Monday, 29 September 2014
Basically, I have just started a new job and have been moved to Tokyo for a month so that I can do a training course. The company have very kindly agreed to put me up around various hotels except these hotels don't have particularly good internet. It's good enough for browsing the net and other basic things but it's not good enough to do a decent stream with.
It sucks but I don't really have any control over it so until I get back to Nagoya next month the 24 hour marathon will have to wait. In the meantime I'll try and come up with some more incentives or gather some prizes or something. I'll update you all ASAP
Friday, 26 September 2014
A long long time ago, in 2011, a developer called Supergiant Games released a title called Bastion. Bastion was an action RPG about a kid running around a world that was fucked while the story was narrated by a man who might have the worlds sexist voice. This year saw the release of Transistor which is an action RPG about an extremely classy women running around completely fucked cyberpunk world while her sword narrates the story by way of slightly less sexily voiced man.
One of Bastions really good points was its plot and one thing I'm rather disappointed with is that when it came to Transistors plot they kind of dropped the ball a little bit. The basic jist of what's going on is a woman called Red has her voice stolen and she wakes up next to a man who has been impaled by a greatsword. She takes the sword and goes after the group called the Camarata to get her voice back but it turns out that the sword can absorb peoples data or something so the impaled man talks to her throughout the game and plays the role of communicating with corpses for clues. While all this is going on the city is being fucked by these robot looking things called the Process so your job isn't only revenge but saving the world too.
While the plot for Transistor isn't particularly bad, I just didn't really care. A lot of it is quite vague and there's an awful lot of reading to be done if you want to get more back story and stuff like that. The plot didn't compel me enough to really get into all the extra tidbits they had put in to flesh out the world and while I wasn't skipping anything I also wasn't really going out of my way to read everything I could about the city of Cloudbank and its inhabitants. There are also certain elements of the story that make it feel just a little bit unfinished or rushed out. The big glaring one I recall was with an enemy called "The Spine" who is this big fuck off thing with tentacles that they play up really hard and have its mere presence fuck with the narrators very being and yet after a few battles with it the thing just vanishes and is never spoken of again.
Still, white Transistor's story leaves a little to be desired the game play is absolutely fantastic. Unlike their previous games real time hack and slashy type game play, Transistor opts for a kind of turn based/real time hybrid type thing that actually works really well. The idea is that you equip the Transistor with 4 skills and you are free to use these skills as much as you like as you run around. However, by design the skills are quite slow and clunky and if you try to use some of the more powerful moves just out in the open then you are liable to lose a lot of HP. This is where the turn based mode comes in because upon hitting the space bar you can freeze time and plan a series of attacks and when you finish Red will act out your plan. You then enter a short cool down phase where your skills are locked so it is up to you to plan your skills and attacks so that your combat efficiency doesn't fall during this time.
The system with the skills is also very cool. Every skill has 3 types of active, support and passive lets say. Putting a skill in the active slot is what you do to use it in combat, putting it in the support slot with another skill gives the equipped active skill an enhanced effect and putting it in the passive slot gives you some more general buffs. Every skill can go inside any slot so you're free to mix and match and try out lots of different combinations which is really cool. Also for those who weren't as disinterested with the story as me, each skill has a load of back story attached to it that can only be unlocked by equipping it in each slot so if you're the kind of person who has to know EVERYTHING about the inhabitants of Clouback then you are forced to use every skill in every slot at least one time.
There are also these things called Limiters which you can toggle on and off at the save points in order to make the combat harder. Doing this not only adds a little bit of extra challenge for those who want it but also nets you a higher experience reward and it's a great way to add a little bit of extra spice to the already fun combat.
Transistor is a really good game and I suggest that everyone buys it and supports Supergiant Games because so far they've been making really enjoyable stuff. It's not QUITE as good as Bastion but I feel that's an unfair comparison because they weren't making a Bastion 2, they were making something original. So go give it a go, the game play is fun and the sound track is AMAZING. It's not that highly priced too at £15 so you don't need to break the bank for this fun and pretty well made little indie title.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Just before I get into it, I wanted to have a lot more pictures but I stupidly left my camera in my buddies apartment, so when I get it back I'll upload all the TGS stuff as a gallery post. Also I'm not going to talk about the games so much as I'm going to describe my experience with the event, I'll do the games on an individual basis later.
I've never really been to any big organized gaming events like this before so TGS was pretty crazy. It's hosted in a big hall in Tokyo called Makuhari Messe and despite being fucking massive the crowds are so big that it's hard to navigate ones way round all the booths. Games are also not the only thing on display here with there being another massive cosplay section going on somewhere a short distance from the main floors but still part of the show. I got some really cool pictures of a few of the people so look forward to seeing that shit when I get my camera back.
If I was to try and sum up my TGS experience in one word it would be "unprepared". I sorely underestimated the crowds and as a result it was almost impossible to get a hands on with anything. There was an indie booth where I managed to play a couple of really interesting games but all the big titles like Bloodborne were not only rammed out but I think you needed advance tickets or something.
I was actually really looking forward to seeing all the stuff for The Evil Within but when we arrived at the booth the wait was over an hour long so we just said "fuck it" and moved on. There were also a number of things happening with developers going on stage and talking about their games but because of my lack of preparation we missed most of them. We did get to see the demo Resident Evil Revelations 2 being played and we caught the Silent Hills stuff about half way through but that shit was so hard to hear we just gave up on it in the end.
Despite that, TGS was fucking amazing and I'm probably going to go again next year but next time I'll ready myself appropriately so I don't have to make shitty nothing posts like this in the future. Like I said, my thoughts on individual titles will come later because if I did that here it would take me all evening to type out so watch this space and the pictures should be uploaded around Saturday.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
Still though, my wedding party is all done with so with any luck I'll be back to my usual routine of daily posts and livestreams. However, I have recently got a new job and I have to move to Tokyo for a month for training but I've been told that the hotels I am staying in all have internet connections so I should still be able to update regularly.
The first thing I am doing when I arrive in Tokyo in the morning is heading to Tokyo Game Show to see all the fancy new shit flying around so expect some kind of long post or maybe even a vlog detailing my adventures at this yearly gaming extravaganza!
For now though, I have to hit the hay and wake up early for my Shinkansen tomorrow. Watch this space
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Evil Quest follows the adventures of a bloke called Galvis. Galvis hears the stories of the Chaos Axe, a weapon so powerful that it was hidden away in the land of humans by God himself and now he wants to take it for himself to destroy the world. He must travel across the lands breaking the 4 seals that keep the Axe of out his reach and then venture to the Astral Plane to slay God and bring an end to humanity.
Before even starting the game I had a problem because I can't think of any game off the top of my head where you play the bad guy that doesn't suck complete shit. Maybe Dungeon Keeper but I've not played that in such a long time I can't remember if you're really the bad guy in that one, feel free to remind me or tell me of a title if such a thing exists.
Despite its stupid story, Evil Quest actually plays OK. It's a little basic and a little clunky but it works and the hacking and slashing of enemies is pretty fun. The game falls short in a lot of areas such as getting items that you use only once and then never again or 2 of the 4 stats being COMPLETELY fucking useless but these don't ruin it enough to make me want to shut it off. Despite the flaws in it's design I managed to get to the end since they did a good job of pacing the game and not making it drag out too long.
My big problem with Evil Quest comes with the characters, dialogue and artwork. The art for the games few brief cut scenes looks like something from some adolescents Deviantart page where he keeps all his Sonic fan art, it just had that kind of vibe to it for me. The designs of the enemies aren't all that bad but there's a lot of palette swapping going on and that's just lazy and bullshit. The characters are pretty terrible with Galvis being the worst because he doesn't really have a reason for doing anything. He's a dick to absolutely everybody just because he can be and it makes the whole thing feel very shallow. Finally the dialogue is extremely cringe worthy with lines written as if a very angsty 15 year old boy had been allowed head writer position on the development team.
But that last line sums up all of Evil Quests problems really. It plays and feels as if a 15 year old boy who gets bullied a little bit at school and listens to too much Slipknot was given a copy of game maker and told to create something. The boy isn't an idiot, so he makes something mildly fun to pass the time but by God is it one of the most cringe worthy things in all of gaming.
Despite my harsh words I can sort of recommend Evil Quest since it costs basically no money and it wouldn't take enough of your time to be offensive. Hell, when everyone shut up and just let me run around the map killing monsters and collecting treasure, I had a good time. So if you're on some kind of extreme budget and you want something new to play, give Evil Quest ago. There's enough love and talent on display here to give your support to and hopefully in the future Chaosoft Games will better themselves and produce something really epic in due time.
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Now in all fairness, I've not been following the production of Destiny so I have seen very little. Before making this post I checked out the launch trailer and it didn't really change my impressions of the game. I also checked out the Wikipedia entry but that didn't really sway me either.
So as far as I understand it, in Destiny you pick a race and a class (of which there are only like 3 or so, I think) and then you go on some kind of adventure to protect Earths last city or something. The one thing that stuck out in my mind when I saw a few snippits of information from the E3 coverage was that it reminded me of Borderlands.
This is not a good thing because it's basically the entire reason that I have 0 interest in the game. Borderlands is bloody awful with its terrible writing, metric fucktons of useless weaponry, shitty open world game play and repetitive questing and I can't shake the feeling that Destiny will be just that but made to look like Halo.
That doesn't mean that I think Destiny is a bad game, because Bungie are a talented group of people, they can probably take a concept like Borderlands and un-shit it but that doesn't make me want to jump on the hype train and buy a PS4 just to play it. I think in a sense that Destiny is very lucky to be released at this time because right now I can't think of any other decent game for the PS4 or Xbone so I guess people are excited just to have SOMETHING to play on their next gen paperweights.
I'm totally open to the idea of giving Destiny a go, I just don't want to pay for it. You never know, I might play Destiny on my buddies PS4 and be completely blown away by it. Then again I might play it, be completely right about it being crap and maybe come back here to say even nastier things, only time will tell.
I don't take much stock in things such as Metacritic but I gave it just a quick glance to get a general opinion and the user score was clocking in at 6.3. This means that people have played it and have found it to be a little disappointing I guess and these people are way more versed with it than I am.
Right now I'm being nice without expecting anything but I have a feeling I'm going to be rather upset in the end.
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
Betrayer starts out with your nameless protagonist washed up on a beach of colonial America. After walking down a linear path for a while some chick in red shows up and sends you a message which I can't remember the contents of right now. Then you are let out into another map which is much wider and more open where you come across an abandoned settlement. It's at this point in the game where the main part of the adventure becomes clear. After some exploring you hook up with the woman in red and you agree to help her regain her memory and look for her missing sister. While doing this you must switch between the normal world and a light world exploring the land and talking to ghosts. Each ghost has their own story and as figure out the fates of all the souls that died in each area, the mystery with the woman in red becomes clearer.
Gameplay is first person and while you explore you are attacked by things such as Spanish soldiers, weird on fire tribesmen, spiders, ghosts, skeletons and all sorts of other stuff. At the start of the game you are given a longbow but later you have access to things such as crossbows, muskets and pistols. Since bows aren't particularly strong and guns take a long time to reload there is a focus on stealth game play where you receive bonuses to damage for catching and enemy unaware.
The thing that really sticks out about this game though is the art style. The whole game uses the same kind of colour scheme as Madworld on the Wii, which is black, white and red. It games the game a unique feel since the red is used not for blood or gore but to highlight things of interest in the world. Of course if you don't like this feel you can mess with a slider and turn the main world into a fully coloured thing but the dark world will always be black and white.
My complaints with this game are that it is a bit repetitive. Once you get a feel for how the game works then you end up doing every map the same way and things can become a little boring. I got round this by doing 1 area per day rather than playing for long periods of time all at once but people shouldn't have to do that just to enjoy a game. Also the enemy variety is a little lacking since almost every enemy in the dark world is JUST a skeleton. Not even a fucked up weird skeleton, just a bog standard skeleton that shoots a thing at you. There is some variety later on, but quite frankly it's not enough. Also the final section of the game is pretty much just busywork which is unforgivable. However it doesn't last too long so I suppose it doesn't tarnish the overall experience
That said, Betrayer is pretty cheap on Steam and for what it's worth I enjoyed it a lot. I found the stories of each of the spirits to be pretty interesting and that in turn made searching for all the clues a bit more fun since I'd try to piece it together in my head before reaching the wraith and having it told to me. Not quite the next big horror gem I was hoping for, but an enjoyable few days nonetheless
Monday, 8 September 2014
For those that don't know, Hatsune Miku is the mascot character for a piece of software known as Vocaloid. The way I understand it, you type Japanese into the software and then Miku will sing it back to you. You can then use the software to fuck about with the sounds and make original songs. People who make songs using this software upload their stuff to a website called Nico Nico Douga and from there Vocaloid and Hatsune Miku have gained massive popularity in Japan.
Project Diva F2nd is the second game in the Miku themed rhythm games and if you've ever played a rhythm game before then you should know what to expect from a title like this. You pick a song and then press the buttons that appear on the screen in time with the music. On top of that there is the Diva Room mode where you can creepily rub Miku's (and the other characters) faces to unlock various things. As you play you get Diva Points to use in the games shop mode where you can buy things like skins for the interface and outfits for the characters.
It's hard to talk about this game at any length because it really is just a straight up rhythm game and the appeal comes from how much you like Vocaloid songs. If you don't know any Vocaloid songs but you enjoy catchy J-Pop then this game still would be up your alley.
The game still suffers from the really annoying bullshit where you have to play all the songs on Normal to unlock them on Hard and then again on Hard to unlock them for extreme. It's annoying because Normal and Hard are a fucking cakewalk. However after playing a few songs on the extreme setting I've found that this game seems to be considerably harder than any other Miku game that I've played previously.
If you have a Vita and you need a worthwhile addition to your library, then buy this. It's well made, has catchy music and it's great for short bursts.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
So, I would like to give big thanks to all the people who donated to the charity for this to happen, I'm glad that my suffering is entertaining enough to the point where you will give money to see it.
The dates for this marathon are now set at October 4th/5th so tune into my livestream on those days
Also there have been some new incentives added to the site!
The first is a Megaman Mega Marathon with me and Chinese_Hulk on Twitch! This will involve me and him racing through Megaman 1-8, X1-6 and Zero 1-4 back to back! So if you enjoy Megaman then get donating for that.
Also by Hulk's suggestions donation incentives have been added to make me play I Wanna Be the Guy and I Wanna Be the Boshy until completion in one sitting. These games are notoriously hard and my experience with Boshy is almost non-existent, so if you want to see some true suffering get donating for that.
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Anyway, over the last couple of weeks there's been a lot of shit going on in the world of gaming. Almost every day on every site people have been talking about this GamerGate stuff which basically involves a lot of people flinging shit and not really getting anywhere, at least not that I can see at time of writing this article. Not that the whole issue about women in games and honesty of gaming media isn't a topic worth discussing but there's so much bile involved. If you take a look through my recent posts then you can even see that it was starting to get to me, where I'm guilty of blogging about all the bullshit and actually getting quite angry about it. Usually when I rage at stuff it's not REAL rage but this whole situation was getting my pantaloons twisted.
But then I took a step back, stopped reading these fucking "news" sites and forums and I loaded up a game. I played that game for a good few hours and you know what? I had fun. The drama over the course of the last two weeks made me forget for just a second why I love this medium and why I play video games. So in a way of kind of getting myself back on track with what I'm here for and to look a bit sappy on the internet, I thought I'd write this post today about just why I love gaming so damn much.
Gaming is a thing I've been doing since I was 4 years old starting with the Megadrive then going a generation or two backwards before eventually getting my hands on a SNES and subsequently a Saturn/PS1 etc.
As a person I enjoy challenging myself and gaming as an entertainment medium fit that bill entirely. I could watch a movie or read a book and I enjoyed it, sure, but books and movies never quite gave me the same sense of satisfaction that a game did. When the characters in a book or a movie succeed, that's because it was written for them to succeed while in a game it felt like the characters success was based on MY input. Sure the stories were basic and/or shitty but the challenge was there and that's why I personally enjoyed them the most.
Gaming evolved and things started to change, the visuals and technology was getting better and developers were getting better at writing stories. As I got older games stopped just being about beating a level or overcoming a boss battle but they were affecting me emotionally as well. Not only that but there was such variety and every experience I had in a game was a memory made either alone or with friends and they are memories that I cherish.
It's not so much like that now though, over the years I think the game industry has become just a little bit shittier by hitting the mainstream. Games aren't about innovation and experiences any more as much as they are about making safe shit for the lowest common denominator that will make the most sales.
But that doesn't mean gaming itself is shit, I still love the fuck out of video games. Nowadays I use them to relax after a long day of work. I can just sink into a chair and enjoy a game or if I play a shitty one and can come onto this blog and tear it a new asshole so even lowest common denominator bullshit has its place. Gaming is also that one hobby that all of my friends had and it's that one thing that has kept us all together despite me being halfway across the globe from most of them. I've heard about lots of people falling out of contact with each other but within my circle of friends we always try to make a little time to have a game of something with each other or collectively get excited or rage at latest gaming news, and that's great.
Don't take this post as an indication of me going soft. If someone posts something stupid or a game sucks I'm still going to get on my soapbox and yell, tough love and all that. But games journalists are always going to be shit, they always have and there's always going to be massive dickholes shitting up a given space but just don't forget to enjoy a fucking game once in a while, will ya?
Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go play some Transistor, that game rocks!