Tuesday, 31 May 2016

DotA 2 has changed a fair bit

A long while ago I used to play quite a lot of DotA2.  I played it enough to warrant purchasing the compendium for two different Internationals and I felt like, while I wasn't what you'd call good, I had a good grip of the game.  Then for some reason I quit, I don't remember why exactly but it was probably because my backlog of unfinished games is some kind of stupid high number and I gave up online gaming to focus on that for a while.

In my absence there have been a multitude of updates, none of which I kept up to speed with save for a few messages from my friend who plays it a bit more frequently than I do.  What I had heard is that the game had got some kind of overhaul and that it was all glitchy and shit.  Then some time passed and now it's not so glitchy and shit and it's back to being highly enjoyable and with that I decided to give it another go.  Fuck me is it different though.

Right off the bat the interface has been completely reworked and it's all fancy and swish now.  One thing I was a little disappointed to see is that my level from previously earned battle points had been replaced with some new thing and my old level was reduced to some kind of shitty trophy.  The inventory looks completely different and to me, who got so used to the old menus, it was a little hard for me to find everything.  Still, the extra 5-10 minutes I spent wrapping my head around the new design isn't worth complaining about that much.

There's all these new heroes now too and I have no idea who they are, what they do, what items are good for them and I've never seen anyone use them.  I suppose it would be a good idea for me to check them out but I remember that the "all hero challenge" was a thing and started doing that instead.  There's also a bunch of new items and it feels like every game I'm seeing something in the shop that I didn't see before.  I'm too worried about not letting the team down to spend time perusing the additions to the shop.  The pre-update DotA had this inventory thing in the menu which gave you a run down of all the items you could buy but this feature seems to have vanished so now I'm just using recommended builds and hoping that it all works out.

The map is also a little different and the base is covered in these statues that I think are player owned but I'm not sure what the fuck they are for other than being another thing to destroy when I make my way into the enemy base.

I like the new update though because while it's a little daunting its nice to see all this new stuff after a long hiatus.  So if you're like me and haven't played in a while give it a go, maybe the new content can rekindle your enjoyment for the game.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Xeodrifter

Xeodrifter was a game I knew nothing about going in.  I received it for free on my Vita as part of my subscription to PS+ and I finally got around to playing it recently.  What I got was actually really fun and I feel like it's one of those games that everyone should have a go at.

Developed by Renegade Kid in 2011 and released on a whole bunch of systems and PC, Xeodrifter is basically Metroid and because of that this review of the game will probably be quite short.  Don't get me wrong, it's not an exact clone but for the most part it's the same deal where you fly around different planets, fighting these big alien creatures that look similar to each other and collecting power ups that allow you to explore the world and collect upgrades.  But being a clone of Metroid isn't a bad thing, Metroid is a great game so if there's anything to use as a template for your indie release then that's a good idea.

When the game starts out you have a map with 4 planets and a small space ship that gets messed up and needs a new warp drive or something.  It's then up to you to explore the 4 surrounding planets, collect power ups and find a new core for your ship so you can go home.  The game starts you off with 3 dots of health and a little pea shooter gun and just lets you explore freely.  What you'll find rather quickly is that a lot of the areas are off limits due to your lack of abilities and it's also really easy to die.

Very quickly though you fight a boss, get a power and the world starts to open up a little.  From there you can find secrets that will lead to health upgrades and gun upgrades which will make your shitty little gun shoot faster, stronger, in a spread or in a wave.  The only upgrades for the gun that I actually used were the speed and power upgrades and once they were maxed I felt like a complete power house but I'm sure people with different play styles could make use of all the other upgrade paths as you can add and take points from them freely at any time.

While it's a fun game there are a few complaints that I have, the length being my major issue.  The game is REALLY short, you could probably finish it on a lazy Sunday afternoon if you were willing to sink that much time into a single session and it's a little lacking in replay value.  Backtracking through levels can also be a little tedious as well and it's easy to lose concentration through an old area with weak enemies and end up dying because you're just not paying attention. My final complaint is that all the bosses are the same

Just this alien thing that comes in a different color every time. 

That said though, these complaints aren't enough to spoil what is actually a really fun little game.  While Metroid can feel a bit oppressive in its design Xeodrifter feels comfy and relaxing.  If you want an intense alien killing, exploration focused experience then maybe stick to Metroid but if you're looking for something fun and relaxing to kill some time with the Xeodrifter might be the game for you.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Git Gud or Go Home

So the new Doom got released and despite the less than satisfied reaction with the multiplayer demo, things seems to be going well for it.  I've not played it yet but there's a chance that despite a previous post I made about how its probably going to be shit, it's looking like I was somewhat wrong and that's not a bad thing.  In particular, after watching the first impressions video from TotalBuscuit I'm actually quite excited to get my hands on a copy.  Sure it's a bit modern and streamlined but it seems like the core elements of what made Doom Doom are there so thank god for that.

Anyway, I'm not here to talk about the quality of Doom, I'm here to bitch about games media some more when it comes to the reviews of the game.  Specifically a video review from video game shitrag Polygon.  Apparently they released a review video where the person playing the game absolutely sucked at the game which of course prompted many people in comment sections to laugh heartily and tell the sorry sack of shit that filmed it to "git gud".  Of course, Polygon being staffed almost exclusively by braindead crybabies they took issue with this and started moaning about the response.  This prompted other shitrags like Paste Magazine and Rock Paper Shotgun to write articles saying things like "git gud" is why people don't take gaming seriously or that "you don't need to be good at games to enjoy them"

Well you know what, partly they are right in that sense that you DON'T need to be good at games in order to enjoy them......if you're just a consumer having buying a title for the express purpose of having a good time.  But no, these aren't consumers these are professionals in the industry trying to critique a game and quite frankly you can't do that properly unless you have at least SOME skill at gaming in general.  These are people who GET PAID to give you information on games and you can't give consumers a good amount of information if you suck massive horse cocks at playing games.  It's probably the reason why Polygon likes to harp on about sexism and other non-issues in games because they aren't good enough to make enough progress in a given title to write a proper review.

Let's say you are looking to buy a new car and you go to a car dealer in order to get information on what the best car for you might be.  You arrive at the dealership and start asking the guy questions and he responds with things like "it has pedals and goes forward if you put petrol in it".  You'd probably leave without buying anything and be a little pissed off that he wasted your time.  We're not asking the salesman to be a pro racer but we're asking him to have a degree of knowledge that allows us to make an informed purchase.  Now I know these "journalists" aren't salesmen per se but a review of a game is what a lot of people will base their decision to purchase on so if these people aren't doing their job properly then they aren't helping the consumer make an informed purchase which is what they are PAID TO FUCKING DO.

I'm not asking these people to be pro gamers in the running to win tournaments or top tier speed running gods, just good enough to not be worse than my mum after I cut off her hands and stapled her eyes shut, that's all.  The whole "git gud" mentality that some gamers have is a GOOD thing because as long as it persists then some developers will continue to make challenging games.  Games are easy enough as it is and what we don't need is shit bag games "journalists" complaining on their big websites and making developers think that the market needs even easier shit.

I'd suggest that these idiots take up an easier, more relaxing hobby like Origami but then again they'd probably start publishing articles about how folding in straight lines is homophobic and paper cranes are racist.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Etrian Odyssey: Not as Hard As You Think

Very recently I replayed and finished a game called Etrian Odyssey on the DS.  The game was released in 2007 and is a dungeon crawler where the player is tasked with entering a labyrinth and solving its mysteries as they progress down 25 floors of danger.  The game came out in 2007 so this isn't going to be a review but I want to address something people have always said about it's difficulty.

Etrian Odyssey can be a challenging game to a new player, you have a number of classes to pick from who each have their own unique skills.  Then once you've made your team you have to gear them out, go into the dungeon and start to get them to a higher level.  Once you level up you get points to put into a skill and the lists of skills are so long that it would surely overwhelm a lot of new players, it sure as hell did for me my first time round.

So the things I hear the most regarding difficulty is that the encounters can be tough and dying makes you lose a lot of progress.  Well the second one might be true, since save points inside the dungeon are quite few and far between death can me a pretty hefty setback depending on how long you were exploring but encounters, even the special enemies and bosses become disgustingly easy once you get your head round the characters skills.

In my replay I managed to remember all the points required for the best skills and I realized that a great deal of the skills on the characters list are completely useless.  For example, the games version of the warrior has all these skills called things like "stunner" or some whirlwind thing that hits adjacent enemies but it's all crap.  Max out the attack, HP and All Slash skills and he can deal with most of the standard encounters alone.  Another example would be the survivalist who only really needs one skill called Apollon which does massive damage after 3 turns to a single foe.  You can take such a massive chunk of health from a boss in such a short time that the fight becomes almost trivial.  Couple that with a medic who has a maxed Salve 2 and the the game becomes almost too easy.

Granted, you would never know to do all that shit the first time round but I went back to this game with memories of having a hard time but my replay was just pathetically easy.  Even the final boss stood absolutely no chance and I beat him stood in line for a ride at a theme park and barely paying attention.

So what I discovered essentially is that a number of the skills are a bit unbalanced and break the combat a little bit and once you figure out what those skills are the game becomes a cake walk.  I'd recommend Etrian Odyssey since its a great little RPG and fans of dungeon crawl games might get a kick out of the whole draw your own map feature using the DS's lower screen.  It's become a big series too and I've not played a lot of the later ones so I'm curious to see if the later titles are as easily broken as this one.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

[Mediasplat] Biohazard 2: The Escape

So recently I went down to Osaka and checked out the Biohazard 2: The Escape event being held at Universal Studios Japan!  I wrote about the experience over at Mediasplat so click the link below and check it out!

https://mediasplat.net/identity-gaming-biohazard-2-the-escape/

No spoilers though, I don't want to get in trouble

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Casinos

So you may have noticed a complete lack of content on the blog over the last week or so.  That was because I was chilling out in Singapore on a nice little vacation with the wife and now I'm back and recovered from all that travel fatigue. 

Singapore is actually a pretty crappy place to go for video games.  There's lots of awesome non-game related shit that I did but most people over there play PC or mobile.  This means that the need for actual game stores that sell hard copies of things basically don't exist.  Granted I wasn't looking THAT hard for it but even my Singaporean buddies said that the prospects for physical content is pretty shitty.

However one thing I did do was hit up a Casino located on a resort island called Sentosa.  I know that Casinos aren't video games but its a kind of gaming that I've never talked about here on the blog and since I recently tried my luck with a couple dollars why not spend some time talking about it.

Before I continue about the casino though, let me tell you about the gambling situation in Japan.  It's illegal to gamble for money out here but there are many Pachinko and Slot Machine places dotted around everywhere.  The idea is that you use money to receive balls (Pachinko) or medals (slots) and you bet that currency on the machines.  If you win you can exchange your balls or medals for a ticket that will allow you to purchase prizes in the parlor.   That said, round the side of these places there's usually blacked out window where you can go exchange your ticket for cash.  As far as I know these windows are run by 3rd parties so it's not TECHNICALLY illegal, it's some weird loop hole and the police don't seem to give too many fucks.

Proper casinos though are a different story, these places are really cool.  They have a sort of nice atmosphere and I've heard that they pump oxygen into these places so that people have more energy to keep going.  The casino I went to was a little on the small side so the choices of games were a little limited.  I noticed there was an absolute shit ton of Baccarat, some kind of card game that I have no idea how to play.  Ideally I wanted to play Blackjack but I was there only for a short time and didn't feel like betting anything over than about $10 and the minimum bets were a little too high for me so I fucked off from my favorite casino game to play my two least favorite games, Roulette and Slots.

The roulette was all digitized, large banks of screens with the betting board on them and you used a touch interface to place your chips.  There was a real roulette wheel in the middle of all the machines where a staff member would spin the ball round.  Not only was I using the minimum amount of money possible but I was also only betting on red/black because fuck roulette and the chances of me winning anything on individual numbers are basically 0.  After a little while of that shit and winning a little bit I tried my hand at the slot machines.  Proper casino slot machines are very different to Japanese ones.  Japanese ones have 3 reels and there's all sorts of weird rules and conditions to make the shit pay out.  These ones you just had to get certain numbers of symbols to land on the board and shit would happen.  I put $2 in the thing and after a few spins and some weird alarms and shit going off and I ended up getting $18 out.  I had no idea what I was doing so once I saw that I was in the green I just fucked off.

Casinos are cool but these games can be a lot of fun and when you're betting with real money it's easy to get lost in the moment.  I got lucky a little bit on my holiday but more often than not you're probably going to lose so you gotta be real careful or you may be looking at debts you cant pay.   While enjoyable, I'll stick to video game casinos for fake money because if I lose I can just go and grind monsters or whatever to make it all back.  I need all my money for paying bills and buying games so I don't feel like taking my chances too much.