Fresh outta college, one of those stereotypical, bumbling jobless "journalists" wanting to become a "vidya gaems jarnalist". And so the hunt for a job he likes begins! And no, he's not going back to school to become a pharmacist technician, like his mom nags him to be.
I also have a YouTube channel (above image). Self-taught video editing! I'm still unemployed you know, potential hirers!
~ Favorite games
- Red Dead Redemption
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Mass Effect 2
- Yoshi's Island
- Monday Night Combat
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Super Mario World
Hello fellow Pokemon trainers! I am Marcel! The current reigning Pokemon Champion, five times in a row! I'm sure you've heard that Pokemon will be entering its 6th generation on October since it's introduction in 1998. While specifics are a long ways away, I'm sure many of us trainers will be itching to see how our beloved franchise will evolve! Which is why with the help of several leading experts, including the original Pokemon Professor, Samuel Oak, PhD in Interpersonal Pokemon Relationships, I have compiled a list of popular theories and predictions that trainers can hope for in the the new 6th generation for Pokemon X and Y!
Training transparency Many Pokemon Professors agree on the mysterious concept of effort value points, or EVs. In short, Pokemon gain strength subtly according to the Pokemon they do battle against. For example, fighting many wild Kadabras can grant Pokemon an increase in their special attack attribute. In recent generations, Silph Company has made great strides in their Pokedex advancement to identify unique personality traits in Pokemon and how it affects their overall growth. However, EV points continue to be an untracked value in Pokemon Trainers unless they make an effort to keep track of it themselves.
While many trainers, including myself are hoping research continues at the Silph Company that they'll include data tracking for the EVs earned from training, Silph has made no confirmation on the existence of such a project. I think I can safely speak for many trainers however, that such an advancement in Pokedex functionality can open up and even out the playing field for a broader range of unique trainers. Only the most dedicated trainers can create a powerful team that is a result of countless hours of carefully selective training. If an EV tracker were to be added to Pokedex functionality, entries for more competitive Pokemon battles would explode exponentially!
A reduced emphasis on offensive metagame The increase in discoveries in new Pokemon moves and abilities have had a steady hand aimed towards rapid and quick offense while the options towards defensive play has been largely underplayed. Moves like Bullet Punch, Agility, Swords Dance, Shell Smash, and Quiver Dance have all glorified the strategy of powering up as much as you can and attempt to sweep, that is, to score enough 1-hit kills to wipe the enemy team.
In the second generation, there was an excess of strategies that were more defensive in nature, especially with the advent of Snorlax using Curse, or Curselax. But ever since then, strategies that involved taking hits and bulkiness have fallen by the wayside in favor of surviving the possibility of a 1-hit KO and going for a sweep.
There are a lot of ways to bring back defensive play. Finding new attacks which promote defense would be a start. Quiver Dance is the holy grail of sweeping, boosting attack, special attack, and speed in one turn by one stage. Stockpile is one such move but its effects are primarily meant to go with Spit Up and Swallow.
Another suggestion would be to introduce more interesting field hazards like Spikes and Stealth Rock. Stealth Rock singlehandedly decided the tiers when it was introduced, making types weak against rock a detriment with the very existence of Stealth Rock. In fact, if Stealth Rocks makes bug, flying, fire, and more such a liability, introducing a comparable attack of a different type can increase the viability of defensive maneuvers while also opening up the stage if Stealth Rock's influence becomes consolidated due to similar attacks, like a fire-themed Stealth Rocks.
More interesting items Most of the time, when trainers want to give their Pokemon a useful item but can't decide on one, the fallback is Leftovers. 1/16th health recovery is hard to ignore in true battles that can go on forever due to several lucky moves. Even though items like status healing berries, type attack boosters, and the Choice series of items are legitimately useful, they can often times also be situational in use. Meanwhile, Leftovers is always useful as long as the Pokemon is even marginally bulky.
Personally, I'm a big fan of the ability, Rough Skin. This ability inflicts damage equal to 1/16 the opponent's health whenever they make physical contact through moves like Tackle or Close Combat. Perhaps if something similar would be introduced as an item, it can catch up. The idea is mostly to make a comparable challenger to the dominance of Leftovers, since that item is universally helpful to any team. And while it can be predictable, there's no real way to prepare for it besides from knowing you need to inflict damage at a constant pace before they find time to recover.
The introduction of Wise Glasses and Muscle Band were good, but the items of the 6th generation should be going further in what they do during a battle.
Planned compatibility with previous generations In the 4th and 5th generations, features were included to allow for the transfer of Pokemon from previous generations to the current one. Specifically, they made use of the GBA slot for generations before the 4th and DS to DS communication transfers during the 5th. Now that the 6th generation will be on the brand new 3DS Pokedex system, and increase in flexibility for transfers and storage can be called for.
I remember a time when the Silph Company introduced Pokemon Ranch for the Wii storage system. I stored upwards of 300 Pokemon at once before forgetting to offload them back before formatting my Wii for sale. While the Ranch was made specifically to only work with one Pokedex game ID at a time, the concept could be expanded upon with the 3DS' increased output. Instead of going through the trouble of doing perhaps a 3DS to 3DS communication process, Silph Company can release an additional storage app for standalone use on the 3DS, which can double as a transfer system from previous gens.
Thus far, transfers have been heavy handed processes that were slow and troublesome. You'd either need two systems on hand or the transfer process would only allow a certain number per transfer, requiring multiple transfers.
The 3DS system allows for a lot of potential in external cross-play support. The 3DS system already has a current Pokedex application for sale and a Dream Radar for additional training. This could be a chance for Pokemon to expand outside of the lines of its game software and memory.
Streetpass and Spotpass integration As well as being the reigning five time Pokemon Champion, I'm also an owner of a 3DS and I must say I'm very impressed with the wireless features it offers to all software built for it. A Pokemon game with interesting Streetpass features would certainly be an extremely interesting idea.
One idea put forth by Oak himself was the idea of storing a Pokemon for a Streetpass trade. By compressing the data storage of a single Pokemon as far as it can go, you could theoretically do an instantaneous trade with another trainer with Streetpass active with his own Pokemon. This feature could be limited by one Streetpass trade at a time due to the logistics of compressing even a single Pokemon for an instantaneous trade, but having it available would encourage trading and foster bonds between trainers and Pokemon alike.
The ideas are limitless as Pokemon is all about personal identity among your friends and rivals, and Streetpass can potentially help show off your own identity.
New Eeveelutions We're due.
Speaking for the press and experts who helped me compose this message to everyone across the Pokemon world, I thank you for reading my thoughts. As the current five time Pokemon Champion, this is Marcel, saying goodbye on behalf of Professor Oak, Elm, Birch, Rowan, and Juniper. Happy hunting out there!
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou opens up like any other high school romance. Cherry blossoms in full bloom, a high school amidst their fluttering petals, the male lead looking wistfully into the distance, before a giant cat's butt appears in front of him.
Ok, time out. That was dream sequence. A cat was sleeping on top of Kanda Sorata's head. Let's start over as he wakes up.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou opens up like any other high school romantic comedy. He wakes up, is startled by the presence of his female upperclassmen, Misaki Kamiigusa, being in his bed unexpectedly, to which she wakes up to such phrases as, "I want to be a bride when I grow up!" and "I'm surprisingly hot while I'm naked!" Then the provocative teacher steps out, ready for school in a low cut blouse. The playboy upperclassmen, Jin Mitaka, is driven home by last night's late night rendezvous, and the shut in across the hall, Ayahaka Ryunosuke, threatens to send everyone a virus for waking him up early.
Well, that's better. I guess?
You'd think by the appearance of a panty shot and a cleavage shot within the first five minutes of the series starting that this would be another brainless harem anime about how the clueless male lead somehow attracts the affections of up to, but not limited to, five different girls. And of how his life becomes chaotic while stuck in the crosshairs of all these competing women. And you'd be forgiven for thnking that with how the show starts out. However, the female lead hasn't even arrived yet and first impressions can be misleading.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is alluding to the all awaited transfer student from England, Shiina Mashiro, a gifted, world renowned artist. Once again, you can be forgiven for thinking that she's just another mysterious, blonde, foreign beauty being thrown into some kind of fish out water plot thread. But like the series mentions at the beginning, Sakura Hall, the dorm where the story takes place, is notorious for amassing students who are not only gifted but are total nut jobs. One girl is completely off her rocker and seems to have no filters in her brain for acting subtly, but she's already created her own animes and is getting offers from companies. The playboy has three women on the side but is also a scriptwriter. The shut in is a programmer already on contract with several companies. And the new girl is a gifted artist but has the mental capacity of a 4-year-old. She's not even legally (or canonically) disabled in any way. She's just so naive and lazy that she literally needs somebody to pick out her underwear for her in the morning. And yet her art work is praised the world over and she's decided to come to Japan to become a manga artist with all her natural talent.
This is the initial hook to watching The Pet Girl. Kanda Sorata, is suckered into taking care of this new girl and shenanigans ensue. He finds her room a mess, starts cooking for her, takes her to and from school, and even has to help her dress, much to his chagrin. This is where The Pet Girl gets to unwind in comfortable tropes we're all familiar with. Those gags on boy unwittingly running into naked girl or girl misinterpreting sexually suggestive conversations between boy and other girl is where the audience can relax in between scenes.
But like I've been saying from the beginning, that is only the first impression. Or at least, what the show looks like at a glance. The show however has a surprising amount of emotional depth and it steadily grows over the course of the series in an arc that makes it apparent to the viewer that this show isn't about panty shots or sexual misinterpretation. Sakura Hall is a place full of wacky, zany people, sure, but they're also obviously talented people who can let themselves be fully absorbed by their passion for their work. But Sorata is a normal high school teenager. When everyone is introduced at the beginning, Sorata describes himself as being a normal boy with no outstanding qualities and particularly average skills. And yet he's surrounded by people who have already achieved goals that would take most people most of their adult life to accomplish. How does someone decidedly normal bother to get out of bed everyday when everyone else in his dorm have achieved so much?
The gags are actually quite funny. The chemistry between Sorata and Mashiro is of course, the center piece of the show. Sorata goes from reluctantly acting like Mashiro's babysitter to genuinely caring for her as opposed to treating her like a baby. And Mashiro goes from not understanding the way things work or how they are to actually making an effort to do it herself. However, the thing that intrigues me most is how Mashiro grows due to her relationship with Sorata. Over the course of the series, she goes from treating Sorata as some parental guardian to someone that she actually interacts with in earnest. Instead of waiting for a response from Sorata like a naive child, she has her own reactions that hint at something that even she probably doesn't even realize. For a person to have relied wholly on art and having no common sense whatsoever for the real world, she probably has no concept of love. And yet something is growing between the two and it happens between milestones of Mashiro's natural talent as an artist and Sorata's determination to make something of himself.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is a show about setting goals and growing as an adult. Even when dealing with love as a romantic comedy will do, it doesn't handle it in a particularly corny manner. Growth of love is also demonstrated, whether it's about accepting your own flaws in the face of who you love to even accepting the fact that you care about someone.
I'd recommend The Pet Girl of Sakurasou if you're a fan of shows with a strong ensemble of characters. For the most part, every core cast member remains largely in focus with the exception to one or two characters. Watching the characters reveal their true natures and grow is also a treat for people who like shows based on relationships and drama. It doesn't hurt that the gags are pretty good, acting off pretty zany and well realized characters. The crazy animator, Misaki Kamiigusa, is all-around a consistent source of some hilarious non-sequiturs, and while Nanami Aoyama actually plays the straight man for most jokes, her shocked looks and her tendency to slip into Kansai dialect makes her one of my personal favorites.
If you're not dying to escape the typical high school set up, I think you'll find a series that has more behind it than just that simple high school set up. Like I said, there's more to this series than meets the eye.
2012 is a long lost memory filled with lukewarm thoughts and infuriating outbursts. Still, 2012 was still filled with good games. In fact, the games of 2012 were plenty good! But nothing exploded onto the scene with the white hot heat of 1,000 suns. At least, that's how it felt for me. It took me a while to decide what was really good this year, and that's why I feel 2012 was a little more subdued in terms of high profile releases. But when you get down to brass tacks, thee games were still great. Great to the point that it's maddening that it took me this long to put this together in the first place.
Here are my choices for 2012. Not necessarily divided into specific choices or categories because like I said, 2012 felt subdued. Still, it was still a subtly good year.
There is an absolute deluge of shooters to choose from. But how many shooters task you with hunting down monsters that your quest giver will constantly name change them officially throughout the quest? As you kill one group to the next, their name tags will change Bullymonger, to Primal Beast, to Bonerfart? And that is only one example among a selection of excellently written dialogue to paint the world of Pandora in Borderlands 2.
From Handsome Jack's condescending attitude to Clap Trap's nearly insane rambling to even Patricia Tannis' paranoid social tendencies, Borderlands 2 is colored with a varied and diverse cast of characters and situations that makes what should be a normal slog through hordes of killable fodder into the most hilarious game ever that happens to include tons of guns.
Speaking of tons of guns, that aspect of the game also clicks with a certain primal instinct in me. An instinct that wants me to constantly assert my strength and dominance by number-crunching my way to the top. This gun might be two whole seconds longer in reload, but I get a massive boost in damage. This is possibly the simplest example I can give as other guns can have unique features that makes choosing my perfect gun impossible. Therefore, I have several perfect guns to choose from, all fitting a possibly different role with my favorite skill build. It doesn't help the game doesn't mind if I respec my skill points. Heck, it encourages it by making the cost to respec fairly low.
In short, this game isn't about guns. It's about numbers. And those numbers are your ticket to fun, not necessarily math.
The little indie game that stole everyone's hearts, then stomped on them until they turned into dust. FTL is just one of the many examples of how 2012 turned into the year of the roguelike. And like many roguelikes, FTL doesn't have a system in place that allows the random variables in place of this spaceship simulator to fall into a completely fair game. Why not have Mantis pirates board your ship on the second jump? Why not? There's no way you'd be prepared with most stock crews but FTL says, "Tough cookies."
But then why did everyone love it? And more importantly, why did I love it? I suppose as far as most roguelikes go, with my last moments of life after getting chewed up through the meatgrinder, I think to myself, "Well fuck you FTL! I'm going to try again and this time, I'm going to kick your ass for sure!"
When things go your way in FTL, you feel like you're on top of the world. You have a tough crew who can repel boarding parties and a badass set up with an ion cannon and beam weapon. What can go wrong? You'll tear through hostile galaxies and the like no problem.
Then comes the last boss. He's not a last boss though. He's an achievement. An achievement that probably less than 1% of the population playing FTL has completed. The last boss is there to remind you it had given you that nice Mantis crew member or that sweet burst laser. And what he giveth and can quickly taketh.
Then your fine ship explodes into hundreds of pieces at the last moment and you think to yourself, "Well fuck you FTL! I'm going to try again and this time, I'm going to kick your ass for sure!"
For many, Mass Effect 3 as a whole seemed to sour quickly. I would like to herd those many into a spaceship and launch it into the sun.
It's likely I only feel this way because I don't treat Mass Effect 3 as a game by itself. To me, Mass Effect 3, the whole game, is the end to a very ambitious project. The start a game that was planned from the get-go as a trilogy, and keep the whole thing interesting throughout without losing too much steam. I started a Shepard who wanted to do the right thing, but would sometimes be forced to take action when action was required. He didn't lose a single crew member on his suicide run, felt that the krogan had suffered enough and helped them, and he took a keen interest in how the quarians and geth lived as a society. Most of all, he loved Tali and gave Legion a meaningful purpose.
If you want to talk about the ending, I'd be talking philosophical about how I was ok with it and I don't understand the backlash. Shepard might be viewed as a mythic figure but he's still just one man. For me, Mass Effect 3 stood as a a testament to my Shepard's personal odyssey of discovery and duty in the face of something greater than he is.
His story came to a satisfying end but more importantly, it came to an end.
The second roguelike on my list, Spelunky and FTL might technically fall under the same umbrella but the two couldn't be more different in approach, and I'm not talking about mechanical gameplay.
Where FTL is punishing for the sake of being punishing, Spelunky is punishing because you are either new to the game or sloppy. Spelunky gradually teaches you how to be better at the game, to the point where death is something you can blame yourself for. Sure, levels, enemies, and loot are still randomly generated, leaving a large element of luck involved. But many players are perfectly capable of surviving 15 straight floors without a store to buy new equipment or item refills. It'll be hard but it's far easier to navigate the countless traps and deadly fauna using just your wits and skill compared to just hoping you don't get some uppity pirate who may or may not have a boarding party, a cache of loaded weapons, or both during a solar flare event.
Where FTL is difficult in a sense that it wants to get you to replay it out of a twisted sense of vengeance, Spelunky is difficult in order to provide you with a genuine challenge, where it will then sit back and tell you to beat it, as if having a the exit surrounded by two spike traps and maneater plant is the most fair thing in the world. Because it is totally fair, you're supposed to be better than that bro!
Spelunky's difficulty can be punishing but at least it's consistent. Once you know how something kills you, you'll forever be armed with that knowledge and it'll never change. It's up to you to put that knowledge into practice so you never die that same way again.
Not that you won't die to it again the same way. Still, figure it out genius. It's not rocket science, it's archaeology!
Stealth has been forever tainted by the games of yesteryear as being an unfairly balanced, slow, and a generally stupid genre to play in. Most expect us to derive enjoyment out of memorizing guard patrols and slipping in and out of their paths while also supplying us with vague details on how hidden we are through use of cover and lighting.
Mark of the Ninja takes everything that isn't fun about stealth games and leaves it on the cutting room floor. Everything that is supposed to make stealth fun, it distills into its purest form and infuses it into a 2D platformer. Instead of being visible, hidden, or sort of visible and sort of hidden, Mark of the Ninja gives you clear details that make you 100% hidden or just plain visible. If you're underneath the walkway a guard is walking over, you are hidden. If you are standing under a light in line of sight of a guard, you are visible. If you are standing in the shadows in front of a guard with no flashlight, you are clearly hidden.
After Mark of the Ninja presents you with clearly established rules of stealth, it then gives you a wealth of tools and creativity to proceed. Will you sneak around everyone? Here are some smoke bombs and caltrops. Do you want to kill everyone in your path? Then wear this costume for automatic assassinations and deadly spike traps. Or maybe you'll forgo a sword in favor of completely silent running. All while navigating surprisingly diverse environments suited to sneaking around despite just moving in two dimensions.
Stealth is sometimes a hard sell in these fast times ruled by twitchy action games. But Mark of the Ninja proves stealth doesn't have to be a secondary feature. It can still be a core asset that's worth furthering.
No one's talking about Crashmo and I don't blame them. The 3DS has been very warm this year but it hasn't caught fire. This might change in 2013 with th release of Fire Emblem Awakening and motherfucking Animal Crossing New Leaf. But this is about Crashmo, the little puzzle game that could.
Crashmo started out as 2011's Pushmo. For months, I've heard people talking about how good Pushmo was and how they were looking forward to Crashmo So when I finally decided to try it, I had to buy it straight away. But I didn't regret what I had purchased.
A simple game about pushing, pulling, and sliding blocks within a 3D space is deceptively simple. But there are literally hundreds of puzzles with the same concept but slight wrinkles while keeping the same idea: get to the goal at the top. The hundreds of puzzles, slowly introducing new blocks like cloud blocks or manhole gadgets, is a testament to how well it all comes together to just work for such a long time. But probably the best part is how it's all wrapped up in a cute little package. Where your little sumo dude works his way across puzzles with a little guidance from Papa Blox, who is still cute yet crotchety looking. Plus, the whole thing can be enjoyed on the fly with the 3DS and can be easily popped out in a line and closed quickly when business concludes.
Crashmo is easily one of the funnest games you've never heard of. And maybe that's ok because it's a lot like Pringles. Once you start the damn thing, it's hard to stop.
Arc System Works had a unique problem on they're hands. They are capable of making fine fighting games, but now it had the unenviable job of making a fighting game that is irrefutably Persona 4. Neither element can be too strong or too weak or else the other will be viewed as a glaring weakness to the game's design.
In the end, ASW crafted a game that is unmistakably Persona 4 while continuing to be a fighter.
In terms of single-player content, you have things Persona players should be used to. Maybe fighting gamers will scratch their heads over why you'd want to read blocks of text but Persona fans just ate up the canonical story. Meanwhile, fans of Guilty Gear and Blazblue were right at home with a refined fighting system that is difficult to call unbalanced. At the very least, it was a fun fighting game. Something that can't be said of many fighting games this year. It had speed, style, presentation, fundamentals, and strategy. Yosuke players are downright jumping right out of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 highlights while Yukikos were playing delicate mindgames of keepaway and hit confirms. And then there are Teddy players...
There was a style for any picky fighter and no matter what the match up was, it made sense and it was fun to watch. Kanji might have bad match ups but they made sense because his opponents would have options to keep him out. But if he got in even once, he'd score crazy, comeback amounts of damage. It was exciting to play as well as watch.
See? Not every fighting game has to be from Capcom or Namco.
Is it Grand Theft Auto but with Honk Kong flavor? Or is it Arkham City with Honk Kong flavor? Sleeping Dogs apes so many things that people who have played other games within the last two years will think it was downright copy and pasted code.
And yet Sleeping Dogs is still its own game. Asian cinema style is rarely held up in the West and that works to Sleeping Dog's advantage. It doesn't hurt that despite using familiar game mechanics, it uses those familiar game mechanics so masterfully, rather then some kind of clunky game that didn't bother streamlining the whole process to its own merit.
What it does well, it holds up high. What is more questionable, it passes off into smaller varied chunks. Sure, combat feels directly lifted from Arkham City, but Arkham City doesn't have you playing as a mandarin-speaking, undercover cop who breaks bones as an area-of-effect stun that makes surrounding combatants wince and back off. Plus it's all wrapped up in a convincing Honk Kong style cinema arc where allegiances are tested, plots are twisted, and revenge is sworn. GTA might have treaded this type ground before, but never in the same way John Woo would capture it.
Every piece was dealt with care and quality. Driving is snappy and action hijacking is not only hilariously over-the-top, it's downright useful. Combat is so good, you'll start fights whenever you can to experience the buttery smooth kung fu. Even in small pieces, the shooting is passable as the slow-mo action scene triggers provide enough of a burst of wow factor that it continues the adrenaline.
Take Farcry 2, put in the elements of Skyrim, and put in a satisfying and flexible combat system and you get Farcry 3, one of the best games this year when it comes to fighting brown dudes (or bad dudes in general).
On top of a flimsy excuse to kill people in a multitude of creative ways are themes that aren't so much debatable than they are just direct to the point; you are the white man who is obviously superior to all these brown people. Ignoring the fluff on top of the game is the core of an open-world with a rucksack full of bombs, flammable tools, guns, bullets, and arrows just waiting to be employed onto the unsuspecting ne'er-do-wells of Rook Island.
The game doesn't care how you approach the seemingly endless scenarios of bad guys who start off not knowing you are on your way to snuff them out. You could go in guns blazing with the biggest LMG ever. Or you can surgically assassinate them with silent guns or a bow and arrow. Or if you really want some bloodletting satisfaction, you can sneak up on one enemy to initiate a takedown. Then after a few upgrades, you can chain takedowns together for ludicrously smooth and brutal kills. Stab the first in the back, rush into his buddy, take his knife and throw it at another, then pull the pins on his grenades and kick him into his other buddies. Not to mention the healthy selection of guns and attachments you can trick them out with. Just because that rifle doesn't have a suppressor doesn't mean you can put one on and make it a stealthy weapon.
Take my word for it. Lots of people criticize the story and the themes going on. But as long as there are camps full of bad guys just waiting to be dissected by your diverse repertoire, you will find fun in every bullet hole, every laceration, every burning leaf.
Admittedly, I've only gone through two full episodes out of the five. However, I know enough from the first two to know that The Walking Dead is a gripping story about a man stuck in the zombie apocalypse with a little girl and one thing is obvious to anyone playing the game: everything sucks in the apocalypse.
The Walking Dead is a stressful exercise in juggling your emotional states. One second, you're awkwardly walking down a hallway, clicking on whatever you can find to see what advances the story. The next, you're stuck with a gut-wrenching choice between who to save or side with and if you don't act quickly, shit is about to hit the fan- oh god! Walkers are bearing down on us! Click like crazy! Click like crazy! Is that a wrench!? Grab it! Grab it! Grab it! Smash its face in!
This game takes every chance to make you feel uncomfortable with the choices you're forced to make despite taking solace in the idea that it was your choice. And the idea of player choice is the only thing keeping you going as the situations in The Walking Dead slowly spiral more and more out of control with unbearable, crushing despair and stress.
But everything that happens, happens because you chose for it to happen that way. It's a story that sinks its claws into you and makes you want to play more to see what happens next and wants to see how you do things because your choices will make your story that more intimate. So you wanted it to happen this way? Nobodies judging you. I just hope you can sleep at night knowing that other guy you didn't save is now dead because of you.
Farcry 3 can be racist and stupid and filled with rich white bro overtones but the combat alone is supremely good. The options to overthrow a pirate base is mindboggling as you can selectively pick individuals off one by one stealthily, or you can throw explosives all day and torch the obscenely flammable scenery. Or you could try attracting dangerous wildlife and let them do it for you!
I personally love the stealth options and the takedowns are by their very nature silent. Here's a rundown of my favorite combat options while providing ample excuse to post this video I managed to upload.
The recurve bow Ah, the bow and arrow. The classic weight in the balance of power. As you might guess, the bow is a completely silent weapon and with some skill, is one of the more reliable ones if you prefer to take your time. It travels along an arc, so the further away your target, the higher you need to aim. Not to mention travel time and a total lack of penetration. Certain bushes can even stop arrows, so you'll need to pick your foilage well.
But once you learn how to use it well (one of its sight attachments let's you gauge for distance and drop) the bow can kill in one hit reliably and silently. While most guns offer suppressors, it seems like they don't conceal your position with 100% efficiency and you'll sometimes need follow up shots.
Plus it's a freaking bow. Nothing asserts dominance more than an old fashion hunting weapon.
Explosives When you need a job done quickly, you might as well do it loudly, with all the subtlety of a pogo stick in a mine field. You have grenades, molotovs, C4, mines, grenade launchers, and RPGs to make man, machine, beast, or other explosives blow up gleefully.
But explosions are more than hot, deadly pressure waves of death. Fire is also involved and Rook Island is brimming with dense vegetation to burn. You'd be surprised at how fast fire spreads and how destructive it can be when strategically placed. You can separate groups and discourage reinforcements just as well as you can burn out poor saps holed up inside huts.
Really, explosives can mean blowing up people but it also includes using Farcry's penchant for wildfires as well. When was the last time Farcry didn't encourage you to be a little pyromaniac?
Suppressed firearms What's a game with guns without virtually silent suppressor attachments? I prefer the bow when it comes to silent kills though, as it seems that Farcry 3's suppressors aren't nearly as discreet as other shooters. Enemies often can track me despite using them in the underbrush but they're still useful enough to warrant a permanent attachment slot.
The pirates of Farcry 3 are aggressive and won't be afraid to use their numbers to their advantage. As soon as they know your position, they'll quickly encircle you into a death box where staying means getting shot and running means getting shot. But a suppressed gun means you have more time to shoot and move to another position as the pirates can't pin down your location as well thanks to your suppressor. Really, among the possible attachments you can equip, it's hard to go wrong with the suppressor with it's ability to conceal your location. Extended clips and sights are nice and all, but nothing beats a strategic advantage in locational awareness.
Speaking of locational awareness, what's up with the freaking camera? It takes high definition pictures but gives me situational awareness like some sort of GPS? These damn bros and their rich parents.
Takedowns and your machete You have your basic stealth takedown. With a quick swipe of your machete, you can quickly and quietly kill one man while no one is looking. But the takedown isn't just a skill. It has a wealth of upgrades that can oftentimes make it its own weapon.
Take for example one of the first takedown upgrades, the grenade toss. With this upgrade, you can pull the pins off your target's grenades and push the dead, ticking time bomb onto his unsuspecting allies. Or maybe the falling takedown, where you can jump down from an elevated position onto your victim. Or further still, the knife throw takedown which let's you kill a distant enemy with a well placed knife or even a gunslinger takedown!
One of the more integral upgrades that makes this all possible is the chain takedown upgrade, which let's you connect a slew of takedowns together so long as you have a few enemies close together. Now you can try doing one takedown, rush up on another and kill him, throw his knife at another, then start his grenades and push him into a fuel tank underneath a building with a sniper on top.
One of my favorite things is the fact that the range to initiate one is fairly generous. If you're not next to him, you'll pretty much rush five or seven feet and shove your machete into them. Plus with the Jungle Run upgrade, you can move at a brisk pace while staying inconspicuous in cover.
Wildlife: the enemy of my enemy is my friend Sure, you can try killing seven pirates who are closely packed together. Or you could try kiting a tiger into their base and watch it go buckwild on all of them. Or better yet, teach them that keeping a bear in a bamboo cage isn't exactly the brightest idea. Hell, even a pack of rabid dogs seems to do them in.
For all their effectiveness against Jason Brody, the pirates of Rook Island can't seem to kill wildlife nearly as well as they can kill you. Maybe they have trouble aiming low but I've seen droves of komodo dragons literally run over wandering bands of pirates. Though I have to admit that vicious animals seem to have way more health than any normal human on Rook Island. Unless of course you get to them with their natural enemy, the bow and arrow. It's called hunting for a reason but hunting can mean both wildlife and the greatest quarry of all: man!
Seriously, don't mess with these guys. They don't even need venom. Their mouths are filled with enough crap as it is.
You don't even need to worry about the clean up. If you trick the local fauna into killing pirate bases for you, they're usually weakened enough that the arriving truck of Rakyat rebels who come to claim the base will clean up. And if they don't, you'll probably be able to kill the wobbly looking animal and have that many more bodies to loot.
It's like watching the Animal Channel except the only show running is When Animal Attack!
And those are the heinous acts I've loved to commit in Farcry 3. How do you prefer to run wild in Farcry 3? And if you haven't tried it, you should. There's a reason everyone was talking about it during the end of 2012!
Everybody remembers their first neighbors: Goose, Rex, Penny, Alli, Cashmere, Gruff. Oh Gruff! Your name might imply you're rough around the edges but you were a big softie. I knew you loved music since you owned four different guitars, which were prominently on display in your house. Our afternoon chats outside your house was a simple time when simple folk could shoot the breeze as the clouds passed us by.
Animal Crossing has had three major games, with a fourth one already blazing a trail for the 3DS in Japan and leaving every Western 3DS owner on edge, waiting for the official date of its English translated localization. It's still hard to believe it all started as a quirky title on a console everyone doubted. But those who took a chance on the charming village life simulator would find a world teeming with personality. Like Journey, AC is a game that returns however much you invest in it with interest. If you just play the game as it was mechanically designed, it would easily bore you to tears. But if you let yourself absorb the charm of the animal village and invest yourself with it, you can lose hours to conforming to Animal Crossing's schedule.
I've been at Animal Crossing so long, I forget how I originally became interested in it. Trying to look back only gives me hazy recollections of dump diving, raiding Redd's tent, and rows upon rows of gyroids and NES emulators in my basement. I am, however, a completionist. If there is a collection to be finished in a game, I will be compelled to fill it. And Animal Crossing has several things to complete. I was utterly engrossed in an Animal Crossing lifestyle. I caught bugs, fish, dug up fossils, and collected furniture and treasures, all subject to seasonal rarity. Not to mention visiting K.K. Slider every Saturday night for a new song for my catalogue. Coming back the next day to catch a bug I missed that only appears in the morning, especially if it sold well, was an immersive experience.
But that alone would make it a simple catchathon and no more. What is it about Animal Crossing that makes it so addictive I wonder.
Everything seems to draw you in but on the surface, wouldn't keep you in. What kept me was personality and charm. Things Nintendo has in spades.
It's one thing to be taken in by an addictive experience of buying and selling items to hoard money and bells for high end luxury items. It's another to do this all with the business of a friendly looking, if not shady raccoon, or tanuki if you want to be accurate. You could fraternize with neighbors in order to gain their friendship and exchange items. Or you could become endeared to the grumpy complaining of a green billygoat or the snooty fashion advice of a sheep. And let's not forget the charismatic, wandering dog musician who hands out indie music after his impromptu concerts.
What drew me in was the prospect of making my own world to my liking but what kept me was the world that already existed before I tried customizing it. I can create a recreated island hut paradise in my second floor, complete with a beach themed rug, but I still admire Gruff's minimalist but respectable home space with a guitar collection of love.
And this was before I could interact with others on Wild World and exchange items or patterns!
While the original Animal Crossing has a certain amount of charm that made me like it, Wild World simply expanded on everything so that I could enjoy what Animal Crossing gave me to the Nth degree. Finally I could visit other towns, harvest foreign fruits, exchange patterns for clothing, see what Nook has in other franchised stores, see the houses of other players, and see who lives nearby as I visit. Sometimes a cool new neighbor will tag along with me. Other times, my neighbors will decide to move abroad too. All done from the comfort of my DS, do I could take my animal life anywhere with me.
Gruff is by far my favorite neighbor. He has a rude demeanor but his kind also open up when you get to know them past they rough exterior. He lived closer to the cliff boundaries of town, but it was worth visiting him while going on my daily rounds. I'd oftentimes see him talk to Penny the peppy mouse and watch their conversations turn sour. Meanwhile, I'd always find space to fit an Arwing from Star Fox into my interior design, no matter what it was. And having the Triforce from The Legend of Zelda on my nightstand would be a nice touch too. Asides from kitschy Nintendo items, there's always sticking a T-Rex skull near my wall to make it look like the most badass wall mount ever. But my favorite thing to do would be to set up an NES emulator arcade in my basement, away from the prying eyes of the Happy Room Academy. Plus my most weared shirt would be the Lil Bro shirt, a reference to Luigi while also being a little brother myself. Shopping for clothing has never been so satisfying! And that's before mentioning Gracie's fruity fashions (meant in the best possible way. I loved the Watermelon shirt).
Now New Leaf is hopefully on its way. There's no telling when exactly, as it still doesn't have a firm date. But Animal Crossing has tons of text, so it's obviously no ordinary localization job. Even Fire Emblem Awakening has a set date in February and New Leaf is still a vague early 2013 window. While there are a lot of things I'm looking forward to having a new Animal Crossing, having it take advantage of StreetPass on the 3DS is something I'm most excited about as I work in a place with high foot traffic, where getting 15 to 20 tags is a normal day. And since you retain StreetPass data even when the game isn't inserted, I can play other 3DS games at my leisure while I continue to get tags to view other players' houses and interior designs for New Leaf.
If that part about StreetPass data was a no duh moment for you, I'm still blown away by this since I only recently got my 3DS and extra StreetPass capable games even more recently.
I was really big on making custom patterns in earlier AC games too, but of course that meant tediously hand copying patterns from over the internet. Now, you can convert patterns to QR code and scan them with the 3DS camera. I still can't believe I can get new Crashmo puzzles this way and doing this for spiffy new Animal Crossing patterns will be amazingly convenient. Entire online communities will probably sprout up over night to share QR codes. I've kept the Mable Sisters well past closing time while working on new patterns in their store.
An extremely small detail that caught my eye was the ability to alter your town's community schedule. This means changing how your town as a whole behaves on a macro level. This can mean changing how early or late everyone including stores get up but it can also mean raising prices as well as sell rates. This is important to me because I was a total night owl when it comes to Animal Crossing, though I'm sure any older gamer can attest to only having time to really play games in the evening as opposed to the morning. This means I can set my community schedule to be night owls just like me and stay up three hours later than normal to match my late night gaming, especially after a late shift at work.
Of course, there's just going to be more. More new neighbors, more new furniture, more new things to catch and collect, more new shirts, hats, and even a whole set of new shoes and pants, plus new locations to waste your time in incessantly, new days of interest like Crazy Redd stopping by or a new twist on a favorite holiday like Christmas, more, more, more! It's a sequel after all!
What were your favorite things about Animal Crossings of the past? Who were your favorite neighbors? And are you excited to get New Leaf yourself?
It feels like I've been burning the candle from both ends for the past few weeks. Holidays descend on us, we have obligations, plans, and tons of celebrating to do. Not to mention work waits for no one, so in between everything is more work. But finally I have time to slow down and be at peace with my thoughts. So what have been up to?
Christmas, anniversaries, my new 3DS, and anime, all around work, that's what.
I survived Christmas and all I got was $20 in eShop points Like me and ScottyG have discussed before, as we get older, we get less interested in what we're getting for Christmas. Mostly because we'd get what we want ourselves. Of course, I still got a few things out of the obligations of Christmas.
First, of course $20 in Nintendo eShop funbucks. That was immediately spent on Bit.Trip.SAGA and VVVVVV. Secondly, I got $100 from my dad, which I used on Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. I also managed to get Adventure Time: HIKWYSOG!? for the 3DS just to feel a sense of completion.
I'm actually quite surprised at how much I like Mario Kart 7 despite how little it mechanically has changed. The courses have an interested skew towards huge leaps to glide and underwater race ways. Any new items don't make much of a difference and I prefer the kart selection to previous titles like DS and Double Dash. But once you ride off a huge cliff on Maka Wuhu, you start to really enjoy the raceways presented in the game.
And let's be honest, Super Mario 3D Land is just all kinds of quality. Classic Mario flavor converted in pure 3DS fun.
Wil you please come to America already!?
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mentioned Ocarina of Time 3D. It's nice experiencing one of the greatest games of our generation on the go. It's not exactly portable friendly though, since one doesn't know when to stop when playing a game of that size and length. At least in Mario 3D Land or Mario Kart 7, you could get a level or a race down in between breaks at work. Still, with the ability to just close your 3DS into sleep mode, Ocarina 3D should be simple enough to play through between breaks.
The big fat 5 year anniversary I celebrated my five year anniversary with my girlfriend before Christmas rolled around. I've talked already about it all but I feel happy with sharing Crashmo with my girlfriend. As we're a long distance relationship, we have to make due with what ways we can connect with each other in between our dates to see each other. We primarily use Skype and text with our phones between actually calling each other on our phones but I was hoping on connecting with her in a new way: online gaming.
It has never occurred to me to actually game with her on Tetris DS online. That's because her ISP is some weird, school run internet with blockers and weird throttling. But when she said she'd just realized that her local mall had wifi, it reinvigorated the idea of playing online with her. Of course, it seems she's still having issues connecting. Hopefully though, I can help her sort it out when I visit her and get myself another copy of Tetris DS in order to play with her online.
I think getting this to work would be a fairly good way to stay connected since sometimes we simply ache to see each other. At least if it works, we can be connected as she plays one of her all-time favorite games. Of course, she'll probably cream me the majority of the time unless we can decide on other Nintendo Wi-Fi compatible games to play together but Tetris DS is forever our thing.
I also almost forgot to mention Crashmo as we're on the subject of my girlfriend. She was completely absorbed into the game like I thought she would being a puzzle fanatic. I feel bad that she can't play it herself since it's a 3DS downloadable but it certainly gives me the idea to get her a 3DS of her own someday. Not to mention giving her a copy of Animal Crossing New Leaf as well so we can share townlife together. I mean, nothing says sharing like hopping into your friend's town to leave them little surprises and notes.
Seriously though, when is New Leaf coming?
Strider's Weeaboo Corner Here's the part where I want to expand to a new column much like my running late night thoughts. Anime is something I enjoy watching and sometimes feel isn't well understood. So every now and then, I'll talk about anime, whether it's new and ongoing or old and classic. As long as it's something I've watched at some point, I want to take time and talk about anime as well as video games.
A while back, I mentioned watching something called Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic. It's an anime spin on classic Arabic folklore and characters, or at least using names we're familiar with as Arabic folklore. Magi follows specifically Aladdin, a magi, as he struggles to explore and understand the world while barely knowing anything about himself and his enigmatic title as a magi. Along the way, he befriend Alibaba, a small time worker who obviously has a mysterious past he's not letting on, but is also someone with noble intentions and a good heart. The two also meet Morgiana, a slave from a tribe of people called Fanalis, near superhuman warriors who single-handedly conquered the dark continent. Together, the three aspire to travel the world together. But along the way, they uncover a number of conspiracies and problems that can only be described by Sinbad as being apart of a distortion in the world.
The character designs and motivations are honestly a nice draw. It's refreshing to see something that doesn't involve school uniforms like puffy desert pants and turbans while some characters of noble background are downright flashy in their gold accessories. The cities and fauna are also quite diverse with things like giant, envenomed sabertigers and carnivorous desert lilies.
I honestly spend a large portion of my vacation time simply catching up on it as the show delved deeper into Alibaba's past but I've also been keeping my eye on the now long running Hunter X Hunter series as it enters the Greed Island arc. I honestly really got into the manga during the Greed Island arc as it further developed the nen capabilities of Gon and Killua, with the volleyball match further down the line being the culmination of the arc's development and I'm honestly excited for one of the earlier show pieces that happens right near the start. I won't spoil it but let's just say Killua really shines through as a cool character right near the beginning.
And with that, I've about dumped my thoughts for the past few weeks into another set of late night thoughts. If I can find another time to gather my thoughts though, writing this has made me really want to follow through on one idea: an Animal Crossing retrospective.