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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Upcoming Purchases - March - June

I've never really been the type to actually sit down and think about my purchases other than going, "I want that game, when does it come out?  Okay, I will get it then or after." and then, well, doing that.  I sort of mentally budget things, sure, but what I'm getting at is that I never really plan these things.  So I usually find out the date and then when it's two weeks or so til then, I go, "Oh, wait, that's coming out Already?!"  It's pretty good times.  So this is me putting down some of the games I'm anticipating buying sometime, or at least considering it, so I have a reference.

Releases:  March 22, 2011

It's been well-established here that I am a fan of the Dynasty Warriors series - well, most of KOEI's - so that I'm planning on getting this is not surprising in the least.  Or at least, it shouldn't be.  I can understand people's complaints about the games:  They rarely vary from throwing you on a map to kill hundreds of Chinese soldiers while narrating the same story of an ancient novel based on an even more ancient war.  But, well, I like that.  The whole of it all is rather interesting if you really get into the story of it, which admittedly is less prominent than most other games would dare, and seeing the different nuances and ways about the same occurrences they take is fun to see.

However, new to the series, is the addition of a whole new kingdom; that of Jin, the kingdom that was the final product of the war that unified China in the 3rd Century.  While the games have usually focused more on the infancy of the Three Kingdoms war (The Yellow Turban Revolt, Dong Zhuo's treachery and the fall of the Han, etc.) and then usually tailored the stories ending to whichever kingdom you were fighting for unifying China.  However, in reality, it was Wei that ended up winning, but was then turned into Jin when a different family took power from the Caos.  That Jin is in the game says more of a focus will be placed on the latter half of the war, the subsequent dividing of the unified Kingdom, and the reunifying of said Kingdom, which should be really interesting.

Releases:  March 8, 2011

This one completely surprised me when I looked for the release date, and, considering I'm still a bit iffy on it, I won't be picking it up right away.  Down the line, though, when it's cheap?  Definitely.  You'll notice that this is also a KOEI-Tecmo game, one built by the Dynasty Warriors team (I can only assume), and also a Hack-n-Slash game in the same vein.  Of course, it is a bit different, much bloodier and gorier than other Warriors games, and decidedly more character-focused.  Instead of picking your character and going about your ways, your character is dictated by chapter, and force, covering different heroes from the Ten Year Trojan War.

The Warriors franchises have grown over quite a few games:  Dynasty, Samurai, Bladestorm, Gundam, and Orochi, not to mention injecting a similar style into Fist of the North Star with the game, Ken's Rage.  So this is just another attempt to branch out, and honestly I'm all for it.  Of course, I am a fan of the gameplay where some aren't; I just can't resist a good brawler or hack-n-slasher, but seeing all these different takes on historical periods (Of course, omitting the Gundam, Orochi and FotNS games with this statement) is always entertaining and serves to lay a groundwork for me personally when I go in and start researching.  If it wasn't obvious, I am a bit of a History buff after all.  I hope it does well enough to continue encouraging this widening of their horizons.

Releases:  June 7, 2011

I loved inFamous.  That right there is quite possibly a really large under-statement, but I cannot emphasize it enough.  I spent so much time playing the game, and I know I beat it at least 4 times, possibly more.  I'm just an absolute sucker for superhero stories, and even more of a sucker for Electricity-themed things; the manipulation of it and the like.  So having the origin story of an Electric Superhero as a video game?  Yeah, this was made for me, or at least it felt like it, especially while playing it.  Even when I was shard-hunting and fighting through the third island with enemies everywhere.  And that's just because the game itself was just so good, I could play it and have enough fun that I didn't even care about some of the complaints others had.

Some of those complaints even seem ironed out in the sequel, namely the animations which, admittedly, weren't all that great.  They seem a lot better from what I've heard; I've intentionally let myself out of the loop on this game since I want to see how they can surprise me, as I'm understandably expecting big things.  I know they'll be able to deliver, of course, but it's fun to have the anticipation and my own notions while going blindly into the game to see where the middle-ground lies.

Releases:  March 15, 2011

Do I have to put anything here?  I don't think I do.

But just because, here's a video.  It's called the Story Trailer for a reason, though, mind, so if you'd rather have no spoilers going in, feel free to skip it.  Even though the Narrator's voice rules.

Releases:  March 22, 2011
Now, Dissidia was actually a pretty good game, despite it practically saying "Fanwankery" all over the cover, and despite the fact that it was, in essence, a fighting game, where I almost universally dislike fighting games.  I guess it's because the fights aren't that drawn out; it's not necessarily about whittling your foe's health bar down, but rather taking the more RPG-ish approach of building your attack and dealing it.  Raw numbers reign, as your brave is just how much damage you do.  And there's enough other RPG-ish elements in it to make it feel like a rather good blend of the genres.  Equipment, items, summons, traveling, the grind, all RPG staples right there in your fighting game, with a few other things thought out nicely for a portable game.

New characters does not a new game make, of course, and even though that's a big focus of Duodecim, there's other new things, including a whole new map system for the story modes.  Gone are the barren chess board type maps that you have to run through, replaced by a more decidedly Final Fantasy feeling World Map, at least from the screenshots, that's what I've gleamed.  Coming with that is a whole new mechanic of assists, something that will surely add a little more strategy to your play, not to mention a revamping of the gameplay mode that tries to mimic a turn-based game, for those who may not exactly prefer Dissidia's standard playing style.  On top of that, the ability exists for everyone with a fanfic to make it into an actual Squeenix game, via the story crafting tools they included.

My god, what have they done?!

I'm sure there might be a couple more games I'm overlooking, and there's games further off on the horizon that I'll have to make a new installment for, a little closer to their release, but this has been a pretty nice look into the pain my wallet is going to feel eventually, as assuredly these games will be part of my library at some time, though not necessarily on the dates listed as their release.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oh, hey, that was my 50th Blog Post!

Cake for everyone!

(There are some really impressive cake pictures out there.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Notch, you tease.

So, I'm sure it's a secret to nobody that the way I look at Minecraft is the way hungry people look at banquets; not only with a look of hunger, but a look of pure, unadulterated desire that overloads rational thought and drives me into a single-minded focus.  It gets to the point that I don't even know what I would do in Minecraft if I got it, but by God, do I want in.  Of course it's not exactly a lack of fundage that keeps me outside of this wonderful sandbox world, but rather the limitations of the world in which I would put it.  As I've lamented before oftentimes, this computer is bunk but it's all I've got.  That's going to change in the future at some point, obviously, but that point isn't defined in even the most general ways; a gesture to a calendar with the whole year on it is too much, even.

Upon hearing that Minecraft would be on iDevices, my interest in such a device skyrocketed before plunging right back down to the Earth when I came to my senses and remembered that they are Apple devices and thus fueled by hatred and tears.  (In a bad way.)  ((I'm kidding.  But seriously, I hate iTunes and I'm so frustrated with my iPod since I have to get the damn battery replaced and it has to be a big thing instead of Removing a battery and then inserting a new one.))  Still, that Minecraft is branching out to non-computer platforms was promising; my secret hope for a console version or, what I would almost prefer, a version for these fancy new portables (NGP, 3DS) was closer to being realized.

So when I read the headline Notch suggests Minecraft achievements, console ports in future I was nearly beside myself with joy.  Of course, I did sort of skim over the "Achievements" bit, as Achievements seems to be the blanket term everyone's sided with for all of those accomplishments that add points or bits of fake metal to your E-Peen card, and as such, suggested nothing specific.  But reading the article led me to feel something rather disappointing; "Achievements" might actually just mean Achievements.  As in, what the 360 and PC games tend to share, through their own infrastructures.  Specifically:

Also, while he does agree that Minecraft could be ported to other platforms at some point and "become a franchise," he warns that, "if we make an Xbox version there should be a point to it being on Xbox."

Now, I'm not going to suggest that Notch is one of these non-interested people who pick whatever console they want to to refer to all gaming things in general (Referring to GameCubes and PS2s as Playstations, saying XBox when you're talking about any of the current things, Saying "The Nintendo thing" in the same situation, etc.) because I would be rather willing to bet that he's not.  Which means I'm jumping to conclusions or there's really only the (admittedly easier) port in mind for now, something that would likely be -the- final straw that broke the camel's back, driving me to get my hands on a 360.

Still, obviously a bit early for speculation, especially to a single sentence in a rather short interview, but damned if it's not a blow to my hopes.  My fragile, fragile hopes.  Of course, Minecraft is already 'kind of' coming to XBox Live already...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Music! DJ Hero 2 Edition

So, we all know how I feel about DJ Hero, and yet my opinion on DJ Hero 2 wasn't quite as strong despite every video for every song from the soundtrack saying how 'sick' it was and such.  So I figured, perhaps I didn't give it quite the fair shake.  And seeing that FreeStyleGames is still around...for now, it seemed like a pretty good time to give it that fair shake again.  And in all honesty?  Perhaps I was a little too harsh at first, or maybe I just expected too much.  But honestly, it's mixes like this one here that colored my judgment.

Two songs that they could have possibly taken and done something with to make them better than their individual versions, yet all they do is basically play one song over the music of the other.  And given that the song they use prominently is basically the same 30-40 seconds over and over again it's repetitive as hell, the mood is too slow, and it's just not a fun beat like most of the previous games soundtrack.  I do, of course say 'Most', since there were a few disappointments in DJ Hero's list as well.  (My Name Is vs. Loser?  How could you screw that up?)

It gets a little better as I dig a bit deeper, though not by much.

Once again, half of this song I'm not really a fan of, but at least both songs are fairly evenly presented, aside from the fact that "Not Afraid" is basically just played over the beat of "Lollipop" like I was complaining about with the previous one.  The problem with this type of 'mix' is that it's literally a three or four step process.  Getting both songs separated into music and vocals and splice one over the other.  And while other remixing might be just as simple, it shows a little more creativity in the final product.  And once again, with this mix, the mood just seems too slow and it just drags on.

"Replay" vs. "Rude Boy", which some might recognize as the song featured prominently in the advertisement(s?) for DJ Hero 2, gets it more right by doing more wrong, somehow.  The vocals to "Rude Boy" are barely featured, and when they are, it's just at the end.  And while I don't really know too much about either songs, I'm pretty sure it's, again, just "Replay" playing over "Rude Boy"s music.  Yet, at least the mood is somewhat better and more upbeat, and it's generally got more of a flow to it than the two previous songs.  I guess the fact that it's fun enough to listen to makes it a fairly good mix!

Finally, "LoveGame" vs. "Heartless" is probably the mix from the game I've listened to the most, partly because, well, you guys all know I enjoy a good Gaga song (because there are a few and I can like the song without giving a crap about the artist), and partly because it's just a good mix, once again, somehow.  I can't place it, maybe it's because it kind of feels like the songs are more evenly spliced than any of the others I've heard, or maybe because it's poised to be the one I'm most familiar with and thus can enjoy as it's played in a different way with a different style.  I'm not quite sure.

So really, I'm still willing to go out on a limb and say that I still think DJ Hero 2's mixes, on the whole (unless I've missed much better examples) are technically inferior, but that in general they aren't bad.  Just that what I've heard left me a little underwhelmed when put up against "Feel Good Inc." vs. "Heard it Through the Grape Vine" and "ABC" vs. "Semi-Charmed Life".

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Actually Pretty Cool - The PSP Internet Radio

So, if you have a PSP, you've probably seen the little icon for the Internet Radio and skipped over it, completely uninterested.  I know I did until last night.  After checking something on the browser concerning Dynasty Warriors:  Strikeforce, I wasn't ready to get to bed yet, but I didn't want to start up Valkyria Chronicles 2 because I've been kind of slacking with it; I'm in December, I know what's in store, and I'm just really not prepared to face it.  Sure, I could probably overcome it, but it would be frustrating as hell and probably drive me to grind needlessly since Levels don't really do that much.

But anyways, this isn't about VC2.  I'd gotten the Internet Radio Players before and tried them out, but after listening to about an hour of music I'd never heard before and never wanted to hear again, I decided maybe my horizons didn't need broadened -that- much.  But last night, for whatever reason, I just decided to go for it.  (Well, I tried Qirocity first, but no such luck there as it's still not active for PSPs or something.)  Heading to the site, I immediately realized that, "Hey, there's new radio players!".  Since the last time I tried this feature out (Which may be ridiculously far back, or maybe I just forgot) they'd added these little "Clip" radio stations that are just based on single genres.  To give it a shot, I grabbed the one for Rock, Soundtrack, J-Pop, "Counterculture" (since I didn't know, nor do I yet, know what it's supposed to be), Game, and Classical.

The Clip Station layout.  This one is for Video Game music, if you couldn't gather.

They're pretty basic; just an image similar to the above, and, when applicable, the radio station will be displayed at the bottom and the song/artist at the top.  To switch stations, you hold square and hit up on the analog nub.  Sound quality was good except for one station which played the last five or so seconds of a song that I recognize but can't remember and it's driving me crazy, as those five seconds kind of faded in and out.  There are a few other stations like that, but all the players that I tried provided various options for my musical needs and even surprised me with music that I, gasp, recognized!  Hearing a piece from the score of Hannibal was a delight even if it wasn't the strongest song in the movie.

I couldn't help but lament the fact that, when you're on the go you're likely not in a position to really take advantage of the feature, given that Wi-Fi might not always available, which just made me remember the NGP's proposed 3G functionality.  Which just made me hope upon hope that the internet radio feature will make the transition as well.  On the one hand, it's such a neat little thing that can't be too difficult to do, so it's hard thinking it wouldn't be in, but on the other hand, it's a fairly small feature that maybe not a lot of people take advantage of.  Either way, if it's not implemented, I'm sure there'll be other ways to get the music fix whenever.  Still, if you're able, I'd recommend you at least check it out.  It might not be or anything of the sort, but does have radio stations dedicated solely to Squeenix music and Zelda music?

I think not.

(I don't know.)

UPDATE:  Since making this post, I kept thinking about it, and eventually manged to figure out where I'd heard the song from.  Surprisingly, it was from Metal Gear Solid:  Peace Walker.  It's Koi No Yokushiryoku (Love Deterrence).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flash Games - Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar

If you think you read the title wrong, go ahead and read it again.  Savor it.  Because you read it correctly.

I implore you to Play This Game Right now.

Go on.  This will be here when you get back.




That was Awesome, right?  Yeah, I know.  For those of you who didn't play it for whatever reason (Maybe your have a crappy computer like me which can barely stand the game.  Or something.  It's okay, I understand.) let me give you an idea on what the game is.

Unsurprisingly, it is about two Robot Dinosaurs that crash land in a meteor/spaceship (apparently), who, upon landing, emerge to declare that they are low on Dinoforce.  Which means they have to spring into action immediately.  Springing into action apparently means taking flight and blowing up a bunch of things with laser roars that wouldn't be in the real world but who cares.  It's a fairly standard sidescroller/shooter and doesn't last long even if you go through it again as whatever character you didn't pick the first go around, but while it lasts, oh boy, is it good.

Honestly, there's not a lot to say about it other than what's right there; there are Robot Dinosaurs, they shoot laser beams when they roar.  What more could you want?

And upon winning, you're given quite possibly one of the most badass images ever.

So, really.  Just....go play it.  For your own sake.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Flash Games - Sniper Game Edition

So, I don't know what it is about Sniper games that makes me sit there and have to play them, even when they're honestly not all that good.  I guess it invokes that feeling of when everything comes together to one specific point, in this case, the assassination, and succeeds.  That culmination of all the planning behind this sort of thing (even though there is none in these games) paying off.  Face it, if you ever read The Day of the Jackal, you know who you were rooting for by the end.  For whatever reason, there's that satisfaction there in bite-sized portions known as flash games.

First up is Smoking Kills, a rather satirical take on the whole of sniper games.  From the inexplicable mission briefings from indistinguishable 'bosses', to eventually poking fun at the idea of such games having anything resembling a plot, it's built from the ground-up to be half-funny and half-shooty, and does that fairly well, especially with the bonus mission.  As an added challenge, it offers a few 'power-ups', one of which being the Sunglasses.  While it makes every hit slightly more difficult by making everything darker, you look like a badass doing it*, because, well, shades.

*You may not actually see yourself looking badass or not.

Next up is Scope: First Blood, which, while not necessarily intended to be satirical also doesn't try to take itself seriously by any means, offering such missions as making a cheating girlfriend's lover, er, pay, and scaring off a mob of smokers from in front of a building by shooting out their cigarettes.  Still, a few of the missions are pretty neat once you finally understand what you're supposed to do (the construction site, namely, also the one pictured) and it's a quick fix game for your Sniping urges.

Finally, we have Tactical Assassin which is the first in a rather good series and is by far the most serious of the games offered here today.  Listening to the music, you get a really good Metal Gear Solid vibe, which I imagine is intentional, given that there's a Tactical Assassin: Substratum game out there as well from the same creator.  There's no upgrades in this one, no switching, just get your mission and execute it.  As simple as the other two games, but infinitely more detailed and, because of that, I'd say better.

There's not a lot I can say about these games; you point, click, and a stick figure dies.  It's really the easiest form of flash game out there (or one of them), but for some reason, I can't help but like them and actually actively seek them out.  The only other type of Flash game I try that with are Escape the Room games which...I'll go into another time.

By the way, some might have noticed that this post went up early and unfinished; that's my bad.  I hit publish when I meant to click "Save as Draft" and, well.  I just went into edit right after to finish it up, so I might be unnecessarily pointing it out.   But there it is, just in case anyone noticed and wondered what that was all about.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Xenogears hits the PS Store this week!

Over at the Penny Arcade forums, I take care of the Playstation Store thread, which basically just exists to let everyone know what's come out on any given week, what the general community thinks is pretty good/worth the price, and to let everyone just talk about the games on the PS Store.  Over at the Playstation Blog, they've taken to doing something they call "The Drop" which gives everyone a heads-up as to what will be coming out that week in retail and over the digital store.

And when I saw this week's post, I was doing the usual skimming to see the normal banners they do up for the different categories, which is a nice touch, when I saw this:

"No way", I said.  But yes, it was true.  Xenogears (tentatively, as some things have been delayed after The Drop posts, but I'm seriously hoping against this, obviously) is coming out this week.

Now, why should you care?  Well, several reasons.

1.)  It has giant robots.  Not only that, some of these robots are piloted by Martial Arts masters.  But in all seriousness, the giant robots are pretty great (Are giant robots ever not?) and are utilized in the game in rather different and interesting ways (storyline wise, at least.).  The battle system is top-notch as well.

2.)  It's probably one of the greatest things to come from Squaresoft.  While mostly my opinion and hyperbolic, it held my attention far more than any Final Fantasy title ever could hope to do.  My Holy Trinity of Square (not Squeenix) games is basically Chrono Trigger, Xenogears and Final Fantasy Tactics, so take that for what you will to see if our tastes perhaps overlap, since that will likely be more of an indication than anything on whether you'd like it or not.

3.)  It has a pretty great soundtrack from some guy named Yasunori Mitsuda.  You may or may not have heard of him.  (Oh god, I'm being tongue-in-cheek, please realize that.)

I literally spent half an hour trying to pick which three songs to use, because there is a -lot- of great choices.

4.)  It's only going to be $10.  Given that it's quite a rare game, and anywhere else, it'll cost you far more than $10, that's a bargain.

Really, it's just a great game, and considering it's a classic RPG, you know you're going to get your bang:buck ratio out of it and then some.  Not to mention, buying more of Squeenix's games might encourage them to allow us to, well, buy more of their games.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Looking forward to Dissidia 2: Live Free or Dissidia Hard?

The original Dissidia might be a good place to start.  Since, as we know, Dissidia 2:  Dissidia Harder, will feature a save import function to retain all your character levels, and a special accessory just for importing.  Now, granted, Dissidia 2:  Electric Boogaloo (I'll stop that now) might be more fun, we don't know, but it'll be an extra $10, a $10 you can save by playing the first and waiting for the second to shed that!

Should you decide to do that, you'll likely end up looking for an easy way to level up your characters.  Trust me, we all went there eventually; and it is fairly easy.  And not really that exploitative either, for those of you who might worry about that.

So, what will you need?
  1. Ex-Death unlocked.  (Which might be automatic, I forget.  It's been a really long time.)
  2. The ability to set your Foe's level in a free battle to 100.  (For max results.)
  3. A Manual Magic Pot summon.  (You'll be able to tell it's Manual because it won't say Auto)
  4. (Optional)  +Exp items (Chocobo feathers, etc.)
  5. (Optional)  Bonus Day
Now.  Instead of explaining everything at first, I'll give a little visual demonstration of what the Level-up trick entails.

So, watching that at first, you might just be wondering what the balls is going on.  So I'll go ahead and explain it a little before getting into the finer details.  As you might have noticed, at the start of this battle, Squall is level 1.  This was on my Bonus day, and Squall had a Chocobo Feather on, with a Summon Used/Unused combo for a seamless 1.5x effect on his Experience.  So, bonuses on top of bonuses is the key.

The overarching goal is to get Ex-Death to hit you with a Brave attack, not an HP attack.  It will break you, and put his Brave all the way to 9999.  All you have to do after that is avoid being hit even more than you were already.  Then, the final goal is to use Magic Pot to get your Brave to 9999, attack him with an HP attack, and that's a One-Hit KO for anybody, even someone who has 99 levels on you.

So, here's what happened in the video.  Starting at 0:10, I went poking at Ex-Death; not only because I was testing how apt he was to dodge my attacks, but because I was trying to force him to use his teleport.  When he does that, he usually teleports more or less into you, which counts as a Brave attack.  (Brave, btw, determines how much damage your HP attacks deal.  As in, directly affects; the amount of Brave you have is the damage you deal.)  When he'd do that, I'd hit Break status and bam, easy as that.  This eventually does happen around 0:33.  Afterward, you see I play a little keep away while also running in to grab the EX-Mode item.  While not -necessary- to keep your foe away from these, allowing them to go into EX-Mode generally ends poorly for you.

Also vital to note is that I stayed away until my Brave refilled past Break.  Always remember this.  If you try to use Magic Pot while you're in Break status, it will miss, and you've lost it for that battle.  Once you get to that point, Ex-Death has 9999 brave, and you're back from the brink, it's just a matter of picking your spot.  Watch him while he moves and wait for a jump if possible; the worst that can happen is he teleports and Breaks you again.  Then dash in, and for the optimal chances of not having your Magic Pot wasted, use it as you're executing your HP attack.  Sometimes your foe will have summons that cut your Brave or the like and in those cases, you're in for a much longer fight.  But they don't always activate instantaneously, so minimizing the window he can use it is key.

As you see, it goes off without a hitch.  With one single attack, I gained nearly a million, (Million.  With an M.) Exp, and that, coupled with the other few pick-and-prod attacks, one battle gained 65 levels for me.  In just over a minute. 

So there you are!  Hopefully the video coupled with the explanation will help you if you decide to get Dissidia or already have it and are possibly playing it in anticipation of the prequel.  (Yes it's a prequel.  Why your levels carry over in that case is beyond me.)

Counterpoint - What I look forward to from the 3DS

So, I don't really talk about Nintendo things that much, which is just because of that old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".  Which isn't to say I have anything negative to say about Nintendo stuff (Well, I do, but that's not the point) it's just that I barely play the Wii I have access to, I barely play my DS Lite, and I completely skipped over the GameCube after the disappointment of the Nintendo 64.  I moved on, and was happier for it.  (And I was always a Sega kid, anyways.)

But with the 3DS on the (distant) horizon, plenty of people are excited for it, and they are perfectly well within their rights to be.  Despite everything I can think of in regards to it, though, I just can't get myself worked up for it, but, again, that's more of my opinion than anything.  Maybe when we're closer and we get a better idea on it, I'll get more excited for it.  Or maybe when some new things start getting announced for it, my excitement will increase (in all honesty, the only thing that's got me warming up is the idea of playing this retake on MGS3 on the thing; if that actually happens).

I think my biggest problem with the 3DS is that it's more or less a foregone conclusion.  I'm going to get one eventually simply because I'm a slave to a few series that can only be found on Nintendo products.  (Pokémon and Animal Crossing to name a couple)  Sure, I'll end up waiting til the first revision like I did for the DS or at least wait for a price-drop, but at some point in the future, as with most people, I'll have one.  And it's weird that I just can't muster up the verve for that fact, if even just for the neat gadget factor and the fact that it'll actually have a Home menu, something that my DS Lite sorely lacks that I nearly yearn for.

I guess what I want is a surprise with the system; something that comes out of left field that I wouldn't expect on a Nintendo handheld to shake up my preconceived notion on it based solely on my DS experience.  The idea that the Nintendo games on it might actually be different (Pokémon, Animal Crossing, looking at you here) could also help, too.  Instead of being, y'know, same game, new area and the like.  I mean, Animal Crossing is great the first time you play it!  It's just that just about everybody's had their first time by now.  Anyways, enough rambling, this is about why I look forward to having the 3DS when eventuality becomes reality.

1.)  The Analog Pad.

Sure, it's just one, but one, as we all know, is more than none.  And none is what the DS had, leaving several developers to try and make their own control-style that involved using the stylus to move, when there was a perfectly good D-Pad right there.  This, as we all know, was stupid.  It didn't work.  Ever.  And while a single pad might leave developers in the same boat as the PSP in how to control the camera and the like, it will hopefully make them never ever ever put out a stylus controlled game again.  The stylus is nice and fine and all for poking this, drawing that, and all that jazz, but that's about it.  You hear that, developers?  5th Cell?  You heard that?

Yeah, you did.  That's why Super Scribblenauts didn't suck.  (Apparently.  Being the game that I thought I was buying the first time leaves me little reason to buy it for real this time.)

2.)  The Graphics.

Now, I'm not the biggest graphics whore out there, but I'll admit it:  They're nice.  And while the 3DS won't be a powerhouse in the graphics department, it's nice that they've stepped their game up this time.  Given that one of the biggest deals so far is a PS2 game playing on it, well, that's progress.  It's not even the 3D itself that has me intrigued as, in truth, it might just give me headaches (Never seen/played anything 3D yet, we'll see how it works out, but I am fairly headache-prone) but it will be neat to give the ol' try to at least.  No, I'm just genuinely glad to see that the days of PSOne-Level blocky characters in anything that dares be more than 2.5D (in perspective, not, y'know, 3D-3D) are over.  Or, at least, they'd better be.

3.)  A better interface.

Nintendo likes things to be simple.  That's fine.  In a way, everybody likes simple things.  In the right scenarios, I like simple things.  But the straight-forward "Play Game, Play GBA game, mess with settings, or Pictochat" menu of the DS Lite left a lot to be desired over time.  I mean, sure, if you have a gaming handheld, chances are, you're wanting to play games on it.  That's just a given.  But sometimes you want to do more!  And while the DS didn't do more until the DSi (when it gained the ability to do just about everything media-related that the PSP had done for years, but everyone criticized the PSP for 'trying to do too much') it still eventually progressed.  Now, I'm not about to drop the cash on a DSi or XL to experience it, but I imagine having an actual menu and things to do is pretty cool. 

The 3DS, from the looks of it, now has plenty to do when maybe you don't want to load up a game and, instead, just want to tinker with something for a few minutes.  Like make a Mii.  Or check something on the internet.  Take a picture and mess around with it.  And the like.  Every sign points to things going forward without taking a step back, which is certainly welcome.

Now, I'll acknowledge that I'm being fairly negative in the way I've said things about the 3DS, and I apologize.  I want to be excited for it, and I want to want it, since I know I'm going to be dropping the cash for it at some point, but I'm just not at that point yet.  Still, there's certainly things to like about it, and still plenty yet to be revealed about it.  And there's still plenty of time for me to warm up to it; we'll just have to see what makes that happen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Finally, I can write about the NGP without gushing (too much)

It's weird.  Everytime I think about the NGP, I end up being at a complete lack of words.  A few nights since its announcement, I've wanted to actually sit down and type out something coherent about it, I sit here looking at a blank screen for about half an hour before saying, "It's going to rock" does not an article make.  I mean, we know it will, if you're open to actually believe a Sony product can be good (Which a lot of people aren't willing to believe, currently!).

So, I guess I can at least try to pin down why I'm excited for it, even though it might be a little premature.

1.)  The second stick.

Now, I know I'm not alone in this, and I can certainly understand why some people might not have wanted a second nub/stick, since, theoretically, it could just promote developer laziness, which has been a problem for games on Sony consoles lately.  But where one man sees developers saying "Let's put this console game on the NGP with no portabilizing at all", I see developers going, "FINALLY, a second stick, let's make magic happen."  If not third parties, then we can at least (mostly) count on first and second parties to put some neat things on it.  Also Sega.  (Yakuza and VC plz, if you're not intending on putting VC back on PS3)

The fact that we have sticks and not nubs does raise a few questions; how will that affect the portability?  How reliable could they be?  Those are just questions that we'll have to wait for time to answer, really.  Personally, my PSP has always been in a case since I bought it, and cases will be built for the NGP specifically to accommodate it, so I'm none too worried there.  But I can see how it might be an issue for others, so let's hope there's some sort of retractable elements to the sticks or something.

2.)  Physical Media is here to stay.

Sure, I don't think anyone honestly thought the NGP would go with a DD-Only format, thanks to the PSP Go, but it certainly could have, and I would hope policies are put in place going forward to 'encourage', at the very least, Day-One Digital versions of games as well, for anyone who has embraced our Disc-less Overlords, but for the more curmudgeon-y of us who like our games to be something tangible to be felt and held, and for some of us, trade-able, this is welcome news.  Going with carts/cards is a bit of a strange way about it, but likely a good one, as it lacks the battery-draining ability of a spinning disc.

Again, for everyone that didn't believe a DD-Only approach, they thought as well that there would still be no UMDs anymore, and, well, they're right again.  This does leave those of us with UMD copies of games in a bit of a limbo; sure the NGP can play PSP games, but not the ones that are just discs, leaving the thought that a double-dipping might be necessary....for the games that can be double-dipped on, anyways.

There's probably not a lot that can be done about this, honestly; Nobody could have thought, when the PSP was being developed and eventually released, "Say, do you think maybe four years down the road or so, that all the games for this could be bought through the internet?", which means it's hard to blame anyone for the state of the PSP selection on the PSN store.  A lot of the devs could be out of business for all we know.  And some games have a legitimate reason that they're not up; Lumines for example, hit the brick wall of music licensing which could stop just about any game.  And for the ones that could be put up, but the companies just won't for whatever reason (SQUEENIX), well, there's not really a lot that can be done about that, either, considering it costs money to submit your game for PS Store purchasibility, given the QA that it has to undergo.

You would think intentionally screwing people over by not allowing them to buy your game would cast a negative light on the developers, but more often than not, anyone complaining will say that it's Sony's fault, because, well, I guess Sony has the right to do whatever it wants with other people's games?  That's the reasoning that I can figure out, I guess.  Really, people, It's not Sony's fault.  "But they should make developers put PSP games on the PS Store along with Phsyical copies!"  Yeah, because forcing people to take any extra steps/costs with a PSP game at this point would be a good idea, right?

3.)  The Touch Pads.

I admit, I was a skeptic at first when all the talk of touch pads, track pads, and the like were being tossed about.  I really had no idea what a rear touch pad could be used for, and honestly, I still don't have much more of an idea aside from possibly being used in an L2/R2 function for games that might require it.  (Which will no likely be constrewn as Watered down console ports, but bleh.  Bleh, I say!  Games are games)  There have been a few usages for it shown off, all sort of, for lack of better term, "gimmick-y" (at least, what I heard, the Uncharted game having it used for rope-climbing of all things.  Optional, even.) but if anyone has learned anything this generation, it's that some developers can take any gimmick and make something really neat of it that makes you think "Yeah, this could be rather vital going forward."

That's pretty much what I'm telling myself; at least with the front touch-screen, we have a fairly good idea on how it will be used, but the back ones are fairly untouched territory.  Hopefully it's utilized early and not allowed to fall to the wayside undeservedly.  A little hard to predict, obviously, but everyone's always so easy to take Nintendo's "innovations" at face-value, so why couldn't it apply here?

The obvious 4.) here is the Games, but we all know some of what to expect; the rest will simply be a welcome surprise and icing on the cake.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quick Note - Just a Few Things.

So, I really just want to complain about Valkyria Chronicles 2 right now regarding, of course, credits.  But I also want to do other stuff, so this will kind of be a grab-bag post.  Some of it might not be simply reiterating things I've said before, even!

You can't read it, but these are assuredly not the credits you want/need!
So, I've been grinding for EXP in VC2 because, well, I don't know why.  There's a slight increase to your troops for leveling them up, and I'm already rockin' level 38 Shocktroopers, so I went, "Eh, let's shoot for 50 so I can rock faces, possibly."  And a good mission to do that in is in August, "Killer Assault" or something along those lines.  Basically my strategy is stack my Tank area with Avan, Franca and my Scout who I will not name because it's slightly spoilery.  Scout runs to the base connecting to the area with the main camp, kills the Commando there, captures, goes on Standby.  Then in the next area, I deploy the tank (I named mine Clover~) build the ladder to the area with the main camp (The constructor arm is just so good), and move her down enough to get a shot off on the Ace Tank up top if she's there.  If not, goes on standby.

Then I deploy Alexis, who is currently a Fencer, have her go up the ladder and kill the Ace Tank/Whatever troop is there (if the Ace Tank is there) and/or go right for the camp and kill the Commandos with one swipe.  Take the main camp, and then bam, instant 90k experience.  So, I was fine with just doing this until I saw my Scout earn a Diploma.  Which was fine, even though she's already a Scout Elite and doesn't need one.  And I thought, "Well, hey this is cool, Alexis needs a Diploma, maybe she'll get one since she kills tanks with a sword, slaughters mans and doesn't afraid of anything."  So I do the mission a few more times, no more Diplomas, and I don't care.  Getting the EXP and that's what matters.

Until I beat it again one time and check the credits as per normal.  My Scout earned three diplomas.  What?  WHAT?  She shot a guy in the face seven times, which barely killed him and then left the field!  Alexis kills at least twice that -and- wins the mission!  What the Hell, Sega?!

So, I mean, that grinds on me a little, well, more than a little, but I just go, "Y'know, with my Scout getting all these Diplomas, Alexis will have to get one eventually."  And I played and played and played.  And she didn't.  Meanwhile, the Scout earned at least one more, I stopped paying attention to the number.  And of course, Alexis is the one that needs the Diploma.  -A- diploma.  One.  Raaaaaaaaaaaage.

Deng Ai has no reason to look this badass.
Switching topics fast enough to make your head spin, I just finally took a look at some Dynasty Warriors 7 stuff (since it comes out next month), and I gotta say, overall just from the cursory look I've taken, I'm impressed.  Still no Zhu Ran (The Baddest Dude in the Land) and Pang De is surprisingly absent again, despite being in a previous incarnation and seemingly the only one who wasn't reinstated in DW7 from the Cuts between DW5 and 6, and not to mention a great hook for a Musou (Story) Mode.

Okay, so, without going into full History Mode, Pang De's claim to fame (in the Novelization of the Three Kingdoms, at least, which is what the games are based off of) was that he was pretty able against Guan Yu (He who would be posthumously referred to as an Avatar of the God of War, and is still kind of worshiped today, or at least you can find statues of him really easily), often fighting him in duels to a draw.  Well, eventually, he had a coffin crafted to Guan Yu's specifications and was said to drag it with him into battle for the inevitable meeting with Guan Yu when he would take his life.  Which, well, didn't happen, but still, it was his intent and there are actually events dedicated to it in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series of games that KOEI also releases.

So, basically, ranting about it earlier, I don't get why they don't take that angle and run with it.  Give Pang De a Coffin for a weapon!  Make him Half-Brawler, Half-Dude Who hits dudes with a goddamn Coffin.  There are a lot of ways to make it work out really nicely, I'm sure.  And his Musou Mode is basically written already; just throw him in a bunch of missions and have his goals skew towards fighting Guan Yu.  Eventually, when Pang De participates in the Attack on Fan Castle, (Which, I don't recall if he was historically there or not, but who cares) his Musou Mode would end with him defeating Guan Yu finally, throwing him in the coffin, and letting it drift away in the flooded Castle.

How Simple was that, KOEI?

It would really just be that easy.

I Forgot to Post

And I forgot what I was going to post about.  Whoops!

So instead of whatever I was going to post, I'll show off my backlog to this point for the first time.

 Pictured are games that I, at the very most, have barely scratched the surface on.  The picture quality isn't great, and I have a generic PS3 case in there, so let me go ahead and list the games from left to right.
  • Sports Champions
  • Dynasty Warriors:  Gundam 2
  • LittleBigPlanet 2
  • Dynasty Warriors:  Strikeforce
  • 3D Dot Game Heroes
  • Grand Theft Auto IV:  Episodes from Liberty City
  • Saw
  • Red Faction:  Guerilla
  • Fallout 3:  Game of the Year Edition
  • The Sly Collection
  • The Saboteur
  • Demon's Souls
  • Saint's Row 2
  • Bayonetta
  • Mirror's Edge
  • John Woo Presents:  Stranglehold
  • Folklore
So, yeah, when I say that I have my gaming time pretty much tied up already, know that I am not lying.  Currently, I'm working on Dynasty Warriors:  Strikeforce, which, I don't know what 'Done' will constitute, but we'll see.  I'm also really really trying to make sure I start LBP2 again.  After that?  I've no clue whatsoever.

Keep in mind, that's just my PS3 games.  Granted, my PSP backlog is rather tame; consisting mostly of God of War:  Ghost of Sparta, Valkyria Chronicles 2 (which I'm currently playing, anyway) and maybe a couple other things.

That's what makes it hard, knowing that Yakuza 4 comes out in March and I will have money to buy it.  Because I really don't need to buy anything else, but on the other hand, Yakuza 4.

I think we all know how that one's going to end.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ragequit - Generation of Chaos

So, today's ragequit is unique in the fact that not only have I haven't actually played the game for an extended period of time.  And, in fact, I can't.  Therein that fact lies the problem I have with the game.  In all honesty, it's not so much that I can't play it, but I can't play it without losing which obviously just ends the game right there.  Which wouldn't be so bad, if the reason I can't play it without dying was that the game doesn't tell you how to play it.  I don't mean that in some sort of cutesy "The tutorials suck" sort of way because, in fact, there -are- no tutorials.  You start the game, and it -starts-.  There's a little story and then it throws you right into an all-out battle without telling you so much as how to attack an enemy.

From what I can gleam, it's a fairly interesting looking SRPG that's different in having actual troops and units to command over rather than a handful of named, important soldiers.  Sort of like Ogre Battle in having units lead by an important trooper, I should say.  Of course, that's the only comparison that can be made, beyond the whole fantasy thing.

It's honestly really difficult to critique the game considering I didn't play it too much, and it makes me feel a little bad that I'm doing this, but, really, if a game can't properly educate you on how to play it in some form, whether by tutorial, or by playing-as-you-learn and as such, being given 'easier' experiences to learn from, then you can't play it, and by that factor, you probably shouldn't play it.  It's said rather well in this review by Juan Castro.
And no, it's not a simple matter of consulting in-game help, since it lacks the information necessary to make playing the game any easier. It does help a little, but for a game that cries for an in-depth, easy-to-read instruction booklet this just doesn't cut it. Once you get past the steep learning curve, you'll still need to contend with the dizzying array of commands and subtleties packed into this game. You will, eventually, come to grips with the system, but there's a good chance the average player's patience will run out before then.
By no means is a game that (from someone who obviously got further in the game and didn't dislike it as much as I did) "cries" for such a thing as an "in-depth...instruction booklet" a game that has been thought-out properly.  And I suspect that, even if the game was easier to actually play, that the problems with it wouldn't magically disappear.

The style isn't that great, as shown by the super-deformed presentation of the characters, which might just be more of a YMMV thing, admittedly.  But I think what could be agreed on in a general sense is that the typeface is a thing of nightmares and would be on a console, much less the little handheld thing in your hands.  It's not even the size that's the whole problem, but the fact that they decide to abbreviate everything which is also a problem in trying to ease yourself into the game.  If you don't know what something stands for, how are you supposed to know how it's used?

Honestly, what annoys me the most about the game is how I came to get it.  Way back in the beforetimes when GameCrazy was still around, I was hanging around in the one I enjoyed, I forget what I was there to get, but the guy behind the counter saw me eying the pre-orders and talked the game up.  I figured, SRPG (I was on a FFT kick at the time) and it's a NIS thing, so it'll be rare, so I might as well get it while I can find it!  So not only did I buy this game, I pre-ordered it.  I still have the receipt around here somewhere.  And I can't honestly fault the clerk, since he didn't have to push much; I was genuinely interested in what the game could have been.  And rather than something interesting, I was just left with what the game actually was.

If you can find a FAQ that will tell you what you're doing and why so you can ease yourself into the game, more power to you, but I simply cannot recommend it in any fashion.  Especially when there's so many other great SRPGs on the PSP now.  That you can actually play.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Flash Games Part 2: Live Free or Flash Hard

So, finding myself at a complete lack of anything else to talk about, I decided to make another post about Flash games because, hey, there's plenty of them.  I'll show off a couple I've played and enjoyed and make sure to provide links so you can partake as well!  First up..

We have Fancy Pants Adventure which, for those not in the know, is going to be a PSN/XBLA game with new content and all that stuff.  What Fancy Pants Adventure is, is a really neat little platformer that sort of reminds me of the early Sonic games, in that it really takes speed into account and you're going to be jumping on a lot of things to get rid of them (even though that's more of just an early platformer/side-scroller trait).  All the while, collecting "Scribbles" and collectibles and the like.  There's not a lot in way of narration, but there really doesn't need to be; it's fairly obvious where you need to go, and how to do it.  The positive part is that it's fairly enjoyable to do.

Next up is Little Wheel, a game that I'd be surprised if you hadn't heard of.  Maybe.  As you can see, the art style and direction are rather striking, and add to the charm of the game which, (un)fortunately is about 85% of the game.  Straight-forward is a little forgiving; if you start the game, you're going to finish it, and finish it quickly.  The puzzles are hardly such, but at the very least, you don't spend a lot of time clicking and pixel-hunting to search for the next one.  I'm not sure you can even 'lose', honestly, but that doesn't make getting to the ending any less satisfying.  While short and something you likely won't replay, it's wonderful to watch, and you'll likely enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

And lastly, and the one that's probably the most puzzling for me, is I Am An Insane Rogue AI.  How could you -not- be drawn to the game with that sort of title?  Put into the role of, well, An Insane Rogue AI, your whole job is to hack computers in laboratories to gain more and more power and dominance.  Unfortunately, the human race doesn't want this to happen, and will stop you at every turn.  Scientists can stop your hacking, but they can be chased away by creeping them out or outright killing them.  After all, can't fix a computer if you're dead, now can you?  It steps up the game, of course; turning out lights to scare away scientists just attracts handymen who turn them back on, locking doors to keep scientists off of a floor just, once again, attracts the handymen to unlock them.  And they don't scare that easily either.

After a certain point in the game, you'll come to realize that you simply can't allow a lot of the humans to live; and this is reflected in most of the upgrades you receive, as they tend to be on the more lethal sides of things.  Of course, you do get the ability to pulse out lights (which is dangerous but hardly deadly to humans) and increased hacking speed and the like, but more valuable will be the ability to make doors lock longer and then unleashing a level-long poison gas to a floor, slowly killing everyone there.  Faster still if they're panicking as well, which, short of Scientists, will likely be rough-trying.  The human types get more and more varied as the game goes on, and the only advice I can offer is that they all suck and deserve death.  Mostly the hackers.

Especially the Hackers.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flash Games, and Oh, hey, remember that time...

...I said all I had to do was get sick to have the fun trifecta of crap?

Welp.  I'm not really bad; just fairly mucus-y and I've had a headache since I woke up.  No fever, no chills, nothing like that.  Not especially lethargic.  Nothing else is really bothering me.  Fingers crossed!

This is going to go into Quick Note territory rather quickly though, but I'll let you know what I've been doing today aside from playing Valkyria Chronicles 2, (and making Marion a Command finally.  Hell yeah.) and enjoying some TV.

Pictured is the iPhone version, hence the higher amount of possible Elements.
First off, I played Doodle God, a rather inappropriately named puzzle game.  Basically, you step into the role of a God who just wants to create.  You've already created the four essential elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth (Yes, yes, we all thought it here.) and now, hey, it's time to make more.  In the online version of it, there's 115 elements that can be made through simple trial and error.  It's not really fun, but once you start it, you probably won't be able to stop until you've found them all.  The Hint button helps, but I know I ended up looking up a FAQ for about 30 of them or so.  (In case you need one as well.)  It's kind of nonsensical why some things are in there, yet others aren't, and there's a couple that are outright completely inappropriate, but the name drew me in, as I was expecting solving puzzles with doodles, and I ended up staying because of OCD, I guess.  (I also got a badge.)

Yeah, this is not even complicated by the game's standards.
Next up was Electric Box 2, another Puzzle game, a legitimate one this time.  The mechanics are pretty simple; you have a power button, tools, and a target that you have to provide energy to.  The trial puzzle, for example, entails putting a fan on the cable attached to the power source, and an air-or-water Power Generator to the cable attached to the target.  The fan blows the Power Generator, the generator comes to life and creates energy for the target.  Level complete!  It gets ridiculously complicated from there, over the course of 40 levels and once again, I found that I had to use a FAQ to beat it, but only for the last ten or so levels.  Well, I didn't have to use the FAQ; I could have figured it out eventually.  But I didn't because I didn't really want to put that much thought out into games tonight.  If you need a FAQ, just throw the game's name into youtube for level solutions and the like.

This is nice for this game.
While I didn't play it today, I still do want to bring up You Find Yourself in a Room, because it's absolutely wonderful.  I can't say too much without ruining it, but suffice to say that it's really difficult to lose it, and you just have to stick with it to really see the beauty of it.  If you like Mind-screws, at least.  Basically, just play it; it takes about 20 minutes, and is an experience that's hard to find, well, anywhere else.  It's got some harsh language in it, though, in case that's something you object to or intend on playing it around those who might.  But it's not too much of an issue.

There's plenty of other great flash games out there that I might play/have already played, but those are two I went at tonight, and a third I can't help but recommend.  Give them a shot if you are so inclined!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick Note - Valkyria Chronicles 2

So I just got an Anthem Corp. today.


I made Vicky one even though I honestly despise her.  She's just one of the less frail Engineers and once I finish off her mission, she'll be fine.  Sofia and Raymond are up next for -something-, I know.  Raymond might go full Engineer Elite.  Still not sure about Sofia; I was thinking Anthem Elite originally, but Engineer Elite might work nicer.  And that's just my Engineers, who I barely use.

It's really hard trying to plan my team out and then actually -getting- there, since Credit-farming just blows absolutely.  The basic things, and the X things are easy enough to get, but when you get the lls and the ll Xs, it's just a pain in everybody's ass, since if you do too well, you get Certificates/Diplomas, which while nice, aren't what you need when you need lls and ll Xs.  And if you don't do well enough, you get the basic credits.  And sometimes, you'll need lls and get ll Xs and it's just like "Why do you do this to me, game?!"

If there's any downfall to the game (Other than the story, which, while it's not offensive, it's not interesting either) it's this damn credit system.  I wish they would have thought it out a little better so I wouldn't have to waste hours going through the same missions over and over again, trying to get one or two things and getting everything but.  Because if they had, Marion would be a Commando by now and life would be excellent.

Well, actually, if there's any downfall to the game, it's the goddamn Boss characters.  But now I'm just splitting hairs.  And it's not like the first game didn't have a few boss situations that everybody hated.

Anyways, the point of this post is to say that if you like VC and have a PSP, but not VC2 yet, What the hell is wrong with you.  Go buy it.  Now.  Don't be all indignant about the fact that it's on PSP, get over it, and buy it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, go figure.

So the same day I write the article praising DJ Hero for doing something different with the music game genre and acknowledging that it did something different, even though it was part of the sinking ship, Activision kills the Hero and the completely unrelated True Crime games, cuts jobs at Freestyle games, kills Hero DLC, and generally leaves DJ Hero's future in question.  Well, question only as a formality, as we all know how this is going to end.  DJ Hero 1 and 2 both underperformed, despite being different and having that much more effort being put into them.  (1 decidedly more than 2).

I briefly considered just putting a picture of Travis Touchdown here instead.  Let's hope you get that joke.
It sucks.  I mean, it's not surprising at all; I guess that they're outright saying Guitar Hero is done is somewhat surprising, but we knew it was coming.  The real surprise is with the announcement of the axing of True Crime:  Hong Kong, for me.  I never would have figured on that, especially after all the weight that was behind it to this point.  There was footage at E3, people had already played some builds of it, EGM had a cover story of it for crying out loud.  There was solid, real work put in on it, and in my mind at least, it was more into polishing than development.  (Which could have been completely wrong, I didn't follow the game too much as I figured it would just come out and that's when I'd really learn about it.)  Right out saying that it "wasn't going to be good enough" stings, too, and certainly doesn't make it hard for Activision haters to continue to hate.

I guess all we can do right now is sit around and wait to hear what's next for the remainder of Freestyle Games.  And hope, I guess, that someone else might be keen on putting out the next game about being a DJ with remixed licensed music; provided that Activision won't.