Saturday, May 23, 2015

There are still more P4: Dancing All Night trailers.

Ohoh, swimsuit DLC for the game's principal ladies?  Oh Japan - when will you address casual objectification in your games?

That said, Chie does look super-cute in her shorts and I appreciate that Naoto's suit is so practical and conservative.

Ohoh, crossdressing DLC for the game's dudes?  Oh Japan.  I'm not sure if that evens anything out.

But I like it.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hellraid on hold. Nuts.

Techland, one if the lights of my gamer life - masters of first-person melee combat and makers of Dead Island, Riptide and Dying Light - has put their sword-and-sorcery open-world first-person co-op brawler/RPG Hellraid "on hold."

Now... Hellraid was supposed to come out last summer.  Then last fall.  Then this year - so it's not shocking that the game just didn't come together - but it is also to cry.  It is to cry.  Official statement!

"Dear Hellraid fans,

We would like to officially announce that our dark fantasy FPP game Hellraid will not be released this year as previously planned, and the development of the game has been put on hold.

In the recent months we conducted an internal analysis and came to the conclusion that Hellraid, in its current shape and form, is not meeting our own expectations for this project. Therefore, we decided the best course of action would be to send it back to the drawing board and invent our dark fantasy title anew.

In the meantime, we will consolidate our development resources and focus on further expansion of our Dying Light franchise.

We wish to thank all our fans for your support – you’re the best!"
So, more Dying Light.  That's cool.  I mean, Dying Light is easily the best thing the studio's made, so more of that is cool... I'll just pretend I wasn't super-hyped for swinging broadswords into skeleton faces in first person...

It's... it's not like I loved the idea or anything...

That said, isn't it just nice when developers come out with it and just talk turkey?  I really appreciate that - like when CD Projekt talked about the engine switch The Witcher III went though this week.

That's cool, man.  It's cool when devs talk like actual people, and not like a press release.  It's more polite

It would have been awful for Techland to go on for another year not talking about Hellraid and giving me hope...

'Cause yeah.

...fuck hope.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Shu Yoshida: Bloodborne expansion is coming.




Man, Twitter is a gold mine today.

"Danganronpa-like story with Valkyria Chronicles style combat."

I've been aware of JRPG Lost Dimension for a while, now.  I heard about it when it was announced, I heard about the need to suss out the traitor in your party, that it's a strategy RPG, and I heard that Atlus announced the PS3/Vita title for localization (it drops in North America on July 28th).

What I'd never heard was the phrase - "Danganronpa-like story with Valkyria Chronicles style combat."  Which is... potent - and it's what GameTrailers dropped on me today.

So naturally I clicked the link and listened to Ben Moore explain the game.

Click the link.  Listen to Ben Moore explain the game.

Dooo ittt.  But if not, here's some point form.

  • It's an SRPG in that each character has a pool of action points for movement and attack.  There doesn't appear to be any cover, and combat is a mix of guns, magic and melee. 
  • Friendly fire is always on.
  • Interestingly, if you're not using up one character's action points, you can transfer the balance to another - which lowers the first character's sanity. 
  • Sanity is lowered by being attacked, et cetera, and when they snap you lose all control of them, but they give and receive double damage. 
  • You're trying to guide your party up a tower, but at the end of each floor you must decide which one of them is plotting against you.  If you guess wrong, that character will be waiting for you at the final boss to fight against you. 
  • If you accuse correctly and kill the traitor, they drop materia (yes, materia) which can imbue you with some of their powers.  Had to off your caster?  Well cheers, now you can throw fireballs. 
  • Each character has different gifts - the main character's gift is being psychic and can thus mind-dive into their comrades to suss out the truth in a weird minigame. 
  • Who is and who is not the traitor is randomized on each playthrough. 
  • Every character feels differently about every other character - including you - and this can be turned to your advantage, or downfall. 
  • When it's time to accuse, if you haven't maintained good enough relationships with your comrades, they can accuse you, kill you, and that's all she wrote - bam - game over. 

The game he's describing is absolutely a game I want to play.

God of War III Remastered - the Hades fight 60fps and 1080p.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Game Diary - PC master race.

Short on time, but let's chat.  I mucked around in Race the Sun the other day.  It's okay.  It's certainly not bad.  I don't really understand much about it - you race through a minimalist environment, attempting to keep up with the ever-setting sun, which powers your solar vehicle - and I was just getting to the point where it was unlocking things and making my ship cooler annnd... meh.

I opened up Muramasa and started a new game on chaos difficulty.

It remains one of my favorite games of all time.  The word I often apply to Vanillaware games - which they invariably live up to - is luxurious.  It's beautiful and comfortable and delicious in all ways, and it's always a bit edifying to return to a game I've proclaimed wonderful and find that Future Me agrees with Past Me's zeal.

In other news, Darkest Dungeon is finally going to get its first major update at the end of the month.  There've been a ton of little updates where they balance the characters and add nice little UI tweaks - there've probably been dozens since I've been away from it - but on May 28th, there's a biggun.

The Fiends & Frenzy update will finally add new classes to the game, in the form of the military-hardened Man-at-Arms (mace, shield and buffs!) and the Arbalest, a ranged attacker with "some field medic abilities."  The update also adds three new bosses to the game, who will now appear in the currently-available dungeons.

Perhaps most exciting is the promise of "new special rewards" for those who explore larger dungeons "in a state of darkness."

This is music to my ears, as my strategy has long been to camp immediately upon entering a dungeon to buff my heroes, and then let the light disappear to increase my loot spoils and crit chance - which makes a huge difference.  Of course, you also get ambushed more and enemies do far more damage to you, but it's not called Brightest Dungeon, is it?

So yeah.  I really want to get back into Darkest Dungeon, but... there's a new kid on the PC block, and she's just my type.

Invisible Inc, Klei's latest long-in-development effort, got its full release this week.  Its system spec requirements on Steam are, effectively, written in Greek.  They're likely meant to explain something very specific, but I have no idea what my computer is actually built from and whether or not it can run the game.  Purchasing it, then, was a bit of a risk - especially given that it's coming to PS4 eventually - but patience has never been my strong suit.

I gave them twenty dollars.  I waited.  I installed.  I updated.  I ran the game.

My PC can run Invisible Inc.  It is a beautiful day.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Good Smile 1/8 scale Ultimate Madoka.

So yeah, I totally ordered Good Smile’s Ultimate Madoka 1/8 scale for Kayla on the sixth.  I wanted it to be a surprise.  I’d signed up for a Mandarake account months ago – when I was this close to grabbing Cyril Brooklyn for myself.

Back then, I stopped short when it came time to fire in my payment info, but on the 6th, I punched it in and finalized the purchase.  I was then immediately taken to a suspicious little page that said it was my credit card company wanting a bunch of additional information to verify my purchase... but the URL looked legit... so I held my breath and plunged in.  I signed up for Extra Super Additional Security or whatever it is, and... finalized the purchase?

Nope.  Error code, unable to make a charge against the card. 

I tried again.  Error code.

Tried again.  Error code.  Oh come on

At this point, my sweetie was complaining from the living room that I was not at her side, prepared to watch a movie with her as promised.  I assured her I’d be there in just a minute, and called my credit card company. 

The lady on the phone walked me through re-signing up for Extra Super Additional Security (which, it turns out, was legit), and told me to attempt the purchase again.
Error code.

She then confirmed the company and the amount, and put me on hold to go have a conversation with their security department.  I went outside, smoked a cigarette, waited... and she told me to try again. 

Purchase confirmed.  We sat down and watched Jupiter Ascending.  It was meh, with very nice special effects.

Now, Mandarake is a major blessing and a minor curse.  The high-end Japanese figure industry is an odd duck.  Often, a figure is only produced to meet its pre-ordered needs, be that through end-use consumers like me, or stores or whathaveyou.  After that initial run?  Poof – they’re gone – and certain figures can command two, three, five times their original price, depending on the rarity, quality and post-release demand.  That’s some event-exclusive Nendoroids that can command over fifty thousand yen on the aftermarket, and why my Selvaria was ¥42,000.

Well, that and the fact that I went through Amazon, and not Mandarake.  Amazon’s prices will always be higher than a dedicated seller like Mandarake or Amiami, but it’s ultra-convenient when you’re in the market for a figure which doesnt have a bootlegged version.

Toy manufacturers in China will almost-instantly reproduce popular figures, sometimes before they’re even released, and the difference can sometimes be profound.  Luckily, Myfigurecollection exists – and for pretty much any Japanese figure in existence, it will be able to tell you whether or not a bootleg exists for it.   You’ll often, even, get pictures of the fake to compare yours to, to confirm it’s the real deal.  It’s a terribly handy resource!

A counterfeit Good Smile Ultimate Madoka.

Now, occasionally, rarely, a particularly popular figure will get a re-print after its initial run – but for the most part, it’s one and done.  If the figure you desire doesn’t suffer a bootleg, you can go through Amazon just for the sake of convenience – there’s no risk of receiving a fake if one doesn’t exist – but when the shadow of a possible bootleg looms over your prospective figure purchase, as one does with the Good Smile 1/8 Ultimate Madoka, you need Amiami or Manda.

Both Amiami and Mandarake sell used figures, and you are essentially guaranteed to receive the genuine article when going through these sites.  Amiami’s preowned section empties almost-instantly when it’s updated, but where Amiami is often your one-stop shop for pre-ordering new figs, all Manda does is preowned.   They always have a massive number of figures in stock, and simply by keeping your eye on the site, the object of your affection will eventually pop up.

While it does have an English version – which certainly helps – Mandarake is a Japanese site, and important stuff (like, say, the unique description of the item you want, and its quality or problems) will always be written in Japanese.  You need to fire it into Google Translate to understand any of it, and any subtleties are lost in the process.  Each will, often, have a disclaimer saying “this thing may be a bit screwed,” because they’re not allowed to say it will absolutely, definitely be perfect.  

Additionally, because it probably isn’t perfect – so you’re paying two hundred bucks for something that may show up broken, with no way to know what, precisely, might be broken.

Still – a probably-perfect but definitely-authentic figure from Manda for a semi-reasonable price is better than a possibly-counterfeit item from the much-more-expensive Amazon – and I knew that, if left to her own devices, Kayla would put in an order on Amazon one day.  Really, I was doing the most responsible thing possible.

Kayla’s Good Smile 1/8 Ultimate Madoka arrived on Wednesday, in a box large enough to comfortably house a pair of standing collies.  I had told her we were picking up the God Eater Alisa Nendoroid I’d ordered (tragically, breaking my own rule of never ordering a fig that didn’t represent a game or anime I love), but once she saw the box it had to be pretty obvious. 

She tells me she kept on trying to squash the little voice in her head calling out “he bought you Madoka!” on the ride home.  I laid into the box with a paring knife, removed the packing, turned around and gave her Madoka’s (colossal) box. 

She cried.  It was awesome. 

The figure is... well, spectacular.  Her dress alone is spectacular.

The look of (adorable) determination on her face as she (SPOILERS!) launches the wish that ends the world is perfect.  Her incredible wings that actually become glass-clear as they join with her shoulders... phenomenal.

She comes with two bows – one that shows off the elegantly organic design of her rose weapon and one that sports the rippling blossom of her reality-shattering power.  It’s really cool – her pink power actually sprouts from the soul gems embedded in the bow, and shards of light sprouting from each bloom of energy suggest the ethereal string she draws to her cheek.

The bows come in two parts, and you join them inside her hand.  She has a helluva grip on her left hand, and that – I suspect – is what caused the previous owner to snap the lower half of the bow. 

I mean, the plain bow is cool and all – but this figure should clearly be permitted the full extent of its awesomeness.  Luckily, the break in the lower half was clean and the seller had included both parts.  After consulting the sage counsel of the FigureGAF crew, I picked up some super glue at a gas station, and joined the halves. 

And here’s Kayla’s Good Smile 1/8 scale Ultimate Madoka.  

I remarked that she really should be on the top shelf. 

Kayle agreed, and has decided to purchase her own Detolf.  We are currently in negotiations on where said Detolf should appear, and I am lobbying strongly for the living room. Books and movies can go anywhere, but a display must be displayed.

I’ll be honest – and this is likely far too much information, but – Kayla procuring herself an army of Nendoroids, and shopping for a Detolf for her figures..?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Not A Hero's launch trailer is condensed insanity.

Get on my Vita!

Witcher III cinematic trailer.

Ugh.  Yet another mainstream game glorifying violence against women.

Y'know what trailer I loved?  The Killing Monsters trailer from two years ago.

Ugh.  Yet another mainstream game that perpetuates the stereotype of the damsel in distress.