Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy holidays! Award time!

Hopefully everyone is having a good holiday and if you're celebrating Christmas have everything prepared and ready for it. Or more accurately, I hope you had a good Christmas, since this post took me a bit longer than expected with all the things to do over Christmas. I recently finished my exams and was working a late shift yesterday, but thats me free for the next few days until my next shift on Sunday 30th. Time to relax! =)
Anyway, I have a bit of a different post today-its an award I was nominated for by my girlfriend (biased slightly hehehe.) Her blog is getting an awesome amount of attention because its becoming more and more professional in my opinion. Its over here if you are interested in nail art and drugstore/high street hauls. I understand that a lot of my readers will not know what the hell that is about though hehe =p

Anyway, the way the award works is kind of like the "tags" you might see on youtube or some blogs. I've to answer a set of 11 questions and put up 11 random facts about myself. After that I am to tag 11 bloggers who each have less than 200 followers who I think are interesting bloggers in the community.

So here are the 11 questions:

What are you looking most forward to at Christmas?
- I'm looking forward to getting some time off from university, relaxing with my friends, family and awesome girlfriend =) Oh, and how could I nearly forget the Christmas food? Eating way too much of that!
What are you looking most forward to for 2013?
- Hmm this is a difficult one...I'm a bit nervous about 2013 because I'm going into the more difficult half of the university year, where we'll be getting real patients coming in to get their eyes tested. So perhaps I'm looking forward to some time off in summer and relaxing whenever I can!
Classic Disney films or newer Pixar films?
- Classic Disney films are far better in my opinion. The animation and imagination put into films like Aladdin, The Lion King and Fantasia are amazing. Thats not to say I don't like the newish Pixar films, there have been some really good ones like Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Up, but they just don't quite hold up to the old films I watched when growing up. It seems they weren't as scared to make films back then a bit grittier and darker.
Are you at University/College at the moment and what do you do?
- I'm at University at the moment, studying Optometry in my 3rd year out of 4.
Iphone or Blackberry? Or neither?
- Blackberry are much better for me, I couldn't carry a phone around that is worth more than my PS3, Xbox 360 and 3DS combined. They are really good quality in terms of the touch screen, but I'm fine with my (old) Blackberry Curve (and iPod touch if I want IOS apps.)
Favourite animal?
- Not sure exactly...I have lots I like, but might just go with cats of some kind, because I really like having them as pets =p
Favourite beverage?
- Ummm...Tea? Being BritishScottish I like my tea.
Pet peeves?
- I don't like it when people talk in lecture theatres way too loudly, screech cutlery across plates or bowls...and I'm sure there are some other ones. Oh! When people crunch or eat ice cubes..Thats like my weakness...I hate that noise and everything about it
Best/worst moment of 2012? Can be personal or in the celeb type world type thing :p
- I'm really terrible at these...I can't pick one single moment out for my best of 2012. The worst moment? Juggling a job, coursework and studying for exams? It sucks the amount of stress that piles up near exam time.
Most overhyped nonsense of the year?
- The apocalypse? Of course the world wasn't just going to spontaneously end when there was no scientific evidence behind it. No approaching asteroids or alien motherships were to be seen.
Favourite nail polish brand? 
- ... I'm not too qualified to answer this, even though I have picked up a lot of info here and there hehe..

 Right, so I think I've answered everything well enough =) I'll leave the tagging for now or this will take ages to publish. I'm going to try and do an impressions or review post of Crimson Shroud or Inazuma Eleven next.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Some 3DS titles to keep an eye on

The 3DS is quickly shaping up to be a nice handheld console. The pricedrops have helped, putting it in a position where it is a good deal cheaper than the Vita, and it is getting some big game releases. As with all consoles, it started off slowly and is now starting to pick up steam. I hope we are going to get some more titles for "hardcore" gamers (even though I don't really like to use that definition.) I've embedded a couple trailers of games that I'm looking towards to turn the 3DS into the next must have handheld, similar to the way that the DS did back when it exploded. These are games I'm interested in, and some of them might be quite obscure looking at first, but I think the 3DS needs these kind of titles to complement the games which make up the "bread and butter" like Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time etc.

Hopefully these are interesting to you, they are some of the games I'm looking forward to for next year. My next post might be some kind of impressions or a review of Crimson Shroud on the 3DS. Its a really interesting game and I want to talk about it as much as I can =)









Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ni No Kuni Demo Impressions

I'll keep this to a short impression of the demo, as I've got imminent exams on the way...and should really be studying and not writing blog posts about video games.

So the demo for Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was released on PSN yesterday (or the day before that in America, I believe.) After wrestling the updated PSN store into submission (seriously, it took like 4 or 5 attempts to download just the demo) I got my hands on this demo. The game itself, I've been looking forward to for absolutely ages. Even despite the fact that it sold nowhere near as many copies in Japan as it should have. Studio Ghibli and Level-5 collaborating on a PS3 jRPG should definitely be an interesting project from my point of view.


Graphically, the game looks really nice. Its very sharp cel-shaded graphics, and I spent a good while just rotating the camera to look at the surroundings. It really reminds me of the look of Dragon Quest VIII and IX. It feels like those games until you get into battle, which is much more 'interesting' than the turn based Dragon Quest battles. (Although, I should add a caveat at this point. I'm a big fan of the DQ series, don't get the wrong idea. The enemies are awesome and funny, the battle system has been refined over the years and when you thrown in some monster collection from battles, you're on to a winner in my opinion. "if it ain't broke, don't fix it.")

Before I went off on a tangent, I was going to talk about the battle system in Ni No Kuni...
Some in game stuff now(below), and these are what the battles look like. Very clean interface and not at all cluttered. Smooth speech bubbles and timers for actions and defending (which you can hit a button to cancel out of when you need) You can move around the battle environment freely, as in some other games. This adds a whole different dimension to the battle systems (which I found difficult to get the hang of at first-in fact, I was beaten in the first battle as I didn't realise exactly what I could do.) Hopefully the final game will have some sort of tutorial system to ease new players into the game.



The demo offers two scenarios which you have 25 minutes to play through before they end. The first of the two more or less chucks you into battle against a boss right from the start, which can be very difficult..The second of the two takes place in a volcano and has really nice detail and effects in the environment. I didn't manage to beat the boss at the volcano, but got through the timed rush to the end of the area with fairly few problems. The first scenario took me a couple of attempts to get through. It looks like there is quite a lot to think about in this game, and it makes it difficult in that the game is fairly fast paced. There are a few ways to pause it, but not a pause button per se, its more just the going into menus that will end up giving you a bit of  a break if you need a "cuppa tea." Which brings me to my next point. The game has some..distinctly British localisation, similar to Xenoblade Chronicles or Dragon Quest VIII. While its something I can chuckle about being from Scotland, North American or gamers elsewhere might not get some of the nuances. It hopefully shouldn't be too confusing or anything of a barrier.


The game looks like it could have been the next Studio Ghibli film, with some really interesting character design and high production values. I just hope the game "gels" well together. It looks like the characters in the above picture have completely different styles and looks, almost different artstyles as well. It could end up being quite a fragmented final product, so hopefully it works, but from what I have seen in the demo, it looks to be good.

A couple other links for info and impressions on Ni No Kuni so far;

http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/12/06/10-thoughts-on-the-ni-no-kuni-wrath-of-the-white-witch-demo-sony-playstation-3/

http://zeboyd.com/2012/12/06/ni-no-kuni-demo-impressions/

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some games I'm interested for next year

Some games I'll be keeping an eye on in the coming year:

Pier Solar HD

This one is an updated version of Pier Solar, which Watermelon released a year or two ago for the Genesis I believe. They are updating the game to "HD" and adding some content, as well as ports to different consoles (PC, Mac, Linux, Dreamcast, 360.) I was really on the fence about whether I would put down money for this. I'm not a huge fan of kickstarter as it can be used in ways I don't particularly trust. They really need paypal options for one thing.
Anyway, I was considering going for one of Watermelon's $125 physical collector's editions, because they do some amazing quality stuff for such a fledgling company. In the end I figured it was too close to Christmas to shell out at least £80 for a game which got fairly mixed reviews and a game that I could get for 10x less than that high price tag. Ended up pledging $10 or 15, I can't remember. This game looks really good, and they smashed all of their stretch goals in the end, I didn't think they'd make half of them :o The kickstarter ends today.

Rainfall: The Sojourn

I nearly missed out on this one, the artstyle and polished look to this SNES inspired RPG really interest me. Check out their kickstarter, which also ends today. It should hopefully be available afterwards if this post is a bit late for you reading it. Really nice sprites and production values, and looks really nostalgic.


Secrets of Grindea

This one is an indie(?) title that has been greenlit through Steam. Again, its another retro-ish RPG, and it has a really detailed fast paced action battle system, complete with features like charging attacks, special moves, frame cancelling and other stuff that is normally more at home in fighting games. Beautifully presented, this one looks like an RPG to keep an eye on, despite the rather silly name (half RPG cliche, half attempt at humour.) The game itself looks really crisp and well done, the only other things that I think could use some work potentially are the character portraits (bit generic RPG-maker look, almost.)

Secrets of Grindea Youtube

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition


We are getting really close to the release of this enhanced edition of one of my favourite games now! I really hope it sells well. Some might argue that the $19.99 price tag is a bit high, but for the amount they look like they have done to it, I believe that its worth it. The Baldur's Gate games are some of my favourite RPGs, no, favourite games of all time, and I have loads of good memories playing those games back in the late 90s and early 2000s (or whatever they are called).

Countdown to AWESOME!

The website over at Baldur's Gate has some really cool short fiction that aims to introduce the 3 new playable characters that have been added as part of the 'enhancing,' There's some really cool scope for story with those characters, I just hope they haven't changed the overall feel of the world by adding new areas and classes. Something people like about BG was the simplicity compared to BGII.
Here are the short story links:

Rasaad Yn Bashir

Neera The Wild Mage

Dorn Il-Khan

What are your guy's opinions on this version? God send? Cash in? Never heard of Baldur's Gate?

Update: So the game has launched, and it has had it's issues. The Mac, Ipad and Android versions have had their release dates pushed back. The testers missed quite a lot of bugs, and there are a lot of issues when attempting to run the game on any kind of Intel graphics card. Unfortunately, both my laptops run onboard Intel graphics chips.. Although the developers Overhaul have been really active on forums, and have patched the game to include a lot of important early fixes; crash reporting and some fixes for major bugs and some OpenGL support. I've managed to get the game running after a lot of updating, downloading and reading up on forums such as the Baldursgate.com ones. It still suffers from a lot of slowdown when there is water on screen, or big AOE spells such as Entangle. I'm still really happy with how the game is going so far, and its good to have such a straight up, helpful and passionate team behind the game.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gameinformer's must play current-gen JRPGs


In this apparently awkward transition period between generations (PSP Vita > PSP, Wii U > Wii, 3DS > DS?), it is now a good time to start collecting some of the older games from the PSP, DS and Wii catalogues as a lot of them will start plummeting in price as retailers attempt to focus on the new generation games (is it even a new generation? :S) So here is an interesting article for your (and my) perusal! I really need to get around to playing a lot of these games. The article is a bit old now, I believe it was written back a few months ago, but it has some good (and some questionable) picks for RPGs that are really up there as some of the best.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/03/26/this-generation-39-s-must-play-jrpgs.aspx

Sorry, its quite a weak post for now, I will get back to some decent posts soon I hope =)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Distant Worlds ~ Music from Final Fantasy

Bit of an awesome post for you today hopefully (well, if I can effectively put across what I am wanting to...English is hard to master)

We went to Distant Worlds in Edinburgh (or "Edinboro" as the conductor Ernie Roth pronounced it) last week on the 4th November, and it was really awesome to see them coming to Scotland for the first time. So for those of you who may still be wondering what the heck I'm talking about, this is a show that comes to a lot of venues worldwide now, and it involves a full orchestra and choir playing some of the music from the Final Fantasy games over the course of roughly 2 hours.

Now, before I start, I am no music critic or reviewer by any means. However I know what I like. I'll attempt to run through the concert briefly and give my thoughts where I can :)

Me and my girlfriend got to the venue (Edinburgh Playhouse, Scotland) about 45 mins early and bumped into a good friend at the doors (brah love! lol) and made our way through the theatre to where our seats were supposed to be. My first impressions were that the theatre was quite nice! Not the best I've seen, but pretty damn awesome inside! The venue looks so small from the outside...don't know how they managed this kind of Tardis crap! =) But we got to our seats on ze balcony and quickly realised that they weren't kidding when they said that our ones would have "limited legroom." Probably the most cramped I've been in a long time...That was one thing that would annoy me as my legs kept trying to resist the temptation to fall asleep on me. One of the only real flaws for me was the legroom in our seats...that would bug me just a tad throughout the night.

Anyway, after a while of looking around, trying to take pictures of the surroundings, having a look at Streetpass people on the 3DS and chatting, the orchestra started to file in and practice a bit. Pretty awesome when the really crisp projection came on screen;

So HD! As they promised on the website, visuals from the games and some of Yoshitaka Amano's art would be presented throughout the songs.

They started off with the Final Fantasy prelude, the song that is reused in a lot of the openings, endings and menu screens of the Final Fantasy games in slightly different iterations. It was a complete shock to the system to hear such amazing music that I've heard so many times come to life right in front of us. It was so well done at times that I almost drifted away into some kind of daydream where I was watching the projections on screen. At times it was almost possible to forget you were seeing this live, it sounded right out of the games in some cases.

After the prelude, they launched into the opening song of FFVIII, Liberi Fatali. On hearing that starting up, I was really stoked, its a really nostalgic song for me as VIII is one of the first final fantasy games I played. Hearing that opening so many times and watching it was really amazing back then. Squaresoft and Square Enix were always really good at pushing the boat out in terms of visuals. So seeing clips from the FMVs edited together and projected behind the orchestra was really cool. At times, the clips weren't always up to scratch, that was one of the only flaws I could put on the evening (that and the cramped legroom up in the balcony.) What I mean by up to scratch is that they just more or less put together pics from Amano, with no real editing, or transition or even thought behind what ones would be put up. Just random Amano art from some of the earlier games...it detracted just ever so slightly, because of the intricate nature of his pictures, and the distance we were from the screen, it made it quite hard to resolve some of the details and tell what was going in the pictures. Perhaps thats just me and optometrist training coming into play and trying to point out flaws...because really it didn't bug me as much as it might be coming across.
 I was really happy that they played a lot of songs that were from VII and VIII, the first games from the series that I played, as well as some I played more recently. FFVI has some great songs in its OST, and they played both the Opera song, Terra's theme and a couple of others. The Chocobo medley was really good fun, and they put a lot of work into the visuals that went along with it =p More text after the picture break! (Hopefully they're in the right order, I don't like the Blogger picture uploader for multiple images...) Thanks to my awesome girlfriend for the pictures! She has a blog over at Link ~ check it out if you are interested in nail art and other stuff =p



















One really cool twist was to find out that there were some high up Square Enix staff at the concert, like the composer of the FFXIII soundtrack, Masashi Hamauzu. Even cooler was to find out that he had been with the company for a long time, and had played a part in the chanting chorus in One Winged Angel. So he actually jumped in and performed with the choir when they did One Winged Angel as an encore. Pretty cool stuff! I'd definitely recommend checking out Distant Worlds if you're remotely into Final Fantasy and it comes near your area! =)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hallowe'en 2012!

Happy Hallowe'en everyone! Hopefully you're enjoying it! I've not posted on here in absolutely ages so let me brush some e-cobwebs off the site and do a little blog post once again! I've been quite busy at university, now into my 3rd year of the Optometry degree I'm doing, so its getting more intense now. Getting close to the stage of having real patients in for eye tests...I've also been doing one day a week at work back with Boots Opticians back home. I've been playing the odd game, but not really focussing on any one thing... I've got Durarara that I need to get back into finishing, I got about 5 or 6 episodes in and got a tad sidetracked by other things like podcasts, reading the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson (its taken me ages to get through, but its a good series) and the odd bit of gaming.

Ill just quickly run through some of the games I have been playing, and some impressions before I get onto the main idea for the post. Last year I tried to play a couple games with creepy atmospheres or themes (it turns out I don't really have a good selection of horror games)

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS) - I picked this up cheaply and was really impressed with it. I put a fairly large amount of money into the DLC as well...I think I got about 15 or so songs, out of the 50 odd they have available...there is way too much there, at a £1 each. Anyway, the game is really fun, especially when you get to the Dark Notes and can do some multiplayer with friends (they are quite fun single player too actually) I was definitely happy with this game though, a fanboy's dream, even if you aren't the kind of fanatic SE fan who buys all the OSTs. I thought it would have more content, similar to the Dissidia games (forget about 100%ing them, seriously..)

Dark Souls (PS3) - turns out trying to get back into this after ages of not playing is pretty difficult...I wanted the DLC but want to get to the stage where I can actually try it out before I buy it. So I had the option to either continue on with my NG+ playthrough (I'm just finished Blighttown, but even getting out of there is difficult...) or carry on with my save files at the start of the game. One is right at the start just at the first  bonfire in Firelink Shrine and the other is at the Undead Parish. Its bloody difficult to progress without putting in a lot more time than I did though, so I didn't really get far...the DLC can wait unfortunately...I'd wanted to try it immediately =(

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (PSP) - Me and a couple friends in uni got back into playing this for the first few weeks of the semester, and picked up from where we left off at the end of High Rank. We worked some of our friends who were further back in the game up towards High Rank, and did quite a few Alatreon quests one of the days (we don't have the quest unlocked, but one of us not at uni does, so when he came up, we could do that quest) and got some of the endgame equipment. Really fun game, but I still think I prefer the content and brutal difficulty of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. I mean, my first time fighting Alatreon went really really smoothly. That kinda shit doesn't happen against Fatalis XD

This year we've decided to have a kind of October Hallowe'en horror movie marathon. Not exactly like a non-stop sort of marathon, but just a selection of good horror/thriller films over the course of today (30th) and tomorrow (31st) as I write this.

Tuesday 30th
Severance
Saw

We watched these ones, me and my girlfriend had seen both of them before but ages ago, and we thought these would be some pretty good starting points. Starting off with Severance, that one is a really weird movie, its got a kind of dark British humour to it, and its got its brutal parts in there. There are some pretty nasty scenes, like the bear trap bit XD you'll know what I mean if you've seen it. Its filmed quite well in places.. we picked up on stuff this time that I hadn't noticed at all first time round. Like the relevance of one of the characters eating cheese just before he went to sleep. Anyway, its a pretty good film if you liked stuff like Dog Soldiers and Shaun of the Dead (kinda british 'zom-com'/horror-comedy type films)
I really liked Saw the first time I saw it (urgh, how to reword that...) It has its good share of twists you just really don't see coming...It started a whole wave of similar uber violent films from what I remember, with stuff like Hostel and Untraceable taking a lot of ideas from the Saw films. I don't really want to get into the whole sequel thing with Saw but...I watched the first few and then fell behind a bit because it seemed like they could only do so much, they all start to blur together when I try to remember them. The first one really has some surprises though, check it out!

Wednesday 31st ~ Hallowe'en
28 Days Later
28 Weeks Later
Saw II-VI
Shaun of the Dead
Dog Soldiers
Se7en
Paranormal Activity
Beetlejuice

I would normally finish early on Wednesdays, but this week I'm in till 5 I think, so it'll be a small selection of those films above, thats what we're picking from. I've seen a good few of them, so we know some on there are good films =p

A couple more that we don't have immediately but might be able to get before tomorrow evening;
The Alien series
The Thing (although we watched this recently)

If theres time, I might pick up some of these games for a bit;
Limbo (Steam)
Binding of Isaac (Steam)
Plants vs Zombies (IOS)
Persona 3 FES (PS2)
Shadow Hearts (PS2)
Dark Souls (PS3)
They have some pretty interesting dark themes and game worlds, and should be good games to play on Halloween =D I'll post a bit more tomorrow when we've watched some movies and played some games. Totally boring, I know! =p Next year I will make an effort to make a costume and go out for Halloween!
However you're spending it, have fun!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Recent Purchases #5 ~ Paycheck get!

Bleurgh, I've not posted in more than a month. Bad times... Well, to be more accurate, busy times...the aforementioned full time job has been taking a lot of my time up, as well as watching the London 2012 Olympics over the past two weeks when we had nothing else to watch in the evenings, or on my days off. There was some pretty amazing talent over the course of the tournament. Yeah its a bit cheesy to say, but I can see why it would "inspire a generation" like the motto says. Myself, I'm too lazy or old to try and take up a sport at this point I think, but some of the sports do look like they would be cool to do on a kind of casual basis at a university club, like fencing or swimming or something. Anyway, I am rambling a fair bit. So before I move on, well done to all the medal winners and people who devoted themselves to training for the Olympics (I'm sure a lot of them read my blog, lol... -_- aaanyways..)

Games are really annoying me at the moment though...Persona 3 FES has really been frustrating me... I'm near the start of the game (lv11, but up to the 25 Floor boss of 3 Crying Tables) so I can either grind on the
weakest enemies at the very start or the strong enemies of Block 2. I'm right in the middle, so that makes it difficult to grind against either option. Either get 1-3 exp for each battle against the weak mobs or fight really risky strong enemies. I've tried to grind against the stronger enemies, and have made good progress each time towards a level up, but then get wiped out by them exploiting my weaknesses or spamming Mudo and lose all the progress I made. I can't find good guides online either...they usually are designed for people who want to 100% the game. I just need some tips for the early game...if anyone reading has any good advice, lemme know please! I'd really appreciate it, because I'm so close to shelving this game.
Fire Emblem, which I started up so I had a portable game for a weekend where we drove down to Ayrshire for a wedding, has been really good fun and quite addictive, but the difficulty has suddenly upped at the chapter I'm at, a huge battle where I control 2 seperate groups of characters. Really simple at first, in fact, worryingly so, but they gradually tack on more little bits of strategy goodness to the battle system as you go through the first 5 or 10 chapters (yeah, there are a LOT of chapters in this game from what I read.)
I described this game as a really nice blend of Final Fantasy Tactics and Berserk (at least the manga.) Its a kind of (dark) fantasy epic with a lot of political intrigue, history and depth to the story and world. Very highly recommended from what I've seen so far. Persona 3 is good as well, but its shortcomings and difficulty have kind of dissapointed me so far...and I really wasn't expecting that from a game that comes so highly praised.


So my job has been taking a lot of my time...37.5 hrs per week to be precise (saying it like that, it doesn't sound like that much, but it has felt like a larger toll-its been really way too warm in the optician's departments, no proper aircon or windows means the air just collects and gets really stuffy) On the plus side, I've been gaining lots of experience for when I go back to uni to study my 3rd year of Optometry, and money! Lots of monies....

At first I didn't really spend much of my paycheck as I was figuring out what I should prioritise, maybe rare games I couldn't afford before, video game artbooks (an expensive niche collector's piece) or new systems like the NES or SNES I missed out on when I was younger ¬_¬ So I've kind of decided to pick up some more art books for games or series I like. At the moment I'm playing Persona 3 FES (and getting my ass kicked, as this is my first playthrough) and a bit of Disgaea 3 and since I really like the character designs and aesthetics of the games, I picked up a couple books for them.

DISGAEArt!!!

Reviews:
http://www.otakustudy.com/2012/08/disgaeart-disgaea-official-illustration-collection-review/

http://parkablogs.com/content/book-review-disgaeart-disgaea-official-illustration-collection

Shigenori Soejima SC

Reviews:

http://parkablogs.com/node/8318
http://www.nattoli.net/entry/195/shigenori-soejima-shigenori-soejima-art-works-2004-2010

Persona 3 Visual Works

Reviews:
http://www.otakustudy.com/2012/06/persona-3-official-design-works-review/


Shadow Hearts (PS2)

I saw this one for £20 in a preowned shop that sells dvds, electronics stuff, gadgets and games. In fact its the only place that still has a decent selection of PS2, Gamecube and Xbox games onwards. This game is really getting quite rare now, at least in PAL regions, so after checking on my girlfriend's phone (I have no smartphone with free access to the internet on the go) to see if 20 was a good price, I decided to pick this up after hearing a lot of good stuff about this series. Walking out the shop, I checked the box to see what the condition was like to find it had no manual with it. Bah...maybe 20 wasnt such a good price, but I'm not one of those collectors who has to have things complete all of the time. If I see a loose manual show up on ebay, I may buy it, but I'm not hugely bothered really. Anyway, the game is a really interesting looking RPG. I played like 10 minutes before realising the time was getting pretty late. It has a dark, horror aesthetic to it. Lots of cutscenes, which are in that early PS2 era 3D style (which I'm not very keen on, it should be said) but its good to see a game which intersperses lots of cutscenes in with dialogue and fast moving scenes.

I figure I should include a wee section at the bottom for stuff I've recently preordered since Amazon has so much stuff I usually preorder months in advance and end up forgetting about... My wallet hates me for it but whatever =p

Ni No Kuni: Wizards Edition

- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ni-No-Kuni-Wizards-Edition/dp/B008MLSNOY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345032535&sr=8-1


This one is currently sitting at £69.99, a fairly high price, and that will actually make it one of the most expensive games I've bought at launch, so hopefully the price drops a bit on this one before its release next year in January. Then again, I'll probably have a little bit of Christmas money to put towards it if need be. I'm really stoked for this game, even though it sold pretty badly in Japan from what I remember. Studio Ghibli/Level-5 Dragon Quest-esque role playing game, sign me up!



Tales of Graces f: Day One Edition

- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Graces-Special-Day-Edition/dp/B007X13MJ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345101548&sr=8-1




I actually preordered Tales of Graces f way before Namco Bandai had mentioned this set for day one releases, so was really happy to hear about it. You do look like you get a lot for your money, but it does look like standard collectors edition stuff. Then again, it has an artbook, which I'm always keen to get more of =) I've played the japanese demo of Tales of Graces f and it looks actually amazing, with the graphical style and the battles moving really quickly. Hopefully I'll like this game (and hopefully we get something similar for when Xillia comes out in PAL regions.)

The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy Boxed Set 

This is currently sitting at £55.65, which is around about 50% of the RRP. I'd definitely recommend preordering it as early as possible if you are interested so you can save as much as possible.


- http://www.darkhorse.com/Books/14-856/The-Sky-The-Art-of-Final-Fantasy-Boxed-Set

- http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Sky-Final-Fantasy-Boxed/dp/1616550392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345031948&sr=8-1

This is a REALLY nice set of 3 of 4 (which, I admit, I don't know much about at the moment) artbooks from Yoshitaka Amano, who has done a lot of art for the Final Fantasy games. I've never been a massive fan of his work, well...to be more accurate, I like his stuff, but some of it seems creepy and awkward, almost otherworldly. I think that is the point, but something about is a bit too discordant (is that the right word) at times. Its really kind of interesting though, and hopefully taking a punt and buying this artbook set will convert me to a fan of Amano =p It looks like a really good set for the money.



I've been writing this post for days, so I should probably just publish it now I reckon.... I hope I don't go through my paycheck too quickly lol...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Update-ahoy!

Its been a very hectic and busy couple weeks for me. I had recently sent off a lot of letters and made some enquiries about jobs, and got offered an optical assistant position at Boots Opticians in Edinburgh (where I stay) over the summer and was offered a start date of a day or two after the first call came through to me. So it was quite the jump from doing my own thing, relaxing and enjoying the summer from going straight into a full time job with 5 days a week. I started on Wednesday the 20th of June, and have been doing 3 days a week in one of the Flagship stores (Princes St, Edinburgh) and 2 days per week in a quieter store in an out of town retail park-type place called Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh (or the Fort as its to referred to here...having stayed in Glasgow for too long, I was not aware of this fact...which in fact led to a lot of confusion on my part. I thought they had meant the Fort outside Glasgow when they first informed me about the job...)

So I'm still getting used to the routine now, after a busy week or two. At first, the pre-screening techniques seemed really intimidating and hard to control. The things we have to do are Tonometry (non-contact) for finding the pressures inside the eyes, rough Autorefractor measurements of the prescription, visual field screening on Henson 3000 or 6000 machines and Fundus photos when applicable. So things have been slightly different to what I've been used to at uni, but after doing a lot of shadowing and supervised training, I finally got the hang of things and got signed off by one of the optoms which means I can do pre-screening of patients on my own (unsupervised) now. They have to make sure the optical assistants know what they are doing, otherwise its their job on the line at the end of the day and they dont want inaccurate results or anything showing up.

On the admin side of things in the job, I've quickly had to get used to the filing systems, and the paperwork which needs done for each day's appointments. After a week and half or two weeks into the job, I was getting used to the computer system's programmes for booking appointments, putting orders through for patient's glasses or contact lenses etc, and the new upgrade went through, changing the look of the till's computer and the programs on the computers. So I had roughly a day to pick that up, and it was going quite well..,I was told that day (by the Fort branch manager) that the Princes St branch was closed due to flooding. Over the past week or so, the UK has had a ridiculous amount of rainfall, and a lot of it got into the basement and first floor of Boots in Princes St. That meant the branch was closed as the electric was knocked out, and something happened to the server connected to the Optician's computers. So after one day closed on Thursday 5th, we reopened on Friday to find there were no computers up and running. Apparantely its been quite a serious thing, and theyve had to get parts flown up from England, but everything wont be back to normal until sometime this week coming. D:
Very problematic when we are so dependent on the computers for so many aspects of the practice operation...There is a growing pile of stuff to be done when the computers come back on.

The rain has made a lot of other chaos as well. Bus routes have been diverted today, Bus tracker things looked like they had been damaged by the rain in places. And a lot of trains, houses and other businesses have been affected as well. I woke up this morning to a drip coming through the ceiling in my room, flooding in the garden and street, and a wall mounted light having somehow ripped its way out the wall. Perhaps this is down to the fact that my house is so damn old, I dunno.

Hopefully the rain goes away and things return to normal sometime soon...

/Long post of rambling-ness

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heroes of Ruin Demo Impressions

I've had my eye on Heroes of Ruin for a while now since its early production days when it was announced. Its an upcoming RPG for the 3DS in the style of Diablo 'hack and slash' loot driven action RPGs.
European regions received the demo on the Nintendo 3DS eShop a couple days ago, so after not touching my 3DS for a while, I checked this demo out. So here are my initial thoughts of this demo.

Gameplay

The action is fast and quite frantic. There can be quite a lot of things going on at one time on the screen, most of which is on the top screen. However, I didn't notice any kind of slowdown as a result of all the stuff going on. The controls seem quite tight, with attacks and special moves mapped to the face buttons, potions for health and mana mapped to right and left on the D-pad, and nifty options for speeding up loot management mapped to the shoulder buttons (L) and auto-selling stuff you don't need (or can't equip with your class) with down on the D-pad. So the controls succeed at speeding up what can be quite a clunky aspect of this sub-genre. I'm a bit concerned that this could be simplifying things too much though. I actually enjoy inventory management in games like Diablo II. The battles are fast and fun in this game, especially when teaming up with other players. That brings me to the 'drop in-drop out' multiplayer that they are trying to use as a selling point. While not quite as well polished yet as the company would like, it is done very well. I had a game open and was 'afk-ing' to eat my lunch, and heard some sound effects happening, so, thinking I was being attacked, looked over to find that another player had easily dropped into my game via the wi-fi to co-op with me. By the time a few minutes had passed, another two players had joined and the tempo really picked up. Needless to say, my lunch had to wait till later.

Quests and dialogue options are presented in a very slick, polished manner I found. Its good to have some options when it comes to RPGs like this. I hope they present some dialogue options that actually have profound effects on the outcome of the story, quests and NPCs throughout the game.

One other concern I have is the randomisation of weapon drops, stats and levels that you explore. Diablo games succeed because they do not get stale. There is such a wealth of content due to many stages being different each time, and the amazing abundance of items. I really hope this game doesn't dissapoint by having watered down item effects and stages.

Graphics

This is one of the areas that slightly let me down I felt. The camera is slightly too far out, and the developers seem to have opted for as detailed portraits and enemies as possible. The way the graphical engine works means that its a little too hard to see what is going on at times. I found myself holding down a direction and mashing on the attack button. Sophisticated things like blocking and dodging were way out of my comfort zone, at least for my 2 run throughs of the demo, hopefully they tweak the graphics a bit for the final release, just so we can tell whats going on.


Audio

In terms of audio, the game is average. Some songs fit fairly well with the tone of the game and the sound effects are satisfactory. Nothing amazing so far in the demo, but it does the job well. I'd need to see more of the game to judge this more effectively though.

There are a lot of questions however. Can it possibly compete with the other recent offerings in the sub-genre, Diablo III and Torchlight II? Will it be watered down to the point where there is not enough content, be it quests, items, or classes? Will the connection problems be improved on? Will n-Space and Square Enix's experience in this style of game be sufficient to deliver a satisfactory end product?

In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of game the 3DS needs to move to the next level. There were very few, if any games like this on the DS so this should hopefully set up some foundations for a decent RPG selection to be established on the platform. I should be picking this game up for some hack'n'slash loot awesomeness over the summer.

Links

Official Website
Eurogamer's Preview
RPGamer's E3 2012 Preview

Friday, May 4, 2012

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Impressions

I know I'm way behind on playing this but I didn't get a chance to pick it up until fairly recently. So now that I've finished my exams for my 2nd year of uni, thought I'd play through it and see what I thought. I didn't really like Final Fantasy XIII, but somehow ended up playing it for about 140 hours...think I was just trying to platinum it so I wouldn't have to go back to it. I got all but the Treasure Hunter trophy and gave up because it was too much to keep track of, and fighting the Tortoises was getting on my nerves.

So this game makes a lot of changes, some I appreciate and some I don't really. These are my impressions of the first 10 hours or so of the game. Ok bear in mind that there will be some spoilers here, so you've been warned! =p

- Graphically it is awesome, with some really over the top cut scenes (from what I can remember, they are more interesting than FFXIII

- Design wise, the areas don't seem as interesting or creative as the ones in FFXIII did. Lake Bresha in FFXIII had that wow factor - a crystalline lakeside is a lot more interesting than the areas I've been to so far in this game.

- The addition of the monster taming for me adds a lot to the game. I've spent a good chunk of my play time going back and getting some of the monsters I missed. It adds a lot to the possibilities for your team, but I wish you could have a smidge more freedom (for example, having 2 monsters on your team, or more than one human teammate.) For some of the bosses it seems you really need to go back and farm for some of the rarer monsters, which kind of seems dissapointing. You shouldn't have to have a 10% monster for your team. Arguably you could just level up whatever you have, but something seems slightly off with the system.  I like the addition of the monster system, however, I've found a lot of them are recycled or slightly modified from the first game, Final Fantasy XIII.

- The characters (there haven't been too many so far) have been fairly bland (but I get the feeling Noel's back story will be explained in one big twist at some point.) I'm also not entirely convinced by the character's reactions to the plot points. Its just so ridiculous the stuff that they are doing, and they seem to never bat an eyelid. I suppose I am taking it too seriously though... For example, I found the fact that Serah and Snow have been apart so long and then barely talk once they finally do meet up to be kind of strange to say the least.

- The addition of sidequests is fairly good, but there have only been a handful so far, and I just got onto Episode 3. That, and a handful of other stuff to do does make an improvement on FFXIII.

- The battles are fun (although jamming the x button for the most part does get a bit boring.)

- I've heard a lot of praise for the soundtrack but it hasn't really caught my attention yet. It has a lot of jarring unusual pieces which I'm sitting there through thinking "what were they thinking?" The Persona 3 and 4 soundtracks by Shōji Meguro were no doubt on their minds when they were making the FFXIII-2 OST.

- Changes to the Crystarium are a bit confusing and not particularly well explained.. So for a while (up until Episode 2 or so) I didn't even use it as they hadn't told me how to. Perhaps this was because in the first game people felt too limited by the slow spoon feeding to the players, but I could've used at least a hint. After pressing x a couple times and putting a few levels into different roles, I got used to it a bit more. It feels easier to go astray and level up your character wrongly. I felt like that when I hit the first roadblock boss (Caius in Oerba.)


- Really confusing time travel story. They overuse phrases like paradox almost as much as the Kingdom Hearts games overuse phrases like heart and darkness. They don't seem to care about the knock on effects of dabbling in the past, future and alternative timelines. And man, they don't do a good job of explaining what is going on, or just how things can be changed, even with the addition of the rather weird "previously on Final Fantasy XIII-2" when you load the game.






So the game has its good points and bad points. It definitely feels less linear and limited than Final Fantasy XIII, however I think it has a convoluted, confusing story and lacks a bit of polish and attention to things here and there. I'll definitely finish the story so I can fully review the game, and theres a chance I'm going to put a lot of time into the game trying to get all of the monsters (or platinum it depending on how long it takes.)

Hopefully this doesn't too negative, but there has been a fair bit that has annoyed me even though it seems a good game so far. Hopefully it helps people still on the fence about picking it up as well.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Prometheus

Easily my most anticipated film of this year, and the film I've been most interested in the last couple months. Not many films can actually make me want to go to the cinema and see them, but I think I might have to break that trend for this one. Prometheus is a prequel to the Alien films, some of my favourite sci-fi/horror films growing up (my dad pretty much forced me to watch them at a young age lol)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1byZkbNB3Jw

The latest trailer sends a chill down my spine-it looks so good. Bear in mind it does show a lot more of the film than the previous trailers, so if you are wanting to stay away from as many potential spoilers as you can, maybe don't bother watching the international launch trailer. I better get back to studying now...

Prometheus comes to cinemas on June 8th 2012.

3 Exams down, 1 more to go!

I'm writing this as one last bit of procrastination as I need to spend most of the day cramming as much Binocular Vision information into my head as I can. Its my final exam of 2nd year tomorrow morning...and I feel least prepared for this one... Then again, I was dreading the other ones and they seemed to go ok.

Recettear is difficult...I actually failed to pay the money back at the end of my first week...Valkyrie Profile Lenneth is kinda difficult as well, but I don't know what else I can do to prevent myself getting owned in battle. Anyway, I've not been playing much of them, just a little bit during the evenings. Perhaps a few hours more in, I'll get into the swing of them..

Hopefully it goes well. I'll get back to posting a bit more regularly after tomorrow as I'll be free for summer!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Upgrade get!

I've added a Blog List gadget to the blog layout now, and will periodically rotate in and out some blogs I think are good reading material. Its in an effort to get to know more people in the blogging community spread some awareness of different blogs I think people should be checking out.
I'll also be a bit more active on various forums and things like Backloggery when I have time to. I think I've had this blog for long enough now to make more of an effort with it. =D

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recent Purchases #4.5 Photo ver.

As you can see, I like my RPGs...this is why I have such a big backlog of games. They are really awesome as a genre, but they often require a significant amount of time to get through and finish. I did a couple of these posts back a while ago, and this is more in the territory of youtubers, but thought I'd do a little post with some of the stuff I've picked up over the past few weeks.

I went back home the other week and ended up getting to see all the stuff that had arrived in the mail for me, some of which was preordered, some of which was traded for, and a couple of these things I got were just from looking round town for games. So I picked up all of this stuff over the past couple months (maybe this is why I don't have much money...)



Final Fantasy XIII-2 and preorder DLC, steelbook and stuff (PS3) - Got these off ebay for a pretty decent price for a game that recently came out. The preorder stuff was selling on ebay for around £10-12, so I got the game and the preorder stuff in the same auction for around £22 including shipping. I think it went unnoticed because the seller worded things a bit weirdly. Good for me I suppose! =D




The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (PS2)
The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers (PS2)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (PS2)

I remember playing through these games back when they first came out and having a lot of fun with them, especially in multiplayer. So, when having a look round one of the second hand electronics shops in the UK, CEX, I found all 3 of them for £5 preowned and decided to give them a shot again =p

 

La Pucelle: Tactics (PS2) - Got this in a trade along with Tales of the World from a friend in NZ. Thanks very much if you read this! =D I was thinking I'd start collecting the NIS RPGs other than the Disgaea games (which are awesome for the record.)



Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology (PSP) - I've not heard brilliant things about this game, but I wanted it for my Tales collection, and it looks like a big departure from the Tales formula, so I'm interested to try it out soon.



The Last Story (Wii) - I reckon this has the best cover art to it out of the three Rainfall titles. £38 for this one. Its got some really good reviews since it came out fairly recently. I am a big fan of Mistwalker and Lost Odyssey was one of my favourite games this generation, so hopefully I'll enjoy this. It looks a lot more forward thinking than LO somehow.



Pandora's Tower (Wii) - the third of the Operation Rainfall RPGs to come out in the UK, completing the set. Very happy to finally get all three. The black Wii box for this game and the art are just awesome. Even though it cost me goddamn £36 from Amazon. I suppoooose its cheaper than what PS3/360 titles would retail for at launch.

Hopefully this wasn't too inane or boring to read... I'll try and update some more meaningful content as my exams go on (and I look around desperately for more methods of procrastination.)




Apologies for all the unneccesary pictures I updated the post with. I figured I might as well because I had them on my computer. I might tone down the size of them if it makes the post look stupid and the text harder to find...

Some stories and links

Atlus has stated that they will be releasing a 3DS remake of Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. No word of a localised version, but its about as early as is possible. I've not played this one in it's original form, but I bet it will be interesting, SMT is always a good thing =p Link

This one interests me quite a lot, as I've had a "colour-coded loot" craving in recent months, but I haven't been able to satisfy it with any of the games I have (other than Diablo II, but I've played that game so many times anyway.) I still need to pick up Torchlight, but I refuse to for the price they ask on Steam...
Anyway, some more info on the upcoming Heroes of Ruin for the 3DS; Link

Some of Kotaku's 'burning questions' on fantasy worlds in a couple recent western RPGs; Link

A bit of an older story by a couple days, but one that interests me as a PAL gamer, Ghostlight (who have released some nice looking boxsets recently), will be bringing some Shin Megami Tensei over to this side of the pond. Link
I played Devil Survivor when it first came out, and was really impressed with the story. The depth to the combat and extensiveness of the monster compendium is perhaps not as great as some of the other games, but it was really fun. Its an interesting mesh of strategy RPG-esque grid based battles, and standard Shin Megami Tensei weaknesses and resistances, magic and physical attacks.

They are also bringing over Fate/Extra, which I'm still seriously on the fence about even though I've known about it for a while now...It didn't get the greatest of reviews... Link

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The World Ends With You sequel hinted at

Over the past day or two, a couple news sites have picked up on this story. Apparantely Tetsuya Nomura has said a bit too much, but like Joystiq says, its going to be difficult to tell without some more info from the translator. Then again, this is only still  in the rumour realm I'd say...
But with the Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance TWEWY section (something I never expected in the first place), perhaps this could come true one day. I really don't see how they'd name the sequel if they did bring it out, then again, its Square Enix...recently the games have had some...interesting names.

http://www.joystiq.com/2012/04/21/square-enix-hints-nudges-and-winks-about-the-world-ends-with-yo/

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/04/20/the-world-ends-with-you-sequel-hinted-at-by-series-artist.aspx

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-20-the-world-ends-with-you-follow-up-hinted-at-by-square-enix

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/116879-The-World-Ends-With-You-May-Get-a-Sequel


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some more links and videos

Some more links and videos for your perusal! Some interesting games are on the way it seems. Skullgirls is one I'm interested in, as well as Journey. That last 10 or 15 quid on my PSN account has a lot of options that it could be spent on...might have to put some more money on it.

http://www.edge-online.com/reviews/skullgirls-review

http://kotaku.com/5900794/bioware-developers-discuss-ideas-and-share-concept-art-for-the-hypothetical-next-dragon-age-game

http://blog.bioware.com/2012/04/10/bioware-and-dragon-age-at-pax-east/





http://www.3dsbuzz.com/dragon-quest-monsters-3d-trailer-is-over-four-minutes-of-brilliance/



I never expected this Pokemon crossover to leave Japan...then again, Pokemon games sell a lot of copies. I'll probably pick it up as I can never seem to get over my Pokemon obsession. Dragon Quest Monsters 3D was a nice surprise for me as well, there looks to be a lot of content in that, definitely what I'm looking for from my 3DS RPG (which have not been particularly great so far, all one of them?)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More articles and news stories

Some Dragon Age news, some good some bad, but some interesting reading;
http://kotaku.com/5894716/bioware-takes-dragon-age-back-to-the-drawing-board
Its not really a surprise that they aren't doing Dragon Age II DLC after chucking it out the door early and working on other games like ME3.
http://kotaku.com/5896021/skyrim-is-the-wrong-place-to-look-for-dragon-age-iii-inspiration

Tales of Graces f and Tales of Xillia have been talked about a lot online. I'm holding out for the Graces f Europe release, which better come out otherwise I'll have to pay a lot more to import it from the states.
Back on the 20th of March the trademark was taken out for Xillia in Europe, and I'm fairly sure I heard it was taken out for America after that. http://gematsu.com/2012/03/tales-of-xillia-trademarked-in-europe
and indeed, for the US http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/03/26/tales-of-xillia-trademarked-in-the-u-s.aspx
which, added to this old story (that I only just found out about), could point to localisation projects for PAL and NTSC regions! http://gematsu.com/2011/09/possible-localization-files-found-in-tales-of-xillia

XSeed announced they will be bringing the stupidly named Unchained Blades Rexx to the US as a digital download for PSP and 3DS. http://www.siliconera.com/2012/03/28/unchained-blades-coming-to-psp-and-3ds-as-a-digital-download/ I'm hoping this one is good and that it comes out in Europe. I'm still a bit on the fence with it though. I'm a fan of dungeon RPGs, but with different character designers drawing the different characters, it could be a bit...patchwork and all over the place. Then again, there are some quite cool designs in there. Some of the character designs and differences between versions can be seen here; http://www.siliconera.com/2011/07/05/unchainblades-rexx-differences-between-psp-and-3ds-appear-to-be-minor/

NIS has announced a whole bunch more games that will be coming out from August onwards;
http://blog.us.playstation.com/2012/03/30/nis-talks-ps3-rpgs-legasista-mugen-souls-the-witch-and-the-hundred-knights/

http://www.gamesradar.com/nis-america-announces-legasista-mugen-souls-and-witch-and-hundred-knights/

Mugen Souls, Legasista and The Witch and the Hundred Knights are 3 quirky looking RPGs that will be coming out on the PS3, perhaps with some Vita compatibility? (Although thats just speculation on my part.)

And a couple of interesting editorial type articles now;
http://www.thatvideogameblog.com/2012/03/10/editorial-appreciating-a-medium/
I don't think I've ever heard a good word said about Fox News... *facedesk* I've always claimed that video games are just one way in which art can be conveyed.
http://www.rpgamer.com/editor/2012/040312mc.html?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=twitterfeed
Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 have been talked about a fair bit in the news recently, and for the most part, people seem to have preferred the sequel, even though it isn't without its faults. I'm reserving judgement as I only just got round to finding a good deal and picking it up. Still waiting on that through the post, but I'm interested to try it out even though I didn't entirely enjoy FFXIII. 
Dragon Quest X, will it be more like DQIX than anything else? http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9097827

I've preordered all 3 "Operation Rainfall" titles as they became available for PAL regions, and last on that list to come out will be Pandora's Tower within a week or two. Hopefully it sells well and offers something a little different to Wii gamers looking for something a bit more mature than cash-ins and shovel ware. http://www.computerandvideogames.com/339192/previews/pandoras-tower-a-frustrating-swan-song-for-the-wii/
I reckon Xenoblade Chronicles seems to have sold pretty well in American preorders...will Nintendo of America learn from this that JRPGs can sell? http://operationrainfall.com/xenoblade-chronicles-final-pre-order-numbers-from-vgchartz/

The recent post Phantasy Star Online games in the PS series have always intrigued me as I've heard they are very similar to Monster Hunter (is that right?) so perhaps Phantasy Star Online 2 will make me put down money for the series. http://www.siliconera.com/2012/03/27/new-phantasy-star-online-2-footage-shows-environments-and-battle/

Lastly, does Kingdom Hearts confuse you? Don't worry, you're not the only one. I'm interested to see how convoluted and fucked up they can make KH: DDD... http://www.siliconera.com/2012/04/03/kingdom-hearts-3ds-opening-movie-summaries-the-entire-series-in-four-minutes/

Wtf is going on?

Last week we had the hottest weather on record for this time of year in Scotland. This week we have snow? 0_o

Anyways...it doesn't really matter, I've got a lot of work to do for uni so I doubt I will be going out unless I have to. Yesterday I had nearly finished a lab report that needed to be handed in by thursday, and I was about to get back to studying for the final exams. What do they do? Throw us a curveball by letting us know a log book needed to be handed in by Thursday as well (as it is the last day of term.) Throughout the semester, we had been told that we didn't really need to hand these in as they weren't assessed unless it was a borderline pass/fail thing, then they might take the clinic log books into account. Now we apparantely have to hand them in with whatever we have in them. This kind of threw my planning off, so I'm headed back into the clinic for (hopefully) the last time this semester to get some readings with some of the tests I didn't fill into my log book...

This course is pretty terribly planned out sometimes...why give us only a few days to sort out our log books? I suppose I shouldn't worry about it too much, they probably won't use most of them in the marking...

Back to finishing up my lab report and studying I suppose =p

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Various links to read

I found a rather awesome mod project based on the Dragon Age engine on GamersNexus - have a look at their momentous task over here. Seriously Bioware, either take a page from these guy's book, or just give them a damn job working on Dragon Age III. I want more throwback to the good old Black Isle days of BG and BGII. The blog for the team is over at this link.

Pandora's Tower will most likely be the next game I buy, and I'm hoping its up to the level of the other Operation Rainfall titles. Have a look at this link here



Poh-tay-toe ~ Poh-tah-toe Square Enix, why are you trolling us remaking, no wait, remastering that game.. Link


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some more Game news

It seems there will be major change in the future of Game chain. The spring sales that have been going on for the past week or two were in fact a bad sign for the company, who has suffered financially recently.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9157253/Game-Group-heads-for-pre-pack-administration-shares-suspended.html

http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/gamestation-to-be-sacrificed-as-new-company-emerges-from-game-s-ashes/093064

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17455742

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/money/4208563/Worthless-Game-Group-on-brink-of-collapse.html

I have £27 on a reward card, so hopefully I can get it sent in the mail before they shut down. Pretty selfish view I suppose...but anyway, it will suck if they can't continue to trade after this. Its a massive thing to get past, it looks like. =(

Some more Baldur's Gate links

If you're like me and can't wait for the Baldur's Gate Enhanced games coming out, check out these links:

http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9097619

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-03-04-retrospective-baldurs-gate-1-and-2



I really need to pick the digital copies of BG and BGII up from GOG and play them a bit once more =)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baldur's Gate announcement

Have I died and gone to heaven? One of my favourite series will be getting an announcement of some kind at 12pm PST tomorrow (16th March 2012) from what I can tell. There have been various announcements and rumours going about, from BGII running on tablets suggesting an upressed version for tablets to continuation of the series in a full 3rd game. Its been so long since came out though, I'm not sure if they would sell enough copies...Then again, I'm fairly sure Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II sold fairly well (I actually bought the 2nd one today) so that could bode well for another Baldur's Gate game =D

http://manatank.com/2012/03/new-baldurs-gate-horizon/

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/116330-The-Baldurs-Gate-Countdown-Begins

http://www.slashgear.com/baldurs-gate-iii-the-black-hound-tipped-14218443/

This countdown should apparantely be up on the website, but it seems to be down at the moment. At least for me. Here is where it should be anyway: http://baldursgate.com/

Wow. Literally as I was writing this, there has been a further development; http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/pc/baldurs-gate/1220888p1.html

http://www.rpgfan.com/news/2012/1256.html

http://kotaku.com/5893670/baldurs-gate-enhanced-edition-announced-server-explodes?utm_campaign=socialflow_kotaku_facebook&utm_source=kotaku_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/baldurs-gate-enhanced-edition-arrives-this-summer/

http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2012/03/15/baldurs-gate-enhanced-edition-announced/

The technical difficulties lead to the early announcement of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition for Summer 2012 release window. I'm super excited for this!! I'll try and keep ontop of this story as BGII is my favourite game of all time!

http://www.gamershell.com/news_134918.html

http://www.pcworld.com/article/251935/baldurs_gate_making_a_triumphant_return.html

http://www.bigshinyrobot.com/reviews/archives/38320

Take some of these links with a pinch of salt, but it seems the games could be seperate, with enhanced editions for each of the original PC games. DON'T confuse these for the Dark Alliance games on PS2/Gamecube.

http://uk.gamespot.com/news/baldurs-gate-and-sequel-getting-enhanced-editions-6366369

http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion/30/baldurs-gate-enhanced-edition/539580/


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Game rant

I was in Game during the week with some friends from uni and the company (who owns Gamestation as well) has been in the news a lot recently. They said that they wouldn't be getting a lot of games at launch (for what seems to be financial reasons.) Mass Effect 3, Mario Party 9, Street Fighter x Tekken, Asura's Wrath and some other EA titles I think..
Add to that the fact that they are having a fire sale (which they call a spring clean) on preowned stock and the future doesn't look terribly good for the company.
So anyways, I heard about all this crap online and remembered I still had a fair bit of money on a gift card from the Christmas break. I'd picked up Dodonpachi Resurrection on sale with it at Christmas for £15, and then a replacement Xbox 360 charger cable and battery pack as mine had gone missing... So that left me some for the sales.
So as I was saying I was in the shop...I was rooting through the preowned sale stuff for ages, while I finally decided on Dragon Age II on the 360.
The reason I had held off buying this game was because I had grown more and more pissed off with EA and Bioware (who I belive are being pressured into releasing tonnes of DLC and pushing games out for release prematurely) after Mass Effect 2's debacle. Ok, so way back, I picked up Mass Effect and at that point, I was really happy with it so of course was looking forward to getting the 2nd one at launch. I had my eye on the special edition pack for some DLC codes and more than that, some nice extras. Didn't think I needed to preorder though, so went into Game (fuck this store, seriously) to see if they had any. Nope. The idiot working there told me it was just preorders for the special edition. Oh well...none for me then? Nope. I had to have it, I wouldn't admit defeat, so as soon as I went home, I went on ebay and paid about 80 or 90 quid for it. I bloody regretted it and had a sour taste in my mouth from then onwards. Even moreso when the game arrived and the Cerberus network DLC wouldn't work for me. I don't know wtf was going on with it. I played the game and really enjoyed it though, I suppose thats what matters. In between that and ME1, there was Dragon Age: Origins, which I had a similar experience with...again concerning Game. I didn't preorder. Ok before you judge me, they are stupid when it comes to preorders...some of the time you'll have to pay, sometimes they won't get enough in for the preorders they have...I just don't trust them. Anyway, I went all over Edinburgh looking for the special edition of DA:O. Pretty much every store sold out of it. Did some phone calls and found that the branch at the other end of Edinburgh (past my house from town) so I went home and got a lift out there to the shopping centre. Went to pick it up (thankfully they still had a copy or two), got asked for ID as it was an 18. I was 18 at the time, but hadn't brought ID. Ok, this is bullshit. I was so frustrated after spending the entire day finding this special edition. I just walked out, went to the car and told my mum...she knew how pissed off I'd been for the day, so went in and picked it up for me thankfully. I understand why they need to restrict some games, but it always seems to happen to me when I don't have my goddamn ID with me. Plus among my friends I am usually the eldest one there. Its happened at clubs and stuff as well. I should start taking ID wherever I go I suppose...damn young looks I apparantely have...
So back to the present day.
I'm in Game and I decide on Dragon Age II. I'm guessing you can see where this story is going. I take it up there to pay with my gift card which had a tenner on it (I thought) ~ £7.99 for DAII and a 2 pound set of headphones for my psp. Pretty good prices...
The guy looks at me (in my shirt and tie from the day of clinic at uni-I'll come back to this) and says hesitantly that they have an "as 25 age policy." I shuffle in my pocket for my passport and realise its at home..I'm like "I don't have my passport with me" and just walk away. He tries to get me to pay for the headphones but I explain I didn't want them as I had a tenner on my gift card and wanted to use it up.
I leave pretty pissed off...
Like I was saying, I was pretty smart that day, with suit trousers, shirt and tie as I'd had my first paid patient in uni for an optometric refraction lab. So I was clean shaven and shit, but what pissed me off is what would the old lady that came in think of me if I looked like a kid or something...respect from the patient is something I am worrying about...I should say, I am 25, so I shouldn't worry as much as some of the others in the class who came straight from school and are 19 or so now.

I wanted to come back the next day anyway with my passport, find that fucker and show him how old I am. But I thought I'd look in a different branch and see if they had anything decent, some games like the Atelier games on PS3 always seem to be expensive but interesting...anyway, this was on the Thursday (which is normally the day when shops are open later) so we got there pretty late after half 5 when we finished uni. I had a look and found a lot of good stuff in the sale-Super Paper Mario, Epic Mickey for under a tenner, Battalion Wars 2 for 2 quid, Dragon Quest Monster: Joker 2 for 13, no Borderlands or DAII though..2 games I'd been considering. Anyway, they were closing so I went for Joker 2 and prepared to add in 2 or 3 quid ontop of my gift card. The guy said that it covered it though, so I did some calculations and realised I had more than I thought-15 beforehand.

So it kinda sucked that it shut early, but we headed along to Buchanan Galleries to the other game where I'd been the day before and got ID'd for Dragon Age 2. I was thinking of getting it, but I would have had to put in like 6 quid...and thats not a lot, but at the time I didn't have a lot of money to spare. So I picked up Trauma Center: New Blood on the Wii for £1.99 or so. I'd wanted to get into those games for a long time.
And that finished up my reward card from Christmas.
Starting off with £40 on it, I got;
Dodonpachi Resurrection (360) £15
Xbox 360 Plug and Play Charge Kit £10
Dragon Warrior Monsters: Joker 2 (DS) £12.98
Trauma Center: New Blood (Wii) £1.98

So after all that, I don't have Dragon Age II. I can get it for next to nothing online...so that'll probably be the case when I can be bothered...

I'm gonna get a replacement reward card from Game so I can spend my points I've accrued over the years just incase they go under. To be honest, as much as I rant about them and say they suck, I don't think I'd want them and Gamestation to go under...as that would leave us without high street game retailers in the UK.

Whoa...long rant is long.