ADMAN’s Den – 09/08/2014: Life with a 144Hz Monitor, WiiU & PS4 thoughts.

144Hz

A monitor like this has been something I’ve wanted for about a year or so. Since hearing John Carmack’s Keynote at QuakeCon when he talked about the benefits of a 120Hz monitor and how it significantly improved response rate. Finally, I managed to find one for less than £200 from a well-known brand. It’s a AOC G2460FQ.

First problem with it, it comes with a HDMI cable, however the cable is not cable of doing anything over 60Hz. Secondly, I had to purchase a new DVI cable to actually get it working properly. Once both of those issues were taken care of, I noticed an immediate difference in moment from the mouse alone. It’s incredibly smooth. I have two monitors, and the other is my old main 60Hz monitor from Acer. So I notice the difference quite clearly. Mouse moment is significantly choppier and stiff by comparison.

As for games.. I haven’t really been playing anything that takes full effect of it yet. I was tempted to try GRID Autosport, but I didn’t feel like playing it. I did play a lot of Deus Ex Human Revolution, and I can certainly say it seems smoother in parts.

Other than that, with adjusted options, this monitor is on-par visual wise with my old main, which was already an excellent monitor in regards to the contrast ratio and colour output. I still think my old one looks shaper, but the colours are less vivid.

All in all, I really like this monitor. Maybe I should boot up Quake.

WiiU

Let me be honest, outside of Uni and the other crap I’ve been doing, the reason I put off giving my impressions of this thing for so long is because I haven’t had much to play on it outside of Wii games. I mean I fucking love the fact that it is backwards compatible, but still.

Although I should start off with that. It is basically a Wii when it comes to backward compatibility. Wait no, it is a Wii. It’s not emulating it, it is one. Anyway, any Wii game works and all the controller stuff works fine (Except GameCube stuff, but I don’t have any of that). Only thing I wish it would do is have some filtering options, better scaling, and maybe some AA. Other than that, everything looks fine.

In terms of actual WiiU games, I’ve only got 4:

  • Windwaker HD
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
  • Wonderful 101
  • Mario Kart 8

Windwaker looks pretty good and runs perfectly. Wonderful 101 has it’s charms and barely ever drops below 60FPS. Mario Kart 8 looks really good, but that’s probably more to do with the art style choice of the tracks than actual graphical ability. It does the job. No, it’s a fucking power-house, but the games I have look and run perfectly fine.

One thing I ended up doing on it was using it to watch stuff on YouTube and Amazon Instant Video, along with other things in the browser. The web browser is pretty fucking impressive, and is easily the best web browser I’ve used on a console. As for Amazon Instant Video, it woks, but the UI can be kind of choppy at times.

Frankly, that’s my one major complaint about the system, the load times on the menus for fucking dreadful. I’m sometimes sitting there for a good 10-20 seconds waiting for thing to load, and this is after all the patches. I know there’s one released super-recently which might improve it more, but I haven’t installed it yet.

On a final note, MiiVerse is a cool idea. Too bad no-one gives a damn about it.

SoVeryLonely

Look at all these friends I don’t have.

Overall, it’s not a bad console to be honest. The things it does well are enough to justify it. Backwards compatibility are a good selling point seeing as you’ll probably want to check out the few JRPGs the Wii had. And the games it currently has work fine and are fun. It’s a good console. Also, the Pro Controller is pretty damn good and has an insane battery life.

PS4

Now that you’ve skipped ahead to the point you actually want to read, let me tell you about the PlayStation 4.

It’s shit.

Nah, just kidding. But there is more promised potential than it actually has features right now. Games wise, I’ve got MGSV Ground Zeroes and InFAMOUS Second Son on disc, and Resogun as a downloadable title. I have more download stuff, but it’s the only one I’ve played. Anyway, I’m satisfied with graphics improvement that the PS4 offers. It’s not amazing, but it is an improvement. What I’m most looking forward to is a heavier use of custom shaders to get some cool effects. However, the problem InFAMOUS and MGS have is draw distance. InFAMOUS has some really bad moments where the other end of a street can look untextured and blurry. I kind of expected it though.

Another thing I hope for is more photo modes like InFAMOUS, look at these:

inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140708141659 inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140708010456 inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140707175340 inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140704201841

I’m not sure how many people agree with me, but I think that shit looks cool. Which brings me on my next point, the Share button.

Now, people like me have use for this thing because I like taking pretty screenshots of games or recording interesting moments. And while the screenshot feature works as intended, I’ve been having issues with the video stuff. Basically, it isn’t saving any videos whenever I press the button for first time booting up the console, so whenever I need it to work, it doesn’t. I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but it annoys the shit out of me. Another thing, the quality when streaming from the console is awful, even with HD selected. Frankly, you should get a capture setup if you are actually serious about streaming. It’s not like those are terribly expensive anyway.

I mentioned before how much I like the PS4 controller from a comfort perspective, but actually using it with a PS4, still the best controller out there right now. I don’t like the materials on the sticks, but other than that. From a functionality stand point, CAN DEVELOPERS STOP USING THE TRACKPAD FOR BOTH START AND SELECT FUNCTIONALITY? Fucking Hell. Use the options button for the Pause Menu, and the trackpad button for what used to be known as the “Select screen”, or “Map screen”, or whatever the fuck games used it for. MGS has this problem. Whenever I try to get the pause menu, he pulls up the I-Droid shit. But pressing options is just pause, and no menu. Why would you do that? Holy shit.

Another thing, let me decide if I want sounds coming out my controller or not, don’t force them on by default. The only way to get around it in InFAMOUS is to stick headphones in. As for the lightbar, well I usually sit with my legs crossed, leaning back into the chair, so my legs block the light from the controller glaring the screen. Even still, the light from my window gives a more significant glare than the controller does.

Vita Remote Play works for the most part. I tried a little bit of InFAMOUS and it seemed to work fine, give or take 50ms or so of latency. You just have to be careful of the connection. I lost connection while using my Vita, and the game no longer registered regular controller input, the console then had a hard crash which required me to unplug it because it wouldn’t turn off via the switch.

Applications like the PSN Store and Amazon Instant Video are much smoother on the PS4 than they were on the PS3. Especially the former. Trying to use the store on PS3 is a nightmare. It’s slow and really unresponsive at times.

Miscellaneous things like friends lists, profile view, and trophy lists have been improved in various ways, mostly from a UI perspective.

Overall, there are a lot of things I still want, mostly MP3 support and custom backgrounds. But for what’s there now… It’s good, but I wouldn’t recommend buying one unless you really want to play something on it RIGHT NOW.

I would usually talk about anime stuff now, but it’s been so long since I did this type of blog that it would take a really long time. So instead here’s a link to my MAL account. It should give you an idea of what I’ve been watching lately. If there’s anything specific I feel like talking about, I might post about it.

Only anime related thing I feel like talking about in any sense is Monogatari. To which I say; I looking forward to Hana next week.

Later

-Adam

 

 

11/12/2013 – Humbug, and DualShock 4 Impressions.

The first semester is coming to a close. That JavaScript work I was talking about really was a pain in my arse, I very much doubt I passed that coursework. Luckily I can probably make up a good chunk of the marks on the exam.

But soon I will be going back home and enjoying the ownership of a WiiU, which I promise I will do some livestreaming with.

But anyway, the DualShock 4. Let me tell you something. Do you have a 360 controller for your PC?

You do? Well that thing is hot fucking trash compared to this thing.

The greatest improvement is the latency. Both the 360 controller and DS3 suffer from generally latent inputs, leading to sub-par responsiveness. This is amplified when you start using those things on the PC where the frame-rate and other performance improvements really point that shit out to you. This is not the case with the DS4, it is a very noticeable improvement from other devices, reacting very quickly to inputs.

Well I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed IV with the DualShock 4 and I don’t think I can go back. The feel of it, the latency (As mentioned), the buttons, and the material used are just fantastic. And before you ask, yes, the analogue sticks are great too. I’m not one of those people that hated the sticks on the DS3, I actually preferred the looseness. But the slight tightened feel is good. The dead-zone for that stuff is not as atrocious as the 360 pad is, so that’s good. The only thing that kinda bugs me is the light-bar, but when using it on PC, it is never turned on (Except with the use of custom drivers).

If you want a replacement for the fucking crap that is the 360 pad, the DS4 is pretty great so far.

Yeah, pretty short this time. I’ll try and make a more significant post before I head back home for Xmas, or maybe I will do a quick write up on the WiiU. Whatever works.

Later.

-Adam

ADMAN’s Den – 28/10/2013: “Hey, Video Games! And Anime! And Manga! And Stuff!”

In case you couldn’t tell by now, I am brilliant at keeping personal deadlines. Oddly enough, it has been exactly over 2 months since I last did this, and I have since decided to expand the subject matter.

Video Games:

Two months is a relatively long time, although it can pass quite quickly depending on what you’re doing. Especially when you got a ever-growing back-catalogue of games like I do.

Hey, ever wanted to play the video game equivalent of a pantomime? Well Puppeteer is probably for you. OK, marketing-esque speak aside; I am genuinely surprised by this game. It’s a solidly written (For the most part) platformer with a unique look and play-style. The gameplay is pretty standard, but the way it flows it quite different to how you would expect, partly due to the heavy use of the scissors as a mechanic. It leads to a far more organic way of moving through the environments and interesting transitions into different levels.

To explain, large chunks of levels are made out of paper, which is the most common material that scissors cut. Using that, you mash your way through the material which keeps you suspended in the air, or following a string path, and so on. It’s pretty cool early on. My only gripes with the game are that the writing dips to being annoying at times, it heavy use of QTEs (Especially on bosses), and that it becomes quite repetitive near the end of the game. Although a lot of the environments and boss fights are really different and interesting. If you have PlayStation Plus maybe wait for it to hit IGC, or get it cheap.

Virtue’s Last Reward does right was Bioshock Infinite did very wrong. If you haven’t played either or 999, skip this segment and start reading SMT: Devil Survivor.

<SPOILERS>

So anyway, VLR is one of the best games I have played on my Vita. Had I not played P4G, it probably would have taken first place. It’s a puzzle-adventure game at it’s core, with the story being delivered in a visual novel style. You play as a dude named Sigma who has been kidnapped and put into a sick game known as the Nonary Game. And you wake up in an elevator with a young girl named Phi. Upon escaping the first room, you meet the other contestants in this so called game. I won’t say who they are because that kinda spoils a few things, also you technically should play 999 first.

Apparently a figure known as Zero created this game as an experiment, and set down rules. It should be mentioned that each player has a bracelet (Just like in 999) that has a number on it. However, unlike 999, this number changes each round of the game. The player who reaches the number 9 on theirs can open the door and escape. Should their bracelet reach zero or they break a rule in the game, the player dies via an injection of a strong muscle relaxant from their bracelet.

Now let me get to why this game is significantly better than Infinite in terms of it’s idea. So the ending of Infinite tries to point out the idea of string theory, and references the divisions in the game as a point to this, however the choices never actually matter because it is a linear game. Well VLR isn’t like that at all. You make choices, very subtle ones at that, that can have dire consequences later on. The game presents a flow-chart with all of the possible outcomes and endings so that you can see how you affect things.

VLR goes really out of it’s way to point out to you why the choices here matter, certain people distrust others, different places can only be explored by going through a certain combination of rooms, and certain people will die or be saved based on that. Then to top it off, you travel into different versions of the same reality to gather information relating to particular puzzles or questions. The game even goes as far as to lock you out of story threads completely if you haven’t seen a particular set of endings yet.

Speaking of which, there’s over 20 endings to this game. There are a few repeats, but for the most part, they are all as crazy and weird as the next one. There’s one specific example where after talking to a character for a while, you end up following them out of a room, only to find them and every other player of the Nonary Game all dead in a room having each of them committing suicide using a scalpel, at which point you follow suit (There’s an explanation for this action).

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is the earlier game in the series, with a lot of the same ideas, names of mechanics, and so on. Difference being the environment, which is an old cruise ship supposedly the sister ship of the Titanic. Unlike VLR which stuck to an underground base. Also, the way players are killed for breaking rules is far more violent. They outright explode from a bomb placed in their bodies. You get taste of that right early on. There’s not much else to say that can’t be said of VLR, other than the puzzles are more challenging and the main character is hallucinating half the time.

One thing both games do is explain a lot of philosophical, physiological, and scientific ideas that give a general basis upon which the fiction is set. Even though it is a very super-natural game, the theories and research it presents are very much real, and intrigues further research into ideas like Quantum Physics, psychotropics, mental disorders, and so on. Again, something Bioshock just made up for it’s own fiction and a lot of players moronically accepting it as something that actually existed in real-life, especially a lot of the political stuff, which it often got VERY, VERY WRONG.

Basically, if like adventure games, go fucking buy both of these games right fucking now. And leave a few screenshots I took:

Phi being Phi.

HELLA WACK, YO!

</SPOILERS>

In regards to SMT: Devil Survivor Overclocked, I’m still really early in it. About 5-6 hours into the story and still on the “First Day” of events. But my first impressions of the game are that is shows some interesting ideas. The auction house for demons on top of being able to fuse them being kinda cool. They last for about 5 seconds and you have to try and out-bid AI opponents to acquire new demons to mess around with. Other than that, the grid-based, turn-based gameplay is more or less what you would expect from an SMT game, but that’s perfectly fine as it still works perfectly.

The story is kind of interesting, although the characters you run into are not the best. It doesn’t help that the game only features English voice acting, with no option for the Japanese original. Luckily you can turn off voices completely, which has lead to me playing my 3DS completely muted. So yeah, it seems cool, but I find it hard to talk about off the top of my head. I should really start taking notes while playing games if I’m gonna talk about them in this fashion.

Rayman Legends is both very, very fucking awesome; and quite annoying at the same time. First off, I played the game on the Vita, which (At the time of writing) is missing a large chunk of levels from the game, and Ubisoft has yet to deliver on the patch. However, the levels that are there are really creative and fun. It is far more forgiving than Origins was and the controls have been significantly tightened, leading to a much more playable game than before. The problem is the touchscreen stuff they have added.

Put it this way, you’re in the beginning portion of a level, getting into your grove. Then the game puts a wall in your face and says “STOP PLAYING. IT’S MURFY TIME!”, then you start controlling a fairy as you interact with pieces of the level and watch an AI character navigate through these environments instead of you. On top of that, the AI for said character is very stiff, going along a very deliberate path. There is some good news, you can turn on multiplayer and have someone else do the Murfy stuff while you navigate the levels. But honestly, I would prefer it if none of that shit was present, it just seems annoying to me, I want go through these levels! I want to enjoy them and have the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge, not some narrow-thinking AI incapable of emotions.

Other than that, the end-world levels are absolutely amazing. The first one is exactly what they showed at E3 a few years ago, but later on they start playing versions of songs like “Black Betty” and “Eye Of The Tiger”, either as covers with the original instruments, or just go nuts and play the entirety of the song in a Mariachi band style. It is the most awesome shit. Of top of that, the levels practically turn into rhythm game, with enemies and obstacles popping up to the beat of the song. Definitely one of my favourite games of the year, albeit with some issues.

I already a fair amount about Muramasa: Rebirth already, but I figured I would give a small update. I start playing with the male character, and the game is still very much the same. Different bosses and story line, but it plays exactly the same. The swords are very similar also. And I am aware of there being lot more to this game now outside of the main story line.

Another Vanillaware game; Dragon’s Crown seems pretty interesting. I’m usually not a fan of brawlers, but this showing some promise for me. The use of RPG mechanics seems like a nice fit for once and actually adds new moves and options for combat. Another nice feature is the ability to have AI party members, so I don’t have to be alone when going through the game, a major help when not many people I know have the game.

Also, it’s a gorgeous looking game. You might have opinions on the character art, and that’s fine, I’ve seen way more fucked up shit in art galleries when it comes to representing humans; so the designs in that regard don’t faze me at all. But everything about the world from the background art, animations, lighting; it’s fantastic.

As for another game that is astoundingly pretty, but unfortunately lacks the same depth or fun; Remember Me has a really unique concept, the idea of going into people’s memories and changing them to alter their opinions of the world around them and even to manipulate their motivations. Neo-Paris is a stunningly beautiful environment, both the slums and the upper-class areas are well-detailed. The concept art in the game also opens up the ideas that the developer has, showing even larger parts of the city with huge landscapes and environments to climb around in.

The problem with the game is, it falls flat in terms of mechanics. It relies very heavily on combat, without giving a ton of variety in terms of enemy encounters, and when there are new enemies to fight, they are not very well designed, and combat scenes end up lasts way longer than they should because of certain enemies like the guys that hurt you whenever you strike a hit at them, or the invisible mutants. Not very fun in that regard.

The Memory Remix is a really cool idea though, and I personally wish they made more of them throughout the story of the game.

Shadow Warrior is both cheesy as Hell, and kinda dumb fun. I don’t even know why they give you guns, the sword is so awesome to use to cut dudes up into especially tiny pieces. Yeah, the level design could be better and there should be more enemy variety early on; but I still find it quite enjoyable. The amount of 90’s movie/song references is pretty great too.

Right, now let me tell you about ARMA III. It is both the most realistic military shooter a civilian can get their hands on, and the dumbest fucking fun you could ever have. Allow me to explain. You could have a well thought out plan to attack an enemy base, and capture it without alerting the enemy players… Or, you could get a tank, turn on direct comms, and then blare out NWA songs while steamrolling towards their front gate with the full intention of fucking their shit up. And that’s why I love this fucking game. Wasteland is a really fun game mode to play by the way, although it needs fixing at the moment.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon seem pretty great. I only played an hour though. Same with Tomb Raider. I’ll try and play more of both, I promise.

StreetPass. Now that is a thing. I honestly wasn’t too hot on the idea before I ended up back in England for Uni. But know that I have people to actually StreetPass with, I’ve come around to it. Don’t get me wrong, it is a dumb through-and-through, but it is very much engaging nonetheless. So much so that I spent money on those extra games that they made.

So what are my thoughts on the games? Puzzle-Swap is a no-brainer. Pass people, get pieces of an image. As for the StreetPass Quest, it’s more of a game, a very basic strategy game, but still more of a game than the Puzzle-Swap thing. You basically go room to room, clearing out enemies and getting hats.

Now the paid games is where it gets interesting. First off, I paid fucking money for a fucking gardening game… And I’m enjoying it! Growing plants, organizing my garden, selling the seeds I get; enthralling as Hell. Next up in the StreetPass Battle thing, where you build an army of Mii characters you collect. It sounds cool in concept, but in actual fact you spend more time building you damn army through just StreetPassing then logging in and ending your turn than you do actually fighting. Kind of a bummer in that regard.

Next couple of games are the StreetPass Mansion, which is a dungeon-crawler/puzzle-piece/timing-based combat game. It’s interesting and kinda deep in places, although if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing you can get killed very quick, which happened to me because I was too busy talking to people or watching something. It has a bunch of levelling up and weapon upgrading you can do if you’re into that. And the last one is a space-shooter where the Mii characters you have turn into a variety of weapons. It’s fun but kinda time consuming. To be fair, with all these games now, I barely have time to play other games on my 3DS because I’m too busy StreetPassing- OH GOD HELP ME!

I’m still playing Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 3 Portable. They’re not really worth talking about here because I’ve already talk about them to death. As with Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel, it’s a novelised version of the original story. It’s not bad, but you already know what it’s about.

As for Battlefield 3, well fuck the console version of that game, it’s unplayable. The PC version might be superior in every way, shape, and form; but aspects of that game are still not great. I still think persistence in a multiplayer environment in relation to levels and content locks is a terrible idea that very much turns off late-joining players.

The Battlefield 4 Beta was unplayable for me due to the fact I didn’t really have a PC while it was out for the most part, and even when I did get my computer back, it still had horrible frame-rate issues.

I went into Syndicate with an the expectation that it was a game with a specific style and idea that failed to deliver appropriately. And it met that expectation perfectly. The world is extremely stylized, much like Remember Me, and the music is a highlight; with a powerful dubstep driven soundtrack. What is poor about the game is the fact that is fails to execute any of it’s coolest ideas in a fun way, often using a mechanic once and then never giving you a reason to use it ever again. Although my more pressuring issue with the game is just how much of a console port it is on the PC.

Getting to the point, the FOV is complete crap and will ruin the game unless one is to mod the files to increase the field. It truly is sickening while playing the game, especially with all that stylized camera use that Starbreeze is known for. That being said, this isn’t a disappointing game, as long as you go into it with the right expectations of knowing that it’s a very stylized, but still kind of generic shooter; there is some fun to be had with it.

I started playing and enjoying Saint’s Row 4, then I got to a point where it kept crashing on me and I got reverted to an old save and haven’t played it since. As for GTA V, well you’ve probably played it and enjoyed it. I liked it too. And it is not worth repeating why because you already know the answer.

3D Dot Game Heroes is fantastic game idea that I really wish got released on the Vita. It basically a love letter to Zelda. As a matter of fact, it pretty much is Zelda. Even down to some of the sound effects being the same. Anyway, I finished the first dungeon and worked my way through the rest of the world, it’s really fun and filled with references. You should play this.

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of Pokemon.. Actually I’m not a fan at all, but I still bought Pokemon Y after some very light persuasion from a couple of friends. Well, it’s exactly what I thought it was going to be, another Pokemon game. You collect, train, and fight with monsters. Yep. And you know what? It’s good, and I’m enjoying it. What more do you want from me? I’ve certainly taken my time with it, I’m 16 hours in and I’ve only just finished the second Gym Leader, now I’m just grinding up my main Pokemon into the level 40s.

Also, when I found an Evee, I lost my proverbial shit from just how adorable it was.

And finally on the games front, The Stanley Parable. Do not not not not not not (DO) play it.

3DS Impressions

So I’ve had a 3DS for four months now. My general impressions of the system are mixed. Put it this way;

  • Yeah, the 3D works, but it’s a pointless feature.
  • The sound and visuals are terrible for most games.
  • The console is quite uncomfortable to hold in my hands for long periods of time.
  • The system is more cute than it is functional.
  • The eShop is joke.
  • The friend system is the worst.
  • The touchscreen is poor.

But then there’s this:

  • StreetPass is a cool feature. Dumb, but cool.
  • It might be more cute than functional, but it’s kinda joyful in that regard.
  • Digital Releases of all 3DS games.
  • SD Card slot.
  • Dual-Screens are alright depending on how they’re used.
  • There may not be a ton of great games, but the ones there are, are of a fairly high quality.

Take from that what you will, I know I’m not going super in-detail like I did with the Vita, but that’s because I really don’t have a ton of time to write a lengthy comparison right now. I like the system, but the Vita still stole my heart in this regard. But I have plenty of room in my bag for both.

I promise to do a more in-detailed comparison of the two in the future.

Gaming On A Laptop

It sucks. Don’t do it. Ever.

OK, in all seriousness, if you have a good surface to place it on you’ll be set. And provided it’s powerful enough, it can probably get by. I just wasn’t having a good time with my laptop because I wanted to play stuff like BF4 and a few other high-end games, and couldn’t.

Anime:

Seeing as I’ve watched so much of this stuff this year, I’ll just give you the lists I’ve created.

Stuff I watched:

  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
  • Persona 4 The Animation
  • Persona: Trinity Soul
  • Devil Survivor 2 The Animation
  • Samurai Champloo
  • Kids Of The Slope
  • Attack On Titan
  • Watashi Ga Motenai No Wa Dou Kangaete Mo Omaera Ga Warui! (WataMote)
  • Black Lagoon
  • Eden Of The East
  • Ghost In The Shell
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • My Neighbour Totoro
  • The Girl Who Lept Through Time
  • Paprika
  • Perfect Blue
  • Summer Wars
  • Grave Of The Fireflies
  • Lupin III – Castle Of Cagliostro
  • Akria
  • Death Note
  • Valkyira Chronicles
  • Spirited Away
  • Voices A Of Distant Star
  • Nausicaa Valley Of The Wind
  • Ghost In The Shell: Arise (Pt 1)
  • Millennium Actress
  • 5cm Per Second

Planning To Watch:

Ghost In The Shell: Innocence

  • Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Serial Experiment Lain
  • Sword Of The Strangers
  • Shigurui
  • Hellsing Ultimate
  • Metropolis
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
  • Nodame Cantabile
  • Darker than Black
  • Macross Plus
  • Laputa – Castle In The Sky
  • Porco Rosso
  • Whisper Of The Heart
  • Shinsekai Yori
  • Freedom
  • Persona 3: The Movie
  • Girl und Panzer
  • Mardock Scramble
  • Ghost In The Shell: Arise (Pt 2/3/4)
  • Kill La Kill
  • Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
  • A Letter to Momo
  • The Place Promised in Our Early Days
  • From Up On Poppy Hill
  • Colorful
  • Gurren Lagann
  • JoJo’s Bizzare Adventures

Manga

Similar situation with the anime stuff. I could describe my feelings in more detail, but honestly, you could just check them out yourself.

  • Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack On Titan)
  • WataMote
  • Black Lagoon
  • Kids On The Slope
  • Cowboy Bebop

Attack On Titan and WataMote are the series that I am following at the moment. I purchased all the Black Lagoon volumes they’ve put out, and I’ll read them whenever I get back home.

Other Stuff:

Windows 8 Sucks

Yes, it’s the worst. It is an OS for people who clearly have no idea how computers work, but also fails to cater to the people who do know. It makes even the most basic customisations that you would usually be familiar with a complete hassle, and the “Metro” interface to totally pointless. I haven’t had a chance to update to 8.1 yet, but I doubt it fixes my issues.

There is one thing I like though, when you have dual-monitors (Much like I do), you can have a collection of single-monitor wallpapers, and you have both monitors shuffle through different pictures at the same time, instead of specifically creating dual-screen wallpapers like before because it used to just repeat the same image on both screens unless you went through the hassle of making them yourself.

PC Status

MY PC IS WORKING AGAIN. ALL IS GOOD.

Yeah, it was just transit damage, but I still didn’t have the tools to properly fix it, so I ended up paying someone to do it for me. They also gave it a damn good cleaning which was nice.

Anyway, this blog is finally written. Make sure to check out the latest MGCast, where we shoot the usual shit. I’m out! Later!

-ADMAN

ADMAN’s Gaming Den – 16/08/2013

As I’ve been saying for a while now, games have been taking up a very large chunk of my time; probably to the point where I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I was possibly lazy. Regardless, I enjoy what I do, and recently I have been finding a new love with the medium exploring genres that I never thought I would ever enjoy.

And with that, Muramasa: Rebirth. It’s an awesome version of that game. It translates to the Vita’s control scheme beautifully and has a very robust and competent combat system. So if you never played the Wii version (Which I haven’t), here’s a quick summary; it’s a 2D MetroidVania Action game. You can play as two characters; Momohime, a princess who’s body is possessed by a demon’s soul (This is the only character I have finished so far). Or Kisuke, a fugitive from a Ninja Clan. The game has use and collect a large number of swords (108 to be exact), all with distinct abilities known a Secret Art. The game forces you to constantly forge new, more powerful weaponry to progress as new swords will take more damage than the previous one. The reason this is important is due to the fact that swords can break and be unusable. Luckily, you always carry three weapons at a time, and collecting souls off defeated foes refills the sword’s spiritual energy, repairing it.

The game is gorgeous by the way. The art is absolutely stunning.

As I mentioned, the combat is fluid and very simple to understand. It doesn’t take much to pull off attacks, most of the game’s challenge comes from mastering the timings and knowing when to use Secret Arts or when to change swords (Which causes an area-of-effect attack, damaging all enemies on screen). It wipes most of the frustration that you could have with a system like this away. Speaking of which, I often have an issue with many Vita games due to what I believe is input lag, but it this game it does not seem to be present at all. This pleases me.

Although most common enemies are not a problem, the boss battles can stand out at times. With the more varied attacks forcing you to master many of the game’s mechanics, as well as making you utilize other tactics. One example is a boss where you begin the battle being digested in his stomach, and slashing at him from the inside so he eventually pukes you out. Following this, he tries to flatten you with his foot, forcing you to have to dodge. Eventually projectiles are added and so forth. And that’s just one boss. There are quite a few in the game that are crazier than that.

Something that is also pleasing is the game’s aesthetics. The animations, backgrounds, character design, UI, and so on; all look stunning. Probably to the point where I would be willing to say that this is one of the most beautiful games I have ever played on the Vita. On top of that, the writing is pretty humorous, especially when Momohime refers to womanizers as degenerates along with many other insults. I highly recommend checking this game out, but keep in mind that you may have to import it, I don’t think it’s coming to the EU any time soon.

Moving on, another game I put a considerable amount of time into was PAYDAY 2, and with good reason. I didn’t play much of the first PAYDAY, it seemed quite difficult and kinda broken at times. However, with PAYDAY 2, the difficulty is more fair (For the most part) from the get go. Missions are far easier to understand and way more readable in terms of where the main points of interest are, such as guards, cops, safes, etc.

The leveling system also makes more sense, yes you still have to level to get more guns, but jobs give you the custom parts for said weapons, making the starting arsenal for more usable than before. Well, that and they give you more than one gun from the get go. Money plays a large part into the customization options, having to spend money to get guns, change parts, decorate masks, and even on in-mission assets to make the job a tad easier.

With a good set of co-op parters, you can have blast going through the missions to together. Planning out specific roles as each player uses a different tier, managing the crowd, and/or shooting your way out of their when the plan fails and you have to leg it.

There are a few things I take issue with. The “high-powered” guns don’t do as much damage as advertised, and weapons in general don’t feel very accurate. I’m often missing shots for no reason, and the game is not very forgiving with its hitboxes. Not to mention the unending swarm of police that somehow refuse to care that they are even being hit with high-speed, molten lead projectiles; and only exist to ruin your day.

The AI can be very problematic, especially playing in a stealthy way. Just last night, I was playing the mission “Framing Frame”, where the first day of the heist takes place in an art gallery, and I alerted a guard after he saw me for a split second from a small window on top of the roof.

Other than those issues, it’s a barrel of fun to play with friends, and I’m sure a lot of the issues will be fixed in time.

Probably the only shitty game I will be talking about today is Unit 13, which is trying too hard to be console game on a handheld. It is an awful mess of a game. It plays atrociously, the character takes up 80% of the damn screen and the FOV makes it impossible to know what’s around you. Not to mention things like the map, reloading, vaulting and taking cover, and so on; are all located on screen making the UI cluttered as Hell. On top of that, the AI is piss poor. They either ignore you, or instantly kill you in a few hits because they somehow saw you through some tiny hole between cover. The missions themselves are not very interesting, mostly consisting of “Go here, interact with this, then leave” type of gameplay.

Honestly, don’t play it. I only tried it because it was on PS Plus, and I wish I hadn’t. If you want a game that does this type of small mission structure but better and with more depth, play Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker, which is cheaper than usual on the PSN Store at the moment.

Gravity Rush is a pretty cool game if you ever want to check it out. I think it’s gonna be on PS Plus forever at this point, so you should probably check it out. Anyway, I had some money to burn, so I decided to buy the DLC costume packs. A few extra hours to play in that world doesn’t sound too bad.

Anyway, it’s just more of the same. A lot of “Pick this stuff up” or “Defeat all these guys” types of missions. Except now you get three dumb new costumes. Either way, it has reminded that the game gives me one Hell of a case of motion sickness. I feel pretty crummy just thinking about. Regardless, if you really wanted more Gravity Rush, I guess will add an hour or two of content for you.

As for my update on the progress of Persona 3 Portable, well a particular character died, and now I’m seeing the characters react to said event. So I’m at the last third of the game at this point. Time to keep grinding and fusing till the end.

I haven’t really progressed much with Persona 2: Innocent Sin. But I have been reading up on some of the plot details, and I have to say that if this story is related to the P3/P4 universe, then a whole lot of things make sense now. Although it’s still pretty crazy. I’ll give more of an update as I go through it.

I recently bought I played a few games that I think are worth mentioning here. Starting with The World Ends With You, which is a JRPG on the DS that uses the cool looking art style that you might associate with something like Jet Set Radio. You know, the hopped up street graffiti look. It’s still early into the game, but the whole dual-screen combat system is very confusing. Basically you control your character on the bottom screen with the touchscreen, and the other character is on the top screen who you can interact with using the face buttons. Although if you control one, the other is taken over by the AI anyway. The game seems like a neat idea, and it definitely has an intriguing art style, I just hope the combat doesn’t drive me up the wall.

Virtue’s Last Reward is the sequel to 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. The game is a basically a puzzle game where you have to solve a series of mini-games to escape a particular set of scenarios. And when it’s not trying to kill you, it plays out the story in a graphic novel type way. I haven’t put a ton of time into either (I literally just got “999” a few hours ago in the post) so I cannot attest to the quality of the characters or story. However, it’s been years since I last played a game even close to this. It reminds me of adventure games of old, and the premise has my attention.

Finally, 3D Dot Game Heroes. I’m not gonna beat around the bush here; it’s fucking Zelda. It’s a 3D, voxel-based re-creation of Zelda. And that seems really cool. Mostly because you can create a whole bunch of weird shit with the in-game tools. I’ve put a good hour into it, and I’ll look forward to playing it again as soon as I’m done playing ICO and Valkyria Chronicles.

Next week: Progress Report (Possibly?)

Later.

-ADMAN