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2:07 PM on 08.19.2015

Little Mac taught me it's not worth doing if there's no risk. So I jumped off the stage and used Fair.

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2:31 AM on 08.11.2015

Gone to Home Depot: Strider's favorite Splatoon weapons

I've been on a bit of a binge lately on Splatoon (and people who've read my trail of blogs should know this is irresponsible, because I have a move and a marriage on my schedule). But I can't help but love the unique dynamic between some awfully unique weapons and awfully fun gametypes. It's not Call of Duty, with hitscan bullets and laser-like aiming reticules. Blasters fire globs of ink in distinct arcs, splatting inklings who have large hitboxes amongst pain rollers and super soakers. There's a distinct divide between playing with motion controls which add to precision and playing without because who has time for that shit am I right? All of this set against colorful environments and a goofy, lighthearted nature.

I mean, I love weapons. Who doesn't love a good weapon? Here are my favorite weapons, straight outta Inkopolis.

Carbon roller
The freshest weapon in my mind, coming straight off of an insane game of tower control, splatting 17 inklings who would want to push against my team is the carbon roller. Unlike the splat roller, which was controversial at launch day for it's one-hit kill squishing abilities, the carbon roller trades that OHKO for vastly improved speed and agility. Even now as people know how to deal with the stock roller, the carbon roller can come off as underwhelming in offensive power. I even talked about the weapon with community member Scrustle, who dismissed its weaker power as contrarian to its purpose.

I've learned to really love and prefer the carbon roller though for it's speed and unexpected power. The thing that fills its hole in power is the burst balloon bomb sub-weapon. It allows the carbon roller to one-two punch inklings with a quick burst bomb followed by a super fast paint flick. The combo is faster than flicking twice but the damage is such that grazing the enemy with both ends with a splat in most cases. So we have increased speed for Turf War but a deadly one-two splatting combo for eliminating enemies. Only a fighting game fan could appreciate combos like that.

L-3 Nozzlehose
Aiming is problematic in Splatoon, since there's no aim assist and the game was arguably designed to make use of motion controls. I'm terrible with most accuracy-based weapons and the Nozzlehose is a weapon I precisely should not like. It's like the M16 from military shooters, firing in accurate, 3 burst rounds. So we have a weapon with great accuracy, ink efficiency, and damage but it demands a lot of trigger discipline. I'm not known for trigger discipline or accuracy, but this weapon rewards people who are both.

What really sells this weapon to me is the disruptor bombs it can only come with. Toss this baby and reap tons of benefits from the stunned inkling. In a game about speed, the disruptor greatly slows enemy inklings, pretty much condemning them to a splat. If you don't get them, somebody will, because it lasts 5 seconds, which is ages in Splatoon. So make use of your throwing distance and its generous blast radius then burst fire inklings at your leisure!

Splattershot Jr.
Speaking of the disruptor, the Splattershot Jr. Custom can also use them. Unlike the Nozzlehose, the Splattershot Jr. is the epitome of spray and pray at close range. I mean, true god, S-tier levels of spray and pray.

For a weapon you start with, you'll want to consider keeping this in rotation because it covers ground quickly with its rate of fire and general cone of spray. This weapon barely affects your run speed while firing, so equipping some speed perks can help improve the weapon's performance. Just get in close and literally spray and pray, because sometimes you'll hit and splat 8 feet away or completely miss your target when they're 3 feet in front of you. Such is the life of spray and pray. Take the wheel Jesus, because I put my faith in you!

.52 Gal (Deco)
Proving once again that Splatoon can make guns sound hilarious, the .52 Gal is my weapon of choice for ranged slaying. It's not so great at turfing, but once your whole team pushed to center map, you'll be glad this weapon is in nearby to beat your opponents back.

The .52 is all about damage per shot. Strangely, I feel comfortable with slow ROF, high damage per shot as opposed to most low damage, high ROF because I feel I can be accurate just long enough to land those critical shots, as opposed to keeping a sustained stream of fire on-target. Of course, I really like the art deco (read:bejeweled) variant because it comes with seekers: easy mode in an exploding, homing roomba.

Inkbrush/Octobrush
It's hard to pick between the two of these, but put simply, this slot is about brushes, or swords as I sometimes view them. At any rate, the brush is all about being fast and annoying. It's not about scoring even as much splats as the rollers. Hell, it's hard to score splats if you try a ganking strategy. But the brush is certainly the most unique weapon in the home decoration box.

Usually if you want to outrun danger, you'd squid away in your ink. But that's certainly not always possible considering an enemy team hellbent on splatting you, where even missing you means surrounding you in sticky ink. Things are different with the brush though, letting you turf by flicking paint around you then carving yourself an escape route when things get dicey. Defense up is a luxury to help you survive close calls while ink resistance is required since you'll oftentimes see your left foot step on enemy ink, even if you're carving with the brush.

Slosher
One of the new weapons from the August update is just an overglorified bucket. It could be filled with anything: water, paint, ink, pain, but whatever it is, it arcs like nothing else in the game.

I like to try and see what weapon qualifies as being called a shotgun in Splatoon. The slosher certainly comes close with an extremely definable short range burst. Unlike a shotgun though, the slosher is cool because it evens the playing field when it comes to the height advantage. Have the high ground? Rain death from above like anything else. Getting inked by someone on their high horse? The slosher actually excels the closer you are. Inklings have this annoying problem of not being able to shoot over certain humps of elevation so they really need to be on the edge to shoot down properly. The slosher can get in a blind spot and just shoot straight up and watch the ink fall straight on that high horse's head.

Heavy Splatling
Finally the big gun itself, the heavy splatling. From the way the inkling holds the gun during victory, you'd think this thing came straight out of Team Fortress 2's heavy weapons guy.

This thing is a combination of the charger and the shooter with a charge time, great range, and great ROF. Really, there's nothing more satisfying than laying down a wall of ink while also splatting one, two, maybe even three inklings, all at a range very few weapons outside of the charger category can touch. More should be said about how powerful it is, especially as I like to use it as an overwatch position, but really the thing is a childhood dream of own a super soaker that works like a minigun. That's just awesome.

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8:47 PM on 08.10.2015

Carbon Roller, why are you so good to me? I don't deserve something as good as you in Splatoon.

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1:39 AM on 08.09.2015

I am Destructoid's newest heel. I shall misspell all your names, condemn the good name of your forums, and vote for Donald Trump for president!

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10:16 PM on 08.01.2015

Let's stay hydrated! My favorite hot levels!

Summer for me means an excessive amount of sweating. I've never been good at keeping my composure in the heat, dehydrating within minutes of sweating in response to heat. Working in summer has basically mandated me to carrying around a water bottle, which I go through at least 6 times during a normal work day. Of course, when you think of heat in terms of video games, you're first thought is probably, "uncreative lava level."

Despite fire and lava being relugated to the uncreative pile of video game tropes and ideas, you might be hard pressed to actually think of good, hot levels in video games. At least, it might be hard to think of a few that go beyond your typical lava level in a game. But there are, and in thinking up this list I've found that good fiery or hot levels actually create quite a few interesting gameplay mechanics and wrinkles asides from instant death to lava.

So here's to a nice, warm feeling these levels conjure up. Be sure to bring some water though and stay hydrated. At the very least, try not to catch fire and/or dry up into a human prune.

Solar - Starfox 64
Let's get the most extreme example of a fire/lava level out of the way with the ultimate in extreme fire/lava levels: the surface of a star, or at the very least a planet that is completely covered in molten magma. At first I thought Solar was just the Lylat System's local sun, until Arwingpedia told me the actual sun is called Lylat and Solar is just a red drawf. So don't worry, you're not flying through a sun! You're just flying over a molten star with a surface of 3,500 K, so no biggie!

Just imagine the first time you finished Katina, only to see your route extend to both Sector X and the freaking star. Flying over this thing's surface is fraught with dangerous flares and extremely evolved bioweapons that Andross believed made the molten rock such a strategically valuable location. Even your hi-tech Arwings, with their G-diffuser system, can't stay in its atmosphere indefinitely. You'll constantly be taking damage, so the level Solar is unique in that its design necessitates constant health pickups.

Old King Coal's domain - Banjo-Tooie
Old King Coal stands out as one of the more intimidating looking bosses from the Banjoverse. After all, you're fighting a giant anthropomorphic lump of coal in a train engine that heats up with you in it, making the floor super hot and choking you in high heat and smoke.

In reality, Old King Coal is pretty easy, especially if you just spam ice eggs at him. The point still stands that his entire environment takes place in what is essentially an oven that slowly cooks you. Things come to a head when, after reducing his body to just a hopping head, he turns up the heat and leaves it up until you put him down. It doesn't help that he gets faster the more his body falls apart from damage. So you better end things quickly before you get a new take on the fried turducken with the bird and bear duo.

Lethal Lava Land - Mario 64
Lethal Lava Land is one apt name for a level in Mario 64. Fall off an established platform and you'll likely die. Lava takes 3 humongous ticks of health, where you bar only had 9, and of course falling off certain areas means you'll have no chance at recovery.

We see lava all the time but we never really stop to think how hot it really is just being near it. This is an entire world that is perceivably nothing but lava. Not only that, there are jets of fire rising out and a volcano in the center, with more lava and fire. I felt hot standing in the cheap seats of a pyrotechnic rock concert. Now how about standing on a brick platform, surrounded by lava, with jets of fire going off around you?

Temple/Hell - Spelunky
If you're skilled enough to get past the most difficult portion of Spelunky, the caves, you're greeted by an ancient temple filled with lava pools. Trust me, it's easier. At least you won't have to worry about blind drops.

Of course, lava pits spawning fire elementals is nothing compared to Hell itself. If the heat of the fire and lava isn't enough to make you sweat yourself into dehydration, the difficulty and razor sharp margins for error on avoiding demons, swing ball and chains, and lots, and lots of spikes, will make you sweat like you've just forgotten everything in the middle of an SAT. Don't cool off with water. Cool yourself off in hell with copious amounts of gold and jewels!

Gerudo Desert - Ocarina of Time
The Gerudo, like a lot of desert tribe analogues, are tough people for making a living someplace where your main climate is dry as fuck sand. They get their come uppance as sea pirates in Majora's Mask but in the here and now, the Gerudo tribe of the Gerudo desert live in a sparse environment.

A major part of this area is the sandstorm which has you walking in circles unless you can follow a tricky poe ghost. It's even filled with those annoying creatures who have nothing better to do than to pop out and pester you. These pests have no need to subsist on life giving water and instead would rather ankle bite you into submission. The only thing worse than dying of thirst in the middle of a sandstorm is falling over with chewed through ankles while you die of thirst.

Mojave Wasteland - Fallout New Vegas
Fallout New Vegas is the only game on this list that will tell you to drink water because you have been dried out by the parched Mojave Wasteland. Of course, dying of thirst isn't you're only worry, but it will constantly nag you on your priorities alongside hunger, radiation sickness, and disembowelment.

You'll be the only thing on the desert worried about actually drinking water as yao guai, death claws, and giant rad scorpions will either make a meal or you, or just fuck your day over. This is an area where an item is clearly labelled as dirty water but you don't think twice about drinking it because it'll give you health, even if it invisibly gives you diarrhea. Dirty with what exactly? Radiation? Probably. AIDs? There are super mutants about afterall.

Tuchanka - Mass Effect 3
Something needs to be said about a planet which is actively described as hostile by the inhabitants, who are built like anthropomorphic tanks but are considered a prey species. Everything that needs to be said about Tuchanka's harsh desert can be seen on the evolution of the krogan.

Krogans can store water and nutrients like camels. They have several redundant organs in case of failure. Males have four testicles in order to reproduce as fast as the mortality rate. They revere a giant sand worm. Mass Effect is decidedly sci-fi but the mortal dangers of Tuchanka are pretty classic and old school. If the planet doesn't kill you, the krogans will.

The Nether - Minecraft
The Nether is like hell. It's almost entirely on fire and anything that's not on fire is just lava. The only other thing I need to say about the Nether to describe its place on this list is just this one detail.

It is impossible to bring water into the Nether. It evaporates as soon as you try pouring it out. That makes the Nether pretty hot, don't you think?

Volcanic Rim - Street Fighter IV
Does the World Warrior Tournament have a charter or even basic rules? Who decided to hold a bare knuckle brawl next to an active volcano?

Asides from sharing a similar name with a great movie, Volcanic Rim is infamous in competitive circles for its intrusive level of darkness. Pro players actively do not pick this stage because they consider that it has an effect on their ability to play. That's how dark Volcanic Rim is. We're treading on Mortal Kombat territory now. Sure, the fights are to knockout but what if E. Honda lands badly from that shoryuken and takes a nice lava bath? This isn't Scorpion's territory, this is a game where an oily Turkish wrestler manhandles a green, Brazilian man-monster.

Got your own choices for hot, fiery levels that make you sweat and thirsty? Leave them in the comments below! I know you have them! There's always plenty on these kinds of lists!

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9:26 PM on 07.27.2015

Stealthy ninja shorts: quality binding time with Isaac

Binding of Isaac is a big name in the indie domain. I loved watching runs of it on a YouTube I follow, Star (also called Ster). It was hard to believe Rebirth could further refine the formula but not only does it do so with a massive quantity over quality aspect (while still being quality), but it's hard to believe that by moving away from Flash, the speed and complexity of Isaac could improve so exponentially.

All these compliments were from just watching it, before buying it.

Now I got it for (New) 3DS. It's actually so enjoyable that I'm currently playing it over Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. But both are games supported on a fun factor that no two runs are ever alike. In MH4U, maybe Seregios will be more aggressive with its talon tear then usual. Maybe in Isaac, I get mega tears to really burn through the floors? Who knows?


IV The Emperor - Challenge me!

Reaffirming my love of Monster Hunter is Isaac's penchant of challenging me. How about three bats while you have only a sliver of a cliff to stand on? Four monsters leaving bloody creep with another four charging me? A boss who shoots lasers and spawns flies that explode into more bullets? It's all fair game considering what upgrades you can get for Isaac.

I've gotten mega tears with poison before. I got Azazel's mini brimstone to encircle me as a shield before. Raiden-style homing lasers, charm shot, reusable cluster bombs, machine gun mini tears, and more! This game is crazy with variables.


The Treasure pool

For a game covered in religious imagery, it's surprisingly straightforward. Sure, you can dig deep on how The Bible item kills Mom instantly or how the impact of using devil deal rooms. Or you can just play and accomplish runs over and over again in order to unlock new items for the item pool. There's that too.

Isaac also scratches that old school itch of mystery. Even with wikis helping you describe item effects, it can be very time consuming to look up every item and figure it out before you pick up a dead cat's head. Over time you just gotta learn items by their look and memorize what they do so you can build a very synergous set. I generally keep my eye out for Guppy items or the Gimpy. I now know never to pick up Number One or Soy Milk. Oh boy! Soy Milk did ever change my run.


Whatever mom!

Isaac is still a game that requires the extra power of the New 3DS to get its desired results. For a game filled with so many variables with the requirement of extra power, there's bound to be a few hiccups. Mine have been a little more noticeable than the usual glitches I'm used to to.

The music will cut out random after certain attacks. Or maybe just randomly. Who knows? I know this has happened in the PC version before though. But that's only cosmetic.

Certain bosses near the endgame have flat out turned invisible. I have yet to see Mam Gurdy because the first and only time I've encountered her, she was invisible. Much more significant is the final stage of Satan becoming invisible in his final form. That was kind of unfair.

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6:13 PM on 07.24.2015

Better with age: Konami's legendary, mystical ninja

Once upon a time, people liked Konami. The split between Kojima and Konami looks to be one of the most legendary of all time, going up there with the likes of The Beatles and Britney Spears/Kevin Federline. But we're concerned with this bad press for Konami because they made great games. And when I was a kid, none was more confusing and more gratifying to rematch than The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, though it's more readily known in Japan as being a part of the Ganbare Goemon series of games. Mystical Ninja was one of the many games that was well known for it's classic splash screen of a laser passing over the screen and revealing the Konami logo after a snappy sound effect.


"Doodoodoodoo deedee!~"

If it wasn't already apparent with its confusing localization name, I didn't understand the game at first on nearly every level. Culturally I didn't understand why I was beating up guys wearing octopus masks or straw hamper baskets on their heads. Mechnically I didn't realize the game has both RPG elements and more straight forward platforming gameplay. This was all compounded by the fact that I usually only got to play this game by visiting my cousin, who was the superior gamer in my mind with a robust collection of games spanning across a shelf and dozens of magazines with all the latest reviews, previews, and spikey headed fun factor designations. What's an 8-year-old to do? Git gud? NO. Play it short bursts when you're over and make little to no progress in understanding the game beyond, "Why is this guy getting so mad at me for not buying anything?"

As a child, I was just enjoying the flash and none of the substance. Move forward, hit stuff, die a couple times, game over, start again. It was frustrating to be sure. Goemon can't exactly take a lot of damage relative to the length of an entire stage (both town segment and action segment), and there pretty much zero mid-level health drops. While Mario can get multiple mushrooms in a level when his previous safety net gets used, your safety net in MN is basically your hands as you struggle to break your fall with your wrists. At least, that's how I viewed the game back then. You'll ocassionally grab a power-up to increase the range of your weapon, which is a godsend when the game can be ball crushingly hard. Grabbing a lucky cat turns your dinky pipe into a longer pipe until it becomes a chain of some sort. But taking damage reverts it one stage and this mechanic doesn't pad your health at all. Now imagine this torturous diffucult set against what might as well be a theme park that refuses to let you imagine the real world. This is framed in the context that an entire country's culture isn't a theme park but a collective, cultural identity. But lol Ebisumaru looks like a fat idiot amirite?

I've revisited the game several times throughout my life, each time understanding a little more about just how weird Japan is and how the true game mechanics are. For example, I started to get a better grasp of the in-game economy at work, such as buying armors to mitigate damage and help me get further in the level before getting frustrating and losing health. There are also the jutsu masters scattered throughout the game that give you powerful extra skills in returning for training and draining your health. As a kid, I wondered how I could ride an awesome tiger into battle or fly. I got a better understanding of seeking out the jutsu masters living in one of the random houses during the town phase. And now as an adult I see that the jutsus are rather tedious and one sided. You can only use the jutsu for the given level, jutsu dojos aren't clearly distinguished from other houses, making the job of finding them more difficult, and the jutsus themselves aren't really that helpful to begin with. The tiger isn't really that great and flying is situational.

But the real centerpiece to enjoying the games are the main platforming levels and the boss fights. Over time I come to an urge to really replay Mystical Ninja only to find myself mired in a tedious town phase grinding for money, for items, for pickups. But getting to the platforming action segments make up the bulk of my good memories and good gameplay. The first few stages exemplify what little I knew of the wild side of Japan's culture with the first few stages. There's a graveyard with bamboo pungi pits, umbrella demons, living fireballs, and a ghost lady wearing the typical Japanese undead headband. Later on you enter a ninja stronghold filled with clockwork ninjas, flipping trap doors, and secret compartments dropping bombs. Next thing you know you're crossing a bridge infested with octopi and fighting a Japanese lantern tree?

Even the box art typifies the usual Japan to U.S. localization attitude. The original Japanese art is happy-go-lucky, carefree, and utterly free of disdain. Just a ninja bouncing away from comical demons and his sidekick in a tutu.

Look at the American boxart and they made it borderline gritty reboot with an ugly ninja(?) riding a tiger staring down assorted weird Japanese monsters. Since when does Goemon wear a headband?

Oh Mystical Ninja, you're such a weird game. That's why it takes so much time and energy for me to completely understand you. But I'm glad I play you again and again at nearly every stage of my life just because I get a hankering for some Mystical Ninja. From the first time in elementary school, to emulation during high school and again in college, to finally just owning your virtual console release on the Wii U as an adult heading into the next stage of my life (marriage).

Thank you Mystical Ninja. You are so goddamn weird.

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12:56 AM on 07.19.2015

Late night thoughts: better with too many hats

Life is always a whirlwind, especially when you have so many hats to put on. Can you imagine Andy Dixon having his family man hat, his work hat (I believe he works at a tech company?), and his Destructoid hat. I'd like to imagine his family hat is a bear hood, his work hat is a hard hat, and his work hat is some big, unspeakable eldritch head. My life is a lot like that right now, or a lot like Team Fortress 2 for a more anecdotal approach. Work, Destructoid, and fiance, all bouncing off each other like a scout pinballing off people with the Baby Face Blaster. One of these examples is probably a ghastly gibbus. Oh yeah, did I mention I'm getting married? All kinds of busy. These aren't even the truest of true late night thoughts. It's 2pm for me right now! Of course I'm now publishing this past 11pm.

I'm currently knee deep in wedding plans. I need to handle invitation duty and pop open Photoshop later to design the invitations because so far my fiance has only provided nice word documents with no visual element to them. I told her, "Look, let me work on this. I want to spice it up with the ideas we've been batting around for our wedding."

And do you know what I mean by that? Last year I described how Animal Crossing New Leaf became a big part of how I got my then-girlfriend to relate to me personally on video games. It meant a lot to me that I'd introduce her to my beloved series and see if we can't play together. Now, it'd mean the world to us if we can't leave our wedding guests party favors and knick knacks like Animal Crossing leaves or gyroids to decorating the tables as our guests file in. We also got the idea to tell the story of our relationship on signs leading up to the reception since it'll be in a restaurant at the end of a pier. It'll be at the Ruby's on the beach on the pier where we had our first kiss on the edge of the moonlit ocean. I still vividly remember how black the ocean looked and how brightly the moon left a glow against the sea. It was like we were alone together in the vast emptiness of space with the light of the moon shining down on us. I was hoping on a cake that featured Cyrus and Reese on top, the resident lovey-dovey couple in New Leaf. Maybe napkins printed with some of our favorite villagers and somewhere in this plan, a picture of our mayors in our most used outfits.

December 19 is still a ways off and I still have plenty of time to figure the details out (will we have Nook in the plans? Surely Isabelle has to be present somehow).

I hope you've all been hard at work with the monthly musing, better with age. Like I said, life has kept me busy except in instances where I have priorities the routine schedule such as my Wednesday recaps every week. I've been meaning to do my own monthly musing blog myself but I can never bring myself to find time to do so. The game means a lot to me on the topic of revisiting an old game over and over because each time I do revisit it, I get better and understand its quirks better. Not just from a mechanical stand point but from a contextual stand point as well. The game is a fiercely Japanese game from Konami in the 90s, back during a time when my only exposure to Japan was Neon Genesis Evangelion and sailor fukus. The first time I played through it, I didn't quite understand its mechanics as an 8-year-old. I just knew to move forward and smack enemies with my pipe. The second time around I had a grasp of the light RPG elements like the rest inns and the items you can buy to minimize damage plus I knew little more about Japanese culture like samurais, ninjas, and tropes like transforming cats. Now on my latest run, I'm wrapping my head around the special jutsus you can learn and just how difficult it is to preserve your items and health when a single hit takes off so much effort like a suit of armor on Arthur in Super Ghouls and Ghosts.

Did you figure out my game?


My armor is papier-mâché!

But hopefully you guys still have ideas to withdraw from your bank. To all the contributions so far, they have been riveting (especially when the recaps team tells me to read'em). James' entry with KotOR 2 and its philosophical conundrums was fascinating. I'm just sad whenever there's a comment saying how the game isn't worth playing or it hasn't aged well. The point is that revisiting this game opened up a door of exploring an entire academic field of study.

July 17 was the birthday of the Disneyland Resorts. And luckily for me, I spent the shift in Cars Land, far away from the hustle and bustle of Elias & Co. where hundreds of guests would crowd around to buy limited supply, celebratory 60th anniversary merchandise. I was just in Cars keeping the drink cooler filled and keeping the shelves lines with sillier and sillier merchandise like Cars characters cosplaying as Star Wars characters. I'm ok with Darth Mater (I guess) but Sarge as Emperor Palpatine seems like a scraping the bottom of the barrel kind of idea to me. Still, despite a long work week compounded by homework involving the creation of enterprise networks, they fed us all week as thanks with items like the Sonic the hedgehog special (chili dogs), Disney's infamous cupcakes, and even a goodie bag of anniversary gifts including an earhat.

Just a friendly reminder, the suggestion box for FPs is always open. I get PMs but also understand you need to worship me and follow my blog first before PMing me. In that case, support@destructoid isn't a bad place to send suggestions. I mean, we get everythign afterall. Press releases, complaints, petty complaints, applications. Might as well send something I can respond to afterall.

If you'll excuse me, I have an invitation to whip up, and some Animal Crossing images I need to Google.

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11:24 PM on 06.28.2015

Time to pull myself away from Monster Hunter

I'm finally sitting down three months later and 400+ hours in to talk about Monster Hunter. I've talked about smaller aspects of my enjoying it but I have yet to really sit down and really talk shop on Monster Hunter, like one would do in an extended view. But I've finally slightly burned myself out after a run of failures and figured I could take this chance to finally talk about the game properly.

For me, I had no idea what Monster Hunter was until I got into it. But after playing it, I realize it is a Capcom game through and through. It can be very hard and unforgiving in the mechanics and how it controls. You're not just going to wail away on monsters and expect to come out on top that way. Whether you're hunting alone or in a full group, there will be times where taking an offensive stance on the monster simply is not a good idea. I've run for fear of my life anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes trying to gauge a good attack angle. Even if I'm not being specifically targeted by the monster, keeping pace with huge beasts that stride as far as a short jog for you can be a challenge.

The thing I've learned about Monster Hunter over the first month is that it gives back in enjoyment what you put in with interest, but it asks for fucking huge deposit. People consider G-rank the real game while low and high rank are considered tutorials by the hardcore hunters. Keep in mind low and high rank quests can span anywhere between 50 to 100 hours for the average gamer. But each tier is truly different in magnitudes of difficulty and preparation. The equipment available to you at low rank will quickly get outpaced by the damage in high rank, and again this will happen when you hit G-rank. Not only that but monsters that appear multiple times through the ranks will slowly get tougher not just i terms of health pool but also in move pools and even aggression and AI. A high rank Brachydios seems plenty aggressive enough, throwing exploding punches and making daring leaps to crush you. But At G-rank he gets tougher, such as doing certain attacks twice in succession (the flame pillar in particular) and Brachydios will even bum rush a targeted hunter for a pummeling. These additions in difficulty are before mentioned how much more damage they pump out.

Enjoying these hunts happens in three stages for me. The first stage is surprise and bewilderment as I hunt a monster for the first time. I'm cautious of what the monster is capable of and I take less risks. If I don't know for absolute sure that the monster is vulnerable, I'd rather watch from a safe distance until I've learned when the safe periods are before I encounter something new like a new attack or the rage mechanic kicking in. The second stage is the seasoned reaction, where I'm more familiar with patterns and make an effort to deliver more damage and take more risks. For Zinogre, I've learned that it's relatively safe to attack his hind legs, even if he's at a neutral position where what he does next is unpredictable. Even when Zinogre decides to lash out, my position allows me a degree of safety that I continue to attack from. Lastly is the expert stage, where I've become so familiar that I can take educated guesses about what to do in an effort to maximize damage and cut down on hunt times, even if it means some extra damage hear or there. Now with Brachydios, I'm try to take aggressive potshots whenever I can because I know I can flinch him if I'm good enough about dishing out damage.

So far I've felt very stream of conscious about putting my feelings down about Monster Hunter. I can't help it considering I've been playing the game for 3 months with such vigor. I think the only way I can organize my thoughts from here on out is just figure out a way to gush about the game. And the only way I want to gush right now is to talk about my favorite things in MonHun.

My top 5 monsters, according to personal criteria from challenge of the hunt, design of the monster, and the aesthetic of the weapons and armor they make.

5) Zamtrios: this thing is categorized as an amphibian, believe it or not. But Zamtrios and his variant, the Tigerstripe, have very dynamic fights, mostly because they have multiple forms they shift in between. The base form can flash freeze an icy armor over it's skin, then puff up into a hilarious wrecking blob, as well as dive into the ice and cruise along. The Tigerstripe can't freeze armor over its skin but is much more aggressive with it's blob form by inflating itself rapidly and trying to leap, crush, and roll over you with frightening speed. Zamtrios is susceptible to sonic bombs and has plenty of openings to exploit but despite that, Zamtrios can screw with your plans by bringing out the ice beam, whether Zamtrios sweeps it out in front of itself or spins on the ground and sprays it everywhere.

Zamtrios weapons tend to focus on creating very sharp, jaw-like designs out of a clear, ice-like substance with high raw, mediocre sharpness, and ice damage.

4) Seregios: the flagship monster specifically for 4 Ultimate is an exciting and unpredictable duel. One of its quests is very apt being named Death by a Thousand Cuts because that's precisely what makes Seregios challenging but not overly difficult. Seregios preys off of lazy hunters who don't pay attention and don't dodge roll with a debilitating bleed status that drains health any time you perform any laborious actions like rolling and attacking. Getting nicked by Seregios' flying razor scales once isn't a problem so long as you stay on your toes and roll away before they explode into hundreds of cutting shrapnel.

Seregios' weapons embody its evasive and aggressive nature perfectly. They have high raw and incredible natural sharpness and come with unique gimmicks to incentivize hunters to move around. Blademaster weapons restore sharpness every time you roll, which is good because the weapons are razor sharp but dull quickly. Even gunner weapons like the light bowgun auto-reload ammunition when you roll.

3) Brachydios: The explosive brute wyvern simply embodies so many quirky designs that are atypical when you use the word wyvern, which is a word most often associated with smaller, lesser dragons. Sure, he's technically a brute wyvern, but this thing is built like a cross between Street Fighter's Balrog and a dinosaur. Even without his explosively unstable slime, Brachydios is a dinosaur with stone boxing gloves for hands and a pompadour built to crush houses. Not only that, Brachydios is not the least bit slow or sluggish. Brachy will charge at you without a care for the world so long as it gets to punch you in the head. Raging Brachydios, as the name impies, is a variant that's simply always pissed off. And when Brachydios is pissed, things explode faster.

The Dios weapons tend to be the most balanced of the possible blast focused weapons you can craft, which is appealing for people looking to take the Dios weapons into a variety of situations. Teostra weapons have lower raw, higher blast and Molten Tigrex weapons have high raw but require their blast to be Awakened. Plus you have to admit, Lightbreak is a cool naming convention for your exploding weapons: Lightbreak Edge, Lightbreak Twins, Lightbreak Press.

2) Kirin: Everybody loves unicorns at some level. Turning a unicorn into a badass creature can be a little problematic with the unicorn's years of typecasting as a fluffy, seldom seen whimsy. Kirin holds the title as the smallest elder dragon in the series though, holding a title that's also held be the likes of a weather bending dragon and a pair of beasts known as the Black God and White God respectively.

Kirin may look like a unicorn from far away but it looks mean up close. It isn't afraid to remind you that having a horn means it can gore you. Kirins have complete elemental control over lightning and have some of the toughest hides in the game. The hairs on its hide are so tightly packed that they deflect pretty much anything from the head down. Oroshi Kirin, the subspecies, has the epic flavor text of hinting at their elusive presence by snap freezing the moisture in the air when nearby. Son congratulations on freezing to death, you've probably come close to an Oroshi Kirin!

Kirin weapons are unbelievably sharp. Their low raw is deceptive due since most of their weapons can reach purple sharpness without any help. But offsetting that low raw is great elemental damage. The faster the weapon, the better suited Kirin parts are for it and its elemental damage.

1) Teostra: There a many more monsters I'd love to recommend to the annals of hunting history. Nerscylla, Zinogre, Yian Garuga, and Ukanlos are all monsters I love to hunt and provide cool weapons. But Teostra has to edge them out for it's razor sharp margin for error. Teostra has some deep patterns that are easy to read and easy to exploit for damage. However, Teostra is also capable of some of the most destructive burst damage attacks in the game. Teostra doesn't just make explosions like Brachydios. He threatens you with an impending super nova if you don't get out of its way. Teostra's super nova is well known among hunters. After being enraged, you have 100 seconds before Teostra flies into the air and delivers and all-encompassing explosion that is all but likely to send your sorry ass back to base camp. Even before the super nova, G-ranked Teostra will spontaneously generate instances of explosions at specific points that will put the fear of our Lord in you. I've done many panic dives to get away from these explosions, in true action hero fashion.

Teostra weapons are also very regal, very red, and very gold. Truly weapons fit for a king. Their sharpness tends to suffer and their raw isn't so great either but this is because Teostra weapons focus on creating explosions from blastblight all the fucking time. Teostra's Emblem, a sword and shield, is legendary for its ability to generate explosions throughout the duration of a hunt, well into a a time when a monster's resistance threshold for blastblight has increased beyond most weapons.

Honorable mention to Chaotic Gore Magala: For some reason, the interstitial form between Gore and Shagaru Magala is way more intimidating. This thing is an abomination and not only does it look like an unpredictable mess but it fights like one too. It shares a of patterns with Gore Magala with the exception of being REALLY FUCKING STRONG. That's why I always describe my hunts with Chaotic Magala as knock down, drag out brawls. With the right weapon, you can shred Chaos Magala like paper. But Chaos Magala will also deliver unbelievable pain with its own brute force like a claw crush, ground smash, and virus wave projectiles. For every ounce of blood you draw, this thing will draw just as much from you.

Chaos weapons have ultra specific gimmicks dealing with the frenzy virus. They have both negative and positive affinity, wildly changing your damage output in a fight. But getting infected by the frenzy and purging it for its benefits adds the negative affinity to your positive value, making certain weapons reach an incredible 60 or 70% affinity before other boosts. That means doing 25% more damage much more frequently.

So I'm finally sitting down and gushing about Monster Hunter. It's just a super rewarding game with tough fights that don't improve you necessarily by increasing your agility stat or strength stat, but by forcing you to learn monster attacks and applying DPS efficiently. Maybe next time, I'll gush more on some of my favorite weapons, which run the gamut of jagged fangs to smooth, shiny edges. Until next time though, happy hunting.

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2:20 PM on 05.11.2015

Salutations! This is Strider, AMA

There's a lot of stuff I want to do with what little time I have. I tell myself I'll put my thoughts down and proper and go in-depth with my experiences on Monster Hunter, from low rank to G rank. But that's not happening any time soon because I have to go through my list of candidates I have saved up and figure out how to motivate myself to do what is essentially work after I come home from actual work.

So I'm putting the community first. After this goes up, I'll start pruning my list of possible all stars, along with some suggestions I recently got. In the meantime, I am Strider, your co-cblog manager. At first, I didn't think I'd do an AMA because I who fucking cares who's my favorite Homeward Bound pet (it's Shadow, obviously) or what I had for breakfast. But my senior, Occams, did one a month ago. So in order to get senpai to notice me, I'll put out an AMA in the meantime while I look at possible p-p-p-promotions and pencil in a time in the distant future when I can finally do a big blog on Monster Hunter. See you guys in the comments. And remember, I'm watching you.

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11:34 AM on 03.20.2015

The last Nintendo FNF for 03/20/15 - Dampé the gravedigger

Time to pull back the curtain: nobody can get into the Nintendo FNF account. Well, I suppose one person can but there are no copies to his keys. So, did I get you with that clickbait headline? This is the last time I address FNF as Nintendo FNF on my own goddamn blog. Nintendo FNF is dead and buried with my own two hands. Long live Nintendoid FNF!

We're making Shade's baby the successor to the old Nintendo FNF cblog because we can actually get through the front door. Expect to see a new cblog account next week so I can finally keep my own damn blog a little more tidy. You know my last cblog appears under my name in the staff roll right? I keep a clean house bitch!

New to Friday Night Fights? It's easy to get involved!

Each week, a bunch of us Dtoiders get together to play videogames online! It's a 100% community-run event, so feel free to join in or even host something yourself!
The planning for FNF starts in the forums, where community members volunteer to host matches and post their pertinent details (game, time, Gamertag, ect.). Then, every Friday, reminder posts go up here in the c-blogs followed by a recap post on the front page for last minute planning.

To join in, simply send a friend request to the match host! (Don't forget to say you're from Dtoid!) If you'd rather host something yourself, just post your details below in the following format:

Game Name
Wii U or 3DS
Host: Dtoid Username
NID: Wii U Nintendo ID or 3DS friend code
Time: Time in EST
[insert extra social media here]

Smash Bros. for Wii U
Wii U
Dtoid handle: Striderhoang
NID: Striderhoang
2pm PST | 5pm EST | 10pm Shadeoflight time
twitter: Striderhoang​

And remember to join the Nintendoid Google group to hear all the multiplayer requests you could ever need. Set your email to all for best results.

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4:14 AM on 03.13.2015

Nintendo FNF March 13 - Still in it to win it

Have you wondered why I'm doing this on my own personal blog? Where Smurfee is? How they get the little M's on the M&M's? I'm sure those questions will be answered in all due time. But for now, wouldn't you like to race little go-karts instead? DEFLECTION!

In fact, last week's session with Mario Kart with Lemon Buster was really nice. I hadn't played online yet since I spend most of my online gameplay with Smash. Playing MK online was refreshing especially because it always felt silly and never felt personal. When you win, it feels great. When you take a less savory position, well that's Mario Kart for you. When I play Smash, sometimes it feels like slaving away in the salt mines, getting saltier and saltier by the minute. Can you believe there are more tracks on the way? I can't wait to see what kind of karts they'll release to match the Animal Crossing characters. But for now, we're still playing these same but fun games.

New to Friday Night Fights? It's easy to get involved!

Each week, a bunch of us Dtoiders get together to play videogames online! It's a 100% community-run event, so feel free to join in or even host something yourself!

The planning for FNF starts in the forums, where community members volunteer to host matches and post their pertinent details (game, time, Gamertag, ect.). Then, every Friday, reminder posts go up here in the c-blogs followed by a recap post on the front page for last minute planning.

To join in, simply send a friend request to the match host! (Don't forget to say you're from Dtoid!) If you'd rather host something yourself, just post your details below in the following format:

Game Name
Wii U or 3DS
Host: Dtoid Username
NID: Wii U Nintendo ID or 3DS friend code
Time: Time in EST
[insert extra social media here]

Mario Kart 8 last week was surprisingly fun edition
Wii U
Striderhoang
Striderhoang
4pm PST | 7pm EST
Striderhoang

Super Smash Bros for Wii U
Wii U (duh)
KeithTheGeek
NNID: bkeith
6 pm EST/ 3 pm PST
@KeithGeek on Twitter

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