Monday, November 30, 2015

Support Indivisible, you monsters.

They've revealed a new crossover character every day for like the last two weeks.  Today's is Red, from Transistor!

Okay, I didn't say nothin' when - in an almost-unprecedented move - Indiegogo gave Indivisible a twenty-day extension as it neared day 30 and the release of the PS4 prototype drummed up enough additional interest to push it over two-thirds of its (1.5 million) goal.

I didn't say nothin' when they announced Lea from Curses N' Chaos or Juan from Guacamelee - but this campaign has four days to go and y'all need to get off your hands.

I know what I said back on the 11th, but I'm not sure it's true, any more.  I think it might make it!  It's got four days and $210,000 to go - and in the short time I've been writing this post, its haul has jumped by like ten grand.  Every crowdfunding venture has a spike in the final days of its campaign - that spike might be just enough to push Indivisible over the edge.

Get in on the ground floor with this one.  C'mon.  You know you want to.  At least try the free prototype!  It's on Steam now!

The Abomination lands in Darkest Dungeon today!


Okay, so here's the deal with Darkest Dungeon's newest hero, the Abomination.  He's a dude with kinda'-meh skills, and because he is by definition an abomination, no Religious hero will agree to go on a dungeon-dive with him.  You can transform him, at any time, into his bestial form.  It doesn't cost a turn, and in his wereform he "hits like a truck," I'm told - but doing so increases the stress of everyone else in the party.  Returning him to human form, likewise, reduces party stress - but I suspect the tradeoffs may not be worth it...

I shall certainly have to give it a shot.

Patch notes!

INHUMAN BONDAGEThis update adds a unique new playable hero, new monsters, rare trinkets, and a host of new features! 
NEW HERO CLASS – THE ABOMINATIONThe Abomination, designed by our Lord Tier Kickstarter backer, Josh L, aka “MaxKojote” is a twisted concept indeed!  A brooding and desperate man, the Abomination has been outcast, branded and imprisoned due to the “sickness” that lies within him.  Completely unlike any other hero to wander into the Hamlet thus far, the Abomination can switch between two forms during combat: human and beast. Each form has different combat skills, so you’ll need to figure out the strengths of each. But beware: the Abomination unsettles religious heroes so much that they refuse to serve with him.  Additionally, the emergence of a beast in combat is a stressful event for other party members! Fortunately, they recover somewhat when the Abomination returns to his brooding (but human) self. 
NEW MONSTERS – THE COLLECTOR AND THE MADMANThis update also features two brand new monsters, again designed by Kickstarter backers!
  • THE COLLECTOR is a tall and terrifying figure – a king in yellow! Just what he collects is something we’ll save for you to discover, but rest assured it’s unsettling! The Collector is a challenging miniboss encounter created by Ryan C.
  • THE MADMAN is a natural fit for the corrupted expanses of the Estate. He wanders every region, joining up with the myriad horrors and shouting (stressful) prophesies of doom! Evasive and troubling, the Madman was designed by Josh L.
NEW TRINKETSThere are new class-specific trinkets of varying rarities for the Abomination, and of course, some special loot from the new monsters. 
MONSTER IMPROVEMENTSMany monster AI improvements have been made, with particular emphasis on Veteran and Champion level monsters. 
Many Veteran and Champion level monsters now have extra skill “riders” in the form of debuffs and other new wrinkles. This gives monster progression more flavor, and presents some new complications as you advance through the game.STRESSSSS 
In general, we’ve been finding that Veteran and Champion level quests haven’t had the same relative stress threat as starting quests. This is due to a variety of factors, including relative power progression of heroes compared to monsters. Our intent is for stress to be a tough consideration the whole game through, just like health.  We definitely want to reward increasing player skill and knowledge, too. Ideally, the game should be a tightrope walk the whole way through. 
Some of the above mentioned monster changes are intended to raise stress in higher level missions, and we’ll continue looking for ways to get it to where we want it.  However, it’s not our intent to drive up difficulty/stress of Apprentice level quests, so we’ll be monitoring those, too.  Your feedback is valuable – keep us posted! 
PROVISION LIMITSThe Estate now has limited provisions to sell, depending on what length of quest you embark on.  The intent here is not to unduly constrain you, but rather to control extreme loadouts (like 16 stacks of food).  You remain free to over or under provision, based upon your budget and risk tolerance. 
HEART ATTACK REVISIONHeart Attacks are an important part of the game, but the abrupt wall and insta-death sometimes presents too big of a penalty for some chains of uncontrollable events.  In this update, we are experimenting with a revised system which works as follows:
  • Upon hitting 200 stress, the hero is reduced immediately to Death’s Door (0 HP). Unless healed quickly, the hero will be vulnerable to death.
  • Additionally, stress is dropped to 170 after this happens.
  • If stress rises to 200 again and the hero isn’t yet off of Death’s Door, he dies immediately.
  • If the hero is not on Death’s Door and stress rises to 200 again, the same cycle begins again (dropped to Death’s Door).
  • Finally – if you have a Heart Attack and get healed off of Death’s Door, there is a persistent debuff for the rest of that quest, reflecting the wear and tear on the hero’s body.
Our intent is to retain the deadly aspect of Heart Attacks, while also allowing for a little more play to save heroes that hit that limit.  Many players have found the binary nature of the existing heart attacks to be frustrating. 
We’ll be monitoring the new system and will decide about its permanent inclusion a bit later. 
MORTALITY DEBUFFSAlmost dying is, we’re assuming, a mildly traumatic experience.  To reflect that in-game, we’ve introduced Mortality Debuffs.  If a hero is reduced to Death’s Door and then healed off of it, he is given a set of debuffs that last for the rest of the quest.  This reflects the toll on his body from facing down death. 
Additionally, there is a larger set of debuffs that occur if the inciting event was a Heart Attack, as mentioned above in the Heart Attack section. 
STALL PENALTYDeliberately prolonging battles is always a risky proposition when facing bloodthirsty fiends. We’ve had a system in place for a while that discourages this, but we’ve revamped that system with the nucleus of a new one.  As before, the party will become agitated, taking stress damage as the fight drags on against a lone adversary.  Protracted pugilism is a noisy affair – those who ignore their parties’ warnings will attract the attention and ire of enemy reinforcements! 
We expect some kinks as we refine this system, so we’ll be monitoring feedback. 
HERO TUNING/BALANCE
  • Leper – increased crit; increased Withstand stress heal slightly
  • Plague Doctor – increased blight dmg slightly; increased physical damage of disorienting blast
  • Tweaked Debuff resistances for classes to give more differences and reflect the classes better. Those affected: BH, LEP, MAA, OCC, PD
  • Man-at-Arms: his Riposte was originally 1 round, but a while ago a bug crept in that raised it to 3 rounds, which is longer than intended. In this build, we are experimenting with setting it to 2, and will be looking for feedback on the overall power of this move.
OTHER NOTES, FIXES, ADDITIONS, and ADJUSTMENTS
  • Experiment with D8 initiative instead of D10
  • Monster ai improvements – skill and mark cooldowns to limit overuse of some skills
  • Cove – “Call of the Deep” nerf
  • Cove – Fishy Shaman brain improvement
  • Shambler now transports you to a rift in time and space.
  • Add confirm for retreating out of battle that will result in death.
  • Add trinket sell instruction text.
  • Added disease icon to roster icon.
  • Added validation so curio effects will error if being added to skills.
  • Big monsters should now disable stall penalty correctly
  • Corrupt save handling before loading campaign.
  • Cultist witch incantation doesn’t crit
  • Custom stall mashes per region
  • Diseases can no longer be purged.
  • Do not count dead heroes trinkets towards ancestors trinkets.
  • Enable backup saves on mac.
  • Fix controlled hero initiative crash.
  • Fix monster skill effects being specified as curio. (Fix to till next camp debuffs)
  • Fix persisting boss loading screen when starting new campaign.
  • Fix piglet double turn.
  • Fix q,e camping exploit.
  • Fix to guardian’s shield buffs and a few other buffs that should’ve been Back Rank dependent instead of HP dependent
  • Fix to move effect bug involving different sized monsters.
  • Fix to not being able to right click certain heroes while camping.
  • Fix to siren save crash.
  • Fixed problem with ambushes in curio/treasure rooms wiping the curio/treasure if you come out and come back in.
  • Fixed problem with map icons not behaving properly between curio/treasures and battle with curio and battle with treasure.
  • Made narration samples start immediately.
  • More trinket buff fixes
  • Move effects can be applied to the corpse of the monster you killed.
  • Mute now works for cinematic.
  • New mute and master volume options.
  • Remove ability to select skill during event.
  • Remove boss room icon once boss is killed.
  • Removed “Target:” specification on effect descriptions.
  • Start map zoomed out to see entire map.
  • Unselect skill when you go into event.
Now the question is, will Red Hook actually make its promised January 19 launch?  I doubt it, but here's hopin'!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Who put adorable baby ducks in my Odin Sphere?!

Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  Velvet gets her own trailer, and God everything I see for this game just hypes me more.  The release can't come soon enough.



In other Odin Sphere news, the new Alter figure of Velvet and Cornelius is now up for preorder!


A nicely dynamic figure, bringing to mind MegaHouse's work on the Elf.


Velvet, last princess of the fallen kingdom of Valentine, and


Cornelius, royal prince of Titania and Velvet's true love - cruelly subjected to the Pooka's Curse, and denied his (lovely!) human form.  He keeps his true name secret from his erstwhile lover as they fight to save their world - for who could ever love... a beast?

I slapped down the preorder money for this earlier today and almost-immediately felt a pang of buyer's remorse.  Then I watched the trailer at top and felt much better about it.

That, then, reminded me that I currently have the Japanese Vita release preordered in two places (it wasn't available at my preferred seller when it first went up), so I need to cancel one of those... annnd Play-Asia doesn't let you cancel orders so I guess I'm getting two Japanese copies of Odin Sphere Leifdrasir.

Cool?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Three Things.

First up, Venture Bros. is coming back and here's a trailer!



Second, the sequel to Retro City Rampage was announced today, and it's made the generational leap to sixteen bits.



Shakedown Hawaii, which is totally not a title spoofing Hotline Miami, is coming to PS4 and Vita.  I know!  Vita!

Third, there's another flash sale up on PSN this weekend, and I wouldn't be mentioning it if it didn't offer Dragon's Crown, my heart of hearts, for the laughably low price of twenty dollars and ninety-nine cents (or eighteen bucks with PS+).


Also there's some kind of DLC up for a game called Bloodborne which people seem pretty excited about - but I'll worry about that when I'm not firmly held in the hypnotic radioactive grip of The Commonwealth.

Oh, and Teslagrad is finally out on Vita today.  I think... I think I'll give that a shot...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Valkyria: Azure Revolution's screenshots are suitably gorgeous.

Any fears about the PS4 game failing to capture the hand-drawn aesthetic of the original are hereby laid to rest.  Click to enhugen (you'll need to in order to see the pencil-esque hatching and shading).










Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir's Oswald trailer is suitably shadowy and knighty.



Eeee!  Popped down to the store and preordered the Storybook Edition and a Vita copy today.  Interestingly enough, it had a release date of April 12th, 2016 in their system.  Usually placeholder dates are the 1st or 30th of a month - the 12th is a Tuesday, and that's awfully specific for a preorder.

...did the game's NA launch date just leak?

Wewt!

Valkyria: Azure Revolution's first trailer.



I need to see some gameplay of this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hellooo Nurse.

Well hey, there, good-lookin'.  What's a nice collector's edition like you doin' in a place like this?


The Storybook Edition of Odin Sphere: Leifdrasir - which only goes with the PS4 version of the game - comes wiiith... (official bullet points!):
• 64-page Hardcover Art Book - Filled with the original drawings from the legendary George Kamitani and Vanillaware. 
• Potion Recipe T-shirt - This large-size t-shirt is emblazoned with a helpful reminder of one of the more common uses of Alchemy inOdin Sphere Leifthrasir: turning the living Mandragora plant creatures (Habaneristos, in this case) into potions vital for survival. 
• Collector's Metal Slipcase - The PS4 game will come nestled in a special metal slipcase with the game's key art on the front, and a not-yet-revealed image on the reverse. 
• Art Print - Also included with the game will be a high-quality art print with another not-yet-revealed (but different) design. 
• Premium Outer Box - All the contents in the premium edition will be packaged in a large, sturdy outer box.

But what of the PS3 owners?  Or the Vita lovers?  

They get an art book if they preorder (through "select retailers").


Y'know what that means?  That means I'm gettin' two art books yayyy.

...three if you count the import one.   Also - interestingly - "the non-premium editions will cost $59.99, $49.99, and $39.99 for the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita respectively."

So color me thrilled!  Oh, also, here's a much bigger scan of yesterday's Valkyria: Azure Revolution announcement spread in Famitsu.  ...and I can't tell if it's successfully recreating the hand-drawn-ish style of the original, or just scan artefacts... 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Annnd we're back OH MY GOD VALKYRIA CHRONICLES IS BACK TOO!

It's called Valkyria: Azure Revolution and it's a direct sequel to VC3

So I was with Fallout 4 all week.  Terribly immersed.  Desperate to get back.  Time well spent.

Today I'm back at work, though - so it seems like a reasonable time to get back to blogging and OH MY GOD THAT TRADEMARK WAS FOR A NEW VALKYRIA CHRONICLES GAME AND OH MY GOD IT'S FOR PS4!



And they're remastering the original VC for PS4 and it comes with a demo for the new game and unnnng...

So, what've we got, so far?  Well, the above scan is pretty much it, in terms of visuals.  We've got a bit of it blown up a little... but not much of it...





It's a very, very far cry from the lovely brushstroke and cross-hatch aesthetic of the original PS3 game - and I hope these scans are the reason it doesn't look as "painterly" as it should - but you can see a bit of the original game's style in the glow of Big Sword Dude's hand and the shadows on the sleeve of Angry Smaller Sword Lady.  Elsewhere, the character designs bear little resemblance to the Gallian Militia we came to love in VC 1-3 (not being set in Gallia might have something to do with it), but if you look at the facial structure of the hero and heroine above, you'll notice feature placement and a certain sharpness to the jawlines that are very reminiscent of VC art direction.

What else do we know?

  • Coming "winter 2016" to Japan.
  • Of course a localization hasn't been announced yet - and given that it's SEGA, it's pretty up-in-the-air (but it GODDAMN WELL BETTER BE!).
  • The developer isn't SEGA, but Media Vision - who did a great job handling Valkyria Chronicles III, and made a name for themselves with a little series called Wild Arms.
  • A translation of the Famitsu article notes "the “Gouache” drawing system, which will depict the game with elaborate and bright looks, giving it a painting-like presentation."
  • The battle system is called "LeGION," and is described as mix of real-time and strategy. 
  • Character models by Flight Unit (the Atelier series.)
  • Chief Producer is Yoichi Shimosato (Shining Force)
  • Producer is Katsura Mikami (Shining Force)
  • Director is Takeshi Ozawa (directed VC 2 and 3!)
  • Character Design by Hiro Kiyohara and Takayama Toshiaki (they're manga artists)
Also, a demo for Azure Revolution will be available in the remaster of Valkyria Chronicles when that drops February 10th in Japan.  SEGA say they'll listen to feedback from gamers who go hands-on with the demo, and apply it to Azure Revolution.  

Please, patron deity of gamers, hear my prayer. 

Localize these

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Doc says it's real bad.

-critical miss-

So immature.  Real gamers cash in their vacation days for big game releases.

I sure did.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Been a while since the last music post.

...mostly because I haven't snuffled my nose through obscure Internet sound archives in... a while.  But last weekend, I went to a wedding social - a Canadian construct in which a pair of soon-to-be-weds throw a big party in a community center, charge people ten bucks each to get in, sell cheap drinks and hold raffles to help ease the burden of a modern wedding's price tag.

There are two types of people who buy tickets to socials - one will go because it's a big party with cheap booze and a bunch of people you don't know to hopefully hit on, and the other will buy what are called "support tickets" just to give a little financial hug to the bride and groom.  I am, as a rule, in the latter camp.  As a rule, when people ask me if I'm going to X's social or Y's social, I tell them I bought support tickets, but "I'm not a very... social person - a-hahhhhh see what I did there?"

But last week, I went.  It was a Halloween social, so obviously costumes were involved, and I decided this was finally my year to go as a sexy kitty.  I had cat ears, rinestone-tipped whiskers and a tail, but a lot of people thought it was kind of a lazy costume until I held up my hands - each clad in fingerless fishnet gloves, with an adorable little pink "paw" pattern in the palm - and then they'd just lose it.  It was kind of awesome.

So the DJ was playing a song and I asked Kayla what the name of it was.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  It was a remix of Boney M's Rasputin.  I don't know if this is the mix, but the important part is it really lets the chorus hold center stage.



So I wrote the name down on my phone and pulled it up later, at which point I noticed a note I'd made months earlier, while driving around.

"Ell e king exs and ohs."

I'm like "wtf was that?"  So I found it.



So hmmm... lot of blues influences here, which - as a rule - I am fond of.  Unusual, gritty voice... let's see what else she's got...



Not bad... who is this lady?  I snagged the album, slapped it on my iPod and looked her up.

Turns out, this is Rob Schneider's daughter.  Yes, that Rob Schneider.  Her mom (whose name she took) was a model, and that's why she looks like a normal person.  Why a twenty year old has a voice that sounds like it was carved out by forty years of nicotine abuse is beyond me, but apparently Elle went to New York when she was sixteen, got a fake ID to get into rock and blues clubs, and honed her craft busking on street corners.

I don't know if that's true - the only album she's put out seems a bit too "produced," and you've gotta' wonder how much of it is her talent and how much is the team sitting behind her - but it's... not bad.  It's something I'll turn up when I hear it on an easy listening station.


Oh, and if you want a genuinely surreal experience, pop on some headphones with her album while playing Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus.  That was a weird night.

Finally, I'm not much of a TV guy - haven't been for years - and while two days ago I would not have recognized the name Kate Micucci, I recognized her face.  Always liked her.  I think I saw her do standup once, and for a while she was Raj's girlfriend on The Big Bang Theory, which my parents watched religiously - but she's had a ton of bit parts.

See, here she is on Scrubs - do you recognize her?


She always plays the weirdo for an episode or two and then disappears, but I've always adored her in anything she's been in, and I turned on Netflix the other day to discover she's the lead in a newly-added show called Garfunkel and Oates, which is for all intents and purposes Flight of the Conchords with two American women instead of men from New Zealand.   Her co-star is Riki Lindhome - another "I think I recognize her from something" actress who's been paying her dues in Los Angeles for a decade or so.

At some point, these two found each other and... one kind of gets the sense that they were both sick of dumbing themselves down for people, and with each other were just able to be radiantly intelligent and funny.  It's awesome, it's hilarious, and I belly-laugh at least once an episode - which is quite an accomplishment for any modern show.

The show, though - as with the Conchords - is simply the result of several comedy/folk/indie albums the pair put out.  The band has been together since '07, and they've got some gems.









Oh, and here's one about good Christian teenagers doing it in the butt.

It's frickin' criminal that that show was cancelled after eight episodes.  These two should be millionaires.

I decree it.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Cornelius gets his own Odin Sphere trailer.

Not to be confused with all those other games which follow the heroic exploits of a tragically cursed, sword-wielding anthropomorphic rabbit.



In other Vanillaware news, a new 208-page art book for Dragon's Crown is going to release at the end of November, and can be pre-ordered over at Amazon Japan for around thirty bucks.


The three-disc Dragon's Crown soundtrack will also become available at the end of the month, but I can only find it through the site Vanillaware linked in their tweet on the matter - a place called ebten.jp, which doesn't seem to have an English option.  Noooo!


There's also the sountrack for all the music that was added to Muramasa via its (exemplary!) Genroku Legends DLC,


coming out - you guessed it! - at the end of November.  Again, at the moment it only seems to be available through ebten.jp, but I'll keep an eye out.

Ah well.  At least I got that new artbook ordered!

Eyyy.

Grand Kingdom's opening cinematic.



Now, I too am distressed at the lack of a localization announcement, but I - and my profound powers of persuasion - have unleashed a devastating salvo of suggestion at Aksys Games, who did just a great job on Muramasa Rebirth.




So I think things'll be juuust fine.

The Fallout 4 launch trailer.

I wasn't expecting it to be quite so grimdark.



It's still kind of astonishing that Fallout 4 was announced only five months ago, and it'll be in our hands on Tuesday.  As time wore on after launch, I kept on looking forward to media that reflected the media that helped me fall in love with Fallout 3 in its media blitz - explosions of gory super-violence playing atop a fanciful, upbeat soundtrack of energetic, ancient pop ditties.

My single biggest question about Fallout 4 is "what's on the soundtrack?" and that's barely been touched upon.  I want to know what my next Butcher Pete or Johnny Guitar is.

I also kept looking forward to some big, meaty impressions articles from journalists.  I remember being utterly seduced by a writer's description of The Family questline, and all the ways it could be completed.  It painted that world with a lot of character, and was excellent at suggesting the vibe Fallout 3 would end up having - but for 4?  We have no idea, really.

We have no idea what's out there.  Except for all the people who predicted The Institiute would feature in the story.  They were, obviously, right.

I'm pro-synth, for the record.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Indivisible campaign is everything it should be.

~or~

Why the fuck isn't Indivisible 200% funded?


The game's cast is basically a textbook on what female representation in games should look like.

It's a shame that Indivisible didn't appear on Kickstarter or Indiegogo three years ago.  It would've broken two million, by now - but in the past three years, games asking for crowdfunding dollars have become a bit ubiquitous.

There's so many - and so many of them end up producing less-than-stellar results, or nothing at all.  More than that, Kickstarters keep happening with major, big-name talent attached like Keiji Inafune or Koji Igarashi asking for a few hundred thousand, raking in support in the millions.

And so many of those big names are... kinda' sneaky about it.  Remember how Double Fine basically offered nothing more than the name of Tim Schafer to rake in millions for what would become Broken Age?  Remember the backlash when their plans for it changed after the Kickstarter's success?  Remember how Inafune kept trying to fleece the crowdfunding community even after Mighty No. 9 was obscenely successful?  Remember how folks weren't explicitly told where most of the funding for Shenmue III was coming from?

Doesn't hurt that it's gorgeous.

The Indivisible Indiegogo campaign pulls none of the sneaky shit we've seen from developers on crowdfunding platforms.  They are being straight up with us - "505 Games will put in $2,000,000 if we raise $1,500,000 from you.  If we break $1,500,000, they'll give us more.  If we don't make $1,500,000, the game doesn't get made."

And they're not gonna' make it.  Unless a miracle happens, Indivisible isn't getting made, because this is what a successful crowdfunding venture (for the best damned Kickstarted game there ever was!) looks like, on a bar graph:

-source-


Starts high, quickly stumbles into a low trough, with a slight bump at the end.  That's it.

Indivisible's Indiegogo campaign pulled in the lion's share of the money it would ever earn in the first week.   With eleven days to go, it hasn't reached 50% of its 1.5 million dollar goal, which is kind of... insane.

This is the crew that made Skullgirls.  A small group of talented, passionate people who have proven they can deliver exceptional things on a shoestring budget and they do, in fact, need our help.

An example like Indivisible is why crowdfunding exists.  It's not a famous, established game creator asking you for money all the publishers in the world refuse to provide.  It's not a college drop-out asking for thirty grand for a game he'll probably never deliver.



And I'll admit, three days ago I didn't much care.  Then, on Tuesday, Lab Zero released their PS4 version of the Indivisible prototype, and I gave it a spin.

Finished it.  Beat the boss at the end that seems impossible at first.

Set the controller down.  Went outside.  Had a cigarette.

Played it again.

And again.  It is really good.

And I became so sad that the campaign won't hit its goal.

Did I mention the gameplay is super-fun?

Its crowdfunding campaign is incredibly well-done.  It's thoughtful, aggressively ambitious and conscious of the challenges of its footing.  Lab Zero hid nothing from us - they put it all out on the table, and they came to the table with so much. 

They laid the publishing deal with 505 Games out there, right from the start.

It's not just a bunch of concept art and the assurance that this will end up as something fun.  Prior to the campaign, they produced a full, completely playable (and super-fun!) prototype for the game, said "here, please try it!  We think you'll love it," and gave it away to anyone who has a rig to run it.



They held back the PS4 prototype release until just over halfway through the campaign, to (hopefully) overcome the long low-earning trough that most crowdfunding ventures suffer.

They dropped new bits of info and cross-promotion tidbits throughout the month, cannily ensuring the game's name keeps popping up in gamer news feeds.

A situation like Indivisible is why crowdfunding exists.

Indivisible's is practically a master's thesis on how to run a crowdfunding campaign, gracefully avoiding all the pitfalls that other studios end up tumbling in to.  If this campaign had appeared in 2013 - in the era of Hyper Light Drifter and Star Citizen - it would have raked in millions, but today..?

Today it's not gonna' make it.  Not without a miracle.

Not without help. 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/indivisible-rpg-from-the-creators-of-skullgirls#/

Try the prototype.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Quick impressions of Dragon Fin Soup.


It has heart, and it has character, but it doesn't seem to be a game that's gone through much - or any - playtesting.

There are weird decisions everywhere.  I can't press X on an item in my inventory to use or equip it, for example, I have to hit triangle.  Triangle brings up a little context-sensitive menu that gives me the option of eating the item, or equipping it, or selling it and so on.

I accidentally ate some pants earlier today, instead of selling them to a vendor for a few hundred gold.  Doing so damaged me for 150 HP - so it's a game I kind of love and hate at the same time.

I can feel it pulling me back in - I want to keep trying.  I want to understand why I steamrolled most of the enemies on this map, but these other enemies - which seem identical to all the others - just kick the shit out of me every time I breathe at them.

They killed my wolf.  I want to kill them, in return.

At the same time, it's so damned obtuse.  It feels - which is a strange choice, for a low-profile indie - like Dragon Fin Soup doesn't give a shit if you play it or not.  Or, if you were to try it, it doesn't give a shit if you enjoy it.  It's not for you, and that's why we don't have a tutorial that explains what the attack button is - and that its quest handling, inventory systems and simple controls were just kind of slapdashed together by the developer in the early days and never changed.  The dev just kept playing the game they'd made, got used to it, and never asked themselves if some of their choices were just kind of stupid and arbitrary.

Why can't I move with the analog stick?  Whyyy?  Why, when I go to shoot my gun, I get an aiming thing, but if I didn't notice I have the bomb selected and drop a bomb, the bomb just drops.  And, because I'm suffering from an immobilization spell, kills me.

It's a bit... headache-y.

I think I'll be down for some Darksiders tonight.  But I... might come back to this one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Who's da kyootest widdow Dark Lord of the Sith?


You da kyootest widdow Dark Lord!  Yes you are!  Yes you are!

He just showed up in the mail today.  Shipped last Thursday - halfway around the world in five days.  I don't know how Japan's postal service does it, but they are mad efficient.

I am, for the record, very lucky to get Mr. Vader in his adorable Nendoroid form.  Turns out Disney - which of course owns Star Wars nowadays - has been causing all kinds of trouble for Japanese figure manufacturers and distributors because, for example, Good Smile has a deal with Disney to make Star Wars figures and sell them in Japan.  Specifically in and specifically limited to Japan.

So Disney is being all kinds of dick about Japanese manufacturers and shops selling overseas, because they know there's a booming overseas market for stuff like 'lil Vader, and they feel this cannibalizes their Western licensed products.

Well, Disney, maybe it wouldn't hurt your western figures so much if the western figures you licensed weren't

  • usually made out of fucking polystone
  • or crap 
  • tiny little jointed toys that look like an artist's nightmarish interpretation of the source material
  • and crap
  • obscenely overpriced, when it comes to scale figures (we're talking upwards of $500 for high-quality items) and, additionally, 
  • crap.
Meanwhile, for thirty bucks (before shipping), Japan can give me this: 



And if I want an adorably deformed Vader from a western maker, my only option is to spend twenty bucks on this ugly little fucker. 

Kill it!  Kill it with fire!

In other news, Kayla and I went back to the Comic Con on Sunday.  I to procure the Justin Curries I had failed to purchase on Friday, she to buy some Curries of her own, and this little darlin'...


A pink-yukata-clad Madoka cost her ninety bucks - but they scrap the tax at the 'Con, at least.  The crazy part is that's pretty much par for the course for any Nendo you're gonna' find in North America.  
I, for my part, nabbed Currie's Fear My Song twice - one for home, one for the office, 

Turns out it was made as the cover art for a charity music collection.  Pretty groovy.

and Sapling, which has been the lock screen on my phone for as long as I've had a phone, and required acquiring. 


And... that's the news.  Or my news, at least. 

Oh, also, the Indivisible demo is on PS4 now - so you should probably download that.  The daily take of any crowdfunding venture tends to look like a low bowl that's high on the left side - there's always a huge spike of funding at the beginning which tapers off as the month wears on, followed by a short (and far less lucrative) bump at the end of people getting in at the last minute. 

Indivisible is, at the moment, barely a third of the way toward its $1,500,000 goal, with eleven days to go.  Unless a miracle happens, it won't make it.  Period.

I mean, it's pretty clever to put the demo on PS4 towards the end of your campaign, to reach that audience - and it'll definitely have an effect and push some more contributions [update] like a fifty grand jump overnight [/update] - but I kinda' feel like most of the people who support crowdfunding were aware of Indivisible twenty days ago, and already funded it if they were going to. 

So this demo is probably all of Indivisible you'll ever get to play.  Might wanna' get on that.

Also, Dragon Fin Soup is out, so I'mma' go get on that.  G'night everybody!


[update] Instead I tried, and finished, the Indivisible demo.  Hm. 

Hm. [/update]

Monday, November 2, 2015

Game Diary.


One thing I've always loved about Uncharted was the fact that, when you're hanging off a ledge, it has a separate input for when you want to jump backwards, away from the wall you're hanging from.  That's always a tricky thing, in games, as a rule.  I can't count the number of times I've flown off into empty space in Prince of Persia, Remember Me, Shadow of the Colossus and ICO.

In Uncharted and its sequels, that input is tied to the Dualshock's tilt function.  You just kinda' lean the controller back, and Drake will lean back from the wall to show you he's ready to spring away from it.

I frickin' love that.

Did you know that option isn't included in The Uncharted Collection for PS4?  It's like, man.

Fuck you, Bluepoint.

So lately, I've been playing Darksiders.


Specifically, Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition.  Don't care for the remaster's not-quite-clever name.  Love the content.

There are two downsides to this remaster, though.  First of all, I don't remember the control scheme in the original release, but I feel like opening a menu to switch my tool/weapon is a bit too involved.  Second, the fact that you can't save to multiple slots is... a bit scary.

In any game that permits manual saving, I usually run with three or six saves.  I don't know why it's three or six, but it's something that I was really hoping the Deathinitive Edition would sport, because my last playthrough of the game on PS3 was halted by a progression-killing bug.

I live in terror of that occurring again - but I'm already past the point that it struck last time, so maybe this remaster kind of lives up to the name.  Smoothed out those kinks.

My first night with it - I came home with Darksiders and Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition - it was like snuggling back in to a warm blanket.  Darksiders is not, and has never been, a technology-pushing engine of programming spectacle - it's not triple-A in the Battlefield or Uncharted sense, but it offers something that the Call of Duties and Assassin's Creeds can't.  Or won't.


It's imaginative.  Fantastical.  Gorgeous, artistically, and filled with character and style.  It makes a very, very strong statement for the need for a middle-class of game development.  A healthy double-A.  Far more ambitious than your little retro-styled indies (Hotline Miami, Spelunky) or your triple-A indies (Bastion, Galak-Z), but nowhere near as balls-to-the-walls huge as Grand Theft Auto or...

...I was about to say Zelda.  But y'know what?  Fuck Zelda.  Zelda hasn't been fun (for me, at least) since A Link to the Past.  It's been tired as Van Winkle since the sixteen bit era, and there is ample room for other games to take the basic Metroidvania formula (which Zelda definitely does) and have fun in a big, sprawling 3D world.

Look at Okami.  It's a frickin' masterwork, and it's just the Zelda/Metroid formula with a bit of a spin, and a bit of spice.  So it is with Darksiders.

Some of its pacing is a bit strange, the third act is non-existent, a lot of the side quests don't give you nearly enough information, and yet... it's so lovely.  In the important way.  In how it plays.  In how its mechanics are so... considerate of the player.  There's something... thoughtful and loving about it.

The game begins - naturally - with a tutorial as Death, horseman of the apocalypse, rides his way towards the ancient tower of the Crowfather, in search of a way to clear the name of his falsely-accused brother, War.  You kill some evil ice-monsters and you start climbing some walls, and the platforming isn't this kinda' squidgy thing that you tend to get from Zelda, or the floaty style of Okami - it's pure Ubisoft Prince of Persia 2008.

It's all wall-runs and pole-flips and beam-scurries, but here, when you're hanging from a beam suspended in space, and you need to leap to another beam behind you...


...there's a button for that.  And it's like, man.

I love you, Darksiders.  I'm glad you're on my PS4.

You're fucking awesome.