Thursday, November 06, 2014

Destiny: My Journey for Flawless

So when I first started Destiny, I didn't really expect to earn a lot of the trophies in the game. I didn't expect to play online with people or join a group on a regular basis. But it turned out I ended up playing a lot more with a dozen different people over the days quite often. Most were from NeoGAF in particular. I'm pretty active in the DestinyGAF thread so I got to know a lot of fellow Guardians there.

As I started to accumulate more and more trophies from just playing the game, I ended up focusing on the Flawless Raider trophy. One of three trophies left for the Platinum. So what the hell is it about? Well, the only way to earn this trophy was to complete the Raid without ANYONE in your Fireteam dying. Yup, basically any deaths will kill your progress. This includes disconnects or leaving the game and coming back afterwards. You need to play through the entire Raid in one go. Checkpoints are meaningless. Because of the strict requirements you not only have to play with an experienced group of players, but you also need a group who are dedicated enough with their time to play the whole way through in one sitting. Not too easy considering most guys I played with had families or jobs to deal with so setting up a time to play together was quite a hassle. Anyway, I was able to find people to play with me so it was fine.

The first time I attempted this was with my main Raid crew. We played together often and had completed the Raid a few times together so it was a no-brainer. A few members actually got the trophy already. I was asked to join during their original attempts but I had no faith in the infamous platforming section at the time so I abstained. Well, guess what? It turned out I screwed up that section in my first attempt. I did the platforming fine but I slid off the ledge and died. What made it worst was we decided to finish up the Raid and we had no issues so if I didn't die we would've gotten it right there. The next few retries were a few dumb deaths by random people and one of the other guys also fell off at the ledge. People gave up and the run was dead and that's when the nightmare began.

Bungie had announced they would patch Atheon to try and stop the cheeses and also randomly teleport players. In its prepatch state, people were able to push Atheon off to easily defeat him and teleporting was predictable and easy to manipulate. Well, Bungie didn't like that so they came up with a patch to "fix" it. In any case, after my first Flawless attempt failed, Bungie decided to push out the patch the NEXT day while I was trying to get it with another group. We got disconnected when the patch kicked in when we were more than half way there. Boy, what a clusterfuck. The new patch not only didn't fix the cheesing (people found other ways to push him off) but it also introduced a flurry of new glitches that broke the Atheon fight even more. What was possible became almost impossible for all the wrong reasons. The glitches during Atheon's fight were bad enough already but it became even more common after the patch.

During the next few days and maybe even weeks, many people I played with tried and tried to get the trophy without success. Their horror stories were numerous. It was either they ended up with a bad player or encountered a random glitch that had ruined their chances towards the end of their run. I kept trying as well and we kept hitting something that would kill our run over and over until it became a joke. But we didn't want to give up simply because we knew we could do it and we wanted to get it. I'm not gonna lie, it became quite a bonding experience. Oh the sad stories we could tell...

A few guys I knew wanted to try again yesterday and I joined them on a whim. What was funny was that there was only one guy I had played with the most in our party. Three other guys were guys I had only played with a few times and two new guys joined us. In fact, the new guys never even tried the Flawless run before so I wasn't even expecting much from them. We went through the Raid as usual while coaching the new guys the methods we learned from all our past efforts. When we finally got to the platforming section, we made it through with no problem. The new guy decided to use a risky move to get by but he made it and that was scary, lol.

Once we had completed the platforming section, we spent a few minutes forming our plans with the new found glitches and any other possible glitches. It was pretty nerve-wracking but we had a good leader. Once it started we only had a few close calls with the enemies but we did fine against the first half of the fight. Atheon finally appeared and we stuck with our plan. But it turned out the glitch was a bit helpful here. Atheon didn't teleport any of us so we kept clearing out the Supplicants and kept shooting him. We didn't get Time's Vengeance as a result so it was taking a bit longer than usual to shave off his life bar. We had to take him down asap before Enrage started (an annoying part where he would summon even more minions to overwhelm players). What was funny was that once we had him down to a sliver of life, he decided to teleport two of us. We kept shooting and then I finally heard someone scream "HE DIED!" We waited a few more seconds and there it was...

I can't tell you what a relief it was to finally obtain one of the hardest trophies in the game with the stupid glitches in the way. I was really happy it was finally over. My group was ecstatic. I've never worked so hard for a trophy like this. It required time, patience, skill, communication, teamwork and a lil bit of luck with the glitches. I think this was the intent of Bungie for the trophy but the stupid glitches really made it harder than originally intended. Hopefully they fix their game but I'm happy we got the trophy through such circumstances. It really was quite a memorable experience in all my years of gaming.


Now I'm going to have to level up two other classes and get that Platinum. Maybe I'll play some other games finally, lol...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Destiny Review, Thoughts + Impressions

So it's been roughly 3+ weeks after Destiny launched and its been the only game I've been playing. I was going to write about my thoughts earlier but I didn't want to do it before checking out the infamous Raid.

I'll be discussing several distinct modes and my thoughts about them. I don't think I've ever played a game this fun and found so disappointing at the same time. The core gameplay is excellent and lots of fun but the rest can be hit or miss. Let's discuss them...


Story - What story? It's nothing more than a bunch of random words and terms mixed in with some cutscenes. The "story" doesn't exist. We get some background to the world and some lore but there's no cohesive plot or narrative. It simply doesn't exist. This was pretty disappointing considering how much they built up the world from the prologue. 

What's even more annoying about this world is that NONE of the NPCs in the Tower has any meaningful dialogue with you. They don't introduce themselves and don't even bother having a single line to give you a larger sense of the world. Bungie should've allowed you to have a dialogue tree to learn more about this world and make the Tower seem more alive. It's nothing more than a hub with some vendors. It's so lifeless and no one has any personality. What a missed opportunity.

But because the world gives you zero info about the world, you're required to earn Grimoire cards that give you background information to enemies, items and locations instead. But earning these cards is tedious and having to read them through Bungie's website or companion app is laborious. The interface is so tedious. You're forced to dig through them to read each one at a time. Who thought this was a good idea? Why couldn't they offer this info in the game? Why didn't they include a terminal or codex in the game instead? It's baffling that Bungie did this.

Anyway, the "story" sucks and it should not be the reason you're playing this game. The Story missions are nothing more than tutorials and a way for you to level up to get to the other modes which are the real game.

Patrol - Basically free roam mode for people who want to grind or farm for things.  Nothing interesting in this mode unless you want to play some Public Events with people or enjoy checking out the graphics.

Crucible - This is basically the PVP mode. You get the standard deathmatch mode and some other modes with some twists but they're all pretty similar. It's either 6v6 or 3v3. This mode is a lot of fun and it's where people can definitely play the game for long stretches. I've had a lot of fun with a good team and killing guys is always satisfying when you do well. I'm not a fan of some weapons and supers because they seem overpowered. FU FUSION RIFLES! They also need more maps and I'll expect it in future expansions. Most of the maps are fine except for Bastion and First Light. Horrible horrible maps that should be excised from this mode, stat.

Strikes - These are basically the same levels from the Story except rejiggered to be like dungeons. But there isn't a lot of difference. They can be fun if you have a team of friends but still doable with random people. They can be fun or super frustrating depending on your level and difficulty you choose. I've had some good fun but there isn't enough of them and they get old super fast. The only reason to grind through them is for the loot and other rewards they offer. I'm hoping for a lot more variety of new Strike missions in the future because I'm frankly bored by them now.

Raid - Ah yes, the mode to end all other modes in this game. This was a breath of fresh air after the monotony and grind of the rest of the game. You need to be level 26 just to participate and it's a challenge on Normal even with a higher level Guardian. This mode doesn't allow matchmaking so you're basically forced to team up with friends or people from the Internet who want to participate. It's a hassle getting people together and while I understand Bungie's logic for this, they should've allowed a low level version with randoms. I don't understand why this mode was locked away for 99% of the players out there. It's tough but once players reach close to level 29 or 30 in the future, the Normal mode shouldn't be a huge problem for players especially Raid vets who simply want to replay through it for the Raid exclusive loot.

So what is it? It's basically a long dungeon with several unique areas and enemies/bosses you won't find anywhere else in the game. The game has several surprises and traps to screw with players. They were devious and entertaining to solve. It boggles my mind that nothing similar to this dungeon design was in the main game. It's much more cohesive and felt like a lot like the designers put a lot of effort into it. There's a really great feeling when you beat a tough area with a bunch of people working together. It's a feeling that only a specific amount of Strikes can even compare to. You really learn to bond with your crew.

My main gripe with Raid is how damn buggy/glitch it is. The final boss part in particular had a lot of glitchiness that caused death and frustration. That section was hard enough as it was and having to deal with random bugs made it irritating. It's so buggy and repeatable that people are actually compiling a list of what to do to avoid them. Bungie, fix it!

I also want to give a few tips regarding the Raid if you're interested in trying it out:

1) Get together with friends or people online who you can rely on. People dropping out can be deadly so try to form a good posse with whoever you can.

2) Try to get one or two people minimum who are Raid vets. While it may seem fun to go in blind as a group, having a few people know what to do or know the strategy to beating a boss is much better. It doesn't ruin the experience and you have a guide who can help you with not only the bosses but also finding the hidden chests. FOR THE LOOT!

3) Mic is not 100% required if there are a few guys already talking. I played through the entire Normal Raid without a mic and it was fine. Just have a plan ready beforehand and do your role and you'll be fine. Heroic Raid on the other hand got me to finally use my mic. But if you know what to do, you can go mic-free for that as well.

4) Look up strategy guides or walkthroughs beforehand. Sometimes people aren't able to clearly explain what to do or what they want you to do so it's highly recommended you check out guides or video walkthroughs for a tough section if possible. This is especially true if you're a noob who jumped into a random part to help out a friend. It'll kill long-winded explanations and confusion.

5) Take breaks. It's fun and challenging trying to do the entire Raid in one session but by the time you reach the end, your crew might be fatigued or need a break especially if you had to retry a lot in one section. If you're team leader, try to allow some breaks after tough sections. The checkpoints were given for a reason.

6) Finally, make sure you're leveled and equipped for it. While the lowest level allowed is 26, it's best to go in with 27 and 28s. Try to max out all your guns that you use the most often. Also try to upgrade your armor and abilities as much as possible as well. They make a big difference in your survival and ability to dish damage. Legendaries/Exotics are a must.

Hopefully some of those tips help you guys out.

Overall, Destiny is a really fun gorgeous game with awesome gunplay but the mission/level designs were lackluster and pretty bland aside from the Raid. The lack of a coherent story/plot and small amount of Strike missions were incredibly disappointing. There just doesn't seem to be enough content as it is right now for me to recommend a purchase to people. Expansion packs and other DLC have been announced and I hope they're worth it. I DO recommend getting the soundtrack though. The music is fantastic and one of the best OSTs this year.

So yea, it's weird how much I enjoyed the game these past 3+ weeks but I'm also incredibly frustrated with the bone-headed decisions and lack of content in the final game. I'm hoping the game has legs because they're pretty short right now. Personally, I'll stick with it for now because I'm still hooked to certain aspects of the game.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Watch Dogs, ACIV Revisited and Walking Dead S2 Ep4 Reviews + Thoughts

Watch Dogs [PS4]

Completed the main campaign and I really enjoyed the overall game. The main story itself was meh but everything else was solid. I didn't find Aiden's motives that interesting and most of the characters were assholes. I didn't really hate anyone though but I was pretty indifferent to them. There were some good concepts and ideas for this world but the actual story wasn't very interesting at all. I'm pretty sure this is just a foundation for greater things in future sequels. I also want to point out that the VO was excellent. Everyone was great. There were a few standouts for some characters in both cutscenes and their audio logs. Really impressive stuff. 

I really enjoyed the different missions and I was pretty hooked on some side stuff. The Investigations in particular were pretty intriguing. I really liked how they all have a conclusion. The puzzle-like elements to hacking and using the cameras to explore and hack an area was great and I hope to see more elaborate versions of these missions in its sequel. It was really fun creating traps by hacking various things. It felt like I was playing a Dungeon Keeper-type game. It was one of my favorite parts of the game.

The gunplay might be one of the best in any open world game. In fact, Watch Dog's gunplay is on par with a lot of other great third-person shooters. All the guns felt different and were really fun to use. I was pretty impressed with it because gunplay in most of my favorite open-world games like GTAV and Sleeping Dogs were pretty shitty. Whoever worked on the gunplay in this game deserves an award. Driving was a bit hard to figure out until someone told me to stop trying to control the camera. Once I did that, driving became fun. The camera does a pretty good job following behind your car when you do turns etc. I also really enjoyed using motorcycles in this game. Unlike other open world games, your bikes can take a lot of damage and you don't instantly fall off them in every collision. Very good.

I loved the atmosphere of the game. I've never been to Chicago but I really liked the different areas and I enjoyed exploring the city and the suburbs. It felt alive and I was impressed that it was always full of people doing their own thing. I found myself just taking my time and absorbing in the world. All the random calls/texts/emails you hack into added a lot of humor and personality to the game. Most of the people you end up hacking have some weirdo secret or issue which was humorous. Sadly, one of the worst things about this game is the radio station music. I hated 90% of the songs they chose. I hated them so much that I ended up turning off the radio entirely. On the other hand, the original soundtrack was awesome. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the game. The gunplay, traversal, hacking, exploration etc were all solid. The main story was hit or miss but at least it wasn't complete shit. I still enjoyed various moments and certain characters that popped up. If you enjoyed Ubi's other open-world games like the Assassin's Creed series, you should definitely give this game a chance. Recommended.

ACIV: Black Flag [PS4] + Companion App [iOS]

Speaking of the AC series, I actually beat this game last year but I decided to jump back in after they had patched the UPlay bug with the PS4 version. If you didn't know, UPlay did not work at all if you had more than 100 friends. It was a pretty stupid bug that kept me from being able to redeem my UPlay rewards and also prevented me from being able to play Kenway's Fleet. I can finally check out this feature months after its release.

I have to admit, Kenway's Fleet is awesome and added a lot to the game's main gameplay. It made earning money much easier and also made capturing ships fun. You end up playing a minigame where you can battle ships and trade goods for money. I was pretty hooked on it. And guess what? You can download an iOS app that allows you to not only play Kenway's Fleet but the also allows you to check everything you unlocked including Animus database entries and  game stats. It's an awesome app and I recommend anyone playing the game to check it out asap. I hope AC: Unity has a similar app.

I also found out I had a few glitched trophies that never popped up and that motivated me to restart a new game to get them. Replaying a Memory did not work. Thankfully they weren't that far in so it only took me a couple of hours of speedrunning to get them. So if you had the same problem like me, just start on a new save and you can get back any glitched trophies. I didn't have any trouble unlocking other trophies from doing side stuff so I assume the UPlay bug had something to do with it back when it was released.

Anyway, while I was trophy hunting, I also managed to find all the Elite plans, fully upgrade the Jackdaw AND I destroyed all four Legendary ships. It was a lot of fun and I was glad I revisited the game at this time. I already enjoyed the game back when I beat it but playing it again and completing these optional objectives shows how much I still love the game. I'm pretty impressed with how much work was done for areas and locations that most players will probably never bother checking out. ACIV is still a great game.

The Walking Dead S2 Episode 4 [PS3]

Another great ep with lots of tense moments. Some pretty good dialogue and tough choices. I'm not really sure what will happen next but it's been a long journey. Looking forward to seeing how it all ends.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ace Attorney Investigations 2, Wolfenstein: TNO and The Wolf Among Us Ep 5 Reviews + Impressions

The Wolfenstein Among Investigations :p

 Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2 (Fan Translation) [DS]

Wow, what an incredible experience. AAI2 ranks as one of my favorite games in the entire Ace Attorney series. Dare I say that it's probably in my personal top three! Edgeworth really shines in this installment and we really get into his head more. He develops and grows in ways that were unexpected. AAI1 was a bit of a mess in its story and pacing but AAI2 fixes all that with a stellar story that is full of great twists and revelations. The story was really great and has one of the all time best villains in the series. It's just that DAMN good. The first three cases were a bit bloated in some spots but the rest were paced really well and gripping. 

I also loved how there were so many cameos and returning characters from the Phoenix Wright trilogy. Their appearances were quite welcomed and fit into the story quite nicely. It was pretty amusing seeing how Edgeworth dealt with them compared to Phoenix. Really quite a treat for long-time fans.

The gameplay remains largely the same as in AAI1 but the addition of Logic Chess added some challenge and fun to the Testimony segments. The game felt a bit more linear in its Investigation segments compared to the first game but it made the game less of chore and moved the story along much more quickly. Overall, gameplay is much improved.

I also need to point out that this was beautifully localized by the fans. The text, graphics AND voice acting were all excellent. I didn't find a single typo and the way they localized all the names and titles for the new characters and locations were really clever and well done. They fit into the established world quite nicely. Hell, it's so good that if Capcom took this fan translation and slapped sold it here, I would gladly buy it as the official release. The fan translators deserve major kudos for their hard work. I love them all.

Overall, I loved it. It was just pure joy and I can't thank the fan translators enough for giving me the chance to play through such an amazing game. Capcom, shame on you for denying us English speakers one of the best Ace Attorney games in the series. Get with it.

Wolfenstein: The New Order [PS4]
This was a huge surprise even after all the praise it got from reviewers. I was totally shocked at how good the story was and how much I cared about the characters. The cutscenes and voice acting were really quite excellent and well done. Frankly, I didn't mind if the game had even more story because the world was pretty well realized and I really wanted to see more of it. The pacing was also fairly fast-paced and never dragged.

The game was also really fun. All the guns (except for the autoshotty) felt great. I wasn't a huge fan of being forced to pick up all the ammo and armor but it wasn't too bad. The stealth was also quite fun and very simple. It's really quite satisfying stabbing Nazi fools silently in the head. It never gets old. I also loved the exploration segments in the rebel base. It added a lot of atmosphere and flavor to the game. The sidequests were a good break from the main game. I really enjoyed it and wish there were more of it.
The difficulty does spike in some levels and they really fucked me up. It was fairly problematic especially against some heavy enemies who can chew down your health quickly. I had to dial down the difficulty cuz I really wanted to see where the story went. Playing a FPS for the story? Yea, it happens. But I also loved mowing down an army of dudes like a badass too. That was entertaining.

The game has a really interesting perks system and lots of collectibles which makes the replayability pretty high. I do plan on replaying the game on the Uber difficulty for fun and for a specific story reason. I also want to level up my guy to see how powerful he gets. But aside from the difficulty spikes, the game is fun to play.
 Overall, this is one of the best FPS games this year. Great story and characters too. Lots of great moments and some really satisfying gameplay. Definitely worth playing!

The Wolf Among Us Episode 5 [PC]

Ah, so it finally ends or does it? This has been one of my favorite Telltale games by far. The writing and characters were great and really fun to interact with. The final episode of Season 1 was pretty satisfying. Most of the questions were answered but some mysteries still remained. I'm sure some of the dangling threads will continue in Season 2. 

My only gripe with this ep is that it was way too short. I really enjoyed it but it ended way too soon. I'm hoping Season 2 fleshes out the relationships more and also spends more time letting us explore the world.

Overall, the final ep and the entire season in general was really great. Bigby is one of the best characters ever. I've never read the comics but I'm really interested now and might check it out in the future. Bring on Season 2!


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Alphas and Betas and Fan Translations, OH MY!

Been playing some games but they're not the usual titles you will find in stores right now.


Destiny Alpha [PS4]

Played a good chunk of the Destiny Alpha with some bros online over the weekend. It definitely played and felt like Halo but the mission/level designs were very similar to Borderlands. It was fun but the Alpha couldn't provide a lot of content so missions and enemies/areas got a bit repetitive after a few hours. The Tower (basically the hub/home base) was interesting. It became third person and the sci-fi-ness of the look made roaming around the area felt like Mass Effect.

The graphics were pretty but not overly impressive. I have to admit that the characters' faces in the character creation screen looked gorgeous and detailed. I hope the final game retains all that detail because it looked less impressive when I was checking out the Tower. Audio was fine and there were some good music. The online was pretty great. No lag or any weird issues like that so that was pretty solid. There was a strange bug where one of my friends didn't show up in my list and I couldn't hear him talk at all. But it's an alpha so not a big deal.

Overall, I'm interested in checking out the final game. I wouldn't mind jumping into the beta when that starts but I'm not too hard up on that if I don't get it. I'm really hoping the final game has a lot more variety with its missions and I hope the story is interesting enough that lone wolves can enjoy it too.


Battlefield: Hardline Beta [PS4]

Um, I totally forgot to check it out after I got a key from a buddy. It ended yesterday. Oh wells...

Ace Attorney Investigations 2 (Fan Translation) [DS]

I own the Japanese copy of this game but haven't played it because I suck at Japanese. So after years of waiting, the fan translation for this game is finally done (sorta, technically still beta)! All five episodes have been finally translated for us. Capcom has been incredibly reluctant at localizing this game for some pretty stupid reasons and their community managers made a lot of empty promises about it too. They won't even offer us a digital version like with AA5 and that sucks. The reason why fans have been so crazy over this is because AAI2 is a direct sequel to AAI. AAI had already set up a sequel in its ending so not being able to finish Miles Edgeworth's story was incredibly frustrating. But thanks to dedicated fans online, we can finally enjoy the game without resorting to some shoddy guide or half-baked Wiki articles. We can finally enjoy the story as it was meant to be enjoyed. We can play through the story!

I'm only in case 3 currently but I'm already impressed with the story so far. The first episode started off with a bang and hasn't let up. The pacing seems to be better than the first game and I'm really liking the situations way more. I was really surprised when characters from the Phoenix Wright trilogy appeared. Some of them were just cameos but others were a major part of the story. It was really cool seeing what happened to them after the PW trilogy ended. Long time fans are gonna love it.

The fan translation has been stellar as well. They've managed to convey the same feel and speak that the Capcom localizers did. What's really impressive is that I haven't encountered a single typo so far. Even Capcom's more recent efforts with AA5 were plagued with really stupid typos. But AAI2 has been clean so far. I'm also super impressed with all the localized graphics and English dubs they did. They did a fantastic job redoing the graphics that had Japanese text and altering them into English. The fans also did all the voices for the new characters which blew mymind. It totally worked and felt professional. I'm really enjoying it and will probably do a separate impressions post or review when I finish it.

If you want to get your hands on the fan translation, just go HERE and follow their instructions. I will not provide any details beyond that. Once again, thank you fan translators SO much for doing what Capcom won't do for us!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Wolf Among Us Ep 4, Killzone: SF, One Finger Death Punch Thoughts + Impressions

Killzone: Shadow Fall [PS4]

I finally got off my ass and played this game. I bought it at launch but didn't get around to it for whatever reason. There were just too many other games I wanted to play first. I beat it over the weekend and it was pretty lengthy

The graphics were pretty amazing. I found a few glitches with the ragdoll physics but overall, it's a beautiful game and a technical marvel. Really impressive vistas and very detailed. Audio was inconsistent though. Sometimes the gun audio was cut out and the surround was suspect. It seemed to have some of the same audio issues as Killzone 3. Not really sure what's going on with them. Killzone 2 had superb audio and I feel like they could never recapture that installment's audio mix. Strange. The music for Shadow Fall was great. It was a highlight for several levels and sounded cool. Wish there was more of it though.

One major gripe I had with the game were the mission/level designs. They went from good to just plain awful. The open-ended design was a good idea but it didn't seem like they went far enough with them. You get punished for trying out alternate methods to a mission sometimes. They make it seem open but the enemies in some areas will automatically notice you no matter how stealthy you want to be. There are even some areas where you must follow specific instructions or risk failing the mission which sucked. I also found it very easy to lose your way in a level and end up dying because you didn't know a certain part of the level is off-limits for no apparent reason. It's pretty hit or miss and I found myself a bit frustrated or bored by some of the areas. It seemed like devs weren't really sure what they wanted to do with the some of the areas. It's pretty much the weakest aspect of the game and that's a shame. 

On the other hand, the weapons felt great and were fun to shoot. I never got tired of using certain weapons including many of the Helghast ones. But I did find it odd that we didn't get some more interesting guns considering this game takes place decades after the previous game. The default gun wasn't even that great, imo. It felt weak and the long range mode was cumbersome to me.

As for the story, it's an okay continuation and possible end to the series. The characters were okay and much more relatable than the previous installments. I didn't find the majority of the characters that interesting except for Echo. She was badass and reminded me of Forty-Five from SOCOM4. Probably the only character I gave a crap about in the whole game. Overall, decent story that is pretty to follow with no characters that are idiotic like Rico from the previous games.

Um, I guess I went on longer about this game than expected. Anyway, it's worth playing for Killzone vets just to see how the story wraps up. I haven't played the MP but I heard good things about it, but I doubt I'll invest any major time with the MP.

The Wolf Among Us Episode 4 [PC]

This was a really good episode with major push forward for the plot. There were some good moments and I'm really curious how they will end this. While I didn't find it as great as the previous episode, I was still satisfied. There isn't really too much for me to say about it.

Overall, it's another great one and I can't wait to see how it wraps up.

One Finger Death Punch [PC]

I haven't heard much about this game from any major game sites at all. I first heard about this game when Giant Bomb did a few videos about it. It's a shame that not many major review sites checked out this game because it's FUCKING AWESOME.

Seriously, this game is a lot of fun and pretty simple. You only need to use two buttons to kick the ass outta stick figure men with various badass martial arts moves. It's animated beautifully and never gets old. I'm not sure who animated the moves but they did a stellar job. You gain various power-ups as you progress and they also have some pretty cool effects. 

The music is also pretty great. I'm not sure if they're from some stock music database or original but they do add a nice amount of badassery to every stage. 

Overall, this game rocks and you guys should check it out. If you're still not sure about it, check out this Giant Bomb Quick Look. Once you watch it, you'll understand why it's so great.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Blackwell Epiphany and Transistor Thoughts + Impressions

I need to point out I played these games right after another and it was pretty amusing. Both games feature a female lead with a male companion who refers to the lead as "Red". It was a pretty weird coincidence. Cute though.

The Blackwell Epiphany [PC]

Ah man, completed this game and it was quite a journey. For anyone unaware of this game, this is the fifth and final installment in the Blackwell series. It's a 2D point-and-click adventure game where you play as a woman with a ghost as your companion. I don't want to reveal more of who and why simply because the story is one of the major things I loved about this series. The puzzles are usually simple and make sense most of the time.

So like I said, Epiphany is the final game  in the series and Dave Gilbert (the man behind this series) did an amazing job tying up loose ends that have been dangling since the first game. The story was amazing and full of twists and revelations. It's not only the most well written in the series but it also has the best voice acting in the series too. I really enjoyed all the new characters and locations. Long-time fans who played every game in the series will be satisfied with how this ends. 

This installment is also both visually and musically the best in the series as well. The animations have improved quite a bit and the music is great throughout. The voice cast was perfect as well. Gilbert did an amazing job directing them and choosing the best lines. I was very impressed with the VO.

What can I say? If you've been playing the series from the start, PLAY THIS. If you're interested, check out the previous games in the series before playing this one. I'm going to miss Rosa and Joey but I'm also excited to see what else Wadjet Eye Games comes out with. I salute you Dave Gilbert for creating one of my favorite adventure game series of all time. *salute*

A few people have expressed interest to me about this series after I mentioned it and they wanted to know what order they should be played in. Understandable since they aren't numbered. So here's the list:

1) The Blackwell Legacy
2) Blackwell Unbound
3) Blackwell Convergence
4) Blackwell Deception
5) Blackwell Epiphany


Transistor [PS4]

I also finished this game and it was a lot of fun. I really loved the world and characters. The art is absolutely amazing and pure eye candy. I wanted to take screenshots of every area and cutscene. Hell, even the UI is well designed. So beautiful. The music is also excellent and very haunting. It gave the world an ethereal feel.  Simply scrumptious. The VO was also quite excellent for not just the Transistor but also a few other characters as well. Really good stuff.

The combat was just loads of fun. The ability to fight in real-time AND semi-real-time was really cool. All the Functions that you can equip as secondary skills or passive abilities added a ton of flexibility to how you wanted to fight. It's really deep and complex and added a lot of replayability. Speaking of which, there's Recursion Mode for anyone who wants to replay through the game with tougher enemies. It's basically NG+ but also adds a few extra tidbits to the story that makes it well worth playing through at least once. I only played a bit of Recursion Mode but I can tell there were some alterations to the interactions already. Anyone who played Bastion's NG+ mode will probably know what I'm talking about.

The story is pretty interesting but may be a bit hard to understand because of the way it's told. I found most of it pretty easy to figure out but there are questions that still lingered after I finished it. I'm not sure if Recursion Mode will answer them all but I'm happy with the way it was presented. It's like a puzzle and I think players will have a good time discussing about it. The ending was satisfying which made me glad.

Supergiant Games has done it again. I loved Bastion but Transistor is definitely an improvement in both presentation and gameplay. The game is challenging, fun and is a visual/audio masterwork. I wonder what they'll do next? Anyway, I highly recommend it!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Child of Light, The Walking Dead S2 Ep3 + Super TIME Force Thoughts and Impressions

Completed Child of Light [PS4] and it was a good game. The graphics and music were incredible. The art direction and visuals were simply beautiful and animated really well. But the soundtrack was even better. I loved every track. It was very soothing during exploration and the combat and boss battles were epic as shit.

I have to admit that I originally played it on Hard but it was pretty hard and I found myself dying a lot. I decided to dial it back down to Normal to enjoy the story more. The combat was still fun and some of the optional bosses were still tough. It's an okay story and a bit predictable. The party members were pretty charming and likeable. I kind of wish their sidequests were more developed so they had more involved storylines. Most were pretty simple and short quests. My MAJOR gripe with the story was the dialogue. The rhyming stuff was cute but most of them were poorly written. I wish they spoke normally and reserved the rhyming to one character or the narrator. It felt like the writers were trying really hard to make things rhyme and it came off sounding pretty terrible.

One thing I need to point out were the crashes. I think my game crashed 5 times when it was trying to load a scene or event. It was pretty annoying but the game autosaved often so I never lost any progress. But still, pretty annoying.

Overall, it's worth playing for the gorgeous visuals and amazing music. I recommend it.

Also finished The Walking Dead S2 Episode 3 [PS3]. It was another great episode and had some great shocking moments. While it wasn't as good as Episode 2, it had a lot of great dialogue and I liked the new characters. I do have to say I was really annoyed with the load times on the PS3. They took much longer than previous episodes for some reason. Anyway, I'm sure it probably performs better on PC but I'm pretty invested with the PS3 version because I played through the series on this console first. Hopefully the loading issues are better in the next episode.

Overall, if you're playing it already then keep on trucking. It was good.

I also completed one world in Super TIME Force [XOne] and it's a crazy game. Full of charm and personality. The game looks great and performs great. Love the time mechanics and the weapons are fun to use. I'll be playing it more soon. Check it out.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dark Souls 2 NG+, Wolf Among Us Ep 3 and Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Parts 1 + 2 Quick Thoughts

Another post about games I've beaten recently and my thoughts about them.

Dark Souls 2 [PS3]

So I finished it in New Game+ and it was definitely a challenge. If you thought your first playthrough was easy, then NG+ will kick your butt. The way they added extra enemies and Dark Spirits was really trollish and made the game much tougher even if you thought you knew everything. I also really liked the armor and weapons that you could only obtain in NG+ and beyond. It really adds a lot of replaybility for fans who wanted more stuff. There are also rewards for optional challenges if you're crazy enough to do them. Really smart and well done.

Btw, I also got the Platinum trophy! It wasn't easy but I got so good at it that it didn't take as long as I expected. I'll probably dabble with the PC version to check out the improved graphics and framerate but I need to play other games in my backlog. I spent nearly 2 months straight playing nothing but Dark Souls 2 and that was a lot of game!

The Wolf Among Us Episode 3 [PC]

This was definitely the best in the series so far. The story was really well written and well paced. There were lots of tense moments and really great scenes. The mystery continues to intrigue me and I'm really wondering where this is going. Keep it up, Telltale!

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Parts 1 & 2 [PC]

So I waited for both parts to be out before I played them and it was totally worth it. Part 1 was alright but had a pretty wild ending. On the other hand, Part 2 was simply incredible. The way they tied the games to the previous games in the series was pure genius. The story was just amazing with lots of really mind-blowing parts that BioShock vets will love. This was such a nice sendoff for the series. I truly appreciated what Irrational Games did and wish all the employees there good luck with their future endeavors. Thank you for leaving us with one of the most kickass stories in all of video games. It's gonna stay with me for quite a while. Simply beautiful.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dark Souls 2, Diablo 3: RoS + inFamous: SS Impressions

Finished a couple of big games in the past week. Just some impressions of what I thought of them.

Dark Souls 2 [PS3]

GREAT game. I really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. Some areas and bosses made me annoyed or frustrated just like with the previous Souls games. But I didn't give up as much because of the better online and changes to the system. Summoning and being summoned was way less aggravating and I was hardly invaded. It was almost impossible trying to summon or get summoned at a decent rate which made me play the previous games offline. But I loved the online in this game and it made coop a lot more fun. I'm still not a fan of the invasions due to the fact that they happen at the worst areas for me.

Overall, this is probably the most accessible game in the series. It's easier for vets to get into but still a challenge for anyone who hasn't played the series. There's still a lot of areas that will test your patience and some bosses will destroy you. There's still some trophies I want to get and many more secrets out there so I may revisit it soon. Once again, definitely a must play if you enjoyed this series. Loved it.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls [PC]

This was a nice continuation of the Diablo 3 story. While it wasn't as long as I liked, they did a good job tying up loose ends with several NPCs. The main story was blah and way too predictable. I played as the Female Wizard and she became super sassy which amused me. Some of the dialogue was cliche as expected but whatever. I'll probably play as the other characters just to see all their storylines so that should be fun. I can't help but feel they're setting this up for another expansion.

I also need to mention that I loved the new and improved loot system and other changes. The end of the auction houses was the best decision they made. The ability to get loot that is actually useful was a breath of fresh air. When I returned to the game, everything in my stash was basically pure junk at this point. I couldn't wait to sell/scrap them as soon as possible. Loot was the most important part of this series and now we can finally enjoy the game fully.

Overall, this is worth getting if you enjoyed the main game. All the new stuff was good and I'm sure playing the game on coop at higher difficulties will be better with better loot.

inFamous: Second Son [PS4]

Fun game with one of the most gorgeous graphics on the current consoles. I loved the look of everything. The lighting is amazing and the textures were sharp as hell. It's a beautiful game. The powers were fun and I liked the traversal. I really enjoyed using them and they got better as you leveled them up. Some of the enemy encounters were kind of annoying but the ability to quickly escape made them tolerable.

As for the story, Delsin was annoying at first but if you played the Good side, he became much more likable as you progressed. The Evil side was not worth playing through for the story. I only did it for the trophies. My main problem with the Evil side were the the evil scenes. They didn't mesh well with the rest of the game. The dialogue didn't change too much and Delsin being "evil" came off as just more of an irritating SOB. It was nothing as interesting as what happened with Cole if you turned evil in the previous games. The overall story for both sides weren't that great anyway. This was a relatively short game (especially compared to the previous games) so they didn't actually have a lot of character development. Quite a shame because I could see so much potential with what they had in there already. Fetch and Eugene were interesting characters and they could've had more missions to flesh them out. Potential lost unless they make more story-related DLC.

Overall, I still enjoyed the game. It's not quite as beefy as the previous inFamous games so any vets of the serious should be prepared for that. You might finish it in a weekend marathon even if you decide to collect everything. Even though I Platinumed the game, I'm still going to play for the bonus missions that they're gonna put out. The Cole's Legacy DLC was pretty cool and the Paper Trail mission intrigued me. Worth playing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dark Souls 2 & Other Games

So I've been juggling between various games this month. March has been a pretty packed but I wanted to play all the big games as they came out. I'm just gonna give my impressions of what I've been playing.

Dark Souls 2 has been a lot of fun. It's familiar yet different enough that even Souls vets will find it refreshing. I've been pretty impressed with how it feels and controls. The UI and various mechanics have been refined and better. It's definitely a lot less frustrating than the previous games in the series. The ability to warp to any bonfire is a relief and I like how durability works in this game. The online stuff is also way better. I never really cared about online coop in the previous games but I've been addicted to helping people fight bosses in this game. Fun fun.

The story and characters have been pretty good so far. The NPC voiceover is excellent as expected from a Souls game. But this one might be the best simply because the actors have way more lines to work with. So not only could we enjoy their performances more but we also learn a lot more about the characters and their backstory than we ever had in the previous games. There are some really amazing performances. Not a bad one in the lot.

Anyway, the game is still very challenging especially as you progress further into the later areas. You will definitely die. I'm still having fun and I have been hooked on it more than any of the other games that came out in the past few weeks. 

InFamous: Second Son was another major release I played recently. The graphics are damn gorgeous and one of the prettiest games on the current consoles. I was constantly impressed with how beautiful it looks and the lighting is excellent. It definitely felt like the previous games in the series with how it controls and plays. It does have some of the jankiness of the previous games but I haven't encountered any weird bugs or glitches. 

So far I'm not a fan of the main character. Delsin is a cocky douchebag with a personality of a young annoying teenager. He hasn't been as interesting or relatable as Cole so far. Hope he gets better over time. The way certain story beats transition is also a bit jarring. Not a fan of that either.

I'm still enjoying the game but the story really hasn't grabbed me at all. 

Titanfall was one of those massive new releases I haven't spent enough time with. I completed one side of the campaign and it was alright. The story was kinda crap and basically white noise during the matches. This game definitely needed a real SP campaign. What they gave us sucked. I really didn't give a crap about what was going on in those little screens in the upper right. What a waste of resources.

The proper MP modes are fun but make sure to play with friends or people you know online. The game is still fun but less fun with strangers. I haven't played enough to be really good at it but it's been enjoyable. I'll spend more time with it soon.

Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap was an unexpected title I wanted to play after beating A Link Between Worlds earlier this year. I got the game free from the Ambassador Program that Nintendo did way back. 

I'm really enjoying it right now. The sprites are gorgeous and the music is excellent as expected. Some of the puzzles are simple but they did a good job making some of them just hard enough or subtle enough to make me scratch my head. 

I'm taking my time with it and jumping into it whenever I'm in the mood. It's pretty great so far.

Too many games with more coming out this week!

Friday, March 07, 2014

[PS3] Left Behind DLC and The Walking Dead S2 Ep1+2 Quick Hits

Some quick hits for the following games I completed recently. No spoilers, of course.

The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC

This was a fantastic addition to the main game. It was well written and well directed. We got a alot more Ellie and also had some real insight into her past. It was full of cute little moments and made me love her even more. What I also loved was that it also cleared up one part of the story in the main game. For anyone who completed the main game, this is a MUST play. 

The Walking Dead Season 2

Episode 1: All That Remains

An exciting introduction to Clementine's journey after Season 1 ended. There were some really crazy unexpected moments. The new characters were pretty interesting as well. It was great to be back in this world playing as Clementine this time.

Episode 2: A House Divided

FANTASTIC. This was even better than the previous ep. Full of character development and some good moments. It was also much more tense than the previous ep with higher stakes. There were some really nice surprises which I will not spoil. This might be my favorite episode in the entire TWD games so far. I can't wait to see what happens next.


I highly recommend playing both games. Both Left Behind and TWD S2 feature strong young female characters who have to deal with some pretty terrible shit. They are much more interesting than most other video game characters out there. Love Ellie and Clementine.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

[Vita] DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Review + Thoughts

Finished the game today after a major marathon and it was awesome. So I never actually knew what DanganRonpa was before its announcement for the West. I only knew they were games that were released a while back on PSP and I knew fans loved the series. I also knew about the anime for this game but I never checked it out. I remember checking out some of  the artwork online a few years ago though. But all I heard from fans who recommended it was that it's like 999 and Ace Attorney and I was sold. But after finishing it, I feel it's much more than that.

Story - (No spoilers.)

So do you like the Zero Escape series? How about the Persona series? Or how about the Ace Attorney series? Ever wondered what would happen if someone combined them together? It would be DanganRonpa, yo!

The story was simply incredible. It was full of twists and unexpected moments. You play as one character who is trapped in some weird school and must work with a cast of characters to escape. I won't get into details but there are also trials where you must win to survive. The main plot was simply riveting from beginning to end. What really grabbed me was how much risk it took with its characters and setting. You just never seem to know what will happen next. The game plays around with your expectations all the time. Even when I figured out who the suspect was or how someone was murdered, the game would throw in multiple curve balls to screw with you. It was a lot of fun and kept me entertained. I never got bored with any part of the game. I was sucked into its crazy world. Some of the things that happened was incredibly morbid and disturbing. It definitely made me felt uneasy at times. There is a lot of dark humor that some people will enjoy. When the game wanted to be funny, it was funny. When it wanted to creep you out, it was pretty darn creepy. So good.

The characters were incredibly diverse and fun. They took your typical archetypes and totally messed around with them. I was continually surprised at how well developed and written they were. Most of them weren't what you'd expect from how they looked. Although, there was one stereotypical geek/otaku/nerd fat guy who encompassed all the negative sides of that trope. At least he wasn't dumb, sorta. But anyways, I really liked most of the cast. Most of them were very smart and very clever. In fact, some of them are even smarter than your character which was refreshing. I need to point out that it was very bold of NIS America for them to keep the original Japanese names. They could have gone the other way and made up English names but they didn't. I liked that.

The dialogue between the characters were very well written. I have to give NIS America HUGE props for the localization. I was super duper impressed! The dialogue was extremely natural and flowed really well. It felt like how people would speak in real life if they were put in these situations. Even the jokes were super well written. The lewd jokes in particular were funny as hell. I'm not sure who was in charge of them but they were biting and insanely well timed. Hell, even the cursing felt right for whoever was saying it in their situations. I laughed out loud quite often. I also liked the multiple references to other games and other forms of pop culture. Some are quite subtle while others blatantly mention specific product brands and/or names of real world people. It's a bit jarring when that happens but they don't date the game or make it feel awkward. If it weren't for the strong translation, I don't think I would've liked the game as much as I did. So once again, kudos to NISA for a job well done.


There are several distinct aspects to the gameplay which I will quickly summarize. It contains some familiar aspects you would see from visual novel games but contains a lot of actual game in addition to simply talking to people.

The first aspect is called "Free Time" where you go explore the school in first person mode and talk with any other students along the way. The game also allows you to fast travel to hot spots which made exploration a breeze whenever I had to backtrack to an area. You're given a specific amount of time to talk to students and get to know them. You can even give them presents you get from a vending machine to unlock skills you can use for the trials. I wish the game gave me more time to chat with more students in a day because people will die and when that happens, you can't talk to them anymore.

The next part of the game is the "Investigation" mode where you must gather clues after a murder has taken place. You basically need to investigate crime scenes and other parts of the school to collect evidence and NPC testimony for "Truth Bullets" which are used during the trials. The game won't progress until you find all pertinent clues. What I really liked is if you checked out the information before the trial, you can actually figure out a lot of stuff from your own detective work.

The third aspect is the trial itself. Characters start discussing the crime and you need to point out contradictions with your "Truth Bullets". You  need to literally shoot text on screen with your own text by aiming or tapping. It's quite challenging especially later in the game because it can go crazy with the speed and placement of the words. This was a really fun aspect of the game because how much action is going on. There is also a "Bullet Time Battles" which pops up certain times where it becomes a music rhythm game. Huh, yes, it's true. I'll let you guys see what that's all about but it wasn't too hard and added another layer of gameplay to the trials which was fun. I also need to point out that the trials are 100% voiced unlike the main game which really added a lot to this part of the game.

The final aspect is the "Closing Argument" where you must figure what happened in the entire case. You're given a comic book/manga where you have to put in missing panels that will reveal what happened. It's really fun because once you complete it, you see an animated comic/manga come to life and explain the case clearly and concisely. Very well done.

I need to point out that once you beat the game, there are a lot of fun extras to check out. Hint: School Mode.


The visuals are absolutely stunning all around. Both the 2D and 3D art are super colorful and sharp. The 2D character art in particular is gorgeous. The character designs themselves are very attractive and well defined. There are several art styles that pop up but they're all beautifully illustrated. They look particularly nice on the Vita's OLED screen. The character sprites don't have actual animations like with the Ace Attorney series but they are well drawn and very expressive. The event art (the painted scenes) is stunning and the occasional pixel art is cute as hell. The 3D parts of the school are also beautiful and very detailed. The FMV scenes are a mix of 2D/3D and really interesting. I really love the look of this game. The game even allowed me to remove the UI during gameplay so I could easily take screenshots which was a nice feature. Why can't more games do this?

I also want to point out the gore in this game. The blood has been colored pink for some reason. I assume they were done to stylize the murder scenes or make it less gorey for anyone squeamish about blood in general. Personally, I think it took away some of the horror of the crime scenes. I wish there was a toggle for it. Just a minor gripe.

The audio was equally outstanding as the art. I loved all the music in this game. The trials in particular had several tracks which pumped me up. Great soundtrack all around. I also need to point out the English dub. IT WAS AWESOME. Yea, I'm not even exaggerating, it's just that good. The voices felt shaky at first when I started the game but they only got better and better as the game progressed. I didn't really fall in love until the first trial where it was fully voiced and you could really admire their performances. Everyone matched their roles and they did a great job making all these characters come to life. They read their lines with gusto. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have liked the characters as much as I did. I became a fan of several voice actors simply because of this game. There was one character that totally floored me with their performance in particular. I won't spoil who though. *grin* Once again, great job NIS America.

Overall Thoughts

DanganRonpa exceeded my expectations even with all the hype from its fans. I loved every minute of it and was compelled to keep playing all the way to the end. Great writing, great story, great characters and great VO with fantastic art and music. It's a complete package and anyone who's into games like the Zero Escape and Ace Attorney series MUST play this. LOVED IT.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

[PC] The Wolf Among Us Episode 2 & Jazzpunk Mini-Reviews + Thoughts

No spoilers for either games. Just impressions.

The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors was a decent episode. The story was still intriguing and the dialogue was still entertaining. This ep is much shorter than the first one and much more linear. It didn't have as many choices or branching paths as the first ep. That was a bit disappointing considering how Telltale kept delaying this installment. I actually replayed a few sections because I wanted to see the other bits of dialogue. I didn't do this for the first ep but I felt compelled to restart checkpoints for this one. It didn't change the results too much but that was to be expected. There isn't too much different here if you played the first ep already so I won't go into details about the gameplay.

The graphics continue to impress. I really love the art and direction. The VO is still amazing as well. I really love all the voices in this game. I swear Telltale has become one of my favorite developers when it comes to who they cast to do voices for their games. Good stuff.

Overall Thoughts

This installment was still enjoyable and added a lot more on top of what we got from the previous ep. Here's hoping Episode 3 is beefier and moves the story further along. I'm excited to see what happens next.

Jazzpunk was not a game that I had on my radar until this week. I wasn't really interested even with the internet buzz until a friend gifted me a copy to check out. I have to say that this is one of the weirdest and most hilarious games I've ever played. This is an adventure game in the first person mode. You're given objectives and you do them. The objectives and optional stuff is quite varied at times. There were some great parodies and homages. The game doesn't have a fail state so you can explore and experiment with all the great gags at your own pace. The jokes kept coming from every angle and were extremely clever AND dumb. I laughed out loud quite a few times. The story is just pure nonsense and super surreal.

The art is simple but very charming and super colorful. It just oozes style. The music and VO is also great. Everyone speaks with a weird filter and is slightly muffled for effect. I do have to admit I was a bit annoyed that subtitles were not available because some of the text that pops up doesn't actually match what is being said exactly. Turn up the volume or you might miss some good jokes.

Overall Thoughts

I'm gonna repeat: this game is super weird and very funny. Even though it was pretty short, I enjoyed my time with it immensely. I highly recommend you guys check this out if you want to try something different. I hope the devs make a sequel because I really enjoyed this strange world and I want to see more of it. Definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Digital River - Why do you suck so much?

What is Digital River? It's a company that does all the e-commerce stuff for many large companies. This includes video game publishers like Square Enix, Capcom, Bandai Namco etc. I'm just gonna post my experiences with them and why I think they suck so damn much.

My first experience with them was with Capcom USA's online store. The first issue I had concerned a preorder bonus that was supposed to be included with my Ace Attorney 1 preorder. Apparently it was left out and I had to call and deal with CSR who was sort of clueless about it. Apparently this was a widespread issue on their end from what I read online. After calling back several times, I finally received my bonus.

The second time I had an issue with them also involved Capcom USA's online store. It was for my Marvel vs Capcom 3 LE preorder. For some reason their shipment was delayed for a week or more which was ridiculous. You might be wondering why I preordered from them. This was because they included a sweet t-shirt as a bonus. Guess what? I ordered both versions but they only included one t-shirt with my preorders. So not only were my orders delayed but they also screwed me out of one preorder bonus. Thanks guys.

The third time I had an issue with them involved the Ni No Kuni LE that was exclusive to Bandai Namco USA's online store. For anyone who missed it, a lot of people had their preorders canceled because they couldn't fulfill preorders. I was lucky and managed to get my preorder in early but it was a real nail-biter before I got my shipping confirmation. So many guys got screwed and they had to resort to eBay to get this version that included some bonus trinkets. Bamco had to issue an apology and issued a useless coupon for their store that no one wanted to buy from. It was a real mess. 

The latest issues I've been having with them involve Square Enix USA's online store. Now that SE has been selling a lot of exclusive stuff on their site, I've been forced to deal with Digital River a lot more now. This includes buying FFXIV CE which was restocked for a short while. For some reason they screwed up my order and charged me twice for one order. I called their CSR and the guy couldn't cancel a pending order. I tried emailing them as well but by the time they responded, the order shipped out so it was too late. Thankfully, they shipped two copies out so I didn't overpay for one. They allowed me to return it but I had to pay for shipping so screw that. I sold the extra copy on eBay for more. That's how it's done, son!

I've also had some major issues trying to check my order history and account on the SE store that is tied to their system. They keep saying my password is invalid even though I updated it and it works fine on SE's own sites. I can only guess that something is fucked with their backend.

Speaking of their backend, you might he wondering how to look up your orders with Digital River. They actually want you to look up your orders through their site which is You can enter an order number with a password and/or put in your email and last 5 digits of the credit card that you made the orders with. This blanket system is hilarious because if you input the email/CC method, it'll forward you to whatever order you made with it. This includes being forwarded to ANY online store that has your details. For example, input your email and CC info and you could be directed to your order history in SE or Bamco's sites. I found it amusing. I tried the order number/password method and it usually can't find my order number or thinks my password is incorrect. Broken system.

I really really hate their service and I hate companies who use them. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean you guys should use them. There are so many other better e-commerce companies out there but some of the biggest video game publishers use them anyway. Every time I see Digital River is involved with an online store I just cringe. CRINGE.

While I've had my issues with other online stores from time to time, I've had the most issues with Digital River whenever I need to deal with their shitty account systems and CSR. It's a frustrating experience, period.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

[iOS] Banshee's Last Cry Review + Thoughts

Finished this game earlier this week. This was a game I bought day one mainly because it was a Chunsoft/Aksys joint. I'm a huge fan of the Zero Escape series so why not? I don't usually play interactive novels (especially horror ones) but like I said, this collab was too good to pass up.

Story - (No spoilers.)

This game is basically a murder mystery in an inn. You play a guy who gets caught up in the mystery. The story has branching paths so you can alter how the story is played out and/or ends. Some paths and endings are jokes while others end in pretty horrific ways. It depends on what you choose. 

The story is really well localized and immersed me into its story and characters. I was quite engaged with it. The writing is excellent and very detailed. I don't think I found any typos either. I don't remember the original version too much but I can tell they had to alter some aspects of the story for the West. This isn't just a straight translation which impressed me. There were some cute moments with your companion but also plenty of really creepy or scary moments with other characters and situations. If you like horror stories, this is definitely a good one.

I need to point out that I actually read about this story years ago. I didn't remember until I started playing and it started feeling familiar. So while I sorta knew what the mystery behind it was, the way the story unfolded was still unpredictable and had plenty of twists. 

My only pet peeve with the game is from the very first page. They mentioned what color my companions's hair was which irritated me since I had an idea of what she looked like to me. Apparently, the Japanese original did the same thing but I wish they allowed me to change that aspect. Oh well.


The gameplay is very simple. You go through the story like a book and choose an option when they pop up. There is very little in consequence since you can go back whenever you want and choose a different path. But like any choose-your-own-adventure book, you decide how much you want to see in one path or backtrack and try to figure it out as you go. 

I also really liked the ability to rename the main character and your companion when you start the game. You could potentially have a bit of fun with the combinations if you wanted. It also made the game a bit more personal if you named the guy after yourself although his personality is pretty well defined.

I do need to point out that once you complete the game and solve the mystery, the game unlocks some really great additional branching paths that alter or expand the game's story immensely. I wish it was unlocked from the start so you could enjoy it fully but it does add some replay to it. You might even see new endings which is cool.


The visuals for the game are pretty well done. You basically have photographs and other CG graphics to show the locations and setting. They're all very crisp and clear images. They do a good job of indicating where you are in the story. No characters are shown in these shots so how they look is up to your imagination. The only time you see NPCs is when they die. There are some up close-up shots of hands accompanied by blood. It's not too gruesome and if you're the squeamish type, you could change the gore level which can make the those images blurry or black and white. There is one room that actually had animation which was a nice touch. The game has a good look although I do wish there were more subtle bits of animation to make the backgrounds more lively. They're pretty static.

The audio is pretty good. There isn't much sound effects but they're effective when they pop up. The real winner is the music. There's a lot of creepy sinister tracks that will gave me goosebumps. Well done.

Overall Thoughts

This was a really great murder mystery. The branching paths added a lot of tension and replayability. It's really well localized and full of personality. If you like interactive horror novels, definitely check this out. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

[3DS] Fire Emblem: Awakening Review + Thoughts

Finished the game today. It was pretty damn good. This is actually the first Fire Emblem game I ever played. I do own a few of the other games but never got around to them for some reason. I decided to check out Awakening because of all the rave reviews. I originally started playing as a male in Classic Mode which had permadeath on. But I found out I screwed up and killed a possible recruit and I kept resetting the game when I lost a Unit I liked. So I decided to play a brand new game with a female in Casual Mode. It was pretty interesting seeing some dialogue changes between the two different genders. I also thought certain story elements were way more interesting but I'll talk about it in the Story section.

Story - (Contains massive spoilers. You have been warned.)

So in switching between a male and female character, your relationship with Chrom is entirely different right from the start. It was pretty interesting to see the male as a bro and the female as a love interest in the Support dialogue for Chrom. I thought the bro thing was alright but the game's story was vastly better when your Avatar is female. The bond between Chrom and my character was super sweet. I also really enjoyed the scenes between my character and her future daughter, Lucina as well. It added a lot of cool moments. I wonder how that goes with the male Avatar? Probably something entirely different.

The overall story/plot was pretty smart. Your Avatar is basically you or your persona but they have a reason why. Unlike most of games where you have this random blank cypher without a true background or story, your Avatar had a reason for being who he/she is in this game. I loved the twist where you're supposed to be the villain fighting your destiny to become one. There were some branching choices that changed the game's outcome in a few specific points in the story. I chose what I assumed was the best ending. The extra scene after the credits cemented my assumption and made the ending super satisfying. Loved it.

I also really enjoyed all the characters you recruited into your army. They're all funny or weird. The dialogue between them can be downright hilarious. I was laughing out loud over some of them. The entire story with the future children interacting with their young parents was also funny as hell. The situations they get themselves into is sometimes really silly. It was worth grinding through the game just to get their Support relationship maxed out and see all their dialogue. I didn't get a couple of characters so I'm really happy that I can replay and try to see the dialogue that I missed. They're really entertaining and added a lot to the Units outside of stats. They did an admirable job making me care about these characters.  Props to the localization team. They did a great job.


The game is a turn-based strategy game with some role playing elements. It's all very standard. I'm new to this franchise so I was a bit confused with the way some of the weapon systems worked. I don't think I actually got a hang of it even after 30+ hours of gameplay. A couple of my Units became OP in the last third of the game so I basically had them clear out most tougher enemies to get through the story. 

As mentioned, the game allows permadeath but this is the first game in the franchise that allows you to turn it off in Casual Mode which made the game way less tense. The game was still challenging at times especially near the end. The ability to turn off permadeath really allowed me to work on building Unit relationships and just enjoy the characters and story. If you guys want the challenge, the game has additional tougher difficulties for you so both noobs and veterans can enjoy it.

Unit relationships is a major deal in this game. The more you fight with certain units the better they fight together. Not all Units allow this but most do. You basically get better stats the more they fight together and you also unlock more Support dialogue as well. So not only is this good for the battles but it also adds to the story. I found myself playing in a very specific way so I could max out the relationship for my Units.

One really annoying thing was having to constantly restock weapons and items though. Weapons can be depleted through normal use in battle which was new to me. There was a lot of restocking which was an extra step this game didn't need. I didn't mind restocking items but weapons was a chore. It's just busywork. Money was hard to come by early in the game but you'll eventually get to a point where you'll find plenty in optional Challenges and story missions. I also didn't like that specific stores only had a certain amount of items in stock so I had to run back and forth looking for a specific weapon/item that I wanted. There should have been a universal store that sold everything to save time. The stores also allow you the ability to Forge but I only used it once and never used them again. It's expensive and doesn't actually make your standard weapons that much more powerful. Maybe I'm wrong but I found forging useless.

I need to point out that once you beat the game, you unlock some stuff in the Extras mode. I won't spoil what they are but they do add a bit of replayability to the game.


The FMV cutscenes were pretty stunning. They're basically 3D CGI made to look like 2D anime. I really liked the look and animation. It's too bad they're so sparse but at least they're there. The actual 3D models were disappointing. The overall look of the character models looked like something from a PS1/PS2 game. Thankfully, the animations for the combat get better and better as it goes on. Some of the later critical attacks and magic spells look fantastic and super smooth. They're very well animated. The 2D sprites on the battlefield look pretty basic and tiny but at least they're detailed enough that you can easily recognize them. The battlefield themselves also look pretty basic with a few standouts. You won't love this game for the 3D visuals. The 3D effects are crap as well so don't bother turning it on. On the other hand, the 2D character portrait art is great and I loved all the character designs.

The audio is great for the most part. The VO is fine although nothing really stood out at me. You only hear full conversations during the FMV cutscenes. There's only some phrases or words spoken randomly during in-game cutscenes and during the Support dialogue. The random chatter/grunts etc during those in-game scenes were semi-annoying because they didn't really match the text.. They do add a lot of personality to the characters but I wish they words they uttered weren't so random. The music is excellent. I never got tired of any tracks even after hours of hours of the same music. There are a few standout tracks but they're saved for big epic moments.

Overall Thoughts

This was a really great game. I found myself super addicted to it for days and days. The story really hooked me and I really liked all the characters. They're all pretty charming and super funny. The writing was terrific. I'm probably gonna check out the previous installments in my collection now that I'm familiar with some of the mechanics. There seemed to be some nods and callbacks to the earlier games and I'm super curious about them now. Anyway, if you like turn-based SRPGs, definitely check this out.