Monday, September 30, 2013

Rune Factory 4 is So Close, You Guys

Despite the Release Date for Rune Factory 4 being officially set as October 1st, it seems that that might not have made its way into GameStop's computers, meaning it's sort of up in the air as to whether or not it will actually be purchasable tomorrow.  This is a problem since if I'm going to need the sweet, sweet embrace of Rune Factory 4 ever, it's likely going to be tomorrow due to work problems that are problems I don't want to get into because ugh.  Still, even if it's not, deliveries seem to be around Wednesday so it shouldn't be -too much- of a wait one way or another, but my point is that I really really want Rune Factory 4 ASAP.  In fact, I want it so much that I read a list of improvements that it has over Rune Factory 3 and I...kind of wish that I hadn't because it is not making this wait any easier.  So allow me to share the list with you.
  • Ability to select a male or female protagonist right at the beginning of the game.
  • Use the Prince Points system to arrange or cancel festivals, bring in merchants and peddlers, crafting licenses, farm and castle expansions, wake up calls from certain characters, new shop services in order to attract tourists and many, many more. Reach for the top prince or princess title!
  • Return of the traditional farming format in 2x2 squares. More farm land will be available through prince point orders, assuming the player has enough wood and bricks.
  • Explorable RF1 style overworld outside of Selfia but waaaay larger than the first installment. Multitudes of dungeons and explorable areas.
  • Up to two party members can be taken into combat. Battle AI has improved greatly.
  • A lively and memorable cast with a variety of personalities, very rich with character interaction and development. No groups or cliques like the last RF games.
  • Multitude and improvement in the request system, no longer tied to the plot. 
  • Marriage is independent from the plot.
  • Engaging plot that consists of 3 story arcs/parts.
  • Variety and improvement in the crafting system.
  • Players may now run their own store through the use of a Prince Points order where NPCs, candidates and villagers alike may find something that catches their fancy.
  • The baths are now accessible more than once a day but the price is raised each time if the player chooses to bathe more than once in a day. A Nationalization of the Baths Prince Points order is later made accessible, making the baths free of charge.
  • 30 Town Sub events, 19 Mini Sub Events, 12 Main Romance Sub Events (one per candidate), 7 Post Marriage Sub Events (5 of them being with offspring), filled with character interaction and tons of depth. 
  • Newly improved lovers system, with long, depth and development filled RFF style sub events for each marriage candidate. Over 7 date locations and intimacy options during dates increase the higher LP gets. A player can have multiple lovers but after marriage, the rest go back to being friends. 
  • Players can now "plant" dungeons via rare seeds. Fruit trees can now be planted through the use of special seeds. Aside bearing fruit, they can be used for lumber.
  • Players can now have access to purchasing multiple articles of various necessities (bookshelves, weapons stand, farm tools stand, wells for farming, storage boxes, ect) providing they have enough wood and bricks (made from hammering stone pieces).
  • Furniture feature from RF3 makes a return but this time, they can be placed anywhere in town, similarly to forges, stoves, bookshelves, ect. 
  • Sharance Maze makes a return as a Prince Point order after Plot 2 is cleared.
That list is from a forumer on Penny Arcade who cites Fogu as the source, but doesn't actually link it.  Still, it doesn't seem like there's any point in faking the list or anything like that, so I'm taking it at face value if only because there are some ridiculously awesome things upon it.  Specifically the bit about marriage being independent of the plot (the one main flaw with Rune Factory 3, I feel) and the "Player can run their own store" thing which is kind of a theme with me lately, it seems.  With Hometown Story apparently releasing towards the middle of this month, I'm not going to have a shortage of Store-Building elements and games and I am very fine with that.  Still, the complete overhaul that Marriage and Dating has seen seems absolutely amazing, and it may very well inject a brand-new life into the game as a whole. 

I really don't have much else to say beyond that list has a bunch of awesome things on it and I cannot wait to have the game in my hands to see if it's actually true.  Because that will make me -so happy- and that's something I really need right about now.

really curious about this Prince/Princess Point system, though

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goddamnit Sega - Yakuza 5 Localization "On Hold"

So, you guys like Sega news, right?  Well, how about Sega non-news?  Is that also good?  Because that's what this amounts to, really.  Sega's CCO recently stated that Yakuza Ishin is getting all their man-power to ensure it makes the PS4 launch, meaning things like localizing Yakuza 5 simply aren't on the table for now.  As in the game that's already been out in Japan for just under a year (released last December), there's been absolutely no work done on a localization for it in that year.  Presumably because they started on Ishin right away, but still, that's a bit egregious.  Also more than a little worrying considering this is fucking Sega we're talking about here.  But it's not like Yakuza 3 didn't take its sweet time getting over here either, so it's not exactly unprecedented.

Yakuza Ishin, if you weren't aware, is another game that goes back to the era of Japan where Samurai still wandered the lands, much like Yakuza Kenzan! which...well, you know how that story ends.  Or rather, you probably don't since it was never ever released outside of Japan.  So I'm not exactly buoyed by the news that they're working on a game that is potentially going to stay inside of Japan for its entire lifespan instead of localizing a game that could have and should see a release in the rest of the world.  There have been rumblings that it'll get localized, sure.  Potentially by Sony's new Third Party Productions division instead of Sega proper, but maybe even by Sega.  Or maybe by Atlus USA since that's definitely a possibility now.  It would definitely be nice, and a boon for PS4 and Vita both since the game is releasing on the PS4 and will at least be Remote Play-able on the Vita as well, if not boasting some other sort of functionality on top of that.  Not to mention the PS4 will be wanting for games in the first year or so as all new systems are (especially since it can't rely on backwards compatibility) so a Yakuza game to ease into the system would be very good.

Of course, that's all considering whether or not it makes it outside of Japan and just how long it'll take.  It's launching alongside the PS4 in Japan and we get the PS4 a little bit earlier on top of that.  That's sort of the key point in the matter here, and it's expressed through a line that absolutely just...kills me to read because it's so absurd when you think about it.
Nagoshi explained that due to the Yakuza team's size, they decided to pass up working on a port of Y5 to focus solely on Ishin. Nagoshi feels that he and his team "owe it to PlayStation fans" for Ishin to be a PS4 launch title, "even if it means a bit of pressure."
Emphasis mine, obviously.  If nothing, that's ridiculously telling of Sega's attitude towards the whole situation, since he says "Playstation Fans" when this is really only for Japan, are you fucking kidding me?  That is the specific situation here - this is a game being finished up for the Japanese PS4 launch and -only that-, but you're saying you owe it to "Playstation Fans" to do that?  The point I'm clearly leading to is that there are Playstation Fans everywhere outside of Japan and they fucking know this by now.  Their constant lack of acknowledgement is frustrating, and is definitely at least somewhat the reason for their lackluster sales in the West.  There's no guarantee that a Sega game you like will be continued and if it is, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to play it, which tends to stay the purchasing hand in the first place.  It happened with Phantasy Star, it happened with Valkyria Chronicles and it seems to be happening with Yakuza here (could argue that it already has with Kenzan! and Black Panther series) and it's hurting Sega far more than anything else.  Pick a side of the fence and stick with it.

And it's not like it'd take much effort to make the Yakuza series seem like it's going to be around in other regions.  Advertising is crucial, of course and they did a lot of that with 4, but it didn't seem to really take which is unfortunate because 4's advertisement was grand.  That had a lot to do with the residual distaste of Sega that clearly still lingers today, however.  All you need to do, if you're Sega, is announce that the Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Remaster is getting localized (Physical and/or Digital, I suppose.  Would prefer Physical, but I'll take what I can fucking get) and then get Yakuza 3 and 4 on the Playstation store with a bundle version of the two as well.  ($40 individually, $60 for both+the few bits of DLC that came out for them or something, maybe even a super bundle of all four games)  Then announce that Yakuza 5 is indeed getting localized and point to those previous efforts to show that you can get the whole Yakuza experience on Playstation 3 in order to be prepared for the launch of 5.  Punctuates the lead-in and you suddenly have a series that is expansive and crazy but accessible to anyone because it's just two purchases (or maybe even one) has it all right there on a single console.  No muss, no fuss, it's all just there for you to enjoy.

If you'd do all that and also work out with TPP to localize Ishin (or Restoration as it'll probably be called) then it creates an exponential effect, because it establishes a sense of security.  It's suddenly a series that you -can- get into because it's going to keep coming and it's going to keep coming out -here-.  Do a little focused advertising on top of that (maybe a goddamn commercial, yeah?) and you'll have an entire new pool of customers to dip into who will grow to appreciate the product as the quality work that it is.  That I even have to figure this out and explain it, however, is the height of frustration since it's very obvious things that they could do to bolster goodwill.  And if Sega needs anything at this point and beyond, it's goodwill because without that, they could release Call of fucking Duty and it'd sell like shit.  Maybe one of these days they'll figure it out themselves.

by the way, still waiting on word for Phantasy Star Online 2 which will literally print money in the West

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Well, That's a Problem - Next-Gen Upgrades Can't Keep SP Saves

Various publishers and companies have come out saying that they'll be offering a "Next-Gen Upgrade" for certain games that are going to be released in a way that straddles this gen and next - releasing as PS3 and PS4 games both, for example.  Generally, the situation is that you have your current gen disc, enter a code, pay $10 and you get a digital copy (I believe) of the Next-Gen version of the game on your account which you can start using whenever you pick up your PS4 or XBone.  The knowledge that all your Multi-player stuff will transfer over because it's half-hosted from a server is fairly common, so I figure at least some of us assumed (or simply didn't think about) Single-player working similarly across generations for some reason or another.  Actually having it pointed out makes you wonder why you thought it was possible in the first place, when it probably should've been obvious that single player saves just won't carry over next-gen.

Then, if you're me, you think of the Vita and PS3 cross-save and realize that they're saves for the same game running on two completely different pieces of hardware and go right back to wondering why it won't work out.  But that's really not the point, the point is that you're going to end up starting from scratch in anything but Multi-player if you jump in on this upgrade deal.  Which, for games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, it's not a big deal, but for something like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch_Dogs, where the main content is Single-Player, seems like a bad idea.  Or at least one (more) reason to skip this gen's version of the game and jump head-long into next-gen which...okay, yeah that is probably the reason for this since we obviously know it -could- be done if they wanted it to be done.  Most likely.

It's certainly turned me off from picking up Watch_Dogs until some random point in the future that I don't really know about just yet.  It could be that I'll just pick it up in January when I grab my PS4 as something to tide me over until inFamous:  Second Son, but I might even just skip it then as well - impressions seem to dwindle down more and more with each and every trailer and video that comes from the game as it seems to stray more and more from "Do cool shit with the internet" to "Shoot mans and pretend it's high-tech Grand Theft Auto".  Which, there's probably nothing wrong with high-tech Grand Theft Auto, but it certainly seems a lot less interesting and innovative now than it did originally, with the whole 'internet' thing being relegated to a tertiary or even optional tactic when it really should be the main focus....and done so in a way that's not messy or obfuscated.  That'll be the true test of the game, I suspect.

As for Assassin's Creed IV:  Black Flag, well, you already know my opinions on a good grip of the Assassin's Creed games, so I will be staying away from the game until it's bargain-priced as I do with every AC game except Liberation.  Hell, I haven't even grabbed Assassin's Creed 3 yet, so by the time AssFlag is up for a purchase from me, I'll be getting the PS4 version anyway.  I'm not sure I can think of any other games that straddle the gap that have announced an upgrade system like that, but it looks a lot less tantalizing now than it did in a lot of ways.  You gotta wonder if there's going to be any games that buck this trend, however.  Microsoft's Project Spark is a big one since it's coming out for 360 as well as the XBone and...well, it basically revolves around devoting hours of your life to create something, so I would imagine upgrading to a blank slate would be less than ideal and I doubt all of that information is going to be considered "Multi-player" so it would be stored on a server, but considering the original XBone goal...who knows?

It's just a weird situation halfway between "Well, duh" and "But wait", and it's only worth mentioning because it could very well impact your purchasing decisions on at least a couple games.  Like I said, it's definitely pushed my purchase of Watch_Dogs back a little, and similar SP-heavy games will likely be bought on the Next-Gen systems straight-away rather than paying the $10 extra for a 'second' copy of the game.  Because I really don't see myself as an edge case in this scenario.

it'd be different if the game was like Sleeping Dogs, I'd play the shit out of that twice

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nosgoth Officially Revealed, Looks Terrible



Fucking hell.

Nosgoth was rumored and then confirmed a while ago, and I posited the worst-case scenarios for what it could've been.  Me.  The guy who is terrible at predictions.  The guy who is almost proven wrong constantly when doing this kind of thing.  So lo and behold, I got this one right and yes, it's as miserable of a feeling as you might imagine.  Everything I see about this game screams MOBA even if it isn't the typical DOTA set-up that so many MOBAs seem to be aping.  Everything I see from that trailer also looks absolutely terrible, and it's honestly really difficult to even consider this world a reality at the moment.  Much less put that into words.

Essentially, Nosgoth takes places during the big time skip between Blood Omen 1 and Soul Reaver 1 in which the world is plunged into chaos because of the fall of the Pillars of Balance and the rising army of vampires against humanity.  And possibly the Hylden too, but they don't seem like they're getting facetime this go around.  Spoiler alert:  The Vampires more or less win.  So, congratulations, Nosgoth is entirely moot before we even -start- things.  Just wanted to throw that out there.  It is basically existing solely on Rule of Cool except it doesn't....contain anything cool within its confines.  It contains things of pain and terror, things that I don't want to comprehend and things that I just don't want to talk about.  But I must.  So let's jump right into that, I suppose.

Nosgoth is being billed as a Tactical/Team-Based Third-Person Action game where you play as either humans or vampires battling against each other.  Humans are ranged-based, focusing on bows and arrows, crossbows, mines...flamethrowers and grenade launchers, you know, normal medieval fare, whereas Vampires are melee-focused, having the ability to get around easier so that they can get right up in a human's face to eat it off.  It....sounds a little unwieldy, and I'm not quite sure how it's going to be balanced, especially when the video seems to suggest that everyone is made of paper.  Though I guess -one- way to do it, I suppose, making everyone super lethal, so that the vampires move a little faster (and can climb buildings and such) to compensate against the humans being able to shoot them from thirty feet away.  I'd say that I'm sure it'll work out somehow, but I'm really not - the game just doesn't look good and the concept ruins any and all chance of me giving it any benefit of the doubt.

I just kind of feel bad for Psyonix, since I imagine they were just saddled with this, and they honestly just don't know what to do with it.  So they fit right in at Squeenix.  Even though it's going to be free-to-play (of course) I'm certainly not going to give it another look after tonight and I'm sure that I'm not alone in that.  Unfortunate, really, since Squeenix will spin the lack of attention towards a conclusion stating that people don't want Legacy of Kain anymore.  That's a fallacy, of course, but it's the way of things.  Not the best way to see off the series in the least which is disappointing but, again, it's just not even surprising given how many dumb decisions Squeenix are capable of making and have made already.  Still, it's nice to know that it's going to be a train-wreck than to just assume it I suppose.

seriously, Squeenix, just what the hell

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Music! Grumbling About Grand Theft Auto V Edition

If I have one single, solitary complaint about Grand Theft Auto V it's....that the controls are still shit in the broad strokes of it, even if they're serviceable 80% of the time.  If I had two complaints, the other would be that melee combat is utterly unsatisfying, shallow and boring outside of some really nice sucker punches.  But, uh, that's not the point.  The point is that one of my complaints about the game is that the radio tracklist this go around is very, very disappointing.  I've never looked at Grand Theft Auto games as having exceptionally wonderful selections for their radio stations (and in truth, I spent most of my time on the Talk Radio stations anyway) but after Grand Theft Auto IV's wholly enjoyable Massive B Soundsystem track list, I admit, I had some high hopes. least moderately off-the-ground hopes.  I was quite disappointed, I must say.

Still, there are some stand-outs among the rest of the songs that you've likely never heard before, and for reason as it turns out.  On the originally named pop station, Non-Stop Pop, the tracklist consists of songs from the 80s all the way to about three years ago, and it doesn't feel like many of them were actually picked from any Top 20s list from any point between those two eras.  Funnily enough, I don't actually think this one was on a list either, but I have a special attachment to the song after it was featured in the ten minute long musical orgasm that was the Encore from Daft Punk's "Alive 2007".  Stardust was also featured in a really, really good mash-up/remix that I heard a while back, with Beastie Boys and something else, though unfortunately it seems to have an aversion to Youtube, being taken down whenever it's put up.  Unfortunate, really, since it's a fantastic bit of music.  Anyways, tonight's first song is, obviously, "Music Sounds Better with You" by Stardust.

It's not fantastic on its own, since I've heard it mixed with Daft Punk so much, but it's still enjoyable and, well, it makes me -think- of the mixed version so there's that too.  I imagine that's kind of cheating, but if so, then it only helps further illustrate the problems that I have with this soundtrack, when a song that I like has only been a tertiary part of -other- songs that I like, which I like a lot better than this base song.  Whenever it's on, I keep it one, however, but that's more or less just so that I can actually -not- scan through the radio stations over and over and over again.  Because that does get a little old, as you might imagine.

Some of the soundtrack is comprised of Bands that you know, with songs that you likely don't.  Or if you do, they're know, the 'hits' that you know from that band.  It gets very, very frustrating and I think the worst offender here is Los Santos Rock Radio, as the station is almost primarily -full- of examples of this.  The one that burns me the most here, however, is the next song I'm going to feature.  It's not a bad song, certainly, but it just makes you go "Really?  You went with that?"  It's not the first Grand Theft Auto game to do so - I realized as much when I looked at the GTA IV tracklist, but it's far less of a problem there - but it really just feels like it's a little over-much and I don't particularly know why.  Whenever this song, "Radio Ga Ga" by Queen comes on the radio, I just think of what could have been.

I can understand not wanting to use We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Another One Bites the Dust or Bohemian Rhapsody as those are the Queen songs that everyone knows so that maybe you figure people are sick of them.  Or that they're like, much more expensive to license.  Not like it matters because it's fucking Grand Theft Auto V, but still.  I just don't understand using Radio Ga Ga instead of Bicycle Race, Under Pressure, Killer Queen, Crazy Little Thing Called Love or Don't Stop Me Now.  Basically what I'm saying is that there are a ton of Queen songs I would have picked before Radio Ga Ga, and it bothers me greatly that Rockstar didn't think similarly.  Since Radio Ga Ga just...isn't as fun to listen to as any of those other songs, in my opinion.  Nor was it ever nearly as popular as any of those songs at any given point in time.  Which is the point of a radio station, you see.

If nothing else, there is at least -one- song on that is an absolute, 100% perfect fit for the game, for the atmosphere and for the enjoyment factor.  The song in particular is from West Coast Classics, quite possibly the best station in the entire game since at least it's a -little- consistent in quality and theme.  If I'm listening to a station for a clip at a time, you can bet it's likely this, and not particularly because I like Rap (I don't generally, actually) but because there's this song and at least two others that I can be perfectly content listening to while driving around, playing the game  The song is "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion these days, apparently), and I'm sure you can tell why it just fits in GTA V if you've never heard it before this point.

If I could, I would probably just make this song repeat over and over again while I'm getting around because it's just the best chill-out driving song you can have in the game.  It works for all three characters even;  I can picture Michael and Trevor bobbing their heads along with the beat, slightly leaned back in their seats moreso than normal, just enjoying things just as much as I could imagine Franklin doing so.  Also, I just enjoy the song myself which is of course the most important part of it, but still, I can justify it in-game as well!  As opposed to something like "Gimme More" by Britney Spears, which I can listen to for the novelty of it, but the likes of Trevor would probably rip his radio out of his truck and toss it out the window before listening to it fully.  Doesn't mean I -don't- listen to it, just that I admit that my immersion is completely and totally broken, which is clearly an unfortunate thing to have in a GTA game.

While there is Gin and Juice, it's easily the best inclusion to the soundtrack, and that's....that's a little sad, unfortunately.  Not that the song isn't great, but because it's not even a contest - it's the best because it's the best and that's all there is to it.  It stands head and shoulders above all else and there's really no arguing the point.  Hopefully with some DLC or with some updates or hell, even just in Grand Theft Auto Online (or Because of GTAO) we might get some more music, but I'm not exactly confident.  I want to be, though.  The Lost and Damned added some great tracks to GTA IV, so hopefully, they're just holding some good things back for the next entry or something. 

the only way the song could be more appropriate in GTA V would be if you could smoke pot -while- driving -while- listening to that song

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Called It - Gravity Rush 2 Teased/Announced at TGS

Now, I'm not going to claim to be some sort of clairvoyant for seeing this one coming, but it needs to be said that, at every grumble about "oh no, Sony isn't committing enough First-Party to the Vita, blah blah blah", I said, without hesitation "you have no idea what you're actually talking about".  Or some variation of that, really.  And it all basically ended with "There's God of War coming in some fashion (likely beyond the HD Collection), Uncharted: Golden Abyss 2, hopefully an inFamous game and of course Gravity Rush 2Which will probably be announced at TGS, what with it being very Japan-focused and shitAnd Gravity Rush being a Japan-centric kind of game."  So, yes, I called it and I am going to gloat about that, because I don't even care whether or not I should gloat about it.

Anyone could see this coming, really - Gravity Rush was the title that was trotted out whenever the Vita was talked about, either because it looked amazing before it came out, or because it was amazing after it came out.  It did good numbers - it was never going to set the world on fire, given the hesitance to embrace the Vita by the community at large which is gradually shifting - but for what could have been expected of it, it did great, and being packed in for the Vita's first year of Plus made it accessible to everyone, thus ensuring it's a Vita game that's synonymous with the system.  So, a sequel was always expected, not just hoped for, and it was always going to happen.

The thing to wonder about now is just what's going to happen with it.  Absolutely nothing -about- the game was announced, just that teaser, so details could range from anything to everything.  The one thing that I almost worry about is whether or not the game is solely going to come out on the Vita.  One of the major whinging factors about Gravity Rush was that it was -only- on the Vita (because people don't understand the concept of exclusives) and were constantly clamoring for a PS3 version.  With nobody really wanting to commit anything to -one- system anymore, it seems, I worry that Gravity Rush 2 might be PS4/Vita which isn't bad per se, but it's missing the point.  Gravity Rush 1 -or- 2 doesn't need to be on a TV and I think that it might actually suffer from it, if not in the controls (the gyroscope, mainly, the touch controls I can take or leave) but for the sheer....feel of it, I guess.  It just fit perfectly on the Vita, and I worry that I might feel a sort of disconnect simply playing it on a DualShock 4 and staring at my TV.

It would also take the wind out of the sails of the announcement completely, since it would almost be confirming what everyone's griping about, with Sony "not committing" enough to the Vita.  A PS4 version would almost completely negate the Vita version in the ways that people....not 'care' about, but complain and speak smugly about, which just leads to a lot of annoyances and is completely not the point of the game or anything entirely.  It'll just mar something that could otherwise just be great personified and that irks me more than a little bit.  It all hinges on whether or not Sony wants to show a little loyalty to the Vita, versus scatter-shot release habits to 'ensure' that it's so much profit that nobody even knows what the fuck.  Which...seems like an unfortunately easy decision.  But we'll just have to see.  Not directly announcing it for the Vita with the teaser is making me just a...tad bit wary, I should say.

I still called that shit, and I want that on record, bitches

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sega Sammy Bought Index Corporation

Pretty much anyone who follows gaming news in the slightest has probably heard the news, but if not, then it's best to just say this fast and get it over with.  Sega Sammy has purchased Index Corporation for 14 Billion Yen, which, as we know, means that Sega Sammy now owns Atlus.  Since Atlus was one of the myriad of subsidiaries of Index Corporation, who went bankrupt when it was discovered that they were cooking the books because they felt like they just weren't making enough money.  Because Persona doesn't sell gangbusters or anything over there.  My point is that Atlus probably made Index a ton of fucking money and they're kind of idiots for....not just being happy with that, getting their entire corporation into insolvency to the point where they're bought by fucking Sega Sammy of all things.

Sega Sammy, as you might know, is the proper name for the entirety of the Sega enterprise and does not specifically refer to the entity that we know as Sega.  Also known as "Those assholes who won't localize any of their fucking games".  Sammy actually bought out Sega years ago, since they had the cash to do so, what with their crazy pachinko empire and such, hence the merger name Sega Sammy.  That explanation was made, of course, to reinforce the fact that it is Sega Sammy, the parent company, and not actually Sega proper, the subsidiary, that purchased Index Corporation   This is an important tidbit!  Because it allows you to think that Sega, the subsidiary, who is full of assholes that make amazing games and refuse to sell them to 95% of the world, does not have control over Index Corporation or, more importantly, Atlus.

So of course, this is where I crush all your hopes and dreams by stating that "Sega Dream Corporation" was created as a subsidiary of Sega to handle Index Corporation and all its holdings.  Because clearly, you want the company that you had to financially bail out, and has never really recovered to handle your newest asset that you purchased because they were also facing money troubles, albeit on sort of the other end of the spectrum.  Clearly, this is a brilliant business move that I just don't see the intelligence of.  What I -do- see, myself, is basically two ways that this scenario can play out.

Scenario the first: in which we exist in a just world filled with sugar landscapes and rainbow-farting unicorns.  Sega (either directly or through SDC which is basically just semantics) looks over Index's holdings and goes "You know, aside from the whole massive fraud, you guys were doing pretty great, so we're not going to change a whole lot.  Aside from the....massive fraud thing, clearly."  Then they take a look at Atlus and by extension Atlus USA and get a light bulb over their collective heads.  They decide to hand off any combination of Valkyria Chronicles 3, Yakuza Kenzan (this will never happen, btw), Yakuza 1&2 HD Collection and Yakuza 5 (if Sony's new Third Party group isn't taking this one as they might be taking over Restoration) to Atlus USA for North American localization and publishing.  They also announce and advertise these projects in an attempt to actually see them sell.  Everyone is surprised and delighted.  Everything is amazing, life is wonderful.

Scenario the second:  in which we exist in a world prone to abject shittiness filled with disappointment and bad decisions.  Sega decides to gut the bulk of Index Corporation as nicely as they can to maximize the profits they can pull in from it for the very, very short amount of time wherein such a thing is viable, leaving Atlus Japan more or less untouched because delicious Persona money.  Restructuring hits Atlus USA to make it a shell building that doesn't really get to do a whole lot because Sega just don't give a fuck about Localizations.  Not only are Sega's franchises still never coming to American shores, but now we have to legitimately worry about Atlus titles (aside from Persona 5 and Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem) coming out in America for absolutely no fucking good reason.  Everyone is surprised and horrified.  Everything is terrible.

There is obviously a middle-ground between the two scenarios, which is -likely- what's going to happen at the end of this, but I am not optimistic for the chances of Scenario the first.  It probably wouldn't be so worrisome if it was something branched off of Sega Sammy proper overseeing Index's husk, since they'd be far more apt to let everything run as it was, again, minus the massive fraud.  It's very decidedly a thing to watch and see develop, however, which means it's going to be a tense while til it's apparent which way the pendulum is swinging.  Here's hoping for more Atlus USA love, however.

there is a specific reason why I have a tag for "Goddamnit Sega"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Allergies Make Me Tired

Because Nature wanted to give me one last shot in the arm as a rather loud and annoying "Fuck you", after the very nice cool-down, the heat has started to come back and allergens are flying rampant in the air again.  This has reduced me to being even more tired than you would expect from waking up at 7 AM for work every morning when I am a Night Owl who sometimes called 7 AM "bedtime".  As in, going to bed for the first time during a span of hours.  I'm sure you knew what I meant, but you know how I do sometimes enjoy superfluously explaining things.  Especially when I'm tired and prone to rambling because I cannot otherwise form coherent thoughts.

I was writing a post about the Sega Sammy acquiring Index thing, but I just lost track of it, started sneezing and just got really tired, so I'm putting that on the burner to be finished tonight.  I hate doing that, but when I have to get to bed and I'm just not feeling it, nor could I be expected to, it just ain't happening.  This'll clear up soon enough, I assure you, but until then it's just kind of a process that has to be stuck out.  Unfortunately.  All sorts of fun, I assure you.

So yeah, that's about it for tonight.  Sorry for the lack of post, all.

dear Mother Nature, go screw, love, everyone

Monday, September 16, 2013

Interior Home Design - Animal Crossing: New Leaf Edition

It occurs to me that, for all the talk I've done about Animal Crossing:  New Leaf (and it has been a lot), I haven't really spoken on the other element that's kept me driven and such in the game.  Aside from going all Recettear on my townies and shaping Kupolis directly to my whims, my main goal is to establish a house that looks baller as hell on the inside, making me quite proud to have been the decorator of it.  Or at least, it was the original goal before I discovered the rest, which means I suppose that New Leaf -does- have some rather welcome additions to it since at least the former is new and the latter is fueled by reasons that I never would have gone to such extremes over in previous incarnations.  Still, one of my main goals from early on was to earn the Golden Exterior pieces (which you can see that I got) that I may live and drown in opulence the likes of which my peasant townsfolk will never even have a taste of.

That philosophy is echoed with my main entrance room, I think.  The entire Golden Series basically lives and breathes the mentality of "Allow the chaff to feel envy that threatens to strangle them" and I couldn't love it any more for that if I tried.  The issue with getting the Golden Series furniture, however, is basically the Animal Crossing mantra: "MUST.  BE.  RANDOM."  You get a stone in your town every day that you can break with a shovel that will give you an ore, which obviously has a random chance of being Golden Ore.  You also have a random chance of getting ores from your Money Rock with a Silver Shovel which, of course, all have a chance of being Golden Ores.  For a single piece of Golden Furniture, you need three Ores which you take to the local Refurbishing Fellow Cyrus, who charges you 10,000 Bells for, wait for it....wait for it....a random piece of the Golden Series.  Sigh.

When you're aiming for specific pieces to complete the set (I'm missing the Wallpaper as you might notice) or spares to make your actual design work, it's just a mite frustrating.  Which is why my room is simply not done yet.  So, this is the point in time where I help you visualize just what it's supposed to look like for your own amusement.  The broad strokes are already there, however (which is purposely on my part) so it's not -too- difficult.  The theme for the room is going to be a Throne/Conference room that's just filthy rich and terrible and gaudy and such.  The Throne (which costs 800,000 Bells) would be nice, but it's off-center (which means I would just buy two, honestly), so I went with the Golden Bench since I can quite literally sit in the middle of it and look like a fucking boss.  Two chairs are on either side of the bench, but I want two more, another for each side, to give the illusion of, you know, set meeting spots and such.  If I could set up a table in the middle without blocking off all access to the seats, you bet your ass I would do just that, but alas, it cannot be done.

Additional goals include getting another Golden Screen, getting the Golden Bed and Clock out (probably the bench on the right side as well) and symmetrically setting up the screen on the left-hand side.  An unknown machine (that the community basically refers to as "The button" ala a nuke switch) is behind my right screen and I'd probably just put some sort of music player behind the left so I would -have- music.  As for the entrance and doors, well, I want Golden Women (the Tiki Torch thing on the left side of the door at the bottom of the picture) to line the entrance (two on each side) and Golden Wall torches to go beside each doorway. a lot of Golden pieces.  I don't know if I'll actually ever get those pieces.  I'm hedging my bets on "No", what it is, I suppose.  But that is basically what long-term goals are, anyway!  Things that will probably never happen.

On the right of my main room is the room reserved for what the astute might recognize as Christmas time.  A custom design plastered all over the wall and floor as a place-holder and a few winter-y/Christmas-y themed items to get the mood started and it's basically just waiting til December for the Christmas Series (previously known simply as the "Jingle series").  You are all likely well aware of my enjoyment of Christmas stuff by now, since you're probably good readers of my blog here, but if it wasn't blatantly obvious already, then, well, there it is.  I am an absolute whore for Christmas and this goddamn room will be Christmas as fuck when I can actually get that done.  Either when I can touch them and order them through the catalog or, as stated, when December rolls around and I buy them from the Nooklings obsessively.  I don't really know how I'm going to set it up, but it's going to happen.  And it's going to be awesome.

The room on the left is populated with the Astro Series of furniture coupled with the Industrial Wall and Floor because they're far better than the Astro Floor and Wall, especially since I have these all recolored to Red/Black instead of the original Orange/White.  The original intent was just to have a cool space room because space rooms are cool, but, well, the Astro series looks a little goofy.  Luckily, there are assorted Sci-Fi odds and ends that I can spice up the room with, as well as traditional "Lunar" objects like Asteroids, Lunar Rovers and the like.  All told, there will be a lot of machinery and such going on, and it's going to be pretty great looking.  Possibly.  I think I'm going to keep it science-y regardless, since I don't know what else I would do for that room, since I have to split my design ideas between three different houses and that's going to get a bit messy to say the least.

The Basement.....the basement is literally a mess.  I have absolutely no idea what I'm actually going to theme the room on, and I'm basically just shoving shit down there while I figure things out.  I do, however, want you to take note of the Red Box Corner Sofa at the top of the screen that's attached to the normal Green-ish Box Corner Sofa.  That's going to be important for the next room that is slightly out of order because I wanted you to see that piece first.

The Sleek Series room in behind my main room is the room that is more or less 'finished' and I'm pretty happy with the way that it looks.  The sitting area is set up nice for conversation, there's good flow, and it just looks really nice.  The only things that I dislike are the wallpaper and carpet, as you cannot customize those to match the color scheme of the custom furniture, which seems a strange oversight.  The other issue is that I have a completely empty lower right corner, which I debated on just how to fill that.  And I decided, eventually, that the best idea would be to make -more- seating because there just isn't enough, clearly.  The Box Corner Sofa above in the red leather (it's slightly lighter than the sexy red of the Sleek, but still) will be in the corner, and the appropriate Box Sofa pieces, once I acquire one to order multiple will branch off of that for a nice corner sofa for people to theoretically have their own conversation away from the main one.  Because that's neat.  It can't happen in AC, because the max is 4 people at one time, but it's design.

Finally, the second floor room is going to be my Office outfitted with the Rococo Series of furniture.  It's going to be pretty swanky, what with two sofas (where the one is, make a corner facing the back wall), the desk area in the bottom left corner, and some sort of set-up going on with the rest of it.  I'm probably keeping the Modern Tile floor with the Rococo Wall (once I put that up) since the Rococo floor looks kind of dumb.  I think I'm also going to set up the coffee equipment up in this room because what's an office without a way to get some primo coffee for those long nights of doing things?  The Mannequins will be getting the boot, clearly, and the like, so that's a good bit of space which will probably be occupied by the bed.  I basically just have to order the furniture and set it up, which is...the easiest room of all of them since the rest of the rooms, I don't quite have all the stuff just yet, nor the means to get it easily.  With any luck, I'll get stuff sorted quick enough and can do an "After" post as well which will show off all the new bits and layout.  Because, that's....that's the point.

Showing you things now and how they'll end up, that is.

it's pretty weird trying to describe furniture layout in a basic video game design

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Wish Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Hadn't Been Terrible

As it happens, apparently, I've been watching a Let's Play for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Protip:  Apparently the Youtube App on Vita cares not for Copyright flags) and it has reminded me about the game that I played and Platinum'd so long ago.  The Force Unleashed is one of those games that I had such, such high hopes for despite not really caring much for Star Wars, the lore involved, or having common sense.  Obviously, the game was never going to be good, but we could always hope that it wasn't going to be terrible and depending on how you look at it, it kind of wasn't.  It did some things very well and by and large, those things that it did well were the ones that mattered, but...well, it just wasn't enough.

The Force Unleashed, to me, is basically just another go at the Psi-Ops:  The Mindgate Conspiracy formula, and for anyone who's been here since the beginning, you know that I love me some friggin Psi-Ops.  It's got all the components:  a slip-shod excuse of a story that gives you amazing superpowers, the mentioned amazing superpowers and a wholly inadequate secondary method of attack that the game forces you to rely on more and more as it goes on, effectively killing its own fun by virtue of not understanding that amazing superpowers are why you are playing it.  It's an allusion that I cannot help but make anytime I talk about The Force Unleashed, because it's indelibly true in my brain and absolutely nothing's going to change that.  Because I can back it up with more words!

One of the core mechanics of The Force Unleashed is Force Grip which allows you to pick up objects, people and everything in between and hurl them and/or just manipulate them using your mind the Force.  It is unabashed fun since there's really no science to it - you don't just move things, but rather can throw things at high speeds and they flail about in mid-air until they collide painfully with a wall or another person or the bleak vacuum of space or something flammable which promptly explodes because it's awesome.  While you're holding someone up in the air with your mind the Force, they're more or less at your mercy (some enemies can regain their senses and take shots at you while they're hovering in mid-air) leaving you open to do all sorts of fun stuff like throw your lightsaber through their gut or shock them with Force Lightning.  You cannot set them on fire, however, which is unfortunate.  Now, if you'll allow me to pull a paragraph from the linked post that I assure you has nothing to do with what I just said.
"Yes, the ability to move objects, as well as people, with your mind. Also a hand gesture.  As slightly pictured above, we see Nick holding up one of the soldiers up with his mind and his hand.  (I'll stop that now.)  Of course, the main fun with this power is that you do not simply -move- people and objects, should you desire.  Oh, no no no, what you can do is pick up a soldier on one end of the room and, with a simple flick of the control stick and letting go of the TK button, and launch him at a fellow soldier on the other end of the room.  What you can do, is pick up an explosive barrel and launch it with enough force at a group of soldiers that it breaks every law of physics (as explosive barrels are wont to do) and explodes, leaving them a heap of charred ex-opposition.  What you can do, is rush into a fight and simply throw everything not bolted down at whoever or whatever you wish, destroying everything without firing a single bullet from any of the guns you (needlessly) carry."
-Regarding Telekinesis in Psi-Ops:  The Mindgate Conspiracy (Post here again)
So yes, I realize that I'm just silly and that there are actually -no real comparisons or allusions that one can draw from one game to the next- but allow me my mania, if you will.  Much like Psi-Ops, The Force Unleashed has a secondary combat option (secondary to the Force, that is) which is your lightsaber combat.  And you think "But it's a fucking lightsaber, how is that not the coolest thing ever" and it's very simple.  The reason it's not the coolest thing ever is because it's incredibly clunky and half-done.  Much like the gunplay in Psi-Ops.  The games were very clearly built around the awesome superpowers you're given from the get-go, with the tertiary combat options included for those brief moments when you don't actually have Force/Psychic energy to spam your awesome superpowers.  The lightsaber, contrary to what you've been told, does not cut through everything (I'm imagining a re-imagined The Force Unleashed with REVENGEANCE-style cutting and oh god, my pants) and in fact doesn't cut a whole lot of things!  Also a good grip of the enemies have a lightsaber or equivalent meaning you don't just automatically win because you can theoretically cut them in half like it's no big deal.  Compare that to the amount of enemies that you can reliably send flying at 60 mph with Force Grip for a huge chunk of damage, and you can see why it's less favorable.

So of course, during the middle of the game and through the end of it, several enemies develop resistances to your Force powers because fuck you.  Some troopers absorb your Force Lightning somehow and actually become stronger for it, some troopers just cannot be Force Gripped and so on and so forth.  So you're basically stuck stunning them with the environment and slapping them with lightsaber combos until they die and it's inordinately boring.  I understand that, as a Video Game, they have to pretend that there's a sort of thing as scaling and balance, but on the other hand, you're a fucking Sith.  For half of it.  Then a Jedi for the other half even though you're not really a Jedi until like the last level because of the way the shitty plot is structured and paced.  The point is, you're the equivalent of a force of nature in the game, so trying to throw balance and scaling at you is akin to madness without some appropriate method of doing so.  And sorry but, "Stormtroopers with cool armor" is not appropriate.

Really, all The Force Unleashed had going for it was the insane amount of fun you could have with the Force powers in the earlier levels because you weren't quite as restricted with them.  The ending levels are miles better than the latter levels of Psi-Ops, of course which helps, but at the same time it's not an effective metric to say "well, the ending levels could have been shittier".  It was an immense waste of potential and even though what we got was 'okay', that doesn't excuse the fact that you have possibly one of the most fun caste of mechanics in a game, and your end-product is marred by your insistence against using them properly.  I haven't read up on The Force Unleashed 2 much, but I've heard that it runs along the same lines while somehow having a worse story, which I don't even understand.  (Spoiler:  The Force Unleashed's story basically boils down to "EVERYONE WHO CAN MANIPULATE THE FORCE IS AN ASSHOLE")  I'll get it some day, but I have no doubt that I'll be similarly disappointed with it.

how do you make lightsabers not fun?  seriously

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Machinarium - I Just Don't Get It

I was very, very, very close to attempting a review of Machniarium after finishing my free copy through Playstation Plus.  In the little bit of spare time that I've had that I haven't dedicated to Animal Crossing or watching youtube stuff to unwind, I picked up and ran through the game with all the grace of a wounded gazelle in a minefield and the experience was about as frustrating as that statement might lead you to think it was.  There was a lot of struggle, not only in simply me playing Machinarium, but also in deciding just what I was going to do with the myriad of thoughts about it that surged through my head as I was playing it.  The one thing that kept coming was "I should review this", but each time, I just wasn't sure, and I wasn't quite sure -why- I wasn't sure.  It's frustratingly cyclical, as you might imagine, but I finally did figure it out while I was thinking about it, and it is precisely the reason I'm not going to review the game.

I just don't get it.

I like to think that when I review a game, I understand it.  I may love it, I may hate it or I may just feel it's in the 'okay' to 'good' range, but I understand it.  I understand what it's going for, some of the under-lying mechanics, what actually happened in the game and so on.  This is decidedly -not- how I felt at the end of Machinarium, as I just honestly don't even know what I played.  Was it a classic point-and-click adventure game?  Was it just a puzzle game with bad controls?  Was it some kind of weird hybrid of the two that is baffling to my senses?  I don't really get the what of it, and moreso, I don't get the -why- of it, so that's really what's gotten me confused and just unsure of the whole thing.  All I can really do is write up what I kind of figured out and what I -did- get and just talk about the game rather than trying to be critical and fair and such about it.

The one thing that stood out to me almost immediately about the game, at the title screen, actually, is that...somebody didn't really think the controls out.  At all.  It's simple enough to use the left analog stick to select things, yes, but it moves a bit slowly.  It was clearly not the intended usage for it, which is fine even if it could have been tweaked a little better, but it draws you to the touch screen of the Vita which is more or less built for Point-and-Click games.  It's a foregone conclusion that, for a game such as this, your finger would effectively replace the mouse for the purpose that it was originally intended on the PC release of the game itself.  It's not even something that you would just think it should be that way - it should be that way, and of course I only bring it up because it is not that way.

The easiest way I can think of to explain it is that your finger and the screen effectively replicates a trackpad of a laptop rather than a mouse - your finger controls where the cursor moves in relation to where you move it, rather than the 1:1 language of the mouse or your finger on 99.99% of all touch-based games.  It is -incredibly- frustrating as you might understand.  For an easier explanation, you cannot touch the top of the screen to open the inventory and select an item and drag it to its usage area, but you can drag your finger up, pull it back and drag it up again to get the cursor to the top of the screen, select an item with X and then use the stick to move it because it's entirely too uncomfortable otherwise.  This is, of course, wrong and it set the mood for the frustrating nature of the entire game which was simply compounded by the, er, 'puzzles' that it held within.

The puzzles are where the game jumps the shark from puzzle game to classic Adventure game because "Adventure Game Logic" is in full-swing in Machinarium.  Because only in an Adventure game can you be expected to cut down a mini-chandelier that looks suspiciously like a grappling hook, attach a cord to it and to a robot, hook the hook into a toilet and then use the robot to rip the toilet (that is, as you discover, hanging over a cliff) from the ground so that you can use robot toilet paper of all things (the screenshot at the top is this, by the way, I'm not sure if it's meant to be aluminium foil or what, nor am I prepared to imagine what usage robots need of a toiler in the first place) to bungee down and swing over to the wall where a bomb is so that you can defuse it.  Only in an adventure game can you be expected to repair a circuit breaker with a series of Snake-like puzzles so that you can zap a few plants with a mysterious ray, which will open a pitcher plant that you have to prop open with a stick so that you can recover the magnifying glass that it holds which you can then attach to a slide projector so you can go through a number of slides and figure out the solution to a keypad which opens a door on the other end of the room.

This zany, esoteric puzzle-solving is almost mitigated by the fact that the game gives you the gist of the solution to just about every room in the form of a robot journal that is always on the right side of the inventory drop-down menu.  Of course, it doesn't just -hand- you the information you want - you have to play a little Shoot-em-Up game as a flying key that has very little substance and goes on just a little too long to get to the 'lock' that will open the journal to the page you're on which has a little comic-style representation of the main events of the screen you're on.  It's not quite an FAQ, but in most cases, it gets the job done.  The caveat to it, however, is that while you don't have to play the Shmup every time you want to consult the page (which, you could just screenshot the page and cheat anyway), you have to do it every time that you leave and re-enter the screen.  Some areas are places you have to visit a few times and re-doing the game just to get access to a page you have already seen is just a little bit silly and a little too annoying for my tastes.  There could have been a better compromise made -  perhaps a little variation in mini-games to add challenge for a one-and-done approach to the page being unlocked 'forever' or something.

I have to say that I do love the aesthetic and the look of everything in the game, at the very least.  Everything is very distinctive and interesting to look at, and that's definitely where the bulk of the care went when it was being designed and created.  The story is simple enough to be told without words, which is actually kind of interesting, but means that it doesn't go very deep at all.  The puzzles are by and large not...'unique' to Machinarium, which isn't saying that it's ripping them from elsewhere, just that there aren't many that are -designed- to the game, or at least the ones that are are outnumbered by the ones that aren't.  Things like five-way tic-tac-toe (played with a gigantic asshole, by the way) and turnstile puzzles populate the game, though thankfully there is not a Tower of Hanoi to be found.  That's merely a small mercy, however, as enough of the other known puzzles are a pain in the ass enough.  But through the whole game, you can't help but take in each new screen, each new character with a certain sense of wonder, because of the cohesive design that permeates the entire world that has been created in the game.

All told, Machinarium is not a very long game, but its content makes it feel as if it drags on for absolutely forever because of the myriad of complaints I detailed above.  Perhaps with a better port job, I would have found it much better than I do currently, since the bulk of my frustration lies with the controls and how that extends to the rest of the game itself, obfuscating each and every single thing that it intends you to do.  Even if it's perfectly workable with the sticks, the option for the Touch Screen is there and is, in fact, the optimal set up...provided it would have been done correctly.  But it threw me off so badly that I just lost every ounce of thought for the game when I stopped playing it, which is basically why I never really got it.  And I don't really think I should be judging a game on a poorly-done port.  Even if that was the one thing it did wrong, it's kind of an important thing.  Still, since it was free and you have likely added it to your download list, you may as well give it a shot - your experience will hopefully be better than mine.

it takes a special game to make -giving you all the answers to it- a ridiculous chore, but man

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rune Factory 4 Has a Release Date - October 1st

Rune Factory 4, the game that literally tipped me into getting a 3DS (even if not immediately) finally has a proper release date with which I will be able to throw money at some unsuspecting GameStop clerk in return for the game and presumably a case to go along with it.  Possibly a bag as well to carry it in.  They are usually nice about bagging things.  As you might be able to tell, I am positively ecstatic for this news because I have been craving a Harvest Moon game for a while, yet it seems that whenever I pick up my 3DS, it's to play Animal Crossing instead of Harvest Moon:  A New Beginning which, unfortunately, has a bit of a slow start into what I'm told is an amazing experience that rivals even the best Harvest Moons.  So it's a bit daunting to actually try to get into, and now I wonder if I should attempt it, given that there' know, less than a month between now and when I will have Rune Factory 4 in my hands.

Perhaps if I had a little more than what amounts to one or two hours of free time on a nightly basis (seeing as I still see Animal Crossing as 'mandatory' despite that being terrible and awful for me) and that I chose to spend most of that time watching a Star Wars: The Force Unleashed LP, which I'm going to talk about in another post, so it's kind of 'research', (also, protip: the first video at least was flagged by youtube, but the Vita youtube app cares not for copyright violations) then maybe I would consider playing it.  In fact, I would definitely play it if I hadn't bought and downloaded Dragon Fantasy Book II this past Tuesday, which I'm going to throw my entire Saturday and Sunday into because good lord, I have wanted that game so bad.  Not to mention that I have Killzone Mercenary which I haven't even thrown in to let it patch's just really not a good time to be working every single day because it's seriously cutting into my personal time.  Which is totally rude and inconsiderate.  Even if it is funding the rest of my gaming purchases for the rest of the year.

The awkward thing about this all is that I have absolutely no knowledge of what's actually going to be in Rune Factory 4, except a lot of love and effort from XSEED's Brittany Avery who tweeted about the game so much while she was working on it and testing it and it made the wait all that more painful.  Though it'll make the end-product amazing, I'm sure.  It'll have all the trappings of a usual Rune Factory game, assuredly - a skill system to obsessively work on, crafting of all sorts, taming monsters for your farm and relationships - but there's new stuff that I mentioned in the post where I found out about the game that I just don't know if it's even true anymore.  Or in what fashion that it's true.  So it comes down to either obsessively searching the internet for information or going full black-out until I have the game and start playing it so that I simply discover things in it for myself.  Which...really isn't even a choice.

As a result, however, I don't really have a lot to say here other than the game is coming out a couple weeks after Grand Theft Auto V which is the day I get a brand-new PS3 as well to combat the backlog of PS3 games I have and fucking damnit, it would have to be around that time, wouldn't it.  Still, I want Rune Factory 4 so bad, so I'm -going- to play it for's just going to be a little juggling act going on between that and the PS3 and the Vita and oh my God what the hell is happening?  Suddenly, games!  And it's not going to get any easier with the PS4 launch...Maybe I should just discover a way to function on zero sleep.  That....that would be the easy solution here.  I may inadvertently find out with Rune Factory 4, though.  Wouldn't put it past me.

so many trips to GameStop, so many cashiers hit with money

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD Announced, Nobody is Surprised

Ubisoft announced quite a few things yesterday, but the one bit that caught my eye was the announcement of Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD, a port of the previously Vita-exclusive game for PS3, 360 and PC.  I guess it shouldn't be surprising, since it was actually a pretty good game and being solely on the Vita wasn't doing Ubisoft any favors, but I can't help feeling like I should be even the tiniest bit angry about this, being the staunch Vita supporter that I am.  I mean, here's one of the few 'mainstream' exclusives worth a damn and that exclusivity (plus being made retroactively the 'shitty' version by comparison) just went out the window.  One of the big things you could point at for just about anyone enticed by the idea of a Vita but needing a tipping point and make jazz hands over, and now not so much.  I -should- be bothered by it.

Clearly, I'm not, though.  I'm not quite sure what it is about Liberation on the whole, but it's effectively in the "Would not play again" portion of my brain and I just don't know why.  Shortly after I reviewed the game, I mentioned having a bit of fatigue over talking about it and it simply turns out that that never really went away.  Even bringing this post up last night as I intended to do it up (instead of finishing it tonight) brought about a strange weariness that, stacked on my everyday exhaustion simply proved to be too much.  That I'm managing tonight is nothing less than a miracle of sorts, or something a little less dramatic if you're into that sort of thing, I suppose.  Still, it's something weird to say the least - it's not often that you'll find a game that I don't want to talk about as with a good game, I can extol its virtues and with a bad game, I can loudly rant about its inadequacies.  Liberation is somewhere in the middle and I really only have one guess as to how it managed that.

I was....not a fan of Liberation's Multi-Player and that's putting it mildly.  To be entirely frank, I think it was an abomination unto common sense, and how it was ever presented as a good idea is foreign to me.  It seemed as if it was designed in the depths of the underbelly of some Zynga sweatshop, and brought before a Ubisoft exec by some mole-person scraping across the ground so as not to offend the sensibilities.  Shaped in a grotesque fashion, it was surely something to be rejected, to be shunned and mocked, but instead, the exec shrugged and presented it as something proper, allowing the caitiff to return to his duties with a rare sense of satisfaction, and undeserved at that.  A lot of pointless clicking and posturing that was all erased as soon as a faction the Assassins won a 'match' where everything was then reset so you could waste time with it yet again.  Somehow, someway, it managed to make its way into the final product that was Assassin's Creed: Liberation, and that is definitely a grievous injustice upon humanity that will hopefully be righted in the future somehow.  I should hope that it's simply stricken from the HD remake, but I highly doubt that it will be so, you know....enjoy that, whoever is going to buy that.

Of course, there are actual improvements being made to the game beyond the obvious of making it prettier to look at, even if it wasn't much of a slouch on the Vita.  Facial animations will be retouched, the frame-rate (that I didn't have much of a problem with, to be honest) will be locked at something proper, gameplay tweeks to combat and free-running and apparently each mission has been tweeked a bit as well.  Joystiq makes mention of new missions, but I don't see any information about it beyond that, though I do recall a few areas in the game where another mission for story-pacing would have been appreciated.  Likely that's the type of thing that will be done....or simply other missions along the Citizen E vein since those are cheap, easy and interesting.  I doubt I'm going to pay much attention to it, however - the chances of the new content coming to Liberation on the Vita, even as paid DLC, is slim and I doubt that I'd pick it up even if it were offered.  I simply have no intention on playing the game ever again.

That's not to say that you shouldn't either, of course.  I stand by my original assessment of "Just as good as any other Assassin's Creed game, for better or worse" because I would also never really go back and play those all over again either.  I tend to finish them off as best as I can (fuck you, Brotherhood and your online bullshit) and then wash my hands of them entirely which...doesn't say a whole lot of my opinion on the franchise as a whole, it would seem.  That's just my opinion and my way of playing it, of course, and seeing as I keep coming back, I must have -something- that I like about it all.  Perhaps some day I'll figure that out.  Maybe after I buy Assassin's Creed 3 for $20 somewhere and play through it despite likely not enjoying what it has to offer if my pattern recognition isn't off.  Or maybe somewhere else along the line!  I kind of mussed up the point - Liberation was pretty cool so I hope the people who can play it now without a Vita (also known as people who are missing out) will enjoy it despite its flaws that every AC game is requisite to have.

I think it's the drop-stab, because that never, ever gets old

Monday, September 9, 2013

Oh My God, So Many Announcements

I very, very briefly toyed with the idea of doing a post predicting just what could have been announced at the Sony Japan Pre-TGS Conference, but I decided on the idea that it was mostly going to be an event where the PS4 release date was going to be announced, see some Yakuza Ishin and Final Fantasy 14 on PS4 and basically be it.  Just the bog-standard Japan version of the "Here's the PS4, look how awesome it is" speech that we've all gotten by now and Japan hadn't, really since they didn't even get a release date just yet.  -Maybe- there'd be a big PS4 game announced.  Maybe.  I certainly didn't expect any big announcements or...really announcements of a sort at all.  As we all know by now, I am terrible at predictions and, as such, there were a ton of fucking announcements made at the conference and I don't even know what to think about half of them.

First up, what we all expected:  the PS4 launch date.  It is...certainly not what we expected, to say the least, as the Playstation 4 will launch in Japan on February 22nd, 2014, months after the NA and EU launch.  Those few months don't even change up the launch list all that much:

  • Assassin's Creed 4
  • Battlefield 4
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • Doki-Doki Universe
  • Dream Club: Host Girls on Stage
  • Driveclub
  • Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends
  • FIFA 14
  • Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn beta
  • Hohokum
  • Killzone: Shadow Fall
  • Knack
  • Natural Doctrine
  • Puzzle 4 Sudoku
  • Tottemo E Mahjong Plus
  • Resogun
  • Strider
  • Watch Dogs
  • Yakuza: Restoration
There are some notable exceptions of course - the Final Fantasy 14 Beta is a good thing, especially when you consider that PS3 owners get to play the Beta for free as well as transfer over their characters.  Joystiq may be being dumb here, however (Which has happened before) as the comments there and other places seem to indicate that it's a full-blown upgrade deal.  If you've bought the game for PS3, you won't have to re-buy it on PS4 and will be able to carry over your progress regardless.  With how good and friendly Square has been about FF14: A Realm Reborn (something I had never anticipated on saying), it certainly seems possible that you'll be able to upgrade and carry-over for free.  If nothing else, it simply makes the admittedly already-enticing FF14 all that much better which is also something I never figured on saying and just what the hell has happened in my life?

Yakuza: Restoration and Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends making the PS4 launch cut, however, will make quite a big deal in Japan.  Restoration was previously only figured on for PS3, but now is hitting the PS4 and possibly Vita - again, there's conflicting reports here and I base them on Joystiq just not having good people staying up late to watch the thing.  Either the game is going to be released on the Vita (as DW8:XL and a few other games (especially KOEI ones) or they just made it a point to once again mention Remote Play which is not the same thing at all and is something we already know because if a game is released for the PS4, unless it makes use of the Camera extensively or something, it can be Remote Play'd.  I -get- that it's a selling point, but you don't have to mention it with every game, especially when it leads to confusion like this.  Speaking of KOEI games, however, I have to wonder just what Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends is going to be like, as unless it has the base content of 8, it's....literally not a full game, as XL games are Expansions.  Quite a weird choice if it's going to be as light as previous XL games unless they bring 8 to Vita and PS4 as well.

Strangely enough, at the event where the Japanese PS4 release date was announced, there's a strong case to be made for the theory that the Vita was the big draw.  Vita news began with the announcement of a new, thinner model that follows in the footsteps of the PSP and its revisions.  The Vita-2000 (like the PSP-2000) will eschew the sexy OLED screen for a (hopefully not much less sexy) LCD screen, include 1 gig of onboard storage and come in six different colors for Japan at least.  Pricing doesn't seem to be much cheaper, since it comes in around $200 with conversion rates, but Japan -loves- different color models, and with a different screen, the profit margins on the device likely make it much, much better for Sony as a product.  I'm not sure how to feel about it - the Vita isn't that old to need a redesign and I fucking love the screen on mine, but there might not be that much of a difference.  Regardless, I'm not getting rid of mine anytime soon and, like others, the newly announced 64 gig memory stick will be mine ASAP, meaning that my Vita will be recommended -that much more- heavily by me if you can imagine that.

The Vita also saw a few games announced for it as well, and while it was nothing exactly huge - TGS is right around the corner after all, and I'm still saying you can expect Gravity Rush 2 there - there's still things worth a mention.  Soul Sacrifice Delta was announced as an updated version of Soul Sacrifice that is apparently much more than just an updated version of the game as Japan does sometimes.  It promises "all new elements" (I've heard talks of a straight up 'neutral option' that is neither Sacrificing or Saving a target in terms of your 'humanity' which is interesting enough) and the like that will increase the appeal of the brand overall.  I'd buy the hell out of it.  Alongside that, Phantasy Star Nova was announced as a collaboration between Sega and Tri-Ace in which is seems like Tri-Ace is doing basically all of the developing of the game.  It'll be based on the world of Phantasy Star Online 2, but offer a Single-Player story alongside an online Co-Op Multiplayer mode for up to four people.  Best odds are on Soul Sacrifice Delta being the one of these coming West, but we can hope for both.

Lastly, and most curiously, something called a Playstation Vita TV was announced and if there's anything that I just look at and don't know about, it's this.  What this is, essentially, is a Playstation Vita without the screen or the controls because you plug it into a TV for the screen and you control it with a controller; both Dualshock 3s and 4s will apparently work with it.  It is, for all intents and purposes, a console version of the Playstation Vita, meaning if you don't want to game on the go, simply don't want to play a handheld in your home, or you just want to play Vita games on a big screen TV, this is your go-to device.  You'll be able to put carts and memory sticks in it just like a normal Vita, and the touch-screen inputs can be mirrored with a press of the L3 and/or R3 buttons (the analog sticks when you push them down) of your Dualshock, which is...inelegant, but for minor uses, fairly inoffensive.  Games like Gravity Rush, Uncharted:  Golden Abyss and Zero Escape:  Virtue's Last Reward that make extensive use of all the Vita's features, however, might literally be un-playable on it as there's a compatibility list floating around out there which always means there will be some exceptions.

Still, at ~$99, the Playstation Vita TV is damn enticing for anyone who wants the Vita experience without actually buying a Vita.  Originally, I didn't know -why- you'd want to do this, but the more I think about it, the more that it begins to make a little sense as to why you'd want to buy one even if you -have- a Vita.  For one, the allure of playing Persona 4 Golden, with its lovely colors and silky smooth frames on a rather large TV is enticing admittedly.  Secondly, and perhaps the -real- reason why I'd consider it myself, is that for $99, you basically have a secondary PS4 box thanks to Remote Play.  Have your PS4 set up in the living room, but you want to play inFamous:  Second Son in your bedroom?  Hook up your Vita TV and Remote Play it on your bedroom TV, easy as that.  Combine that with the media capabilities the Vita already has (Youtube, Netflix apps, Video player, some browser-video viewing ability, etc.) and what they might get in the future as a result of more exposure (perhaps Crunchyroll, Hulu Plus, and the likes of other programs that are on the PS3 already?) and it might just be something that kicks the Apple TV, Roku and the Ouya all to the curb in one fell swoop.  Like the Ouya needed any help in doing that.

It makes you wonder what Sony's going to announce at the Tokyo Games Show when -that- is their pre-show conference.  Aside from the obvious bits that I mentioned (Gravity Rush 2), I was literally drawing blanks as to what to think about this conference and TGS both.  I don't really expect them to show up at TGS with nothing else, as that'd be really silly, but, hell, I'm always wrong with this kind of thing.  But when crazy, weird shit like this can happen, it really gives you hope and excitement about what's just around the corner, or at least, it certainly gives me that.  I wonder if it'd be too early to announce Soul Sacrifice 2 with the Delta announcement just made...

that 64 gig stick is going to be ridiculously priced, but it'll be worth it so that I can carry my Final Fantasy and Persona collections around hopefully

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What a Long Day

As stated by the title, it has been an absurdly long day.  Mostly because it feels like a continuation of yesterday which was also an absurdly long day for the fact that I stayed up for around 24 consecutive hours because it's the weekend, damnit.  I'm stuck working the mornings for two more weeks and I'm a night owl, so it's....restrictive, so my weekends are my time to reclaim my nights...even when it's not a good idea.  As it clearly was in this case.  Don't get me wrong - I went to sleep before work today (a surprise eight and a half hours of very, very boring things) but, well, it was not very good sleep apparently.  Even though it was long sleep.  I'm sure that I do not have to explain this phenomena to you much more as I am sure that we've all been there at one point or another.

So, in this situation, I will do what I usually do - offer you K-Pop and an apology for not having anything interesting to say.  Because I just don't.  Have anything interesting to say, that is.  Just....absolutely nothing.  It's bothersome.  Still, tonight's song is a bit approachable since it's only K-Pop by virtue of being sung by a Korean Pop Star - it's in English and has quite the toe-tapping quality to it.  I'm sure some of you out there will dig it, at least.  So with that, I bid you good night, and hopefully I will have something to write about tomorrow.

I will, because I will at least be able to write -something- tomorrow as opposed to tonight

Friday, September 6, 2013

Trails in the Sky Second Chapter is Coming, GET FUCKING HYPE

Friends, this is the fucking year to be a gamer.  Well, this year and next year, it seems, but this year for the announcements if nothing else.  I have been constantly surprised (in a good way) by announcements for things this year, and that....that's not stopping, it seems.  Another one of the things that I had mostly given up on long ago has been announced today and I could not be happier unless there were more overwhelmingly positive things that happened today, but this is good too.  Another one of those things that I have said probably isn't ever happening has decided to happen to prove me wrong and that's fine.  That's amazing, even.  I will take that any day of the week.

The long and short of it is that The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter is coming to PSP and PC.  As in the sequel to the game on the PSP that I absolutely adored last year when I played it.  As in the game that continued the wonderful story from First Chapter that got so amazingly good at the end and made me froth at the mouth for a chance to get to play and experience it.  Basically the sequel to one of the RPGs that has nestled in my heart in that little spot reserved for "Favorite" games.  So I'm sure you can see that I am absurdly fucking happy for this.  Like, deliriously "if-things-were-better-I-would-proclaim-that-everything-is-amazing-and-life-is-wonderful" happy.  It's not quite there because of stuff and things going on elsewhere, but this is still pretty damn uplifting.

I suppose I should make a little notation here:  what I wasn't expecting was that the game would actually end up on PSP.  The way everything was going on and being talked about, it felt more like if -anything-, the series would be hitting PC through Steam only, meaning my clear data from First Chapter would be completely and utterly useless.  Meaning I would have to get a gaming computer (which I -intend- to), buy First Chapter on Steam (Which I will do -when- I get said gaming computer anyway, because FC is going up on Steam in Winter) so that I can beat it and buy and play Second Chapter (which, again, I will be doing -anyway- eventually) instead of know, buying Second Chapter on my Vita so I could play it there with the data I already have.  So basically just prolonging that which has already taken a hell of a lot longer than I would've preferred, and more or less invalidating my PSP purchase of the game.  That's what I was worried about.  That's what most of us were worried about, and justifiably so, I should think.  Even though at least one or two of the XSEED folks just bought Sweet Fuse last week and were going on about that, proving that PSP games aren't dead yet, even if it's not going to sell ten million copies or some other absurd number.

It's happening, though.  Second Chapter is going to be published by XSEED sometime in 2014 featuring a translation done by Carpe Fulgur, who you probably know from Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale.  I don't know if they're starting over from scratch, or if they're going to supplement the XSEED translation that was already underway, but regardless, 2014 is a large enough window to cover either case I should think.  As you might expect, it's only going to release digitally, which as stated in posts previous, I have made a stink about before, but not for this.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that if you don't buy The Legend of Heroes:  Trails in the Sky Second Chapter -purely- because it's Digital-Only (No Physical, No Buy is the mantra there), then you are literally a shit and I hate you.  If I'm willing to throw $30-40 at my Vita until I can start the download for Second Chapter that will likely take somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-10 hours because I have the shittiest internet known to God and Man, then you can suck it up.  It's going to be worth it, if that's a more compelling argument.

Since this is happening, I very strongly recommend that you pick up Trails in the Sky (Store Link) at some point between now and when it's set to release so you'll be caught up and have some Clear Data to carry over into Second Chapter.  It's $20 which is not at all unreasonable for one of the best RPG releases in recent years.  Which is not something I say lightly.  And while I'm not going to compare TitS to something like, say, Persona 4 Golden, since they're both JRPGs, I am pointing out that I did bring up P4G in the same mention of calling Trails in the Sky one of the best RPG releases in recent years and let you come to terms with something on your own.  Since to directly compare them would be like comparing one delicious, decadent food item with another - they're both wonderful, they're both to be savored, and they're both to be appraised for what they are.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I have no doubts that Second Chapter will be equally delicious.

yes, I know, terrible metaphor but goddamnit, I am just so happy I don't even care