Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up in Gaming - Feb. 21-27

I meant to do this post yesterday, but Mother Nature stepped in and gave me some nice thunderstorms all night, so I didn't really get a chance.  For future reference, all "Weekly Wrap-Up" posts like these will be on Sundays since well, that's the end of the week.  And I might not do one every week, since my gaming tends to keep similar every couple weeks.

So, I've been finishing up Dynasty Warriors:  Strikeforce on PS3 this week.  I say finishing up because I've finished Wu's story and I'm not too sure there's a lot much else to do aside from finish the other two stories that I'm not too keen on doing, getting the last of the trophies, which will take forever, and some MP shenannigans, which I can do whenever.  So by being done, I'll likely take it out of my rotation for something else.

I'm not really sure how I feel about the game.  It does a lot of things well, like the battle system...when you get a handle on it.  There's absolutely no tutorial on it from what I can tell, but it's pretty intuitive.  In a lot of ways, it's like the Gundam games in that the dash attacks are vital to your success.  And fury mode is a genuinely interesting little feature even if it's practically ripped off of every action anime that ripped it off of every other action anime before it.  Also the sub-weapon mechanic (Which is clearly here to stay) is a few installments overdue, and I hope it continues to get refined.

But what the game does poorly, it does so in spades.  So much so that I don't quite know where to st-oh wait yes I do.  Those giant beast enemies you see in all the previews and the like?  Fuck those things.  At their best, they're annoying as hell and take forever to kill.  At their worst, like goddamn Death Tiger, they're deadly at the drop of a hat.  Level 50 (which is the max level) with fairly good Defense that I imagine I could only further increase with the in-game wheel of destiny thing, and that damn thing would take forever to whittle down while being an idiot the whole time.  And then, as soon as it was left with about a third of a health?  It would turn (By turn, I mean instantly be facing me.  There's actually no turning animation, so it just kind of changes direction) to me, charge attack and even with full health, instant death.  For the curious who pick up this game, the key to defeating Death Tiger is to stock up on Windstone +s, kill Diao Chan, and throw every Windstone into the tiger's face until it dies.  The face is key.

Speaking of things that take forever to kill, what the hell were you thinking, KOEI?  I mean, if it took forever to kill Lu Bu or Guan Yu or even Zhao Yun, I'd understand.  But the strategists?  What?!  That doesn't even make sense, since they're more likely to be fragile.  Yet fighting Sima Yi, Zhuge Liang, Da Ji (in her one crossover mission) and some generic strats with staves and bows was a chore beyond anything else the game had to offer.  In general, fighting officers is a crapshoot, since they all have the ability to enter a "No-Sell State" (wrestling fans will get that, but for the uninitiated) which means they'll take your attack, take the damage, but they won't be stagger'd at all until that barrier breaks, which does so with a set amount of damage.  Charge attacks are better for that.

And the grind.  Oh lord, the grind.  Everything takes so many materials and so many materials are things you can only get here from specific people and blah blah blah.  You've heard it before in just about every RPG or even most MMOs, usually as a time-padding mechanism and it's here with a vengeance.  Weapons, Orbs, Chi, they all require materials that you have to specifically get at one point or another if you're intending on getting everything, which, for the trophy/achievement whores means literally everything.  Every Weapon, every orb, every chi and every Officer Card (Which is not something that you have any control over getting in any way, shape or form) needs to be obtained for the 100%/Platinum, as well as knowing ten other people who play the game on your platform of choice.

Still for all its bad, there is good, as I said and even though I harped more on the bad than anything, the good is there, and it's something you mostly have to feel out than be told about.

Is there much else I can say about Valkyria Chronicles 2, really?  I've made at least half a dozen blog posts about the game, which is a clear testament to how much I like it, even if my overall criticisms of it come out more than anything else.  I've put over 100 hours into it, and honestly, I'm not even burnt out by playing the game.  What I am burnt out on is going up against the goddamn boss characters.  It's December, I know I'm going to have two boss fights, and I just don't want to do them.  So I haven't.  But I also haven't been able to progress through the game, either.  Which I want to do, since I want to sink my teeth into Post Game.  It's a pretty rough place to be in, so all of my playing has been grinding for some EXP (Which is better done in the Post game, of course) to get my Scouts and ATs up closer to my Godlike (but really not) Shocks.

Surprisingly enough, I decided to add a little more playtime to my Patchwork Heroes file, completely out of the blue.  And all of a sudden, I remembered why I liked the game in the first place when I completed a mission on my first try by starting out with cutting an airship right in half before chunking it down further from there.  Immediately after, I remembered why I fell out of love with the game when I had to retry a level five times since I kept getting one of my people killed by one of the myriad enemies the level held.  Also once because a guy was in the bottom part of a chunk and I didn't see it right away and cut the chunk right off.  =|

On the Flash Game front, I put some time into Boxhead: 2Play Rooms which, while being a fun concept and actually a fairly alright time-waster, I ended up leaving with a sour taste in my mouth from it because of rather shoddy (understatement) programming.  I admit that I am a pretty big Trophy whore which carries over into Kongregate with badges.  I don't know why, but I guess I just like having that to show off to....absolutely nobody.  Shut up.

Anyways, the problem with the game was that you got a badge from making it to level 42.  Which isn't a problem in itself, but the problem lied with the game not properly registering what level you were on in relation to earning the badge.  Looking over at the completion thing when I had made it to 42 made me double-take, as it informed me that, regardless of what the screen had just told me, I was on stage 24.  Uhh?  No, game.  No I was not.  Reading the comments, the advised course of action was to, of course, just wait for the game to catch up.

It took three hours.

So, yeah, if you're looking for badges, don't play that game. 

Also played this week was Thing Thing Arena 2, an off-shoot of the main series of Thing Thing games.  I have absolutely no clue how they got their names, but the premise is basically that you play the Thing of a main character who is apparently a former test subject as he kills pretty much everything in his path for some reason.  At first it was to escape, and I guess that's still the case, but in later Thing Thing games, it might have ended up being a vengeance mission.  Anyways, that's not the important part.

The important part is that the Thing Thing games are pretty fun!  For the simple art direction, they definitely did a lot of detail work, both on the scenery and the gore, which, essentially, is all the game has to offer.  It's a side-scrolling affair where you get a lot of guns and shoot other people who are less equipped than you.  And then eventually equipped just like you are.  I mean, it doesn't get much more simple than that, yet it still manages to scratch that gaming itch every now and again.

So that's been my week in gaming in a nutshell!  I swear the next time I do this, I will not be playing DW:  Strikeforce or VC2 again.  Or at least, I won't bring them up yet again.

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