Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Japanese Retro Shop

Taken from Google, not a photo from one of my local stores
Enjoying retro games and being in Japan is a fantastic mix.  The big cities tend to have an area or two with a few dedicated retro shops, Book Off gives a place to get your hands on all sorts of goodies for quite cheap if you are lucky and there do exist a few independently owned places down a few alleyways.

My experience with these places is generally pretty good.  Unlike my experience buying modern used games in the UK, everything in Japan seems to be in pretty good condition and I've yet to purchase a game that just flat out didn't work.  However, while you won't really have any technical issues with Japanese retro games, you do have to be careful not to get completely ripped off.

You see, when it comes to Retro games there are two kinds of shop.  There's the general purpose shop that happens to have used retro games (E.g. Book Off) and the specialist stores that focus on stocking everything retro.

Specialist shops are usually way better in terms of selection and quality but you really have to be careful in these places not to get completely ripped off.  They tend to have the more uncommon games but for a hiked up price and I can't really see the real reason as to WHY the price is so hiked up.

A really good example of this is Megaman 2 on NES.  I would see that quite often in the specialist stores for about 1500-2000 Yen (let's call that around $20).  However, one day while browsing the aisles at my local Book Off I found a Megaman 2 cart for 250! Yen.  It works perfectly and there isn't any damage to the cart so I don't know where the other stores are getting their goddamn prices from.

That's not to say that all the specialist shops are terrible though.  A place nearly me will sell you any 3 retro games for 1000 yen as long as individually they cost less than 800.  It's a damn good deal and I've increased my Super Nintendo collection pretty dramatically thanks to that place so really it's just a case of picking and choosing.

I think the real key to amassing a decent retro collection is patience, especially if you're like me and constantly on a budget.  Sure, you could splash out for that game and get it RIGHT NOW or just cross your fingers and hope it appears inside a Book Off one day for about 500 yen.

No matter where you go though, Japan is easily the best place I've been in terms of choice and quality for retro game shopping.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Visual Novels: An Understandably Underrated Genre

A few months ago I picked up Kamaitachi no Yoru from a retro game shop.  My wife has been playing the shit out of it with a friend of hers and I've been tagging along for the ride.  During their evenings of playing Sherlock Holmes I couldn't help but feel that the Visual Novel as a genre of gaming is slightly underrated

For those that don't know, a visual novel is the video game version of a "choose your own adventure" book that was popular during my childhood.  The game presents you with a story and at key moments in the plot you are presented with choices and those choices will affect the outcome of the game.

Kamaitachi no Yoru, for example, is a murder mystery game about a group of people who find themselves stuck in a ski resort log cabin with a murderer.  You read the story from the perspective of the main character as he tries to unravel the mystery and stop the killer from taking more victims.  It's an extremely interesting experience because despite it being no more than a picture book on an SNES cart it kind of plays just like a puzzle game with you trying to figure out who the killer is based on the events unfolding around you.  Your decisions in that game may lead you down the right path to the murderer or get everyone killed and with many endings to discover multiple playthroughs are required to get the full story.

Kamaitachi no Yoru is not the only visual novel I've enjoyed though.  There are quite a few and games like 999 and Virtues Last Reward are rated pretty highly for the story and ability to allow someone to get truly lost in a world of mystery.  Even badly translated visual novels such as Lux Pain on the DS still had a strange charm to them that kept me playing and wanting to figure out what was going on even if the writing in the English version was laughably bad.

Since these games only have to focus on one thing, they do it REALLY well.  Sacrificing traditional game play for an immensely well thought out plot and an unforgettable experience.  At this point you may want to call me a hypocrite because I slam games like Gone Home for being "non-games" or "walking simulators", but there's a key difference between Gone Home and a game like Kamaitachi.  You see, in Kamaitachi I'm using my brain to figure out a puzzle of who is going around committing the murders.  I have to take in all the events around me and play detective in order to reach the best ending of the game.  In Gone Home, you walk around a house and read badly written articles about how someone is a lesbian and the amount of brain power involved in that process is exactly 0.

But I understand why Visual Novels aren't as popular as maybe they should be and that's because their reputation has been sullied by the porn game.

You see, whenever I think of visual novel my mind ALWAYS goes straight to Japanese porn games.  Understandably, people don't want to play or be associated with games that involve schoolgirls being fucked or whatever because that shit is kind of weird (for most, some must find it hot or this shit wouldn't sell).  But these porn games are probably in the majority, or at least it seems that way when if you walk around some of the stranger specialist shops in Japan so the Visual Novel kind of has a bad reputation as a result.

What's really strange about this situation is that I gave one of these porn visual novels a try one time (the above one) and it actually told a really touching story about a girl being bullied at school who finds a friend in the main character and together they stand up to their adversaries, win the day and fall in love.  Sure there were some scenes of gratuitous fucking but if you took all that shit out then there's a good story in there and I think it's sort of a shame that it's ruined by these weirdly drawn sex sequences.

So I think everyone should give Kamaitachi no Yoru or any non-porn Visual Novel a try.  You may be pleasantly surprised just how enjoyable they can really be.

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Dumbing Down of Games

The dumbing down of games is something that I feel has been going on for a good while now.  However it's sort of difficult to point out exactly where.  I mean there's the general things that everyone knows about like regenerating health or some games not punishing you for dying whatsoever.  Recently I started playing Child of Light and I think this game really does hammer home just how dumbed down games have really become.

Just as a disclaimer I am enjoying Child of Light quite a bit actually.  I'm not too far in but it's definitely one of the more interesting RPGs I've played in recent memory.  However, the problem with Child of Light is that while I'm playing it there's one other game sitting at the back of my mind and gnawing away.

Every time I enter a fight in Child of Light, I keep thinking about fucking Grandia and just how much better that games combat was.

On a very basic level, Grandia and Child of Light have the same system. Check it out

At the bottom of both those screens there's a bar.  The bar is split up into a waiting part and an acting part.  Basic attacks are pretty quick but doing spells require some charge time and getting hit during that charge time may cause an interrupt.  This adds some strategy to timing attacks and such on your enemies to interrupt their shit while protecting your own casting characters so they can get their big moves off.

But here's where the dumbing down is, Grandia's combat had SO MUCH MORE than Child of Light.  In Grandia things like positioning, equipment, what magic to use and when, what skills to use and when, which characters are on interrupt duty and all sorts of other things were important.  While in Child of Light all that shit goes out the window and it's just a case of "hit them in the cast zone to interrupt" and combat becomes kind of monotonous as a result.

Not to mention that the number of enemies is different because it CoL it seems to be a max of 3 while in Grandia you could get absolute clusterfucks which had to be dealt with in a different way to smaller groups of enemies.  The choice of spells and skills was also much wider which gave much more room to create a strategy but in CoL I'm always doing the same fucking thing for guaranteed success.

Child of Light isn't a bad game by any stretch but it's such a shame because I was under the impression that as gaming grew as an entertainment medium it would get smarter, not dumber, so it's a shame to see a title do significantly less than a game from 1997.

Child of Light is just one example but it's a damn good one.  Another good example would be to compare any modern FPS title to Doom and fucking Doom will win out basically 100% of the time in pretty much all fields.

I'm not saying modern gaming is bad, it's just noticeably stupider and I don't like it. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sweezy Gunner

What the fuck is a Sweezy? Does not knowing that make me stupid?  Well I'm sure someone will tell me.

Sweezy Gunner is a game I bought during the Steam summer sale for exactly £0 thanks to DotA providing me with large amounts of Steam credit and this game being really goddamn cheap.  I didn't really know what to expect when I first started playing other than that the game was sort of a shmup but not really.

So what is Sweezy Gunner?  Well, it's like of a mix between a shmup game and Metroid.  You have a big world to explore and as you go around you collect power ups like life containers, huge coins, badges and other things to make yourself more bad ass.  After some exploring you'll eventually come to a dungeon and when you get to the end of a dungeon you'll fight a boss.  Upon victory you'll get a power that will let you cross water/lava, smash gates or break boulders which in turn opens up more of the world for you.

As you explore you have plenty of things to shoot at which are also shooting at you.  At first it's not too bad but after a while it starts to get really hectic so you better make sure to grab those life-ups because catching a stray bullet to the face is extremely easy.  There are also other temporary power ups to make dying less of an issue or special guns that make murdering hordes of enemies just a little bit easier.

The game also has a few side quests to do which give decent rewards and don't feel merely like busywork.  The first side quest is monster cards which is a system where every monster has a card that it has a low percentage chance to drop.  When the card drops and you kill a certain amount of that monster then you can use your money to buy a badge to upgrade your ship.  This sounds like it would be mindless grinding but there is so many enemies in a given area that you can play normally and get the card AND the required number of kills for the badge.  The other are these fetch quest type deals where it tasks you to collect X of a certain item from a certain enemy.  Once again this sounds like it would be complete bullshit but you don't actually have to hand them in.  Once you get the items the quest is done and the reward is just dumped into your inventory which saves you the hassle of going back and forth so I have to give them props for that design choice.

The game can get a little monotonous if you play it for long stretches of time but it's the kind of game where you can save absolutely anywhere so if you do suddenly end up getting bored you can quit without having to worry about save points or any of that crap.  My biggest complaint is with the final dungeon where I kept taking damage from bullets that I couldn't fucking see.  The bullets are either red or bright blue and while the bright blue ones were easy to avoid the red ones would sometimes blend into the background and you couldn't see them properly, it's bullshit.

But apart from that Sweezy Gunner is actually a pretty good game.  It's cheap on Steam and takes up barely any disc space so if you like shmups or Metroid clones then I suggest that you give this one a go.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Being a Budget Gamer

The one thing I hear quite often from people when it comes to gaming is "it's such an expensive hobby".  Well partly, they are right as gaming can be pretty pricy.  However, if you are on a budget or have no money, that doesn't mean you can't game or have to give up gaming in order to save the pennies as there are plenty of ways to get your digital entertainment for little to no money.  So here's a couple of points on how to manage as a gamer on a budget.

1.  Face the fact that you ain't playin' the latest shit

See that Xbox One and PS4 sitting on the shelf of your local video game retailer?  Yeah, fuck that shit, you ain't playin' that for a while.  One of the disadvantages is that there is no way in hell you're going to be able to play the latest stuff but there is a workaround to this situation.  If you are lucky enough to have friends who own PS4s, Xbones or WiiUs then head round to their house and go play their shit.  Don't be a mooching little asshole though, buy them a 6-pack or something for their trouble.

2. Go Retro

Gaming has been around for a pretty long time now and that means there is TONS of old shit for you to be playing.  If you're like me and you live in Japan, the retro shops can sell stuff for pretty cheap.  Splash out one time for a Famicom dual system thing and then there are tons of 100-500 yen carts for you to be enjoying.

But lets say you don't have ANY money to spend, there are tons of emulators and sites that provide ROMS that can give you plenty of shit to play for free.  Some would argue this is piracy, which is kind of true I guess but then again if you emulate something like the fucking ZX Spectrum I'm sure no one is really going to give a shit and those games are plenty fun.

I mean we're talking about a system so old that the games came on fucking TAPES.  To be brutally honest, if you're going to complain about piracy on a tape-based system from 1982 then you need a fucking slap.

3. Get Steam

I don't care what your stance is on DRM or whatever the fuck, Steam is great.  If you have no money to spend, then steam provides a load of shit free to play and while some of these games are a bit hit and miss, the point is that they all cost ZERO FUCKING MONEY.

If you take the two biggest free to play games which are Team Fortress 2 and DotA2, then there are actually ways that you can make steam credit by playing these games.  Sit there and grind out some cosmetic items then trade and sell your way up on the steam marketplace.  Once you have some steam credit, wait for a seasonal steam sale and BAM! now you're rolling in fucking games and you didn't spend a penny.

There are plenty of other ways to save money if you're poor or even just a cheap bastard but these are just 3 of the best in my opinion.  Enjoy your cheap video games

Thursday, 17 July 2014

App Store Double Trouble: Buzz Killem and Smash Hit

Most of the games on the app store are complete garbage.  They are either all knockoffs of something more popular or are stuff with in-app purchases that just ruin everything.  Recently however, I have come across 2 titles that are a ton of fun, free and most importantly, not drowning in pay gates so I thought I'd take a moment to introduce all you iPhone users to some actually good games to kill your train journeys with.

The first is a game called Buzz Killem

Buzz Killem is a simple platforming and shooting game where you go around one of a few arenas shooting aliens.  The idea is that every time you start a mission, the game gives you three objectives such as "Kill X of Y" or "collect X power-ups" or something like that.  When you complete the objectives you get gold and with that gold you can buy new weapons or upgrade the shit that you already have to increase your killing efficiency.

The game is controlled with 2 sets of buttons located at the bottom of the screen.  A left and right for moving and an A and B button for shooting and jumping.  It's simplistic and it works pretty much perfectly for this kind of game because I find that iPhone games that try to have real controls end up being a bit of a mess.

The game has a couple of flaws that I've noticed so far.  The objectives for each mission can be a little bit samey and can therefore get a little bit dull.  But then again if you're only playing this one in short bursts during boring train rides then it's not too much of an issue.  A big issue would be the bug that occurs sometimes when picking up a Jet Pack.  The idea of the jet pack is to allow you to control your jumps a little more except every now and again you'll pick up a pack and just rocket up into the air and die instantly and there's fuck all you can do.  This can be rage inducing if you were just on the brink of clearing an objective but it's not like it's impossible to avoid it so sometimes it's better to just not take the risk.

There's also a levelling system that unlocks outfits which all have different abilities and none of these features which are unlocked thought levelling up are locked behind any kind of pay gate.  In fact, the only in-app purchasing that I've noticed inside this game is extra gold in case your extra impatient about unlocking weapons or whatever but I doubt anyone would really need that.

Next up on my little app store romp is Smash Hit

Smash Hit is a very simple game.  It gives you a bunch of marbles then puts a bunch of glass objects in your way and tasks you with getting to the end.  You tap the screen to shoot a ball and there are little things you can smash that provide you with extra balls as you go.  Smashing into a piece of glass means that you lose ten balls and if you lose all your balls then the game is done.

It's simple, fun, addicting and has some really good music in it too surprisingly.  It's the kind of game that I could imagine being on the DS if they added some extra features to it or something.  The only annoying thing about this game is that it tells you every so often that it's making checkpoints but then you discover that if you want to actually use those checkpoints then you have to own the "premium" version of the game.  It's not so bad but it's a little tedious to have to start the game over from square one every time you die.

So that's it folks, fire up your iPhones and download these two titles.  Now you have something mildly entertaining to do while you take a shit or wait for a bus.

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Ao Oni Movie

Yesterday I finally got round to watching the Ao Oni movie in the Cinema which means it's now time to jump on here and jot down my thoughts about what I witnessed.

The only problem is I don't really know how I feel about what I witnessed.  Part of me wants to fly into a rage about how shit it was but then the other part of me wants to give it some concessions.  Remember, pretty much 100% of all video game movies suck complete bollocks but Ao Oni falls into the camp that something like Advent Children is in of "watchable".

Plus I'm willing to give the movie a bit more slack than usual because its source material is a fucking game made by like, 1 guy with RPG maker so it's not like whoever the people behind this movie were really had a lot to work with.

There will be spoilers ahead but if you're watching the movie before playing the game then you need a slap anyway.

So they movie starts out with some kid committing suicide and his sister (played by Iriyama Anna of AKB48 fame) placing some flowers.  Fast forward a bit and she's sat at the bank of a river playing what is basically an in universe version of Ao Oni created by some dude called Shun.

Now already I have a fucking problem with this because Anna and Shun are characters from the fucking novel.  I've not read the goddamn novel yet and I've got such a big reading list to get through that it's going to be fucking ages before I get round to doing that.  But really, if you're going to make a movie based of a highly popular VIDEO GAME then why the flying fucking arserats would you link it with the fucking book of all goddamn things.  This makes things overly complicated because now I'm not sure if it's a movie of the game or a movie of the book or a mix of the two.  Judging from what I saw it's a mix of the two but I wont know that shit for certain until I read the fucking book. 

I'd just like to point out that the book hasn't been released outside of Japan so this is a nice big middle finger to you non-Japanese speaking fans of the PC game.

Anyway, Shun gets coerced by some guy to go up a mountain to some spooky house because they have to do some shit with a box.  So Shun and all the characters from the game go to the house and Anna tags along because she's worried about Shun or some shit and then things kick off with the Oni.  Well, I say things kick off with the Oni but nothing actually happens for a good 20-30 minutes of movie time.  Then a lot of time after that is just the group running around being terrified of things but finally someone gets murdered and things are on in full swing.

This is where all the good stuff happens for a while with people being chased, solving mysteries and being murdered by the Oni.  There's even a sort of cool plot-twist where Shun comes to the realisation that everything going on in the house is exactly the same as his real life Ao Oni knockoff so for a while Anna and Shun have a bit of a leg up on the big nasty before things go tits up again.

It's that moment where things go tits up a second time where things start getting really weird.  It turns out that Shun is actually a ghost and he was murdered by Takuro who has gone from semi-leader character in the game to over the top high school bully for this movie.  For some unexplained reason Anna is the only one who can see and converse with Shun and that's how she avoided Oni slaughter for such a significant part of the movie.

But this doesn't make any fucking sense because we see SHUN solving puzzles and collecting keys round the house while Anna just stands there so is his ghost real or not? and if it is why can only Anna converse and see it.  It just doesn't make any fucking sense and while initially it's a cool twist it just really throws a wrench in the plot for a bunch of different reasons

Anyway, there's a bit more running and a bit more murder and the film culminates with Anna being locked in a room alone, with everyone else dead and nowhere to hide from the Oni.  She flings open the door to the room and walks into a white light where she ends up on the bank of a river with Shun again like at the start of the movie and after a little chat credits roll.

I couldn't figure out what the fuck just happened and the Japanese friend that was with me couldn't figure out what happened and we left the cinema in a confused mess.  At first we thought they were all dead but then we thought maybe none of them were dead and it was all just Anna's fantasy for how she wanted Takuro to die a horrible death for bullying her brother to suicide or some shit.  The problem is that it doesn't matter what line of thought you take there is always some event from the movie that fucks things up and just invalidates everything.

I know my explanation of the plot wasn't very good but if I tried to cover everything then it'd take all day but just go and watch it and you'll see what I mean.

Generally speaking though, it's not a bad movie but really at the end of the day it's just another "meh" horror movie for the pile.  Also it's really funny watching Iriyama Anna try to act because she's fucking terrible at it.  It doesn't help that she's doing a lead role with Kenta Suga who has a metric fuckton of acting experience thanks to his child acting roles and while his performance isn't award worthy it's pretty night and day between the two.

The final thing I have to say about the Ao Oni movie is that there is a lot of missed potential here.  There is SO MUCH stuff from the games that could have been made into interesting scenes or plot points in the movie that got ignored for no real reason.  The biggest example of this is that there is only one fucking Oni.  In the game there are a bunch of Oni things of all sorts of shape and size but they never thought to use this fact because I guess it would take up too much on the special effects budget or some shit?

Still, as far as video game adaptations go, it's OK.  If you're a fan of the games then you'll get a kick out of seeing a bunch of pricks run away from a big blue monster and there are a couple of little nods to the game that are done just well enough to make you smirk but not ham fisted enough to upset you.

To sum up how I felt about my movie-going experience, I don't feel like I wasted my time with it but it could have been so much better.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

British News Reporters Reach New Levels Of Stupidity

I have never seen anything so insanely stupid in my whole goddamn life.  When something like a school shooting goes down in America I know the media like to grasp at straws but THIS SHIT takes the fucking cake.

First of all, a link to the story

In case you don't want to rot your own mind by reading something of The Mirror then I'll give you a brief synopsis.  Mark Sandland got pissed off at his 5 week year old baby who wouldn't stop crying and shook her to death.  He also happened to be playing Assassins Creed 3.

The reason this story is so fucking stupid is because all these news sites are writing the story as if the killing of the baby and Assassins Creed 3 are linked somehow.  Like the reason he shook his baby to death was because he was playing that game, and not because he's just a bad father/got mental problems/whatever else.

Let me share with you my favourite part of the above article.

"Police who attended the flat after Aimee-Rose was admitted to hospital on November 5 2012 found a PlayStation game controller on the sofa opposite the TV."

WELL SO FUCKING WHAT?!  What does the fact that he was playing a Playstation, let alone Assassins Creed have to fucking do with anything?!  The ONLY reason that was put in there is to add some fucking spin on the article so that retards who can't think for themselves start to think "OH! THOSE VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES MAKING PEOPLE MURDER AGAIN! BETTER CONSIDER BANNING EVERYTHING!"

This is an absolutely terrible story but these fucking news sites are distracting from the ACTUAL issue by making a big deal out of a fucking video game.  What really caused this poor baby to die was a stressed father with a short temper being at wits end.  We SHOULD be discussing how this kind of thing could be prevented by maybe providing support for families who feel overly stressed with their children or something like that.


Instead we're just giving bits and bobs of information and shoving some references to Assassins Creed 3 in there to get people riled up about the non-issue of violent video games that I THOUGHT was swept away fucking years ago.

It's not just The Mirror who are at it either, pretty much every news article I can find on this story runs with that whole Assassins Creed angle and let's be brutally honest here; there isn't a fucking link between the two events at all.

For the last time, the fact that he owned/was playing a Playstation at the time had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.  I have a Playstation and I bought bread yesterday. I ate a sandwich today, so does that mean that playing violent video games makes people want to eat sandwiches?  No, of course not, don't be so fucking stupid.  Video games are one of the biggest industries around now, pretty much every mother fucker has some kind of video game in their possession so OF COURSE you're going to something game related if you go to some average shmucks house.

So fuck the Mirror, fuck the BBC and fuck any other so called "Journalist" that worked on this fucking story.  You should all be ashamed of yourselves for reaching Kotaku levels of total stupidity.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Dark Souls 2: Underwhelmingly Good

There aren't many games that I pay full price for anymore.  We live in an age where steam are just giving people free money if you play their free to play stuff and digital sales are so cheap that it barely seems worth it anymore.  That said I'm totally happy that I paid just about full price for Dark Souls 2!

The game is great and I loved almost every second of it.  It was challenging, engaging, interesting and above all, fun.  But as I sat in front of my PC last night watching the credits go buy I cant help but feel a little "meh" about the whole experience.  I know that sounds really weird and contradictory but I'll try to do the best I can to explain myself.

From a game play perspective, DS2 is fantastic.  It takes elements from the first Dark Souls that weren't all that good or just a bit annoying and makes them better while adding a few things of its own and that's great.  The world is also pretty huge and filled with plenty of lore so from a story standpoint it holds up but, and maybe this is just me, the game did absolutely NOTHING to immerse me in it's world.  At no point did I feel like I was on a grand adventure, I just felt like I was going through the motions.

Demon's Souls tells you straight up that the world is fucked because of some fog and it is up to you as a brave adventurer to go and un-fuck it.  That felt like a grand adventure and the icing on the cake was getting to learn all the radical shit about Boletaria.

Dark Souls did a great job of making me feel like I was on a grand adventure by laying on the insurmountable goals thick and fast.  One minute I'm just some prick with a sword or whatever and I have to ring some bells.  So I pull that off and I'm told that maybe I'm the Chosen Undead or something but probably not but just in case I should go and get a big pot from a castle.  So I undergo all sorts of terrible trials to get this big pot and the fucking thing turns out to be empty so I have to travel the land far and wide finding DEITIES to kill so I can steal their souls and put them in my pot.  Then once I've done THAT I have to go and fight what is essentially the father of all creation or some shit and kill him and once that was all said and done I get to decide the fate of all man.


Dark Souls 2 on the other hand didn't really have much of anything and it's core plot felt a bit lazy.  In that game I'm just some cursed dude who's drawn to the land of Drangleic for......reasons.  When I get there some bitch tells me to go see the king but to do that I have to go and get 4 very powerful souls.  ALRITE! SOUNDS GOOD!  But once I've done that what comes next?  Well a lot of fucking nothing really.  I explore a castle, kill some bosses, open some doors and when all is said and done I don't feel like I achieved anything.

The final boss of the game is the most challenging boss in a Souls game to date from a game play perspective but I don't really know what the fuck I was fighting there.  The design of the thing made it look like Gravelord Nito's sister or some shit.  [Spoilers] Then when I killed her all I did was have a sit down in a chair and the game fucking ended [End Spoilers]

My reaction to beating Dark Souls 2 was "is that it?", and that's not the kind of reaction I should be having to a game that is supposedly about grand adventure!  Anyway, that was the biggest letdown with the game but it was full of other problems too.

Dark Souls 2 is way, WAY easier than any other Souls game.  The only parts where the game gets challenging is where poison comes in.  There are so many fucking poison segments in this game that it feels like they just forgot how to design good enemies so instead gave everything a poison attack or just make the floor poison or something to make things harder.

But even then the challenge isn't really a big deal because the Ring of Life Protection is repairable and the cost to repair it is super cheap so once you get just one of these rings then you basically never have to worry about losing souls ever again.  Death means -3000 souls while before dying meant that if you weren't careful you could potentially lose fucking everything.

Also the game makes a big deal of you losing a little bit of health every time you die, which is a big thing at the start of the game but after a while human effigies drop like candy and even if you are the worlds most unlucky person you can just buy them so that whole feature of the game just becomes completely pointless.

Despite all my complaints though I still really like Dark Souls 2, just not as much as the other Souls games.  But that says a lot about the quality of Souls as a series when a bad entry of the series is STILL really fun to play.  So even after reading about feelings of slight disappointment with this game, you should still totally go buy it

Monday, 7 July 2014


Right, OK, sorry, I know it's not video games but on Sunday I took the JLPT exam and it was distracting me from proper gaming so much that I thought I'd at least talk about what went down on the day.

For anyone who may not be aware, the JLPT is a Japanese Language exam that happens twice a year and it's designed to test a persons Japanese proficiency (no shit, huh?). The test comes in 5 levels with N5 being designed for people who don't speak Japanese and watched a few episodes of Naruto and N1 being designed for people who know WAYYYYY more Japanese than would ever be required for anything ever.

I did N2 and that shit kicked my ass so hard that it's not even funny.  The test is split into a few sections of reading, grammar, vocabulary, Kanji and listening.  What this really translates to is that the test is split into a few sections of Kanji, Kanji, Kanji, Kanji and listening.  If you can't read the Kanji in this test then you are just fucked and considering that Kanji is my weakest point when it comes to my knowledge of Japanese, a swift ass kicking from the JLPT was pretty inevitable.

The test itself is fine though, I'm just a huge dumb ass, but there is a lot of bullshit involved.  For example, they tape a pink piece of paper over the fucking clock in the room for some stupid reason that I can't figure out.  Someone told me that it's to stop people cheating but that's a load of stupid bollocks and you know it is.  They also don't tell you anything about the remaining time of the exam which is another thing I can't work out.  Every single exam I've taken in my LIFE will give an indication when time is short because people understand that in the heat of the moment maybe you don't remember to look up at the clock or take a peek at your watch.  BUT NOT IN JLPT! No of course not!  They just tell you out of the blue that times up and if you didn't finish in time then fuck you.

Also they make all these rules like don't read the exam book before it starts or don't leave the room at any point or else you'll fail but in my classroom there were a handful of people flicking through the fucking book and at multiple points in the exam people left and came back.  What's the fucking point of having all these goddamn rules if you're not going to enforce them!

Also a few months ago I bought a textbook to help study the JLPT and I quickly discovered that the studying I did from that book was......absolutely fucking useless.  I already knew all the goddamn grammar, I studied this shit at university for my fucking degree!  What I was after is something to help me study Kanji but of course the only real way to learn Kanji is to be exposed to it a bunch and I don't need to drop money on a book for that when I LIVE IN THE FUCKING COUNTRY!  What a rip-off

I found that reading and translating The Silent Hill Play Novel was FAR more useful than any of these fucking textbooks.

Probably failed
Will try again in December
Video games in the next post

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Silent Hill Good+ in 1:06:45!

New Silent Hill Speed Run PB! Good+ in 1:06:45

There were a number of mistakes in this run that lost me quite a bit of time such as forgetting the blood bag in the hospital and running into a wall for a few seconds because I got an itchy neck.

Also I lost a lot of time on the way to the light house because a bird clocked my face like 3 times and I lost a total of 12 seconds to being pounced on by monkey dudes.

My navigation of the levels needs to be A LOT tighter in the future

Enjoy the video!