Updates from February, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feenwager 6:48 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink  

    @shingro All of my characters are some extension of myself, but I always come up with a quick and dirty backstory for them before I embark on the game. The old school D&D’er in me likes to actually play a “role”. The only problem is that many games don’t let you act out what you feel your character really should of would do, you’re just locked into mostly binary choices the developers have given you.

    In other news, I finished Reckoning this morning. More to come on that soon.

  • rampantbicycle 5:01 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro I usually find that despite my best efforts to Do Something Different, I end up creating a character who is either very similar to myself or a strong reflection of some facet of my real-life character. This is particularly noticeable in the D&D campaign we’ve been playing; I regularly make some comment about my character only to realize it applies with equal force to me.

    In the electronic-entertainment context, oddly, I generally do not devote a large amount of time to character design. I’m always happy when I get to play a girl – that doesn’t happen nearly enough for my tastes – but the protagonists in electronic media are of necessity often cyphers, customizable in skills but with very limited personalities or options for what I would consider actual roleplaying. (There are varying degrees of egregiousness to this, extreme cases giving me the choice “murder this grandma or pet the kitty.” But that’s a discussion with which we’re all familiar.)

    Lots of computer-RPG characters just don’t HAVE that much personality on their own, I guess, is what I am saying. You have to read it in. This is a strategy authors of all kinds have been using since the dawn of time: by not giving your protagonist that many points of distinction you theoretically make it easier for your audience to identify with them. Often, this works, so I certainly can’t blame game developers for using it. (This is where Gordon Freeman and arguably Link come from.)

    On a less extreme level, CRPG characters have more of an illusion of freedom in terms of their interaction with the world than actual freedom. (Dialogue trees say hello.) That’s totally fine, it just means that I’m by necessity playing a character someone else designed. It’s cool. I will never regret playing the Nameless One. He’s not MY character but he was fun to be. The same goes for Nathan Drake or Guybrush Threepwood.

    So the options for treating an electronic-media character as either an extension of myself or as an exercise of authorial power are limited. This is, I guess, one of the reasons I enjoy the flexibility of tabletop games so much. But there’s goodness to be had in both styles.

  • bowlisimo 4:43 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro My escapism typically works through inhabiting someone other than myself, whether it’s a character someone else has created, or one I imagine. I think I used to, but nowadays I don’t fantasize about being IN the game as ME. It’s very immersion breaking. I don’t want to see my face kissing Morrigan in Dragon Age or something, that’s too weird. In fantasy games (table or video) I tend to roll Dwarf instead, because they’re just fun all around.

    I’ll play these characters the way I think they would act, often to extremes. Like I said a few posts ago, I cannot abide by a Solid Snake who acts like a mass murderer. Or say I carry out a mission sloppily in AC2, I’ll restart it, thinking, “Ezio would do better than that”. But, the fact that I’m driving these characters, like @impynickers mentioned, means my personality and moral compass does bleed through here and there like a reverse Animus, even when I don’t really want it to. It’s inevitable. My Renegade run of Mass Effect 1/2 was not 100% Renegade, and that’s because *I* was playing.

    Dark Souls is an exception. You’re given a blank slate, and then you’re forced to try, fail, and learn on your own, which makes the lessons and experiences very personal. You really have no choice but to be YOU… well… if you were fit and could swing a weapon with some modicum of skill and grace, etc.

  • Pete Davison 4:00 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro If given the opportunity to create a custom character, I will without fail create a redhead female. I’m not even sure why any more (besides the fact that I’m a fan of redhead females) but it’s kind of become my go-to visual identity in games. I enjoy playing as females, particularly if the devs have bothered to make the experience as a female character distinct from that of the male. Also, I like Jennifer Hale’s voice, and Jo “LadyHawke” Wyatt’s sultry tones make me weak at the knees.

  • Pete Davison 11:05 pm on February 25, 2012 Permalink
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    10 hours in to The Last Story, and I have another status report for you that will likely be another wall of text. (@shingro, buddy, worry not about posting walls of text — we made our name with massive walls of text, after all. So long as you continue to use paragraph breaks, we’re all good. :D)

    Bold statement: The Last Story is the Uncharted of JRPGs.

    Let me clarify that statement somewhat, as it most certainly is somewhat bold. The comparisons are apt though, in several important areas.

    Firstly, the characters and their chemistry. The Last Story has a great cast made all the more distinctive by their regional British accents. We have a feisty Lancashire lass who enjoys drinking and fighting (much like real Lancashire lasses), a softly-spoken Ewan MacGregor-style Scot who enjoys chasing the ladies, a dreamy-voiced hippy chick who comes out with some of the most hilarious deadpan dialogue in the whole game and numerous others. Probably the least interesting character voice-wise is Our Hero, but this makes him somewhat easier for the player to stamp their own identity on, particularly as, unusually for a JRPG, you often get to choose what he says.

    The characters by themselves aren’t what gives this game Uncharted levels of charm, however. It’s the banter between them during combat, the incidental conversations during downtime, and the way they respond to one another. You get a very firm sense of who these people are, and while there’s your fair share of standard RPG tropes (killed parents, burned down villages, mysterious dark pasts) they take a backseat to how these characters are with each other. Over the course of the game, rather than sticking with the same party lineup, you’re often thrown into situations where you’re given the opportunity to spend some more intimate time with one or two of them, and in the process you get to find out what makes them tick and what makes them the person they are.

    This leads on to the second point: structure and pacing. Many JRPGs are guilty of having so much content that they drag on and on and on. In some cases (Xenoblade and Persona spring immediately to mind) the 100 hours is very welcome, because there’s plenty of stuff to do and the world is just simply an enjoyable place to hang out. But in others (FFXIII, FFXIII-2) there’s a sense that you’re simply running around doing stuff that just plain doesn’t matter in an attempt to ensure you’re badass enough to take down the final boss.

    This doesn’t happen at all in The Last Story. You’re constantly moving forward from plot point to plot point, rarely getting bogged down in exploration or level grinding. The plot’s pace isn’t artificially stalled by reams of sidequests for you to complete before you move on. It’s split into Uncharted-like “chapters”, each based around a specific location for you to work your way through in a mostly linear fashion, and each incorporating a number of battle scenarios which must be beaten in order to move on, much like how Naughty Dog’s opus leaps from “talky bit” to “explorey bit” to “shooty bit” and then back again.

    Like Uncharted mixes things up in its shooty bits, though, so too does The Last Story with its battle sequences. The basic mechanics are rather simple and don’t change a huge amount over the course of the game, but the application thereof changes a huge amount. In one scenario you might be hiding behind a wall, firing crossbow bolts at skeletons to lure them away from their compatriots, before leaping out and hitting them with a powerful “Slash” attack that shatters them into pieces. In another, you might be accompanied by six or seven other people and tasked with ensuring that everyone knows their place and does the right thing. In boss fights, you may find yourself tanking, or running up a wall to leap down onto an enemy’s head, or riding atop a giant monster and stabbing it repeatedly in the head Colossus-style. Couple this with the destructible scenery which can often be used to your advantage, the third person shooter mechanics, the “Gathering” system which draws aggro onto your character and allows mages to cast their spells quicker, and you have a system quite unlike any other JRPG you’ve ever played.

    The game’s linearity works in its favour by ensuring that the game is always moving. You never feel obliged to simply run around in circles in an area level grinding. It’s the polar opposite of Xenoblade in many ways — short (about 20 hours, from what I have heard), scripted, linear and setpiece-based vs. Xenoblade’s lengthy (100+ hours), sprawling, open world and quest-based nature — but the two games do what they do exceedingly well. Both tell interesting stories in very different ways. Both have casts of memorable characters. Both offer extremely convincing examples of how and why the JRPG could and should adapt.

    In short, both are essential plays for any RPG fan. And yes, they’re worth acquiring a Wii for.

    Pandora’s Tower has a lot to live up to.

  • RedSwirl 4:58 am on February 25, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro Maybe they should have waited to release it. What EA is generally trying to get across is that the DLC was indeed a separate production with a separate budget and team. It just happened to have been made while the core game was getting tested/certified and made it out at the same time. In my opinion it’s more about how it looks to the consumers than how it is, because after all, EA isn’t entitled to our money.

    Also, one example of a different company structure is CD Projekt. I don’t know if you haven’t played TW2 yet or if you’ll be playing it for the first time on 360 or whatever, but it’s pretty amazing to remember the game at launch and then look at the Enhanced Edition. Two whole modes and probably 6+ hours of content have been added in a year, and it’s all free. The way I see it, EA is trying to see how much money they can get out of their customer base, and CDPR is trying to expand their customer base.

    But once again, I’m going to have to lament how console gaming never reached the expansion pack system of the PC. First we got horse armor, then content cut from the core game, then small bites of new content that didn’t really feel all that consequential. I’ll admit some of that content was good. “Lair of the Shadow Broker” was actually pretty amazing as a standalone production, and if “From Ashes” is $10 (“Shadow Broker” was $7) it better at least be comparable. But look at what we used to have:

    Used to be a game came out, then an expansion pack came out a year later that added a substantial amount of content and expanded the original game in a way that console sequels often do. That ensured that whenever a real sequel came out, it was a massive leap instead of an incremental one. I guess they figured out that console gamers would pay for the small stuff.

    Someone else said something on the issue at Forbes too:

    Paul Tassi has posted an editorial on Forbes, voicing his opinion on the recent brouhaha over the From Ashes DLC for Mass Effect 3. In short, he says that any exploitation of gamers occurring at the hands of publishers is basically “our own damn fault.”

    “It just isn’t correct to call these companies evil for attempting to extract more money from their industry,”

    “What EA, and many of the other companies are doing, is a simple economic experiment. They know gamers are a loyal group, and they want to see just how far they can push you to shell out money for the “complete” experience of a game you love.

    “The same goes for this Mass Effect DLC. You might say that you wish the extra mission was in the game, thus saving you $10. But hell, I wish the game was $30, but that doesn’t meant I won’t buy it for $60. The question at hand is…how much do you love Mass Effect? You’ve shown you love it $60 worth for years, and now, they’re seeing if you love it $70 worth.”

    Still, he concedes that “there is a limit” and eventually companies will start taking too much out of the final product to release as DLC and change too much on top of that for what’s inside the box – ultimately loosing customers in the process.

    “As soon as the numbers stop adding up, the practice will reach a plateau,” Tassi wrote. “The problem is that we’re not there yet, and though each new step forward takes us a little closer to that cutoff line, we simply haven’t shown these companies that what they’ve done is truly that hurtful to us. If it was, these products and games simply would not sell, and the practice would be scaled back. And that isn’t what’s happening.

    What this says to me is that these companies, having to deal with their ballooning costs, are having to figure out how to get more money out of a consumer base that hasn’t grown nearly as quickly. Used games is just another part of the phenomenon. I think some of them are going to have to face the fact that these games are costing too much, both for them and for consumers. That might even be why a lot of the most talented guys who helped build this industry went “down” to indie work.

    It just seems like HD consoles were the worst horse to bet on this generation for all but a few top companies.

  • unmanneddrone 2:51 am on February 24, 2012 Permalink  

    @sinfony I think the ridiculous pricing includes dangerous and poisonous animal tax. We simply want play games and still be able to afford a kilo of shrimp to throw on the barbie.

    @redswir1 That’s a great idea. F2P is only getting better, so to see it break into the console market is mighty fine.

    @shingro May I add you, despite now using PSN via Vita? – unless I fight The Wiggles or Hi-5 and reclaim the PS3.

  • mjpilon 5:11 am on February 22, 2012 Permalink
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    @unmanneddrone did you get my submissions?

    Also, this evening’s 7 man NMRiH run starring myself, @bluesforbuddha, @bowlisimo, @scribl, @shingro @impynickers and his roommate was just another example of why multiplayer amongst the Squad needs to happen more often. Simply an epic 2 hours 😀

  • RocGaude 2:46 am on February 22, 2012 Permalink
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    Good to see so much more chatter around here. Maybe someday when I’m not in the middle of a life-altering move, I’ll hop in and chat, too. Here are some quickies.

    HAWT Shit:

    • Billings, Montana – It’s cold, sparse, friendly, and beef lovers want for nothin’. Folks, I think I may have found a place I can call home.
    • The “loli cripple porn” SquadCast (I kid) – Amazing job, guys. Leave it to the Squad to make such a niche title appealing to even the most uninterested player. @shingro, you did a hell of a job on the show. Hope you can hop on future episodes, too.
    • Hero Academy – I love it because of one thing: limitations. Each side only gets 5 actions per turn and deciding how to best maximize your turns hits my happy chord. Plus, we’re getting dwarves on 2/22. Much love to my fuzzy kindreds.
    • Idle Thumbs returns – You mean people will financially support a kick ass podcast? I guess a few people seem up for it. Let’s hope this trend continues.

    Horse Shit:

    Navigating a ’17 foot UHaul truck towing a car through a snowstorm. That’s an adventure I shant be returning to unless at gunpoint.

  • bowlisimo 4:20 pm on February 20, 2012 Permalink

    NO MORE ROOM IN HELL mod (cold playthrough) survival squad:
    Haven’t decided on a time, but some time tonight before the UK goes to bed. @shingro let me know if you are still in, here or on Steam.

    [Team A (4 slots remaining of 8)] ~1-7 EST

    [Team B (5 slots remaining of 8)] ~10 EST

    [Instructions (STEAM)]
    You need to download 1.02 Full Installer from the Downloads section at the link above, and then download the 1.02b Hotfix.

    You need to have Steam installed and Source SDK Base 2007 installed in under Tools in your Library.

    Take the 1.02 Full Install and copy the folder in to Steam/Steamapps/SourceMods

    Then take the 1.02b Hotfix, and copy it over top of the mod to patch it.

    Restart Steam, and you are good to go!

  • RedSwirl 5:52 pm on February 18, 2012 Permalink
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    Holy shit Mass Effect talk. That’s actually what’s been taking up most of my time the last month or so.

    I must be weird because I’ve spent like 130 hours on ME1 through four playthroughs, the last of which I just finished up around a week ago. The reason however may be because I beat ME2 when it came out, took an almost two-year break, and then started back on ME1 with a second character. I’m kind of rediscovering the games.

    ME1 for me is one of those games that definitely feels janky in most areas, but is still tolerable because somewhere in there the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. I think it’s probably the characters and writing that sold me on the package, but I was even able to put up with the Mako, repeating environments, and combat (I play on PC though, where those things were supposedly improved).

    Starting out ME2 now, I think it’s better in every way except exploration and combat. Well, the combat is different, but I don’t know if it’s better. Yeah it’s more shooter-ey, but since the game was still made by an RPG house, you can tell it’s not quite there. It’s the same as when any RPG developer tries to make a hack n’ slash button-to-action RPG – most of the time it’s missing something from either side. Looking back to ME1, I actually like that while it controls like a shooter, still knows it’s an RPG. I liked how victory depended more on proper use of abilities and stats rather than just taking cover.

    Still, ME2 was my favorite game of 2010 primarily for its roleplaying element. That’s the part that still made it feel like a great RPG for me. I wish someone could try to make whole games out of the type of stuff you do in Thane’s and Samara’s loyalty missions.

    @shingro You doin’ Soul Calibur V on PS3? I am available for that game on PSN.

    I’ll agree that the singleplayer plot is freaking retarded in that game. I think the main director got caught complaining on twitter that Namco was rushing the game, so they probably just decided to focus on the core competitive aspect.

  • Pete Davison 9:36 pm on February 17, 2012 Permalink |
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    SquadCast Special Mission: Katawa Shoujo

    Listen now!

    Direct link

    (More …)

    • wrdsmth 1:00 am on February 19, 2012 Permalink

      You know I came into this expecting to look down on you guys, just some random jack offs doing a podcast I’ve never heard of on the internet.

      What I got was some insightful, level headed discussion about elements of Katawa Shoujo and it’s fan base I hadn’t even fully formed an opinion on yet. I’m surprised at how intelligently you went about this. The bit about what visual novels have over regular books was particularly interesting to me, I think it was about 2 hours in.

      Anyways, thank you guys for all your wonderful thoughts on the subject. I haven’t listened to a podcast in years because I found most of them to be absolute shit, but you have a new fan in me.

      Also I’m sincerely sorry for the prejudice I walked in with, you guys are great.

    • Pete Davison 1:08 am on February 19, 2012 Permalink

      What a kind comment. Thanks so much! We’re glad you enjoyed the podcast and hope you’ll consider having a listen to some of our others. 🙂

      Do feel free to introduce yourself in the freeform discussion below, too — it’s always great to meet new people.

    • Shingro 9:56 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink

      Great to have you =) I’m glad that what was possibly the most esoteric podcast of the bunch struck people so well. It means a lot to hear that =D

    • Shingro 10:13 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink

      So, for Katawa Shoujo Supplemental: I’d love to hear from @rampantbycicle as to her opinions, outlook and experience.

      Barring that, one topic we didn’t really hit very hard and might bear some discussion is how the game seems to unerringly mimic conversations we’ve had with real people. Is that due to the effort the devs made? Is it because it was originally made in our natural culture and language? Why can’t other games seem to tag this very often?

    • unmanneddrone 2:32 pm on February 22, 2012 Permalink

      Just wanted to say cheers for the fine podcast. I admit to being in the middle tier, but was rather interested to hear the discussion regardless. The hard sell worked on a grognard, @shingro!

    • mrgodravan 1:13 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink

      Hello. I’m an unwashed foreigner brought here by a link in reddit’s katawa shoujo subreddit. I guess I missed the normal commenting window–had some trouble setting aside three hours to listen to it.

      Anyway, the reason I registered a wordpress commenting account: something startled me when listening to the discussion about why more games don’t/whether they can have much of an emotional punch. Ico was brought up as the sole example of a professional game with more than rudimentary gameplay which works on this level. Mulling over that I returned to an old criticism of games as art: that gameplay seriously detracts from them because it can’t be made into a holistic experience with the narrative. While a player is experiencing the story of Mass Effect, they’re also playing at short-range tactical combat and stat-maximizing, and both of those by their irrelevance are alienating. Ico is to some extent a counterexample, as the gameplay is the workhorse of the narrative: the game is, up until the end, exploring a strange, desolate place, protecting the only other person there, and trying to figure out how to get her somewhere only you can reach. I think the first time I heard that criticism I just wrote it off as older generation who just couldn’t ever grok games, but now I’m sold. I don’t think it’s possible for an action RPG to be a great creative work. Maybe in the future as game theory develops there will be more games which truly are unified creative works, but I doubt they’ll be similar to much of anything we have now.

    • feenwager 5:50 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink

      Welcome, mrgodravan! Thanks for the comment, and feel free to join in any of the discussions we’ve got going on around the Squawkbox. We’re a friendly lot. Except me. I’m a jerk, but they put up with me.

    • Shingro 6:50 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink

      Welcome =) Interesting thoughts, I have to admit, Katawa Shoujo is definately moved towards the non-interactive bend compared to other types of games, so your point is certainly valid. I guess I’ve started to think of it more like a sliding scale, the more guided/less interactive a game is the more stable it is, the more people it can affect. Then at the other end, the more wide open and less guided the experience the stronger the effect is on the player.

      Also, arguably, the less guided the experience, the more it becomes the player’s story, not the developer. Perhaps in the future there will be game design capable of putting people in situations where they organicly and of their own free will create an amazing personal story on par with a guided creative vision.

      Noooot expecting it anytime soon, but I could certainly see it as possible.

    • beige 9:13 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink

      In other words: Everybody should play Journey when it launches next week.

  • beige 10:37 pm on February 16, 2012 Permalink  

    @shingro Dunno. I just see Transformers 3 in most of this audience pandering. Gaming has its share of Inceptions — or at least it is developing one. If Tim proved anything it is that Niches can be profitable, assuming your word and your reputation is good.

    I always turn the difficulty of any game straight to whatever the hardest “out of the box” difficulty setting is as soon as possible. I just don’t train otherwise. Every now and then you get a Batman where the game will kick your ass a few times but after the first hour you just stop noticing. That’s how I figure it, anyway. Of course, every now and then you get a Nier where this course of action just arbitrarily inflates the rage without giving anything back. I like to believe this isn’t the case for most things. Devs play their own games – they know what caliber a person who is familiar with a system should be playing on. I’d much rather be frustrated for an hour while I find my sea legs and then have 20 hours of white-knuckle excitement than to walk the herpy derp path and just feel ho-hum even in the final moments when things are supposed to be exciting.

    Vanquish was a good example of this. The final boss was savage, but it made you have to find your rhythm as a player, play the controller like a musical instrument. One of these things is fun, the other is just kinda feeling like you went to the dance to stand around with a drink in your hand on the periphery.

    That said, the Zelda thing isn’t about difficulty per se. It’s about the feeling of discovery and/or the knowledge that at any point you could die horribly or get in over your head. If I made a survival game, it would be full of this stuff… totally focused 100% on making the player understand their own limitations while forcing them to push themselves outside their comfort zone 10% of the time to stay alive. You’d only have to starve to death in the desert once to remember to pack your fucking canteen for the next time. Ditto poking mountain lions with sharp sticks or what-have-you. Makes that time you actually had to kill a mountain lion with improvised tools really mean something as a great war story.

  • Mike Minotti 6:32 am on February 13, 2012 Permalink  

    @shingro Your Disneyland reference brings tears to my eyes.

  • unmanneddrone 2:57 am on February 9, 2012 Permalink

    I do think, going by some of @angryjedi and @redswir1‘s sentiments, that there’re a few things to consider in regards to reviews and reviewers. The idea of “specialists” in the review process seems to be rather exclusive and perhaps asking for exactly the same unbalance that we decry folks like Gerstman of propagating. It’s great for genre fans, but does that necessarily make for a review helpful to other people? Outside of doing the obvious and asking @shingro, should I necessarily trust the impressions of a dedicated JRPG reviewer? Much like what the Minottis said about some hardcore fighting game fan reviews of Soul Calibur V and the disparities observed by casual pundits, the emphases of reviewers is utterly subjective most of the time.

    One reason I like Out of Eight is simply that James Allen, that indefatigable one-man show, plays pretty much everything across the board. He has a penchant for strategy, but that doesn’t stop him reviewing casual games, sports sims, puzzlers, shooters, RPGs…and hence why I count him as one of the best reviewers in the business, as unsung as the fellow is against the “personality” journalists of the industry. His simple review process, even outside of the score, is pretty spot on. His review of Recettear reads as well as his review of Gary Grigsby’s War in the East: The German-Soviet War 1941-1945, just to highlight an example of one man investigating the spectrum.

    I feel fans are sometimes a bad choice in reviewing a particular genre. Loving Eastern Euro stuff means having an enduring tolerance for jank, but whereas I see a little bit of rough as endearing, others might feel they’ve been deceived if a review does not mark it down for such a thing. Especially when related to technical issues. I pimp Real Warfare 2: The Northern Crusades, truly feeling like its a fantastic, meaty experience that surpasses Creative Assembly’s efforts, but others might find it unwieldy, lacking polish, wrongly or misled emphases and so on. Who is right in this equation?

    I think scores are the big undermining factor here. Give me a nice, thick and ponderous review, and a summary. Give me comparative titles, give me contrasting experiences. I want to know the reviewers context THROUGH the review itself. And Metacritic can bugger right off.

  • feenwager 4:39 am on February 7, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Gadfly   

    @shingro no worries, we all have our roles.

  • unmanneddrone 3:28 pm on February 6, 2012 Permalink  

    @impynickers Would love to hear more on Natural Selection 2. Seems to have far more personality than the mechanically-sound but oh-so-dry Nuclear Dawn. I’d be interested in playing, but have gotten to the point where I’d be too buggered to maintain contact and offer sitreps to the entire team. Love the concept, though.

    Makes me think fondly of old Brink and how teamwork and communication was solved through UI. Never got its dues, despite flaws.

    @cgrajko @rampantbicycle KS has really captured the hearts and minds of the Squad! @shingro really did pull off a monumental hard sell operation. One for the ages.

  • unmanneddrone 7:26 am on February 4, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro Scroll down until you hit a picture of a staircase, good sir. Below that is the link you’re after. I’d link you up, but am on my phone and WordPress isn’t very friendly. It’d be great to hear a sentence or two of your experience if you get time.

  • bowlisimo 3:03 pm on January 17, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro I’ll buy that. I think I can back off of my dislike for Deadly P a bit after enjoying the MGS series and Kojima’s brilliant insanity (back to back to back to back) so much. I will still never play that game on my own, but I can appreciate Swery’s vision more now. That, and Francis York Morgan is the greatest character of 2010.

  • bowlisimo 3:25 pm on January 10, 2012 Permalink

    @beige @shingro Some Dark Souls reading for you guys on Kotaku. This writer gets it. “What Dark Souls Is Really All About”

    @squad If you still don’t understand why a few of us can talk for days about that game, there you go.

  • unmanneddrone 1:43 pm on January 9, 2012 Permalink

    @impynickers What a run-down! Great to hear some love for RO2.

    @shingro Played more Katawa Shoujo this eve, I think I’m on the same Emi route as yourself. Post-dorm room antics *wink wink* and I’m still intrigued. Although some encounters feel a bit long sometimes (my fault, rather than the genre/game), it continues to impress in its writing. There’s the classic J-drama tropes, and rather than be irritated, I strangely find myself shrugging and going “those guys certainly know their business!”.

    With systems to subjugate via trade and influence, Prussian heathens to see to via the business end of Teutonic steel, Iranian armour to rent…even enemy creeps to infest with the plague-tainted claws of my Unclean Beast, Galciv2, Real Warfare 2, Steel Armour and Demigod wait impetuously as their governor, for some reason, is seeing to his amputee date.

  • impynickers 8:26 am on January 9, 2012 Permalink
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    @shingro Fascinating…. my mind feels expanded. This can only be a good thing.
    If your taste for the alternative game experiences isn’t satiated after Katawa Shoujo, look up an unsettling “game” called ‘Hatoful boyfriend’.
    It is a game about a human girl who decides to go to a high school for birds, St. PigeoNation’s Institute. There, she dates pigeons. Yeah.

    Now I would like to finally take some time to toss some memorable video games into the funeral pyre of 2011, and explain what essence of them lives on in me as a humble scribe of 2012. Bare with my belated reaction.

    I willfully discard whatever inner hipster resides in me, as I just passed 95 hours in the popular Skyrim game.
    The fact startles me for a number of reasons. First, that I am still regularly discovering new things.
    Also, that the majority of these new things are given the same level of polish as pretty much everything else, which is to say = shiny. I had been waiting for the game to get boring so I can just finish the main quest and leave the game behind me. In the process I have just given up and become invested in my wandering adventurers throughout the many communities of Skyrim.
    Everywhere I become known as ‘that guy’ that did ‘this’, or ‘that’. It is truly remarkable when you see it, the world here contains a mighty mighty canvas of mythology in which you can paint your own tales of victory. And it will vary. This is the true delivery on the promise of 2 friends talking about the same game, but having completely unique stories.These stories will include encounters with characters, towering monsters, magic, and dark deeds… but they will be yours to tell.
    I am pleased as punch. Great game.

    The battle for praise, if there must be one, is the cage match between Skyrim and The Witcher 2.
    I loved the Witcher 2 a ton. Its deliciousness made me accusingly stare in the recent directions of Bioware, as their offerings appear in places only partially cooked in comparison. It was also an incredible leap from Witcher 1, which had the taste down but lost a lot of points in the course texture.
    Geralt as a lead character just carries an incredible variety of flavours. Enough room for player choice, but with a distinct personality that keeps you coming back. The dialogue as a whole just feels so natural, even when you are forced to make hard contrasting decisions.. its always as if that is what Geralt would have done. I dug everything in the game, even the unbalanced combat. I was fine with all of it. I am just so glad a game as smart as this can exist. However it took a game like Skyrim to take things beyond my reasonable expectations, and truly give me a ride to remember. Skyrim to me was a more addicting and impactful experience, even though I think the overall writing and nuance of Witcher 2 was handled leagues above.

    Trench coat. Check. Augmented sunglasses. Check. Deus Ex- Human Revolution had style and substance, it was certainly a living manifestation of my cyberpunk fantasies. The game seemed to do everything right for me, with the exception of the enemy A.I which seems to have barely evolved from the original game released in 2000. I did find the art style was unique enough to make up for many of the technical shortcomings of the game engine, and all the details of the story and environment felt a part of larger cohesive subtext. I love stealth games, I love RPG’s. This game was clearly made for people like me. I loved the original game, which was a magnum opus for its time. Human Revolution is precisely what a modern version of that game ought to look and play like, with all the modern gameplay strengths and pitfalls. At the end of the day this game filled a missing piece of my soul with delicious story and badassedness.

    Notable Underdogs:

    No other game I have played this year has attracted classic couch co-op like Little Big Planet 2.
    It one ups its predecessor by opening pandora’s box, allowing the community to create basically whatever they want… and its great. The base game mechanics can feel a little loose sometimes, and it certainly doesn’t typically involve a lot of depth, but it actually keeps me coming back every month or two to check out what is new. I would claim that this game is the PS3’s answer to the 360’s indie games lineup.

    Equally intimidating and rewarding, Red Orchestra 2 has given me some of my favourite moments this year. This selection is from the heart, because I know this online shooter could easily get beat up by the bigger games of its genre. For most people I would point to Battlefield 3 as this games superior in a large number of important areas, but for the exceptional few I will reveal that RO2 is the choice with more depth.
    The game strikes a balance between shooter and simulation, and this runs the risk of pleasing neither crowd.
    I found it to be just accessible enough not to alienate me, which kept me interested in mastering the myriad nuances of the games mechanics that lay hidden behind a modern shooter exterior. Once you learn the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of Stalingrad the old habits acquired from other shooters start being transformed or abolished.
    Clever use of movement, equipment and cover systems ensure that you and your enemy are capable of moving without being exposed. You will die really easily. Sometimes it isn’t fair. More than about racking up a kill score this game is about survival, battlefield awareness, and eventually getting the drop on your enemy. You will sometimes die regardless of how good you are. Tanks, Artillary Shells and Machine Gun emplacements can all show up where you don’t expect them and ruin your day. There is also someone more weathered or sneakier than you that can get the drop on you in almost any conceivable situation.
    Other games have this kind of hectic atmosphere, but never has it been so deadly and so reliant on cover.
    The game doesn’t let you shrug off standing near an explosion, or taking a bullet to the leg. You need to act appropriately. That is its appeal, is its unforgiving and visceral war time experience that other games refuse to give you because it is too ‘hardcore’ an experience for most people. I loved the adrenaline rushes, and the moments of sheer panic when allies are dying on mass around you. It is an experience I haven’t found anywhere else.

  • unmanneddrone 2:42 am on January 9, 2012 Permalink

    Echoing @rampantbicycle‘s fine words, one Squaddie’s taste is simply one proud piece of the SoS puzzle – if I can humbly speak as a relatively new fellow. Would never have tried Katawa Shoujo if @shingro hadn’t been so adamant in recommending it, and while it’s certainly more a chamomile tea instead of my preferred Earl Grey, it’s an interesting new flavour.

  • rampantbicycle 10:42 pm on January 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    @shingro I have just read your Wall o’ Text to Beige while he defended a base in Assassin’s Creed. He wishes me to say:

    “IMO, we wouldn’t be who we are if this wasn’t the kind of place where people could come and testify about erogalges or whatever the fuck else.”

    Which I will interpret to mean that he supports you. 😉 For myself, I will show my library nerd background and quote the inestimable Betty Rosenberg, reader’s advisory hero:

    “Never apologize for your reading taste.”

    The world has room in it for all manner of things, and all of us are free to like and dislike the things we choose. So long as we’re not hurting anyone, it does none of us any good to feel shame over loving what we love.

    We’ve recently played To The Moon, which treats similar subject matter. The difficulties were primarily mental rather than physical, and the condition in question is never once named (though a little judicious internet research can identify it.) Mark says he’s been wondering what you were up to since Dark Souls and that he appreciates hearing from you, and there is talk of investigating Katawa Shoujo in the household, moving problems permitting. 🙂

    By the way, lest it get lost in the shuffle, new squad mix, yay! I will begin looking for tracks as soon as I can…again, moving problems permitting.

  • unmanneddrone 10:06 pm on January 8, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro Ah! I forgot about that Misha character!

    It’s a long weekend, so I’ll see if I can slot more time in today at some stage. Any word on a how long a particular story or outcome takes?

    (my wife just loves to give me shit at every opportunity. This was prime target material, but hey, your hard sell worked!)

  • unmanneddrone 11:48 am on January 8, 2012 Permalink

    @shingro I’ll nab it, but I don’t know how long I’ll last. Not that it has any bearing, but my Missus is an art teacher at a school for the disabled (or whatever the goddamn PC word is we’ve had deemed okay), so should be interesting. I’d show it to her, but she has a remarkable disdain for the manga stylings and tropes borne of her own country – would you believe it!?

    EDIT: So I’m checking this out…and, black-hearted, military hardware-loving old me is *gulp* finding this somewhat fascinating. There you go! An even bigger “would you believe it!?” situation.

    EDIT FOR SUNDAY EVE IMPRESSIONS: Alright, up to a certain festival. It’s definitely interesting, and being acquainted with events such as that do resonate with legitimacy, as well as the dynamics of school life with club activities and whatnot. Outside of a certain character claiming the gender balance is an intentional conspiracy, it would have been nice to have a little more in the way of male characters outside of teaching staff and the odd lad. Is it fan service? In any case, while unnecessarily verbose in parts, it’s quite a disarming little experience thus far. There are some reasonable depictions of disabilities, but they’re packaged in manga/J-drama fluff that does bevel the jagged edges off, and outside of classical depiction over-emphases (bordering on and certainly within the realm of parody), I’m yet to see a non-physical handicap. Time will tell.

    But for two and a half hours of my Sunday eve, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the levity, irked by certain tropes (why oh why do most VNs need to sport such juvenile art?! There are plenty of terrific manga artists and styles that don’t make me embarrassed to have pics open on my desktop – more than once my wife looked over and uttered a few rueful descriptors), but intrigued and shall continue to play.

    What the hell have you done, Shingro?! I should be in Angola or something, trying to stop my Soviet armour from getting its tracks blown off. Perhaps it’s a karmic balance, with the STALKER Misery mod coming out this week…

  • beige 7:46 pm on January 3, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowlisimo @shingro Bowls, you may have hit the nail on the head there. I fully expected only the three of us to ever care about Dark Souls (did anyone else play it?) but I was also 100% sure that those of us who soldiered through it would nominate it for #1 with a bullet. I hadn’t thought about it in Bowley’s “YOU are the hero” terms, but on reflection I 100% agree. It’s YOU in the hot seat, not commander Shepard. That’s the Dark Souls edge.

    Every time I fell through a crack in the earth, every time some goddamn horror lurched out of the darkness, every time I stood on the silent shore of the Lake of Ash and looked out onto some unfathomable, alien landscape I was there.. I didn’t feel like I could push X to do some kind of Ezio move or get out of jail free — all I could do was stump around like a vulnerable chump in a tin can, watching with paranoid awareness for the flicker of movement that would mean some goddamn thing was about to leap on me from behind. I’m no hero – jesus fuck what have I gotten myself into?? When I was plunged into total darkness in the Tomb of the Giants I was so busy backpedaling in blind, knee-jerk horror to really marvel consciously at what a hell of a trick they’d been able to pull off atmosphere-wise. Only after trudging back wearily for those lost souls the tenth time did the fine points of the art direction start to sink in on a conscious level. Then… as you say, when you DO pull it off and you dodge that killing curse or sidestep that giant claw only to put the blade deep between some boss’s shoulder blades. When you start to see that huge form crumple to the ground… then it’s Miller Time. “I did it. Holy shit! The beast is dead. THE BEAST IS DEAD AND I KILLED IT!”. Town crier.

    In a world with no instruction manuals I cannot stress enough the difference that Dark Souls’ sense of extra-game community and cameraderie makes. Every single goddamn one of you is fighting the same fight against totally unfair odds and inscrutable and often arbitrary rule sets. Like the best co-op games, your life is in the hands of strangers and the bonds of trust and shared effort — updating wikis, summoning phantoms and just sharing war stories. I’ve never played WOW, but I often wonder if the “you had to be there” sense of some giant raid isn’t the closest cousin to Dark Souls in the gaming space.

    Bowls, what was your take on the endgame and resolution of MGS3? As you know I put a lot of stock in those last few hours and in its net takeaway. I enjoyed your MGS2 recap but knew that if you liked that that better things were coming.

  • unmanneddrone 3:26 am on January 2, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Doom II RPG, Mixing Bowl of Personality,   

    @shingro The Mixing Bowl of Personality sounds incredible! Something created by Terry Gilliam and overseen by Eric Idle.

    I’m playing my first roguelikes since, gulp, Yoda Stories (can that be considered a roguelike?) in Doom II RPG on iOS. Not bad, certainly enjoying it in limited amounts. The Steve Irwin Line Of Obviousness (pre-calamitous run-in with ray) in “If I wasn’t alive right now, I’d be dead!” certainly feels right at home in the binary world of a roguelike.

  • RedSwirl 2:02 pm on December 14, 2011 Permalink

    Okay now lemme get down to my reasonings:

    Melancolie by Kassin: @bluesforbuddha Was not far off with his explanation on this one. Even linking it to @shingro was a good guess because this song is indeed from an anime show with themes similar to what Beige describes.

    In short, the show, Michiko to Hatchin, is a sort of wacked-out “for girls” crime drama from some of the guys behind Cowboy Bebop that takes place in what appears to be the underbelly of contemporary Brazil. If you really want the original context, here it is. The show goes to a lot of places from there that are different, but similar.

    Martin, Marcus, and Malcom by The Jazzistics: Surprisingly I actually haven’t found any more of this group’s work. I randomly found it off of one of those albums that adult swim put together on their website (which I seriously suggest you all check out). If you don’t know, SOMEBODY over there in Atlanta lives and breathes Jazzhop.

  • unmanneddrone 11:54 am on December 13, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , King Arthurs Gold   

    @shingro A very interesting question, and while the essence was folded into the Gaming Literacy squadcast, deciding or choosing an entry level game for someone either not familiar with gaming or that particular genre is a tasty proposition.

    There’s a question of balance, too. Do you showcase or introduce a comparatively shallow experience, for ease of initiation? Or would there be a benefit to unveiling something a little overwhelming, where exploration of the mechanics/world/choices can lead to far greater levels of initial satisfaction and self-determined discovery?

    Hope your Missus is gaming on with gusto.

    Behold, a new freebie! A corker, if I don’t say so myself…

    The awesome King Arthur’s Gold for PC, Mac and Neckbeard Linux.

    By the fellow who made ol’ Soldat (2D multiplayer counterstrike with jetpacks, if that rings a bell), KAG takes from the Terraria model by mixing crafting and building into siege warfare on a relatively grand scale. Highly recommend this one, been messing about with it casually for a month or so. When a battle is in full swing, it is quite the thing. The three classes include a worker, so while archers and swordsmen race about the battlements, workers build and repair fortifications, dig tunnels, sabotage foundations etc. Really dynamic matches, not your average multiplayer game and buckets of fun.


    And yes, I do believe that’s a Wilhelm scream.

  • rampantbicycle 4:19 am on December 12, 2011 Permalink

    @mjpilon – Nope, that wasn’t one of mine! Though I do like it a lot and might have submitted it myself if I’d known it existed. It’s very Bond – kind of demands a cocktail dress (or a tuxedo) and a martini. Thumbsup to the selector!

    Still fidgeting about with the tracks myself trying to see if I can make any good guesses. Quite sure I have one of @beige’s down, but the other, not so much. (How embarrassing!) The rest of you…man! Even @shingro is all deep-cover on this one. I may as well throw some darts in a lot of cases. 🙂

    Oh well. It is nevertheless fun times to engage in cultural exchange!

  • bowlisimo 6:46 pm on December 6, 2011 Permalink

    Cool. I haven’t really thought it through, but if you guys want to do this I suppose @angryjedi could start a separate Squad Santa thread here or a Google doc? (for securely collecting emails, gamertags, steam names, etc) for people to officially add their name to over the next week or two if they want to participate (I realize that not everyone can, or wants to). Then one of us can randomly dole out the names and people can get to gifting, and post what they got if they so desire. A logical end date would be Jan 1st, to catch holiday sales.

    I figure that gifting downloadable games would be an easy way to start, but we can shape this however we want, especially since we’re a small group.

    Cheap fu is strong these days and there’s a veritable bounty out there to be had for next to nothing. 15 dollars max or whatever your equivalent currency is, should be more than enough. Steam is obvious and easy to gift with, even across different countries, but I’m not sure about PSN or XBL or iOS. Is it even possible to gift games on those services?

    @shingro A good way to do that without asking is read through old posts here, or stalk their game lists and wish lists if available, which are usually public.

    Thoughts, ideas?

  • mjpilon 2:53 am on December 6, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    So I’ve taken the plunge and decided I will play Chrono Trigger alongside Giant Bomb’s endurance run. 2 hours in so far and it’s got me interested… we’ll see how far I can go with this.

    Also to @shingro you are a gentlemen and a scholar, good sir!! Totally un-necessary!

  • unmanneddrone 12:32 pm on November 25, 2011 Permalink

    @rampantbicycle No worries. I’ve still got to assemble the tracks in a seemingly cohesive arrangement and get a cover/poster done. No rush.

    Just spent a few hours of my Friday eve eschewing Real Warfare 2 for a bit more solo’ing through Dead Island. Really hit the spot. It’s not complicated, it’s not particularly deep…but it’s big and beautiful and sports a strangely convincing atmosphere. Once again the emotional evocation of a trailer fails to be conveyed through the end product, but in the spirit of The Walking Dead and other popcorn shambler fare, this one is tiding me over until that Misery mod for Call of Pripyat is out.

    Like the Skyrims and whatnot of the open-world gaming experience, Dead Island will have you adding to your shopping list of missions so thickly that you’ll end up trying to figure out how you chained yourself down through accepting so many pleas from helpless survivors. There’s something to be said for the old standby of seeking out medical supplies; which finds me stalking about the grounds of a five-star hotel armed with nothing but a claw hammer in search of an abandoned ambulance or infirmary.

    It’s a big game with very well-defined locales and I’m surprised I’m enjoying it as much as I am. Very intriguing game. Not sure if I’d recommend it to @shingro and his Missus, but it’s on the table regardless.

  • RedSwirl 6:12 pm on November 24, 2011 Permalink

    @shingro @rampantbicycle See System Shock 2 didn’t really come off as a horror game to me (neither did BioShock), and I think that’s just because I first played it in 2008 when the graphics were nine years old (couldn’t get the upgrade mod to work). There were parts where I was afraid, but not because of the atmosphere, but the enemies whenever I had like two bullets left in my handgun which was on condition 2. I had to pull so much out of my ass towards the end of that game.

  • rampantbicycle 6:04 pm on November 24, 2011 Permalink

    @shingro I am told I should recommend horror games to you. So, first, a second for Amnesia. The plot is…well, that’s not the point; go check it out and watch out for that wet basement.

    It is very much too bad that as far as I know the Fatal Frame series is not available for PC, because that’s easily one of my favorite horror franchises. Dripping with atmosphere, and very instructive in the various reasons why having psychic talents in certain parts of the world really sucks. Love them.

    The Argentinians behind Scratches do a decent horror adventure, as well, though you will have the associated Adventure Logic to contend with.

    System Shock 2 is of course an excellent choice – if her tolerance for dated graphics is all right and you can find them, this is where I make my semi-obligatory plug for the Thief series of games, starting with Thief Gold if you can obtain a copy, somewhere. (I have been able to make mine run on Windows 7 as recently as a few months ago. Yes, I was playing it AGAIN. …What?) First Person Sneaking is different from First Person Shooting, so her experience will be best with this if she enjoys the tension rather than the boomsticks. But tension there is. I would call them more “dark fantasy” than “horror,” but you never know.

    If she’s a Lovecraftian, Dark Corners of the Earth does a passable job with the material, including one of my favorite chase sequences ever in any game (people who have played it, you know the one I mean). It is buggy as heck, however, and so patience and fortitude are musts.

    Also Lovecraftian but completely free of graphical errors of any kind is the text-only adventure Anchorhead, which is both nicely put together and can be quite spooky, depending on how helpful your imagination is when it comes to…filling in blanks. For something a little less lengthy, the tiny, creepy Shade is a good alternative with zero Lovecraftian content.

    Having done that, I now observe that you are looking for “conversion” games. Do you mean “games you would give a non-gamer to build their enthusiasm for the hobby?” If so, then I’m happy to provide non-horror recommendations as well, but more information as to her tastes or the areas you’d like to see her give a try would be most helpful.

  • RedSwirl 11:54 am on November 24, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: F.E.A.R.   

    @shingro F.E.A.R.? Full-blown shooter games with Japanese horror undertones.

    I’ve still never been attracted enough to fully play any game in that franchise but they gotta be popular for something.

  • RedSwirl 1:38 am on November 24, 2011 Permalink

    So if I got Dungeon now, when would everyone be up for some?

    @shingro Well Amnesia of course (and Penumbra while you’re at it). A Half-Life 2 mod called “Korsakovia” is nice for that kind of thing too.

  • unmanneddrone 3:54 pm on November 19, 2011 Permalink

    Also, thanks to @shingro for the Squad Mix submission! I tell you what, guys…this is going to be one hell of a mix. So many terrific tracks in the bag thus far. Just for any further interested parties and stragglers, let me throw down the info once more:


    Submit two tracks via THIS FORM, supply links if you feel the need, send me MP3s IN ADDITION to your form submission with the appropriate details via email at unmanneddrone ( a t ) gmail (d o t) com IF tracks are really obscure.

    So far, I’ve managed to track down every tune submitted (outside of those also supplied). Great work, Squaddies. We’ll have this one ready by the end of November…and I’ll make it even more bullet-proof in the ID tagging so iTunes and whatnot doesn’t strip the thing apart like a cheese stringer.

  • beige 8:05 pm on November 17, 2011 Permalink  

    @shingro It’s my experience that you don’t go back to the soft stuff once you’ve got a taste for crack rock. Me, I never play on anything but Hard across the board except in extremely rare *cough CATHERINE* cases. Even though the “Joker’s Eight Million Goddamn Thugs Leap Out of Choo-Choo Trains and Pile On Batman” sequence in Arkham kicked my ass repeatedly over and over again last night I loved every minute of it. When are we getting more Dark Souls stories?… or is that part of your life over now?

    Related: Shingro, any babe who will dress up in a negligee and hang out with you while you’re wearing sheep horns is a keeper.

  • bowlisimo 7:12 pm on November 17, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    @shingro I watched a lot of Greg Kasavin’s marathon and I’m actually kind of stoked for Skyrim…just not right now. I’m content to have caught the Souls wave of discussion this time around, so I’m going to sit this one out.

    For me, it won’t be a lack of challenge, it’ll be getting bored with the Elder Scrolls combat system, which is the only thing I feel Demon’s/Dark Souls has really ruined for me (a little bit of Mount & Blade too). To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with it back when Oblivion released either. This new one looks marginally more engaging in that regard.

    No, with Bethesda games my course is very predictable. I’ll most likely dig real deep and lose myself in the world, then a point will come (30-50 hours in) where I get sick of the life of a ronin and jump back on the main quest for some direction, which eventually leads to The End…and then me asking myself, “what is the point of doing this now?”. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

    @beige I saw that email. Curious. Could be cool, sounds kinda Total Recall-ish, but without Johnny Cab and seeing Richter at the party.

  • RedSwirl 3:50 pm on November 11, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    @unmanneddrone Well then lemme go ahead and break that.

    A while ago I tried hopelessly to champion Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker to the Squad despite being probably the only one here besides @shingro who owns a PSP. That barrier is now gone with the HD Collection which I seriously recommend.

    I especially recommend this to people who loved Metal Gear Solid 3 (like Beige) but maybe passed up PW. Not only does MGS3 look clean as fuck on this disc, but PW also is able to become the game it was supposed to be.

    First of all, the controls actually make gddamned sense. Like MGS4, an entire layer of mechanical confusion is gone and you can play the game like you think it would. Secondly, Peace Walker is easily the most content-rich Metal Gear game. By itself it’s probably worth the $50 price tag of the collection. Even after 45 hours with the game (transferred my PSP save file) I still have a ways to go to unlock all the content. To describe the gameplay briefly, it’s basically the sequel to MGS3, with the management mechanics of Final Fantasy Tactics and a heavy co-op focus. The only thing that looks “old” about PW on this collection are the PSP graphics, and even the menus and 2D art assets have been completely redone in HD.

    Oh, and like 10 minutes of the Rayman Origins demo convinced me that Michael Ancel should be in charge of the next Sonic game. This motherfucker is a 16-bit platformer with today’s graphics. It’s just fun in all the ways those games were. It’s fun to run around and collect shit. It’s fun to find hidden shit. It’s fun to do death-defying leaps to get extra shit, and there’s enough of this in the full game to make it worth a $50 disc?! At least keep an eye out for this one on Black Friday.

  • bowlisimo 2:30 pm on October 26, 2011 Permalink

    @shingro The Lord vessel only warps you to some very specific bonfires (come on, you didn’t expect it to be THAT easy, did you?). It’s usually bonfires where firekeepers are, covenants, or after some of the later bosses. Even with that restriction, it’s still incredibly useful. Hey, don’t want to trek all the way down to blight town? Here, warp right to the spider lady in Queelag’s house. Want to farm some twinkling titanite? Instant travel to the ass end of Ash Lake and kill some clams. I zip back to Firelink often because I’ve got the bonfire stoked to 20 flasks.

  • RedSwirl 12:26 am on October 25, 2011 Permalink

    @bluesforbuddha @beige @shingro Don’t tell me… NO! The dude in the gold armor in the upper floor of the Parish?!

    Anyway, I got a crossbow, but no bow. Nearly took out the Prowling Demon (coolest art in the game) full melee. Just a little more…

  • bowlisimo 6:54 pm on October 20, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    lol… Shingro went into this game like Hello Kitty, and he’s going to come out raspy and war weary, like Marcus Fenix.

    Either that or we’ll see him months down the road, submitting sad music to UMD’s squad mixes, and rocking himself back and forth in an empty room while faceless servants bring him food that he’s lost all interest in eating. His thousand yard stare will gaze over empty fields of cracked dirt, and children will weep at the sight of his rolled over black, Dark Souls scarred eyeballs.

    @shingro FYI, If you revert to human form at a bonfire you use a lot, and then kindle it (which uses 1 humanity), you will get 10 estus flasks every time you use it instead of the usual 5. Later on you will get a rite that will allow you to up this amount.

    @beige You can pull those big armored Knights out one by one, if you get more than one coming after you, good luck. Remember that one chest in Sen’s Fortress? Yeah, don’t forget about that. Keep illusory walls in mind, but they should be player marked. Some lightning resist wouldn’t be a bad idea for some sections.

    The most annoying part I’ve already detailed, the archers. When you find yourself on ledges with two archers shooting big-ass arrows at you, it’s time to be careful, but quick. Don’t try to block the arrows on the way up, they just push you the fuck off. Once you make it all the way to the window sill, only one archer on the right can hit you. You have to book it over to him and GET IN HIS FACE so he stops firing, otherwise… well, practice your Goofy yelp. Who knows, you could get lucky.

    Edit: Ornstein and Smough are doable by yourself (with lots of running away), but I think it was much more of a fun fight coop with someone at relatively the same skill/gear level.

  • unmanneddrone 6:06 am on October 16, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , Taking 萌え Bullets For the Team   

    …and there you have it. @shingro bringing the goods. Strip away the window dressing and saucer-eyed lolis and you’ll more often than not have intricate mechanical systems beneath.

  • unmanneddrone 1:56 am on October 16, 2011 Permalink  

    @shingro Very good. Let it never be said that the Squad doesn’t cover all bases.

  • unmanneddrone 1:31 am on October 2, 2011 Permalink

    @shingro It’s a grotty mess playing against the CPU, but not a bad game in versus. It’s pretty much what people wanted from a digital version of the boardgame, but in saying that, it’s a digital version of the boardgame – meaning there’s lots of dice-rolls going on so strategic dexterity is kneecapped quite often by the luck of the roll. Still, @beige plays it online, so there’s someone in your timezone who can offer up a less frustrating entry into the quite hilarious world of fantasy grid-iron (hilarious until you’ve heard the commentary quips a few times). Lizardmen for the win, as they say.

  • unmanneddrone 12:27 pm on September 27, 2011 Permalink  

    @shingro I just didn’t want to make people feel like they’d been jilted by my scattered collation. Twas no slight against a fellow, but I do feel bad now I know I’ve missed out more than one track. Ah dear. Still, I’m enjoying the guessing game that’s going on and glad people are digging the mix.

    In the slim chance than anyone was hanging out for the release date, Wargame: European Escalation is set to deploy on November 22! Break out Ralph Peters’ Red Army and get pumped, primed and ready to roll over the Wall.

  • sinfony 8:00 pm on September 25, 2011 Permalink  

    @shingro If it helps your guessing, it’s an electric guitar in my avatar, and the silhouette is of Thurston Moore.

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