Monday, June 28, 2010

Now Playing - "You are sorely lacking in education."

So again I'm slightly late in putting this up. Not been in much of a mood to update the blog really recently. Still, I'll put up a little post on what I've been playing this week. So I finally received Demon's Souls (PS3) from Amazon, got the European Black Phantom edition as it was only just released here. So I've only put around 5 hrs in total into it, and things are starting to click. I initially started with a Temple Knight and although she was strong with the halberd, I was getting owned by the stronger enemies. So I started over once I was getting used to the system (but also getting frustrated.) Started up with a Royal class (spellcaster) and found it MUCH easier so far. Like, the boss of 1-1 fell really easily once I figured out what to do. Barely put me in danger. 

I'm pretty intrigued by the game so far, I love the dark tone it has. And the little innovative touches the game has from the PSN online support are quite damn cool. I like to play it cautious most of the time, reading other people's messages and watching how they died. Looking forward to putting more time into this, but I am aiming to finish Sakura Wars before I do. I was trying to get through Sakura Wars in a couple days before DS arrived, but the World Cup more or less distracted me from that. 

I'm liking Sakura Wars: So Long my Love (Wii) as well, but there are things that frustrate me about it ever so slightly. The other characters will act like complete douches (usually for good reason which becomes apparent later) and then become pissed off at me. That means they wont be so effective in battle and one or two usually ends up dying in the boss battles (which makes them like you even less) But seriously, that is only a minor niggle. For the most part it is hard to get annoyed at this game, its so happy, upbeat and cheesy. Its basically like a harem/mecha anime in many respects.

Diablo II (PC) ~ I played a little more of this, still on Act I because its basically on the backburner. But still awesome, I've actually gotten a fair few rare items, 1 set shield and 1 unique halberd. A fairly lucky haul so far for only having put a few hours into it.

I finished up Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (PS2) near the start of the week actually, its quite average compared to some of the other Castlevania games, but I did like it at times, I did enjoy the weapon crafting system and the Innocent Devils, they added to what would have been quite boring at times. Some pretty cool animations for attacks and whatnot, but they basically pallet swap in enemies so there isnt a whole lot of variation (but hey, this is Castlevania so that is ok =p) 

An average-ish game: I don't know if I'll ever go back to it. I am considering getting the other PS2 title, Lament of Innocence. We shall see. Anyway..sorry for this rather crappy Now Playing post, its all been a bit half-hearted recently.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Games on my radar #5

So E3 has come and gone now, and there are a few titles that have got me interested. I reckon Nintendo by far had the best show this year. Microsoft and Sony are playing catchup with their motion control systems, and didn't really announce much that we didn't know about already.
So what am I looking forward to?
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS) English gamers have been waiting a long time for a Kid Icarus game. I hope the phrase 'good things come to those who wait' applies here. It definitely looks amazing, on the same level graphically as Gamecube or even some Wii games! We've only had the NES game and a Game Boy game in this series so far. Admittedly, I don't know much about this series, but if this is one of the flagship games for the 3DS and is available at launch, I might get it. I'm still holding out for a 3DS Castlevania game at launch, I usually pick them up with my handheld at launch if available: they had Circle of the Moon for the GBA and Dawn of Sorrow on the DS. Hopefully the pattern continues for Castlevania games continues.

Epic Mickey (Wii) this is still interesting me, it looks very dark and twisted from some of the screens. I haven't been able to find much on it, but some of the concept art is brilliant.
Ignore the idiotic annotations in this vid, its otherwise a good video:

I've got a bad feeling it will dissapoint though.
Kirby: Epic Yarn (Wii)

Very interesting platformer, I'm really impressed with some of the latest Nintendo games. New Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Super Paper Mario, etc. There are some really cool twists on the formula.
Final Fantasy: The 4 Warriors of Light (DS)
personally, I wouldn't have gone for the number 4, 'four' seems like it would be more formal somehow-Final Fantasy: The Four Warriors of Light, see what I mean? Pedantics aside, E3 has brought another video, showing mostly stuff we knew about already.

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS)
I've been waiting for this one for ages now, and we've got a little bit more info from E3 10. I'll need to finish off the  2nd before I get this. Definite purchase for me though. 

Another one I'll definitely be getting is Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)

I'm a big fan of the Dragon Quest games, and this one was very well received in Japan.
So is there actually anything non-nintendo I was interested in at E3 2010? Barely. Nintendo tore MS and Sony a new one this year.
One I've thought looked like it had some potential for a while now is Ys Seven (PSP)
Damn, that collector's ed I touched on last time is awesome, enjoy this new video from E3 in the meantime. 

World Cup 2010 predictions

So now that the group stages are coming to an end and we are just over half way through the entire competition, I thought I'd put up some predictions on who will reach the Round of 16. I meant to do this earlier, as I'll have a good idea now that the groups are almost done. Remember these are just my predictions of the top 2 teams in each group. Here are the groups as they stand: LINK

Group A: Mexico - top the group to go through., France - they'll need to win by a fair few goals against. S.Afr, but I reckon they'll come 2nd in group A.

Group B: Argentina, S.Korea - I don't rate Greece much so far, and I really don't see them getting anything against Argentina. S. Korea will beat Nigeria I'd say.

Group C: USA, England. England almost missing out with another draw to Slovenia. (I hope they don't make it though, Slovenia will be the team I hope make it.)

Group D: Germany - topping group D after beating Ghana, Serbia - in 2nd place, tough choice, as Ghana, or Australia could come in 2nd instead. I'd like Ghana to make it through with them.

Group E: Netherlands - easily topping the group (they've already qualified), Japan  - they are really disciplined and I think they will beat Denmark to come in 2nd place here.

Group F: Paraguay, Italy - dissapointing so far, Italy will make it in 2nd place in Group F and improve as the competition goes on.

Group G: Brazil (already through, they will top group), Portugal (will come 2nd despite losing to Brazil, thanks to positive goal difference. Ivory Coast will beat N.Korea in final game)

Group H: this is the hardest for me to predict. I reckon we can say Switzerland will beat Honduras (who looked shaky at times. Although a draw could easily happen in Swi vs Hon) So Switzerland winning would give them 6 points, Spain will beat Chile I think, giving them 6 points. Chile will also have 6 points, so it will all be down to Goal difference. If I have to pick, I'll say Spain go top, Switzerland come in 2nd. Chile are no pushovers though, and I still think Switzerland could be pretty unreliable, and give us a couple terrible performances.

Urgh, as I'm writing this, France go one goal down, so the odds of them going through are dramatically different. Probably more like Uruguay and Mexico will progress from group A. =( 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Now Playing - "I am error"

I was away most of the week (15th-18th) for some work experience down south so didn't get much of a chance to play many games this week and I've kind of had a lack of desire to play any when I do have the chance. Anyway..I'm putting this up (better late than never I guess.) What do you mean you guys don't wait with bated breath to see my latest post on what I've been playing? =p 

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (PS2) Thought I'd start this up to get another game out the way before the PS3 games I preordered arrive later this month/early next month (Demon's Souls and Trinity Universe.) So this one is more of a 3D action/adventure game with (I guess) some RPG elements like levelling, item creation etc. So far (I'm around 35% through after about 4 hours) I've liked some bits, some of the soundtrack is really nice (I'll put a couple vids below), I'm seeing promise with the Innocent Devil system and the item combining. There is quite a lot of depth, but it does feel simple and at times bland-some of the areas you pass through are quite boring actually. I really liked the stained glass windows and architecture of Garibaldi Temple~it was reminiscent of the Chapel areas and other places traditionally in Castlevania games.

Etrian Odyssey (DS) I played a little bit of this here and there, its still hard as nails. Damn FOES, I try not to take it too hard when they beat me though, as I save as often and play really cautiously, so I haven't lost large chunks of play time to the orange fuzzies so far.

Really cool game, I love the art style and the old school grindiness so far. I don't know if I'll ever be able to finish it, but I'll try. Its more or less on the back burner for me though, as its a really long game. I picked up a couple artbooks recently actually, one of them is the Seikaiju no MeiQ book. I love Yuji Himukai's character designs in the Etrian Odyssey games, as well as the backgrounds. Really nice stuff.  I don't know how good your japanese is, but check out Yuji Himukai's site. You can even see his guild members he's using in Sekaiju no MeiQ 3: Seikai no Raihōsha (Etrian Odyssey 3: The Drowned City) :o

Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) Another game I've been playing in little chunks now and then, all that remains for me to do is 5* some of the missions and get the treasure hunter stuff~need a lot more traps and platinum ingots. I'm really not feeling it any more though, doubt I'll plat this game any time soon. 

Tales of Eternia (PSP) This was the only game I had away with me over the week and I barely touched it to be honest, I'm at a bit in the forest of bewilderment or something and I was nearly finished it, but I ran out of steam, MP was running low and a couple of my dudes died. Think I eventually ran out of recovery items like Life Bottles and the encounters finished me off. Its quite a hard game at times, that place was so confusing and I really don't like how easy it is to get party members KO'ed or completely out of MP. I reckon I'll try put 5 or 6 more hours into this and get into it more, hopefully get some decent skills (like a Life equivalent spell or something) and a AI setup that won't mean I'm out of MP in the first battle of a dungeon...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup 2010 stuff

I meant to put up a post about the world cup earlier than this, but I was away down south for work experience so couldn't really get online. Anyways, no worries..the competition is still going on and there is much to talk about. 

Of course, I'm starting to get a bit sick of the controversy surrounding the both the Jabulani ball used and the vuvuzelas (the horn thing sold for the equivalent of 2 or 3 quid around S.Africa for the tournament.) Tonnes of the teams and press are complaining about these things and everything else. I'd prefer it if they just got on with it, accepted they played sub-par and didn't try to scapegoat people or things like the ball (which they should be used to as they've been practicing with it for a while now.)

I mentioned teams playing sub-par, which has been the main reason I've been dissapointed with the tournament so far. A lot of the big teams expected to do well based on previous form have been really inconsistent. France have drawn and lost T_T, Portugal drew, Spain lost to Switzerland, Germany lost to Serbia and (perhaps best of all for me) England have played 2 and drawn both games against USA and Algeria. Brazil, Holland and Argentina all had slow starts as well so far, even if they did go on to win their games. International football is quite often going to be of lower quality than some club football, because the players don't get many opportunities to play in the international teams throughout the year, and as a result a strong team chemistry probably won't build up as it does in club football. But nonetheless, for big tournaments that only come along every couple years like this I always look forward to them and I don't like being dissapointed. Hopefully things improve as it goes on.

As for England, they can't blame the ball, they can't blame the fans, they can't blame the other teams, they can't blame the pressure, they can't blame the goddamn Vuvuzelas, it is the players fault that they have underachieved so far. And I'm loving it, being from Scotland. They can still progress to the next round if they get a grip and play some football. I'll be supporting Slovenia in the next England game. ;D

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Now Playing - "I travelled to the edge of oblivion"

Having finished off Disgaea 2 the other week, I started up Tales of Eternia (PSP). I kind of wanted something action-y after mostly playing strategy rpgs and turn based rpgs for a while. I'm only around 6 hours in so far, and having not played many Tales games, I'm finding it hard at times. I reckon if I play it more I will get more used to the gameplay, particularly the battles. At the moment, I'm not liking how my AI controlled characters overuse their skills, meaning its hard to keep MP for later stages in the dungeons etc...

I've been wanting to finish off Final Fantasy X (PS2) as well, since I've been stuck at the final boss for a while now, so I got some help from my friends to get a few things I missed when I was playing through. Now that I've grinded a bit, I am just taking on the final boss, we shall see how it goes... Jecht always seemed to own me because I really didn't grind enough or do any of the optional stuff (I was on a time limit to finish the story)

I have to say, its not my favourite of the many things I don't enjoy: the characters, the voice acting, the sphere grid...Its got a strong battle system though. 

Hopefully I'll finish up FFX and see if my opinion changes at all on it.

Anyway, I had a recent urge to play Diablo II (PC) for some reason, so I installed that and started up an Elemental druid, since I've never played through as one of them. I only really put in an hour or two so far, but I'm liking this game as always. Good simple hack and slash rpg. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Games on my Radar #4

Thought I'd post another thing with some of the games I am looking forward to. Mostly future releases I'll be featuring here, perhaps some other stuff as well though. It also seems to be mainly RPGs, but not solely..I do play other stuff... :3

So what games are on the horizon?

Tales of Graces (Wii)

I don't know an awful lot about this one (as I'm not hugely knowledgeable about Tales games) but I still think it looks pretty cool from the videos I have seen so far. I'll probably try and finish a Tales game before I decide if I want this or not (I got stuck in Symphonia, and havent played much of Vesperia or Eternia psp yet~those are the ones I own at least)

Another series I basically know nothing about (although my interest has been piqued) is Lufia, or Estpolis. It was a combination of being before my time (I wasn't hugely into games that long ago) and having a lack of the consoles to play them on (NES, SNES etc)

So I am intrigued to hear that there is a remake of one of the games, the 2nd one. Link So I am hoping that the story isn't too essential to the enjoyment of this one. 

Estpolis: The Lands cursed by the Gods (DS) 

This one seems to have some really cool character art and some interesting looking aspects from the trailers.

Hopefully it works out, as Lufia 2 used to be turn based from what I have heard, it looks like they have converted it into more of an action rpg now. This remake will be coming out in America sometime soon, not too sure of Tales of Graces as to whether it has an English release date set so far.

So those are some of the games on the fringes of my 'radar' I guess you could say, essentially because they don't come out for a  while, and EU release dates haven't been set yet.

Another one I talked about last time was Ys 7, which I now definitely want to get. It looks to have an awesome collector's edition. Link

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Now Playing - "I've never seen a hell before."

This week I've put a lot more time into Suikoden Tierkreis (DS) and finished it off actually. Took me a bloody long time(between 75 and 80 hours!) but I enjoyed it for the most part..

So what did I think? I would've enjoyed it quite a bit more if it was shorter, it took me a long time to get through (although it might be because I tried to do a lot of the quests and recruit all 108...I ended up missing 3 of the characters though T_T). Still, the game can be finished in more like 30-40 hours. I did actually enjoy a lot of the story and characters, but certain things started to grate on my nerves a bit after playing it for so long. Mainly the (ever-increasingly boring battles) and some of the voice acting at times. Its cool that a game on the DS can have a lot of voice acting and cutscenes packed in, but I really wish they had tightened some things up, for example the glitches and bugs throughout, they could surely have been seen in playtesting. One of my pet hates is glitches/bugs in games, especially when they are common and easy to find.

Some script issues as well in this, but otherwise, its a pretty good turn based rpg. I don't know how it compares to the rest of the series (some people have said its quite a departure), but its got me interested, I'd probably check out more of the series from here. I have Suikoden IV on the PS2, but V is supposed to be a lot better. I might check that one if I can find it cheap (doubt I will find it)

So after finishing Suikoden up, I continued on with my Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days save. I just finished the Battle arena chapters, and I'm now on chapter 9(out of 12?). I reckon I've got a good variety of classes levelled up in my squad, cos it has worked so far. I made sure to have an extra fighter or two, one of each type of elemental mage, a cleric and thief as my core force. I'm probably gonna have a look for some extra ones to recruit though (although it could be slightly annoying having to start from lv.1)

I'm liking some of the tweaks to the levelling in this game(I might have talked about this already). Its made things quite a bit easier to keep my cleric up to speed with the rest of them. (I never really thought of using a bow on them to be honest, and took the games advice, and so far I'm glad I did. Although, I'm sure you get some good support skills for having a high Staff proficiency, which is what I'd normally use)

The story so far is a bit lacking in places, but hopefully it will get even more interesting as it goes on. I dunno, perhaps it just doesn't quite live up to the first game's story or something. Still, its a pretty enjoyable and funny game, to be expected of Disgaea.