Sunday, December 18, 2011

Its ALIVE!!!

Wow, I've been away from the blog for what seems like ages. I'm not ready to let the blog die yet. Time to start posting more frequently on here I think. I've been mostly busy with daily life, mostly consisting of my rather busy university schedule. I'm now in 2nd year of my Optometry course and I've just started my exams for the first semester. Pathology exam=done, Ophthalmic Materials and Introductory Diagnostic Techniques still to do at the start of the week. After that, I'm done for Christmas! =D (Well once I finish off my Christmas shopping for people)

So hopefully I'll have some time to get some posts done on here and play some of the games that have unfortunately become added to my long list of games which I have backlogged over the last few months. Some big titles in there that I picked up but didn't get a chance to play include;
Dark Souls (PS3, 360) I really, really enjoyed Demon's Souls so want to play this when I have a decent amount of time and concentration to devote to it, to really enjoy it and progress through it. Maybe over Christmas I'll get a chance to play this one. I got it on PS3 but I now realise its on the 360 as well. I kind of wonder if the community has taken to this game.
Xenoblade Chronicles (You Americans can now rejoice that it is coming to you/mutter under your breath about the high import prices you payed to import.) It seems the Wii is coming to the end of its lifetime, which is a bit unusual...I don't normally like to see consoles fade away or developers leave them alone because a newer console is on its way out as it usually means we miss out on a lot of good games. I will need to do some reading up about the Wii U (I'm still not too sure whether its a new console altogether or some kind of Wii peripheral...I watched the videos of it initially but didn't really do much investigating into what it actually is. I did a similar thing with the PS Vita, I still don't fully understand what it does and how it integrates with back compatibility and PS3 games.) Even though the Wii looks to be getting close to the end of its lifetime (it hasn't been that long has it?) there are still some good games coming out. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) got some really good praise and reviews when it came out recently. I'll only be picking that one up if I can cheaply find the special edition with the Wii Motion Plus bundled in with it (because I hate to buy peripherals and don't have that thing yet) Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku Online or Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online (Wii/Wii U) should definitely be interesting. People are finding it fashionable to hate on this one and its not even out yet. I'm optimistic about it-I had some good fun with Monster Hunter Tri recently. I mean, the devoted Capcom servers are not ideal (they kicked me off more than a few times, although I don't know how much that was down to my router being kind of far from the Wii) but they did the job. For a free online game (it had a subscription fee in Japan), it was a lot of fun and done quite well. So...after that long winded aside.. Xenoblade is one mammoth game from what I've heard, so I really want to have some time available to really enjoy it. I've only heard good things, and for me (if I'd played either), this or Skyrim would be my game of the year. I expect these 2 games to do well this year in terms of awards.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim (PS3, 360, PC) is the next one that everyone has been talking about that I've not played yet. I don't mind though (even though at every moment people have been inadvertently trying to spoil the game for me) as I've had a lot of studying to do for the past few weeks, plus I've got millions of games to play in the meantime. It will be in my possession at Christmas (Thankyou to my awesome girlfriend!) Not too sure what kind of character I'm going to play through as when I start the game up over the holidays yet. I'm thinking Dark Elf (like I normally end up going in Elder Scrolls games), Khajit or Argonian (the cats and lizard characters always look quite cool!=p)

Theres quite a lot of games that I've played through recently actually...

I finally got some games on Steam, and got my account upgraded fully. Damn steam sales finally made me give in. Despite the fact that there were so many games on sale in the Autumn sale, I only picked up the Zeboyd games double pack of Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves The World. I've played through Breath of Death so far and found it pretty fun actually. Its got a lot of old school references and throwbacks. Check out my screenshots for some of the ones I noticed. Not too sure how to link to them exactly, but have a look on my profile;  http://steamcommunity.com/id/berserkalucard/


I got The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D on my birthday from 'Ms Planet Hell' I suppose you could call her hehe =p So I finally got a chance to play this game again after absolutely ages! I never originally got an N64 so didn't get to play what some people have called one of the best (if not the best) games of all time. I saw it occasionally at my friend's house and on the Gamecube collection thing that had it, but was always put off by the horrific N64 graphics...They just made me really nauseous and scared. Ironically, the game was to be released when the 3DS came out and it was able to give people headaches for different reasons =p I was really impressed with the graphics they did for this version. The 3D was a lot better done than the previous 3D game I played, Monkey Ball. I think the 3DS is starting to get some decent games coming out now, its starting to become a system people are wanting to play now. Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land (or some stupid name) are two that seem good so far. I've picked up the 2nd half of the Ambassador programme games now, and there are some quite decent games thrown in there for the GBA!

I got really into the Monster Hunter games over the space of a few months (read: 500+ hours into MH: Freedom Unite) so I picked up Monster Hunter Tri after ages of deliberating (putting off buying the game). It was nowhere near as long to finish as Freedom Unite (which has the most content of the MH games to come out in English) but it does have a lot to do in the online quests. I finished that one in about 40 or 50 hours. I also found a good price for Portable 3rd shortly after Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD ver. was released so I imported the original one on psp (actually I got the best sellers edition.) and really enjoyed that. It has a really nice feel to it, the graphics are amazing for a psp game =p Jinouga is a really nicely designed flagship monster, and I'm definitely looking forward to picking up Monster Hunter 3G even though that will take me out of my current MH-free period...seriously, those games are like crack in game form XD

I was in quite a mood to play old school feeling dungeon crawling games, and I got through Etrian Odyssey and Orcs & Elves. One is huge, long and difficult (nearly went to a thats what she said moment there) and one is short and unusual. Both are really good fun though with a lot of nice quirks and throwbacks to older games, and I'm looking forward to playing more dungeon crawlers soon. Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard is in my list of games to get through, and I'm really wanting to pick up Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls. It looks really tough but good in terms of gameplay and artstyle, all for a budget price on PSN.



There are a few games that have been announced for English audiences that I'm definitely looking forward to. Some I never thought would come out over here. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) has recently been announced for America and Europe (on my birthday!) Yeah, I know this is quite old news, but I've been away for ages, and I'll get to the newer stuff eventually =p




















Ni no Kuni should be really good! I'm hoping that it sells well over here, as it kind of flopped when it came out in Japan. They need some kind of special edition to get people interested I reckon =p Either way, I'll pick it up to support Namco Bandai in localising similar games.




The Last Story is another one that I was pleased that it would be coming out to Europe, but I thought it wouldn't be a definite (and would somehow depend on how well Xenoblade did, even though I'm pretty sure they are in no way connected) release. Europeans have a release date for this one now, which is super good news!

Tales fans are getting quite a lot of good news as well recently. Tales of the Abyss came out here, so I picked it up but didn't start it right away like I had wanted to. I was too busy finishing off Tales of Phantasia (and studying mostly). I'll get to Tales of the Abyss soon though, I'm glad us PAL gamers got a chance to play that finally without importing. Not sure if I'll fall into that game's hater camp or appreciative camp. Tales of Graces f has a few release dates. America first and then sometime Summer 2012 for us lot in Europe. Hopefully Tales of Xillia ends up coming over, or at least Innocence R on the Vita =p

I could go on for much longer, but I'll leave it at that! My exams are looming, but that means I'll be done soon at least... =p

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gods Eater Burst



The opening from Gods Eater Burst. Just cos its rather awesome ;D

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you have a good time! =D
I've not got too much planned other than studying for a class test  in uni this week. I've selected a couple atmospheric and potentially 'scary' games that I might play through briefly this evening. I don't have many actual survival horror type games unfortunately (even though I've had the urge recently to play some old Resident Evil and Silent Hill games) but I'll make do with the stuff I've got through to university with me.

Demon's Souls (PS3) ~ Tower of Latria (World 3)
This place scared the crap out of me when I first played through. It doesn't quite have the same effect on me when I play through it on my NG+ and nuke everything in one hit, but I'll either play some of this or start a new game so the monsters are more of a threat. The sound and dark atmosphere in this place is perfect. Really creepy and unnerving. =D

Dark Souls is out now as well, I might try and get a bit further in that. I love the sense of not knowing what is round the next corner.


Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Wii) 
I haven't actually played this game yet even though I was ridiculously hyped up for it before launch. Really dissapointed I still haven't played it, so I might do so tonight =p From what I've heard, it has a really interesting feel to it. It is set in a bleak, lonely post-apocalyptic future which seems to have a really haunting beauty. I think for the atmosphere to be created, I'll have to put in a couple hours to this game, but I'm definitely looking forward to playing this one =D


Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call (PS2)
I picked this one up recently even though I have a huge backlog of SMT games, as it has ridiculously good reviews. One thing I always liked about the Shin Megami Tensei games was the dark, mature and kind of unsettling feeling you can get in the story. Devil Survivor actually pulled it off pretty well, when Demons basically start munching on the helpless civilians. Even though the main character's reactions aren't the best or most convincing, some people do get kind of creeped out by the games. This one is closer to Digital Devil Saga(which I've played most of the first one) but still haven't played Lucifer's Call (or Nocturne as its known in  other parts of the world.) 

I'm definitely looking forward to fusing and negotiating with some really fucked up demons from myth and folklore heheh!

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3)
Even though I have all of the Castlevania games since the first Game Boy Advance game, I quite liked the atmosphere the shiny HD graphics creates in this game. It felt less like a Castlevania and more like a God of War clone, which...I wasn't too keen on, but I loved the grandeur of the vampire's castle about halfway through the game. I might put in some time to my save on this one, and see how amazing looking things are.
Or I might play some more on the GBA ones, they were always awesome for music and gorgeously gothic backdrops to the levels.


If I had a more varied selection of games (ie less RPGs), I'd probably play some real horrific games. Too bad (probably a good thing) I can't run Amnesia or don't have things like the Silent Hill games. I think I really suck at proper scary games XD

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Extra Life 2011!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaages since I last posted...I feel really bad that I've been neglecting this blog for so long now, but it won't disappear completely!

So I'm posting this because very soon I will be participating in Extra Life 2011, a charity that raises money for Children's Miracle Network hospitals. It is an American charity, but it is open to people all across the world, and I was able to donate to my local hospital (very near my house in Edinburgh.) So I decided since this was near my birthday and I'd always wanted to take part in it, to make a team from friends and people I know at uni and play video games for 24 hours on the 15th of October.

Our team name is Dr. Octagonapus and this is our team page. http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&eventID=501&teamID=5582

What we will be doing is playing Monster Hunter games for 24 hours on a sponsorship basis to raise $500. There are 5 of us involved and we are all looking for donations, as are the children who go to the Royal Sick Children's Hospital in Edinburgh, which I can definitely vouch for as a hospital!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you can donate, however little!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gamescom news!

Gamescom 2011 has now finished, throughout I've been half keeping an eye on the proceedings. While there have been many games shown at Gamescom 2011 that I've been interested in, there has been confirmation that the 2nd and 3rd Operation Rainfall titles, Last Story and Pandora's Tower will definitely be coming to Europe in 2012. There was previously a lot of rumours but nothing concrete from Nintendo on these as far as I could tell.

Source: http://gamescom.gamespot.com/story/6329601/wii-last-story-pandoras-tower-hitting-europe-in-2012

http://www.videogamer.com/news/last_story_and_pandoras_tower_coming_to_wii_in_2012.html

There have been quite a few nice trailers and gameplay videos to come out of it as well. Namely for Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls (probably my favourite PS3 game I've played so far)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2011/aug/19/gamescom-2011-dark-souls-preview


Monday, August 15, 2011

Xenoblade Chronicles


4 days to go till Xenoblade Chronicles comes out! That is all :p

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Live Cookie munching (Cookie picks #2)

I posted yesterday about me choosing from a couple games which game I'll play next, so decided to play a bit of Jeanne D'Arc and Tactics Ogre: Let us cling together on the PSP and see which I prefer, which hooks me more and which I might ultimately play as my next game.

So what I'll be doing is a kind of live blog thing...I'd totally like to stream it and link my Justin TV profile here, but I don't have all the necessary hardware for streaming yet. One cable closer though, after getting a PSP component cable :D

Anyway, I'm feeling ambitious so what I'll do is a half hour of each game starting at 11:30 tonight (3 mins away) and then post my thoughts on the games as I go along. If I'm not tired or bored of the games (or indeed if half an hour isn't enough for the openings to play out, I'll do another half hour of each)

Its now 23:28, time to fire up Jeanne D'Arc (simply because it comes first in the alphabet)

[23:30] Starting the timer and watching the opening. Looks Disney esque/bad Saturday morning cartoon from the 80s or 90s...

[23:35] Is that one of the clowns from FFIX? :o

[23:36] Freaky kid..but interesting cutscene

[23:37] Time to move on from said cutscene and see some of the character portraits, dialogue and music.

[23:41] A second anime cutscene? Impressive! Voice acting is a bit suspect in places (bad accents) but its still good to see them cramming a few of these in where most RPGs would just use dialogue to get this stuff across.

[23:44] A battle already? Good that they throw you into the action :D

[23:46] A few turns into the battle and it seems pretty easy to pick up, quite standard SRPG stuff

[23:50] First battle finished with not too much difficulty, although that Orc Knight did take a turn or two to finish

[23:53] A chance to Save thankfully, and another cutscene before stuff starts getting intense :o I know I've not been playing long but I am drawn in to the already dark (and cliched) storyline

4 minutes left on the clock and just one turn into my second battle...argh..do I turn off the power now or extend it to an hour right away?

[00:00] Another cutscene, wow cool armour! :D I'm adding on a few mins for stoppages for texting and starting the game up, so hope I can finish this battle soon and save!

[00:03] Wow, Godspeed is like hella broken... Its like the Scouts from Valkyria Chronicles but worse XD

[00:05] Crap, good thing theres no perma death..just lost my wee redhead friend in battle :(

[00:07] Wow, this game is tough. I lost my second guy and nearly Jeanne as well. I blame her transforming back to normal for nearly overshifting it from my overconfident position to a game over...I nearly lost Jeanne so had to move out of range and heal up. Always play safe in these kinds of games. Add to that there is a turn limit! Man...tough game. Stage 2 nearly got me, but I passed it :D

[00:15] Or so I thought. I think I spoke too soon. Another enemy showed up, and with one guy on the field under my command and the turn limit counter already showing, I was a bit nervous to be sure.

So I thought I could use a Healing item and then move to a safe distance, but close enough to start attacking asap next turn. Turns out you can’t use items and then move...So that was partially a waste of a turn, as the next turn I couldn’t get into range to attack. I got him down to 1 HP with an attack and a counter, but the turn counter ran out on me. Seriously 10 turns to finish such a tough level? Game Overed on Stage 2...got to be a record for me XD

I guess I now know what to expect of the game, and definitely to take my time more now. Anyway, my time is up on this one. So I’ll post some more thoughts on the game tomorrow and move onto Tactics Ogre, as Blogger seems to be having issues. Its made me lose my post edits a few times on this tonight...

Its now Sunday morning and thought I'd flesh this post out a bit more with my thoughts on the game so far. In terms of graphics it seems to have an odd style, with what looks like cel-shaded graphics. It reminds me of Tales of Symphonia in a way. I'm not always too keen on cel-shading as the games don't always age well...there are some exceptions (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker being one example.) So they do like quite sharp and nice in this game, with some quite detailed backgrounds going on. Add to that some very abundant well done anime cutscenes (I think I saw 3 or 4 in the first 45 mins of play)

I think what will put people off most about this game is the difficulty. It seems unfairly difficult, with rather unecessary conditions in battle such as the 10 turn limit in the second battle. It gives tutorials but really kicks you in the face if you aren't careful. As for the battles themselves, they seem very similar to what you'd expect from a tactical rpg such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea or Luminous Arc. You have a player phase and an enemy phase, but there are some restrictions I'm not keen on. You can't do anything in between your characters finishing their actions and the enemy phase. I like to be able to double check I've done everything, got everyone in the right positions and check the battlefield over before I give the turn over to the computer. In this game you can't do that. You can take back some stuff such as movement if you make a mistake or aren't happy with the position. I'm slightly concerned the game might have some balancing issues, as for a few turns I was tearing through the enemy with Jeanne in her armoured form, and then it swung right back in the computer's favour when the transformation wore off.

We'll see how the game goes from here, it does have a lot going for it, but I'm interested in how it will shape up compared to one of the heavy hitters of the srpg sub-genre when I play through the opening bit of Tactics Ogre: Let us cling together later today. Stay tuned for more Live Cookie munching :D

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cookie picks


I'm blasting through Golden Sun: Dark Dawn and thought I'd maybe start up something new. I was considering starting Tales of Symphonia which I recently got, but not exactly sure if I have the right memory card and whatnot for the Wii. I'll look up the stuff for it and hopefully start it soon :D
Anyway, I chose 3 random games that I've not finished from my PSP and DS collection via the Fortune cookie option over at Backloggery and came up with these 3:
Tactics Ogre: Let us cling together (PSP)
Etrian Odyssey (DS)
Jeanne D'Arc (PSP)
Its probably just that I don't have that many games left for my DS and PSP compared to some other times when I've been buying more games and I've been careful to play the shorter games first, but it seems that I've got 3 very hard, long (stop laughing) games, at least in this random selection.
We have Tactics Ogre, a strategy RPG very much in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story (I think at least in the text font lol..) I've heard it can be very frustrating, but I'm definitely stoked to try. I made it through some ridiculously tough bits in Final Fantasy Tactics: WotL, so don't see why I shouldn't be able to get through this game.
Then Etrian Odyssey...a game I've liked so far but it really intimidates me. I've put in a few hours to it and I've slowly made my way through the first stratum. I've got as far as the Stratum boss, which is like a whole new level of ass kicking. You've got the normal enemies, then the FOEs, then these guys...super tough. It takes so long to level up and grind, but I've been itching for some turn base RPGs recently, and Golden Sun has been perfect (even if a little easy) so I might give this another shot, and try at least clear the first stratum. Maybe things will fall into place and get easier...
Jeanne D'Arc, along with Tactics Ogre has probably only been in my PSP once, and that was to watch the opening movie. Admittedly I wasn't impressed with the crappy looking anime cutscene. It just seemed like really ugly in terms of the character design. I have heard its a top notch SRPG though, similar to Tactics Ogre.
Which should I pick? I might either decide on one of them tomorrow, or give each of them an hour or so to impress me. The PSP games are tempting, that way I could finish up Golden Sun on the DS and have one of them alongside, even more so because I just bought a PSP component cable the other day which means I could play them on a bit bigger screen on my TV :P

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gloria Union (PSP)

http://www.siliconera.com/2011/03/29/gloria-union-is-the-next-psp-game-from-sting-and-atlus/

http://www.siliconera.com/2011/04/05/gloria-union-twin-fates-in-blue-oceans-story-starts-with-a-sunken-kingdom/

Oh, I should say, this one is for Blaze Union: Story to reach the Future, another PSP game in the 'Union' spinoff series (Yggdra, Blaze, Gloria.)

I really hope we see English releases of these Sting games..


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vanillaware E3 2011

Vanillaware are one of my favourite game studios that usually get overlooked a bit. I was recently on a stream of someone playing Odin Sphere and there seemed to be only a few people who had played the game or even heard of it. The games I've played from them are Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade. These games are 2D sidescrolling action games/action RPGs depending on how you look at it. I'd say that they have enough RPG elements to put them in that end of the spectrum. What makes them really interesting to me is the artstyle. The sprites and backgrounds have this really amazing stylistic, vibrant and exaggerated appearance. Couple that with some really amazing music and at least to me, you have some excellent games. Some critics might say that slowdown in places and slightly repetitive nature of the gameplay really detracts but I was just really engaged by the combat and just how amazing the game looks that those things never really bugged me at all.

Odin Sphere is primarily based on Norse mythology as you might be able to tell from the name, not quite as strongly as say Valkyrie Profile, but its definitely a strong influence throughout the game. It borrows from a lot of other legends, myths and stories as well, which really builds up a nice rich game in my opinion.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade has a distinctly Japanese feel. I'm not meaning that it looks like it was made by Japanese developers-I'm referring to the feudal Japanese history setting and plot that it has. Its all about ninjas, samurai, a bit of political intrigue and quite a good shake of mythology coming across in the various enemies you fight and characters you encounter such as the Inari Kitsune(fox deities.) Its got some really interesting areas you go through, such as the water dwelling boss who you fight in this really stylistic but dramatic backdrop clearly based on The Great Wave off Kanagawa, one of my favourite Japanese woodblock prints.

So thats a bit of a tangent into two of Vanillaware's older games (I'm not going to go into Princess Crown, Grimgrimoire or the games that didn't get brought over here as I've still not got those games.) What I was really wanting to talk about was the recently announced Vanillaware titles, Dragon's Crown and Grand Knight History. We've known about Grand Knights History for a few months I think, but this is the first we've heard about Dragon's Crown, what will be Vanillaware's first HD game, releasing Spring 2012 on the PS3 and Playstation Vita. Sure, these games won't be for everyone, as the artstyle, particularly in Dragon's Crown could be described as grotesque and overexaggerated. Still, it looks gorgeous in places I think. Just see how smooth and vibrant it will run on the PS3. Grand Knights History will change things up quite a bit-it will be turn based :) Hopefully it works well.

Finally, check this retrospective from last year by one of my favourite youtubers. I actually had an idea to do a big blog post about Vanillaware's games a while back (before I saw his video) but never got round to it. So I guess this post kinda says a lot of what I might have.

Oh, on another note my Now Playing 'column' is on a bit of a hiatus...I'm thinking of changing it to another day from Sunday, or maybe to fortnightly so I'll always have at least a couple of games to talk about. I'll think about what I'm going to do with it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I am dissapoint.

Just a kind of mini-rant on the way things are going in the RPG genre of video games. I remember a couple months back being really interested in a few of the games that we now know more about. There seems to be a general trend of mainstreaming the genre. Let me quickly add to that before you close the tab. That isn't necessarily the thing that bugs me. There are some RPGs that would definitely be considered mainstream that are perfectly good games, I would say the Pokemon games and slowly more the Dragon Quest series are decent mainstream role playing games. It is the dumbing down and the blurring of genre boundaries that usually ends up annoying me more with games that could have done so well.

So I better give some examples of what I mean.

One of the best selling (I think) RPG franchises in the west currently, the Mass Effect games have been on a worrying downwards trend into generic, safe territory. The first one had some rather deep customisation options, a retarded (but deep) inventory system and some other aspects that would mean that it definitely is an RPG. Ok, I don't have problems with shooters, or games that are cross-genre, definitely not. In fact, I think a lot of the best games are those that manage to transcend boundaries successfully. But it seems with the movement to the 2nd ME game, they saw that Call of Duty games, Halo games, Gears of War games sell well and they decided to move more towards the shooter end of the spectrum, ditching some of the more hardcore RPG elements that really helped give the first game the feel it had. So it seems to me that the series is evolving, moving away from its roots. I may just be an old cynic, or one of those people who isn't too keen on change (I would say I'm ok with change) but I'm not 100% happy with the Mass Effect series and the way it is going. They are still excellent games, both of them though, don't get me wrong!

E3 has done little to dispel these concerns for me, with the announcement that ME3 will be using Kinect as an optional extra. Sure, its only for minor things like voice commands, but they've tried this in one of the Tom Clancy games (I think) before, and it really didn't work too well from what I heard. Kinect is interesting, but I think it is aimed more at a casual market, for easy to pick up and play games like Just Dance or Kinectimals and whatnot.

Some other recent examples might be Hunted: The Demon Forge, which was recently released on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. It looked like it would be a rather decent RPG, but it looks like a rather badly put together Gears of War clone with a fantasy RPG skin. Metacritic Link To be honest, I don't think this game is going to do very well. People have become a bit disinterested in the Gears of War games recently, I've noticed...so really who is going to want an more obscure version of them?

Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale and Dungeon Siege III looked like they could hit a sweet spot for me. Heavily loot-driven dungeon crawling type games. Recently I've been trying to find either a good Diablo esque game, either clones or one of the Diablo games themselves, I have both. So the best I could do was play a bit of Diablo II, its still at the top of the pack in my opinion. DnD: Daggerdale looks to have been really rushed out, and its getting some terrible reviews. Gamespot Link It also apparently has some game breaking bugs all throughout, especially in the multiplayer, which would have been a strong selling point of the game for me. Dungeon Siege III is one I've been interested in for a while now, as I played the first game in the series and was pleased with it. This one from what I've heard on a few podcasts and seen in videos seems to have been watered down slightly. It sounds more like the X-Men Legends games that were on consoles a few years back. So more co-op driven and hack and slashy and perhaps simplified. I'm really hoping this one doesn't dissapoint me.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are two other games which really could be good if they change things up from games that have come before. Square Enix are capable of making decent games, even though things might not necessarily be as strong as they once were, so they could definitely do something with the mythology they've built up in FFXIII. I just hope they make some big changes from the first game, as there was a lot there that I didn't enjoy (even though I put in a lot of time to XIII, nearly platinuming it...)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Exercise overload...


















I just got back on home today after doing a rather intense cycle from Edinburgh to Glasgow along the Union canal and Forth and Clyde canal. The trip was around 55 or so miles which we did in one day. It took us about 8 or 9 hours including stops if I remember rightly.

We set off from Edinburgh in the car to get dropped past the busiest part of town around half 9 or 10 on Friday morning. The weather was quite good for the morning, but the canal paths were a bit more uncomfortable than the ones later on nearer Glasgow. But by the end of it, it didn't really matter, because I was really not enjoying it...the weather turned bad, with quite strong winds coming our way as well as constant drizzly rain which got heavier and heavier as the day went on... We had a few stops along the way, in Linlithgow for some lunch around 12ish and then through a 620m long tunnel (apparantely) in nearly pitch black alongside the canal to the Falkirk wheel (which I didn't realise was such a tourist attraction.) It is the only one of its kind in the world I think, but don't quote me on that, I'm far from an expert on rotating boat lifts XD To be honest, its probably the only reason anyone would want to go to Falkirk, no offence to people from there but its a bit of a shithole...actually, not as much as some of the parts of Glasgow we went through :p

So once we got their eventually, cycling through the rather annoying rain and wind, we only had about half an hour to get a shower and a bit of a rest before we had to get a taxi. My dad had already booked the taxi to take us up to the west end for a meal and stuff. So we were going to meet my cousin at the Ubiquitous Chip, a bar/restaurant in Ashton Lane in the West End. I knew this was bound to happen, but we got ID'd trying to get in and I hadn't thought of bringing my passport at all, it was back home...my brother James was the same, he didn't think it was necessary to bring it. After all, if it got lost or wet, we'd have to shell out for a new one. Yeah, so it was news to me that we were going out for a drink before the curry in Ashoka just across the wee lane. So I was pretty pissed I'd got ID'd, but after a minute or two, it was rather funny because my dad somehow managed to get us in by leading the bouncer to believe we were booked in for a meal upstairs. Silly people...this was an expensive bit of town, so a group of people with a dinner reservation was quite a lot of money they would be missing out on (if we had indeed been eating there..)

So once we had got across to the restaurant and started eating, I remembered how good the curries there can be (particularly the Peshwari Nan breads :D) so I ate lots of that and somehow started to feel really light headed and sick, dont know if it was because I had too much to drink on an empty stomach, it was too hot in the restaurant or if it was because of the exertion of cycling all that way and then eating, or some combination. I went and got some air and was feeling slightly better after that though.

So once we eventually got to the hotel, I was looking forward to getting a good sleep. I couldn't get to sleep for bloody ages, it was too hot and uncomfy in the room and the walls were really thin...eventually got to sleep after putting my ipod on to cut out the snoring and other noise (I'm a light sleeper.)

We could have cycled back half of the way, but I took the train back from Glasgow, I was feeling too achey to do much more cycling to be honest.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Some games that look rather awesome :D

Just a quick post with some videos and stuff for a few games I don't want to miss out on.

Gungnir for the PSP is Sting's next game in their Dept. Heaven series. I really enjoyed Riviera and have the other games, which I will get round to playing at some point hopefully. This one looks like it should be pretty good.

Grand Knights History

The next game from Vanillaware, this one looks rather good, it even has an interesting looking character creation aspect. http://www.siliconera.com/2011/05/10/making-of-a-grand-knights-history-knight/

Now Playing - "Lurker of the toilets"

Looking back, its been a long time since I last properly posted (way back to late March since I last did). I feel really bad about that...its just been a combination of uni work, internet problems, laptop problems and busyness I guess... but I'm determined not to let the blog die :D So, now that I've finished up my last exam for first year, I've had a bit more time on my hands and I should be posting on here more often, as long as my laptop doesn't pack in again or something...

I keep putting this off, either I forget or I am being too lazy...anyway, the list of games is growing that I need to talk about, as this post will be about the games that I've not only been playing this week, but over the past few weeks, as I've been MIA from these posts for a while now.

I bought Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (DS) ages ago, before I started uni in September I think, and I've been playing it on and off since then, but I finally finished it the other day! I really enjoyed it towards the end when I started really concentrating on it for a week or two.

Its the kind of game like Disgaea where you really need to have just it on the go. If you play other games at the same time, you can get through it, but it will be much slower in terms of progress. This game is really deep, there is a lot to do just in the main story, and it took me a good 82 or 83 hours in the end to get through. If you want to go tracking down all the extras like the sidequests, which I did quite a lot of and fusing demons for your team, it will take a lot longer to finish. So you get a lot for your money, which is good. For the import price I payed (around £35, I am definitely not dissapointed with it :p)

So a little about the game in case you are wondering what in the hell I spent so much time on the game doing, or in case you are still considering buying the game but are on the fence about it. It plays like a dungeon crawler type thing, with you exploring the various levels of the Schwarzwelt first person. You get into random, turn based encounters with enemies and can Fight them or Talk with them, entering brief conversations where you answer questions and can get money, items or the demon's alliance, after which you can use it as a member on your team. Pretty much the same system as some of the other Shin Megami Tensei games, with some differences. Once you get used to it, its quite manageable.

I bought a 3DS and Super Monkey Ball 3D (3DS) at launch, and as my first experience of the 3DS, I was quite impressed by how well it works. Saying that, I was actually getting slightly strained eyes and a bit of a headache when I was playing it. I'm not sure if that was just a coincidence though or maybe I figured out a good level for the 3D slider, because I haven't really been getting any problems since then.

Although, I am a bit dissapointed by the lack of 3DS games that came out at launch here. I figured this would be a sleeper hit, or be a bit overlooked. Turns out it didn't really sell as much as the other games, but it isn't quite as good as I remember Monkey Ball to be. The difficulty has been eased up on, perhaps to give all the kids introduced to Nintendo by the Wii and DS revolution a chance. It didn't take me too long to get through the main 'story.' I've not played the Monkey Fight (other than on multiplayer) or Monkey Race modes and I might go back to them at some point. I'm really ambivalent about the 3DS and this game, so I might trade it in and wait for Ocarina of Time. I also want the big Disgaea 4 edition, which will cost me a lot to import though. In fact, I even thought about selling the 3DS around launch time... Hopefully things will improve on Nintendo's newest console. There are plenty of good announced games though, like Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Cave Story, Bit Trip Saga, SMT games etc..

I downloaded and played a fair few different Ipod games, including Chaos Rings (Ipod), Nyan Cat, Plants vs Zombies (well, more watched my girlfriend play it, and was a bit of a backseat gamer, sorry! :P), Tiny Wings, Age of Zombies Lite, Dino Rush, Imaginary Range and Cut the Rope. I played little bits of those ones, Chaos Rings is cool apart from the puzzles-those are why I put it down, I actually couldn't get past one of the puzzles which they really don't give you any tips or really explain them at all...Nyan Cat is cool but I got the free version and I don't really think there is as much in it as the real version. Not too sure if I'll pick up the full one. Tiny Wings was apparantely as addictive as Angry Birds, but for me, it doesn't have as much variety, so I can see it getting old a lot quicker than other games. Its more for the Doodle Jump/Mega Jump obsessed crowds who like to improve on high scores. Cut the Rope is brilliant though, I found myself trying to get 3* in all the levels I had unlocked. Pretty nice idea for a puzzler game. Imaginary Range is really interesting. Its from Square Enix and one of the more unique games I've seen on the App store. Its half comic, half game with some really interesting art style. Best of all, it is free! So pick that up! Its rare to see reasonably priced Square Enix games on the App Store, so I don't see why this one is free.

Here and there, I played bits of Neverwinter Nights (PC) and Diablo II (PC), bringing back the old school WRPGs :D I'm still struggling in Neverwinter Nights, that game is damn hard to get used to. I started up a game with a Wizard using a range weapon, and I'm using what I think is the best way to play them, summon lots of guys, have a familiar and a follower to stop enemies from getting to me. Attacks of opportunity are really overpowered it seems... I actually made some progress though, I got the first of the monsters at the start killed. Diablo II is as awesome as always :D I'm in Act III with my elemental Druid, absolutely pwning everything that comes my way. Usually the council gives me some problems, this time they barely got any attacks in. I am kind of worried that when I get to Act IV though, when the bosses start becoming more resistant to Elements, I will have some difficulty... Might play some more bits and bobs of either slowly.

I played right through Vanquish (360), which I think is made by the same people that did Bayonetta. Its a mix of Gears of War and Lost Planet with some added craziness, like the jetpacks on the main character's knees, yeah JETPACKS on your knees XD

Its quite a short game, I finished it in 2 sittings over around 6 or 7 hours, which is around the right length I figure. Its a short, fun campaign with a rather bizarre story. Even the opening couple hours didn't make it any clearer to me. But then again, fans of shooters aren't always looking for the story to be the main strong point. Its worth a look if you see it cheaply. Definitely not as good as Bayonetta, but pretty good overall.

I also played all the way through Nier (360) after hearing ridiculously good praise in places and very average and poor reviews in other (more mainstream it could be said) places. So my thoughts in a nutshell? Average. However, there are plenty of brilliant moments in the game, the music shines all the way through, and some of the story moments are very well written and rather emotional in places. The core gameplay is rather MMO-ish crossed with some Devil May Cry type hack and slash combat (that gets very repetitive and old in my opinion.) However, the creators of the game werent pleased with leaving at that, they included lots of other little influences and references, which is quite amusing at times, even if they weren't done too well in places. You've got dungeons and sections of the game which are based on other games, such as the overhead(ish) Diablo dungeon, a Resident Evil style fixed camera dungeon and a visual novel style section where you go into a really well written dream world. Throw in some bullet hell type enemies and some 2D platforming and you've got a rather weird combination, which is pretty fun at times.

For me though, there were too many flaws...the gameplay gets really old. Even though you get some other weapon types later on, I found myself continuing with the one handed swords I was used to, they seemed most well balanced and easy to use. The quests are basically just boring backtracking fetch quests, the only reward you get for them being money. On top of those annoyances are the fact that you need to revisit the areas in the game each at least once. They really shouldn't have made me do that. Would a few extra areas of hurt? Bottom line is that its a lazy game and I really don't see why it got some talk of RPG of the year in places. That laziness could be argued to be apparent right down to the graphics. They do look outdated in all aspects. To me, the character designs are really bland as well. The main character is really ugly...

As much as it looks like I'm panning it, I did enjoy parts of the game. It even made me cry in one place. Its a short game, but to me it did drag a bit, and by the end, I just wanted to finish it... Still, I rated it 3/5. It has enough good points to balance out the bad ones.

I started up a game on Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PSP) after finishing Nier. Its very fast paced and the controls, particularly air control, took me a while to get used to. It frustrates me how you can't actually heal unless you are at a Save point though...It took me ages to realise I could abuse the Double Boost system to get health back when I'm really low, as I was nearly getting stuck in some dungeons by nasty enemies and not having enough health. The warp function is very useful actually, it speeds up the game even more.

So far though, I'm not really enjoying it as much as I did Ys Seven (PSP.) Its probably a combination of graphics (this one doesn't have very good graphics) and characters. Adol is dumb, as are most of the others. Although the game does have a pretty good script and soundtrack, I must admit. And once you get used to things, the gameplay is pretty solid, fun and fastpaced.

I FINALLY FINISHED Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP)! After playing it on and off for a good few months now, especially when I was at uni, because we could do coop, I am now finished the single player quests (not all of them, but the ones I needed to do). It took me absolutely ages, around 300 hrs to get to this point. I'm also really near G-Rank in the multiplayer Guild hall.

Its a pretty damn frustrating and tricky game, but if you are patient with it and get used to everything like the timing and upgrading weapons and armour, you can really have some fun with this game. I'm glad to have finished it though...I won't have to be addicted till the new one comes out here sometime towards the end of summer...

In fact, I was so caught up in the Monster Hunter thing at some points, that I went looking for MH clones, and it seems I got the wrong one...I got Lord of Arcana at launch, as Square Enix brought out a rather nice special edition for it. I should have got Gods Eater Burst instead, as I've heard its a lot better. Its become pretty rare already here...Another one I was really considering was the first Phantasy Star Portable on the PSP, as I don't know anything about the games and it was a fiver. So I figured if I tried it and didn't like it, I wouldn't have shelled out the more or less full price that the 2nd Phantasy Star Portable was priced at. I didn't get it though, so I'll see if its still there next time I go through to Glasgow.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My computer is no longer blow'd up...

Gah...my laptop is still broken and its not even put in the shop yet..Its either just that I was bringing into uni without a proper laptop back and it got damaged, or more likely, the fact that it got tea spilt over it in uni...

Its got some kind of hardware problem, I think the RAM like last time, but not sure..

1st May: Yay! I got my laptop back a few days ago and it was indeed a problem with the RAM again. It cost me £85 to get a new stick put in now, and its working fine. I was a bit worried at first because it actually smelled of burning plastic, but that was probably just some initial crap inside, as it doesnt do that so much now.

Hopefully I'll be posting some more now! I've got my final exam for first year on the 4th of May..,that doesn't seem so far away now :'(


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Now Playing - "Sticky Banana"

Technology has deserted me over the past few days...My phone has been really acting up, it occasionally won't be able to call or text, and it takes a long time for some texts to reach me or reach the person I'm texting. So I got a new sim card and that seems to have helped, but its still not completely solved the problem. It'll still crash from time to time when I open the adress book and it will take anywhere up to an hour or two for some texts to reach me =(

After that, some tea got spilt on my laptop when we were being idiots in uni. So its stopped working now, but I'm not entirely sure if it is down to that or just me taking the laptop into uni without a proper case or bag. Its had this problem before, or at least something similar, when the RAM failed. I just had to get new memory put in and got to keep everything on the hard drive. I'm hoping its something similarly easy(ish) to fix this time round. It won't turn on at the moment, which is kinda why I am a bit late in writing this post >_<

My PSP charger also broke yesterday as well, so I'll either need to get a new one if I want to play any PSP, or wait for a bit till I get more moniez...but my phone and laptop take priority unfortunately...so maybe no Monster Hunter for a while..
Anyway, I played some more Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP) this week, FINALLY got past the quest I had been stuck on for a good few months, the goddamn Urgent quest in High Rank with the Monoblos and White Monoblos. Good times! I'm a bit further into the 8 star quests now-think I just need to do the Yian Garuga and multiple Shogun Ceanataur quest to progress to the next urgent. Yian Garuga is bloody hard though.... Anyway, I won't be doing much more on this unless I can borrow someone's charger at uni.

I played a little bit more of Pokemon Black (DS) earlier in the week. I'm now up to about 7 badges, nearly at the town for the next one. My team is all around the lv45 mark more or less, still 5 pokes and I don't think I'll be able to find another useful pokemon for the last place. So it'll probably just remain as a space for a HM slave with something like Strength or Fly or something. Its been on hold for a few days though, but I think I'm going to be playing more of it now that my psp charger is fooked D=

I also picked up a 3DS at launch even though I was kinda ambivalent on the whole thing...more or less down to the amount of money it would cost and the (in my opinion) poor selection of games at launch. I thought I'd go for what I thought could be a bit of an overlooked and underappreciated game at launch, Super Monkey Ball 3D (3DS)
The previous ones I played from the series were actually pretty good, and this one is a bit easier and I'm quite impressed with the 3D visuals as my first experience of the 3DS. Probably next game I get will be either Street Fighter IV or the Ocarina of time remake/port. It does actually give me headaches after a while of playing it, so I usually have the 3D turned down to at least half.
I've played it for a couple hours so far and I've got about halfway through the challenges...although they are actually getting quite tough. I need to get a case for my 3DS otherwise I won't be playing much of this outside the house. I'll post again some time next week but my laptop is broken so don't know when exactly

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Now Playing - "Phoenix Down"

Another week flies by, and I've been juggling studying for the upcoming tests with the occassional bit of Pokemon when I get a chance. So I'm getting more into Pokemon Black (DS) now that I've progressed a bit further. The story has grown on me a fair bit. The whole thing going on with the legendary dragons is rather interesting, and it has given the world a bit more life and depth than the previous games where they didn't really tie the legendaries in at all to the story.
I've now got 7 badges and I've just flown back to the museum to have a chat with the Champion, the rivals and the other 'main' characters. I kind of forgot where they told me to go next...*epic facepalm* I'll figure it out next time I turn the game on... My team has been strengthened a bit as well, and I seem to be able to take out most types with the 5 I have now. I don't know if I mentioned last time that I was doing a mono-water challenge-essentially I can only use Pokemon with the Water type for the entire game. Although stuff like Water/non-water 2nd type is fine, to give me a bit more versatility.
Team is as follows at the moment:

Only, mine is the female Jellicent(on the far right), which is even more ugly...I really don't like many of these new pokes....
I was hoping to finish the game up before the end of the weekend, looks like thats not happening really...had too much studying to do for tomorrow's anatomy test D:

Other than that, I was intending to play some other stuff, either Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Ys: The Oath in Felghana, or Lord of Arcana (PSP), the latter of which I decided on, as I bought it at launch a few weeks back and have barely played it. Its a Monster Hunter clone which is pretty bland in places, but I think it has quite a bit of depth to it in places. It has lots of stats, which I can geek out over, and spend time grinding! :D There isn't much you can do in MH to grind other than farm items and money to improve your gear, but in this you can also level up and strengthen that way. So I like that about it, but the combat is still pretty repetitive, and there are a little too many reaction commands for my liking...I have slow reflexes... T_T
I got a bit further in the half hour or so today I played it for, I got past the Monolith boss quest that had me stuck for ages, with a lot of deaths...this game is hard...
Anyway, I'll try and post more frequently on here...I say that a lot..but I am trying to bring it back to where it used to be, with actual decent content and lots of interesting pictures, links, videos and whatnot.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Now Playing - "scalchop!"

I've been away from the blog for a while now, but it was never going to truly die. I've had this blog too long to get rid of it now. Anyway, I've been pretty busy with university work and seeing people at uni, so I've not actually had much time to play games. That hasn't really stopped me from buying games, however, and March is a pretty expensive month for me, it looks like....
I've bought a few so far this month:
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Hyperdimension Neptunia
Pokemon Black

And I have a few things preordered for later in the month and onwards:
Black 3DS console (not sure what games I will get yet)
Dissidia 012 : Final Fantasy
Dragon Age II (isn't preordered, for some reason I just wasn't getting it at launch)

Anyway, its basically just one game that has been taking up my time this week. I got Pokemon Black (DS) on launch day last Friday and I've been playing it quite a bit since. Not obsessively I'd say, but at least a little bit most days. One day I refrained from playing it at all so I could make some progress on my uni coursework. We've got a number of deadlines coming up. 2 essays, 2 class tests and a lab book to finish up and hand in. I've done both essays and most of the lab book(which I'll finish on Monday) so I'm slightly ahead of some people in the class. That means I can relax and play Pokemon! :D The others that have Pokemon are way ahead of me though, so I've got some catching up to do...

So my opinions on the new Pokemon games so far would be overall, slightly dissapointed. But only slightly...The main things I don't really like about them are the new pokemon. A lot of them are just really uninspired and bland. I mean, there is a generic dog and deer pokemon who look about as boring as can be. I should probably cut them a bit of a break, because they are up to 649 in the pokedex now, so they are bound to be running out of ideas. But should they really be dragging the series on for much longer? Some people believe not. I have some fun with the games even if I am going off the series slowly. This might just be because I overplayed some of them by going into the competitive side of breeding and training, but its partially down to the series' stagnation in a way.

Story wise, the game doesn't really do much new. Its the same idea as before, you play a kid who goes out adventuring with a pokemon in an effort to beat the Elite 4 and complete the pokedex. You end up entangled in Team Plasma's affairs. So far I'm a bit confused by the whole Team Plasma thing. Their motives are a bit wierd, and they seem really poorly organised, ending up doing random things which accomplish nothing. Its not like Team Rocket which you probably enjoyed watching in the series or the games, its different, Team Plasma fail more (and not in such awesome ways.)

I probably just need to play the game for a couple more hours, and wait till it grows on me. For all the criticism I've given it so far, I am enjoying it. It definitely looks good, with all it's 3D sequences and whatnot.

I'm playing through with an all-water team to make it a bit more challenging. This is bulking out my play time with some extra grinding, but I am liking the challenge that this provides. I've got 5 badges now, and moving towards the next town.

I'll try and post some more on the blog when I can. Its not dead yet! :D

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today...*sigh*

Today was the most bullshit day I've had in quite a while now. Its not just me being an emo bitch either, a lot of the class were in foul, depressed moods as well. We were in uni 9-5 with 1 hour free..thats not the worst part though. We had 2 seperate 2 hour labs, one for Applied Optics, and one for Visual Optics. We also had an Anatomy Class test which I had only started revising for the night before (thats my fault, I know). The exam questions were fucking hard, and I was backed up on that by people who had studied a lot. Apparentely it didn't matter how much you studied, because some of the questions were worded in ways which made them trick you, or even fail to understand what is meant.

I got home at like 7ish and worked until midnight as well, in an effort to make up for my lack of work at the weekend, and guilt at not doing enough of my uni stuff. See the last post for some of the shit I've been putting off for a while.

A whole bunch of other stuff wasn't going for me either today. Hopefully tomorrow is better. Urgh...I really don't want this blog to turn into something I use solely to bitch...I just needed somewhere to vent the recent pressure. I seriously think something is wrong with me, both physically (I've got some illness, probably stress induced) and mentally.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Way too much stuff to do....

Just to say I won't be posting anything about what I've been playing during the last week. I had some time for games, but from Thursday-Sunday I ended up staying at a friend from uni's house and drinking, playing a few multiplayer games, pool and other stuff. So while it was pretty awesome and seemed like a good idea, it left me with a big backlog of uni work to do. I've only had a couple hours to study for my Anatomy class test tomorrow, finish the Visual Optics lab report, catch up on the lectures I missed, the tutorial I left early from today, the Applied Optics lab writeup I still haven't finished from last week, write and email the minutes for the last Cali-Otaku commitee meeting, phone the uni eye clinic to book a second appointment and a whole load of other stuff.

Bleh...all that added to the depressing day that is Valentine's day (if you are single) plus the rain made today pretty shit. At least I had fun slacking off during the weekend with some friends.

Hopefully I'll get back into my normal rythm soon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Time eater..


Seriously, there aren't ever enough hours in the day when you are working or at university. I try to have a list of main things somewhere loosely in my mind each week or day, and I usually get the main priorities done in time, but I never seem to have enough time to put in time to smaller things like a bit of studying each day, reading my notes, watching tv, playing games or writing here. Those things seem to get kicked down a couple notches when I have other stuff like lab reports to do.


I'm in uni 9 to fuckin 6 tomorrow...wtf...I'll need to study throughout the day at uni and some tomorrow night as I've got a Test on Tuesday which I've not started revising for... T_T

I need a hyperbolic time chamber. Cookie to whoever knows what thats from.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Now Playing - "Are you hurt anywhere? Face, chest, ovaries?"


I've been trying to bring back my hardcore RPG self from the perilous casualness that comes with owning an IOS device, and I played some rather awesome games this week.

First person dungeon crawler RPGs have a really nice appeal to me actually. I don't know why that is, as I never really played many of them when I was young. So its not really true nostalgia for them, its probably just as they feel fresh, yet nice, oldschool and hardcore to me. So I'm trying to pick up a few of these type of games and break into the genre. Dark Spire might be next on my to buy list in terms of FPS RPGs, its been sitting in one of the game stores in town for a while now, reduced way down. Pretty good for an imported game. I'll check if its still there some time this week. Anyway, I put some more time into Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (DS) mainly over the weekend. I'm still in the fourth sector, Delphinus...so progress is slow, but at least there is some now that I've finished Golden Sun 1 and 2. Anyway, I made sure to try and improve my demons in the 5 or so hours I played of this over the weekend. I managed to get all the necessary demons for the Special Fusion of Black Frost! =D Awesome! I added a few more to my party that were of decent levels and stats, which helped a fair bit. The story is one of the main aspects I am enjoying the game actually, as well as the characters and the choices you take(even if they have been rare so far). I like a good bit of sci-fi, and this game has a pretty dark, tense and thrilling feel to it. There are some generally creepy moments (The first similar piece of media that comes to mind is the movie called the Thing), which is impressive for a text-driven story and one with static character portraits and arguably fairly limited graphics. I'm getting near the end of Delphinus I think, based on the mission log at least, there are some really overpowered abilities that some of the enemy demons have. One such ability that made me stay away from Strange Journey on Monday(in addition to having uni) is 'Bite the Dust.' I think it works as a status effect designated by a bomb it looks like. It seems like if the demon with the status dies, it takes out the entire rest of the team near enough. It might as well if it doesn't, as the hurt it puts on the rest of the team is brutal. Well...I got 2 game overs in less than an hour to these bastards using this ability, so I put it down for now. I'll try and forget about it and go back to this game in a few days. I also dabbled in a bit of grinding in Etrian Odyssey (DS) while waiting for the Superbowl to start up on Sunday. Its painfully slow, even if it can be pretty simple fun. Its also bloody hard..Anyway I've got a mini-aim for myself before I can progress. I've got to get my team up to lv20 before I attempt the first sanctum boss again. I'm currently at around 17 across the board at the moment.

Earlier in the week I finally finished up Golden Sun: The Lost Age (GBA) as I said above. I had been wanting to finish it 100%, getting all the Djinn, Summon Tablets etc and I made good progress towards that goal. It took me a fair bit of time to get through the last couple dungeons, but I managed them without too much difficulty. So at the moment I've got all the Djinn, thats 72 Djinn that you can get if you import your data from the first game. I also got all but one of the Summon tablets, as I need to beat Dullahan, who is pretty fuckin gay. He is a lot stronger than the final boss(who I gotta say, I was expecting a 2nd battle against in some different form) like Deadbeard in GS1. I can get him pretty close to death by summon rushing(cheap I know..) but when he does Djinn storm and drains all my Djinn, I lose my main Psynergy such as Cool Aura(for a lot of healing across the party). There is probably a way to do it by abusing the Djinn that protect you with shields, but the damage he fires out after Djinn storming is brutal. Nasty boss. I reckon I can beat it if I get a bit of luck or really take my time to plan and calculate though.

I played some more of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP) after playing a little bit of multiplayer at uni. I got my full Hypnocatrice set of armour actually. I wanna go to sleep now, so thats all I can be bothered saying right now...I was supposed to have this posted on Sunday, its now nearly Tuesday T_T

Roguelikes are another subgenre of RPGs that I've been trying to get into. I admit I've never really played much of the games in the genre but I've heard a few things about them, and the genre always interested me. They have their roots in games such as Rogue(where the name comes from) and Nethack. Nethack is one of the games which a lot of current roguelikes take inspiration from. It turns out there are a couple roguelike style games on the Apple App store, so I downloaded iNethack (Ipod) for free and played a little bit of it. Its hard to get used to at first, as I ascended the first set of stairs and ended up escaping the dungeon. Thats doing it wrong however, its more like Diablo in that you have to just keep descending further into the dungeon to progress. Less forgiving however, so if you die, its all over and you have to start again. I've played a handful of times and the furthest I got to was the 4th floor of the dungeon. I'm definitely interested to try more of these games, so I'm open to recommendations/suggestions. I'm thinking ZHP could be a good interesting entry title, as I like NIS's quirky sense of humour.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Now Playing - "Whack a Shakalaka"


Its been kind of a wierd week actually. Our tutorials and labs are starting up and things are starting to get a bit more busy now at university. And I've been kinda hit or miss when it comes to playing games this week. I've not been largely impressed with either of the games I'm currently playing. Quite often I'd try and find other stuff to do with my time like chatting with people at uni and stuff other than play games. Still, I put in some more time to Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP) which is still pretty fun, even if it is quite hard at the stage I am at now. I'm on the first set of Nekoht's quests, the 7 star ones and there are some that I find way too hard. The double Congalala would be one I thought wouldn't give me problems, but the thing is, their damage is much higher than normal. Add to that a Bulldrome (not hard on their own, but mega annoying when it is in the same area as the Congas) and you've got a nasty quest I reckon. I've tried that one a couple times and most times it has taken 1 of my lives within minutes. Other than that one, the Basarios doesn't seem hard in terms of attacks but it becomes hard when you consider it's health. So its more of a challenge to outlast it and do enough damage before running out of time or Hot Drinks. I reckon I can manage the Basarios if I try out some different weapons and perhaps armour sets.

I've been trying to farm against some weaker monsters such as Rathalos (in the Guild hall) for some items. I managed to kill Teostra or Lunastra (whichever is the Blue one) as it keeps it's health when you beat it. So after smashing it's horn with a Dragon attribute weapon in the first quest, it couldn't use the Flame aura. Easy pickings. So now I've got some more Elder Dragon bones and all the Flame Dragon scales I need for the next upgrade to my Djinn SNS-up to Blazing Falchion.

Also this week I improved my Kirin armour a fair bit with all the money I was making. I got it up to lv12, giving some pretty good Defense and I got enough Kut-Ku Ears to make the 5 Psychic Vision gems for the set. Its my first time using the Autotracker skill~I can see why it is so useful to have. Next up I need to finish off a few 7* quests required to unlock the next urgent which I believe is Monoblos and White Monoblos-they aren't nearly as intimidating as Diablos was to me. Black Diablos have a shitload of health...I hope this one isn't a repeat of that quest that put me off for weeks.

Other than that, I picked up my save on Golden Sun: The Lost Age (GBA) as I was getting near the end of the game. I had intended to finish the game before I started back at uni. While I got close, I'm pretty sure I ran out of time/got distracted. So I put in couple more hours to this, mostly at the weekend really, and I am now up to final dungeon, in fact I've done the final dungeon (its long...) and just need to either a) finish the game or b) go and do some optional stuff to get the final 3 Djinn and couple summon tablets, as well as finish the optional dungeons before going to the endgame stages.

Wow...that was rather boring most likely. I've put some videos of some soundtrack picks I noticed recently.

I think the Hypno theme reminds me of Diablo II slightly, most likely the Act II music from that game.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cali Otaku semester 2


We now know what anime we are watching this semester (including the 2 series me and the others on the commitee decided on last week)

The lineup looks like this:

Baka To Test: to Shōkanjū – 12 episodes

Angel Beats!13 episodes

My little sister can’t be this cute13 episodes

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun 24 episodes(2nd half of series)

I had forgot that I had watched the first few eps of Angel Beats already, and I remember that I quite liked the idea of it. In fact, I don't know why I stopped watching it...out of these new ones, its probably the one I am most interested in. Railgun started off quite slowly from ep14 and 15, or maybe it was just that I was getting tired and bored towards the end when we showed it. We watch 2 episodes of each series each week, and ocassionally the odd random episode thrown in at the end if we have time. Today though....it was something rather wierd suggested by one of the members. Its called Koe de Oshigoto! Its rather ridiculously explicit, so its probably a good thing our president turned it off before it got too far in. We were kinda paranoid that someone from the uni would walk into the lecture theatre and get us expelled/take away the society privileges or whatever.

I'm quite liking the anime we are showing this time round, at least so far. We shall see how it goes. I might write some Impressions of them at some point. I'm also 2 episodes into Full Metal Panic, considering continuing it. So I might write about it also.

I'm getting a wierd sense of de ja vu about Angel Beats...I'm sure I wrote about it before. *checks*

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Now Playing - "Big, pointy spears."


Early in the week I was playing some more of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP) but not really getting anywhere. I'm still on the start of the High Rank quests, I've unlocked 7 star and done a few of them but I usually end up getting badly violated when I try any of the hunt quests. I've also been trying to get a total of 5 Kut-Ku Ears to go into Psychic Vision Gems for my Kirin set of armour. I've managed to smash enough to get 4/5 so far, but I've put the game down in the last few days, partially out of boredom, partially due to uni and partially down to frustration at the difficulty/my suckiness. I need to get a whole bunch of money to upgrade my armour as High Rank is a bit of a difficulty spike, and one that is slowing my progress down as lot.

I didn't do anymore of MH co-op in uni, as the other guy had got stuck at the same bit I was stuck at for ages, the Four Horns quest where you need to hunt Diablos and Black Diablos. Instead, he had picked up Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS) so we played some multiplayer on that. I'm really tempted to start playing it again, as I really enjoyed that game and I've still got absolutely tonnes of grinding and postgame stuff left.

So its more been a week where I've just played games here and there, mostly on my Ipod when I get a chance. I downloaded Angry Birds (Ipod) after a recommendation from a friend. Man, this game is addictive! Really well worth the price of £0.59 I'd say, as you get around 10 worlds to play through. I'm still on the first one (2nd page of levels) and liking how its going so far. Really random and funny puzzle game, I guess you'd call it.

I finished up Infinity Blade (Ipod) finally, after around 6 generations. Annoyingly, I didn't get the achievement as I've still not set up my Ipod to get the internet at my cousin's place where I'm staying at the moment. I'm far from an achievement whore, but its just I don't know if I can actually get that one now, and thats like...the one that proves you've finished the game. I guess its just me being a pedantic ass. Still, I enjoyed the game at times, but I was forced to play it in small chunks of time as the Ipod does heat up quite a bit, and the controls seem to be a little fiddly at times. This leads to some immense frustration when you try and parry an attack when you are wanting to simply block it. This usually leads to painful death. The game has some really nice sharp graphics and textures, and a fair amount of customisability. I liked buying and improving my gear. I still didn't figure out what mastering items did other than giving you +1 into your stats (very useful at times.)

I also picked up Bit. Trip Beat (Ipod) - I had seen some of the Bit. Trip games on a stream and I was kind of interested, but I think it did look quite hard. I think it was Bit. Trip Runner that I had seen, not sure though. There were some really good reviews for this one though, at least on the Ipod and I liked the look of it, so put down the 59p for it. I've tried it once so far and I quite like the way it works. Its a rhythm game where you use a Pong type paddle to return the beats to the other side and progress. Its REALLY trippy. I was playing at night just before I went to sleep and it tired my eyes out really quickly, as I had to focus quite a lot on the game. I quite like stuff that has an interesting twist on rhythm in games, I like Gitaroo Man as it was one of the first I played, and I like stuff like Space Invaders Extreme as well, as the gameplay in that is well integrated and linked with the soundtrack. I think I'll enjoy this one, I've gotten a bit bored of all the generic Guitar Hero type games coming out.

I also tried out Flying Hamster Free (Ipod). One genre I'm wanting to get into more is 2D sideshooters, this one looks quite cute and simple, but I still suck at it. Its far from the awesome but ridiculous difficulty of Ikaruga, but I am quite intrigued by this. Again, the only thing turning me off is the slightly higher than normal price point of the full game. Not sure if I'll grab this one.

I was a big fan of the Space Invaders Extreme games, so I'd wanted to try the newer one that recently came out on a few platforms. I picked up Space Invaders Infinity Gene Lite (Ipod) just because of a few average reviews on IOS and the higher price point for the full game of £2.99. You really don't get a lot in this free version, which was a bit dissapointing. I wasn't hugely impressed with what I'd played either, I think I might pick Infinity Gene up on another platform if I am to buy it some time. To be honest, I think the poor reviews are for the Lite version and not the full version.

It looks a bit like I am turning into a casual gamer :O ! Of course, this'll never be true. I'll play something nice and hardcore this week.