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I've been having a lot of fun with Mamorukun Curse from PSN.


The player in this video is a newb. If you release the fire button all the candy that enemies drop gets sucked into your character, as in the Cave shooters. Eternally satisfying!

It has a few diffrerent game modes, with the story mode being strangely confined to a vertical screen with large borders, whereas "Adventures" mode uses the whole screen....

It's graphically pretty crude but the art is fantastic. Massive slowdowns during intense bullet hell moments help to make the game a bit easier as there is no slow move button for  precision maneuvering. 

It's pure Japanese arcade bubble-wrap popping candy and if you like that kind of thing you should probably play this!








Darks Souls 2 is a like an addictive, dangerous drug.

 I didn't get into the previous games. This is a post for other players new to this, not "hardcore" fans . There may be some errors here, feel free to correct me if you're 100% positive.  I am no "expert" and I'm just sharing what I've been learning.

I hated this game badly for a while but I pressed on because of some weird masochistic stubbornness. It has definitely got something going for it but the combat mechanics, animations and hitboxes are problematic and far from the perfection people talk about.

One of the issues is that what happens in combat does not necesarily correspond to what you see happening on screen, and for a game that places so much emphasis on perfect timing and positioning, it 's a real problem. You have to learn the timing of your and your enemy's attacks and dodges, you have to learn the correct distances to avoid certain attacks. Looking at the screen is not enough as you will often get hit even when you can plainly see that nothing has actually touched your character.   More RAGE.

To get to know what you can do and what you cannot you just have to grind-practice by dying over and over , and that can really grate on the nerves if you don't have enough time. 

 I have yet to beat this game after 100 hours and I don't know if I ever will, as I have come very close to removing it from my home several times.  There are some design desicisions that have made me very much want to meet the developers in person, in a back alley.... with a whip.




To get straight to the point:
This game is f***ed up and I don't actually recommend it to anyone, it's far too dangerous.

If you decide to ignore this sensible advice and continue onto the path to madness, you could find some hints here that may ease your suffering a little.
You will only prevail if you are more f***d up than this game.
You have to be a cunning, sly and ruthless muthafukka. 

Forget about heroics and noble fighting . This game is about dirty tricks, ambush and backstab. 

Here are some tips for playing solo (PvE):

-Enemies do not re-spawn after you've killed them 10 times. To make re-trying boss fights less of an exercise in chinese torture, clear the way to the boss gate by killing everything, resting at nearest bonfire and repeating.
This will of course give you a bunch of souls, which you should spend before attempting the boss.

-A magic-based build like Sorcerer will give you an easier time and much more variety in your combat options, but may not have the awesomeness and manliness of the various physical weapons. If you are new to the game then you are neither awesome nor manly, so choose a sorcerer so you can attack from a safe distance, and use a dagger as a second weapon for getting up close for quick stab-stab. 

-You see that shiny thing at the end of that corridor? It's a trap, you think, but while you're thinking there are already 2 zombies behind you slashing your ass.

-Every time you enter a closed area, expect to be ganged up on or otherwise fucked with. Always enter and exit immediately to lure enemies out one by one.
Do not try to fight more than one enemy at a time unless you really have to .
There are issues with the target-lock and the camera that can really ruin your day. If facing a mob, you may find it better to go without target lock so you can run around freely.  If you have a mob chasing you, run away and watch from a safe distance. At some point they will stop chasing and start heading back to their zone, run after them and take them out one by one.
Cut them down as they are climbing up stairs trying to get to you.
Jump down onto their face with a lunging attack from a higher position for extra damage.
Lure them into attacking you by a cliff and let them fall to their deaths like the stupid AIs that they are. Unless you fall first, like a dumb human.

Don't ever try to fight them upfront, or get impatient and mash the buttons .  Circle around the mofos as they try to hit you and hit them in the ass immediately after their attack is over.
Don't ever try to dodge roll until you really know what you are doing. If you rtry to roll sideways or backwards you will be briefly exposed as you come out of the roll and enemies are programmed to track your movement and hit you just then. It is often better to roll towards the enemy, especially if they have a long weapon. You wil still be facing them when you come up and will be able to block if you have the stamina.

 Keep your eye on the stamina - don't let it drop to nothing by trying to mash your way to victory or you 'll get staggered and fail badly, every time. Even minor enemies will kill you just as you thought you had them, with their HP bar down to 1.  






 -Lower your shield at a safe moment just enough to recharge. Stay aware of what your fingers are doing, do not keep the shield up all the time or your stamina will recharge too slowly and you WILL get staggered and killed like a rabid dog.

-Learn about weapon stats and note what gets a boost from your stats (strength, dexterity, intelligence, faith, and the various bonus (BNS) stats). If you prefer physical combat to magic, try the weapons that are good at interrupting enemy attacks (eg Dagger, Rapier). The stats you're looking for are Poise Damage and Counter Strength.  Without a high PD value, your weapons will not interrupt enemy attacks and you will be trolled to death.

-Some weapons allow you to attack from behind your shield (Halberd, Rapier) and these are probably the safest choices. Note that some spears do not have this option.  Upgrading the Halberd will give you a powerful but light weapon that will save your ass.

-Check your weight. Open the Equipment screen and look at the lower right corner for a big percentage number. If you go over 60% or so your character will start to become slower and you do not want that. It may be better to equip heavier, more powerful weapons rather than heavier armor. Stuff in your inventory does not appear to add to your weight, only stuff you have in your Equipment screen.

-Learn the timing of the enemy attacks and use the gaps in between to attack, heal or recharge stamina. 

-Spam enemies with projectiles from a safe distance whenever you can.
 The Belfry Gargoyles (5 of them on your ass at the same time) can be a lot easier if you throw a bunch of Witching Urns or other bombs at them for area damage. Run around them until they crowd together in the middle and spam them.  They seem to crowd together to protect the ones with the lowest HP as you fight them.  I used 15 urns (!) and didn't even kill one, but lowered most of their HP bars a fair bit, which made the fight more manageable but I still broke some serious sweat to beat them.
 
Every death you deal counts towards clearing them off YOUR property. OWN the place.

-Look for sneakily hidden goodies near traps. Trapped chests will be just WHERE YOU EXPECT A NICE REWARD. Think like a devious, paranoid psycho. They are out to get you and you will only prevail by being more evil than them.


Destroy them, because they were made to die.

-Spend your souls like there's no tomorrow, go back and invest those souls into something good, or risk losing them and being a loser. Do not press forward once you have a good number of souls . Go back and invest them in levelling up or weapon upgrades, or risk losing them. It is incredibly easy to do so, even in areas you feel comfortable with.

-There is a very small number of Soul Vessels that become available through the game. Use them wisely if you want to change your stats. Read up first.  Trying to be a jack of all trades may give you some serious trouble with boss fights. Decide which kind of combat you want to play and pile on the points on ONE of the relevant attack stats : Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Faith.

For swords and other physical wepons, your Dexterity boosts normal attacks (shoulder button) and Strength boosts power attacks (Trigger button).

-You should also pile points onto: ADP (adaptability) which will make your character move faster, increase the invincibility window during dodge-rolling, and increase various resistances; and Stamina, possibly the single most important stat for reasons that become obvious .  

-When you go to level up, as you select a stat you can see what it affects on the same screen: the affected character stats become highlighted.

-Enchanted weapons may not be more powerful if your Intelligence and/or Faith are low, as the enchantment damage depends on those.

-You don't need to beat every boss to complete the game. If you are really struggling with a boss fight, check a wiki like

 http://darksouls2.wiki.fextralife.com

 to see if the boss fight is optional. Either way, go and do something else and come back to it when you've levelled up a bit more, or watch someone on Youtube doing it just before you try. Watching a video has helped me every time, in every game.

-Remember you can summon NPCs you already talked to to help you but only if you are in full human form (use a human effigy and then look around the boss's mist gate for a glowing golden sign to summon them).  They are pretty weak and stupid, as this game never likes to give you any power, but they can help to distract the boss for a while.


-Did i forget to say SPEND THE SOULS OR LOSE THEM?



ITEMS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER: (Potential spoilers if you like randomly finding or missing out on stuff while dying a lot )

-Ring of Binding: Changes max HP reduction to 25% when hollow, instead of 50%. At the top of Heide's Tower after you kill the knight there you will be able to lower the bridge and access the chest at the top before entering Blue Cathedral.

-Chloranthy ring : Increases stamina recharge rate.  In the ruins of Forest of Giants, there is a room with 4-5 big ballistas and a mob of 6 armored zombies, to the right side just before you come to where Pate is sitting. Clear the area by luring them out first, then go in and downstairs where you wil need a Pharros Lockstone to access a chest.

-Old Leo Ring: Creates explosions when enemies hit you and your HP is low, that do a lot of damage to them but none to you. Awesome.  Go to the fog area in Shaded Woods, do not wander into the fog or you will get killed by invisible ghosts. Stick to and follow the wall on the RIGHT side until you find a couple of chests. To access the Shaded Woods you will need a Fragrant Branch of Yore which you can find in the cave at the poison pit right after the Poison Pool bonfire on the way to the windmill / Iron Keep. Or you can buy one from the vendor in Iron Keep, for 7500 soles.  Role Playing Games....
If you stick to and follow the LEFT side of the foggy area you will find an NPC that sells useful stuff and will give you a nice present if you talk to him enough.


Also, you may want to watch this video if you want to preserve your sanity... :



FIST PUMP THIS GAME UP THE ARSE



PS the blog editor sucks donkey dongs.














It is yet more AAA GARBAGE by people too far gone to be able to make a decent game.  

Enjoy forced shitty stealth sections, linear corridor levels, dead ends that may force you to restart entire missions... because there is only one way through the game's corridors and it's well hidden, even though you're told to Press X to jump at every opportunity and you're shown the way past shitty platforming sections where all you have to do is keep pressing X.

At the beggining of the game, get forced into 1st person view and have to slash a man's throat, and suck the blood out of a woman, in front their child . Just so you know this is a mature game.

Aftet this little intro, you can look forward to:

Play as a twitchy rat getting electrocuted without even touching live wires... get stomped on by guards standing the other side of a wall, guards you can never kill. . . 


Got stuck in the rat tunnels by not knowing what you're supposed to do? Try to backtrack in case you've missed something and get locked into fighting off fresh mobs of OP enemies that weren't there earlier.... try to escape and marvel at the forced mechanics preventing you from doing so....try to reload and you're still trapped there, because backtracking is punishable by ruining your entire save in this Castlevania game.

Watch those terrible cut scenes that don't even try to resemble a plot.  Enjoy the terrible scripted fights, and don't forget to turn on enemy HP bars so you can see those bars magically jump back up if you aren't mashing fast enough.  Watch those trolls re-spawn like its some fucking arcade game from the early 90s and hope the invisible re-spawn timer will run out soon so you can get to the next terrible section. . .

Absolute shite made by bread-heads who do not give a flying fuck about gaming. 

I had more fun writing this little review than playing this latest AAA atrocity!








MAY CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS but nowhere near as bad as watching the game on YouTube!

The English language version is out tomorrow!

I have played this game for around 18 hours (play time) with a Japanese friend, starting from the beginning. 

I haven't been able to find much worthwhile in previous FF games I have tried, but I'm liking this one quite a lot and will definitely be getting it as soon as possible.
Here's what I think so far:

GAMEPLAY:

I'm extremely happy to see this real-time action battle system.The ATB system of previous games was not really turn-based, and it always felt too tedious and not-fun to me. 

In this game the real-time controls respond instantly and there were never any moments where I felt that my inputs did not register. You can cancel your own attacks with your blocking action, and positioning / moving around also become important in some battles. There is no dodge-rolling, and your movement is slow, which is a welcome change from other action systems.  Some costumes will give a dodge-jump ability, as seen in the demo, but we have not found one yet.

I wish there was a way to remap all the buttons -  I'm way too used to blocking with shoulder buttons, whereas you have to use the face buttons here.
Shoulder buttons are used to go back and forth between the 3 costumes you can have equipped. This feels way too restrictive as you only have 4 commands you can use per  costume, and costumes seem to come with at least one locked built-in command that cannot be removed, re-mapped or upgraded. One slot should be used for a Guard action, which further limits your free slots for offensive actions.

This means that trial and error is needed with some of the more serious enemies until you find what's effective against them . The first time you fight an enemy, information on their weaknesses and how to stagger them is automatically logged as you unleash the various types of attacks, and you can check it during combat by pressing R2 which pauses the game to show you the "Libra " screen. If you don't have the right commands equipped in your setup you may be out of luck.

There is some weird lack of focus with separate special abilities that you have to pause the game to use, and the self-healing Curaga command is placed there.  You also have to pause during combat to use healing or support items but you can only carry 6 items or so.

Health regenerates slowly outside combat in Easy mode only. In Normal mode it doesn't and your options are to use a potion, or use the Curaga ability if you have the experience points (which you slowly get by defeating enemies, I think), or get back to a town to get food or stay at an inn. So there is not a lot of healing you can do. There is a really cool Mediguard blocking ability you can get that heals you while you block, though.  SO much better than getting hit while drinking a potion!


Seems that Normal difficulty will provide a meaty challenge and it seems pretty fair so far, although I am sure the bosses at the end will be in keeping with the Japanese tradition.  I like the Easy mode as I'm not sure how the game will pan out with the time limit. 

There is a doomsday clock and I don't know what the consequences of running out of time are.  I'm not sure how well this is going to work out. I wasted an entire game day just getting to know my way around. I thought there were 13 days to go at the beginning , but then it seems it's only 6 and it's not clear what's going on with the time.  Quests can be failed by not completing them in time but this seems to be for side quests only (?) It would suck to have to re-start from scratch or a much earlier save because I wasn't fast enough....

There is no leveling up, only stats. You don't raise your stats by defeating monsters, which is a major difference from almost every other RPG out there. 

To get your stats up you have to complete quests and a lot of the side quests involve finding items or people in the game world, and you don't always get a clue. 

I don't know if the time limit is enough to complete all the side quests or if the player is supposed to pick and choose some, and then push on with the main quest.

Quest design is on the whole much improved and focused. Stuff happens as it's supposed to happen and as you expect it to happen.  If you keep attentive to what people say you can get clues, and there is a detective and stealth element is some quests, all fairly well executed if at times lacking in animation for some of the stuff that happens.  Lightning does have a good stealth animation but you cannot trigger it manually, it happens only if you're on a stealth quest (only one so far) and you stick to a wall.  Getting the fetch/people quests completed is more fun than a chore, so far, partly because the game world is vibrant and fairly alive.  You can teleport from anywhere to various teleport stations you have already discovered, at little cost, so the tedious running from A to B and back again for some fetch quest can be minimised.

Some more streamlining of the combat/skill system, with more actions available in real-time during combat would have made it more fun. There are some strangely restrictive and completely arbitrary design decisions through the game but it is nowhere near as meaningless and messy as the previous XIII games.


Overall, I still prefer the Kingdom Hearts real-time combat system where combat happens in the actual game world and not a separate screen, with all the delays and immersion breaking that involves. The transition is very fast here and you can skip the victory pose by hitting the X button but it still feels like an unnecessary relic. When you've raised your stats a bit you can kill minor enemies with a single hit, and it's mostly a waste of time as you don't even get XP from it.  Seems ridiculous to interrupt the game to be told I got yet another hairball.


Also, Kingdom Hearts (2 and BBS) got it right by not re-spawning enemies you've just killed. FFXIII gets this VERY WRONG by re-spawning  monsters within seconds of walking away from the spot, like some fucking MMO.
]Apparently if you defeat a particular type of monster in every single location where it spawns (they all seem to have fixed spawn points), it will be wiped out from the game world. That would be awesome, but good luck with that... Some of the monsters have annoying range, if they spot you they will follow you around an entire area to force you to fight them even when they have no chance.  This can be fun for a while as NPCs are terrorized .  You can also terrorize NPCs by waving your massive weapon around, and you can get them to stop doing annoying things like singing while you're trying to concentrate on your shopping. 


There are no quicktime events and (relatively) few cut-scenes, which is great.  A lot of the story is there in optional dialogues and text.

We played on Easy mode and it's very enjoyable indeed. It is possible to just randomly mash buttons for some low-level enemies  but I think you have better chances of rare item drops and other rewards if you fight properly and defeat enemies in an efficient manner. 
You don't really get a Game Over screen on Easy mode as far as we could see, unless you want it. When you get defeated you get the option to re-spawn as you were before the battle, but I'm not sure if that option will always be available. You can also escape battles with no cost or penalty in Easy mode but I don't think that's the case in Normal. 

The story unfolds in a big semi-open world. There are time-controlled gates, and other typical RPG gates that are locked without explanation, to magically open after some point in the game.

You have waypoints you can set on the map but they don't seem to show on sreen when you're playing?

You get teleported back to your techno-angelic base once every 24 game hours, where you offer the soul energy you have gathered to a tree of life and watch it grow branches and produce fruit. It's all very trippy and sublime.

VISUALS, ART STYLE, DESIGN
This game is a visual circus, psychedelic, with a good contrast of dark and light. If you like trippy stuff you will like this. The particle effects in combat are awesome but can get in the way of seeing what the enemy is doing. It is sometimes better to zoom out by clicking the right stick. 

The enemies don't feel very substantial because they appear and disappear in puffs of smoke, so it's like you're fighting mirages rather than actual creatures. 

There may be a slight overuse of the checkerboard pattern. Cool things can be overdone. 

There is a good variety in the different areas, from desert dunes complete with awesome Journey-like dune-gliding and underground dungeons to green areas ( the worse visually, with some really poor textures and tree models) to gritty towns to a phantasmagorical city that is on a 24-hour festival as the world ends. 

The console limitations are too obvious at times and I would really love to see this game on a PC at 1080p with high resolution textures. Yeah.

SOUND


Yes, the sound! This game has the best soundtrack since Skyrim!  Just pause the game anywhere, sit back, relax and enjoy.

It still needs a control for music volume though. Stuff can get repetitive , especially combat tunes. I wonder if the designers thought that nobody would possibly want to mute the music and not get the complete experience.... 

NARRATIVE

I don't follow the story in videogames and I never saw anything worthwhile in the fantasy genre after Tolkien and Lovercraft, but I'm probably missing out on some good authors like LeGuinn.

The J-pop saccharine fantasies are totally not my cup of brew. The story in this game is easier to follow than the incoherent ramblings of the previous XIII releases, but is still utter pulp material with occasional good/fun moments.
Some strange Christian tone with God and the Savior, apocalyptic blah, but I think this changes further in the story.  Maybe this is the FF deconstructive take on the christian salvation myth, but maybe I'm being hopeful. 

Anyway, it isn't incoherent (if you consider that these characters live in a reality where time has gone crazy) and you can follow it if you don't care about the back stories of these characters too much. You might even get into it but this isn't good storytelling.

The good thing is that it stays out of the way and does not drag you down with 15-minute long unskippable cut-scenes where 3D models of people with angular hair try to show emotions with cringe-worthy voice-overs and plastic animations...

You fight bigger and bigger monsters that are invading the world for some reason. You talk to people and solve their problems by finding stuff for them. You find magical items and put them together to do magical stuff. You upgrade your stuff with other stuff. You jump around and annoy NPCs. You know the drill.  This game makes it all quite pleasant and even thrilling at times, and that's enough for me. I never expected a game with the words "Fantasy " in the title to have a mind-blowing deep storyline. The game has a great atmosphere and on the whole feels more dark and mature than anything in this series since Crisis Core, while maintaining a good amount of silliness.

Once you become wanted by the powers that be and you have megaphones in the city announcing how you are dangerous and carrying a massive weapon, you'll get a smile on your face.

So far I would give this game a 8.5/10.  I would give it a 9 if it had in-world battles.

 Past experience says that this rating will probably drop further as I get further in the game and things start to grind, but I'm going to give it a shot.