Sunday, 19 November 2017

Friday the 13th

God I remember all the buildup for this game.  Every other day on Facebook one of those videos from some weird baity gaming page would post a trailer or some game play footage like "erh muh gerd looks so good" and then the game actually came out and it sort of just vanished from existence.  Anyway thanks to a friend I've finally had a chance to give it a go.

The short version of this post is that if you followed the hype train then you'll probably be disappointing by how the game turned out but for me, I thought it looked a bit shit to begin with so I was actually pleasantly surprised.  Nothing special but a fun little game that you could happily kill a few hours with.

The game itself is pretty simple.  You join an online lobby with a bunch of people and everyone chooses a camp counselor and a Jason.  Which characters are available is dependent on your level which seems a little bullshitty to me since each character does seem to be a little bit different but whatever, you get EXP pretty quickly.  Once the game starts, one player is assigned to be the Jason and everyone else has to run away.  The goal is to escape or survive until the end of the timer for the counselors and to murder everyone for Jason.

On each map there are a number of objectives which involve things like repairing a car or calling the police and doing this will help speed up your escape but the items required for this are placed randomly throughout the map so if you want to get it done, working with other players might be a good idea although I'm playing the game in a busy bar with no voice control so for me that's pretty much impossible.  For Jason it's just a case of kill as many people as you can but you're a slow bulky piece of shit so you have a few powers to help you out like the ability to sense players or teleport around the map.  Once everyone is dead or has escaped the game ends and you're given experience with which you unlock characters and perks and whatnot.  Then you do it all again till the end of time.

I have two major problems with what limited time I've had with the game.  The first being that Jason just isn't fun to play AT ALL.  Maybe it's because I'm bad but he's super unwieldy and just sort of needlessly hard to use.  It's hard to articulate but maybe if you try the game you'll know what I mean but generally the counselors are just a lot more fun to play.  My other problem is that the game is buggy to fuck.  The worst bug I saw was when another friend of mine was playing Jason and I don't quite know what happened but the HUD vanished and he was completely locked out of using his powers and couldn't smash doors and stuff properly.  Eventually he got lucky an someone clocked him in the face with a frying pan and when he came out of the stun all his shit came back.  One other minor annoyance is that if the player controlling Jason drops from the game then the game just instantly fucking ends.  I get why but couldn't thay have maybe just let a bot Jason take over or something?

Either way, while Friday the 13th is nothing special it's at least a bit of mindless fun for a few hours.  I imagine if you get a team of good counselors and a Jason that actually knows what he's doing it could be pretty intense but unfortunately every game I've played/witnessed up to now seems to be populated with dribbling children but that isn't exactly the games fault.  Not something I'd pay full price for but put that shit on a Steam sale and I'll pick up my own copy eventually.

Friday, 17 November 2017

I Hate Blitzball

If you've been watching the stream you'll know what I'm about to say already.  I'm in the final part of my FFX playthrough but this involves some HEAVY grinding to get the stats and gear needed to kill the Dark Aeons and ultimately the games hardest boss, Penance.

In order to make life a lot easier for yourself you get acquire the best weapons in the game known as Celestial Weapons.  The only drawback to these weapons is that when you first get them they are useless with the only skill on them being "No AP" which basically means no experience.  Once you do power them up though using a crest and a sigil they do crazy stuff like break the damage limit or charge your overdrive meter at triple speed and shit like that.

Now for the Dark Aeon stuff Wakka is a very important character because his limit Attack Reels is basically one of the best moves in the game.  With Wakka fully powered up and geared out he's doing 12x99,999 damage which is a hell of a lot of hurt.  Getting him to this point is the annoying part though.

Getting his crest is easy, you just go to a locker in Lucca and press X and you have it.  The sigil on the other hand requires you to play an absolute shit ton of blitzball, which might be the single most boring mini game in Final Fantasy history.  You need to play it 10 times in a league to get Attack Reels, then play games until a tournament with Status Reels pops up THEN finish the league you were in to start a new one with Auroch reels AND THEN play 10 more league games for the sigil.  This doesn't sound so bad but Blitzball is just eye gougingly dull and shouldn't be forced upon anybody like it is here.

I think for me, the main reason it's so disappointing is that in that opening cut scene Blitz looks like this sick, crazy underwater rugby with people being flung out of the arena and people smashing each other in the face every which way.  When you actually get into proper blitz though it's a boring turn based affair where you just pass to Tidus and Jecht Shot every few moments to win matches against incompetent AI.

What's weird is that I know people who actually LIKE Blitzball.  I don't get how one possibly could because it's already an easy mode snoozefest if you put no effort into it but if you actually research how to get and use the best players then the whole thing becomes a joke.  I guess it must just be relaxing or something but as far as I'm concerned Blitz can just fuck off forever.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Dragon Quest Rivals First Impressions

Japan loves its card games.  Very close to my house there are about 4 stores dedicated to the buying, selling and playing of trading cards of which there seem to be hundreds of different games but you can also just hit up a used book store to buy individual cards for games like Yu-gi-oh and whatnot.  As well as that there are a bunch of digital trading card games some of which are exclusive to the arcade.  But the arcades not only have digital based card games but also games that actually spit out physical cards for use in the game, it's crazy.  Japan LOVES card games.

Japan also loves a bit of Dragon Quest which is basically one of the big boss boys of the RPG genre.  So of course Dragon Quest, like Warcraft, The Witcher and DotA have come out with their own card based video game for mobile platforms.  I usually avoid all the other card games on the IOS since I'm balls deep into Shadowverse and the idea of playing two different card games at the same time seems a bit pointless but the gameplay in DQ Rivals seemed different enough from something like Hearth or 'Verse to at least give it a go.

It's not completely unique, there are a number of similarities to Hearth.  The way the cards looks is pretty much identical and the idea that the character that you pick have their own special ability and cards sets seems ripped straight from that model.  Also the ranking system is basically the same as Hearthstone and of course it has that thing where you can earn "dust" in order to create individual cards if you're trying to make a specific kind of deck.  Basically out of the actual card combat they are fucking identical.

But the card combat itself is where things get interesting.  Each player has 6 blocks on their side of the field where they can play monsters and the positioning of your monsters is pretty important when it comes to battle strategy.  So for example, in Hearthverse you can attack the enemy directly pretty much anytime unless they play a monster with a defender ability.  In DQ rivals, you have monsters with that kind of skill but you can also put all your monsters in a row which will create a wall in order to defend your character.  Then on top of that, if you have a monster with a cool ability you don't want getting murdered you can play another creature in front of them in order to defend.  It's a cool mechanic that means that you not only have to worry about what monsters you have but also where you put them on the board in any given situation.  Your hero also has an ability that they have to charge but I wont go into detail about that because it's pretty much the same as Hearthstone.

Right now I'm pretty sure its exclusive to Japan but it seems like there has been a decent amount of effort made to make a game that's familiar enough to fans of this mobile card  game genre so they don't have  to relearn a fuckton of new systems but different enough to make it worth playing past the tutorial.  If you can get hold of it, give it a go.  Shit is free so you have nothing to lose

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Setting Up Let it Die

I've been very busy recently with a family visit to Japan so content has been a little thin on the ground but for Halloween I tried to do a little stream of Let it Die for the PS4.  If you've not heard of this game it's a sort of free to play hack and slash game made by Grasshopper Manufacture which plays a little like a Souls game and I think it has perma-death.  I've not really had much of a chance to play it however just setting it up was complete bullshit so I want to share my experience.

First of all just getting the game was bullshit.  I hopped onto the Playstation store and found it in the free to play section.  However, there was no download available that was free and I discovered that on the Japanese store the only option for you is one that comes with 2 units of the premium currency which I think is called Death Metals.  This means that the game was 108 yen which granted is only £0.70 but after being told that it was a free to play game I was a little pissed off about being forced to spend money on some in game shit I don't even know the purpose for.  While it was downloading I went and looked up Let it Die on the US and UK Playstation stores to find that on there the game IS actually free.  So really it's only the Japanese getting fucked over but it's still really annoying.

Anyway, the game loads up and the tutorial starts and I'm having a grand old time.  The game looks really nice, plays solidly and Death is a pretty interesting and funny character.  I'll talk more about the game itself once I manage to play it a bit more.  Once I finished the tutorial I was presented with another title screen and once I tried to hit go on that I got a big download message stuffed in my face.  Turns out the game only downloads the tutorial when you buy it and then downloads the rest later which resulted in me falling asleep while I was waiting and now I've not been able to play because I've been busy with family and work.

It looks like a really good game but the whole experience is a true testament to the really shitty side of modern gaming.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Parasite Eve Book

While I've not QUITE finished the book at time of writing I'm close enough to the end of it to say a few words.  I'm not gonna put much in terms of spoilers so if you've not read it and you're curious then you can read on safe in the knowledge I'm not going to ruin any huge plot points for you.

So if you're familiar with the series of games of the same name then let me start by telling you that the book and the games have very little to do with each other.  They both talk a hell of a lot about Mitochondria but that's about as far as the similarities go.  There is no Aya Brea, there are new huge beasts for you to gun down or anything like that.  The game was VERY loosely based on the book and the author, Hideaki Sena, as far as I know, had very little to do with it.

The book itself is actually a pretty good horror novel.  I'm finding the final few chapters of the story to be particularly and the descriptions of certain things that are happening to be rather grotesque.  If there's one thing the games and the book do share it's that weird brand of body horror that's brought about by your own mitochondria trying to fuck you up.

However I do have one problem with the book and that's the pacing.  There's the opening scene which is pretty messed up and then pages and pages of descriptions of medical procedure and romantic flashbacks which can be a bit of a chore to read.  Once you get through all that though and the book gets going again with the actual plot, good lord is it good.

If you don't have any interest in games then I could recommend this novel as a good horror story in its own right.  If you do have an interest in the games however, it's a fascinating look at how the series really got started.  I'm reading it in Japanese but I'm sure it's been translated for western markets so go hit up amazon and get yourself a copy. 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dead Rising

Last weekend I streamed Dead Rising from start to finish and oh boy was it fun.  It took just a little over 9 hours and the last hour of that was pretty grueling but generally speaking this game is pretty fantastic.

If somehow you have never heard of this game I'll take a quick moment to explain.  Originally released back in 2006 for Xbox 360, Dead Rising follows the adventures of Frank West, a photojournalist who gets trapped in a mall full of zombies.  The game was interesting because you only had 72 in game hours to play with and the story segments happened at specific times which, if you missed, would lock you out of the plot for the rest of the game.  What really made this game popular though was that the mall setting allowed for the player to use a whole crazy array of weaponry against the undead.  You could opt for more traditional stuff from a hardware store like a sledgehammer or go nab a gun from a zombie police office OR you could get silly and use gumball machines, shopping carts or children's toys to try and beat the undead back to death.  There are also human boss characters the game calls psychopaths which you must kill to rescue people or to progress the game.  There was a colorful cast of lunatics which made each encounter interesting and you would really have the think on your feet the first time playing if you wanted to win.

I love this game personally, it's one of those titles that is not only fun but sort of doubles up as a stress relieving tool.  If you want to uncover the zombie mystery of the mall, then play the story but if you just want to beat the fuck out of some zombies then ignore that timer and just go crazy.  Once you beat the game there is an Overtime mode which gives a bit of extra story and and endless mode if you want all the zombie killing with none of the pressure.

I only really have two problems with this game.  The first being is that it's too fucking easy.  I said above  that the first time you play you really have to think on your feet with the bosses but once you learn that an early boss unlocks a sort of pocket chainsaw in infinite supply the game becomes super easy.  The pocket chainsaw is SO strong that I think that there's only two bosses in the game that aren't insta killed by it in like 3 very quick hits.  Once you fill up your inventory with chainsaws the game becomes LAUGHABLY easy and the need to have any other weapon sort of goes away.

My other problem comes in the third day of the game.  You end up finishing all the games "case file" missions and then you are left to just sort of wait for your ride to arrive.  The lack of things to do of substance sort of makes the last hour of the game quite dull.  Even the zombie killing comes to a screeching halt as the mall fills up with dudes with machine guns which is a damn shame really.

However don't let my two complaints about the game deter you, if you haven't already played it then you absolutely should go and try.  Oh yeah, finally, don't try to rescue survivors because the AI for this game sucks dick.

The series seems to have taken a bit of a downturn with 3 and 4 since it's trying to be all gritty now from what I can tell but the first game is a ton of fun and fantastically dumb story and dialogue will leave you with a huge grin on your face.  Play it.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Upcoming Horrible Games

Jesus Christ I feel like we blew our load far too early with Resident Evil 7 and now that it's October and I'm actively looking for shit to spook me I don't have anything.  I've been having to go back and replay old horror games.  But not only do I not really have anything to play right now, but it doesn't look like there's much good on the horizon either.

I decided to do something very uncharacteristic of me which is to go and look up the upcoming horror titles to get myself excited for something in the future.  What I got was a great amount of disappointment.  Most of the games I found were you usual "horror" fair.  Walking simulators in first person that thinks horror is dark empty buildings full of jump scares but some titles were so offensively bad I'm going to put them in this blog post

First is The Evil Within 2 (pictured above), a game I think will be so shitty that I can't help but feel that if you saw the trailer and got excited you may want to see a doctor about your mental state.  Did you play the first game?  Did you see that shit?!  The first game was a horribly paced, horribly designed, unscary and clunky piece of shit and from what little I've heard about the new game it's just more of that.  This is the game that thought that they could make their own Pyramid Head by putting a large man in a butcher apron and then placing a SAFE of all fucking things on his head.  Clearly the team behind The Evil Within don't have a fucking clue what they are doing so don't get too excited for this one.

Days Gone is coming second on the list and it's one of those games I just can't figured out why people are getting excited for it.  First of all, it's a fucking zombie survival game so already in belongs on the trash pile along with all the other zombie survival games I found.  The thing that really grinds me about this game is that the only gimmick the game seems to have aside from vaguely ripping off The Last of Us is that they put enough zombies on screen that would make a Warriors game blush.  It doesn't look bad per se but it looks just so fucking by the books boring as fuck "survival" "horror" in an open world that I just don't care.

This one I find particularly offensive to my eyes because it reminds me out Outlast and anything that reminds me of THAT steaming pile of shit needs to be put down immediately.  Judging from the trailer I found on IGN it seems to be the aforementioned walking simulator type game in a dirty building probably filled with jump scares.  What makes this really bad though is the story intro I got was "An abandoned prison, a character with amnesia" which is that kind of line that makes me roll my eyes and scroll down the page.  Why use such a cliche setting and such a cliche plot in an age where you can load up Steam and literally find HUNDREDS of games like that for probably a lot less money and probably about the same quality that this game is offering.  Outlast burnt me once and I'm not falling for your shit Inmates.

I could do this all day but I'm gonna talk about this game last because when I first saw it I thought it may have seemed like a neat idea.  The idea is that you have to escape a house and the guy in the house will try to stop you and then catch you.  The gimmick is that every play you do, the AI learns how you play and will adapt to your style.  Now I saw this game for the first time almost straight after seeing Don't Breathe and I thought this basically sounds like that movie only the villain isn't blind.  Maybe more like The Collector now I think about it.  Anyway when I actually sat down and thought about the concept behind the game I realized that it's probably going to be bullshit.  It may be effective for the first couple of times but once you realize what makes the AI tick you'll just game it so hard that you'll be guaranteed to win every time.  It reminds me of a game called Warning Forever, a free to play shmup boss rush game where the enemy ship changes based on your play style, basically the shmup version of this.  However once you figured out what the game was looking for to make the boss grow a certain way you just did that every time for crazy high scores and after that it just became boring.  Unless this game is like, £5 or you have the brain function of a goldfish then I'd probably wait for a big sale on this one.

Anyway, I know I'm being super negative and the upcoming list of games did have SOME interesting ideas on it so I'll cover those tomorrow.  I'm also secretly hoping that all these games will prove me wrong and just being fucking fantastic once they're released.