Monday, 28 December 2015
Back when I was a small boy shit was so simple. I remember waking up one birthday morning in Manchester and having a Nintendo 64 shoved in front of my face, I was overjoyed. I ran down stairs, my dad hooked that bastard up to the TV, I shoved in Mario 64 and BOOM! I was playing the latest that gaming had to offer at the time.
Compare this to my PS4 where I had to hook it up, set up the time/date/language, configure the internet connection, sign up for then log into PSN, download software updates and more all before I even thought about putting a disc into the fucking thing. Then after I put the disc in for Bloodborne it had to dump all the data to the HDD and then download a fucking update before I could even start the character creation. I must have been sat in front of the thing for at least an hour before player met game and that's kind of sad.
Even the thought processes that go through my head when simply buying games now is so much more involved than it was a few generations ago. Back then I'd pick up a game, look at the box, read the blurb and if I thought it sounded cool, I'd fucking buy it. Now I have to think about things like performance issues between platforms, DLC, if it's cheaper via download on PSN or the WiiU store or whatever just to name a few things. Hell, Bloodborne is a great example of this because I had no fucking idea that The Old Hunters Edition of the game came with all the original content. I thought, like whenever I've encountered expansions in the past, you had to own the original game first and THEN buy the expansion but this version of the game just has everything and it required a google search in order for me to find that out.
Even though I'm bitching about it I do get it, it's one of those necessary evils of gaming that we just have to accept. The medium has come a long way and modern technology lets us do so much more with our games now than we were able to do. We can share content, play together via the internet, create mods and extras by ourselves to share and this is all stuff that has gotten better with time. That said, the old says where you could just pop a game into your system of choice, hit the on button and be playing in under a minute is a time I do miss.
Still, that's the advantage of living in Japan for me, I have so many retro consoles that those simpler times are just a short hookup away and buying something like a SNES is cheap and easy to find. I can relive the simpler times and enjoy the benefits of modern gaming, it's just a shame that I have to go through so much hassle every time I want to buy something modern.
Thursday, 24 December 2015
Now, me moaning about this shit doesn't mean that I think 2015 was a bad year for gaming, quite the opposite really, 2015s actually been pretty damn good. The reason I'm taking time out of my day to moan about GotY articles is because they are so fucking pointless and predictable that without even looking I can guess what some of the winners or nominees are going to be. Let's just list off a few that will probably get awarded something
just to name a few. But what do all these games have in common? Well it's the fact that you already fucking know they are really good. People have gone to great lengths to talk about these games BECAUSE they are so good, so why the fuck do you need some twat on IGN who couldn't tell a controller from a horse dildo to re-tell you that these games are great?
These articles have exactly one purpose, and that's so fucking kids can brag about how daddy got them GotY for Christmas or whatever?
"Uhh what did you get for Christmas?"
"I got Mario Maker"
"Well that game sucks because my mummy gave me Fallout 4 and THAT was Gamespot's GotY 2015 don't ya know" *smug smug smug*
No one over the age of fucking 15 gives a shit what the game of the year is. Are people so insecure about their own fucking opinions on games that they need to have them validated by twats writing for big news sites?
But wait, here's the best part! I promise you, beyond a shadow of a doubt that most of these writers voting on and deciding the best games of 2015 haven't even begin to dig through the thousands of titles that were released in the year. All these fucking websites are probably happily skipping over a ton of games that got buried under AAA hype or shit that didn't ever get an English release. Sure, you can name Dancing All Night as 2015s best rhythm game but have ANY of these writers played Chunithm? Musica? RevX Beat? the latest versions of IIDX or any other long standing Konami arcade rhythm game? No of course they fucking haven't. I imagine that the pool of games that they have enough knowledge about in order to vote on is actually pretty small and that's what really makes these lists a complete waste of time.
Share your favorites with your friends, that's a great idea because maybe your buddy played something that you missed but don't waste your time with these stupid fucking IGN, Gamespot, Polygon fucking stupid lists. You already know what's on them and you've probably already played them or heard them talked about to death. Why not go dig through the steam listings or your local game store to see if you can find a hidden 2015 gem? Seems like a better use of your time then being told that the good thing was good.
Monday, 21 December 2015
First the size of the thing, it's pretty fucking large and that is a little bit of a pain in the ass. If I lived back in my family home in Sweden or my old house in the UK then this wouldn't be an issue at all but as it happens I live in a small-ish Japanese apartment so finding space to put this damn thing down was actually a little bit of an issue. That said it is a nice shape that slots nicely into the desk space that I put it so it's not all bad, just be aware of the size if you're strapped for space like I am.
Interface wise it's the same as every other Sony gaming product since PSP, that kind of horizontal scrolling menu. I'm a big fan of this interface, it's slick and easy to use as opposed to the Xbone which just confuses the fuck out of me every time I use it. It might just be because I'm a stupid retard but it's I find it very easy to get lost in the Xbox One interface but with this everything is basically idiot proof, which is exactly what I need.
I do quite like this whole share button feature because sharing stupid screenshots of stuff with my friends is pretty cool. One thing I'm really interested in is the whole streaming to twitch thing but at time of writing I have not tried this out yet. I want to buy a Playstation Camera so that I can talk/do the face cam thing I do when I stream from my PC so I'm not quite sure how good the twitch integration is. That said, I've watched streams of a few friends who are doing it from their PS4 and it seems pretty solid, so I'm looking forward to giving it a try.
The other feature I quite like is the whole PS+ thing. It costs about 5000 yen for a year, which is essentially free and every month they provide you with free games for you to download. Originally I didn't see the big deal because I thought that you lost the games when the selection games but it turns out that as long as PS+ is active and you downloaded them, you can play them forever which is rad. I thought a service like that would cost an arm and a leg, especially in this day and age when every company seems to want to rip you off with DLC and needless extras/exclusive content but like I said before, 5000 yen is nothing and it covers the whole year.
While neither of the next gen libraries grabbed me at first, PS4 has also started to pick up some steam. Right now I own copies of Bloodborne: The Old Hunters Edition and Yoru no Nai Kuni (yet unplayed) and there are a bunch of other games like MGS5 and a few RPGs I've seen milling around the store. There's also P5 and Nier 2 on the horizon so with that in mind I'm pretty fucking happy with my purchase. Already the anime moe games are starting to creep in on store shelves which may turn some people off but it doesn't really bother me, I can sit through kawaii bullshit if the games good.
So yeah, I like the PS4 and I'm hoping that it carries on being this strong all the way through its lifetime, we'll just have to wait and see. Now I'm gonna get get destroyed at Bloodborne!
Friday, 18 December 2015
Why is it that so many game companies have decided to become complete and utter assholes? Whenever I think back to gaming in my childhood, I always think “it’s probably just the nostalgia, it probably wasn’t THAT great”. But there’s one thing that WAS GREAT, and that was paying for a game and getting the whole fucking game!
When I bought the Age of Empires, Final Fantasy (any of them!), or Star Wars MOTHER FUCKING Battlefront, I got a full game. Then some time down the line, the company that made the game might release an expansion for the game, e.g. Age of Empires 2 followed by Age of Empires 2: Age of the Conquerors.
The thing is though, these expansions were like games in themselves! They added MORE to the already existing game! Now, I buy a game from a lot of my hard earned money, get home, start playing, and… it’s about a third of the fucking game! To me, this is nothing short of daylight robbery! Then they have the fucking gall to then say to the angry and disappointed masses “oh you wanted this? Well don’t worry! Give us MORE money and you can have some of it. Then wait a little while, give us EVEN MORE money, and then MAYBE we’ll give you the rest… or we might just keep some of it back to charge you again later”.
Take the new Star Wars Battlefront for example. I LOVED the original two games. They were, in my opinion, some of the best shooting games of their time. You had capture the flag style gameplay, space battles, heroes vs villains, and a HUGE number of good and bad guys to choose from.
Now, let’s look at the new Star Wars Battlefront. The fans went nuts when they heard the news that there was going to be a new Battlefront game, myself included. Then as time passed and the game’s release got closer, more and more shit started surfacing. NO Clone Wars, NO Galactic Conquest, NO Story Mode/Campaign, Only 3 Heroes and 3 Villains to choose from, the list goes on and on. The fans are understandably angry, and what happens? They start HINTING that these things will appear over time as DLC. FUCK THEM! You cannot take a game that is already established, remake it, then only offer 20-30% of the original game’s content, and then tease and taunt us with the possibility of getting the rest.
What angers me, and many others, about this is that this kind of behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated in any other industry. You wouldn’t listen to a song then half way through it stops and they say you have to pay more to hear the rest of the song. You wouldn’t get two thirds of the way through a book then find the last pages missing and a note saying you have to pay to get the other pages. Just like you wouldn’t watch a movie where sections were blacked out and you had to pay more to reveal the rest of the screen.
I will say one thing, not all DLC is like this. There are some DLCs that are purely for cosmetics, are optional, and are little add-ons to the game itself (custom skins for example). But that doesn’t justify doing this to the game’s main content, and Its reasons like this that I am very selective with what games I buy, and what companies’ games I choose to play. I for one will not help fund this bullshit, I’d much rather support the companies that still hold true to giving the players what they want, a complete game and experience.
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Well I said fuck all that and I'm going to look for some fucking mobile games that have some kind of ending. None of this endless fucking bullshit with daily dungeons and seasonal things to collect, just a straight up normal game with a start and a finish.
So I started by playing it safe and going for a game with a bit of a legacy behind it and that was Dragon Quest. If you've somehow not heard of Dragon Quest it's the big motherfuckin' granddad of JRPGs. You thought FF1 was basic? HO BOY YOU AIN'T SEEN SHIT. We're talking a time when the games entire combat system was focused on one on one battles and the plot was basically "find and kill the bad thing"
Obviously there's more to it than that, the game focuses a lot on exploration and it's up to you, the player, to seek out hints and uncover the secrets of the world in order to gain access to a big castle and shove your legendary blade in some assholes face. It's pure, simple, somewhat challenging and a hell of a lot of fun. Usually I play mobile games when I'm out and about and too busy to bust out the Vita or 3DS but I found myself logging in time on Dragon Quest while sitting around my fucking house.
It's a fucking classic and the iOS version comes with fancy graphics and a nice easy to use interface. So if you don't want to deal with all that archaic crap then this is a good place for you to find out what all the fuss was about back in '86. While it's not free it costs so little money on the app store that it may as well be so I highly recommend checking it out.
Whoever made this game must of been a big fan of the Ys series because the game involves a read headed protagonist running around a world killing enemies by running into them like a Beyblade that's been on fire. Like Dragon Quest the game has a simple plot of go and kill the bad thing and it also involves a lot of exploration and puzzle solving in order to reach the big bads lair so you can shove a sword into his face.
The game is short and easy but when you're dealing with mobile games this is pretty much exactly what you want. There are a couple of moments that will stump you for more bullshit reasons rather than good design but you won't need a guide to find out what's going on and when you do make progress you'll want to slap yourself for not trying that method earlier. There are even leader boards for completion time so if you're the speed running type then maybe you'll get a kick out of that but I found the controls to be a bit shitty so I didn't want to bother.
I've heard that it's had a release on 3DS but why pay for it when you can just get it for free off the app store. Maybe the 3DS has some extra features, I'd be surprised if it didn't but I'd just stick to the free version for your phone.
I did have a weird issue where the game would crash constantly on launch unless I launched it from the app store which is weird but you'll finish it in a few sessions so it's not too big a deal. Go give it a download, you have nothing to lose and it's probably better than that shitty monster collecting game you've had collecting dust for a long long time.
So yeah, iPhone is still mostly complete and utter trash when it comes to games but there are a few titles hidden on the store that are worth playing. Check these two out and I'm also down to try some others if anyone has any suggestions.
Monday, 14 December 2015
The story of Undertale starts with a war between monsters and humans that ends with a human victory. In the aftermath the humans sealed away the monsters under the earth except they left an opening to the underground in the top of a mountain. A small child who was wandering around falls into this gap in the seal and this is where the game begins, it is then up to you as the player to help this child find a way out.
The game is very linear but it makes up for it's lack of exploration with some really strong writing and characterization. While it's not perfect and sometimes relies on memes and other internet stupidity you will probably find yourself getting quite engrossed in the Underground and the game provides an interesting cast who you can actually become quite attached to.
Game play is a rather strange mix of RPG and bullet hell shooter. When you get into combat choosing the attack command will bring up a Mario RPG style timing thingy that dictates how much damage you do. When you get attacked the text box turns into a field where the enemy shoots bullets at you and you have to use the arrow keys to move a little heart around and not get hit. There are boss battles which mix up the combat a bit by locking your movement in certain ways and combat is actually quite infrequent so it never really has a chance to get stale. You can also win fights by talking your enemy down but in the one play through that I did I never bothered to try that method of winning a fight
The game isn't very long but this is probably due to the nature of the endings. There are a number of routes and ways you can play this game and doing each one yields a different ending. The ending that you get changes certain things about your next play through which gives the game some degree of replay value however at time of writing I've not gone past a single full play through. Other strong points for this title include a really strong soundtrack and some really well thought out set pieces that either punch you in the soul or make you laugh out loud.
If I had anything to complain about it would be the aforementioned internet meme references and the overly easy nature of all the puzzles. Every puzzle is obvious and unchallenging which in some moments is because the story calls for it but other times where I feel like I'm just being treated like a fucking moron. I've heard people complain about the graphics because it's all retro but there's nothing inherently bad with that. If I was to make a game I'd probably use pixel graphics because I can't draw anything else for shit and I think the game would have lost some of its charm if it looked any other way.
I've heard some people compare it to Earthbound but I'm not seeing it. There's a couple of nods to it here and there so you can tell the developer got some degree of inspiration but there's nods to other games in there like Final Fantasy 6 but I don't see anyone going crazy for that reference. To be brutally honest I was getting more of a Yumi Nikki vibe from the game, obviously totally different but something about the art style and atmosphere of the game gave me that feeling.
Either way, Undertale is a pretty good game that's worth checking out. Love it or hate it, it's hard to deny that that it's an interesting title that's worth at least a little bit of time and attention. It's inexpensive on Steam so if the idea of this game does interest you then it wont kill you to at least give it a go. I could easily see this game not being for everyone but for those willing to take a chance you're in for a good time.
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
So first let me post the trailer so you can watch it if you haven't seen it already
Looks pretty exciting right? I mean the good thing is that the visuals are awesome and it's kind of nice too see all the old Duplo charactes from the PS1 game finally being brought to live with a more realistic look. I only really have one complaint about the game visually and that's the choice that they made for Barret. At what point in time between them finishing the adventure on PS1 and restarting it on PS4 did he decide to become a hard core Wesley Snipes impersonator? While it's kind of dumb looking like Wesley Snipes isn't exactly a bad thing so that's nothing more than a minor nitpick.
But there are 2 big things in this trailer that throw up red lights.
The first one is the combat that is shown. No longer do we have the ATB fights from the original and instead we are given this weird Kingdom Hearts-esque combat that's entirely in real time. Now I'm not some kind of prick who thinks that there's something inherently wrong with real time battles but in FF7 I can see the new combat system making a lot of fights piss easy. No longer will you have to carefully manage materia, equipment and limit gauges in order to overcome your foes. No, you'll just be able to fucking dodge everything in real time (I bet there will be some kind of rolling feature) and all the enemies will have either stupid telegraphs that make it easy to predict whats coming or undodgeable screen filling bullshit. I'm sure they'll change the combat to make the already existing fights more challenging but generally speaking action RPGs are piss easy and I'm sure there are plenty of fans that are sad that the old ATB system that they knew and loved has now gone.
The other part of the trailer that set my alarm bells off is right before they start showcasing the combat. Cloud is surrounded by a bunch of guards on a road above some train tracks in the middle of Midgar. Now, if you'll recall back to the original game you can choose to either fight them or run away and after 3 fights or so cloud hears a train horn and makes his escape by jumping on the top of the train.
Now, in the trailer for the remake something weird happens. Cloud winces and the screen gets covered in some light static and he starts to run for the train tracks. I KNOW this isn't the way the game transitions into combat because the first fight they show is from a completely unrelated bit of Midgar and it does eventually cut to the part on the bridge, also the combat in this section is already done with when cloud makes his escape. So what's the big fuckin' deal? Well this small detail points to one possibility and that's that they are changing the story which to me would be unforgivable. I don't mind them making small dialogue changes here and there but the overall plot has to stay the same otherwise this remake is going to become a giant piece of betrayal. FF7s plot may be a little bit silly and nonsensical in some places but that's what makes it FF7 you can't just go changing it now after all these years all willy nilly without upsetting a lot of people.
There are other things to nitpick at too such as the fucking TERRIBLE English voice work. I've not looked to see if there's a version of this trailer with Japanese voices but the English voice actors really sound like they are phoning it in. Also the exploration game play that they show is a little uncomfortably close to Final Fantasy 13 but I think that's just the nature of the area rather than being an indication of the game as a whole.
But here's the reason I'm glad I waited a day before writing
What the actual fuck, go and fuck yourself Square-Enix. Multi-part games are bullshit on their own but there is NO FUCKING WAY this should be in multiple entries. I don't give a flying fuck what the reason is, just release it as a whole, complete game. When I buy an RPG, especially one that's a remake of a PS1 game from 199 fucking 7 I don't expect to have to wait months between key moments in the story. The original was technically speaking in "parts", as in there were 3 discs and those disc changes came at key moments in the story but at least all 3 discs were packed in the fucking box upon purchasing the game.
This is just a cheap, shitty way to milk the fan base for as much money as humanly possible. Of COURSE the hardcore fans are going to buy every single fucking part because it's a PS4 remake of their favourite PS1 game, it's guaranteed profit from people who have been waiting for this shit since that really old PS3 tech demo where they showed the opening in "next gen" graphics.
This would be like someone selling me the PS1 version for like £20 but only giving me the first disc and then making me wait a few months and charge me ANOTHER £20 for the next disc. This isn't going to be some budget game with parts that cost £10 or less, I can almost guarantee that each part is going to be full game price and if it doesn't turn out that way I'll gladly let someone punch me in the face for falsely accusing Square Enix of being money grubbing little cunts.
Well whatever, I have no doubt in my mind that at the very least the Final Fantasy 7 remake will be a good game. The only problem is that it will be so drastically different from the game we played back in the day that I'll be left unimpressed and pissed off. I don't want to play Final Fantasy 7: Kingdom Hearts Combat Edition, I want to play fucking Final Fantasy 7 with fancy new graphics. If you're going to go to all this length to make what is essentially a new fucking game, then just make a new fucking game.
Let's just give it some time and maybe things will get better but OH BOY I FUCKING DOUBT IT
Friday, 4 December 2015
So the movie follows a young girl called Sara Mizuki (played by Haruka Shimazaki for AKB48 fame) and she is hired to play a role in some stage play for some skinny prick. She is joined by some other try-hard wannabe actresses as tension builds during the preparations for the performance. While all this is happening, an even doll possessed by a ghost is going around offing people and it's up to our plucky heroine to put an end to the ghost, save the day and save the production.
To cut a potentially very long post short, this movie just isn't all that good. It has a few moments but they are too short and too few and far between to make sitting through the whole thing worth it. If you have ever seen a Japanese horror movie before like The Ring then you've seen this. It's about a cliche as it gets and you can see the "twists" coming from a mile away. Just go and watch any Japanese ghost movie and replace the word "ghost" with "doll" and you pretty much have the entire plot of this film.
I want to say that the acting wasn't particularly bad but I think that's because I went in with absolutely 0 expectations from any of the talent. Haruka Shimazaki especially, being an AKB48 pop star idol, I was expecting her performance to be just complete cringe worthy bullshit but she played her part well enough.
That's all I really have to say about this film, it's not shitty enough for a long rant and it's not good enough to gush over in any kind of way. It's just one of those "meh" cliche Japanese horror movies that you watch and then forget about about a week later. It speaks volumes when one of the highlights of the movie going experience for me and my friends was laughing at the guy 2 rows back who had fallen asleep and was snoring loudly.
Still, if you've not seen any Japanese horror movies before or you're one of those creepy weirdos who likes AKB48 and wants to watch Haruka Shimazaki make terrified faces at the camera then maybe you'll get a kick out of Gekijourei. Otherwise, avoid it because it's going to be one of those shit £5 DVD movies that you'll see about a million copies of in the "Foreign Cinema" section of your DVD store.