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Sunday, 3 April 2016

How to not burnout of an RPG

I often find myself getting tired of an rpg after a few dozen hours just begging for it to be over. Why do I tire so quickly? It's not a fault of the game itself, the real culprit is excessive grinding and side-questing.

Currently playing: 

Having put in 100+ hours and still on chapter 17 of 20 and getting tired. I released something was wrong. I noticed spent the majority of the times running about doing  procedurally generated side quests and trying to "Scan (and digivolve) 'em All!". I was barely pushing the main plot forward, guess the natural procrastinator in me was showing itself.

I said to myself enough is enough and I picked a battle team and I'm going full speed ahead to just finish the game!

Key points:

  • Only grind as much as you need to beat the next boss.
  • Leave maxing stats, unlocking every special skill, weapon etc to endgame, new game plus and post game.
  • Avoid unimportant fetch quests unless you're dying for that small cash reward.
  • That extra costume, event,  gimmick weapon/skill/guest character aren't always worth time.
  • Balance side questing with story progression.

Monday, 28 December 2015

My 2015 and 2016+ Vita Games to look out for.

The PS Vita had a rocky start but became a haven for RPGs,Visual Novels and indie titles.

And the list goes:
Steins; Gate(august 25th 2015)
Lost Dimension(August 7th 2015)
Super Time Force Ultra (September 1st 2015)
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls(September 1st 2015)
Persona 4: Dancing All Night(September 29th 2015)
Bastion (December 5th 2015)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel( December 22 2015(US),January 29th 2016(EU))
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (February 2016 )
Stranger of Sword City (March 22nd 2016 )
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir ( June 7th 2016)
Grand Kingdom (Summer 2016)
Danganronpa 3 (TBA)
World of Final Fantasy (TBA)
Dragon Quest Builders(TBA)
13 Sentinels:Aegis Rim(TBA)
Digimon World: Next Order(TBA)
Jenny Leclue(TBA)
The Banner Saga(TBA 2016)
YIIK: A Post Modern RPG (Q4 2016)
Severed(TBA 2016)

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Game Review: PERSONA 4 GOLDEN.(Vita)

TLDR: This game is truly golden.

This enhanced port of a 2008 ps2 rpg for the ps vita, brought new life to the game in 2012, fans of the ps2 version have plenty reason to play golden. Providing graphical improvements, additional content, playable personas, social links, a ton of fan-service goodies in: unlockable concept art, videoclips,soundtracks, music videos, backstories and catchy new opening theme song.

Story: A teenage boy moving to a small country town  to live with his cousin and uncle while his parents are on a long business trip discovers early on that there's something more to the humble town of Inaba and destiny gives him the responsibility of balancing adjusting to the new town, school/social life, romance, part-time jobs,fun and saving the town from an unknown killer with a bunch of teenagers all within one year.

UI: Sleek, colorful and user friendly. I never fumbled with the menus wondering where to find something or view social link progress. The crafting system make acquiring new gear intuitive, the persona fusion system has improved ten fold from persona 3. The dialogue  features a  log system to reread things you may have overlooked or skipped accidentally and a speed up and skip scene function for replays.

Graphics: The game  presented in a stylish anime fashion, with stunning portraits, quirky characters models and well designed, unique environments despite being not very technically advanced. A perfect example of less is more. Anime cut-scenes handle the most dramatic events.

Gameplay: While not fighting shadows. the game takes the form of a visual novel and /Social/dating Simulator. Spending time with people strengthens your persona(Physical manifestation of your personality) fusing ability and socializing with playable characters unlocks new abilities for them in battle. In the other world The games plays like a third person dungeon crawler , that transitions to a traditional turn based battle system upon clashing with the on screen enemies using your personas to do most of the fighting. The game puts its own twist on the turn based system with weaknesses. When weaknesses are exploited (enemies and alllies alike) they are toppled and the attacker gets a free turn once per unit, toppling all enemies allows the team to perform and all out attack for bonus damage.

Do I Recommend It?: HELL YEAH! Persona 4 Golden proves to be the best Vita game to date and one of the best JRPGs of all time.

5/5 stars

Sunday, 11 October 2015

JRPG Fans Stop Overrating Games!

I've come to the conclusion than JRPG fans especially in the west will a JRPG positive review simply by virtue of being Japanese or because of fan-service. Fan-service to me are gimmicks but the difference is that they are based on pre-existing concepts.

So when you see a JRPG game with a 4 star score or higher on amazon I advise you to swing by the negative reviews.  Often negative reviews are more in depth. Some negative review are the person's weird personal problem though so be careful. Be  even more careful with Playstation store star ratings as Sony gamers (I am one as of recent) are more likely to give Japanese games good reviews. Almost every jrpg in the PlayStation has a 4 star rating or higher.

Fans Service Types(tentative):
Nostalgia from playing a older game in the series
Brand association with another game series ( especially Final fantasy)
Simply being Turn Based
Large damage numbers
Simply Having a Classes/Job system whther they are well designed or not
Over the Top anime character design
Simply being anime styled.
Scantily clad/over-sexy disproportionate anime girls/boys.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Game Review: Tactics Ogre: Lets Us Cling Together (PSP/Vita)

This remake of the moderately successful spiritual predecessor to the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy Tactics, is in no way a bad game. But it pales in comparison to more modern SRPG game series such as Devil Survivor,Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Disgaea. The Majority of what earned this game good review scores and cult following is its brand association with Square Enix and Final Fantasy Tactics.

Story: A power struggle war for territory between different Kingdoms: The Wallister, Galgastani, Bakram/Valerian with outlying kingdoms such as the New Xenobians and Dark Knights with a medieval setting. Your character is Denam Pavel of the Wallister Clan trying to find their way and secure a future for the Wallister that may or may not include your sister Catuia and friend Vyce depending on how you plan to achieve this goal: With Draconian measures (Lawful) Idealism (Chaos) or Neutral. The game often has your making binary decision that wil sway the game in one side or the other. Making a poor decision may cause death in a cut-scene or abandonment by powerful Unique and Semi-Unique characters with no warning or prompt to save or you simply may not go in the direction necessary to meet such units. A good story that doesn't annoy you with ye old English of final fantasy tactics 

User Interface: A Convoluted Mess! Despite having passed through many games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Advance and plain common sense the developer didn't see it fit to implement a sensible menu system. This game came out in 2011 people! 

The item shop has no fitting room.To craft you first have to refine items into more usable materials which is fair but you can only craft a single item at once and each craft has a little 5 second animation also you can't set the game to craft x number of this or max number of this with available materials. 

Example: to get a silver ores you have to take 2 unrefined ores and watch the crafting animation to  be able craft a second one. You can't use ores  though. it takes 3 silver ores to make the usable ingots. Then finally weapon and armor crafting have a percent chance to fail and destroy your materials including the weapon/armor.

When learning magic you have to have the required command skill equipped to a character which is fair but you have to use a purchased or looted ( random and rare) consumable called arcanas every time you want to teach a single unit a spell. These arcana items are named in a gibberish/ false-latin language eg. Grimoire Radiante and Grimoire Vivicae that doesn't tell you what the spell does or even the name of the spell. you have to wait for the scrolling info bar to tell your that radiante is spiritsurge that deal divine damage projectile in a line to a single target. 

The spells aren't divided by category of use (Black magic/white magic/summmoning) but by the element they belong to. there are almost equal damage and utility spells for each element and lots of duplicates ( eg. An Identical cross shaped AOE Stun in both lightning and dark).

Graphics: The sprites are utilitarian and don't stay true to the portrait at times (lamia I'm looking at you). the environments are decent but recycled and different battlefields look just like rearranged version of each other. The skills and spells special effects are pretty but don't make up for the flaws.Ironically  the Gameboy Advance final fantasy tactics game and it's ds sequel had better sprites, environment variety In my humble opinion.

Gameplay: Aside from the  over emphasis on stat differences the mechanics are pretty simple. Non spell caster classes use basic attacks 75% of the time and have very little to differentiate each other besides stats.Most active skills are exclusive so there is little transfer of abilities from once class to the other as in final fantasy tactics and advance.

Example: The beserker is able to attack in an arc when powered up, ninjas do two basic attacks, white knights can paralyze on hit, knights can use basic healing spells. the classes are very shallow and combined with you needing a consumable to change classes every time, you'd end up not using some.

Archers rule the game, the have ridiculously high range, equal damage to melee classes and can can focus/charge their attacks every other turn with an early game skills, they can exceed designated range when on high ground or lose range on lower ground so the item description range doesn't apply most of the time.

Enemies scale to the average level of your team, not only in stats but in SKILLS too. The once, level 2 generic mages can turn you too stone when you reach (and they) level 15 with over 75% accuracy when they could not before. this is poor design because units don't have levels, but their classes do, so if you get a powerful classes late in the game you will suffer to bring it to a useful level .Also  if you recruit a level 15 unit of a class you never had before when the unit joins your party after battle they drop to level 1.

Would I Recommended it: for the story and lore,yes, gamepla, no.

3/5 stars.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Why I'd Never Buy a Nintendo Console As My Primary Gaming Device.

We all know Nintendo. They are known for their iconic characters such as Mario, Pikachu, Link, Kirby and Donkey Kong. Most importantly their strong first party games which feature pure unadulterated fun rather than cutting edge graphics and technology. 

Their games are fun, charming, colorful and have high quality control across the board.

Nintendo has seemingly become complacent where they feel like they don't have to try anything new or attract the wider audience who aren't familiar with their characters. 

Combined with their lack of or disregard for third party support, Nintendo has isolated a large portion of gamers. 

While i grew up with Nintendo around, I was never a super fan, I loved playing Mario but my favorite platform series and character was sonic the hedgehog, and I was more obsessed with everything Sonic,Square Enix and Final Fantasy related. To add variety Nintendo has a practice of making a game in almost every genre using their characters and intellectual property. 

A rough list includes:
Platformers: Mario, Donkey Kong
Shoot em up:Star Fox, Kid Icarus
Puzzle Platformer: Wario
Action Platformers: Kirby, Kid Icarus
Sports: Mario, Mario and Sonic
Racing: Mario Kart
Fighting: Super Smash Bros
RPG: Pokemon, XenoBlade, Mario and Luigi, Paper Mario
SRPG:Fire Emblem
Real time Strategy: Pikmin
Life Simulator: Animal Crossing
Shooters: Metroid, Splatoon, Kid Icarus
Action/Adventure: Zelda
Beat em Up: Zelda
Survival Horror: Luigis Mansion

While this is all fine I'd really like to see big multiplatform games like Final Fantasy XV, Witcher 3,Mortal Kombat X

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

When will Blade and Soul release in North America?

The Martial Arts Based Korean MMORPG(quite a mouthful) Blade and Soul was highly anticipated for colourful, creative, asian themed world, and characters who are just oveflowing with style and flair.Jut look at these little guys!
The highlight of the game was its innovative martial arts based combat that mimicked the hack and slash style combo progression of console games where the actions excuted change dynamically as the combo progresses.

The game entered Korean Beta phase in 2011 and the game was released by 2012 and announced for Western localization. Since then it has been released in 3 other locations. 

The thing that happens when you delay the release of a finished game so long is that other developers who are more organised can simply release newer games based on better technology by the time NcSoft gets the crap together, such as Tera,Guild Wars 2,FFXIV, Elder Scrolls Online and WildStar.

One Prime Example is Black Desert. Black Desert; another Korean MMORPG entered Beta in 2013, released in 2014 in Korea, is planned to release in all other territories between 2015 and 2016 and negotiations are ongoing for ps4 developement.

This is what has happened to a particular Sony game called the Last Guardian. This game has been in developement for about ten years has has movedfrom  a 2012 ps3 release  to "To be announced ps4 release. The fans who have been waiting for it have burned out and looked elsewhere, losing the hype for the game.

Ncsoft announced yesterday that the game is planned for a Winter 2015 release.But! Is it too late? Have they failed to strike while the iron is hot?