Sunday, 29 January 2017

Tau and Friends Play Gauntlet Part 4

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Waifu Wednesday

This is a weird request from my stream chat that I decided to actually follow up on without a donation incentive so I'm introducing WAIFU WEDNESDAY

The concept is simple, I play Japanese visual novels, mainly the ones about dating and relationships but if the well starts to run dry I'll fall back on other VNs too. 

The reason I took this request with no donation incentive is because 1) It'll become a permanent feature and 2) If you have a request then you can donate for that (No eroge!)

So tune in later tonight to check out just how awesome I am at picking up women, it'll be a laugh riot.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Sim City Build It

This isn't a game I thought I'd be so quick to blog about or even play at all.  Usually when I see phone games like this my mind immediately remembers complete rip off titles such as Dungeon Keeper or basically any free to play city builder for the phone.  Usually these games demand that you pay real money in order to keep up with the demands of the game OR ELSE it will fuck you for it and make it basically unplayable.  While Sim City Build It kind of does the first one, it doesn't do the second.

The aim of the game is simple, build a city.  You do this by purchasing residential areas, factories, government buildings, public services etc. and from there you just have to watch things grow.  This is a long running series that started life in 1989 and has sort of grown into one of those franchises that everyone with even a passing interest in games knows about.

SNES Version
The games have since been become extremely streamlined and very easy to get into.  I seem to remember Sim City being pretty hard to understand and manage back in the day but I played the original when I was VERY young so there is a chance that my memory is sullied by the fact I was just a stupid kid who knew nothing of city management.

Anyway the one big problem I have with the phone game is that it takes a long time to do anything.  For example, you level up by building residential areas and upgrading them, which in turn increases population.  Increasing your level will of course, unlock new features, which isn't a bad thing since it's sort of nice to have all the games concepts trickled to you rather than just having a big info dump and then saying "OKAY GO!".  The problem is, you need money to do anything and you get money by upgrading residences so you can't help but start levelling up and just when you start to think everything is fine BAM! it hits you with fire stations or sewage and you don't have nearly enough money to deal with these problems. 

So the only course of action is to halt all expansion and just sit and wait for taxes to roll in which of course is taking a hit because of the lack of the new thing it just introduced that you can't afford.  The pain of this goes away a little as you unlock things like a trade depot and cargo missions but it still  takes a while to get anything done.  That said though, having a building on fire or every member of your town shitting their pants due to no sewage system doesn't fuck you completely.  Your happiness will take a hit but with a little bit of patience you can fix the problem and be on your merry way.

Not bad for a phone game and great to just fiddle with between short tasks.  I'm actually surprised by how fun I'm finding it and the production quality on it is top notch.  Of course you can pay if you want but it's possible to get a fairly decent looking city without spending a penny and after that it's just patience.  It's free so it's not like you have anything to lose, go try!

Monday, 23 January 2017

AGDQ 2017 Roundup

Well, a couple of weeks ago Awesome Games Done Quick finished!  If you aren't sure what that is then I can tell you that it's a speed running marathon that raises money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation by speedrunning a large number of games over the course of a week.

This year was quite a special one really because while it's become pretty common for the guys at GDQ to raise over a million each time, this year they managed to hit $2.2 million!  Across all of the marathons they have done this brings the total value of money raised for the Prevent Cancer Foundation to over $10 million.  It's crazy and I've said it a number of times on this blog before but the efforts put forward by these guys are what inspired this very blog and maybe one day we can do for Alzheimer's what they did for cancer.

Anyway, I thought I'd quickly throw this post together in order to highlight some of what I thought were the best ones.  I'm not fully caught up with all the stuff I missed thanks to sleeping and working so there's probably a bunch of great ones I've not seen yet but these are the ones that I caught live that really stood out to me.

1) Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

This run done by Bawkbasoup of an old FPS classic was just absolutely mental.  It's fast paced, looks technical as all hell and the runner gives a really commentary throughout.  I like watching runs like this because I know that the chances of me ever being able to run a game like this are slim to none.

2) Ducktales Race

This run, while extremely short is absolutely crazy.  I'm a little bit familiar with how Ducktales is run since I have a friend who plays it but these guys are the absolute best I've ever seen.  What makes it even better is that they are pretty much tied throughout the entire race and at the end it really comes down to the wire

3) Batman Forever

This was done as part of the Awful Games block and admittedly I might be a little biased because PJ is easily one of my favorite runners.  A co-op run of a famously shitty game for the Super Nintendo, these two bring a good amount of comedy to the run and make this unplayable shit actually look pretty fun.

Honorable Mention: F.E.A.R Extraction Point

A decent run but actually a little bland.  However one of the guys on the couch make this run go from mildly entertaining but forgettable to absolutely fucking amazing.  Watching it live, the antics of the couch were more annoying than anything else but between me and my buddies "ROLLING DEEP" has become a bit of a joke so honorable mention to this run for starting that.

There were TONS of great runs at the event but these were some of my personal favorites that I caught live.  Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite runs if you want, I'd love to get some recommendations on what to catch up with.

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Original F.E.A.R Trilogy

F.E.AR is a game that's been around for quite a long time now.  It's one of those games that makes me feel old because if you play it now it looks REALLY dated but I remember this shit coming out.  I originally had it on 360 and never played much of it and after my 360 and all its games got stolen I got in on the cheap for PC and have recently been playing them through.

F.E.A.R is an FPS horror (using that term VERY lightly) game where you play as a dude called Point Man in his quest to stop an army of telepathically controlled super soldiers.  This start to go a bit awry though once little cliche horror girl Alma starts showing up and fucking with the very fabric of existence or something, I dunno.  The plot is dumb and I wasn't really paying attention but the game itself played fairly well and I had a good time.

Point Man, being a member of the First Encounter Assault Recon or F.E.A.R (har har) team has the ability to go into bullet time mode and mow people down.  At the time, the AI for this game was fairly impressive and the areas in which you battle dudes in were sort of wide and there were lots of chances to get flanked and whatnot so the bullet time was a welcome addition.  The game is sort of mindless FPS stuff but there's something rather enjoyable about playing it.  Maybe the dated look and non regenerating health and limited health kits are reminding me of simpler days of my youth and that could be why I had such a good time with it.

The big problem with this game, and with the series as a whole I'm discovering is that despite the title there seems to be a lack of fear to be had here.  If the game isn't trying to jump scare you to death then there are often parts where the environment will change and you'll get some SPOOKY dialogue or you'll get shown some kind of horrible murder or something like that.  Those scenes aren't very effective though and all the scary parts of F.E.A.R do is serve to delay the action parts that you just want to get back to.

There were also two stand alone expansion packs called Perseus Mandate and Extraction Point which told the story from the viewpoints of different characters but were essentially the same thing.  However having already started F.E.A.R 2 which plays a bit more like a proper modern FPS, you know the kind designed for brain dead twats, I'm sort of missing the retro feel of the original 3 games.

If you're looking for a fun-ish FPS to spend a cozy afternoon on, the F.E.A.R is a good bet if you haven't played it already.  However if you're the kind of person who only likes modern shooters then you'll probably hate it and not understand why it was so interesting back in 2005.  Either way, fun little game.

Punishing Players for Glitches

So maybe about a week ago I came across some news about Overwatch.  Usually I ignore stuff about Overwatch because I don't play it but this particular story caught my eye.  Apparently, if you use a certain character on a certain stage then you can glitch out of bounds, make your way to the enemy half of the map and just go to town.  Sort of cool but in a multiplayer game like Overwatch I can see why people would be upset with others using it.

However of course the fact that a glitch exists in a game isn't enough to pique my interest on its own, every game has its glitches.  What really made me raise an eyebrow was the fact that, according to a number of websites, Blizzard have issued a statement saying that it's going to punish players who used the glitch, probably meaning a ban.

Are you fucking kidding me?  I know it's annoying and I can see why the community would start alerting Blizzard to the problem so that they can fix it but banning players that used it, or punishing them in any way for that matter, is complete fucking dog shit.  The glitch is Blizzard's fucking fault, they are the ones who missed the detail and players used their oversight in order to get ahead.  Fix it, sure, but don't punish the players because of your fuck up, that makes you just look like a shitty baby throwing your toys out of the pram because people won't play the game YOUR way.  The glitch doesn't even look hard to pull off, the kind of thing that any Tom, Dick or Harry could pull off so how the fuck did you miss something that?

This isn't the first time I've heard something like this though.  I remember a while back reading a thing about World of Warcraft, way after I had stopped playing about a guild getting banned from the game for clearing a raid in a slightly unorthodox manner.  The boss for the raid had a gimmick of vanishing platforms that would kill you if you were stood on them when they came out from under your feet, except some smart players found out that throwing Rogue bombs at the floor stopped them from going away.  Blizzard caught on and fixed the floor but also banned the guild that discovered the glitch.  Once again, complete bullshit.  They managed to get some good loot by finding a flaw within the game, they aren't cheating, hacking or using mods, they are just exploiting a programmer fuck up.  Fixing it so that every guild can't just easy mode farm the dungeon is fine but banning people because your play testers are bad at play testing is just not fair. 

One more example of this was the famous GTA Online thing where people found out how to duplicate cars or something in order to sell them for tons of in game cash.  This, once again, resulted in a bunch of people being banned despite the fact that the error was the fault of Rockstar and not the players.  If players having so much money was a problem then they could have just rolled shit back rather than just kicking people off the game for using a bit of ingenuity. 

Glitches are going to happen, I'm not saying that a game having glitches is some kind of indication that programmers suck at their jobs, there's a lot going on and some shit is going to slip through the cracks.  That said, don't be a fucking angry baby when smart players start taking advantage of YOUR mistakes to get ahead.  In all three of these cases, the glitches are easy mode bullshit that anyone can perform even if they are drunk, high and have broken fingers.  We aren't exactly talking Queen Gohma Wrong Warp here.

Ban hackers, modders and all that jazz sure because in the case of multiplayer games those guys are just being dicks.  But glitching?  That shit is on you, fix it and move on and maybe you should even be thanking the people that discovered it because if they didn't then your shitty game would just stay broken, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Last Guardian

So recently I just finished The Last Guardian and considering that we all waiting about 10 years for the bloody thing to actually get released I feel it would be rude to not say a few words about it.  I'll keep it as spoiler free as possible so don't worry if you've not played it.

So if you've been living under a rock and you don't know what the fuck you're looking at, The Last Guardian (Also known as The Man Eating Giant Eagle Trico in Japanese) is an action adventure/puzzle type affair created by the same guys that brought us Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.  Considering how good those games were, if you weren't running outside of your house to pick this shit up on release day then I feel like you might need to see a doctor for your severe brain problems and I don't say that lightly considering I usually hate buying shit day 1.

The game starts out with a nameless young boy stuck in a pit with a big dog, bird, griffin type thing all chained up and hurt and after you help it recover a little bit and free it from it's shackles you go on a grand adventure to escape the shit pit that you find yourself stuck in.  Escaping involves riding Trico around the environment, platforming and puzzle solving.  To hinder your escape there are sentient suits of armor trying to carry you off into blue doors and unless Trico is directly by your side encounters with these things should generally be feared. 

From a game play stand point I really enjoyed it but I can see why people would get frustrated with it.  The boy controls a little strange which will very occasionally cause you to fuck up platforming sections but if you aren't complete trash at playing games you'll adapt fairly quickly.  The real problem comes with controlling Trico who has been painstakingly programmed in order to act like a real animal.  That means that sometimes you'll know what to do in a given situation and you'll be using your gestures to try and make him do it but he'll just wander of and scratch his balls or stare at wood for a while instead.  While it is a sort of annoying aspect it does make it feel like your companion is an actual animal rather than just some AI helper than helps you scale large gaps.

I'm really glad a game like this game out now though because this is finally the thing that you can point to and be like "THIS is how you make a proper interactive "experience"".  Whenever anyone starts talking about these shitty walking simulators and they start raving about how good they are as "storytelling experiences" you can officially tell them to shut the fuck up and point to a nice modern game to rub their face in it.  The Last Guardian provides and experience far more powerful from anything in that genre and still manages to function as a game, it's brilliant. 

So with that said, you should just go and play The Last Guardian.  While it's a bit of a draining experience it's one you'll never forget and if you happen to be scared of heights like I am it'll probably be the best horror game of 2017.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Don't Breathe

Just before my New Year holiday started I went to go and see Don't Breathe which at the time had just come out in Japan.  First thing to note is that this is the first horror movie I've gone to in a while where I wasn't expecting pure garbage from the get go.  With other movies like Gekijourei (which was crap) and Sadako Vs Kayako (which was surprisingly awesome) my expectations going into any movie (or game for that matter) from this genre are fairly low but with this I was quite excited.  I'm going to keep this post as spoiler free as possible so if you've not seen it and you want to, don't worry.

The premise is a simple one.  3 kids who live in Detroit hate their lives, probably can't find jobs and have therefore resorted to thievery.  One member of the group has a father who works for a security firm so they use his collection of house keys and security system know how to break into places and steal valuables (never money) and then sell them off to try and raise funds for a permanent ticket out of town.  One member catches wind of an old man sitting on a ton of money and after some deliberation the group decide to rob this guy for his cash rather than his stuff on the condition that they make it their last robbery ever.  However, despite finding out that the old guy is blind and alone, things go awry after they get caught and Mr Blind starts wrecking their shit.

Generally speaking the movie is pretty enjoyable with lots of great set pieces that sort of act like a visual roller coaster.  Lots of tension in dark, quiet rooms followed by HOLY SHIT.  You could argue that the movie is making and over use of jump scares but the enemy of this film is a blind guy, of course he's going to sit quietly not doing much before his super hearing gives him a good idea of how to attack and then BAM! act of super violence and the trailer made it very clear that there was going to be lots of that.  Without spoiling anything though, there are a number of jump scares that involve a dog and anything involving the Don't Breathe dog is just pure cheap bullshit.

While all in all it's an enjoyable experience there's a couple of glaring problems that I just can't quite get over.  All the characters are heavily unlikable and I couldn't quite internally cheer for any of them.  The three main characters, the ones that we're supposed to be sympathetic too are criminals robbing and old blind man.  I'm still wondering why they can't just get normal Detroit jobs and save the money to leave that way.  Even when they do leave, if they are so unemployable that they had to resort to thievery then what makes them think that moving to a new town will just magically solve that problem?  Yes and I know there's more to it than just that for the girl of the group but I'm sure she could have done something other than just heartlessly robbing people.

I actually spent most of the movie rooting for the blind guy to kill them all off.  He's just an old man turned blind from fighting in a war and on top of that his wife is dead and his daughter got ran over.  I think he's well within his rights to stick it to a bunch of petty thieves trying to take away the only thing he has left.  But then, without spoiling anything, he fucks it up and he out-dicks the main dicks by about a million times.  It was the only point in the movie where I thought "ok, now you're going a little far".  I mean I'm not against a little bit of gross out horror but I felt like mercilessly boarding up his house from the inside made him "enemy" enough and this weird sub plot which I can't really talk about with no spoilers was a desperate attempt to make him seem really terrible and the three stooges seem like heroes of the day when in reality it just makes everyone a huge prick.

So there you have it, an overall enjoyable film with a cast full of pricks and a plot twist that will make you do a little sigh and go "c'mon, really?".  Still though, you could do a lot worse so give it a go if you're a horror fan needing to fill the void a little.  Just as a little gaming related side note, I can't help but feel that Don't Breathe would work really well as a VR title, just sayin'.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Why Do People Like God of War So Much Again?

A while ago I posted my thoughts on a replay I did of God of War and I followed it up by starting to play God of War 2 and while I am having a certain amount of fun I can't help but be a little confused as to just how these games became so huge.

Now don't get me wrong, these aren't bad games by any stretch and the production quality on pretty much all the titles in the series are top notch but the review scores for these games are always really REALLY high and I don't quite understand.  For example God of War 1 on Gamespot got a review score of 9.3 and God of War 2 got 9.7(!) on IGN!  That's a damn near perfect score and maybe it's just because I've become cynical in my old age but I just don't understand.

These games do have some good things going for them such as great cinematic quality and an insane level of violence which is rather satisfying to watch after battling your way through a horde of enemies.  There's also a decent variation in enemy types and the soundtracks are quite nice feeling appropriately epic for the tasks at hand and the main theme will pretty much stick with your forever after playing.

That said though, in the game play department these games are samey and a little dull.  Combat consists of nothing more than mashing square on an enemy until the prompt appears above their head and then doing a little QTE sequence to finish them off.  The game tries to give you lots of tools to try and deal with all the enemies such as magic spells and alternate weapons but there is very little reason to use any of them because mashing square is easily the best thing you have.  If mashing square doesn't seem to be working quite as well as usual against a certain enemy then click in both your control sticks to activate Rage of the Gods which is basically a win button.  Rage makes you strong, removes hitstun and makes your standard combo so insane and screen filling that even bosses don't stand a chance against you.

Aside from the combat the puzzles are insultingly easy at best and frustratingly obtuse at worst.  There have been instances during my God of War 2 playthrough where I'll be stuck in a room for a few minutes not knowing what to do because the key to a puzzle is some kind of pullable block but the block just looks like a background prop so I end up stumbling on it by accident and I never would have known if it wasn't for the big stupid R1 prompt in the corner.  The worst case of "puzzle" solving though is when the game wants you to find keys.  Usually there's a locked door and another path, go down the other path, kill dudes, get key and then loop back on yourself so that you can go through the door.  If this happened just once or twice but this is almost every single locked door in God Of War 2.

Like I said I don't hate these games at all but they get near perfect scores, glowing reviews and hordes of raving fans.  If I worked for one of these websites I would have given it like a 6/10 for being a competently made action game with some annoying aspects and an over reliance on QTE for cool shit to happen.  Devil May Cry let's you look cool as hell without using QTE at all but God of War struggles to pull of anything visually impressive in the combat without going into canned animation mode.

Still, despite my complaints I'm gonna finish off 2 and probably go play the third one again too, good bit of mindless fun after a stressful day.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Rogue One

Recently I saw the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One and if you're worried about spoilers in the upcoming few paragraphs of text then don't worry yourself because I'm not about to do that to you.  I'm just here to share a few thoughts about the movie in general.

Rogue One is a spin off title in the franchise that's set between episode 3 and 4 and follows the adventures of Jin and her struggle to get the plans for the Death Star.  I know I mentioned spoilers before but if you can't predict just how the movie will end from just the synopsis then you're a bit of an idiot.

Anyway let me start by talking about something that I didn't like about the movie which is the first handful of minutes of its run time.  You get sort of an information dump with the movie switching between many different people, places and even throwing in a handful of flashbacks.  It introduces almost all the characters and locations straight away and for me personally this was a little much.  I found myself getting confused as to who was who and where they were and what they were doing.  Eventually though the movie stopped dumping information into my face and after that it was a highly enjoyable experience all the way to the end.

Everything about this movie is pretty much on point.  The acting, special effects, set piece moments are all really good with one of my personal favorites being a blind Donny Yen beating this shit out of a bunch of dudes with a stick.  It's the sort of fight choreography that I don't think we've seen in a Star Wars movie before so it was pretty cool to see.  Although while the ground combat is entertaining to watch, I can't help but feel that it's the space battles where the movie really shines and there's a certain scene involving a star destroyer that had me grinning ear to ear like some kind of school boy.

Now I'm no Star Wars fanatic.  While I think these movies are very good I'm not quite as clued up on the universe as many other fans I feel.  That said, sitting next to two people in a bar who are HUGE fans and listening to them gush about this film should be a good indication that it's worth seeing.  Even if you aren't much of a Star Wars fan it's worth going to see and you won't have to worry about being lost with what's going on because it's a prequel to the good trilogy so you're coming in right at the start technically speaking.

Now maybe with the success of these movies we can get another Rogue Squadron game because they were pretty good.