3 Comments

[insert title] 7-6-13

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I was so close to beating this game, but I might as well write what I can and not miss another deadline for this blog.

GAMES!!!!

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It's been a week and a half since I got this game, and about 50 hours or so of playtime since then. And I've got another hour if I had to guess to get through the very last section of the final chapter (at least I hope it is final). Needless to say, I have had a ton of fun with Project X Zone despite all the flaws that it has.

More than anything, fan service (of both varieties) is what drives this game. The story itself doesn't have much to it compared to the characters and their interactions with each other. You'll recognize plenty of characters, most likely on the Capcom side, and also not recognize the rest of the cast. Compared to other cross over games, the series represented in this game are pretty obscure. From Neneko in Yumeria, to John McClaine Bruno Delinger from Dynamite Deka, there are some very weird picks. But as it is Banpresto's bread and butter, they know how to make great interactions between these characters and make their pair ups work really well.

When playing the game, all your units are in pairs of two, and some of these make sense because they're characters from the same franchise, like Ryu/Ken or Akira/Pai. But then you get to teams like Frank West/Hsien-Ko or Demitri/Dante, which initially would make it seem like they ran out of characters for their respective franchises to team up with and just slapdashedly put them together. There's usually a joke or two associated with why they're teamed up that way, some more meta than others, and it absolutely works. Pretty much not a single member of the cast feels out of place.

This game also has had an effect on me similar to the Super Robot Wars games. The SRW games got me interested in checking out a bunch of different giant robot anime. This game has me interested in checking out the different series represented. The one I'm most interested to check out is Sakura Wars, as I found the characters shown in Project X Zone to be pretty great, especially Erica Fontaine. Other games that have me curious include Resonance of Fate, and then a very morbid curiosity in the Xenosaga franchise. Plus I hear a lot of good things about Tales of Vesperia, so I should look into that as well (though that requires me getting a 360 since the PS3 version is Japan only).

The fan service and detail in the animations is fantastic, and against all odds has carried me all the way through this 50 hour plus endeavor. While it's not there initially, the chapter lengths become ridiculously long at times, the most I've gone through being 2 hours per chapter. And these usually have your objectives seemingly being changed at the last minute or a billion enemy reinforcements showing up when you haven't even finished half of the first wave. It's not hard by any means, but it's so tedious and drawn out. I don't mind so much that there's little strategy elsewhere in the game since the combat and fan service is really fun, but this game is FAR too long for its own good.

With that all said, I am so glad this game got a release outside of Japan. I've been treated to some fantastic references and interactions between these characters, and I'm now interested to check out the games from where these characters come. It's probably not likely since this game sold very poorly in Japan from what I heard, but I'd already be down for a sequel with a new cast and everything. Banpresto knows how to do their crossovers quite well.

And the Rest

Nothing really

Yeah, Project X Zone has pretty much consumed my time for the last week. Just waiting for more games that I've got coming.

Other Things

Only a month and a half until I move down to Redmond and get set up for DigiPen. Roommate assignments were supposed to be earlier this week, but student housing apparently is still getting an influx of people coming in, so now the date for assignments is the 15th. Oh well.

Also, I was given a rather extended break from work for the weekend. We recently got some new employees and with the extra manpower we got on the morning crew we ended up being so ahead of schedule that I got to go home an hour early on Wednesday. And I was even supposed to work on July 4th, but they let me have that day off as well, and I'll be back to work on Tuesday. On one hand, it's nice to have this long of a break, but on the other hand, my paycheck is gonna be considerably smaller than it was in previous weeks. I just know that the money I take from that and put towards SMT IV probably won't be enough to get me faster shipping. Oh well.

In Conclusion

And that's it. With Project X Zone all but completed, it's now waiting for other games I'm planning to play. That copy of F-Zero X should be coming sometime in the next week, and then Drakengard is the next game I'll have Gamefly send me (yeah, Drakengard. That'll be an interesting one). And of course Shin Megami Tensei IV can't come out soon enough.

Peace.

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[insert title] 6-29-13

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Well, expected it to happen sooner or later, another skipped week due to forgetting/laziness. Better late than never, though.

GAMES!!!!

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Over a year later, I have finished the two part series known as Digital Devil Saga. I became incredibly interested in the SMT franchise with Persona 3 and 4 (3 in particular), but off the spin off games Digital Devil Saga might just be my favorite. It's a more traditional JRPG with darker themes and a simple yet excellent battle system. The most interesting part about DDS 2 though is the story. While the plot in the first game was intriguing, as you watched the characters slowly come to grasp their demon forms and new found emotions, Digital Devil Saga 2 drops a ton of crazy facts and revelations about the world in which it takes place. Most apocalyptic settings are usually brought about by nuclear weapons or zombies or demons coming from hell. How did the world get fucked up here? The sun turned black and everyone exposed to the sun's rays turn to stone, unless they have the ability to turn into demons. And interesting set up, plus it looks pretty cool.

The gameplay was still a ton of fun just like in the last game. A change or two was made, such as the addition of a berserker form that takes place when solar data is maxed out. Interesting thing about this game is that more so than DDS 1, your party is constantly changing for various story reasons. It's actually kinda clever as it gives you no choice but to try out different party members you'd probably ignore most of the time (like Cielo). But by the final dungeon, everyone will finally be back, and then you can return to your preferred party setup.

The mantra grid was how you acquired new skills for your characters, and was how the game made up for having no recruitable demons with different skill sets. The grid in DDS 1 was a series have straight, separate paths that you could access at anytime. In DDS 2 it's a giant hexagon grid where you have to branch off of mantras you've mastered to learn new ones. And when you've mastered a certain section of mantras, you unlock a bonus one, and each character's mantra grid contributes to the whole thing. I only kind of wish you could jump straight to a mantra that was unlocked by another party member instead of having to work your way over there yourself. But then again, by the end of the game you'll want just about every mantra necessary to cover for your weaknesses.

Lastly, the final dungeon was not only a long endeavor (took me about 14 hours to get through), but I felt it was a harder dungeon than even the Karma Temple at the end of DDS 1. More than anywhere else at the game, I found myself making mistakes that cost me my entire party and a game over, though not necessarily from the enemy ambushing me and killing me before I have a chance to retaliate. A lot of that 14 hours was spent grinding enemies that had elemental weaknesses I could easily exploit so I could get more XP and master the necessary mantras. Considering I've gone from Persona 3 to the DDS games, the gradual increase in difficulty I feel is preparing me for when I inevitably play Nocturne.

Still, absolutely enjoyed both Digital Devil Saga games. Probably some of the best RPGs I've played in recent years, and their games that everyone should play. The structure and mechanics aren't too different from a traditional JRPG, and the Press Turn system makes turn based battles incredibly fun. Can't recommend enough.

And the Rest

Project X Zone

Got this game a few days ago and I've finished chapter 13. More detailed write up later but so far its a simple strategy RPG with fantastic sprite animations and fanservice. Liking it.

A bunch of N64 stuff

Two weeks ago I ordered a replacement N64 control stick along with Wave Race 64 and Perfect Dark. The new stick feels great, no longer loose like the old one I had. Also, Wave Race 64 is still incredibly fun. Surprised that I was able to beat the expert and reverse modes, as those gave me trouble for a long time.

Other Stuff

I've now registered for classes at DigiPen, and I'll be knowing who my roommate will be on July 5th. Originally was going to be on July 1st, but apparently DigiPen student housing is still filling up spots there. Only a month and a half until I move down to Redmond. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. Not much else going on besides that. Weather this month was hot as hell, but now it's cooled down. I've never been more relieved to see the sky covered in clouds.

In Conclusion

And that's it. Between Project X Zone, SMT IV in a couple weeks, plus all the old Nintendo games I'm buying with my paycheck, I've got content to last me most of July. You can expect more detailed impressions of Project X Zone in the next entry, followed by some more N64 stuff to give me time to play enough SMT IV so I can write about it. That's the basic plan.

Peace.

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[insert title] 6-15-13

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Well, E3 is over. Dunno about you, but I'm relieved it is.

E3 or whatever...

This is the first E3 in a long while where I actually decided to not do what I've always done in past years. Rather than set aside a couple days to watch the press conferences and live shows, while chatting with friends on the internet, I opted to skip the conferences and live shows and instead worked and played Digital Devil Saga 2. I still tuned in to the Giant Bomb live streams whenever I could though, just ignored the stuff during the day. Feels a little weird, but ultimately I feel refreshed that I did it, because ultimately the thing that I had to look forward to E3 as far back as 2002 was looking at trailers and demos of games on the show floor. Realizing that, I pretty much said "fuck the press conferences" and waited until the actual first day of the show to start absorbing content posted on Giant Bomb and Gamespot.

Though it doesn't change the fact that my interest and excitement for E3 isn't what it used to be. Discovering the existence of E3 as far back as 2002 was amazing because it provided cool preview content, and as someone who wanted to be a game designer back then, thought going to E3 would be the coolest shit ever. Now my excitement for PAX vastly outweighs mine for E3, and the internet generally becomes a lot shittier during this time of the year with horrible knee jerk reactions and bitching. I actually thought of completely ignoring the internet for the whole week, going on black out, so I could completely focus on DDS 2, but curiosity got the better of me Tuesday afternoon when I started going through the trailers posted on the site. And based on some of the behavior I've seen on the site, particularly during livestreams, I can only assume seeing the rest of the internet would make me want to kill myself.

I'm worn out on the process. I don't need to watch the press conferences. I can get the relevant info I need in a write up after the fact and not have to sit through something potentially boring, and even if there was something exciting why the fuck would you watch it after the fact? I probably would not have minded watching the Gamespot E3 coverage live, but I feel it was still better for me to skip on all the day stuff. Maybe next year I'll tune in, because the during the day live streams was the thing I liked most from last year's E3. But I am completely done with press conferences. They can fuck off.

Well, that little tirade is over, so was there any games shown I think look interesting? Quite a bit, actually. Some highlights of mine.

TItanfall

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I'd have thought Respawn's game would've been something generic or a retread of what they've done in the past, but they've made something that looks pretty sweet. I dig giant robots, so this has me super excited. Stuff about the maneuverability of the pilots has me pumped because I like the fast paced FPS games of old, and even if it's not 90 mph fast, just being faster than normal is fine enough for me. Not sure if anyone has made this observation before, but I feel like this is the successor to Shogo Mobile Armor Division we never knew we wanted. Think about it: Play as a human and a giant robot, and this time there are actual differences between the way they play.

inFamous Second Son

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Hey, it looks like a visually better inFamous with new powers. Sign me up. I absolutely enjoyed the first two games, so naturally I'm excited for Second Son. I'm most interested to see what other kinds of powers there are, as the main character has the Zero Fragment-I mean, the ability to absorb the powers of others and use them on his own. The last game sorta delved into that with the choice of adding fire or ice moves to your arsenal. If this completely lets you change the moveset or what, that would be pretty sweet. Everything else in this game like the traversal and stuff looks just like it should, so no problems there.

Wonderful 101 & Bayonetta 2

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Putting these two Platinum games next to each other as I could not be more excited for these. I played Wonderful 101 back at PAX Prime when it was still called Project P-100, and just visually stuff has improved a lot. The action on screen is nothing short of crazy, and I love it. Was pleasantly surprised to see the introduction of a fourth hero in the Nintendo Direct trailer, and if the boxart is any indication, there's a yellow ranger equivalent and (hopefully) a mysterious sixth ranger who joins the team halfway through. Just looks like great, goofy fun.

Bayonetta 2 also looks pretty damn awesome. I dig Bayonetta's new design, especially the haircut, and the game looks like more of first one, but crazier. Totally alright with that. The Umbran Climax mechanic appear to be this game's Devil Trigger equivalent, so that's neat. Be cool if they went even further and included a DTE to it.

And I'm too lazy to come up with more detailed thoughts on all the games that caught my attention, so here's a list.

- Watch_Dogs (Interested)

- Sunset Overdrive (Curious/Interested)

- Witcher 3 (Excited

- Dark Souls II (Excited)

- Quantum Break (Curious/Excited)

- Crimson Dragon (Interested/Excited)

- Mirror's Edge 2 (Curious)

- MGS 5 (Interested/Excited)

- South Park The Stick of Truth (Curious/Interested)

- Rayman Legends (Excited)

- The Order: 1886 (Curious/Interested)

- Knack (Excited)

- Drive Club (Interested/Excited)

- Destiny (Curious/Interested)

- Super Mario 3D World (Excited)

- Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Interested)

- Shin Megami Tensei IV (Excited)

- Pikmin 3 (Interested/Excited)

- CounterSpy (Curious/Interested)

- Super Smash Bros (Excited)

- Sonic Lost World (Interested)

- Final Fantasy XV (Curious/Interested)

- Kingdom Hearts III (Curious/Interested)

- Killer is Dead (Excited)

- Dragon's Crown (Curious/Interested)

- Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F (Motherfucking curious as hell because why the fuck would this be localized ever?)

Games I've Actually Been Playing

Well, I'm close to the end of Digital Devil Saga 2. The second to last boss is kicking my ass hard so I need to get better skills and formulate a good strategy to beat him. Again, more details when the game is completed, so next week. Also playing 1080 Snowboarding brings me back. I've not played many snowboarding games, but that one is still my favorite. Nice little nostalgia trip.

And that's about it.

In Conclusion

That's all I got for this week. A little filler before getting back to the main focus of the blog, but it was necessary as my plan is to write my thoughts on DDS 2 once I've reached the end. Also my parents are back from their vacation, so no longer living on my own.

Peace.

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[insert title] 6-8-13

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With no one else around to use the PS3, I decided to play some stuff I got from Playstation Plus a few months back.

GAMES!!!!

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I've had this game downloaded from PSN since the start of April. I never got around to playing it because I was too busy with Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. About 2 months later I finally got around to this game and have played several hours of it. And unlike how I played through Dark Souls back in early January, I tried going through the game without using the Demon's Souls wiki. It was certainly an interesting challenge, I will say.

One thing I found very interesting about this game is the difference in tone from Dark Souls. That might sound weird since both games can be seen as "dark middle age fantasy setting with punishing conditions for the player." I feel the difference is that Demon's Souls feels more oppressive than Dark Souls. Dark Souls kinda felt like a world that had already lost to evil forces years ago and is forsaken. Based on the opening in Demon's Souls, it's clear that there are people in and outside of Boletaria fighting to keep the ever expanding fog and demon presence from taking over the world. In a way, there's more urgency, and when you look at particular parts of the world, the people trapped inside are getting it way fucking worse than the hollows in Dark Souls.

When I played Dark Souls, I played as the Pyromancer, which was soul level 1 and very accommodating to new players. In Demon's Souls, I went for the soul level 1 character which was Royalty, and like the Pyromancer has both a sword & shield and a magic projectile. And because there's a magic bar, I can get off way more shots with the spell than I could with the flame spells initially in Dark Souls. Plus more healing items. That's another difference between this and Dark Souls, I feel you can get way more resources that keep you alive in the beginning than in Dark Souls. I remember having a ton of Crescent Moon Grass by the time I reached Phalanx, and because I had a ring that (very) slowly regenerated my MP, I didn't have to worry too much about running out of that. I can't tell if this game overall is harder or easier than Dark Souls, but the amount of resources you can get kinda removes some of the pressure that comes when you've taken damage and in danger of dying.

Lastly, Demon's Souls seems to enjoy putting you in cramped corridors and areas a lot, based on the first three worlds I have seen. That camera isn't really the best in those sorts of situations, and depending on the weapon you have, it can be annoying when it constantly hits the wall and is knocked back. Luckily the rapier that comes with the Royalty class came in handy, but even so, that is an area that I feel Dark Souls makes a good improvement in. More open areas alleviate's the problems with the game's camera.

Again, as of this writing, I've only played several hours, compared to the +120 hours or so I played of Dark Souls. I've not been playing much of it in the last few days because of Digital Devil Saga 2, but this is a game I'll probably return to in the future. I've enjoyed a lot of what I've seen so far.

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Another game that I've had downloaded from PSN for a while, but had not played much. My initial impressions were that it had really good style, but it had that sort of stiff beat-em-up feel that can be either good or bad. Playing a lot more of the game, it ends up on the good end of things. It's not a character action game, it doesn't have anything resembling cancels or just frames or anything crazy. It's just a simple set of commands that are used the most effectively when you aren't just trying to mash buttons and beat everything in sight. That's ultimately what makes Double Dragon Neon work.

I don't have very much if any attachment to the Double Dragon name, so whether or not this sticks close to the things that make this a Double Dragon game is beside the point for me. The '80s aesthetic is really hilarious and awesome, because of how much they commit to it. The visuals, the music, the cheesy one liners from Billy and Jimmy and everyone else. Hell, the music in particular is probably my favorite part about the whole '80s theme. In particular the music that has vocals is what I love the most. The second level music was pretty sweet from what I had heard and that was what prompted me to play through the game. Luckily there are other great songs with vocals, including the end credits song, both because it's entertaining to listen to and also because it's the second game I know of that uses an excellently timed trophy/achievement prompt (the first one being Portal 2 with "the part where he kills you").

While the gameplay is designed like an old school 2D beat em up, it doesn't really feel like the kind that were designed to take your quarters in the arcade, which is where a lot of the console ports of old beat em ups kinda fall apart. You have a limited number of lives for each level, and the game is designed around that where it is possible to not lose a life or even not get hit. The biggest factors in making this game good are the dodge and Gleam mechanics. Dodging an attack at the right moment activates Gleam, and during that time your attacks do way more damage. And usually when you activate Gleam, you are in a crouching state, so using the heavy attack activates a pretty powerful knee attack that has the potential to one hit kill most opponents. The challenge of course comes from figuring out the right time to dodge, as enemies are introduced that have tells which are harder to read. Being aware of what enemies are doing and reacting accordingly is what separates this from what could've been yet another 2D beat em up designed like the old arcade games.

At first I thought the game would've been designed to work best with two players, but since I had to no one to play with I went through it solo as Billy. It's definitely manageable with one player, but it gets better as it goes on as you get mix tapes to increase your stats and give you special abilities. Gives the game a nice little RPG vibe to it, and the game still remains very skill based. It just would've been nice if the shop and tapesmith were accessible outside of the levels so I wouldn't have to go back into them and fight through dudes again just to see them about buying new mix tapes or upgrading how much I can hold. Still a cool system.

Not much else I can say on this game. Double Dragon Neon is pretty awesome.

And the Rest

Another Century's Episode R

55 hours and 14 minutes is how long it took me to complete all 11 routes in that game. I feel relieved that I've now beaten every route and unlocked all units in the game, but that is still way to much time to spend on that game that is mediocre but I still like somehow. Definition of guilty pleasure for me.

Digital Devil Saga 2

About 7 or 8 hours in, and game is just as awesome as the first. More on that in the future.

Other Things

2nd week of living on my own while my parents are in Ecuador has finished. Work has been fine, and next week is when I'm supposed to get my paycheck. Since I'm working more hours than I did last year, I'm interested to see what the total is. This last Sunday I was visiting a store I usually frequent on Sundays for old video games and manga, and I saw something I never thought I'd see outside of eBay auctions: A boxed copy of System Shock 1 for 15 bucks. Out of impulse I took the cash I was given for food (it turns out it was not spend all 30 bucks and I'll get 20 as a reward, but whatever, the explanation was rather confusing) and bought the game, along with a copy of 1080 Snowboarding for an extra 5 bucks. I probably could've not included 1080 in that equation, but I had just under 15 bucks on my debit card, and I figured I would just go to the bank, withdraw 20 bucks from my account, and then use my paycheck from next week to make up the cost. Though as of right now I did some grocery shopping last night and it ended up being around 30 dollars total, so either way I've lost the challenge and not getting the 20 dollars are reward. Oh well. I'm at least set for the last week of living by myself until my parents return home.

Though right now, I've been a little bit stressed out as I realized yesterday that both my driver's license and social security card were missing. Upon remembering what I last used them for, which was making photocopies of them for the manager at my job, I had been missing them for over a week. Kinda freaked out a bit realizing I had been driving with no license. As of right now I've sent an application for a new social security card, and hopefully I get it soon, so I have that on hand for when I get a new driver's license.

Yeah, things are a little bit crazy at the moment, but hopefully stuff gets resolved soon.

In Conclusion

There won't be a regular entry of [insert title] next week as E3 will be happening and it'll be E3 focused. I'll admit, my excitement for E3 has been waning for the last few years, and since I work in the mornings and afternoons on Monday, I'll be missing just about all the press conferences save for Sony's. Either way, I don't really care about watching the conferences this year, as the information I want is what are the demos on the show floor and what games there look interesting. That's always been E3 to me since learning about it in 2002. I don't need a presentation, I just want the facts. And I'll write my thoughts on those facts once they are out there.

So, hopefully by the week after I will have finished Digital Devil Saga 2, and you can read my thoughts on it then.

Peace.

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[insert title] 6-1-13

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I know I said I would be back to using my custom made headers, but due to computer issues, I have been unable to make them. More on that later in this post.

UPDATE: Computer fixed just hours after submitting this original post. Here are some custom headers for the games I played.

GAMES!!!!

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Last week, the Alan Wake series was available on the weekly Humble Bundle. I really liked Remedy's work on the Max Payne games, though I never did play Alan Wake. Seeing as I could pay as low as a dollar for this on the humble bundle, I went ahead and bought it. I played through the main game plus the two DLC episodes in a total of 11 and a half hours according to Steam, and was it absolutely fun.

I'm sure it's been well established already, but the story was definitely the best thing about Alan Wake, and the main motivation to keep me going through the game, especially when the combat became fatiguing in episode 6. The manuscripts were an interesting part of the plot, and it was good that most of the time, the events they describe don't happen immediately after finding them. It lets you know something bad is going to happen, but not when.

The game feels like a huge journey, and even with it's rough spots, I almost kinda appreciate that it took me nearly twelve hours to get through everything. Each episode starts you off somewhere with your objective being visible in the distance, usually a natural landmark like a mountain or something, and you get the sense that you just trekked across this landscape to your destination and feels rather satisfying. One of my favorite parts in Half-Life 2 was Highway 17, when you're driving along the coast to Nova Prospekt. It's traveling a long distance and taking in the surroundings.

In fact, even though they aren't the same kind of game, I got a weird Half-Life vibe from playing Alan Wake. There's very little cutscenes that interrupt the game play in Alan Wake, and just about every crazy moment happens in real time. And as I mentioned before, the feeling of travelling from A to B and not feeling like you just went through an obvious corridor like in modern shooters was the biggest comparison I could make. If only the combat encounters didn't wear out their welcome at the end, this game would've been damn near perfect. Definitely another game where I go "why did it take me this long to get around to it?"

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After finishing everything in Alan Wake, I went on to the second game in the humble bundle, American Nightmare. Knowing about the mixed opinions on the game, as well as knowing that you have to play the same stuff three times, I liked American Nightmare overall. I can understand why people wouldn't like the game as much as the first Alan Wake, but the improved combat along with the narrative kept me going, even with the repeating stuff two more times.

The time loop in particular isn't very obnoxious, I felt, especially since they start putting you closer to the objectives with each reset. It would be very bad if they made you do the exact same objectives each time, but by the time you are on your third run, you don't have to run around as much and the NPCs cover most of the shit for you. Ultimately, as I mentioned before, it's the narrative that justifies the entire thing for me, explaining that the NPCs are aware they are in a time loop and that's how they do Alan's objectives beforehand. It's an interesting concept for a video game that I understand could turn out bad and repetitive, but I found it acceptable here.

With the combat, it being fast automatically makes it a big improvement over Alan Wake's. The dodging and other slow down affects used in the first game were very cool, but the managing of both your weapon's ammo and your flashlight was annoying because of the recharge rate of the flash light, and how long it would take to dispel the darkness surrounding the Taken. Improve that, along with more than 3 or 4 enemy types like the first game, and Remedy has made good on the gameplay concept they initially made by making a fun shooter.

Lastly, I find the overall tone and aesthetic of the game to be interesting. The first game was a very obviously Stephen King inspired setup, while American Nightmare is a pulpy Twilight Zone episode. The enemies are more monstrous looking than the original Taken, and Mr. Scratch is one twisted motherfucker. It's got enough intrigue, but a ton of action accompanying it. Obviously it works for this spin off game, and Remedy is busy with Quantum Break, but in the event they return to Alan Wake, I'd be interested to see what other genres they would throw Alan into. Both Alan Wake and American Nightmare are great examples of how genre savvy the folks at Remedy are.

And the Rest...

PS3 Stuff

Been playing a few stuff on PS3 this past week, some new, some old, some stuff that will be covered in depth next week. In short, Double Dragon Neon is hella goofy and fun, Demon's Souls is tough and awesome, and I've put almost 50 hours total into Another Century's Episode R, which is almost 50 hours more than any normal person should put into it.

Other Stuff

Well, as I mentioned at the very start, I've been having computer problems. The problem in particular? It won't turn on. At all. At first I though the issue was my power supply had died (which after two and a half years after using it I thought was crazy). Sunday afternoon after discovering this I went to Best Buy and bought a new power supply, hoping that would fix it after plugging my PC in different outlets and shit.

It didn't.

When opening up the computer with the power supply in it, I noticed that the light on the motherboard was lit, so it was clearly receiving power. Looking for troubleshooting tips online and trying everything I could, unplugging and replugging everything, I feel that the problem might be with the power button on the case, specifically. If it's that, and there's a way to fix it, great. If not, well, I'll be stuck with this fucking shitty netbook until I get a better laptop, because I'm not gonna be bringing my desktop with me down to Redmond for DigiPen.

Granted, I should've started looking more into the idea of getting it fixed if possible earlier this week, but a bit of laziness got in the way along with me getting re accustomed to having a job. Finished my first week back at Michaels Arts and Crafts, and most of what I remember is the same. There's some differences here and there, but I don't need to go through the whole training through experience thing as much. Thankfully I'm working more hours so that means a bigger paycheck.

And of course, my parents are out of town on vacation and have survived my first week. The main challenge is to try and not spend any money on food, as my parents gave me a little challenge: They gave me thirty bucks to use however I see fit. If I don't spend it or any of my other money on food, I'll get an extra 20 bucks. So I'm gonna be as frugal as possible with that stuff, and then at the end of it, use all that money to preorder Shin Megami Tensei IV.

UPDATE: As mentioned at the start, my computer is fixed now. It was pretty stupid of me to not notice I did not have one cable plugged all the way into the motherboard that happened to control the power switch. Anyway, thank god that's fixed, even though I have now wasted 60 bucks on a power supply that was not necessary and can't return at this point because it's been too long. Now I can return to my Nightmare playthrough of Alan Wake and not have to use that shitty netbook ever again.

In Conclusion

And that is it for this week. Next entry I'll be talking about Demon's Souls and Double Dragon, along with another small update on ACE R as I already wrote about that game last year.

Also, Digital Devil Saga 2 should be arriving soon from Gamefly. Finally, I will close this year long gap between me playing the excellent Digital Devil Saga 1 and now the sequel. I must see how the story wraps up.

Peace

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