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FFX HD, Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Other Stuff

I have been bouncing around a lot of stuff lately and I believe I have covered some of it. Stuff like ESO and Age of Wonder 3. There are several things that I’m not sure I can make an entire post out of but I figured if I mash it all together then it might fill a page, right? Insert official K&G Seal of Quality here, or at least pretend it is.

FFX/X2 HD – VITA

I went with the Vita version of this over the PS3 version mainly for ease of use. It may not look quite as good but I’ll probably never know or care about the difference. When these were originally released on the Playstation 2 I did own both of them but never actually finished them. After playing X for several hours I think I remember why. The game isn’t bad or anything and the combat and sphere grid is actually pretty good. Unfortunately I must have forgotten how cringe-worthy parts of the game were. The dialogue, the way it’s delivered by the VA’s, weird characters… I feel embarrassed even when I have headphones in and nobody can see what I’m doing. That’s actually pretty interesting since I do remember playing this years ago and having people walk by every single time something weird or awkward happened. Though I’m sure everybody has experienced that with some game.

Sad Spider-Man

Yeah, a little like that.

Amazing Spider-Man 2: THE “GAME”

Amazing Spider-Man 2 actually really let me down. I’ve purchased almost every single Spider-Man console game for TEN years now and have really yet to be disappointed or regret a purchase. Sure most of them may be just average titles but there are a few really good ones. Even then just by being a big Spider-Man fan it can bump up the enjoyment factor by quite a bit. So after a decade of satisfaction I made the unfortunate decision to purchase this Spider-Man game without waiting for reviews or doing any research.

There just really isn’t anything good I can say about the game. The swinging mechanics improved in some ways but do way more wrong than they do right. The combat is a shallow Arkham Batman ripoff and remains tedious throughout the entire experience. The city is mostly devoid of anything actually interesting to do except for boring, repetitive tasks that affect your heroic level. Completing said tasks rewards you with essentially nothing while failing to do them will punish you with huge energy barriers blocking swinging paths and drones flying up your ass. I don’t even want to talk about or acknowledge this thing anymore. I told Keen to get it out of my house because the sight of it made me ill. He came back instead with a copy of Mario Golf, which might as well be alchemy since he just turned shit into gold.

COMING SOON: Mario Golf & Kirby Triple Deluxe

I just got these in the mail Friday and I’m loving them both quite a bit. Right now I don’t feel quite ready to share my thoughts but I do plan on doing a write-up for both games or if it comes down to it I’ll just write half a post for each and mash it together.

Other Stuff: Caverna: The Cave Farmers

We ordered this quite a while ago and I think it’s actually due to be delivered anytime now. We haven’t written about board games in a while so this should provide for some interesting content when it eventually gets here.

Other Stuff: Is SPACE ENGINEERS any good?

I see this on Steam every day and it keeps chanting my name and saying “Buy me!” Keen thinks it looks boring but I’m not so sure. Anybody tried it out? What kind of survival do you have to do? An inquiring mind needs to know.

Starlight Inception on PlayStation Vita

I have many fond memories of playing TIE Fighter when I was younger and it is still probably my all-time favorite Star Wars game. You’d think that it would have turned me onto other stuff like Wing Commander, but I actually never gave those a try. TIE Fighter is pretty much the only space combat “sim” that I have played but I still really enjoy the game type. It was just the other day when I was browsing the weekly PlayStation store update when I noticed that something called “Starlight Inception” had released on the Vita. I checked it out and apparently it was a successfully funded Kickstarter project and also released on the PC. Since I’ve been drifting more towards handheld gaming lately I was more interested in the Vita version so I reached out to Escape Hatch Entertainment and they were kind enough to drop us a review code. I can’t speak for the PC version of the game but these are my thoughts on the Vita version.

starlight inception space combatVisuals & Presentation

I knew that the Vita version was obviously going to be a downgrade visually but that doesn’t really bother me. TIE Fighter still looks great to me. The visuals are pretty rough, though. When walking around the interior of the main ship (which you do entirely too slow by the way) things look rather plain. However, after I actually got into my first mission I was pretty impressed by the space visuals and how everything looked. The game may not look as nice as its PC counterpart but it gets the job done. Honestly the only things I wish it had were a few particles here and there to give me the feeling that my ship is actually moving but that’s just me nitpicking.

The second mission was pretty awkward. You fly around near the surface of a city which had just recently suffered an explosive attack. The problem is that it mostly looks like a large gray wall with buildings sprouting up as if the view distance was incredibly short distance. I actually tried to find a youtube video of this scene for the PC version and after viewing it I kind of understand what they were doing for that mission. The problem is that pretty much all of the extra effects that actually make that scene work are missing from the Vita version. [Read more...]

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace & Pushing Keen out of his gaming comfort zone

ragnarok-odyssey-aceGaming for us may have mostly taken off with PC games but prior to that we did invest a good deal of time playing stuff like our Master System, Super Nintendo, and later on the N64 and PS2. We used to play all kinds of different stuff together but over the years he has withdrawn into a near impenetrable shell that doesn’t have much room for anything other than MMOs and a few other games. Getting him to even try other types of games can be incredibly difficult.

For years I’ve been trying to get him to play a Monster Hunter game with me but that hasn’t had much success at all. I think I might have mentioned a while back that the first attempt saw my PSP thrown to the ground in frustration. Anywho, a while back I discovered another game in the “Hunting Genre” called Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. From what I could tell it was the updated version of the game like Ultimate was for Tri. I picked it up for my Vita and after playing it for a short while I figured that I might be able to get him to try playing this with me.

Monster Hunter may not have drawn him in initially, but Ragnarok looked like it might do it. Bright colors, Norse-ish theme, wizards, etc. Plus the combat seems more approachable than Monstrer Hunter. If I couldn’t get him to try this out then there was really no hope. After a lot of complaining, guilt-tripping, extortion, and pestering I was finally able to convince him to play it with me. We downloaded the PS3 version of the game (which can play with the Vita as well) and gave it a go. [Read more...]

Birthdays, Backlogs, and Board Games–Oh my!

Keen's BirthdayFirstly I should very much like to wish Keen a happy birthday. You are one step closer to kicking it, etc. I think I do the mortality joke every year but I’m just not feeling it this time. But yeah, Happy birthday and all that! Hurray!

Now onto more important matters…

Backlog

My gaming backlog is really starting to creep up on me. Even more since I’ve neglected many games in favor of playing board games. Right now, just off the top of my head and not including current stuff like Toukiden and Bravely Default, I have:

The Wonderful 101 – I played the demo of this game and I really liked it. Apparently enough so to buy it not to play it. Just recently, i.e. last night, I started playing it and I was reminded why I liked it in the first place. I seriously need to put more time into this one.

Sonic Lost World – I think I’m something like 75% done with this but I really need to finish it up. I’m not exactly sure why I stopped but seeing that I have the attention span of a goldfish I suppose it’s not that surprising.

YS: Memories of Celceta – This one I actually got for Christmas. At least I think that’s when. I did start playing it recently and I’m really enjoying it but it’s probably going on long pause until I finish more current RPGS like Bravely Default.

I don’t even want to look at my Steam list. I’m more than sure it’s full of impulse buys (sales, etc) and the mere sight of it would be enough to cause a panic attack.

Board Games

cavernaWe didn’t get any real chance to play this week but I’m hoping that can be remedied this weekend. Perhaps we can complete the first scenario in Robinson Crusoe and maybe even squeeze in some Pathfinder: ACG. I guess it really depends on what Keen wants to do since it is his birthday and all. He should at least get one day where his vote counts.

We’ve started looking towards future games, too. The Witcher game is on my radar and we already went ahead and pre-ordered Caverna. Technically that last one already came out but it’s near impossible to find. Fortunately they seem to be reprinting it soon. We also decided to back a couple of Kickstarters that looked very promising. One of them is Tiny Epic Kingdoms, which is a micro 4x game and looks absolutely fascinating. The other is a tactical superhero game called Heroes Wanted which I think looks absolutely fantastic. The humor and style plus the superhero theme is right up my alley. It reminds me of games like Freedom Force and The Superhero League of Hoboken. I’m really looking forward to it.

In Other News…

Keen decided to bite the bullet and get a new PC. That’s pretty nice for me since it means I get his old one and now I don’t have to try and run stuff like Battlefield 4 with HALF of the REQUIRED RAM. Seriously, I don’t know how but it does work. I suppose I will also get to play EQ Landmark now that I’ve been set free of my 32 bit system shackles.
I was able to instruct Keen on how to build a circular pillar. I’ve never even played the game but it only took me a couple of minutes to figure it out. He looked at me like I was some kind of mystic space wizard. I’m not saying that’s untrue, but you just don’t go around telling people that kind of thing.

 

Toukiden

For the past several days I’ve been exclusively playing Bravely Default right up until Toukiden came out on Vita. I’m still playing BD but now I’m just switching back and forth between the two. There’s actually a lot of really cool stuff out on the Vita now and it’s only going to get better as the year progresses. More people should definitely consider picking the system up and especially so if they own or plan to own a PS4.

toukiden-logoToukiden is apart of the new “hunting” genre that seems to have been created since Monster Hunter first came out. The game actually borrows several elements from MH and other similar games like Soul Sacrifice. Basically, you undertake a mission from the hub town and get sent to a location that consists of several smaller zones linked together. Your goal is to slay demons rather than monsters, though. You also get a special vision mode that highlights hidden items and breakable parts of enemies, which seems lifted directly from Soul Sacrifice. Unless Soul Sacrifice borrowed it from something else–I have no idea, really.

windshredder

One of the demons you’ll fight in Toukiden.

When you fight the large monsters and break their parts (Arms, Legs, Tails, etc.) you have to do some kind of cleansing ritual to get rid of it and get the loot for that body part. The demon’s parts may be gone but there remains some kind of translucent spirit form behind. So if you cut off a giant demon’s leg he can still walk around with his spirit leg. If you don’t banish the cut off piece then it can get recalled back. I’m not entirely sure if they limbs do less damage or what but I imagine they must. It’s not like Monster Hunter though where you can cut off the tail or whatever and basically render that attack useless or less viable. EDIT: Supposedly in the manual it says that the spirit limbs actually do MORE damage but also take MORE damage. I’ve also noticed that when you destroy their limbs they trip and fall over more when doing specific attacks or charges.

With all of the demon parts and items you gather you can create weapons and armor. I’m actually really glad that this seems pretty much just like Monster Hunter. I was not a real fan of Soul Sacrifice having no gear and basically just being about collecting limited-use spells. Just like monster hunter you usually unlock new armor sets and weapons once you’ve tackled the latest thing and harvested its parts. Unfortunately the game doesn’t have any kind of regular crafting system so you can’t make tons of neat knick-knacks, traps, potions, or whatever. That’s one of my favorite parts about Monster Hunter.

toukiden-weapons

Some of the game’s weapons appear similar but for the most part play out a lot differently. There’s a long sword, dual blades, spear, gauntlets, flail & sickle combo, and bow. I feel like I’m forgetting something but I think that’s it. I’m honestly not a very big fan of many of the weapons. The flail and sickle combo looks awesome but it seems hard to use. I’ve mainly been sticking with the gauntlets which are slow but powerful and allow for some defensive options. One of my biggest gripes with the weapons is that it feels like their move pools are lacking. There’s not a whole lot for you to do with them or at least not a lot of options for tackling situations.

toukiden-gauntletAnother important part of the game are these spirit thingys called Mitama. They are souls of vanquished warriors that you infuse into your weapon. They gain exp or sorts and level up and unlock new passive bonuses. Each Mitama also comes with 4 special commands. The first is a recovery ability that heals you and seems to be on every mitama. Aside from that what you get depends entirely on the type you use. Defense mitama get abilities that increase your defense or let you block all damage and not get knocked around, attack mitama increase your damage/crit/etc, Soul mitama seems to be good for breaking parts, then there’s healing and speed types and so on. It adds another level to the combat which makes up for some of the shortcomings in some of the weapons.

Overall I’d say I’m very satisfied with Toukiden. It’s a lot better than Soul Sacrifice, which is still a good game in its own right, and is probably one of the better hunting games the Vita is likely to see over here. It can be a little unfair when comparing it to the latest Monster Hunter games, which are themselves sequels and expansions upon expansions, so you really have to judge it as the first game in it’s own series. Oh, and there’s also online play which is pretty awesome. If you see somebody running around named “Old Bastard” that would be me.