Sunday, November 30, 2014

I made a YouTube video!

Which... is no big deal, I suppose.  Thousands of people make thousands of YouTube videos every day, and a lot of them are like ten years old - but this is my very first attempt at mucking about in those strange waters.

Just a little moment from Far Cry 4.  Y'know those times when you're just wandering through the jungle, minding your own business, and suddenly you hear the growl of some nearby predator?

It's not much.  It's not much at all, but it's a start.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Star Wars VII teaser trailer.

Well shit, I'm in.

Game Diary.

Cutting down bushes in search of healing items and treasure is a cornerstone of this experience.

Four days ago, I beat the third dungeon in Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, which is a dyed-in-the-wool Link To The Past tribute/rip-off.  A tribute, because to a significant degree it allows the player the actions and follows the structure of Nintendo's classic - exploring a mysterious and unexplained world, finding hidden rooms and solving hidden puzzles without an ounce of assistance from the developer, discovering new items and powers that allows access to an ever-expanding amount of the map and cutting down bushes to bankroll the whole affair.  A rip-off because, no, it doesn't do it nearly as well as Nintendid

Four days ago, when I beat that third dungeon, I told Kayla that this was Nameless Kingdom's moment of truth.  A huge aspect of what made LttP so stunning was the fact that, once you'd defeated its three dungeons and returned to the central castle, it turned out you hadn't beaten the game - that you weren't even close, and that was only the beginning.

If Nameless Kingdom simply ended after returning to the central castle, it would be a fail.

In haste, I returned to the central castle to see what there was to see... which was a door I could not access.  But that's cool - I'd just earned a new power after exiting the last dungeon, and surely it would uncover some secret in the world that would see me on to this next challenge!

I circumnavigated the map a dozen times, exploring everything, leaving nothing unturned that I could perceive.  There were still four NPCs I hadn't helped - I had no idea how - and so, in my desperation, I turned to the GameFAQs community for help, as no one else in the world seems to be playing this game.

After another day or so of trying to understand their instructions, I finally found a secret passage that held an NPC which wanted an item, in return for an item I could give to another character, in return for an item I could give to another character, and so on.

I still have two characters to go, I believe, until I get the book that allows me to read the mysterious tablets throughout the Nameless Kingdom - and I'm (insanely) trusting the game to actually offer some meaningful progress, at that point.

The last four days with the game were, essentially, spent getting nothing done and beating my head against the game's... rude design.

But here's the thing... LttP was totally-obtuse in the exact same way.  It's just that no top-down Zelda game since has suffered such player-punishing design.  Does that make Nameless Kingdom a brilliant tribute, or just a badly-designed game?

Either way, I think I just experienced its moment of truth, regardless of what happens after I gain access to that central castle.

I beat Far Cry 4 last night, and there is much to say on that subject.  It's fertile ground for a lot of discussion, but let me say briefly that it is exemplary, an immediate GotY contender, and I'm very interested in just starting up a fresh game and picking a different side throughout its campaign.

I'm feeling more than a bit under the weather, today, and am thus home from work.  I took this opportunity to, finally, turn on Grand Theft Auto V's PS4 version.

It does look awesome, for the record.  It looks great, I love the new songs, the heavier traffic isn't a problem, but I found I wasn't interested at all in returning to the campaign of Franklin, Michael and Trevor.  Running around in a narrative-driven campaign had, at some point, lost its footing as my archtypical Grand Theft Auto experience.

For me, the definitive feel of Grand Theft Auto has become driving my car.

Not Franklin's car, or Michael's, or Trevor's truck.  My car.

Well well, who's this dapper lady in the spooky hockey mask and black sneaks?  She's my GTA Online character - my buddy Kris got his character to level 100 last year, but at the time I was still subjected to Dragon's Crown's unbreakable hold.  I did, however, get a nice garage - and I got my car.

I transferred her over, put some next-gen touches on her customization and loaded my game.  I was on and island just off the coast.

The minimap told me my car was near by, so I hiked a few miles overland to the nearest road, and there was... Adder.  The Truffdale Adder is not My Car.  It's one of my cars - the fastest land vehicle in the game, worth a king's ransom - and it would provide fine transportation back to my condo.

This is the garage I wanted when I first saw screens of Grand Theft Auto Online.  A big, well-lit, minimal affair straight out of Bruce Wayne's dreams.  It's a cornucopia of muscle cars, beyond the Adder's presence, with an armored Buffalo for four-man jobs, a Dominator, two Gauntlets and a Phoenix.  But My Car is the Declasse Sabre GT Turbo.  In black.

It's usually pretty hard to find, and has no default spawn location in the world.  The Sabre Turbo costs about $110,000.00 to be outfitted to the maximum awesomeness I'm permitted, at my level.  It's as fast as it can possibly be, with the biggest engine, sharpest brakes, bulletproof tires and the finest racing tuning, but it'll take me until level one hundred to outfit it with the highest-calibre body armor.

It's heavy, but its acceleration is excellent and it lacks the grip of most high-performance cars.  There is, then, a certain lightness to driving it, as it permits beautiful degree of expression in skids and corners.  Its inertia informs your moves as you juke in and out of traffic, allowing it to catch its full weight on the right before you use the subsequent bounce to swoop back to the left.  You can anticipate just the amount of turn you have to give it, and will - at times - find yourself in perfect harmony with your car as it screetches along a highway at a forty-five degree angle after taking it to the shoulder to evade a big rig.

It's a wonderful car.  It's mine, and taking it for a spin up the coastal highway of San Andreas, zipping it through the city's core, is my definitive Grand Theft Auto experience.

And now, I think, I'm going to go lay down and see what the fuck Nameless Kingdom wants from me now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jurassic World trailer woo!

Oh, also, you can get the demo for Guilty Gear Xrd Sign on PS4 today if you're a plus subscriber.  It's... it's pretty gorgeous.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin announced.

Scholar of the First Sin is basically Dark Souls II's "Game of the Year" edition - containing all of the Lost Crowns DLC, with new NPCs, new enemies and game balancing - and it's coming to PS4 and XO, along with previous-gen consoles.

Is Dark Souls II worth buying again?

You bet your ass.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Batman: Arkham Knight - Ace Chemicals Infiltration Trailer: Part 1

I wonder if those super-dramatic camera angles mid-combat are actually gameplay?  Y'never know with this crazy new gen - but my money's on no.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A crazy, psycho-sexual anime short.

Another introduction made by the fine folks at FigureGAF.  WARNING: NSFW

Friday, November 21, 2014

Eitr looks incredible.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  What is this?

It's like a 2D pixel-art Dark Souls.

Ohmigosh there's a gameplay vid!

It has a stamina bar!  (!!!)

Ohmygoodness there's a write-up over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Here's what the devs say:

""Eitr" is from Norse mythology, it is a black poison substance that corrupts whoever or whatever it comes into contact with. The story of the game is based around the world tree, Yggdrasil, the connector of the 9 Norse worlds, which becomes poisoned with Eitr, spewing darkness into each world.

The Game, Eitr, is an Action RPG which takes inspiration from games such as Dark Souls, Path of Exile and the Diablo series. The game will be challenging and require timing and precision to progress through the environments. Players will need to use a combination of blocking, combos, buffs and positioning to succeed in battle."

Now here's the part that really gets me excited.  Devolver may be publishing it.

And you know how friendly Devolver are with Sony, right?  Well...

What.  The.  Yes.

Fingers crossed for Vita.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Oh my gosh. I don't know what Black Witchcraft is, but I want it.

Coming to PS4, 2D action game, indie studio from Korea, here are screens.

Seriously.  Embiggen these - it looks incredible.  The only info so far is from this Facebook page.  It lists as the game's website, but that doesn't lead to anything.

Oh well.  You're on my radar, you gorgeous 2D romp, you.

Supersexy swingin' new Bloodborne screens and info.

Screens and art!  (Giant screens and art - click to embiggen.)

PlayStation Blog post!

"Hello, PlayStation fans. I am excited to be able to share some brand new details for Bloodborne, our PS4-exclusive collaboration between Sony Japan Studio and From Software. We’ll have much more to share in a few weeks, but in the meantime here’s a sneak peek at some of the beautiful and nightmarish stages, enemies and weapons you’ll get to see in the game, straight from the dark and twisted imaginations of the masterful team at From Software.

We revealed a number of new areas of the game back at Tokyo Game Show, including the forbidden forest and an old, abandoned part of Yharnam. You may also remember the Hemwick graveyard we we first revealed at Gamescom, located on the outskirts of Yharnam.

Despite the warm coloured sky and beautiful clouds, this graveyard is home to some very twisted residents, like the deformed gravekeeper hags with their horrifying shrieks and long reach attacks. When you make your way through the depths of the Hemwick graveyard, you’ll come upon an old manor inhabited by a powerful eyeball-collecting old witch, among other things. You may want to bring a fellow player or two along when you’re ready to meet her face to face.

Also at TGS, we already revealed Gascoigne, a stylishly dressed priest who also wields a giant axe and does double duty as a Hunter in Yharnam, as well as a mysterious hunter with twin blades and a cape of bird feathers. Now I would like to introduce Gyula, an old veteran hunter who is said to possess amazing skill. No one has seen him in many years, since he ventured into the old part of Yharnam, deserted and burned to the ground after the plague of the beast took its toll there long ago. You just may run into Gyula when you venture into the old part of the city.

Another place you’ll travel to in your quest to find the truth in Bloodborne is the Cainhurst castle. Seemingly abandoned and frozen over, the noble family that once lived here disappeared without a trace. Its grand stature is visible from afar even through the thick fog of the lake, but getting here won’t be easy. What happened to the family that ruled this castle for many generations? What secrets, and what dangers, await you here?

Moving away from a fantasy medieval setting into a slightly more modern gothic and fearful setting has allowed the team at FromSoftware to bring a whole new vision to life on the PS4, not only in terms of stage design and the kinds of enemies you’ll face, but also the kinds of weapons you’ll have at your disposal to deal with these nightmarish creatures.

From shotguns, transforming saw blades, and axes, to nimble twin blades and even a steel sword that becomes the hilt of a massive block hammer, there’s a wide selection to find and choose from. Each weapon offers players a unique play style and strategy to leverage Bloodborne’s more pro-active combat style, light/heavy and short/long range combo system, and Regain System for earning back health during intense combat.

Here’s one more weapon you’ll be able to wield: the transforming cane. In its standard form, it’s a melee weapon for short range attacks. Like many of the other weapons in Bloodborne, however, this weapon can also transform into a deadly heavy or long range weapon as well, making it a devastating bladed whip.

Last but not least, I have one more exclusive screenshot to share that’s a teaser for things to come. Deep under the city of Yharnam lies an expansive network of multi-levelled ruins, seemingly much older than Yharnam itself and crafted by something other than human hands. What’s more, these ruins appear differently to each hunter brave enough to enter. We’re all very excited to talk more about what that means in just a few weeks.
What’s more, these ruins appear differently to each hunter brave enough to enter. We’re all very excited to talk more what that means at PlayStation Experience on December 6th and 7th. We hope you can join us for a live presentation at the keynote as well as our in-depth panel presentation at the show in just a few weeks."
-Masaaki Yamagiwa, Producer, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio-

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where the heck is Mercenary Kings on Vita?

Like me, you've no doubt been wondering where the heck Mercenary Kings' Vita version disappeared to.  I enjoyed the game on PS4, but knew where I really needed to find it was on my Vita, so I set it aside, folded my hands and patiently waited for its handheld release.

Months passed.  I followed the developers, Tribute Games, on Twitter in the hopes of hearing some news - and bugging them occasionally about its absence from my Vita - and today, finally, they talked about it in their podcast.  Towards the end, they begin answering community questions, and here's what they have to say about the game's Vita version:

"We get that pretty much daily.  I think we're kinda' stuck on a technical side, and hopefully we'll figure out a way to get around our issues in the coming month and we'll be able to announce something probably early next year or something.  I don't think it would be announced or come this year.  Probably some time in the next year.

Running C# (C sharp) code on Vita is just a big pain in the butt.  We're going to have a solution."
Elsewhere, I'm enjoying the crap out of Far Cry 4 - it's wonderful in all the ways 3 was wonderful, with a few pleasant features added.  Going back to 3, now, would (sort of) be like going back and playing Metal Gear Solid after playing 2 - you'd seriously miss all the nice little mechanics they've added, here.

Plus, it's in Tibet, and I've always had a soft spot for the whole Buddhism thing.

In other news,

Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom doesn't suck, so far.  I played the first ten minutes last night, and another half-hour today on my lunch break, and it does - thus far - scratch that Zelda itch.  It's really not bad!

And now, more Far Cry.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why I won't finish Assassin's Creed Unity.

Assassin's Creed Unity is not a bad game, even by Assassin's Creed standards.  It's not as abjectly tedious as the first title, or as rife with inconsiderate design as III - but it's also not one of the good ones.  This isn't II or Brotherhood or IV, which did fantastic things with the worlds they swept you through as they evolved the franchise's grew-old-four-games-ago formula.  And so, Unity is not bad.  It's just very, very stale.

In the same way that Revelations didn't really need to happen, and was a tired, bland affair for the trouble, Unity feels like a re-hash and a re-tread down alleys and across rooftops we've travelled a thousand times before.  It strips the series of what made IV so damned special - the open-sea privateering - and attempts to make a case for the franchise's now-classic exclusively-urban mechanics to be the main and only attraction.

-Penny Arcade-

That could have been fine.  In fact, it could have been brilliant.  With Unity, the first title in the series on the eighth generation of console platforms, Ubisoft had the opportunity (and, I'd suggest, the obligation) to provide the series with a great leap forward in the same way II did, back in 2009.  They did not.

Unity's "next-gen" advancements are purely superficial. Look at how many people are in this crowd, 200 feet below our hooded hero.

That's awesome. The game looks amazing, and is a bit boggling when you stroll through some opulent palace rooms in an early scene, where the details are razor-sharp and the gold filigree glistens with the flicker of candlelight.  Once again, Paris cannot hold a candle to the atmospheric beauty of Brotherhood's Rome, but Unity's absolutely gorgeous, as a general rule (when it's not rendering hair).
A bit like III, though, there are some design hiccups that will leave you questioning just what the heck Ubisoft were thinking.  Why, I wonder, in a mid-game mission to infiltrate a great mansion am I presented with locks to pick that I cannot pick until I unlock a skill three chapters later?  Simple locktease seems too generous a concept to apply, here, as the amount of collectibles and side-missions the game offers are more than a bit staggering - having the game put one right in my face that I can't touch feels downright rude.

Similarly, you'll come across chests that you cannot open until you sign up for some sort of side-thing Ubisoft wants you to sign up for, but that's fine, takes two seconds, and now I can open tan-colored chests.  What's this?  A chest on my minimap that's blue?

...and Ubisoft wants me to download a thing to my phone to play a companion-app game in order to play the actual game I want to be playing.  Well, no, Ubisoft.  Screw that.

Little, iffy design choices like that would be meaningless if the game offered something meaningfully different - something meaningfully "new-gen" compared to what the series has done before, but it doesn't.  Not by a very long shot.  Animations have been a bit re-tooled, and they're lovely, but lovelier animations haven't resulted in a game that manages to be as involving and expressive as Ezio Auditore was back in 16th century Italy.

Your hero-Assassin will still get snagged on world geometry, he'll still hop up on a fence post mid-chase and refuse to get off it.  Try pressing "freerun" and "up" or "freerun" and "down" and he'll just chill there as the barge you're pursuing drifts calmly away.

"Can't catch me," the barge says coyly.  After seven games you still can't reliably and consistently put your faith in the platforming mechanics of this platforming game.

That's unacceptable, Ubisoft.

Similarly, sometimes the combat will work perfectly - cancelling attacks into parries, and wiping the floor with a dozen Templar thugs - but I've also re-tried missions a half-dozen times because, suddenly, my hero will completely refuse to react to the commands I've fired into my dualshock.  When the game robs you of your victories, it feels doubly egregious, here, because this - this often-frustrating but mostly-okay gameplay - should be bloody well fixed, by now.

It should be bloody well fixed, here.  With this game.  Well, no, it should have been fixed at III, but the fact that this was Ubisoft's opportunity to move the franchise meaningfully forward - to provide an experience that perhaps actually matched up with the feeling, speed and agency they showed us in the first trailer for the first Assassin's Creed - and they didn't feels a bit insulting.  You'll climb buildings and alleys here with the exact same geometry you saw in 2007.

They gave us the same game that has remained unchanged and slightly broken for the past decade, again.

The citizens of Paris are very impressive - there's an incredible variety of them,
and I've seen so many performing unique actions it's kind of boggling. 

Assassin's Creed Unity is not a bad game, but I'm having trouble finding something good to say about it.   If Assassin's Creed never grew stale, for you, if you loved III and Revelations, you may well love Unity. 

It's the exact same game.  Without the ship, I mean, and with sharper graphics, cooler animations and some gold filigree.  After everything the series has done before, though, it may leave you longing for the plazas of Rome, or the deck of the Jackdaw.

Dragon Age Inquisition launch trailer.

Aughahahah God it looks so good... curse you, November 18th!  Why so much awesome?  Whyyy?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Game Diary - Don't Starve.

I started up Assassin's Creed Unity today to make some progress, and reached for my Vita during its load screens.  It didn't take long to just give up, and answer Don't Starve's siren call.  It's irresistible.

The Evil Within and Unity - these big, 1080p triple-As - pale next to Don't Starve.  They are re-hashes of places we've already been and adventures we've already had, and Don't Starve's truly open design makes each choice - makes the entire experience of playing it - so much more meaningful.  I'm running along rooftops and breaking line-of-sight in Assassin's Creed, but what I'm thinking about is my next move in Don't Starve.

I have survived the winter, survived the Deerclops and Moose/Goose, and as the rains of spring continue, I am beset with opportunities and choices.

There is a pig town installed near a statue I must visit during the full moon - but the pig-men turn feral and aggressive under the moon's light - I need to tear that town down.  I can rebuild it somewhere closer to home - somewhere more convenient.

That time might be better spent gathering fireflies, as now seems ideal.  In winter, the nights are equally long but fireflies do not appear.  In summer, they appear but the night is too short.  No, this seems perfect.

I know spring will fade into summer, and summer in Reign of Giants carries an environmental hazard similar to winter - I can overheat to the point of death, and have no experience managing that.  Perhaps I should gather some ice - but to use that ice to make the block-of-ice-hat-thing, I need gold, which is in short supply.  I've found a few decent boulders near a bunch of hound mounds - a dangerous proposition - perhaps I should simply spelunk to find some.

Either way, I'll need those fireflies.

I still haven't found an igloo, yet.  For all I know, there's a Tam o' Shanter out there just lying on the ground, waiting for me to find it...

So much to do, so much to do...

Friday, November 14, 2014


Reign of Giants is awesome in its mystery and I am absorbed at day thirty-something.

Unity remains unfinished but I'm all like "meh."

Far Cry 4 reviews went up today and everyone's sayin it's pretty good! (Yay!)

Indie puzzle-platformer Klaus is coming to PS4 and Vita, and I'm not sure if I care about it.  Usually I know right away, but this one might not suck.  But it also might suck.

Here is a .GIF of a head-on collision in GTA V's new-gen first-person mode:

Here are ten minutes of Final Fantasy XV running at 1080p.

I feel like that music will get pretty old after a few minutes.

And g'night!

[update]  Oh, also,


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I can quit any time I want.

Alternate title: The Vertex 1/1 scale Dragon's Crown Tiki Adventure Results figure.

And now my Dragon's Crown collection is complete.

Tiki showed up today - another exemplary shipping time for AmiAmi, who asked for payment on the 6th, shipped her on the 7th and got her to me five days later - with a weekend and a statutory holiday in between.  I think Kayla was more excited to see her than I was, and was quite put out that I held off opening the box for twenty seconds to empty my coffers in Unity before getting down to business.

Tiki as she appears at the Adventure Results screen.

I've never bought a Vertex figure before - the folks at GAF don't seem to have much faith in them - but she's a fine quality, if I do say so myself.  The detail work on her eyes and the body-paint nicely captures Kamitani's style with flesh tones, and I love-love-love that each of the coins in the bag that're spilling forth have the Vanillware crest on one side.

I'm certainly not up to taking a decent photo of it - or my camera isn't or whatever - but it's also pretty cool that her wings are totally translucent, and her hair becomes translucent near the tips - just like what Megahouse did with the Sorceress and Amazon.

And now I am definitely done with figures.  I mean, Mako came two days ago, and she's adorabubs.

Obviously, I had to get Mako after getting Ryuko.  That's just prudent.

And now, done.  Totally done.  Completely done.

Unless Kayla wants to get me the Wind Waker Link Nendo for Christmas.  Of course.

Done.  Totally done.


Game Diary.

I started up a game with the Reign of Giants switch turned on on my Vita, but I suspect we'll talk about that later.  Assassin's Creed Unity came out yesterday, and I have played it. 

It's kinda' meh.  It's okay.  Its quality is somewhere between II and III.  That is to say, it has none of the meaningful advancements of III or IV - namely, the naval combat - but isn't as fun as II or IV.  It's often incredibly good-looking (when it's not trying to render hair), but it feels very, very same-old-same-old.  It doesn't feel meaningfully new-gen at all.

I'll keep plugging away at it, but I doubt I'll get it done before FC4 drops.  If Ubisoft disappoints me again with Far Cry, I think I might have to abandon them.  They often do awesome stuff, but you can't reliably trust their sequels.

In other news, I didn't preorder Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Dragon's Age: Inquisition has been getting some incredible reviews.  And it's like... aw.

Oh well.  I've got too many games to play, anyway.  Still haven't finished Evil Within, still playing Don't Starve and I've got two open-world games coming in six days.

Maybe I'll pick up Inquisition at a Boxing Day sale or somethin'.  BioWare at the top of their game is a powerful thing.