Sunday, 29 November 2015

DoAX3 and Play Asia

So once again Japan make a game thats designed for fans of attractive anime girls and once again easily offended assholes in the west have taken to twitter, tumblr and gaming "news" sites to complain about it.  We all know that "misogyny" is the new video game boogie man du jour only this time Koei Tecmo has decided it can't be arsed with this shit and has decided not to make its upcoming bikini girl oogle fest available in the west.

First of all, let's just address the idea of this game being "sexist" because if you dig around the internet just a little bit there are articles out there claiming so.  To accuse someone of being sexist or being a misogynist is to accuse someone of hating/having less respect for women based solely on their gender.  So you're telling me, that because people enjoy watching attractive women in cute bikinis frolic around on a beach that they are sexist?  You're telling me that there are people who write for certain gaming websites that seriously believe that the staff of Team Ninja made this game just because they have a gigantic hate boner for women and want to portray them solely as objects? 

What the fuck planet are you from where that could at all be true?  Men enjoying seeing attractive women do shit is just human fucking nature, it's hard wired into our goddamn heads to enjoy that shit as men (unless you don't swing that way, but typically).  The idea that I should feel bad or ashamed because I enjoy seeing attractive women wearing not much dance around and play sports is insane and anyone putting that idea forward needs a fucking slap.  Anyway, aren't all these people writing this shit and complaining supposed to be all about tolerance and equality and shit?  So I have to be 100% accepting of homosexuality or transgender people but when I want to enjoy my own sexuality I should feel ashamed?  Get the fuck out!  If you want to have  relations with someone of the same sex or change your gender, power to you, do what ever the fuck you want but don't come telling me that I'm a terrible human being for enjoying titties because if the shoe was on the other foot you'd be labeling me an "oppressor" and sending me death threats, no wonder Koei Tecmo can't be arsed with this shit.

Anyway, now that my rant is done what the fuck does Play Asia have to do with all this?  Well they put out some tweets about how Koei Tecmo aren't releasing the game for the west but their copies of the game that you can import will come with English modes on them.  This is being met with mixed reactions from certain types of people and while all this debating is all well and good I can't help but feel that people are getting played a little bit here.

Is sexism REALLY the reason that they aren't releasing the game?  I mean look at games like Hatred and Hunnie Pop, games that sold fairly well purely on the basis of sticking it to the perpetually offended keyboard warriors of twitter and big gaming news sites.  Claiming that there isn't a market for titties and ultra violence in the west is just plain wrong, people love that shit and will love it even more if you actually make a good game with it.

Consider this, Dead or Alive Xtreme hasn't done too well overseas and I'm not sure the figures but I don't think it did too hot in Japan either.  The people who make and publish these games aren't idiots, they know their audience well and I get the feeling that this whole Play Asia sticking it to the "SJWs" as they put it is all a big fat marketing ploy to tap into that demographic of people who think that buying a game with bikini girls in it is going to piss people off.  Sure, Koei Tecmo SAID it was because of sexism but I'm more willing to bet it was due to shit sales figures and tapping into the big game controversy of the now is their bid to push a few more copies of the game.

If it really was sexism then that's sad that there are publishers who feel they have to withhold games because of a vocal minority of know-nothing twats working for sites like Kotaku and Polygon.  If it wasn't sexism and this is all a ploy to push copies then I'm surprised more people aren't catching onto it because it seems really obvious. 

None of this really affects me though, I live in Japan where I can get those next gen titties in all their glory!  Although being brutally honest X3 is on the very very bottom of my buying priority list once I get round to buying a fucking PS4.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Alien Breed Trilogy

Alien Breed Trilogy is one of those games that I looked at, rolled my eyes and expected something truly terrible upon firing it up.  What I got wasn't so bad but all things considered it still wasn't very good and playing all 3 games back to back was at some points, truly painful.

First let me explain why I had such low hopes going in.

Alien Breed got its start a long while ago on a home computer system called the Amiga.  Now I never owned an Amiga myself during my younger years but I had a friend who did.  Most of his games were demos but one of the only full games he had was Alien Breed (and Body Blows but we won't talk about that).  It was a top down shooting game where you had to collect keys and ammo in order to gun down aliens and get to the end of each level.  I've not played the original Alien Breed games in a long long time but from what I remember it was pretty fun.

Whenever old, obscure series like this get a reboot for the modern day they usually suck huge amounts of anus, just look at Syndicate if you want to know what I'm on about there.  Then again though, it's kind of hard to fuck up the concept of Alien Breed so maybe there was a small ray of hope.

The game follows Conrad, a gravel voiced balled space engineer with a "bad ass" attitude as he battles his way through a space ship being over run by aliens.  The story comes in 3 different games with it culminating in a battle against some guy who has assimilated with the space ships AI or some such nonsense and he's the one controlling the aliens so you have to stop him.  Despite the fact that I only beat the third game like 2 days ago the story is no inconsequential and shitty that I've already forgotten it.

Game play for Alien Breed Trilogy isn't so bad, it's kind of similar to the old games but all fancy 3D unreal engine shit.  You get a selection of about 6 guns and a big space ship full of aliens to use them on, it's fairly self explanatory.  The bullshit kicks in with the repetitive nature of the levels where you go one direction, find something broken, go the other way to fix it and then backtrack to the first point in order to progress.  Rinse and repeat this shit for 3. Games. There are also some boss fights but they all subscribe to the Doom style of design of "shoot it until it dies" and because ammo and health drops are so easy to find these encounters never hold the tension that I think the designers were shooting for.

That's all there is to say about the series really.  Everything else is so "meh" that it's barely worth commenting on.  Visuals and audio aren't awful but are nothing special worth talking about and the controls work just fine despite being a little wonky when the game starts changing camera angles on you in the third game.  In terms of revived old franchises this one has come out largely un-ruined.  The trilogy is a bit shitty but pretty bearable and if you're into this kind of top-down action type thing then it has its fun moments sometimes.  Get it on sale or something.  

Friday, 20 November 2015

Fanbases Ruining Games For Me

You may think that title is a bit strange but it's something that happens to me quite often and it's a shame because usually the thing I end up hating ends up actually being quite good.  The problem is that my stubbornness to not be associate with the legions of twats kicks in and I end up nitpicking every little problem I can find with a given title or series and I convince myself it's shit.

This happened pretty hard with Final Fantasy 7, a game I got when I was quite young and loved the fuck out of it.  I'd play it for hours a day, multiple play throughs and even talk about it at length every day for weeks at school with my friends.  Then I got my hands on an internet connection and discovered a whole bunch of annoying twats that started to make me hate it.

It was a slow process.  First I found all the twats on forums and sites like GameFAQs or I'd see read some cringe worthy fanfiction and have to stay away from the computer for a few days to recover.  But I'd still play the game and enjoy it, their shittiness didn't affect the quality of the game after all.  But then I stopped playing it and eventually my memories of the game started to fade away and me being me the things I remembered most were the things that I had problems with.  Then large groups of twats would come along and brand it "THE GREATEST RPG EVER MADE!" or you'd play a game and there would be some 13 year old boy with XxSephiroth007xX as his username and eventually I'd end up hating it.

Then in 2010 I got over myself I replayed Final Fantasy 7 and.....loved the fuck out of it the same way I always did.  It's happened to lots of other things as well such as Kingdom Hearts and Halo with both communities being filled with the largest know-nothing sacks of shit to every curse a keyboard with their greasy hands and while neither of those games are bad there mere mention of it in conversation makes me roll my eyes and sparks thoughts of suicide.  Kingdom Hearts fans with their "2Deep4U" shit and Halo fans who will be OUTRAGED if you claim that Halo has always been a mediocre shooter that ruined the genre and the idea of sharing a common interest with these people makes me sick.

It even happens in other fucking mediums too

Attack on Titan, a big popular anime in Japan that seems to have garnered a pretty big western following I  think is a show that I've never watched but I fucking HATE IT.  It seems like an interesting premise but back when it was fairly new there were a large number of cockrockets on my Facebook feed posting shit like "LOOK AT HOW ADULT IT IS!" with a screenshot of someone being bitten in half.

Violence doesn't make an anime adult, you can't just look at a scene of someone being eaten and claim that's what sets it apart from anime who's target audience is school children.  I have a better argument, it's published by fucking Kodansha so OF COURSE it's not adult, it's just shonen trash.

That said, if I watched it I'd probably get a kick out of it because shonen trash does tend to be sort of entertaining in a mindless way where you can just admire the spectacle of some insane shit going down.  I can't ever bring myself to actually watch it though because alone I cant justify spending my time like that and with friends I'd just be nitpicking and pissing them all off.  So thanks Titan fans, you ruined that show for me forever.

I'm sure one day I'll get over it give it ago but until then there's a lot of things that are being ruined for me by twats.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Retro Game Prices

One of the great things about living in Japan is just how easy it is to find retro gaming stores.  Within about 15 minutes from my house there are 5 shops that stock retro games and 4 of those 5 stores are specialist shops that have insane collections available for sale that one could browse for days.

However, I like most people do not have access to unlimited money so after a while you become very sensitive to pricing.  The good thing about having so many stores close by is that I'm able to shop around and get insane deals on certain titles.  For example, Megman 2 usually sells in one of the specialist stores for about 2000 yen but I managed to luck out and pick it up for 250 at my local Book Off.  At lot of the time it feels like patience is key when it comes to retro game collecting.  Sure, you COULD splash out for a certain title but it never seems not worth it to wait a little longer and have it pop up somewhere weird with a slashed price.

So while I'm browsing the internet a few days ago I came across a page on E-Bay for a game system collection that was being sold for £69,000.  Here's the link if you care

Now granted almost everything in that particular link was boxed and there was a few arcade cabinets in there but £69k? Really?  To be fair to this particular guy, everything is boxed and looks like it's in great condition but even then the price seems WAYYYY too high.   Typically, a boxed retro system in Japan will set you back around 20,000 yen (£106 at time of writing) and he's selling 163 systems.  That's £17,278 and give or take a bit because there might be some collectors shit but it still wouldn't go much north of 50k.  Peripherals generally don't cost all that much either so unless those arcade cabinets are INSANELY valuable I have no idea where £69,000 came from for all that, it seems like a rip off.

But I'm being overly critical of that one guy, that collection is huge, boxed and generally pretty cool and there is some shit in the photos on that link I'm not quite sure that value of so maybe he does have a case.  But what REALLY pisses me off with retro game prices is when some fuck jacks up the price of a Super Nintendo console or some shit, labels it with "RARE" on E-Bay and is just flat out trying to rip some poor sod off.  Here's a great example

This guy wants £55 for these 11 games but just look at these titles.  6 out of the 11 games are sports games and where I'm from those things sell for about 60p.  I even remember when I used to live in the UK and I'd occasionally find some SNES or Mega Drive games and sports games for those systems were worth fuck all even in a country where finding old shit is hard as fuck.  One thing I love about that link in particular is the Kid Clown game.  I managed to find that shit in one of the specialist shops BOXED, pristine condition for like 500 yen.  That whole stack is worth about £20 if you're being generous and it's this kind of insane pricing that upsets me.

Still though, I don't want to believe the person is an asshole trying to scam people who aren't as familiar with retro game collecting as I am. I want to believe that he or she is just as ignorant as the person who may pay that much for that stack and their just under the misguided impression that those games are worth more than they actually are.  However there are A LOT of people out there who are just out to rip you off and this is doubly so if you're buying online.

It's a shame that one has to tread so carefully but if you are looking to start building a retro gaming collection then what I said before I feel is pretty important.  It's a game of patience, no need to drop a large sum of money on that rare thing that popped up somewhere straight away because it probably will pop up again cheaper somewhere else.

Be careful and happy collecting.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Giving Fallout 4 a Chance

I'm not a fan of modern Fallout, I'm just going to get that out there right now.  They aren't awful games by any stretch and I can definitely see the appeal but I'm one of these people who really enjoyed Fallout 1 and 2 so much that playing these modern ones in first person feels wrong to me.  I could explain in detail everything I hate about the new style but that would be an entire post on its own so I'll save that for later.

But Fallout 4 has been released to a great amount of praise and people seem to be having a good time with it.  Of course, my initial reaction was to roll my eyes and just brand it as another shit dumbing down of the Fallout series but after some thought I decided maybe I should give this game a chance.

OK, so maybe I've already seen a pretty excessive amount of bullshit regarding this game.  I've seen multiple gifs, pictures, videos and other stuff showcasing all sorts of bugs, glitches and other bullshit.  People let this slide because "the game is huge" or because "it's a Bethesda game" but this is a bunch of shit because if we had problems like this in any other title people would be OUTRAGED.  Other things that piss me off include dialogue trees that only contain 4 options (and no I don't give a fuck if you get special ones based on skills from time to time) and luck that affects "the recharge rate of critical hits" just to name a few.

But despite that I'm going to give in an honest go.  BUT FIRST I'm going to go back and I'm going to replay 1,2, Tactics, 3 and New Vegas before touching this game.  I'm going to do this for 2 reasons; first because it's been a long time since I played any of the classic ones and I want to make sure my knowledge of the Fallout universe is up to par when I start nitpicking story points and the second is the judge the series from a game play standpoint so I can say with complete confidence that it's been significantly dumbed down since the first game.  Oh also a price drop, because fuck paying full price for anything.

So I'm gonna kick back, jump into the post apocalyptic world of Fallout and make sure that I'm not just slagging off the latest entry because of my rose tinted nostalgia-goggles.  If my suspicions are correct I should be having a blast for at least 2 games worth of my time.  Here's to hoping that all my FO4 bitching is wrong and it ends up being amazing but I highly doubt it

Thursday, 12 November 2015

My Top 3 Genres

I've been having a pretty shitty week so I'm just going to take a minute to gush about some genres that I really like because maybe posting something overly positive on here will help cheer me up a bit.  I'm sure I'll have something to rage about soon but for now I'm just going to gush.

1. Rhythm Games

One of the best things about living in Japan is the fact I'm surrounded on almost all sides in an arcade by the latest rhythm games.  I fucking love these things and I got my start playing them when I was pretty young and my local bowling alley in the UK got a DDR Euromix machine in.  These games were challenging, fun had sick music and back when I first got hooked the ability to draw a crowd. 

I lost interest a little bit during the peak of things like Guitar Hero and Rock Band because I didn't really like those games and getting hold of the ones I did like such as IIDX required importing shit from Japan and getting special controllers but once I moved here my interest came back HARD.  Admittedly I'm a sucker for shitty J-Pop sometimes and these games feature the catchiest shit J-Pop you've ever heard,  it's like a fucking dream.

The selection for these games out here is also insane, with new games popping up all the damn time and classic ones constantly getting updates.  Personal favorites include Jubeat, Sound Voltex, Chunithm and DDR but I'm always willing to try one of the weirder looking ones like MaiMai if I have some extra during my trip to the game center.

2. RPGs

Pretty much the genre that cemented my interest in gaming back in the Sega Saturn days I fucking love a good RPG.  I tend to not give a shit about all these differentiations like jRPG and wRPG that we make now a days because back when I was playing these things we just called 'em RPGs.  Didn't matter if it was Baldur's Gate or Final Fantasy, that shit was just an RPG.

I like these games for 2 main reasons.  One is the story because if an RPG has a really good plot behind it then it can be almost impossible to put down.  Granted, that a lot of the time finding an RPG with an actual well written story can be kind of hard but when you do it's pretty incredible.  However an RPG for me, especially a jRPG can be just as enjoyable if it has a cool combat system and lots of stuff going on in order to progress your characters.  I love the process of min/maxing characters in order to overcome a secret super boss or whatever, it just feels good to have to know a game that intimately in order to succeed. 

Some of my favorites for this one include Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shadow Hearts and more recently The Banner Saga.  It's a shame that the genre is so overcrowded now with all this moe shit in Japan but they are still pretty fun from a game play stand point.

3. The Horror Game

I'm a big fan of horror anything really, but horror games especially are my favorite way to experience the genre.  It's hard to make some general comments about what makes the genre as a whole so great because that kind of varies from series and series and game to game.  The reason why Silent Hill is so damn good is different to the reason why Project Zero is so good. 

Granted, the genre does have a lot of shit in it like that weird The Ring game on Dreamcast and that X Files game on PS2 that I currently forget the name of but the good horror games really are fucking awesome.  There's nothing quite like playing Silent Hill 2 for the first time or the rush of encountering your first ghost with the camera in Project Zero.

While the AAA horror game has kind of died it's luckily being kept alive by a good number of indie developers.  Things like the first Amnesia game, Penumbra, Into the Gloom and Lone Survivor show that there still are a number of game developers out there who know how to produce a good scare every so often and while it's niche as fuck the fan base for the horror genre is pretty dedicated. 


So there you have it folks, my top 3 genres.  It's cool if you don't give a fuck but writing some positive stuff about some games that I love really helped cheer me up so I'll be back to my usual rage pretty soon. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Hyper Dimension Neptunia

This is another one of those games I'm going to talk a little bit about despite the fact I haven't quite finished it yet.  I've been playing the fucking thing for almost a year and I've still not managed to polish it off and this is due to it being in Japanese so sometimes I'm just not in the mood to read that shit and just because it's generally not very fucking good.

So from what I understand, the game is set in a world that kind of representative of the games industry.  There are a number of islands with silly names like "Rui", "Leenbox" and "Raystation" and  each one of these has a goddess that presides over it (In Japanese referred to as "hards" as in hardware)  and one day they decide to gang up on one of their own and chuck her out of the goddess world or whatever.  On the way down, she loses all her memory, changes form into some small annoying girl and starts hearing voices from someone or something called Istoval (different in English?)  Istoval wants her to collect pieces of a key so she can free him/her/it from confinement otherwise something really terrible will happen to the world.  Thus begins the adventures of Neptune and her companions Compa and IF(?) on their journey for key that will save the world or some shit, I dunno.

The story surprisingly has a lot of charm to it and while it's not exactly the best written thing ever it's entertaining.  Where this game really falls down is in EVERY OTHER DEPARTMENT.

The combat is OK as there is a system in place where you can create your own combos with the skills that you acquire as you level up but after a while it all becomes very dull and unsatisfying and every encounter feels like a chore.  There is also this weird fucking thing where you can't use items by yourself, you have to put points into item skills which give them a percent chance to activate under certain conditions which can really fuck you over at some points.  Also combat difficulty will just be all over the damn place with some of the game being painfully easy and then suddenly a side quest or dungeon will be full of impossible shit that just doesn't want to die.

The game also features a ton of side quests which is cool and all but all the dungeons in this game are fucking IDENTICAL.  There are maybe 6 or 7 different types of dungeon and the only thing that changes is the layout.  You will always been running around the same looking cave, factory, castle, temple looking thing and the layouts are just standard crappy mazes with a couple of rooms with treasure in them if you're lucky.

Other problems include things like music that's so boring it'll put you to sleep, voice work that will cause heavy cringe if you're playing with anyone else in the room, slow animations in combat and many other things.  The only reason I'm still playing it is because if I don't finish it it'll forever remain unbeaten in my collection and I can't be having that.

Now, what I have heard is that the games that followed it, Mk2, V and a bunch of other stuff on PSP, Vita and other systems are way WAY better so once I finish this one I'm not going to give up on the series just yet, like I said there is a small amount of appeal to be had here.  I'll be interested to see how they stack up after I finish this shitty one in about 10 years.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

I've Fallen Out With The MMO

I used to like MMORPGs a hell of a lot.  I had a pretty good group of buddies and we'd always play things like World of Warcraft (up to Lich King) and Guild Wars and we have some pretty fond memories of those days adventuring together.  Even now as I walk around some of these Japanese stores or peruse certain websites on the internet I see shit like Final Fantasy XIV and Guild Wars 2 and I get all tempted to play one again but something keeps holding me back.

I've fallen out with MMOs pretty hard which is a shame because I do like playing them.  Not too long ago I was streaming Path of Exile with my co worker and we were having a good time but we gave up before too long mainly because I just wanted to play other things.  One of the main reasons I find it hard to give time to MMOs anymore is because of my backlog.  The thing is a couple of hundred titles long so the idea of sitting down and sinking a few hours into a genre of games that essentially don't end feels like a bad idea when I have so much on my plate already.

That's the other thing too, purely multiplayer games that don't end just don't sit well with me personally.  I like to play something alone, with a self contained story that has an ending and a credits roll at the end.  I don't want to have people waiting on me to do a dungeon or have to rely on player run market places to help get ahead.  I play games to chill and having that extra pressure from other players waiting for me to do shit or hold me to some kind of standard that I don't care about (gear score for example)

The one other big turn off with MMOs for me, especially new ones are subscriptions.  For the longest time Free to Play MMOs have existed, tons of them so the idea of paying for a MMO seems silly now.  MAYBE back in the day you could justify it because most F2P MMORPGs sucked massive amount of dick but now things like Guild Wars 2 are free to download and play.  That might be a bad example because there's never been a monthly subscription for those games but you see what I mean?  Why pay for it when  nowadays you can get a good quality online adventure for exactly no money,

MMOs aren't a genre I dislike by any stretch but I just find it difficult to justify sinking so many hours into that genre.  It's a shame because there's a lot of cool looking shit out there and yet I just can't bring myself to download them and give them a try.  Maybe one day when I clear some of this backlog off my list my opinion will change, I can only hope.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Bravely Default

So I've not quite finished this game yet, I'm on the final battle but it's giving me some issues and I could be a while before I get the ending so I'm going to write a little bit about this game now.

Bravely Default is one of those games that I heard people talking a lot about back when it was first released but because of the 3DS region locking I was never able to actually play it.  Eventually, I got my mother to bring a EU copy with her when she came to visit me in Japan and I jumped right in.

The game follows the adventures of 4 characters who have to go around the world of Luxendarc and revive 4 elemental crystals.  On their adventures they have to fight an evil empire and as you defeat the generals you gain asterisks which allow you to change into their job.  That's the general plot of the game but each area for each crystal has its own arc that plays out so you aren't just jumping from dungeon to dungeon.

It's very easy to sum up Bravely Default's game play because it's just classic Final Fantasy.  It's SO classic Final Fantasy that it would have made more sense to call this game Final Fantasy 15 and call that game something like Men's Fashion Model Adventure or something.  Your party of 4 never change but as I mentioned before you have a job system with a pretty wide selection of things to choose from once you do the side quest to unlock it.

The combat is also pretty much classic Final Fantasy but the BP system does manage to go a good job of making things a little more interesting.  Each turn you are allowed to "Default" which is the games way of saying defend and doing this will raise your BP count by 1 and you can stock a max of 3.  Then on your next turn you can "Brave" which is where you expend a BP in order to make another action that turn.  So if you brave for one turn then the next turn you can make 2 attacks or you can use a skill that requires BP without having to wait for the count to go up back to zero from whatever minus figure you end up at.  Going negative BP means that the character can't act until his counter returns to 0 and you get 1 BP at the start of every turn.

The game also makes use of something called Sleep Points which build up as you close the lid on your 3DS.  Every 8 hours you are granted 1 sleep point for a max of 3 and these allow you to make a free attack at any point during combat.  Hitting start will freeze time and you can just do whatever the fuck you like.  If you have more than 1 SP you can even brave during the time freeze and really ruin someones day. 

There are also features using street pass where you can send people moves from your party for them to summon and use in combat.  Living it Japan is awesome for this because walking round town for a while means that I'm pretty likely of passing someone with the game and being sent some insane full power special attack for me to use at any time.  The game also has a feature where you build a town which grants you special items and the like to buy at save points.  Putting multiple villagers on a building project lowers the time it takes to build and you gain more villagers by street passing.  The town can also come under attack from optional bosses called Nemesis but they don't do any damage they just kind of fly there until you decide to take them on.  Not taking them on doesn't mess you up in any way.


As much as I love the game and find it hard to mention any real stand out problems with it, the method for getting the true ending is complete and utter bullshit. 

After you revive the 4 crystals things get fucked up and you end up in an alternate world where the crystals aren't revived.  So you have to revive them all over again but this time you can break them and breaking a crystals puts you on the path of the normal ending.  To get the true ending you have to revive them all like 4 or 5 fucking times and the whole thing gets pretty fucking tedious because nothing really changes except the bosses get ever so slightly stronger.

It's fucking bullshit busy work and I swear to god this true ending better be worth all that goddamn hassle.  It's a huge tarnish on an otherwise really good game.

*End Spoilers*

For RPG fans, Bravely Default is one of those must have games for your 3DS collection.  It's well polished, has a good length and apart from some dodgy English voice work there isn't a hell of a lot wrong with it.  Go play it, now, it's awesome.