Sunday, 30 December 2012
So, there aren't really any big changes coming to the blog itself, nothing special coming up in terms of written articles.
That said, there are a couple of things coming to the youtube channel once I get back into it all. First I've received quite a few new games, so you can expect a "shit I bought in Japan" vlog thing again soon. Also I'm off to see the friend who I filmed the Die Hard Arcade showcase with, so you might get another 2 man short playthrough video of probably something really old.
The big thing though is the new playthrough coming, which will be of Rayman on the PS1. This playthrough will be a little different to the Panzer Dragoon Saga one though. First, it's a platformer and I'm probably going to die a good few times, so expect more editing to the videos at the very least. The other thing is that I've been challenged to beat this game by a friend, who said that if I can beat it he'll donate to the charity.
So in the future, if any of you have a game you think I can't beat, or would like to see, I'd be more than happy to take a request if it means a little something towards the Alzheimer's Society upon completion.
Anyway, once all the end of year hype dies down, shit will be back to normal.
Thursday, 27 December 2012
For anyone who may not know, Hatsune Miku is the mascot character for a piece of voice synthesising software called Vocaloid. I've never used it but the way I understand it is that you write music in this program, and the robot voices will sing them for you. Miku, along with the other vocaloid characters have become rather famous in Japan and you'll sometimes see them dotted around. For example, there was a big Miku cutout in the Karaoke place near the place I was living in a few years ago, and this year Family Mart (or Lawson, don't remember) were selling Vocaloid themed Christmas Cards.
Anyway, Project Diva F is a rhythm game, and if you're not familiar with this genre by now, you must have been living under a rock during the whole Rock Band/Guitar Hero craze. It's a good rhythm game too, it can be quite challenging on the Hard and Expert modes, which is something I find that western rhythm games tend to lack. The game even makes use of the touch screen with "scratch" notes, that involve rubbing the screen once the icons match up so the Vita touch screen gets a bit of a workout.
There is another mode called the Diva Room, which is sort of like having a Vocaloid tamagotchi, but I'll go into detail about that in another post. The game also features a shop where you can buy outfits and items of clothing so you can customise what they look like in the music videos.
All this is well and good, but the most important thing in a rhythm game is the music, right? Well, embarrassingly, I'm a bit of a sucker for this kind of music and I find it really catchy, so for me the music goes down really well. That said, I'm aware that there are a lot of people who will listen to this and be turned away so unless you're into Japanese techno-pop type stuff you probably won't enjoy the song list.
Still, it's an extremely solid rhythm game and I've not had a good console rhythm game to play for a long long time. This will probably never see a western release so fire up those import websites if you want a copy for your Vita, but if this kind of stuff is your thing, you'll really like it.
Tuesday, 25 December 2012
So today I hit an extremely posh resturant in central Nagoya called The Kitchen. The food here is insanely good and I'm going to go out and as far as I know these kind of resturants are dotted around Japan.
There isn't really much to say about it really, it's just a really posh resturant at the top of a big tower building. You get a nice view with great food and the staff are trained to speak little bits of Italian as opposed to conducting the entire service in Japanese. The kitchen is also open plan so you can see all the cooking going on while your waiting for food.
At the end of the day, I'm a gamer, not a food critic, so instead of trying to awkwardly "review" the resturant I'll just show off the food I had and call it a day.
Well, Merry Christmas! The Video Games will be back in the next post.....I think
Saturday, 22 December 2012
This is a game I previously had very little experience with despite owning it for a long long time. Although the whole thing seemed a bit impenetrable at first and because of that I ended up shelving it for a long long time.
Recently though, I decided to give it another spin with a few buddies. After a few games of being absolutely destroyed and struggling to figure out whats what, things started to go a lot smoother. Once you get round all the differences from something like, League of Legends, and you begin to get a feel for how to play, everything becomes a lot clearer.
When you first fire it up you are SWAMPED with literally hundreds of things that you have to take in all at once. Of course, not all of these things will sink in over the course of one game, so you will need to take a little while to find your feet. That said, once you have found your feet DotA2 is a much more satisfying game to play than League.
I'm not saying League is bad with that, but League feels very bare bones. One of the reasons I think it appeals to so many people is that you don't really have to learn all that much stuff before you can play it with some degree of proficiency. With League you can switch your brain off and just make things die, which is fine for having fun with, but the depth found it DotA makes it a much more satisfying after a match is finished.
Right now it's still in beta and you need an invite to play it, but if you can get your hands on one, give it a go. But whatever you do don't give up just because you get destroyed the first few times, it WILL happen, I promise it, but once you do master it a little bit you'll be playing one of the most fun games available at the moment.
Friday, 21 December 2012
The game that took me by surprise this time was Castle Master, a strategy game where you must re-take all your castles that have been overrun with monsters. It's an incredibly simple game but if you're looking for something to kill for free then this is a good choice.
So, as far as I can figure out this game originally comes from Korea, since there is a Korean language mode in the options menu and there is some very strange translations going on.
Anyway, the game itself is simple, you have a big map and you have to take all 45 castles. Everything is in real time and you have a 3D fighting mode for when attacking or defending. It controls pretty well too with skills being easy to pull off and targeting working rather well.
The game play reminds me somewhat of a real time version of Heroes of Might and Magic with the interface and how troop recruitment and buildings work.
So if you needed something free to kill some time with while your on a train or waiting for something/someone, give this a spin. Good free games in the app store are few and far between, so jump on this one.
Thursday, 20 December 2012
Before I talk about Meat Boy, The Basement Collection is basically a load of flash games made by the guys who brought us Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac. Before anyone screams foul that they are all old flash games done before they became a thing, this collection is stupid cheap and the games I've played in it so far are all pretty solid.
Anyway, the game I beat today was Meat Boy. No, not Super Meat Boy, but Meat Boy. Meat Boy was the original flash version of the game that they then refined and improved to create Super Meat Boy.
The game is basically exactly the same as Super Meat Boy but it doesn't look as good and the levels aren't QUITE as fun to play, but overall it's still a solid game. I won't bother going into detail about what Super Meat Boy is that, because if you've not at least played that by now then just close this blog and go buy it on Steam, you have no excuse.
However this version does feel A LOT harder than Super Meat Boy, not by level design but by the fact that you cant use a controller with The Basement Collection. Playing Meat Boy and trying to make precise jumps is really goddamn difficult. But even with the keyboard handicap this time round, the challenge still feels fair and rewarding.
On top of that you get some extra levels that you can only play as part of The Basement Collection once you beat the game, so if you played the flash version already, you have an excuse to go do it again.
Watch this space for coverage on the rest of the stuff in this collection.
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Don't forget, if you're enjoying the content, hit that link to JustGiving on the side and give a little something to the Alzheimer's Society. None of the money comes anywhere close to me, it goes straight to them, so you don't have to worry about anything like that.
So kick back, grab a beverage and enjoy the final boss and ending sequence to Panzer Dragoon Saga!
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
The plot of this game is very simple. A long long time ago, there was a suit that was so classy you could rule the world with it. Some guy known only as The Gentleman ruled the world with this suit and when his time came to an end, he spread the suit all over the world to prevent anyone getting their hands on it and fucking everything up. That's where you come in, as Henry Hatsworth, the extremely British adventurer as you must go gather all the bits of the suit.
Despite the stupid sounding plot of this game it's actually rather charming and doesn't really get in the way of the game in anyway. There are a few cutscenes dotted between each world as an excuse to crack a few jokes but plot really isn't all that important in this kind of thing anyway.
You may be asking yourself right now, whats so "puzzling" about this adventure. Well here's the thing, when you find the first bit of the suit, you open up a rift to the "puzzle dimension" and cause a load of monsters to start pouring out of it. In game play terms, this means there is a upward scrolling field of coloured blocks in the bottom screen of your DS. When you kill a monster, it doesn't die completely, it returns to the puzzle where you must then match it up with 2 other blocks of the same colour to get rid of it for good. Any monsters that reach the top get another crack at trying to kill you before they blink out of existence.
The platforming in this game is really good too with some great level design and really tight controls. There is also some room for some exploration as there are a number of secret levels that dole out some nice rewards if you bother with them. On top of that there is a shop where you can buy upgrades for Henry which gives you good reason to actually take on enemies rather than just find ways to rush and avoid them.
I will say though this game is really fuckin' hard. The platforming can be really tricky sometimes and the enemies will really do you over if you're not careful. Also the secret levels are insane so if the main game is too easy for you, there is still something that will really challenge your platforming skills.
So if you didn't play this game when it was new, go find a copy. Easily one of my personal favourite games on the DS.
Monday, 17 December 2012
Saturday, 15 December 2012
But I'm not really here to discuss what went down at that school, nor am I here to discuss topics like gun control, that topic is for people with far more knowledge on the matter than me.
What I am here to talk about, is how sickening it is just how quick American news outlets were to blame things such as reality TV, Facebook and once again, goddamn video games. We've been through this many times. The industry monitors itself pretty godddamn well, developers and ratings boards are doing their best to make you pricks happy but this isn't enough, they do everything you want but there are still idiots who aren't happy.
The game that's come up for this tragedy is fucking Mass Effect 3 of all things too, but let me go into some details why the bullshit on this bit of finger pointing is through the roof. First of all, it seems that no one talking about this shit has a fucking clue what Mass Effect 3 is all about, but that's not relevant here, not really, standard scaremongering and all that. It's the fact that the brother of the perpetrator, who was wrongly identified as the gunman liked this game. So of course now Mass Effect 3 is the face of everything evil and the cause of all problems in America, right? WRONG
Stop doing this shit, blaming Mass Effect 3, or the video games industry in general isn't going to stop this kind of thing from happening again. I live in Japan, the fucking home of video games and I can pop round the corner and play a game which involves me kicking the shit out of people in an arena for 100 yen. Does this mean I'm going to kick some poor persons head in on the way home? Of course not, don't be so fucking dumb. In fact, violent crime in general is pretty low over here and there are probably more gamers here than most other places.
America, like every other goddamn country on this planet has problems, but these problems need to be addressed, and worked out properly. Don't just point fingers at the next big thing and say it's corrupting the youth, it makes you look ignorant and nothing gets done. If you spent more time looking at the real problems and less time shifting blame, you'd probably have less of these horrible events occurring, so shut up and do some real goddamn work.
Friday, 14 December 2012
As much as I enjoy writing about video games, the inspiration to do this whole thing came from me wanting to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society, so I'm just putting it out there that if you are enjoying the stuff that gets posted here, please please please donate something, anything, it would mean a lot to me.
Of course, I'm not going to be all bitter if you don't but it doesn't hurt to ask. I won't beg for donations very often but with all the super fun video game stuff being written and posted, it's easy to forget about that little link on the side.
If you would like to donate something, I'll put the link in this post, but it will ALWAYS be on that side bar if your feeling generous.
Thanks very much guys!
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Anyway, the place in the picture is a spa near my apartment called Fun. Usually I wouldn't ever bother going to a place like this, but with today being my birthday and whatnot the trip to here was paid in full, so it was a good excuse to try it out.
Anyway the first thing I did was try something called a "Herb Tent", which in the real world means "Satan's toilet". Basically, you sit on a thing which blows really fuckin' hot steam up your ass and you get to smell some nice smelling shit while you do it. The way I describe it doesn't sound too great but it was actually really relaxing.
Following that, we used the room pictured above. It's basically a bunch of stone beds that you lie on for 15 minutes and this causes you to sweat all the shit out of your body. You do this a couple of times and you end up feeling really good, the whole thing is similar to how I described an Onsen a while ago.
So yeah, I have myself a shiny new Vita so I'm only doing a short post so I can go and try out some of the new games I got for it. If, like me, you thought spas were a load of shite, then go try it at least once. I don't know just how beneficial to ones health the whole thing really is, but it feels fuckin' good anyway so give it a shot.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Give it a google search if you want a big list of the evidence that points to this being a Metal Gear but if it is a new one, I'm curious as to why it's not being shown as such. This whole subtle clue thing is really cool and all but there must be a reason for it.
So watch that space, if you're a fan of Metal Gear you probably have a reason to by hyped, and if you're not, it's still a damn cool trailer
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
The prizes they put in these things can be literally anything. I've seen collectible stuff, game systems, games, food, ice cream, all sorts of stuff is up for grabs, but when I play them I never manage to bloody win anything. I used to think that they were rigged like slot machines are, that the claw would make one good grab after so much yen has been shovelled in, but after asking around about these things I think my idea was a little off.
There seems to be some kind of technique for these things, something I don't understand and it'll be a long time before I ever get round to mastering such a technique if it does exist. I heard from one friend of mine that there are "professional" crane game players, who win stuff and then sell it on for a profit, it sounded nuts. At first I was a little sceptical about the idea of these things paying out consistently to skilled players, but I do in fact know a guy who doesn't play often, but wins pretty much 100% of the time when he does have a go.
So, if you don't get enough out of regular games and you feel you need to be rewarded a bit more, get practising on these bad boys, you'll be rolling in plushies before you know it!
Monday, 10 December 2012
Well I didn't watch the VGA, I don't need a bunch of people telling me what the game of the year is (and Walking Dead getting it is BULLSHIT, not because it's bad, but that's another story for another time) because I already know what my personal game of the year is but it's pretty much irrelevant because every ones GOTY is going to be different.
Getting to the point though, I've seen a number of concerns being raised over this game, people feeling doubtful that it'll be able to capture the same hair pulling yet satisfying magic the first one did, but to be completely honest with you, I'm 90% sure that it won't turn out disappointing. Of course, until we see some proper game play all we can do is speculate, but given the quality of games that come out of From Software, we can expect something at least half way good even if it doesn't quite stack up to the original.
The big concern that I noticed got some alarm bells ringing comes from a quote from one of the developers that said "Dark Souls 2 will be more understandable and straightforward"
But I don't think we really need to worry, "straightforward" and "understandable" does not translate to "easy" and the concerns over the game being made easier I think are people reading too much into something that hasn't been said. Sure, maybe some of the stuff that was fun for Dark Souls vets to figure out will no longer be as cryptic, which is a shame but the core difficulty will hopefully still be there.
So ride the hype train all the way to release day for this one, and I'm praying that it doesn't derail before we reach that day, because if Dark Souls 2 is shit then I don't think my poor old heart could take it.
Sunday, 9 December 2012
I've noticed during my time here an abundance of video game stuff being sold in these convenience stores and while its usually quite pricey stuff and I never buy it, it's interesting to see this stuff being sold as its something that would absolutely NEVER happen back home.
The above example is a bottle of drink called Dodecamin, which usually has this sort of brown label, but in order to promote the new Monster Hunter game on the horizon they've changed the label to this funky design.
Monster Hunter isn't the only thing that I've seen kicking about the convenience stores either. A few weeks ago, I think to promote Persona 4 Golden on the Vita, these stores were selling all sorts of Persona 4 merchandise, such as posters and blindfolds with character designs on it, although it was all needlessly expensive.
Even Japan's greatest fake pop star Hatsune Miku has been in on the whole convenience store marketing thing with a merch campaign that ended a couple of months ago. This thing was so big that it even had its own ad on TV, check it out!
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Friday, 7 December 2012
That said, I will still feature free games that I do wind up playing when I actually play them and I'm not going to leave everyone empty handed, I'm going to spend some time talking about where one can acquire free stuff.
Steam is a good place to start, with a number of online titles that one can download and enjoy for free, but most of these games come with micro transactions so they are not 100% free, but free enough. Good Old Games is another good place to go since they provide a number of titles for absolutely nothing and you can get some good mileage out of what they are just giving away.
If flash games are your thing then Newgrounds is probably your best bet. I've not played flash games properly since high school so I'm not 100% sure it's the best place, but they have a lot.
Finally, I know 4chan gets a bad rep but the people over at the /v/ board (the video game one) put together a wiki of Recommended games for pretty much every system ever. It's well organised and a good place to go if your struggling to find something to play and they have a pretty impressive freeware section, so it's worth checking out.
So yeah, a weekly free game feature is no longer a thing on this blog, but I have given you some good starting points so get digging round those sites and maybe you'll discover the next big thing.
Thursday, 6 December 2012
The picture in featured in this post, which I will be using as an example is from the zombie DLC for Borderlands. What you are looking at is a place called Dead Heaven, a compound filled with zombies trying to impede your progress as you do quests. This would be fine if this area wasn't featured as a big quest in the main goddamn campaign, completely unchanged. Sure, the enemies are different and its got a few extra walls in it to make navigating even more annoying but this is NOT a new level, this is bullshit laziness.
The reason it's so annoying in this case, is that its supposed to be a whole new bit of the game world, it's not the same stronghold so why is it built EXACTLY the same?! It baffles me because they spent so much time making all this new stuff and then got lazy here, and you really feel the effect of the laziness because this is one of the most boring, unfun segments in the whole DLC campaign.
But Borderlands isn't the only offender, and there is a title way more well known for its copy paste bullshittery, and that's!
THIS was the point that made me want to force feed the dev team cactus for a week, this shit should be fucking illegal. If you're too lazy to make new levels for a new section, then don't fucking put the section in at all, and if you're game is too short without the copy pasted section, then the project is probably a load of crap and you should scrap it anyway. Don't charge me full price for half-assed bullshit.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Tuesday, 4 December 2012
The Zombie Island of Dr Ned is DLC for the first Borderlands game and something I didn't play when it was new because my computer was crap and I was too busy playing other things to give a shit about it when it appeared on Xbox Live. Many years later I have got round to playing the damn thing and I actually thought it was better than the main game.
The story for this bit of extra stuff is that Dr Ned has gone and filled an island full of zombies and you have to go and end him, nice and straightfoward stuff. Aside from the main story there are a couple of little quests to go on that flesh out the goings on that flesh out what happened before the zombie attacks, but like most plot related things in Borderlands you probably don't care.
The island itself is quite an interesting place to explore, with lots of forest and beach environments to run around which are dotted with a few caves, a nice change of pace from the main games open expanses with nothing in it. It also keeps itself nice and short, clocking in at only a few hours of play but long enough to qualify as DLC done right. It's also packed filled full of references to various horror franchises like one of the quests being called "House of the Ned", or Shaggy from Scooby Doo leaving an audio log.
Monday, 3 December 2012
As far as the game itself is concerned, it's basically the same thing as the console version with a couple of extras for the PC, although these extras are being offered as DLC for the console versions as well. This time round I'm playing a character focused on strength rather than speed which is how I played my console version character and there's a nice distinction in play style between the two types.
As good as this game is, the PC version comes with a few issues that werent present in the console version. For example the frame rate and general performance has a habit of taking a dip in certain areas, most notably Blight Town where the frame rate turns to shit in certain parts. Also the keyboard and mouse controls are fucking kak, and playing with a controller is pretty much required. I've also not had any luck using summon signs, with every summon failing. I've not had a crack at invading in this version yet so I'll update with how that goes at a later date. That said, the performance issues have been remedied with a fan patch, but I'm too lazy to go get it, so no comment there either.
Since this game has been out for a while, I thought I'd use this post to talk about its difficulty, since there are some people that like to describe the difficulty in this game as a bad thing. Some people have described Dark Souls as a "trail and error" game but I can't stress enough how bullshit this is.
The game IS hard, and it IS bullshit in some places but usually the bullshittery isn't fatal and amounts to nothing more than a sneaky enemy jumping out at you from inside a box or something in most cases. But the game sets you up for this shit, you pay attention to your surroundings and you quickly learn that there are going to be traps around pretty much every corner. The game rewards careful, clever play and punishes you for charging in like an idiot. Some people like to argue that the game requires a lot of "skill" but I think that's a load of crap too. You need to be calm, collected, careful and observant to win, not particularly skilled.
This is a really fun game with a refreshing difficulty and a nice online feature that some would argue is a little unbalanced, but as far as I'm concerned it's still a ton of fun anyway. So check it out, and don't put it down when you die, because when you do beat a section, this turns into one of the most satisfying games of this generation.
Sunday, 2 December 2012
But gaming is evolving, and for the better too! As technology gets more advanced, and developers try to do bigger and better things and maybe one day gaming will be able to stand tall along things such as books and film.
However, we are a long LONG way off anything like that happening, but somewhere along the line gaming lost its purity, and in losing this purity it is behind held back by different groups of people throwing complaints and criticisms at the industry without really knowing whats going on.
A few years ago the big issue was violence in games, and while it's still an issue this controversy has sort of lost steam a bit. People would point at games like Manhunt and cry foul at how its "corrupting the youth" yet were happy to ignore a staggering amount of other media that had extremely similar content.
Nowadays we have sexism, and all the people who seem to be at the forefront of this "gaming is sexist" thing seem to know very little about what the fuck they are actually talking about. I can't go a day on the internet without being reminded how sexist gaming is and how sexist gamers are, and the issue is starting to wear a bit thin.
Yes, there are issues in the industry but people are so willing to fling shit that nothing gets sorted and it all amounts of a bunch of idiots in front of keyboards silently yelling at each other and just making any issues worse. While I'm not sure exactly, I think that this internet shit flinging is having an impact on the developers too! No developer or writer or anything like that is going to want to push the envelope with this medium if all they get for it is people chucking needless amounts of shit towards them online.
People who enjoy this hobby and people who work within this industry need to sit down, and calmly examine the various issues that we have and maybe take steps to sort them out. Gaming will only get better only if the people who truly know whats up are allowed to do things without everyone else throwing in their 2 cents. Too many cooks etc.