Oculin, known in the realm of the living as Benjamin Toy Yoder, is a college student majoring in journalism and professional writing. He likes to pretend to be a vidjya game journalist and, at the very least, has successfully tricked a few people into believing him, landing him gigs at VGChartz, Classic Game Room Empire and TheSpeedGamers.
Digging for gems in unknown or poorly received titles is what Oculin games for. He places a large emphasis on entertainment, rather than just polish. He also has an unhealthy interest in creepy Japanese idol games, despite never playing one.
Anime, visual novels and manga are also hobbies of his, although he is incredibly picky and very rarely takes recommendations.
Do you like 90s' anime girls? I've got a title for you: HuneX's Blue Breaker Burst 2! Released for the PlayStation this Japanese only fighting game has more of a focus on the ladies than actual fighting
Project X Zone is all about tickling the inner fanboy in all us as a large variety of franchise characters from Capcom, SEGA and Namco Bandai mix together thanks to dimensional rifts. Half the fun is seeing your favorite characters team up to battle familiar foes. Despite it being a title built around the idea that players will grab onto characters they've know for years, I've found myself enjoying meeting new faces from titles and series I've yet to unearth more than anything else.
With over fifty character in the main party, which might as well be a small army, there's not much time to really get to know each of them. The starting prologue missions have tidal waves of character introductions, however after that most will just randomly show up and make a comment before disappearing back into the sea of party members. Everyone lacks depth within Project X Zone, but sprinkled dialog bits over the chapters gives you a small window into their personalities and their worlds.
After spending some time with my new allies, I often end up distracting myself looking up characters like Toma and Cyrille who were completely off my radar as they're from a 2007 PlayStation 2 title, Shining Force EXA.
While I had a passing awareness of Zombie Revenge, Rikiya Busujima tempted me to actually take a look at some gameplay. Now it's near the top of my list of titles to pick up for the Dreamcast as it looks like a charmingly cheesy late 90's 3D beat-em-up.
Some discoveries were a bit less exciting. Hunting down Neneko brought up this lovely result. After a giant “NOPE,” I've become fairly certain that my time with this little loli will end once I finally get around to finishing Project X Zone.
Cross overs and cameos are nothing new, but the sheer number of characters and worlds in Project X Zone makes it a great title to get a glimpse into a variety of Capcom, SEGA and Namco franchises, even if their actual gameplay isn't represented.
Having a backlog hurts my soul, face and hands. While it's nice knowing that I have a large variety of untapped experiences in my closet or on my hard drive, both now are overflowing with unfinished titles. However part of me still wants to complete everything in my backlog, and through that I've become a little obsessive about managing it.
It's not the biggest collection, but it's unwieldy enough.
There's more elsewhere.
In January of last year, whilst hiding in my sister's apartment from the rest of the world, I started archiving my collection on Backloggery, a website where you can not only record your gaming collection but also your progress in completing it. After nearly a month of sporadic updating between being lazy and being even more lazy, my list was comprehensive enough for me to accurately evaluate the status of my collection. With about a 60% completion rate, I was somewhat sad but fairly satisfied that the edge was in my favor. Unfortunately a wild beast dwells within my wallet and I cannot control what it purchases. Between purchasing new games and adding titles that I had missed in my original count, I had started to lose ground.
Instead of actually beating games, I decided to refine how I categorize games in my collection in hopes to twist things in my favor. I started asking myself questions." How should I categorize multiple copies? Should titles I have with faulty discs count against me? Should I even count MMOs? How do you "beat" Animal Crossing?" It was a mess, but somehow I emerged from it with some general rules. For example a "finished" Animal Crossing is paying off all debt, rather than having a 100% file. These half efforts did little to stave off the growing shame.
I'm now down to about 55% completion, a 5% drop from early last year. I've recently been significantly increasing the rate at which I've completed my games. Despite these efforts, my 2013 breakdown shows a grim future.
What do I need to do to stop this madness? The obvious answer is to throw my wallet down the staircase and stop buying things. As much as I'd love for that to happen, it won't. I've already pre-ordered Project X Zone and Animal Crossing: New Leaf is looking scrumptious.
I shall fight this losing battle against my game collection until the day I die.
While all the hardcore gaming ladies and gents were verbally exploding about the mastery of BioShock Infinite this week, I started Style Savvy: Trendsetters. Good heavens, what did I get myself into?
Initially I was only able to scratch the surface of Style Savvy, but I sunk a full 5 hours into it at my first chance of doing so. Usually I feel like playing large portions of a game at one time tends to have a negative effect on my opinion of them. Eventually I'm just waiting for the next save point so I can say, "that's good enough for today" and move on. In Style Savvy: Trendsetters' case, I had to pull myself away from it.
What drew me into the game? I'm not sure if I can say for certain yet. I've always liked playing dress up in video games, despite my real life attire being fashionably stale. Ten to twenty dollar polo shirts and khaki pants fill my closet and dressers. However this was the first time I played a game that was focused almost entirely on dressing up the ladies, as well as men now in Trendsetters.
There's a significant variety of clothes available from what I can see so far, and rarely have my outfits felt the same. The title may seem straight forward at first, but problems will start to arise that require you to get more creative with choosing different pieces of clothing. Managing your stock in specific creates many challenges, especially if you're an all-purpose clothing store. If you have a customer who wants some punk rock gear and you're running short, you have to get creative on how to make an outfit work. Otherwise, you'll have to turn them away.
Style Savvy: Trendsetters is a nice breath of fresh air in the rank and dusty bullet-filled mouth of gaming. It's far from the first title of its kind, but it has a level of polish that seems rare in the genre.
I plan on cuddling up with the game much more from this point on. I haven't even gotten to the fashion contests yet, so I think I have a good bit more to look forward to.[center]
After nearly two years, the final title in the Operation Rainfall trilogy, Pandora's Tower, will be receiving its North American release, thanks to Xseed Games. It's easy to see why Xseed is bringing it over, as The Last Story became their best selling title, despite being on a system that has been arguably dead for quite sometime. I have yet to experience The Last Story myself, but I do see it gasping for air while being crushed by my mountainous backlog. I've continued to neglect it as I, instead, ended up putting a good seven hours into a European copy of Pandora's Tower.
Pandora's Tower is essentially a 3D hack 'n slash dungeon crawler, with some simple puzzle solving elements. The player starts with only a sword, but gains other weapons from later dungeons, including the speedy twin blades and and the slow yet powerful scythe. They effect not only attack power, but attack range and character movement. However, there's no way to quickly swap equipment, so players aren't intended to switch weapons on the fly during combat. While each weapon initially has a basic combo and a single special attack, additional combos for each weapon can be unlocked via upgrades. However, these additional combos are based off charging the main attack, and feel like they disrupt the game's flow. Combat often boils down to the player running around an enemy while charging their weapon.
Players do have a second weapon always available to them: a chain. It's largely used to traverse the games' dungeons by grappling onto objects or swinging off hooks. However, it can also be used in combat. Pointing at enemies with the Wii Remote and pressing B will latch the chain onto them. This then leads into a variety of other actions, like throwing enemies, swinging them around to deal damage to other foes, binding them to other enemies and objects, and pulling on them to remove armor or deal damage. But like the charge combo, the chain doesn't feel seamlessly integrated into combat. Aiming the Wii Remote in the heat of battle doesn't feel intuitive and the character feels strangely unresponsive before and after many of the chain-based moves.
So why are you running around and killing monsters? It's a video game. What are you talking about? You don't need a reason, but Pandora's Tower gives you one. It's all for your BFF Elena, who has been cursed. She's slowly transforming into a monster, and time continues to progress while players are in dungeons. Feeding her raw beast flesh staves off the effects, but only eating Master Flesh obtained from the each tower's boss can actually cure her.
The player's relationship with Elena goes beyond just rolling chunks of flesh down her throat. Interacting with Elena plays like a basic dating sim, asking the player to chat with her and give her gifts to increase their bond. In response, she will frequently give gifts to the player or use the materials players bring her to craft things. Keeping yourself nice and cozy with Elena is sort of the point of the game, which only makes it more potent when you accidentally neglect giving her beast flesh for too long, causing her deep suffering as she turns into a seizure monster blob thing. The game also has that lovely British localization that other Operation Rainfall titles were treated to. I've really enjoyed it in Pandora's Tower and Xenoblade, and hope it's something Nintendo continues with.
Elements of the game regarding Elena are actually pretty interesting, but unfortunately the gameplay itself is lacking. The fun factor feels missing whenever you dive into the dungeons, as the game doesn't have the fluidity to be all that engaging. It's a neat title and definitely one desperate Wii owners should keep an eye out for when it launches on March 26(whoops, no release date yet). But based off the time I spent with it, I wouldn't expect to come into some stellar action game.
I don't have much to say about Dishonored.(What a attention grabbing first sentence!) Part of that is due to playing it almost three months after release, and partly because, despite being a new I.P., there's not much really going on with the title. Dishonored is your typical stealth action adventure game, and it forces that significantly early on, which can be an issue if that's not an enjoyable play style for you. However, thanks to having a variety of powers that are geared towards different styles of play, your character's stats and abilities start opening up after the first few hours.
Outside of character progression, quality voice acting and a striking visual style, the game is fairly bland. Most of what the title offers we’ve seen plenty of times before in this generation from releases like Assassin's Creed, Mirror's Edge and BioShock. Is that bad? Not at all. The title is well polished and does a great job integrating aspects from various titles into a single game. But instead of blending these elements to make something that feels new or different, it feels like it's just stitched together with each piece acting on its own. The fact that it's a new I.P. is almost just a novelty, acting as a new shell for these old experiences.
However, it's easy to find enjoyment in Dishonored, and fans of first person stealth games are bound to love it, if not already so. But as a new property, it does little to impress.