I Play Porn Games For The Story // 18.09.2011

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Hello and welcome to my blog! Here, I talk about videogames, visual novels, anime, mashups and other junk. Well, when I put it like that, this is really just my place to tell you my terrible opinions on things, and obviously the internet needs more people to share their terrible opinions on things! Look at me, writing the words for a blog that no-one will hear. Why do I care? Regardless of the reason, just sit back, and enjoy all the stupid things that my brain tells my fingers to type onto this really loud and broken keyboard.

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Stuntman

So following an argument on Twitter over the recent release of Driver: San Francisco with everyone’s favourite “Hater of good games” Slowbird said “what over games let you relive 70’s cop show chase sequences?” My answer? Stuntman, and because I’m either crazy or dedicated to playing nothing new that isn’t from an indie developer, I decided to play a little bit.

So, if you don’t know, Driver is a franchise in which you play as a stuntman, hence the name, as he is hired to drive the chase sequences in several movies. The game is presented in this weird behind the scenes documentary style in which you see the main character being interviewed about how the stunts work and sometimes just how he goes by his job. The first movie he works on in a 70’s cop show spoof, in which most of the stunts involve breaking through piles of boxes that just seem to be stacked up in the most convenient of places. The game is both checkpoint based and completionist based, which means you have to reach the checkpoints in time to advance through the car chase, but you won’t be able to advance to the next segment if you, for instance, miss too many stacks of boxes. The game is pretty good at letting you know what to do but the timing can be a little off depending on how fast you’re going. For instance, in the second movie, a cowboy-esque film, you are tasked with jumping through two trains as they pass by each other. The trains are timed so that the best gap will be available only if you execute the previous part flawlessly, as any accidental slowdowns, while completely fine for the checkpoints, will mean you reach the jump and just end up crashing into the trains. This is even done again shortly after that sequence, but the jump seems to be near impossible to hit. Luckily, you don’t have to pull off every last stunt to complete the level, so it’s possible to just let the train pass by and still progress through the game.

After every film, in which each film has five different sequences for you to pull off, you are greeted with the trailer to said film which might be the best part of the entire game. The trailers include some random shots of gameplay intercut with bag CG models of character spouting stupid clichéd lines at each other. So in that regard they pretty much nail all terrible movie trailers. After the trailer you get a mission in a giant sandbox area which includes things like drive up this ramp and hit this tower of cars. After one of these you move onto another movie. The movies seem to get ‘better’ as the story progresses, ending with a totally not Indiana Jones movie and a totally not James Bond movie.

The sandbox area is actually a whole other section of the game. As you complete action sequences you gain more items to use in the sandbox mode, such as flaming hoops and vertically placed cars. This mode is just here for goofing around, as the name forebodes, which is a nice addition but probably not the draw of the game.

Luigi’s Mansion

In my efforts to figure out where the hell my Gamecube game collection went, I stumbled upon Luigi’s Mansion, a game which I adore and one of only five games I own for the Gamecube that aren’t Sonic related or Mario Sports related. I’m sure I had a better Gamecube collection than that, it’s incredibly depressing.

I decided to play just a little bit, and decided to go for a no money run. What this means is, well, exactly what it says. I would try to go through the entire game without picking up any money whatsoever, and therefore getting the lowest score of 5000G, which is collected upon defeating the final boss and therefore obligatory bling... oblingatory.

There are several ways to go about this, one is by simply not collecting any coins or any anything, which is pretty much impossible due to the placement of a lot of the coins. Or just avoid as much as you can and keep getting hit. When you get hit in Luigi’s Mansion you lose a set amount of money you were carrying. Therefore, if you can game it right, you can collect a certain amount of coins that would be just too difficult to avoid, and then open a fake door, losing most of said coins in the process. The great thing about this system is when you lose coins; those will eventually blink out, saving you the trouble of avoiding them. However, the coins seem to have an impressive knack for bouncing straight back at you as soon as they are scattered, so multiple hits can be required to bring your score down to the oh so glorious 0.

The other problem with this is the boss ghosts. In Luigi’s Mansion there are certain ghosts that have patterns and 100 health. Once you start sucking them up, they will drop pearls for you to collect. Now, if I was playing the game the way it was meant to be played, I’d be trying to suck up the boss ghost in one go, thus making them drop the more valuable pearls. However, since I’m playing it in a rather perculiar way, I have to in fact avoid all the pearls, as these cannot be dropped when you get hit. Luckily for me, however, the pearls will only blink out eventually. So my strategy for the boss ghosts was just to take down a third of their health without picking up pearls, waiting for the pearls to blink out and repeat until they are dead. This all seemed like such a good idea before I started playing.

Final Fantasy X-2

Speaking of ideas that sounded good before I actually started them, I decided to play some Final Fantasy X-2, which is quite clearly the best Final Fantasy game. IN this game, you play as Yuna, P!nk and Twilight Sparkle on their quest to supplement Yuna’s batshit crazy obsession over Tidus and maybe save the world in the mean time or something.

So I believe Final Fantasy X-2 has the second best fighting mechanic out of the entire Final Fantasy series, second only to Final Fantasy XIII, and a rather weird jump from Final Fantasy X, which I consider having one of the worst fighting mechanics.

Final Fantasy X-2 battle mechanics pairs together two previous mechanics, Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy VII. In FFIII, you could assign any one of your four characters any class. Once you’ve selected a class, the more that one character uses that class the more proficient they will be. So while this does invite some level of switching about in between fights, there is also a good reason to assign each character their specific role, as they will be better in that role than the rest. Final Fantasy VII had a real time element to the battles, meaning instead of you choosing all of your party’s attacks and then watching them attack in some kind of order, each character had an action bar that would fill up, and be able to attack once this meter is full.

As I said, Final Fantasy X-2 marries these two concepts together. The game uses a dress sphere system, which means as that character’s turn, you can tell them to change class, or “change dress” if you will, allowing them to access different abilities and often have incredibly different stats. The Final Fantasy VII influence is in the real time aspect of these changes and the battles in general, as there is no punishment for changing classes in the middle of a match except from that character having to wait for their action bar to refill. Switching dresses can also boost the character’s stats in certain conditions. Throughout the game you will find sphere grids, and these dictate what classes the character can switch to at any given time. Each character has a sphere grid equipped, and these grids will contain the dress spheres themselves, all connected by lines. In the middle of a battle you can only switch to a dress that is directly connected to the dress that character is currently using. For example, if the dress sphere has White Mage connected to both Black Mage and Gunner, and Gunner Connected to Thief. A White Mage cannot directly change into a Thief, and will instead have to do two swaps to get to there. On top of this some links will have stat boosters, such as 5% more defence or 5% more magic attack. This means you can start a match and immediately switch dress to get these stat boosting effects for the duration of that battle.

I said earlier that I feel X-2 is the second best of the Final Fantasy series, battle system wise, thanks to the release of Final Fantast XIII. XIII is the straight evolution of X-2 when it comes to the battle system, and is a lot better off for it. In Final Fantasy XIII, instead of choosing different classes for each character individually, you create paradigms that have a set party of classes all at once. While this does narrow down the options for the player to choose from, I find it is in fact superior in every way. With this system, switching from ‘Attacker, Attacker, Attacker’ to ‘Attacker, Tank, Healer’ is a lot faster and easier than in X-2, and while playing I found that the lack of ability to customize every individual character’s class was completely erroneous, as with this ability a la X-2, I found myself going to very similar presets every time.

Also opinions.

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Narcissu

I have a weird relationship with this visual novel, Narcissu is one of those starter visual novels that is probably one of the best recommendations to people who want to start reading visual novels as a whole. It’s a sweet, short tale, and best of all it’s completely free to download. The first time I checked out Narcissu was when I was just starting to read visual novels, and back then I didn’ much care for it. Now, unfortunately it’s the same situation.

Narcissu stars an unnamed protagonist called Yu Atou, a typical 20 year old university student who has been diagnosed with lung carcinoma. Because of this, he is admitted to hospital care, where to meets Setsumi Sakura, a terminally ill 22 year old. After a few meetings in the hospital, they team up to break out of the hospital, after realising they refuse to die in a place like that. The story is about their journey away from their family and the law, trying to make do with what they can steal and piece together.

There isn’t really a lot else to this story. The story is very much an experimental piece designed to make it seem that you, the person playing, is the main character in this story. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but that’s just not the way I play games. I can’t for better or worse put myself into the position of the main character in any game, even visual novel in which most are designed with this in mind. This, I think, is the reason I personally don’t have any real attachment to this visual novel, despite it being incredibly well received, spawning both a sequel and a prequel.

Having said that, I still believe this is a visual novel to check out. While brief, the way the two characters play off each other is rather well done, and makes their journey a rather believable one. IF you can put yourself in the main character’s shoes, maybe you’ll find out just why this visual novel is as loved as it is. And you can find the visual novel legally free by checking out this link here!

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The Internet Is For Music

So this has been my pet project for the last, let’s call it, three weeks now. It started when I was just minding my own business, mashing together random songs for inspiration. Suddenly, the two songs I had chosen were Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” and Disturbed’s “The Game”. I thought this was pretty hilarious and decided to add a third song, “You Spin Me Right Round”. The final song was ok but was pretty stupid in retrospect, but it got me thinking. Could I in fact make an entire giant mashup using only internet meme songs? I was pretty sure at least someone had already done it, and even now I’m pretty sure than someone had beaten me to the punch. Despite that however, I set off, making what could possibly be the stupidest thing I’ve ever made.

If you like the mashup then please tell people about it! I’m fairly certain a mashup of internet memes has some form of audience on the internet, but I can’t seem to crack that very well. So yeah, sharing it would mean a lot to me, and please tell me what you think! I still have a lot of silly ideas for future themed giant mashups like this, and any input will, hopefully, improve those whenever I get a chance to make them.

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And another week in the bag! I have no idea what’s going to happen from now on because Monday I officially start another year at University. What will be different? Am I going to completely change? Or will this year be exactly the same as the same as the last two and I’ll end up spending all of my time secluded in my flat playing porn games? Well I know which answer I’m going to be rooting for!

Oh and also.

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