Yeah but hamsters don't have to deal with fucking zombies do they?
Last night I had the chance to hit a Playdium style arcade with my GF. It's been YEARS since I've been to a big arcade funhouse, and while I was salty that there was nary a Street Fighter cabinet to be seen (or any old school stand-up arcade cabinets for the matter), we did have a great time. Most of the games available were big attractions, giant wheels you could spin for tickets, a four player version of Pac-Man where you devour your friends on a 90-inch screen, motorcycles to straddle, Batmobiles to command.
But Deadly Escape 4D stole the show.
A spooky arcade shooter that has you mowing down near endless waves of zombies and other crawlies, similar to something like House of the Dead, but with an interactive twist – the game is rigged to be as immersive as possible. You climb into your chair, strap on 3D goggles, and feel the breeze of subtle fans move air across the bench as the wind howls in the game. When the action picks up your seat rocks and shutters with impacts, compressed air punches you in the face again and again as zombies invade your personal space. The guns are equipped with heart rate sensors that tell you how "panicked" or "safe" you feel.
As a game, it's a pretty ho-hum, standard light-gun affair. As an experience, it was something else! While I wouldn't call the game scary, it certainly was exciting. Light-gun games are such an old and worn genre at this time, even the addition of co-op mechanics (both players can cross the streams to make the bullets do more damage, bosses and some tough enemies require coordinated attacks on weak points and such) aren't going to do too much to spice things up. But Deadly Escape was genuinely exciting! I feel like a bit of a rube for letting some cheesy 3D effects and a little compressed air overrun my sensibilities, but I can't help it. I had a great time with the GF and we ended up blitzing through three of the game's lengthily levels before calling it quits.
It makes me super excited about the future. Imagine strapping on an Oculus Rift and going into that game, completely blocking out the cabinet and lights and distractions. Imagine the same effects used on a game with actual production values and creativity, that wasn't just aping House of the Dead with a bit of the Saw films mixed in.
Ok, well, it's about bosses that fight you at your own level - and still manage to beat you. I'm pretty proud of it, so give it a read if that sounds fun. I've really enjoyed getting back in the regular blogging groove and hope to keep it going.
So check back next week when I'll be in a combined Titanfall and Dark Souls II pleasure coma and won't have written a damn thing.
Hello everyone! I haven't played anything new this week. I did play a ton of games though, in preparation for a Tumblr blog I've started, which was inspired by this blog about foliage in video games. Mine is about marine life in video games. I started it last week, and I'm planning to update it once a day, so there's only a few entries so far. It's a lot of fun to put together though, and it seems like it's already gotten a good bit of attention. My first photoset, from Link's Awakening, has been the most popular so far, with over 50 notes. I didn't realize it would be so easy to get noticed on Tumblr. Anyway, you can check out my blog here, if you want!
In other news, Dark Souls II comes out this month, and I'm totally ready to become absorbed in that game! If it's anything like the first two games, I'll probably play it for about a week, get stuck on a boss, get fed up with the game because of that boss, stop playing for 2 weeks or more, then come back and beat the rest of the game, falling in love with it. For Demon's Souls, that boss was the Tower Knight, and for Dark Souls, it was the Capra Demon. Both were early bosses, and I just needed to overcome a few hurdles and grow accustomed to the game's mechanics. Let's see if I can keep up the tradition in Dark Souls II!
Second, did I ever mention that I fucking love my 3DS? I think I did. You know what, let me do it again just to be sure. I fucking love my 3DS.
As can be expected, this week I spent even more time with the little handheld that could, playing some more Pokémon, finishing up on The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and beating Crimson Shroud. Although for the latter I suspect that there is a New Game+ mode, and I suspect that it has an alternate ending, so I might have to take the time to play it again. The ending I already got was pretty satisfactory and unique if nothing else, but I’d like to see what else the game might have in store.
One other game I started playing only yesterday is Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies. Both it and the latest Professor Layton game where 30% off in the 3DS eShop in honor of the upcoming Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney (that will be here in less than a month!), so I couldn’t very well resist now could I?
So far I’ve only played the first case, but I like what I see. Much like Pokémon before it, the transition from 2D sprites to full 3D models serves to bring much more life to the characters, as you can see and appreciate all their little quirks much more with their newfound animations. While the previous games already managed to make you love their silly characters, Dual Destinies seems to bring it to a whole new level. I hope Trucy Wright, my favorite Ace Attorney character, will make an appearance beyond her quick cameo at the end of the first case, because I love to see her cute magic tricks fully animated and modeled. The same goes for Maya, who has been noticeably absent for a while now. Here’s hoping!
In the mean time, I’m going to be projecting that appreciation onto Athena Cykes. The second Wright & Co. attorney named after a greek god, she brings an interesting new energy to the table, as well as some neat gameplay elements. You may have noticed by now, but I’m a sucker for the kind of sassy, spirited and energetic lady she seems to be (both in real life and in fiction), so she’s already quickly becoming my favorite character. I like her design too, including her ridiculous anime “how does that hair even work”-hair.
- Seriously though, HOW?
Since she’s a character in a Phoenix Wright game, it goes without saying that she has some kind of dark and troubled past, which the game starts hinting at very early on. In the first case I’ve come across one scene about her troubled past, and I was already struck by how dark and disturbing it was. For a series that’s all about murder all the time, it’s saying something that any scene could still take me aback, but hers definitely did. I don’t know what the previous games were rated, but I know this one is rated for audiences 16 and up in Europe: that scene alone would justify this. If nothing else, it got me really eager to find out more.
Other than that, there’s not much more I can say about the game. It’s still Phoenix Wright in all its glory. On top of that, it feels like the perfect appetizer to the upcoming Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. Now there’s just the matter of whether or not I want to shell out €5 for the DLC bonus episode in which you defend an orca with a moustache and pirate hat.
YOU GET TO DEFEND AN ORCA WITH A MOUSTACHE AND PIRATE HAT. Why am I even questioning this?
Have you ever wondered how hard it would be to play soccer with no experience? When I read the reviews for the newly released Inazuma Eleven, I thought I'd be getting a quirky JRPG based around random encounters and battles based around soccer. Weird, but charming portrayals of larger-then-life characters who are one-part sports anime and one-part Dragonball Z enthusiasts.
What I got was a difficult to master soccer RPG with a lot of anime story. The kind of story where the outcome of your match doesn't matter because its pre-determined how things will go. Like how a team will concede defeat after achieving certain shadowy goals or how you'll always leave halftime with a 1-1 score.
The hardest aspect of the game is trying to score goals. Goalies will take every chance they can to block shots and unless you actually approach it with an idea of actual soccer strategy, you won't score goals. You'll have to shoot for the edges, pass between two strikers, or spend tech points into a special shot to have a hope in scoring even one point.
Past all that, the entire experience is somewhat engrossing. Seeing miniature skirmishes unfold as your players dribble past other players or slide into ones with possession, then watching elaborate skills like the fire tornado kick or doppelganger ball steal trick makes the entire match or battle really fun to watch. There's a big sink or swim mentality though since the game only shows you how to play the game through text boxes and not through action, so you better be good at making some critical thinking and leaps. Its harder on the touch screen since the tactical response of dragging routes sometimes doesn't register on the tiny, moving characters. I've learned that most of the time, I should just let the AI move the ball as it needs to and only input commands when I need to make a strong play, such as positioning for a pass or for a shot.
I'm nearly through with Bravely Default and have some really lovely class set ups. I think everyone's heard of the swordmaster/pirate combo where you max out both classes and use the swordmaster's Free Lunch move in tandem with the pirate's Amped Strike. That move is a 4x damage move that consumes 50% MP but Free Lunch makes all MP cost 0 for two turns. This combo behooves you to save up BP by defaulting and you'll take chunks off with a 4x brave Free Lunch Amped Strike.
Anyone who's used the ninja knows the damage it's capable of. Throw in Hawkeye and Precision from the ranger class and you boost its capable damage without needing to add much. My ninja is also a thief, in order to steal rare items from bosses, so the set up is useful for extra damage without resorting to tacking on sword magic. My ninjas always carry Turn Tables too for the guaranteed Ustusemi/Turn Tables evasion combo. I also have two Fox Tails, high end axes that have huge agility bonuses. I always want my biggest damage dealer to move first and with some clever skill sorting, I've made quite the potent dark knight. By giving him axe lore, increasing his axe skill to S, and making his secondary skill ninjutsu for access to Utsusemi, I have a dark knight capable of more damage then a ninja for the same survivability. Just give him a Fox Tail then for skills:
- Axe Lore
- Turn Tables
Then your choice of a fifth skill. All the skills right there in tandem with a Fox Tail gives you the massive damage output for a dark knight with all the speed of a ninja. Since dark knights already have Adversity, gradual buffs as you lose health, Comeback Kid is unnecessary, which is 25% buffs per evade. Sometimes I just give him a flat 10% Attack bonus. Other times I give him Transcience for for counters to stack the damage output. Whatever the case, by far my favorite strategy is pairing him with a spiritmaster who can give the entire party immunity to elemental damage (for a huge cost of 3 BP!) then brave a bunch of Dark Nebula, the dark knight's strongest attack. An attack that hits for 4x damage against everyone for two drawbacks: 1) it drains 20% just like Dark Bane and 2) it hits everyone indiscriminately, friend and foe. For some reason, that includes the caster himself, even though his health is already being drained by 20%. Having the spiritmaster cast Enigma for immunity is important, because with the dark knight two-handing his axe, being boosted from Adversity, amping his dark attacks with Gloom, and finally having the resultng attack magnified by four, simply cutting the damage in half with Greater Fairy Ward won't cut it. It needs to be Enigma or else people will die on you.
I also finally finished up the knight and templar classes. It's funny how such defensively oriented classes have access to attacks that convert that defense into pure offense. Take the templar's Desperation for example, which adds your defense to your attack and throws it out at the cost of reducing your defense for one turn. The drawback isn't even that bad since usually the templar is moving last anyways. It has zero cost to cast which means you can invest in a shield. Most of the time, I equip Two-handed or Dual Wield for more damage over survivability (everyone has a healer after all). A templar or knight can legitimately run a shield to increase defense and still attack for tons of damage.
Speaking of tons of damage, templars sound like an upgrade to knights with more specialized defensive skills and attack but by the end, I changed my templar back to a knight. Knights actually have more defensive potential then templars. Combined with two more abilities they can turn their superior defense into potent attacks. Dual Shields allows you to equip two shields for impenetrable defense at the cost of pitiful attack. Super Charged is a battle skill that takes 1 BP and attacks by using a score that's double your defense. Math isn't my strong suit but most set ups will have a higher number on doubling defense compared to adding defense to your attack. I don't think I've ever seen my knight go down ever since equipping the Dual Shields ability. In addition to attacking with huge defense, it comes with the utility of being able to revive your healer if they go down with phoenix downs.
The 3DS is so good now. Can you believe its been three years? Can you believe it looked so sketchy three years ago? And now its one of the hottest systems available. Hotter than even the now current gen consoles!
Real talk, this weekend Mechwarrior Online was offering a free Mechbay and mech (cash value of about $3) to anyone who played and won 5 matches. Just play a few games, get a free character slot and a mech that at the very least you could melt down and sell for scrap. Free money, easiest thing in the world.
I played about 3 rounds and said "fuck this."
Hard to go back to a game you only barely tolerate after playing one that tickles your funny bits in all the right ways. I can't wait to get in the cockpit of a lumbering Ogre and stomp all over some grunts.
I spent a little time over the last week playing with video capture stuff. I've always been a big fan of watching game content, especially stuff that is well produced and highly polished. I look at quality work like Dr Gamerz' Street Fighter Is Hard series and dream of putting together my own videos. It seems like a huge challenge, but also a lot of fun. If I'm going to be pumping hours into Titanfall in the near future, I might as well try to record some stuff and justify it SOMEHOW.
"Honestly honey, I'd love to stop playing, but it's for a video I'm working on..."
Now that I've got a beefy new video card, I figure it might be time to actually give it a try. I'm limited to working with one disk drive right now though, and every tutorial and guide I've read about recording video says it's a no-no to write to the same disk you're playing off. So I think I might have to pony up the dough for another drive. Maybe I can finally get out of those flash solid-state drives, I hear they are amazing for running games. Chop loading time to damn near zlinch. I could put all my OS and game stuff on an SDD and record on the old disk which can now concentrate on one thing.
We shall see. It all depends if I ever have any time!
Working on a lot of stuff right now. On top of the new job, I've got a couple of blogs in the wings and I'm working with the recap team to try and put something new together for the end of the month. Just aren't enough hours in the day!
If anyone has figured out how to get by without sleeping, let me know.
Oh yeah, speaking of blogs, I wrote a thing the other day for the Bloggers Wanted topic. It's about Dark Souls and Zelda 2, so pretty much what you'd expect from me at this point.