Monday, December 30, 2013

XBox Games With Gold Finally Gets Good

Ever since Microsoft's Games with Gold promotion began, the games it has included have always been so very in demand and new and that's not an absolute lie or anything covered up with sarcasm.  Actually it's totally a lie covered up by sarcasm because that's kind of what I do.  Some of the bigger retail (which is the key word here) titles that have hit the service are Gears of War (as in, the first one), Assassin's Creed 2 and Halo 3, all of which would've been fantastic gets....a couple years ago or so, but right now, are merely a bit silly.  It'd be akin to Playstation Plus offering you a copy of Heavenly Sword or the original Uncharted in February.  Of course, I cannot say that won't happen, since Sony has said they won't redo games and the well will dry up at some point, but still, relevancy is a big deal and it's something that's been sorely lacking from Games with Gold.  That all changes next month.

Sleeping Dogs will be January's first Game with Gold, being free from January 1st to the 15th, where Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light will finish out the rest of the month, but that doesn't matter so much.  I'm sure it's a fine game and blah blah blah, but Sleeping Dogs.  You might remember, but I liked Sleeping DogsI liked it a lotA whole lot!  So any and all opportunity for the game to be played by someone who otherwise has not played it (what is -wrong- with you, by the way) is a good one that I encourage.  Encouragement might sound vaguely like threatening, since it might sound like I'm saying anyone who doesn't play Sleeping Dogs for the insane price of Free deserves what they get, but of course, what I -mean- is "nothing".  In that they get nothing.  In that they lose.

Good day, sir.

Er, anyway.  XBox Live Gold is almost required for those who have a 360 and/or indeed, an XBone, so this has a potentially far reach.  As such, there better be some people picking the damn game up, if just to get ready for Triad Wars which is actually going to be like Sleeping Dogs in most aspects if a screenshot confirmed to be from Triad Wars is any indication.  Because it certainly looks like an open-world game from that at least, and I'm most happy about that.  My worry that they'd delve into something silly for a new iteration of the franchise was definitely not misplaced because of Squeenix, but I'm glad that it was at least unfounded in some way.  Still, this is definitely something to celebrate in any case - the game will only be a little over a year old when you get it for free through Games with Gold which is a milestone for the service as far as I know, and it might just be an indication of the offerings coming in the future.  Even though I don't have a 360, nor Gold because of that, it's still something that we can all hope for, because hopefully some worthy competition will keep Playstation Plus shining now that it's more or less required for the PS4 as well.  Since we'd all hate it if Sony got complacent because of that.

It's kind of amazing that Sleeping Dogs has been free on everything -but- Steam now

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yes, Of Course I'm Going to Bitch

As I stated yesterday, I had reached the precipice of Terraria's content where my fore-knowledge ended and the newness of the game's offerings began.  Specifically with the boss named The Wall of Flesh which is then immediately followed by what is rather appropriately called "Hard Mode".  It's not difficult to imagine that I have indeed surpassed the challenge of the Wall of Flesh and entered Hard Mode, and it is so, but it's not exactly...what I was expecting.  Or hoping for.  Which is where I begin to get a little grumbly about it, because of just how the game deigns to earn that 'Hard Mode' descriptor.

Hard Mode is hard because the entire caste of enemies has been upgraded and expanded on to a ridiculous amount - no longer are Zombies your only concern at night, but Werewolves, Armored Skeletons, Skeleton Archers and Phantasms roam the ground, where Demon Eyes have been joined by Wraiths which go straight through walls and ignores all barriers, meaning you cannot simply box yourself in and remain safe.  Below ground is the same deal, with Illuminant Slimes and Bats joining Creepers and Giant Bats and Spectral Swords and Shadow Hammers (both of which similarly ignore barriers like Wraiths) and Mimics.  All of these have inflated health values and defenses that necessitate weapons better than you'll likely have because Hard Mode begins with absolutely no aplomb or changeover, and you're stuck getting right into it.  The Wall of Flesh might leave you a weapon - it left me a Buster Sword, yes like Cloud's - but I don't know that it's guaranteed, and thus you might stand a chance of being thrust into this changed version of your world without the proper tools to protect yourself.

Something that the Wall of Flesh is guaranteed to drop is the Pwnhammer, a hammer that has the ability to destroy Demon Altars, which are scattered through the caverns and corruption of your world.  Goal Number One of Hard Mode is, without a doubt, to find three Demon Altars and destroy them.  Doing so will release new ores into your world and these new ores are powerful as tools and as armor both.  Of course, by 'release new ores into your world', I mean certain blocks in your world will be changed -into- ore blocks which means you get to search your entire world all over again.  While everything wants to, and is more than capable of killing you.  Now, I'm not sure exactly how much of 1.2 is in the Console version of Terraria, so let's make it simple - the first Demon Altar will spawn Cobalt, the second will spawn Mythril and the third and final one will spawn Adamantite.  (If 1.2 was present, there could be a chance of them being Palladium, Orichalcum and Titanium respectively)

You want Cobalt Ore right away.  Cobalt is used to make a Cobalt Drill or Cobalt Pickaxe which is the entry-tier pick/drill that can mine Mythril.  You then need to make a Mythril Pickaxe or Drill to finally mine Adamantite.  It's very padded and drawn-out, and while you make other, important things with these ores as well, it's a little frustrating on its head.  Especially at the start when you're vulnerable, desperately seeking out Cobalt with every monster and its brother bearing down your neck.  Perhaps there are some that find a thrill in that.  Were I not sick, maybe I would too.  I doubt it, but it's possible.  No, all I feel is a slight miff and annoyance, especially when Cobalt is, for some reason, exceedingly difficult to spot while playing the game.  If you'll note the screenshot I used for this post - the sizable blue mass in the bottom right corner is all cobalt.  It was only after taking that shot, uploading it to Flickr and linking it here that I actually saw it which was, of course, a while after I had died and began on my next task of making a proper storage room because my damn backpack fills up far too fast now.

I haven't actually delved too far into it.  I don't even have enough Cobalt for the purposes of making a pick or a drill because of the reasons stated, and the only reason I know what I know is because I did cheat a bit and look up a wiki for it.  Since I found some of all three ores, but couldn't mine a single one of them.  This is because Cobalt requires a Molten Pickaxe which is actually a downgrade from the Nightmare pickaxe despite being of higher 'quality' and that downgrade has expedited my search for Cobalt which has, in turn, made my search more difficult.  It's a vicious cycle, I'm sure you can tell as much.  It also does not do too much to breed 'fun' in a game that I was otherwise enjoying prior to the Wall of Flesh which was, by the by, a pain in the ass as a boss fight because Ranged-Only Boss Fights are almost always terrible as an idea.

Not to say that I'm bitter!  It all just relies on me actually getting the ball rolling so I can get the tools and get the gear and then be at the place where I was at the end of Normal Mode again, where I'm just comfortable building and exploring and enjoying.  It's just that I -was- there and now I'm not, so it's a bit jarring.  The padding of the ores is honestly the only thing that really bothers me as it just seems blatant - you have three new ores, so it's a little...silly to require each one for the next, since that leaves the best as little else than a prize in terms of mining equipment, even when its true desire is thus in armor and weapons.  There should be -something- that only Adamantite can mine, is my point, if just to make it worth it.  Oh well.  I guess the first step is just finding the area from that screenshot again and getting all of that Cobalt!

it's such a nice blue color, how the hell do I miss it so easily?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Oh Lord, I Am Sick

It might be fairly obvious, but I can't deny that I'm not really feeling any better since I made those tweets.  My nose is running like a faucet, my coughing has stayed about where it is which is now making my shoulders and upper back hurt, my lower back still has a thrown muscle (at least, that's what I'm guessing) and I'm just very, very achy.  Earlier on, I even had a little spell where I almost fainted due to a lovely bout of vertigo (I'm assuming) which merely had me trip almost into the bathtub completely in the dark bathroom and required a nice little sit down on the bathroom floor for a few minutes in a cold sweat before I could move again.  Though, I do feel quite better since then, in that I' know, back to the -regular- amount of sickness.

As such, not a whole lot has been done.  Yesterday, I spent the entire day laying in bed and watching The Unit since it's marathoning on TV and I literally couldn't muster up the energy to play video games.  As sad as that is to write down, of course.  Today, I've spent the majority curled up in bed with Terraria on my Vita which certainly helps keep the mind off the aches the body has.  I've officially reached the end of my knowledge of things in the world of Terraria where it comes from watching videos about the game or what have you, so that is fairly exciting, since I know there's a whole second phase of the game awaiting me that I have yet to experience in any such way.  I almost dread it, but hell, nothing ventured or whatever.

Regardless, there's really not a whole lot more I can type tonight.  Sorry for the silence, but I'm sure you guys understand.

I never would've figured out how to summon the Wall of Flesh by myself, that shit is wacky

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Oh, What Did I Get?

I know everyone loves to show off 'the haul' as it's colloquially referred to, and I decided "Hey, I can get in on that action".  Especially since it's easy and probably the only thing I -could- talk about because it's easy.  I think it'd just be best if I went down the list here.  From left to right:
  • Dishonored:  Game of the Year Edition - It's supposed to be good, right?  So, I'm going to see what it's about.  Having all the DLC and such helps as well.
  • Remember Me - Yes, I know it's got its flaws, but I really wanted to give it a shot.  I'm an expert at enjoying games that other people don't, after all.  Plus the whole aesthetic is just too good to ignore - if only developers could take that sort of world and make undeniably good games with it.  Here's hoping for Watch_Dogs, I guess?
  • Red Dead Redemption:  Game of the Year Edition - Would you believe I've never owned nor played Red Dead Redemption?  Because I haven't.  I figured this was the time to change that.  Wanted GotY Edition because....well, I think that's obvious.  No reason to not want that since it's been out for, what, two years?  Three?
  • Deadpool (in a GameStop Used Case hrrrg) - Again, one of those "I will probably enjoy it because other people didn't" and also Deadpool.  I think I watched the trailer for it when it was announced for like an hour straight because it was that enjoyable.  So I figure the game should be pretty damn funny if nothing else, and that's worth it to me.  Also Nolan North.
  • Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection - I never did get the HD Collection on PS3 because Konami apparently did a really small printing of it.  I got it on my Vita and have yet to even start it, but it's apparently the only way I'll ever play Peace Walker with proper controls unless I rebuy Peace Walker which is an unattractive idea, unfortunately.  Not that they don't deserve the support or the sale, of course, it's just that I bought the UMD on Day One, put 100+ hours into it, and space is at a constant premium on my Vita.  Not to mention the Legacy Collection comes with Metal Gear Solid 1 (download, I thought it was supposed to be on-disk, but this works better I suppose) and the VR Missions which I didn't own, as well as the Digital Novels or whatever they are that were almost impossible to find.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City Twin-Pack - Much like Red Dead Redemption, I have never owned either Asylum or City, but I have also not played City.  I've got a good grip of the trophies in Asylum (I think I only need Hard Mode and a couple challenge maps), but it was through a rental, and I found myself unwilling to actually -buy- it again just for that, but I also find renting a bit...distasteful anymore.  Not trying to be a snob, of course, I just like owning my things.  I never played City because it was described as "Asylum, but better" and I was like "Well....Asylum was -okay-" and couldn't really think of how much better it could theoretically be.  I suppose I'll find out.
  • Tales of Xillia: Limited Edition - I'm always going to kick myself for not buying the Collector's Edition, because I really wanted that Milla figure for some reason (I have no place for it, no understanding of the character and did I mention that I have no room for it) but I always felt that pang against logic, that simple wanting of it and I never did indulge that.  I wanted to get to Tales of Graces F before buying Xillia because I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the series, but that bridge is a little too late to cross now and I'm not too fussed by it.  The series has a lot of fans and with any luck, more purchases means more localizations and I want to support that.  (Worked with Zestiria, so maybe we can hope on really late localizations of Vesperia and the Vita ones?  Maybe?  No?  Please?)
Aside from that, I got $150 in GameStop funbux which will go directly towards the purchase of a PS4 sometime within the next couple of months, and some nice Pajama Pants because Pajama Pants are so comfortable, you guys.  Just so comfortable.  All in all, not a bad lot of games!  Now if only I had the time to play any of them.

I pretty much just want figures from like every goddamn game I've played ever, so maybe that's why I wanted Milla - I blame my Cole statue from inFamous 2

Monday, December 23, 2013

All Wrapped Out

So, this is the first year where I've managed to secure presents for more than a choice few members of my family (namely the children) which is good!  The spirit of giving is strong in me and I love being able to give like I am.  The issue that arises, however, is that, while I like wrapping presents, I'm not necessarily a fan of wrapping presents for three days straight (as I still have more to do tomorrow).  Such a task has proven to be rather...draining and there's no big news that I can see, so I give you K-Pop.  I would like to give myself the opportunity to rest, but alas, there are action figures and kitchen gadgets and clothes to be adorned with festive trappings.  Enjoy, all!

the music honestly does help, but still, just so much wrapping

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wild Season, Eh?

I've always been a little wary on most things where Kickstarter is concerned since the whole premise can lead to some real issues on a large scale.  It's more or less a house of cards where everyone brings their own cards to someone who says they can make an awesome castle with them, and then you just have to kind of wait and see if they do, indeed, make an awesome castle out of cards that you and everyone else gave to them.  Not everyone can build awesome card castles.  Many people will tell you they can do so, when in reality they cannot.  Some attempt to, but realize they need more cards because whoops, these cards will only make like one card rampart and okay, I'm losing the plot here.  Point is, it's hard to get excited for Kickstarters unless they're being made by people who can be held to a great amount of scrutiny (I.E. known quantities like Comcept and the like) because there's at least an idea of -something- coming from it, rather than that dude just taking the cards and going to play poker with them instead.

However, when I see a project that wants to be another type of Harvest Moon game, rather than a third-person/first-person shooter of some sort, I have to take note.  And when I see a project that aims to be on the Vita, well, I have to take note.  When those two aims intersect, that, my friends, is when I have to inform you about it, because it's something that requires a bit of attention.  I only regret that my attention was not drawn to this earlier, because I'm not sure what, if any impact my attention will offer at this point.

I say this because Wild Season only has five days left in the Kickstarter at this point, and it's probably the worst five days anyone could imagine having at this point, with Christmas rolling over and the like.  It's hard to say whether or not people -have- money to give at this point, and as we know, with Kickstarter if you don't get the funding goal by the deadline, you get nothing but a bit of exposure and goodwill.  It's also something like £4,000 short of its goal, which will be hard to make up in those few days.  They always say the bulk of funding surges happen at the start and at the end of a Kickstarter, so there's hope, and I definitely want to hope because I do want these guys to succeed.  If only so I can hope they go forward with bringing it to the Playstation Family so I finally have a damn Harvest Moon-like game on my Vita.

So why should you care about Wild Season?  Well, as stated, it's a Harvest Moon-like game, though it does quite a bit differently in the formula alone, and it does have some rather interesting elements to it.  For one, it promises something of a 'darker' underlying story, primarily about a 'Secret' the Town holds, and that's kind of neat on its own merits, provided it doesn't put the game on a 'timer'.  Relationships are also much different if just for the fact that you can accrue enemies now instead of being everyone's friend automatically.  Befriending others and getting into relationships (You can be in same-sex relationships, by the way, that's a big deal) takes a more delicate touch as well, as you can be branded 'Creepy' or 'a stalker' for doing things that are notoriously ungoverned in Harvest Moon and Rune Factory.  Bursting into a character's room without permission, for one - especially if you decide that's a great time to stumble over to that person and hand them a gift.  I would be a little weirded out myself.

Characters are also meant to be a little more three-dimensional than the standard HM characters who, while they have their issues, are generally built around one or two little things and thus feel a bit flat.  Wild Season's cast promises to have a little more depth, boasting actual issues and problems that aren't things you can deal with with one little chat or anything quite so easy.  You'll also be able to run for office and personally dictate parts of the town, though what extent of power you'll actually be granted is left to be seen.  You'll even be able to see technology slowly introduced into the town - HM games tend to be a little technology-adverse unless it's Innocent Life, but that barely counts.  All of those things, plus a wider selection of things to do when you have nothing pressing at the moment ensures that it'll be a very different game from what you might expect, and that's enticing.

I have a few misgivings however.  I'm not quite sure how much content can actually be present in the game considering iOS and Android are two of the confirmed platforms, but I suppose mobile games have been getting bigger and bigger (and contain large games now, like Final Fantasy Tactics: WotL and The World Ends With You) so it shouldn't be an issue.  I'm also a little....wary of them showing off the obtrusive mobile controls while the game version is clearly the PC one being played for the video.  Virtual Controllers are things that I'm not too enthused about and while I'll never have to use one, I just wish they could have shown the footage without it for now.  I'm also swinging back and forth on the art style and haven't quite decided which side of the fence I'm on with regards to that.  It's...honestly pretty good, but I'm just never up on Chibi characters.  However, I imagine I'll get over that.

So yeah.  As stated (and shown in the video), the game is being set or PC/Mac/Linux and Mobile platforms, but if they can, they would like to embrace Sony and Nintendo's indie strategies for Vita (and probs PS3/4) releases alongside the Wii U.  Harvest Moon-like games are, of course, better as portable titles since they're the type of game you'll want to be able to jump right into and play for a moment, especially when you've got a few minutes to kill between commutes or something along those lines.  Thus, I'm hoping for this to succeed and for a Vita version to materialize because it's...honestly probably the best fit of them all.  With any luck, they'll get that last push to fund them, but even if they don't, hopefully they'll have some sort of backup plan.  Hell, they can always try to contact Shahid Kamal, since he is without a doubt an awesome dude and definitely not titled "The Indie Guru" (among other titles) for nothing.

I'm personally curious as to just how weird the game is going to get, because the potential for weird, creepy shit is off the charts

Friday, December 20, 2013

Of Course, More KOEI Things

The image above is fairly obvious enough, but it's also confirmed by a close to official source that Dynasty Warriors 8:  Xtreme Legends for PS3 and Dynasty Warriors 8:  Complete Edition for PS4 and Vita are going to see releases in North America and Europe.  The Complete Edition, obvious as it may be, will include Xtreme Legends, but the base game as well, featuring a 'complete' compilation of both titles, which is all sorts of handy and economical.  Also the only way possible for PS4 and Vita owners to play Dynasty Warriors 8 without...doing so on the PS3.  Which makes things a wee bit difficult, even if the games will support cross-save, and I believe they do.  Hilariously, for as many games as I own with Cross-save, and games that are better suited for it, I assure you, this will probably be the first time I ever use the feature.  Because I'll be damned if I'm not going to carry over my meticulously groomed Dynasty Warriors 8 save by the time I'm done with it.

Details are scarce as usual - even KOEI hasn't put up a press release or anything of that source, simply posting an image on Twitter and then leaving it to their Community Manager to pass out the little bits of details that he could infer.  Therefore, the information may or may not be absolutely reliable, but I'm erring on the side of "yes" given that KOEI has more or less thrust his statements to the forefront as their own and not bothered to correct anything he said.  Thus, I'm inclined to believe that there will be physical releases of all three products, given that there will apparently be English voices and -maybe- Japanese voices as well, instead of the other way around.  This is more than ideal for me, as I'm sure you all know.

I'm getting the Vita version.  Full stop.  However, I'm not quite sure whether or not I'll pick up the PS4 version of the Complete Edition, or just get Xtreme Legends for PS3.  I imagine I'm going to play the console and Vita versions in tandem regardless because of Cross-Save, but I don't know whether I'll want to 'complete' my library on PS3 that much more, or simply begin a new one with the PS4 beyond inFamous:  Second Son, Watch_Dogs and potentially Metal Gear Solid:  Ground Zeroes.  Aw, who am I kidding, I'm getting GZ and I'll grin like an idiot when I set K-Pop music to play in the helicopter section, flash back to Peace Walker and then be mildly disturbed that I find it fitting now.  Regardless, it is quite the quandary.

I'm wary of picking up the PS4 version because it will be KOEI's first attempt with new hardware and it will be a port - not something native.  KOEI's games aren't technical wonders to start with and while Dynasty Warriors 8 runs smooth for the most part (Chibi and a couple other stages get really chuggy at times) I'm not willing to put my faith in their ability to take full advantage of the power inside the PS4.  On the other hand, if they do manage it, I'll constantly kick myself when I'm playing the PS3 version knowing that it could be smoother and prettier on the PS4 that I will presumably have by that point.  Granted, I could find it some time down the line, but...I'm not really sure if I'm comfortable buying Dynasty Warriors 8 three times, given the issues I have with it, even if I do think it's rather fantastic.  Which is to say I will probably do it anyway because I am kind of a whore like that.

this better just be the first of a few localization announcements KOEI makes - Samurai Warriors 2 HD Complete, plz

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This...this is just too much.

Maybe it's because I'm neck-deep in Dynasty Warriors 8, or maybe it's just because I never thought something like this would happen because the last time something like this was pitched, it was turned down.  Maybe it's just because that last piece could truly mean this is Panic Mode Nintendo doing whatever the hell they can to try and spur sales.  Or maybe it's just because they picked honestly one of their least ideal franchises to add the Warriors treatment to.  I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, it just makes me laugh when I try to wrap my head around it.

There's practically no information on the game - even the logo hasn't been created, nor is "Hyrule Warriors" necessarily the final name of the product.  So there's really not even that much for me to talk about beyond speculation.  As far as speculation goes, well, I'm not really sure what to think.  Being a Dynasty Warriors game means having access to -everyone- who is a unique character (and potentially even some who aren't), but being a Nintendo game means not...usually getting to be the bad guy.  So Ganondorf might seem like a lock for the actual game, but I'm wary on saying he'll be playable.  He should be, by all means, but I'm not sure.  I can't imagine them saying "Oh, here's a Dynasty Warriors game where you only play Link" and being able to keep a straight face, but I also don't know quite how many characters they can scrounge up.  Malon?  Zelda?  Shiek?  ....Tingle?  Perhaps the different -kinds- of Link over the years with different attacks based on the game, but even that's a bit boring.

It'll be interesting to find out about as it gets further along in development, as that trailer was clearly not from finished product footage.  Beta at the -latest-, though I'm willing to bet it's still pre-beta.  I guess if I'm taking a guess as to a release time, I'll say....Summer?  Seems long enough to finish it up and put it out the door, depending on the amount of work involved, but what do I know?  I can't see it taking til next Holiday season if it's meant to be a stop-gap between now and the next -actual- Zelda game, but it's clearly not ready yet either, so it's a hard guess.  Still, Summer is what I'm going with.  Who knows, maybe I'll have bought a Wii U by then!  Probably not, but I think this pretty much confirms a purchase in the future unless it just looks -really- bad somehow.  I...don't see that happening.

the only real worse candidates that I could think of were Star Fox and Metroid - can you imagine the dumb?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Well, I Like It

I'm not sure I can make a more ringing endorsement of the game than that, really.

I've watched my fair share of Terraria content in the past, so I knew the basics, but it is a wholly different experience actually being able to do it all yourself.  Obviously, task number one was creating a structure all my own after hewing the land to suit my whims.  I think we all like to think that, given the opportunity, we're going to create something magnificent right off the bat and I certainly thought this as well.

I did not.

I made the box you see above.  I made a three-tiered basement and enclosed it in stone walls.  I then set out to explore.  It's oddly liberating and strange that I would do that when all I -wanted- was a building game.  But I have to get blocks to do that, or at least that's the excuse I'm using while I'm cutting down slimes and seeking out the corruption of my lands to stem their creep with a sunflower.

I'm definitely satisfied.

words failed me, should've sent a poet, etc.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finally Some News About Final Fantasy X/X-2 Vita

The news is weird.  Not great.  Not awful.  Just....weird.

It was announced on the Playstation Blog today that the Vita version finally has a release date and details, now that it's been like, months of basically little to no word about it.  It will be releasing on March 18th, all the same as the PS3 version, but the way it's being delivered is...different.  Ever since the Vita versions of X and X-2 were announced with a proper date in Japan, and announced to be released as separate games (with a twin-pack version available) we have been hoping that we would get that.  Especially when the alternative seemed to be getting both games as Digital-Only releases.  On the one hand, it was near impossible to reconcile Squeenix releasing FFX HD and FFX-2 HD physically for $20 each, but on the other, it was hard to imagine them expecting you to give up a large portion of memory card space (and I do mean -large-) for the privilege of playing the games after a full-priced, digital-only release.  Hilariously, Squeenix picked the option we never considered and split the baby.

Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD will release a sense.  When you purchase FFX HD for $40 (the same price as the PS3 bundle) you will also have a download voucher for FFX-2 HD.  You still get both games, you still pay the same price, and you still have to devote some memory card space towards the group.  It's...basically both sides giving up something which is rather strange and different in these days, but I can't actually fault the logic.  I am annoyed with the fact that FFX-2 HD will be like 3.5 gigs and that the only way to get it will be to download it, but it is what it is - I'm in the market for a larger memory card anyway.  We'll see if I get any gift cards or whatnot that I'll be comfortable using towards the purchase of a 32 gig or (please friggin release it over here) a 64 gig.

What this means is that I'm finally going to put a pre-order down on the game.  I don't want to send Squeenix a "Digital is a-okay" message, but I'll only be half-doing that, technically, by going with this route.  I can't just -not- get it either, because I've been itching to replay X ever since it was announced, and I want to do it in the palms of my hands on the glorious OLED screen.  I've also wanted to encourage FFXII International Zodiac Job System on Vita as well, so here's really my one shot.  Since Squeenix is dragging their heels on throwing anything else on the Vita.  HINT HINT.  Jerks.

It is finally good to know that it's coming out here officially, even if the way it's releasing is non-standard all around.  It's better than the alternative of saying "Free up ~7 gigs of space or go fuck yourself" as everyone was really, honestly assuming Squeenix would do.  That option will still be available, of course, as the Digital Version of FFX HD works the same exact way - buy it to get X-2 HD as well.  You won't be able to buy either game separately, or at least not right away, but, well, I have always wanted to at least -try- X-2 properly, despite all the stuff that I know will make me roll my eyes so hard they might fall out of my head.  So eventually, I will get to do so!  It's just a matter of getting everything in order and waiting for March...or rather, waiting til sometime in April or so when I'll -actually- play it.  Because, you know, PS4, inFamous:  Second Son...all that fun stuff.

it's funny how like nobody ever would have come up with this solution

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weapon Farming in Dynasty Warriors 8 Made Easy

I'm constantly amazed, as I'm sure you all are, at just how much I can talk about a single Dynasty Warriors game as I'm playing it and indeed for a time thereafter.  It seems like every day brings a brand new topic about the game that I can take and pull apart until I can present it in possibly the most long-winded way possible, and it's something that I've found I can't really do for many other things.  So, whatever, I can do it and I like to do it, so that's what I'm going to do.  I'm aware that most of you are probably not as interested in Dynasty Warriors or really any flavor of game KOEI releases as I am, but I hope the deluge of content over the games is not off-putting.  Because, I mean, I'm gonna keep doing it.

Going with the theme of the last Dynasty Warriors 8 post, we're going to talk about trophies.  Or rather -a- trophy.  We're going to cover the Herculean amount of effort that goes into a single trophy called Weapon Collector that, as you might have guessed, tasks you with collecting all the weapons in the game.  You see, the whole weapon system in Dynasty Warriors 8 got a bit of an overhaul that more or less makes it a very different beast from the games before it except, in a sense, Dynasty Warriors 6.  That's not as bad a thing as that comparison might lead you to believe, however, so don't get ahead of me.  The weapons all have an element attached to them that is either Heaven, Earth or Man, which recalls to DW6's Standard, Skill and Strength types of weapons, though they don't have the same sort of effects and really I guess the only similarity is that they all shared red, green and blue and I swear I was going somewhere with that, but forgot.

Anyway, that's -one- of the categories of the weapons, though.  There's actually two beyond the Elemental Shift, and its all about rarity.  Common Weapons have Orbs, but rare weapons and the Fifth Weapon for each character have Stars instead.  These merely denote uniqueness and nothing else, because as you'll learn, each character has Four Orb weapons and Three Star weapons.  (Well, Sword has like four Star weapons, but you get one from Ambition Mode and it's not important)  You need to collect one of each of these seven weapons for every single character in the game for the trophy which is just a Silver trophy even though it will be the actual second-most grindy thing you do in the game.  Yes, Ambition Mode in all its splendor and magnificence has been bumped to third, with Bond-grinding still likely holding first place.  Though, in all honesty, Weapon Farming might just usurp it, it's that bad.

How can it be so bad, you might be innocently asking?  Well, it's pretty simple.  Of the three Star weapons per character, only -one- of them is a guaranteed drop.  That is the Fifth Weapon which have unlock conditions (readily visible in the Gallery once you've beaten every single Story Mode Stage) that you have to follow on Hard Mode.  You have to do that with every single one of the 77 characters included in the game.  That's the easy part, because the thing you want to do is get Xiahou Yuan's Fifth Weapon first.  It's called the Bow of Destruction, and if there were ever a more appropriate moniker, I don't know of it.  You see, what makes the Bow of Destruction so special is that it has an element on it called Cyclone, which is at level 10.  Cyclone breaks through an enemy's guard with charge attacks.  The weapon also has multiple charge attacks that have multiple hits within it that do Wind damage which seems to take a percentage of health rather than do -damage-.  What this means is that a single charge attack from the Bow of Destruction (one that has the multi-wind shots at least, which are C2, 5 and 6) will straight-up murder any officer, even on Chaos difficulty provided the full attack hits them.  Even if it doesn't, it's not hard to do a follow-up and basically it just means that you will not have to worry about the damage -you- do.

What about the other two Star weapons for each character?  Well, first what you want to do is get your Fortune Hunter skill leveled up, which increases your Luck.  Level 10 at minimum, though you'll likely want up to about 15 unless you're crazy and want to grind it up to 20.  Why would that be crazy?  Well, because the way you level the skill up is by defeating officers on a map after you've attained 1,500 KOs.  On the same map.  There are precious few maps that will allow you to rack up that many kills while also leaving enough chattel for you to reap in an attempt to level up the skill (Because, of course, not every single one and in fact most will not do it since it's based on some weird RNG), but if you are feeling particularly interested, then the Yellow Turban Conflict stage is what you want.

This is Zhang Jiao's Story stage and it offers a -lot- of officers plus a handy little infinite spawn of mooks that you can inflate your score with in the course of a few minutes.  All you need to do is rescue Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang and wait for Huangfu Song to change the direction of their approach.  This will divert forces to the lower left portion (south of Zhang Bao) and the square at the southernmost point before you go East into a base will just, as stated, spawn infinite amounts of soldiers after you defeat both Base captains in the neighboring areas.  Get up to 1,500 KOs (or more if you feel like it, I don't know if it affects your chances) and then go around slaughtering officers until you take down He Jin.  You should hopefully get at least 2 levels if not more, and...then you just do it again until you're happy.  Better chances if you perform the stage on Chaos Difficulty, and of course you don't have to use Zhang Jiao when selecting from Free Mode.  In fact, I would recommend it.  I personally used a Level 99 Lu Bu who has max stats and his Fifth Weapon - since it's an early map it's not difficult at all, even on Chaos, so you won't have to spam Cyclone abuse.

So now that you have Fortune Hunter up at a decent level, you'll want to equip that and go to Shu's section in Free Mode and pick the very last stage - Capture of Wei - Wei Forces.  You see, it's not simple enough that you just kill a bunch of officers for a chance at Star weapons.  No, you have to kill unique characters, since generics possess only the -barest- chance of actually dropping them, where Uniques, especially with a proper Fortune Hunter score, have a chance that approaches reasonable and contrary to what I thought prior, they have a chance of dropping weapons that -aren't- theirs.  Capture of Wei on the Wei side offers you a small-ish map (or at least a map where only 30% of it is used) that has no less than 11 Unique Officers (Jiang Wei, Huang Zhong, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhang Bao, Liu Shan, Guan Xing, Zhao Yun, Ma Chao, Zhuge Liang and Guan Ping) in a short timeframe.  Plus it has one more benefit which I will explain to you momentarily.

I've found in my runs tonight that with Level 15 Fortune Hunter, you can expect to walk away from the map with -at least- one Star weapon, which is good.  Not great since there's, you know, 154 Star Weapons in the game not counting Fifth Weapons (Jesus Christ), but it could be worse, and it's honestly a relatively short map.  There -is- a bit of an issue with the scripting, however, in that sometimes Guan Ping and Ma Chao simply refuse to advance on you or on the Wei Main Camp, and Guan Ping is ridiculously out of the way if he doesn't meaning you lose out on a potential chance unless you charge his ass, and even if he does charge, he always charges with Liu Bei (as does Zhuge Liang) who you do not want to kill immediately because it will end the stage and if you kill Liu Bei and, say, Zhuge Liang at the same time, Liang will not drop a weapon.  Which is incredibly frustrating.

The key thing about any and all forms of grinding and farming is the amount of time invested because obviously you want to cut the amount of time spent down as much as possible.  Because grinding/farming is fucking obnoxiously boring and games that rely on it for anything in excess are made by developers who are dumb and also stupid.  And are also jerks.  The good thing with Dynasty Warriors 8 and the way weapons unlock is that there's a little bit of a trick that cuts -way- down on the amount of down-time you have in between runs of the map.  As in, cuts it down to damn-near zero.  You want to know what that funny little trick is?

Let Liu Bei kill you

(After killing all his officers.  It's not even difficult to let it happen, since Capture of Wei - Wei Side is an end-story mission which means it's max difficulty and then you have Chaos on top of that...yeah, characters do a lot of damage.  )

You see, when you lose a stage, a message comes up asking if you'd like to restart from the beginning, which it will do so without any load time (unless there's a cinematic at the start, I imagine) allowing you to get right into it.  And at least with Star weapons (honestly haven't tested with Orb weapons, honestly don't even care) they seem to work on an unlock system in a sense.  Because they're unique, once you have them, you -have- them unless you sell them or something else.  So say you get Guan Xing to drop the Sky Splitter which is one of Guan Ping's Star weapons and then you do as I say and allow Liu Bei to kill you.  When you restart the stage, you can check your weapons and look at that, you still have the Sky Splitter.  This way, you cut out the load into the main menu, the load into the stage selection, into the character selection and loading up the stage proper.  That is a tangible amount of minutes and given that you're damn near guaranteed one or two weapons per run (if not more, one particularly generous run netted me four) using that stage and Fortune Hunter 15, it will potentially shave -hours- off of your general farming, especially if you would use a different method.  I would advise, however, that you end a Farm sessions with a victory - I doubt if it really matters if you quit to menu after a defeat rather than replaying and winning, but it' not to take chances, yeah?

I'm personally up to 90% of the entire Weapons Catalog filled, so it shouldn't be too terribly long before I can get to bond-grinding and then...simply being done with Dynasty Warriors 8 until Xtreme Legends comes out in some fashion.  Since I will most likely be getting it provided it's physical -or at the very least it's localized for the Vita-.  I'm being optimistic that Xtreme Legends is going to get localized (it's barely been out in Japan yet, so I'm not too worried about lack of announcement) but I wouldn't be surprised if KOEI pulls the same bullshit as they did with 7 and cut the English VAs for a little cost and cut out the Disk production for the same reason.  (Because, once again, no dubs = no disk is bullshit)  If it's localized for the Vita, unless it's just a dreadfully shitty port, I'll at least be alright with downloading that since it will be far smaller than the ~11 gigs that standard KOEI fare seems to be on PS3.  I'd say I don't know -why- I'm bothering, but it's obvious - Zhu Ran is in Xtreme Legends.  I can't wait for an official announcement so I can do another "Let's Talk About the New Characters" and probably just devote an entire post to Zhu Ran.  Just you wait.

Update!:  I figure it's appropriate to do a tl;dr of my method here for the folks who...somehow stumble across this and want to be Weapon Collecting Masochists.

  • Get the Bow of Destruction - It's Xiahou Yuan's Fifth Weapon.  The game tells you how to get it.
  • Buff Up a Fighter of Your Choice (Potentially Optional) - Abuse the Academy in your Ambition Mode town and use some (most/all) of that gold you've stockpiled playing every single Story Mode mission.  Get someone to Level 99, buff their stats to 1,000, go all out.  I went with Lu Bu, obv. but you go with whoever works for you.
  • Upgrade Fortune Hunter - Go to Yellow Turban Conflict (Zhang Jiao's story stage) on Chaos Difficulty in Free Mode, rescue Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang and go to the southwest corner (south of Zhang Bao) where Peons spawn infinitely.  Massacre 1,500+ and then go to town on all the officers in the stage.  Repeat as needed; Bare Minimum Level 10, Recommended 15+.
  • Farm Farm Farm - Go to Shu's Missions in Free Mode and pick Capture of Wei - Wei Forces (or find it in the Xuchang maps, maybe).  Equipped with Fortune Hunter and the Bow of Destruction, you should be able to wrangle 1-4 Star Weapons from the 11 officers present per run.  Let Liu Bei kill you to immediately restart the stage.  You'll retain your Star weapons and save a lot of loading time.  Repeat until the trophy dings!
As another side update, I got my Weapon Collector trophy so yay me!  Also Bond-Grinding is definitely number one most grindy, awful thing in DW8.  No question.

okay, I do still wonder sometimes why I do this to myself

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Remember, Remember

For those curious, it's pronounced Eece:  Memories of Cell-set-ah.  It's also quite good.

Way back when the Silver Anniversary Edition was announced, something in the back of my head piped up.

"You want that."

"Well yeah, I know, but-"

"You want that."

"I do."

So I decided I was going to get it.  I had not played an Ys game prior to my purchase, even though I was given ample opportunity to do so, considering three (four, technically?) of them are on the Playstation Network and are fully compatible with the Playstation Vita.  In truth, they were games that I always -wanted- to play, but never pulled the trigger on.  The hilarious part is that the day Memories came out, Ys I & II Chorincles, Oath in Felghana and Seven all went half-off, so I went from owning none of the Ys games to owning just about every one of them that I feasibly -can- own at the moment.  (Origins is PC-only and we all know how well that works out for me)  Of course, I still -hadn't- played Memories at that point, so I spent a ridiculous sum of money combined on Ys games on that same day without having an inkling to their quality in my own opinion.  It was a risk.

If Memories of Celceta is anything to go by, it was a risk well worth taking.  I've been spoiled with Action RPGs, I believe, as I always seem to pick the ones that nobody else would pick right off.  Phantasy Star Portable 2 (built from Phantasy Star Online, of course), Soul Sacrifice and NieR are probably my top favorite Action RPGs that I can think of at the moment, in terms of pure gameplay.  (Yakuza and Sleeping Dogs are more Beat-em-Ups than anything)  There's just something very...fitting for all three games that I enjoy in a way that only translates into pure Action games rather than other Action RPGS.  (Like REVENGEANCE and the two I just mentioned, of course)  However, Memories of Celceta manages to encapsulate this type of thing as well, and it does just work for me.

Perhaps it just feels responsive in a way that I get.  Which is a weird thing to question or quantify, but when I see reviews mention Assassin's Creed being responsive and LittleBigPlanet as -not- responsive, well....I sort of start to question what -I'm- doing differently.  In the end, I think it's just that I just approach games differently than some, which leads to a different playstyle which just sort of compounds these types of issues.  So all I can say is that it's snappy and fast-paced, I tap X to dodge roll, I slam square thrice for a mini-combo that I end with Rising Slash from a press of R and Circle.  For now, at least.  I find it a bit difficult to get back into the basics after I was, indeed, introduced to a little bit more of the complexities of the game itself that due to a misunderstanding between myself, three hours of sleep and a Vita system update to look at my profile information caused.  (As in, in my haze, I neglected to switch to Ys and save before I updated, meaning it closed the game....which hadn't been saved for -hours-)

Memories of Celceta is the type of game, however, where that quite large loss of progress wasn't an issue.  I would've liked my other skill back that I learned in that time.  I would've liked the better gear back that I finally got after finishing the four quests available at the start.  I would've -liked- to not have to do that again, however, I was not at all bothered that I did.  Memories is just -fun- to play, full stop.  Thus I was fine with playing that part over again with no fuss - in fact it was just as much fun as the first time through.  That's how you know you've got something special, that's for sure.

As far as the actual Limited Edition content goes, it's pretty great, actually.  The cloth map is nice and large and begging me to actually be put up somewhere, but I would have to frame it first and all that stuff.  I haven't had a chance to listen to the CDs just yet, but they are definitely CDs, and they come with 64 songs from the entire Ys franchise....which is damn impressive and almost worth the extra money by itself, I'm sure.  The bulk of them are Arranged versions rather than the original sound version but...well, in most cases, I'm going to consider that a good thing, since while music on classic systems is nice, it's not great for everything.  The, I imagine as I admittedly don't know how to properly read one, but it's rather nice looking as well.  And the 120-page strategy guide/manual/journal/art book is clever and beautiful, being something that I want to look at all the time, but don't want to ruin anything for myself - I would have preferred hard-bound, of course, but I won't be picky.  It was definitely worth the extra cash, like all the LE's I've gotten this year.  Publishers are really on the ball with these damn things lately.

that soundtrack shocked the hell out of me - that's how you do it, Aksys/Marvelous AQL!

Friday, December 13, 2013


I'm a bit weak-willed sometimes.  This can be bad, but not always.  Personally, I'm chalking this one up to "not a bad thing" for this specific instance.

I wanted to be excited for Terraria on Vita, so I was!  And then it took forever to hear anything about it and other versions were announced and released so I sort of lost faith in it because it seemed like a lost cause.  Knowing that the release date was not only soon, but in fact next week shocked the hell out of me and inspired a bit of hope, but I wasn't about to let myself get too into it.  Maybe the port was shoddy.  Maybe it was lacking content.  Maybe -something-.  I didn't expect my opinion to sway back towards hopeful, really.  Though I could see ways that it -could- happen.  Seeing a Vita with a Terraria scene made -in- Terraria -on- a Vita was not one of those things, but goddamnit if it's not what pushed me back over the edge here.

Of course, seeing this Playstation (Europe) blog post for Terraria helps.  It mentions how the controls have been mapped and tweaked to make sense for the Vita's control scheme, re-iterates that it's cross-play with the PS3 version and notes that -some- of the 1.2 patch content is in the game along with -all- of the original game's content.  So I'm not expecting a slouch port.  I haven't heard any rumblings of problems of the technical side yet either.  What this means is that, well, I do believe I am allowing myself to hope again.  And I am going to be buying this ASAP on Tuesday, provided I'm able to do so.  And that....that's just awesome.

wanna build so many things and just shape the land and hnnnngg

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ambition Mode? Ambition Mode.

I'd put it off long enough, going into the unproven territory that was Ambition Mode because I had a rather...sinking feeling about it, looking at the trophy descriptions that associated itself with the mode.   To be fair, most of them were founded, even if not completely or as -bad- as I mad them out to be in my head.  That isn't to say it was a walk in the park or it wasn't grindy as hell, however, because believe me, it wasn't and it was in that order.  So of course I'm going to put aside a little time to delve into to intricacies of the system for any of you reading this who decide that you want to challenge it yourself.  Or because you just enjoy me being over-analytical or what have you in regards to video game things.

First off, you're playing Ambition Mode for the trophies.  Let's not kid ourselves.  There's nothing in the confines of Ambition Mode that you cannot get easily in Story or Free Mode, aside from very, very easy experience, but even that's a bit of a moot point in the long run.  So, you're opening up Ambition Mode and playing it for the trophies.  Let's take a look at which ones, then.
  • Facility Construction
  • Facility Expansion
  • The Birth of a Leader
  • Friends to the End
  • The Path of Ambition
  • A Collector of Rarities
  • A Majestic Manner
  • The Height of Prosperity
  • The Ties That Bind Us
  • The Land of Plenty
  • Heaven and Earth
  • Unwavering Ambition
There are also a few trophies that aren't Ambition Mode's per se, but you need to play it (extensively) to get them.
  • Animal Collector
  • Vocal Enthusiast (Oh boy, this one)
  • Movie Collector
So, yes, of the games forty trophies (not counting the Plat), fifteen of them are tied up in Ambition Mode in one form or another, so really, if you're playing Ambition Mode, it's for them.   Ambition Mode is shallow and forgettable enough in the scheme of things that you don't -need- to go into it and though you can, you'll likely be disappointed by what you discover within.  It's not that Ambition Mode is bad in so many words or ideas, but it's just that it's the same sort of set up as it was in Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends and even Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce.  It's a framing device that pretends to move and grow with your actions, but to say that it does so in a meaningful, vibrant or dynamic way is being a bit too generous.  Rather, it simply feels...mechanical.

The end-all goal of Ambition Mode is to build a Tongquetai to house the Emperor who will be attracted to your lands because the Tongquetai is going to be magnificent.  And yes, if you're googling Tongquetai, you're wondering just what in the fuck I'm talking about because the majority of the entries seem to be about a movie called "The Assassins" which is exactly not what you want the Emperor around!  Of course, it's not some sort of meta-commentary or anything, the building is just, of course, some really nice looking mansion deal.  Anyway, to get the materials to build the Tongquetai, you have to first build up facilities in a little poor start-up town, of course, and they will eventually...just sort of -have- the materials somehow.  Just go with it.

So to get a Tongquetai, you have to build Facilities.  How do you build Facilities?  Well...actually you crush your enemies and force them to fight for you recruit them to your cause.  But how do you build -up- Facilities (which is the important part)?  You gather materials.  There are two types of Materials in Ambition Mode:  Weapon and Facility and I'll give you two guesses as to which one you should be paying attention to.  This is what you are going to spend 80% of your time in Ambition Mode fretting over, is getting goddamn Materials for your facilities to level them up for their benefits and also just to get the Tongquetai so you're able to focus on the even more grindy bits of the mode.  Because yes, getting Materials and in fact just getting your Tongquetai/the City built up is the least grindy portion of the entire subset of the game.  Wrap your head around that one.

Now, this is a good time to stop for a moment and breakdown the -other- things you need to 'collect' for Ambition Mode, and the perils thereof.  On top of Materials to build up Facilities, you need Allies to necessitate their construction in the first place and Fame to allow you to recruit more Allies because apparently they're your posse and you can only have a big posse if you're famous and it's not like you get famous for -having- a big posse or that fame and followers come hand-in-hand or anything silly.  Anyway, I'm sure you can see the sort of feed-the-meter logistics at work, and it's not going to surprise you in the least when I say that the missions in Ambition Mode are geared towards getting you the specified resources in direct transfusions of 15-30 minute battles.  (That usually take anywhere from 1-20 minutes to complete)  As such, you have missions that grant you Fame moreso than the others, missions that grant you more enemies to defeat and thus more Allies to recruit, and missions where Materials drop more often.

There's a problem with all of this, however.  Honestly, there's a problem with nearly every facet of this whole set-up, unfortunately, and it's almost hilarious in its own ineptitude.  KOEI commits a cardinal sin against common sense in regards to collecting and building that's so basic it makes my head hurt.  Ambition Mode's mission rewards aren't that great on their own because the goal is for you to run through multiple in a sitting, since you can chain battles.  This is important to know.  Over the course of 3-5 battles, of course, you're going to have a -lot- of gains to your totals instead of just the piddly one battle.  However, there are several times when this is inadvisable to do.  Like, say, whenever you fill up one of the meters.  Because you have to physically go back to camp, wreck your streak, just so the game can show you a building going up and saying "Yay, now you can gain more fame arbitrarily!" before you can actually gain more fame.  So...chaining battles becomes less a necessity for actually building up your town and more solely a necessity for fucking trophies.

Let's get back to those, shall we?  Specifically the ones titled The Birth of a Leader, The Path of Ambition and Unwavering Ambition, which are gained from doing 5, 20 and 50 chain battles respectively.  Note that at any point before actually finishing the City and whatnot when you don't even have to worry about Fame and all that, doing 20 battles will push you to your meter in at least one category, meaning you're wasting a -lot- of time in all reality.  This is to say nothing of the fact that the Animal Collector trophy is -also- tangled in the Chain Battle mess since you have to do 30, 60, 90 and 100 chain battles for four unique animals that count towards the trophy you get for collecting animals.  They are Shadow Runner, Hex Mark, Red Hare and the War Elephant respectively and of those, Red Hare is the one that is worth it, meaning a lot of people who don't -know- what's up will get Red Hare and then immediately fucking quit doing chain battles because they're terrible and discover that "whoops, you were ten battles away from never having to chain battle again!"

The really funny bit about this all is that because of the silliness with Battles in general and their drops, and Chaining Battles, you could end up spending a lot of time on the Battle portion of the mode when really the most lucrative thing you could do is just focus on your town as much as possible.  The only thing you really -need- from battles is Allies and Fame which you're going to earn over the course of everything else -anyway-, so you don't really have to make special outings for them specifically.  Materials, however, are another matter entirely.  You -could- spend about a minute total with loading and actually doing a mission to end up with ~2-6 Facility Materials, or you could be smart.  Being smart requires you to have the Barracks (one of the core buildings), the Stables (optional, really, but necessary for max yield), the Farmer (again, -technically- optional, but you want it) and the Merchant which is another core building.  Once you have these, you are ready to begin farming.

One of the nice things about the Merchant, or the only nice thing about it I should say, is that it lets you exchange Materials for the other variety of it.  So Weapon Materials for Facility Materials and vice versa.  One weapon material exchanges to two facility materials, which is very good and it works the other way around for weapon materials again which is less good, but you don't -need- weapon materials.  What this ratio means is that what you -want- are Weapon Materials because they are vital for your Facility Material gathering.  Your Barracks allows you to send troops off to other areas from whence they will return with things, specifically Materials of a certain type.  That means you want to send them off to Weapon Material places.  Similarly, feeding the animals in the Stables gives you materials that are sometimes weapon and sometimes facility so either way you win, technically.  The supervisor that you assign at the Farmer also has a chance of giving you up to ten materials as well.

So the routine, essentially, is going to your Barracks, getting materials and sending them out again, going to the Stables, getting Materials, going to the Farmer to check if the Supervisor gives you materials and then going to the Merchant.  All told, you have a chance to have something like 24-30 Weapon Materials from the three places you visit around your town which translates into 48-60 Facility Materials.  Low-level buildings require 1-2 Materials to level up and higher leveled ones (40-50 generally, 50 is max Level) require 9-10.  Either way, you can make a nice dent with 48-60 Materials and the time it takes to gather them is negligible.  Especially compared to the minute or so that you'll spend just getting half a dozen from actually having to -work- for them.  Regardless, the one tip that has to be echoed for this process is for the love of God, don't fall for KOEI's Trap Card.

The Merchant, as one of the four core buildings, will need to be leveled up to max for the Tongquetai to be built.  So you, naturally, will probably just go "Well, I'll do that first" because why not?  Well, you don't want to do that because at level 50, the Merchent goes into late-game mode by assuming you don't need Facility Materials anymore and thus drops the exchange rate between Materials to 1:1.  Good for getting Weapon Materials, bad for getting Facility Materials.  It will cause you to need to go at this twice as long and that's something you want to avoid at all costs.  I'm sure I don't have to tell you that.  So yes, the moral of the story is Don't Level up the Merchant to 50 until the very end.  You'll thank me for that.

So you do Chain Battles for Animals for Animal Collector, you gather up allies and fame and materials to eventually upgrade the town to full (which gains you Facility Construction and Facility Expansion for your first of each respectively), gaining the trophies mentioned a few paragraphs ago as well as A Collector of Rarities (for completing all the Duels which show up every four missions until you've beaten them all), A Majestic Manner (Max Fame), The Height of Prosperity (All the Facilities built), The Ties that Bind Us (all 720 allies recruited) and Heaven and Earth (Finally complete the Tongquetai and welcome the Emperor to your city).  Doing that will get you the Ending Credits for Ambition Mode which counts as a movie for the Movie Collector trophy, given you've already beaten the Story Modes completely to see each Kingdom's Historical and Hypothetical Credits.

That leaves you with The Land of Plenty which you get after gaining 1,000 Materials will do eventually.  It also leaves you with Vocal Enthusiast, and Friends to the End.  Friends to the End is easy enough - gain max bond with one of the 78 other characters in the game, which you will do by toting them around from battle to battle as your bodyguard.  Vocal Enthusiast is one of those tricky, roundabout trophies, however.  You see, when you get max bond with an officer, you unlock some of their voice clips in the Gallery.  Which is well and good, but you don't unlock them -all- for that character, because you see, what you have to do is max bond with that character.


Once as a Male officer, once as a Female Officer.  Vocal Enthusiast requires you to have unlocked every voice clip in the game.  Which means gaining Max Bond with Every Officer in the game.  Twice.  Remember how I said Material Grinding was the least grindy bit of Ambition mode?  There you go.

So yes, Ambition Mode is....well, it's honestly a neat concept, but goddamn if KOEI does not how to properly introduce Sim elements to the game.  Which is hilarious when you consider that KOEI fucking specializes in Sim games.  But that's just one of the things that makes KOEI the company that it is.  The terrible, awful, no good, very bad company that it is.  That I will continuously buy products from because goddamnit, nobody else is making them.

Vocal Enthusiast is a bronze trophy, by the way, just as one last 'fuck you' from KOEI

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oh. Well Then.

Not too terribly long, I got all bent out of shape over Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, since it was reported that the PS4/XBone versions were going to be digital-only and that's kind of a bad thing.  For reasons that I went into with a lot of words that ended up boiling down to "The Gaming world just isn't ready for this nigh-evangelised 'Digital Future' but more importantly I'm most definitely not ready for it, goddamnit" because I really really want to play every single MGS game ever always.  All of that remains true, of course, because Internet Infrastructure has not magically become better in the weeks since, nor is it showing any signs of magically coming to ultimate power any time soon either.  Unfortunately and fortunately.  (Since even if Infrastructure got better, I'd probably still be fucking stuck)

Good news has come out for everyone, however, as not only does Ground Zeroes have a release date for North America, but it has pricing and release details that are a bit different than previously reported for good ol' Europe.  First off, the game comes out March 18th, 2014 across PS3 and 4, the 360 and the XBone.  PC players...get to keep waiting for REVENGEANCE, I assume.  (Please buy it when it comes out.)  Much like Europe, there's a bit of a price variance not only between current and last gen platforms, but physical and digital as well.  The PS3 and 360 versions retail at $30 for Physical and $20 Digital which is pretty much what I figured would happen in that it's exactly the same as the European price, except they switched denomination markers.  Sorry Europe!

The good bit comes in, however, when you see that, yes, the Digital Versions for the PS4 and XBone versions of Ground Zeroes are $30 for some reason, but there are actual physical versions of the game as well which will retail for $40, a full $20 more for a prettier version of the game on a disk instead of a digital PS3 purchase.  In another complete 180 from previous reportings, there's apparently going to be something extra in the Physical versions, though if that's just the Next-Gen ones, I don't even know.  Regardless, there's going to be a box with a PS4 disk in it that has Ground Zeroes on it that I am going to one day stare at and debate whether or not I should purchase it.  On the one hand, I'm very, very glad that it's going to be something I -can- buy and play, but on the other hand, it's a prologue that could be shorter than the Tanker section of MGS2, and it's $40 when a digital version of the PS3 version is half that for reasons, and while I -want- to play it in stunning visuals with the Dualshock 4 and all that, I'll need to convince myself a little more.  Also, I'll be concerned about a package deal for Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain whenever that ends up coming out.  (Likely around a year later, I'm guessing)

Still, it's good to know that I have the option if I decided to go that route because I likely will because I have no will-power.  Though I have to wonder what the extra bit in the cases is going to be, because I highly doubt it's going to be the Exclusive DLCs mentioned for both systems.  The Deja Vu mission for Playstation and the Jamais Vu DLC for XBox both look great, even though I swing more towards the Jamais Vu one because REVENGEANCE, and it kills me to think that I -won't- get to play it.  It's...not the same as more REVENGEANCE, of course, but it's close.  At least Konami is still acknowledging the game and hopefully the hopes of a sequel will end up panning out, because I will buy the absolute fuck out of it.  On the other hand, more 'exclusive' DLC for the Boxed versions on top of platform-exclusive DLC?  That's...that's going a bit crazy with it.  Though we are not exactly surprised, I should think.

crazy conspiracy theory, "David Hayter Voicepack DLC" - it'll never happen, but goddamnit if we're not all hoping

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tomb Raider - The Quandary

With yesterday's official announcement of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, I had a brief thought about picking the game up with my own Playstation 4 purchase, since January was the intended get of that as well.  I thought about playing through the game for a third time, but on this new console, and partaking of all the same things which I was already aware of, that I'd already tasted of.  I thought of how good the game would look during particular scenes in 1080p rather than...I guess 720p on the PS3?  I honestly don't know what resolution it was.  Really, I thought of every moment of fun I had with Tomb Raider and the possibility of doing so again on the PS4 for a price.

I'm....not sold.  It's a weird barrier of entry that I didn't know I had, especially since I have gleefully partaken in so many HD Collections thus far into my gaming life with the advent of them on the PS3 and Vita.  But thinking about 100% completing Tomb Raider -again-, but this time on the PS4 where it looks better but has all the exact same content with nothing added on....just gets me thinking about paying the PS3 version again since I already have that.  I can try to validate it by saying that enough time has passed for the HD Collections, that they routinely offer a bit more content (at least trophies for all the 'ugh' you can throw at me for that, but also "Making of" and sorts of things that I don't believe were in the originals) or even that it's simply harder to hook up my PS2 instead of just playing it on my PS3, as lazy as that sounds.  It's certainly why I bought Persona 4 Golden for my Vita (extra content) rather than the version of Persona 4 that I owned for my PS2 for years prior and never played.

Part of the problem is simply how off-guard Squeenix was caught when it came to Tomb Raider and the expectations thereof.  For some odd reason, Squeenix anticipated the Multiplayer of the game would be a huge hit and that's why the DLC was staggered towards that rather than having at least a few people working on Single-Player DLC to add more tombs to the game or something along those lines.  The Multiplayer was, as we know, awful by most stretches and definitions of the word and thus the inclusion of the Multiplayer-centric DLC in the Definitive Edition has almost negative value to me and most people.  Not only is it unwanted, but it's almost representative of the fact that we never got, nor will we ever get single-player DLC for the game that was by and large fantastic in single-player.  It's not fair, of course, but that's just how it falls sometimes.

By all accounts it seems that the game will retail for $60 rather than....$40 or so, as a re-release might generally run at.  Most will just say "Well, duh, Squeenix" and some will claim that adding TressFX and native 1080p and all that, as well as inclusion of the DLC necessitates the 'extra' $20, but the fact remains that many, many people bought Tomb Raider for $60 already  Some are more than happy to do so again and I tip my hat to those people because even though I loved Tomb Raider, you clearly love it more than I.  And that's great!  It's a great game and deserves all the support in the world, it's simply that I cannot justify throwing another full price at it.  I'm not sure I could even justify it for Metal Gear Rising:  REVENGEANCE, even with all the DLC on-disk.  I would be tempted - I own the game and the DLC (but haven't downloaded it) - but I think I would even refuse that at $60, perhaps even $40.  And you all know how much I loved REVENGEANCE.

That is not to say that I won't eventually own Tomb Raider for my PS4 - I will.  I will be compelled to eventually for the lush visuals and the engaging gameplay and the wonderful character progression of Lara herself.  I will be compelled to once again 100% the game and, if there's a separate trophy list, potentially even bother with Platinuming it as I intend on doing with the PS3 version.  (The opposition, of course, is the dregs of Multiplayer)  I just won't be doing it Day-One.  I won't be throwing down $60 for Tomb Raider again until there is a 2 or a subtitle after those key words.  Even a single bit of new single-player content would have had me questioning this decision but Squeenix has made it easy to stand firm.  Though I still do find myself regretting that.

I really do kinda wanna play Tomb Raider all over again though

Friday, December 6, 2013

Yes, I'm Talking About Dynasty Warriors 8 Again

Today, I have finally beaten the final Story Mode mission contained within Dynasty Warriors 8 and by my approximation, I'm roughly 35% complete with the game now.  Four full story modes and 9 or 10 unaffiliated "Other" Story Missions (basically taking the "Other" characters who are famous but not among the ranks of Wei, Wu, Shu or Later Wei/Jin and taking an a-historical account of a famous battle of their in most cases, generally one that they -lost- historically) all told.  The four story modes also had branching paths at the 2/3rds mark, meaning when you got to the branch you were...half done.  Since you had to do -both- branches eventually and combined they were usually like eight missions or so on their own.  All of that is pretty much only 35% of the game in terms of 'completeness' which I'm gauging by the Trophy List for convenience.

Basically what I'm saying is that Dynasty Warriors 8 is surprisingly packed with content.  Perhaps too much so.

With Story mode done completely, as in I've unlocked all branches, beaten every stage and gotten every star for performing special tasks (Which I don't think is actually necessary for a trophy in the case of missions where it's not necessary to do the star to unlock a branch, but, eh, completionist) I have Free mode and Ambition mode left ahead of me, neither of which I've even strayed into at all.  Free mode is unexpectedly daunting for what it honestly is:  in Free Mode, you just get to pick a battle, pick a side and play any character in it, meaning if you want to be Sun Jian fighting for Shu in the defense of Chengdu from the forces of Later Wei, then have at it, you can totes do that.  The daunting part comes into play when you realize there are a -ton- of stages that are mostly unique maps (granted, maps like Luoyang Castle and Xucheng get used for several missions, but you don't tend to notice right away) and you have to play each one at least once for one of the shiny silver trophies the game has to offer.  I'm -pretty sure- that means only once total, not only once as each possible faction, because the latter would be fucking insanity.

Ambition Mode is a complete unknown to me, however.  I can make an educated guess and say that it's likely like Legend Mode from Dynasty Warriors 7:  Xtreme Legends which I have bitched about in the past, but with less of a finite structure, given that there are trophies for winning 5, 20 and 100 battles straight within Ambition mode.  I'm...not entirely sure this is a good thing nor can I be certain it's something that will be unwelcome.  A bulk of the trophies come from Ambition mode, in all honesty which is a little strange - not only does Ambition mode seem to be something that would be in Xtreme Legends, but there's so few trophies attached to the actual Story mode (directly, the collection stuff necessitates them regardless) given the obvious effort put into it.  Honestly, it's almost a little disheartening, but on the other hand I'm hoping that much harder that Ambition mode proves to be worth it.

Now that I've played the story through, however, I've gotten a feel for the new characters and I gotta say, by and large, they're pretty good.  Jia Chong is top-tier along with Guan Xing (for his musou and rage musou) and Zhang Chunhua, though not especially for her moveset.  Li Dian and Wen Yang, however, are unfortunately bad on....well, most counts, really.  Their movesets are boring (Dian's is slow as well) and their characterizations are more or less off-putting.  Wen Yang is just bland and uninspired (mild play-ups to him being Later Wei's Zhao Yun when he has nowhere near the charisma needed) where Li Dian is intentionally 'look how weird I am' that it's frustrating.  The other new additions run somewhere in the middle skewed more to the Jia Chong/Guan Xing side, thankfully, though Zuo Ci is disappointingly not as much of a beast as he was in Dynasty Warriors 5.

I'm still finding myself impressed with DW8 even if I'm not just blown away like I was with DW7.  Since 8 focused on a lot of refinement and addition, or at least tries to, it's obvious that it'd be more subtle with its great things, but they're still there and they're still great.  I almost cannot believe yet that every character is unique, something that I've literally been wanting from the series since I first started playing it, and it's finally happened.  I can only imagine that it's going to remain like this going forward - no real reason to migrate Sima Shi back to a regular rapier now that he's got a Lightning Sword and no reason to give Zhurong Throwing Knives again now that she's got her Boomerang back, after all.  Which isn't to say that I anticipate everyone keeping their -exact- weapons for Dynasty Warriors 9, just that I don't see them cloning anyone back up.  Huang Gai in particular is probably going to get his Cudgel back at -some- point since I don't believe anyone is just running around with a one-handed club.  And I can always dream about Pang De just using a goddamn coffin in battle.  Maybe one day.

it's wild that I'm already thinking about a Dynasty Warriors 9, because good lord that's a high number comparatively

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Well, This is a Strange Problem

It's been no secret that the last couple of years have not been kind to me and I have not particularly dealt with it all that well.  I mean, it's probably not all -that- apparent through just my posts on here, but I'm sure you have parsed as much if you're a regular and it's been a constant source of frustration for me...which is a pity since most of my issues are also frustration-related.  Regardless, this year has been worse by far which is punctuated by "The Great Mogs Funk of 2013" in which Funk does not mean good things, but rather bad things like not posting for days in a row and that sort of thing.  Also the mini "Resurgence of the Great Mogs Funk" which I hadn't honestly 'announced' or declared or anything, but kind of thought it with slight disapproval in myself.

I'm not saying it's fixed.  What I am saying is that I was in the equivalent of stormy waters at the edge of a sheer cliffside which means that I felt kind of stuck and going under which is a bit cliché, but whatever.  And what I'm saying is that recently a rope dropped down and goddamned if I am not clinging to it.  Who knows what's going to happen with this rope.  Maybe it'll fray and drop me back down at some point or maybe it'll help me get over the cliff, after which I can take the rope, I was going somewhere with that, but that part of the analogy/metaphor doesn't really translate.  But basically, as you can tell, I'm kind of like a shark in that I just have to make analogies.  Except I'm not really like a shark because the analogy I used was about drowning and goddamnit anyway

The thing is, I've felt better lately.  Ever since I got that 'rope' dropped down to me, I've been really pulling myself up and feeling better and like I can really breathe again.  What is has also introduced me to, however, is the weird feeling where I'm just finally happy again and I don't want to do anything but sit back and bask in the happiness because it's been a while.  Which means that even though I'm in particularly good moods, I find it hard to actually sit down, focus and write up a post even though I do legitimately have things I can write about.  I could write more stuff about Dynasty Warriors 8, for example, including a dissertation as to why implementing a system which has you freely gathering weapons and then introducing a hard cap to the amount of weapons you can have is dumb, especially with no options to directly compare without just moving back and forth and also not letting you just discard/sell weapons outright at victory screen or something.

Still, I do like to share these types of things in the vague sense at least, since I like being straight with you fine folks who make a habit of reading my ramblings.  So when I'm not going to be able to post or when I'm having troubles doing so, I like know, say that instead of leaving you hanging.  I'd rather that it just wouldn't happen, of course, but when it does, you just gotta figure out a way to roll with it.  Hopefully soon I'll normalize again and be able to actually write things and whatnot like I'm back to usual, but until then, I'll do what I can.  Since, well, that's about it!  Thanks again for sticking around while I go through these difficulties!

seriously though, I'm doing pretty good finally

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dynasty Warriors 8 is Damn Good

After my foray into Beyond: Two Souls that ended with me liking it, but not necessarily ready to jump back into it for the trophies, I turned to my backlog, specifically games from this year, and decided that I should probably play one of them.  Preferably one that I hadn't played yet.  There's an embarrassingly high amount of games that could be included in this, but in the end I decided on going to my comfort zone because I need comfort these days.  So I grabbed Dynasty Warriors 8 which I purchased way back when it came out in July, unwrapped it (yes, it was still in plastic, yes that kind of made me a little ill) and tossed it into my PS3 with the intent on cutting swaths through Feudal China.  Something I've done countless times before and will do countless times yet.

I got that with Dynasty Warriors 8.  I got that in spades.  Originally, you'll remember that I really liked Dynasty Warriors 7 because it changed up the formula immensely, bringing more and more cinematic bits into it and really incorporating them in a worthwhile way, while also completely overhauling the weapon system with weapon switching and such.  I eventually concluded, though perhaps not in a post, that Dynasty Warriors 7 is the best Dynasty Warriors since 3 which is the absolute best through nostalgia-rimmed glasses at least (since I haven't played it in a long time).  8 was shaping up to be 7, but with more stuff, which by all metrics should have put it at 'better' than 7 itself.

I'm not so sure I would put it on that level, however.  Initially, I definitely would not have, but the more I play it, the more I start appreciating it and the effort that went into it, while also slowly realizing awesome things about it.  Some things are a straight step backwards - the game is overall less cinematic and less story-focused if for the simple fact that the little text-dumps in-between missions are not narrated for the first time since...ever and the text is rather small to boot, and you can no longer equip new weapons mid-battle thanks to the Rock/Paper/Scissors mechanic they've almost arbitrarily added to weapons now - but everything else is either maintained or improved upon.  Including one thing that's like a fucking revelation after playing the games for as long as I have been.

You see, in previous iterations, there have always been some characters that simply have the same exact moveset since they share a tenuous weapon choice.  So Cao Cao would play almost exactly like Sun Jian who would play almost exactly like Liu Bei because they all wielded a Longsword and while there was some personalization, it wasn't a -lot-.  It's been in the games with varying degrees with Dynasty Warriors 6 being the worst of it where there were honestly maybe a dozen movesets spread across the 50-some characters in the roster.  In Dynasty Warriors 7, they tried to mitigate the clone issue by assigning "EX" attacks, which were attacks unique to that character with their preferred weapon.  So even though Liu Shan, Sima Shi and Yuan Shao all fought with a Rapier, they had different EX attacks assigned to a different charge, not to mention the different musou attacks.  Dynasty Warriors 8 has a more...elegant solution that is almost mind-blowing in the realization that they've finally done it.

There are no clones.  Everyone has their own weapon type which in turn has its own moveset with nary an overlap between them.  Liu Shan wields a Rapier where Sima Shi wields a "Lightning Sword" where Yuan Shao wields an "Extension Blade" which are all -basically- rapiers, but entirely different weapons in their own right with different moves and the whole spread.  Cao Cao wields a General's Swod where Sun Jian wields a Nine-Rings Blade where Sun Quan wields a Sword (seriously, just basic sword) where Sima Zhao wields a Striking Sword and they're all -wildly- different as you might expect from my previous mentions.  It's honestly a little surreal, having a scenario in which everyone has their own weapon, but it's been something that has needed to happen for a while and it's almost astounding that they finally managed it.  It's strangely liberating even.

All in all, Dynasty Warriors 8 attempts to be a complete refinement of 7 and in a lot of ways, it truly is - maps are nice, large and details, character models look nice (except in cutscenes where they're very...plastic-y), there's like seven weapons of each type and that whole non-clone thing is wonderful.  While it's a step back in a couple important areas, it's not -that- bad, even if it's enough to allow me to continue lofting Dynasty Warriors 7 up high for naught but the best of accolades.  It's enough to get me hyped up for Dynasty Warriors 8:  Xtreme Legends...which probably won't get a physical release over here.  More than a little depressing seeing as I can't reliably download a single goddamn gig these days thanks to what I'm assuming is Playstation 4 traffic. has Zhu Ran, so I might just have to find a way.

when I realized that there were no cloned movesets, I literally had no goddamn clue what to do, it was that shocking