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I am just a typical, spazzy woman hellbent on changing the written world with blogs of insanity, video games, art, and other potpourri infested topics!
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I have always been behind in video game generations. In fact, I can only recall one instance where I pre-ordered a console (3DS, so not really a console). So this year, I plan on getting a Playstation 4. Would I regret it? I hope not.

Anyway, more on topic. Streaming game play. It seems to be very common nowadays to the point you can instantly stream on consoles. Is streaming really worth it though? What are the benefits of streaming?


So... many... comments...


- To show off to your friends.

- To entertain the public with stupidity.

- To entertain for money.

- To provide free previews.

- To show off to the world how quickly you can beat a game.

- Tournaments.

- Live walkthroughs.

But does streaming take skill? This is what worries me. I feel like there should be some way to stand out in the game-streaming industry. Otherwise it’d just be so easy to become an Internet celebrity… oh wait.

Onlive. Does anyone even use this?

This is where I sigh and shake my head. I’d like to get into streaming just to show my friends a game they are curious about (i.e. Iji or Goat Simulator). I’d also like to somehow make myself stand out if I ever decide to make my streaming public. Would it be the material that I stream that would make a difference? For those that do stream, what would you even suggest?

The only obvious barrier to entry I can see is that everyone is streaming. Furthermore, what is everyone’s opinions on streaming? Is it hurting or helping the gaming industry? Does streaming urge gamers to buy games, or would seeing someone play it the entire way through deter them from buying? I know it is one of those “wait awhile then we will see” kind of deals.

Another point: How much does the Internet control nowadays? I feel like it controls just about everything. My job, my school, and my future career relies on the web. Even a lot of my games rely on the Internet, namely Steam and anything related to DRM. I have no idea what the PS4 will have in store for us, but I do know that in 17 days I will definitely be buying one. Either way, I hope to try out this streaming service on PS4. Hopefully it will bring about a great joy for me, but until then, I'm unsure about streaming games as a whole.


What makes Twitch so awesome anyway?
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Thanks to my busy schedule of school and the finishing of my novel, it caused my gaming (and writing) to slow a bit, save for on Final Fantasy XIV. I do admit to completing Iji just a few weeks ago, but formulating a review had to wait a bit longer. Now that I am plopped into my wooden, uncomfortable chair, I figured to finally finish this project.

So Iji...


Oh, the brutality...


Iji. Iji. Iji. Iji. Say the name consecutively for about ten seconds. I honestly began to chuckle when I first read the game title.

Pushing that aside...

What is Iji?

I never heard of this game until a good friend recommended it to me.

And demanded me to play it. So, I succumbed to his bidding and completed the game within four hours. So what is Iji all about?

Well, Iji is a freeware third person platformer/shooter centered on the science fictional instances of the Earth's future. Your decisions affect the story and gameplay, and tons of various secrets are also littered throughout the game.

Nanotechnology is abundant, and you, as the 20-year-old girl named... Iji... must adapt to the world's circumstances with this technology, utilizing your wit to search for answers and perhaps even save humanity. This game asks one question, though: Are you a killer or a pacifist?

Your decision, your game. There is some voice acting, and the story is very top-notch for something so... free.

So, let's break down this review:

Story -


Of course, I'd be bewildered too if I was told this upon waking from a cat nap...


The story, for a freeware game, is surprisingly heartfelt and thought-provoking. Maybe saying "surprising for a freeware game" is a bit of an insult, but it's truth. When I think of freeware, I think of a game that maybe keeps my attention for about ten minutes at most. Freeware quality is equivalent to the quality of most other free "items" - pretty undesirable. Without spoiling, you are a young girl waking to a silent world, alone and bewildered. Listening to your brother through an intercom, you learn you have been adapted into a cyborg as a weapon to defend against aliens. Unfortunately, life has a tendency of dropping the "oh shit" bomb onto you...

This story is dark. I mean, pretty damn dark. I can easily compare this game's story to a story delivered by plenty of full-priced console games. Toward the end, it brought tears to my eyes. Then again I cry near the end of a lot of games, whether it be due to a depressing ending, a happy ending, or a frustrating ending.

More than likely, you'll find yourself doubting your perspective throughout most chapters, wondering if your perspective should be shifted. Without spoiling much, I questioned humanity quite frequently throughout each chapter (sector). Playing through the game, I experienced depression just thinking about being in Iji's position. The only criticism I can offer is that the story could have been longer and further fleshed out.

Highly super recommended to play, even if you are not into Sci-fi. I certainly am not!

Story Rating - 8/10

Gameplay - 


The enemies are excitingly varied, and become pretty damn nasty to fight.


The gameplay is solid for a freeware game. It maintained the usual sidescroller kill everything formula, a la Metroidvania style. Blast aliens here and there (or don't), with multiple paths to choose from. What you choose for stat upgrades also determines your tactics in future puzzles (and potentially the plot itself, but I refuse to spoil said plot changer). You can play in two styles, as mentioned previously: pacifist, via avoiding the death of aliens, or holy mass murder Batman, where you kill every damn alien in your path (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!). You come across some secret locations as well, making this game further enjoyable.

Gameplay Rating - 9/10

Sound - Though there are only a few songs to the soundtrack, my word, this is an amazing soundtrack. Listen to it. FIND IT ON FUCKING YOUTUBE AND LISTEN TO IT! I DON'T CARE DO IT!

For a freeware game, the music is unbelievable. Lots of rock, all emulating the emotions and themes of the game. Very atmospheric, realistic sound effects, complete with what little awesome voice acting there is.

Sound Rating - 9/10

Replayability - There are at least two playthroughs found in this game. However, I can see myself playing through the game far more many times. It is short and there are a number of paths to take. Yay, fun!

Replayability - 8/10

Cookies - WHY AREN'T MY COOKIES HERE!? Oh, wait, there they are. Never mind! 10/10

This game is surprisingly deep, and has a ton of gameplay elements. I don't even include graphics in this, due to the sheer gameplay and story values. The graphics would be the only hint as to the game being labeled as freeware. Lots of fully budgeted games fail to meet my expectations. However, this game exceeded my expectations, even surpassing budgeted games' expectations. All of the qualities mesh well like the perfect two hundred piece puzzle. In other words, it's not too complicated, but complicated enough to enjoy.

RECOMMENDED! PLEASE GO PLAY IT! PLEEEEEEAAASE!
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In my younger years, I always believed that as long as the story was fantastic in a role-playing game, the gameplay could be terrible. I found that to not always be the case. Unfortunately, unless it’s a Visual Novel, a role-playing game must have at least a decent gameplay experience to match the story in order for me to accept the game.

I... was a moron as a child. Though in many cases the statement can be true, the gameplay can become so frustrating that I cannot push forward in the game's story.

So, let’s delve further into Fallout: New Vegas!

There are three points that will be discussed throughout the second half of this analysis: exploration, combat, and interaction.

Point One: Exploration

To summarize, the game's environment far too vast for me. The areas are simply too large to travel in, especially when alone. These areas would be perfect in an MMORPG, but in a single-player game, I find it grating. You have Fast Travel, correct, but that only lands you so far. You still have to travel a bit to reach your goals. What makes it worse is the movement speed. Sure, running appears realistic, but it also feels incredibly slow. I wish there was, at the very minimum, a damned sprint button. Perhaps it’s my impatience, but wandering around eventually becomes a chore.

There are tons of items to be had in this game. Once again, for me, this is a major issue. Yes, there is a large variety, but the items are also narrow in scope of effect. For example, you find six thousand different types of vegetables that heal you. As cool and expansive as that sounds, it’s… not really. I rather have the items condensed. There are so many items that fill my backpack rapidly, which I then have to run to a trader to sell them. My OCD/ADD makes this worse by forcing me to pick up everything in sight. So, I have to run to trade quite excessively.

In my honest opinion, the variation of items is great as a concept, but terrible in execution.

Finally, we have the level of detail. I do enjoy the amount of detail placed into the game. An abundance of items (albeit annoying) lying about, the ground littered with detailed plant and animal life, and the terrain adorned with various, non-copy-and-pasted landforms actually make the areas pretty interesting, despite the decrepit and lonely atmosphere. Unfortunately, the traveling aspect and slow running counters the aesthetic. Dying also makes traveling less fun.

Without bias: 7/10

With bias: ARGH/10


It doesn't appear so big, but it is when everything feels slow-motion.


Point Two: Combat

Combat can be a pain, especially with a controller. Even after taking up the keyboard and mouse, I found combat to be almost boring or frustrating, as I’m constantly swarmed and undergeared for quests. Because of the level of frustration (and I am actually pretty decent at FPS and TPS) I experienced, I threw the controller down and said “screw it.”

So I slammed the cheat button.

Using line commands, I donned the power armor and some fun weapons just to make the game a bit more interesting. I will admit the game became 1000x more interesting while running on a maniacal spree. The game was so boring that I found it best to kill everyone and everything. So I did! Bwahahahaha! Unfortunately, to resort to cheat to bring life to the game shouldn't have happened.

Of course, cheating only brought a certain level of fun until I was stopped dead in my tracks by the amount of slow running I had to do to reach an area. I wished there was a mini-map in the corner at the very least!

Other than that, the combat is pretty… okay. Standard, but nothing stands out save for the V.A.T.S. function. V.A.T.S. is fun to use when picking off monsters, but other than that, it’s nothing truly innovative.

Without bias: 6/10

With bias: WHY!?/10 (translation: 4/10)


Found plenty of games that are far more fun in concerns to combat.


Point Three: Interaction

Okay, this is probably the best part of the gameplay. You have so many options when chatting with people! I usually love playing the bitch that ruins the lives of others! So I often did, though I was nice once in a great while. The rampant amount of decisions to make actually maintained the remainder of my interest. Interacting with NPCs was pretty fun and exploratory, though after a bit, the standard dialogue caused me to lose interest.

If anything, I think I would have loved this game to be more cinematic. The opening cutscene made me believe there would be cinematic points, but I was unfortunately wrong.

Without Bias: 8/10

With Bias: 6/10


Hrm... the first one or the second one...


Point Four: Cheesiness

There is not enough cheddar in this game. Overall, greatly disappointed.

With Bias, 0/10

Without Bias, 10/10


DISAPPOINTED!


Well, there you have it. I think I will be working on more reviews, as friends are suggesting I should do more. Requests are welcome, and I also do plan on formulating mock reviews in the nearby future.

Overall, Fallout: New Vegas wasn’t a terrible game by any means, but it just felt so standard that there was nothing to grab my interest. It just wasn’t for me. The environment or story didn’t help in any way, driving me into panic attacks. I think there will be a WRPG out there for me, but this, sadly, isn’t one of them.

Final Score:

With Bias: 4/10

Without Bias: 7/10
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So these past few days, amongst the partying and family gatherings, I’ve struggled with maintaining my study schedule and blog schedule. In fact, my New Year’s Resolutions are based around organization! So what exactly are my New Year’s Resolutions?

           * Keep a to-do list
           * When feeling lethargic, work through the lethargy anyway
           * Ensure that more games are finished!

Yes, I admit to having a backlog of about 300 games. I am also aware that it’d take a million years for me to complete them, but still! I am trying here!

Anyway, I’m almost done with my adventures in New Vegas (according to my maximum hours needed to play this). I have even gained much insight about WRPGs and myself throughout this project.

Today, what I’d like to focus on is the audio, visuals, and story of the game, whereas the next blog will detail my thoughts on the gameplay.

Here, let’s ask the one prime question that began this project: Will I come to love Western Role-Playing games?



Simple Answer: Nupe

Now for the analysis.

Point One: Story

A story must remain prominent throughout any Role-Playing game. This is almost a well-known fact (although still highly subjective). WRPGs and JRPGs do carry well-written tales, but WRPGs are far more world-driven than story-driven or character-driven (in WRPGs, the character is almost always an avatar of the player). Having a world-driven focus in games isn’t necessarily a terrible statement, but personally, I found myself having major issues with world-driven experiences.

Unfortunately, during the hours that I have played of Fallout: New Vegas, I couldn’t attach myself to the world or the story. Even the characters didn’t appeal. I have attempted, with an extreme amount of effort, to gain interest, but it hasn't been plausible for me.

Why?

Because of its realism.

How exactly do I mean by this?

Simply put: The game is too real, despite being placed in a fantasy sci-fi future. The setting feels all too real, and the locations are spitting images of the western United States. The developers wanted to create a realistic feel, to give the player a sense of desolation and loneliness. They achieved it, certainly! However, the setting itself became a challenge for me to endure. Admittedly, I had to stop short a couple of sessions due to having panic attacks. The game just felt too real and lonely. Though I admire the realism, it actually pushes me farther away from the game.



Would anyone really want to be in this environment?

  
The story, however, lacked… emotion. I wondered if this was also intentional, but the voice acting feels halfhearted and that every person appeared to have lost hope. Once again, could have been intentional, but it creates a very downtrodden or monotone story. The writing, admittedly, was okay, but it was never quite vibrant or expressive.
         
I can only remember the general gist of the story, but hardly any details. There are names that I cannot remember, nor do I recall location names (I want to say Goodwill? Or Goodridge...?). A pity, because I truly wanted to delve into that world, and there was never a moment where I felt compelled to learn more about everything.

Without bias, I would give the story a 7/10. Slow to engage in, depressing, without hope… it’s what the developers were aiming for. However, the execution seemed halfhearted, and the quests jumbled the main story. I should’ve just made a straight shot through the story, but my ADD does run rampant.

With bias, 5/10.

Point Two: Audio

Here is the shortest opinion I could give for this category, “…”

The music doesn’t stand out, and oftentimes the radio melds with the actual game music. In fact, I was eventually coerced into turning off the game music, opting for the radio. Even later than that, I shut off both and decided to listen to my MP3s while playing.

For the first few hours, I listened to both the radio and BGM, but the music does become pretty agitating. In fact, there’s hardly any music at many points of the game. It’s probably for atmospheric reasons, but the music wasn’t memorable to begin with.

The sound effects, on the other hand, are quite decent. Pretty realistic, on sync, and does provide some immersion. Unfortunately, in regards to overall audio, I believe the sound effects had a stronger impact than the actual music.

Rating without bias, 5/10

Rating with bias in check, 3/10

Point Three: Visuals

Ah, well, I must admit, this is an older game, and I need to play nice. The graphics aren’t nearly as vivid and detailed as several of the current PC games, which is why I will be judging them fairly.

That being said, I still find the aesthetic downright… realistic?

Everything appears brown, gray, and devoid of life. Once again, this is the intent of the developers. The fact the environment looks so decrepit turns me off entirely. In fact, it downright frightens me. I hate being in such an environment, where nothing exists. Where life seems to come at a standstill, and everyone appears so sullen.



I was serious about the gray part.

        
The earthy tones brushed onto the scenery push this emotion to the edge. If I was into such aesthetic, I would give the developers an 8/10 for rating.

This doesn’t, however, include the animation. The animation feels stiff and unrealistic, and running in such an expanse world couldn’t have been more frustrating (even with Fast Travel, but more on that later in gameplay).

Overall, for visuals, without bias and with animation included, I’d give Fallout: NV a 7/10. With bias and my aesthetic tastes implemented, I’d give it a 3/10.

Remember, folks, this is only the first half. The latter half will include nothing but the gameplay, so please look forward to it!
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Afternoon, everyone! I apologize for the few day hiatus, everyone. Holidays and all, so what's a girl to do when she is stuffed full with... stuffing?



Not only is stuffing part of the Christmas Spirit, but also committing arson to Christmas Trees. According to Bowser, anyway.


Terrible crap aside, I would like to provide an update on my escapades and experiments before delving into the meaty bits in a future blog.

- I love Sorcery Saga thus far! It has a cute charm to it alongside the assumed humor, though I am a little miffed with the lip syncing. I know it's intentional, but the lip syncing is so off that it turns me away at some points. Hopefully, with time, I'll adapt.

- I received Sonic Lost World and so many gaming related gift-cards! One for Steam, one for the Nintendo eShop, and one for Gamestop! What did I get with them? Lots of stuff. So far bought Snow (that wintry MMO that is to be released eventually), Sonic 3D, Altered Beast 3D, Ecco the Dolphin 3D, and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. Still deciding on more Steam games, as I'd like to be careful with my choices...
The best part is this, however: When will I end up playing these games?
The only answer I can tell you is: I don't know.

- My current Fallout Progress: Four hours.

    - I made quite a few self-discoveries while playing this. Talk about in-depth psychology. More into that when analysis arrives.

    - I want to like it badly, I really, really do. Of course this will be explained upon the closure of the study. So please, definitely look out for it! Just ten more hours to go!

Anyway, I hope you all are enjoying the Holidays, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!
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"FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-"

That is the first line that went through my head all last night. My day was absolutely draining, and I finally had enough time to actually relax. For an early Christmas gift I received the Guided Fate Paradox. I really wanted this gem, and after reading reviews, I wanted it THAT much more. So, being the "spoiled" brat that I am (no, I'm not really THAT spoiled... in that sense anyway), I was gifted it. Of course I didn't wait till Christmas, but instead popped it into my PS3 yesterday.


Awe, doesn't this make you want to give up your brain and limbs?



Though I have a few minor gripes, so far I love it. I have not been fully aware that this game was a dungeon crawler, which isn't a terrible thing, but dungeon crawlers aren't exactly my passion here. What really makes the game radiant is reconfirming thoughts I have questioned throughout my life. You play as a young high school student, Renya, who wins some random lottery, with the grand prize of becoming a god. What the character does is grant wishes. Without going too far in-depth, I experienced a major twist on the classic tale of Cinderella, and it's given me much to think about. However, what I do not care for is the main characters' voice acting. I like the rest of the cast thus far, but as for the two main characters, the acting feels incredibly forced.

Well, moving a bit beyond that...

Here's an admittance. I am not a Western Role-playing Gamer by any means. There are a lot of aspects I really cannot click with, though I know plenty of people who are in love with the games. Aesthetics (not graphics) potentially can cause me to lose interest in a game, and I've noticed that many WRPGs have too much of an earthy, realistic tone to them. Because of this, I tend to not be as immersed. The music belonging to a few WRPGs also is also easily dismissible (in my opinion, however, the music from the Tales series are also forgettable, so it's not strictly WRPGs).


I wish I could place my finger on it, but it's just displeasing to my eyes.


Another major gripe I have is the focus in story. WRPGs tend to be more world focused than story focused, and because of that, I can't really connect with the characters. I like a good, deep narrative, with a stronger focus on the character rather than the world.

So, over the next few days, I am going to play a WRPG, despite my turnoffs about the subgenre.

I was provided with a copy of Fallout: New Vegas (highly appreciative, thank you), and for two hours everyday I will be playing and analyzing the game, documenting my findings in the oncoming blogs.

A couple of rules:

- I must, at all times, keep an open mind. I cannot allow my previous notions to interfere.

- I must analyze all that I can. Aesthetics, story, world, audio, etc.

- I must play for a minimum of two hours a day for the next seven days, with the exception of Christmas.

I think I can last that long! Who knows, maybe I will fall in love with it!
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