…Not for fear of what the change might bring, but by the possible loss of any anchor I might have held onto tightly in order to maintain.
I’m moving into an apartment. Sounds minor, right? I’m moving from what many have considered to be a “toxic” environment. Here I am though, completely terrified at the concept now that it’s finally coming to fruition after I got back to Colorado four years ago. It’s a change in the status quo; the only thing I think I can hold onto to keep myself from freaking out from day to day. Having that change puts me on high alert for so many reasons.
I can’t say I like it. I know I need it, but I hate it because of how it’s going to affect me in the short term. It’s like waiting for a beating that you just have to shut-up and take. The metaphorical beating has a possibility of making me stronger, but it could break me as well. So, I’m inclined to not like it, I’m just going through with it regardless, short term mental health be damned!
What makes it so scary, is that it raises a lot of questions and possibilities that I’m forced to identify in the negative until things can fall into place. Questions like, ” If I remove negative X, what’s going to replace it?” and possibilities like, “If I’m away from the seemingly bad things in my life, and I’m a worse piece of shit than I originally thought, what then?”
The panic sets in when I think about it. It sets in HARD.
I’m aware of all the good this could mean for me as well, getting out of a bad situation, into a hopefully better one, I just can’t help thinking about all the possibilities that could leave me destroyed.
The only thing I can say to it, is that opportunity swings both ways; I made it this far, I suppose I can keep fighting what gets thrown at me til there’s either nothing left of it, or nothing left of me.
I know it took me a week and a half longer to get it done, but here it is! A first entry into my new life. It’s time for change.
Here’s some doom to comfort you til next time,
I keep being told to write things, and more things. I would, and do try, but I keep getting into the habit of not wasting the effort when I think I’ll just hit a brick wall in the middle of paragraph three. Also I’m kinda lazy.
Self-fulfilling prophecy type crap.
Anyway, I should just write regardless of any of that, even If Ido something I don’t enjoy, and turn this into a blog of sorts.
I never liked that idea, because my life isn’t that interesting (outside of the fights, booze, and occasional bullet flying overhead, also Dark Souls), so who the hell would wanna read about that? This blog was supposed to be for the rare occasions I finished a small blurb of something I felt was actually readable, delusion creeping in for those brief moments when I’m not trying to super edit, or rewrite the entirety of something I just wrote (this post included, it being the third draft and about 90% rewritten).
However, I suppose it benefits me to just write no matter what, even if it’s just what I’m thinking a few times a week, a rant here and there over something stupid, or hell just go back to reviewing things I’m looking over until that spark of inspiration creeps through and I can get a script or a few paragraphs done on any of the metric crap ton of ideas I have/had/will-have.
I guess this could just be the start.
For any sort of update, the Art monkey still art’s and even did a few things for myYoutube channel. So without my writing, He hasn’t had much in the way of ideas, because he’s just so very devoid of imagination. Pity him. I know I do.
Regardless of any of this diatribe, this is still something I would love to keep up with, as well as anything else that stimulates the mind without destroying it.
If that doesn’t comfort you, just look at this picture of Iggy Azalea as a Green Lantern. She takes to the uniform so well!
I think I have to begin this review by stating that I’m probably a bit what people might call “nostalgia biased” in that I’m a huge Mega Man/x fan. While I know there’s always differences in games, there’s expectancy of improvements or failings,in comparing these games to each other as well. That being said, here are my thoughts on Azure Striker Gunvolt.
When I first saw the reveal for it, I thought it was pretty nice with what I saw: Good aesthetics, nice sprite art, what looked like fun 2d-scrolling action. Having Keiji Inafune introduce it didn’t hurt at all either.
I would’ve waited a bit before getting it too, but then I saw it came with a bonus game with Beck from Mighty No. 09, so I had to have it ASAP. Bonuses all around. It goes without saying that I was happy to try this game out.
The story sets up telling you about the world where new types of psychics have started to appear. The Sumeragi Group quelled a lot of fears surrounding these “Adepts”, as they’re being called, by essentially kidnapping them, and torturing them to use their powers for themselves. Here’s where our Protagonist comes in.
Gunvolt works for the Quill organization, Anti-Sumeragi militants, and the game starts with GV rescuing a girl named Joule, whose adept power is a virtual entity named Lumen, whose song can be used to control adepts. The rest of the game consists of you fighting the Sumeragi Group Adepts a’la Mega Man style. Yeah. It’s one of those games with the overly dramatic plot.
The gameplay itself seemed competent in controls; standard movement worked well, a new-ish type of combat with the tagging system, and the kudos system to keep track of how many hits you can get without taking damage.
The tagging system works as follows: shoot a target with your gun and then you hit the RB on your 3ds, and ZAP, whats called your EP Field is enacted, hitting all the tagged targets, as few as 3 (and you can stack up to three on a single target) with your first weapon and as many as eight with weapons procured by progressing through the game.
There are some RPG elements as well: Leveling up and item farming.
Leveling up is fairly straight forward. You level up, you get higher HP, and at certain levels you get Skill abilities. Some skills give you buffs, some skills attack directly.
The item farming is a bit tiresome. You can “synth” upgrade items to boost your abilities like EP/HP Recharge, double/triple jumping/airdash, defense modification, etc.
I feel that these elements Pad the hell out of the game unnecessarily, especially synthesizing items. Each upgrade takes multiples of different Items, which are given at random, or in an uncovering bonus at the end of the stage, so you have to run through all the stages multiple times in order to get a single upgrade. I think I was about two-thirds of the way through the game before I was able to make my first one. Stage Ranks affect how many chances you can get at the end of the stage to uncover more items.
As for moving around, it’s standard 32bit-era 2d-sidescrolling: Jump, dash, jump dash, some double jumping to dodge. There is a wall jump, but there’s no place where you really use it. There’s no real secret areas to look for, you just find jewels, one in each main stage, and one in a secondary level. To give to Joule the jewels. Jewels for Joule.
One more bit about Joule. There’s a system where talking to Joule will allow her to help you in the game. If you die, and she so wills it, Joule will use Lumen to give you her “Anthem” which enhances your powers (unlimited air jumping, infinite EP gauge)and the music changes to a very J-poppy tune. The problem with this is that it happens only after you talk to Joule between levels, and even then is completely at random, so it’ll probably never happen when you actually need it.
The level design… I really didn’t care for much. There’s some interesting things to do, like one but so much of it was just uninteresting, or needlessly complex. The Sinner’s Row stage has you flipped upside down, with reversed vertical controls, which I thought was interesting. An example of complex would be the Subaquatic Base, where at one point you’re running away from rising water, only to be stopped by multiple barriers, and the water shorts out your EP field if you try to use it, and you drown if you’re not quick enough. It’s not “hard” its just a bit annoying.
There’s not a whole lot to say about in-stage enemies. Pretty standard fare for this type of game. I would say that there’s just not enough of them, and a bit too much space between groups, and not enough variety per each stage.
The Mini-bosses, when they show up, are neat, like a couple of times a tank-like mech, or a giant flower, or a spider-tank show up and break the monotony. On the lamer side, there’s mid-level parts where you Just fight wave after wave of enemies just trying to kill a siren.
The bosses are a bit different in terms of difficulty. None of them were hard as so much as they were cheap. Almost all of them have super moves that are insta-kills or impossible to avoid, and even some regular moves that just have no real window to dodge in. They attack in patterns, and unleash their supermove when they get to their third bar of health. Easy to predict, but hard to cancel/dodge.<Boss Bullshit “Suddenly Bullethell”,Boss Bullshit 3 “Lazy Prick”, Boss Bullshit 2 “Barely escapable bullshit”>
Graphically, the sprites look very crisp, everything stands out, the backgrounds are pretty, and there’s no visual lag anywhere. Not much else to say really. Well Done.
Stylistically, it reminds me heavily of the later Mega Man X games (x5 and x6 specifically) in both tone and aesthetics, with quite a bit of the Zero series as well. The characters are well styled, and very distinctive visually; nobody feels like a carbon copy of something else.
The bosses, however, I think are a bit too cluttered. Each one looks less like an “Adept” and more like a Digimon. They all have individual personalities as, though I couldn’t really tell you what those were, they only give you a couple of lines of dialogue that gives no motive outside of “I must kill you” but each saying it in their own way. As heavy as the story is, I’m sorry to say that’s really how all of the characters come off outside of Gunvolt himself, but only barely.
The game functioned very well, but didn’t fully use any of its functions, and wasn’t very difficult. I finished the game around 9 hours, but that was because after reaching the final stage, I went back to up my rank in some stages, and farm items for upgrades before finally beating the last, multi-staged boss. I heard there’s more stages after that, but you have to meet certain criteria, like beating the last boss using certain equipment, so I’ll keep playing for a bit longer, and try for the “True ending”.
At the end of the day, Azure Striker Gunvolt isn’t by any means bad: The story, while nothing special, is dialogue heavy, but has some nice twists, the gameplay has some problems, but still works well enough to be mastered, and the characters, while kind of flat, are visually interesting. It has some flaws, and quite a bit more padding than I’d like, but I found the game mildly enjoyable. I’d give it a 6/10 if I used such a metric… but I don’t.
I give Azure Strike Gunvolt an “Eh..” out of “good” . TTFN Readers.
Now, I don’t normally do this (I don’t mean posting… though I could stand to do that a bit more…), but I finally found a kickstarter I decided to back. A hat In time, as they’ve described it as a “…3D collect-a-thon platformer in the spirit of the classic Nintendo 64 titles you know and love!”
I’m deinitely not shy in saying that I do adore those style of platforming games. Running around looking for that last note, the 100th coin, Hell even the Scarabs in Star Fox Adventures. Though we’ll never speak of that game again. Yeah….
Anyway I support what they’ve done so far, and what they’re doing. They showed that they already did most of the work, and just needed some funding to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” and basically just wanted to Pre-sell the game. A game that looks wonderful from my perspective.
So yeah, Heres some art the Monkey did because we’re both super psyched about it, and heres my contribution, promoting it through word of mouth, and sometimes forcibly with the power of the stare-down.
Go forth, Fund A Hat In Time! It’s a game that both looks good, and provides for a genre thats seemingly untouched by anyone outside of Nintendo these last few years, and are doing so in splendid style.
TOGETHER WE WILL DEFEAT THE MUSTACHE GIRL!
Majora was a dragon that lived in a timeless place, wearing armor that was told (in ridiculous legends), to grant its wearer incredible power. Every time the dragon encountered someone, for whatever reason, be it Warriors looking for glory, military trying to gain power, or even the lost souls looking for friendship. The dragon found that no matter what, they all grew greedy, and so he ate them.
One day, a traveler came upon the timeless place, with the frightening dragon, who offered to grant him a wish.
The man, claiming he wanted nothing, merely asked to know more about the dragon, pointing out that all with the dragons’ belly aching about people, there weren’t any around, and how sad that was.
At first, the dragon became angry, not wanting to be pitied by some random traveler, raging at him with boasts of the many he had devoured.
After threatening the traveler, he soon realized that he was right… and that he was weary of being alone, and unable to leave the timeless place.
The traveler, wishing to show kindness to the dragon, pulled a drum out of his belongings, and began to play a song. tum tum tum… tum tum tum…
Softly he played, and the dragon, remembering all of those he had eaten, lowered and rested his head… tum tum tum… tum tum tum…
As the traveler continued playing, the dragon began telling him tales of the countless people he had eaten, and how avarice had caused them to battle him, or betray him. For hours, the dragon told his tales in the timeless place, the traveler continuing his rhythmic drumming, and listening politely. Tum tum tum…tum tum tum…
The dragon finished his last tale, and in closing his eyes… at long last left the timeless place. The traveler put away his drum, and, still pitying the dragon, carved out of his armor a Mask, so that the dragon may go with him, and see the world outside of the timeless place.
For a while, the Mask was happy to be with the traveler, seeing the places he traveled, and hearing many tales, and seeing many happy, kind people. Until avarice had yet again showered upon the dragon, even in this form. Someone had stolen the Mask from the traveler.
Moving from hand to hand, each greedier and with more hatred, after decades, the Mask began to grow enraged, and mad, but unable to do anything about it. It was true that the dragons armor had incredible power, and the dragon themselves as well, so it’s no surprise that all that hatred, and anger, would warp the Masks original intent, or gaining freedom and kindness.
The Mask grew to hate more and more, until landing in the hands of the Happy Mask salesman, who wished to travel with the Mask. It was far too late, the Mask had other plans already, and was eagerly ready to find someone who felt betrayed as well.
As happenstance would have it, Skull Kid, who had been rejected by the townsfolk for his mostly harmless pranking, would run into the Happy Mask salesman. Already feeling the rejection from the townsfolk, he decided to be bad and steal the Mask…
Yeah, I’m kinda proud. If i feel like it, I’ll edit and rework it. Also, before anyone decides to get all snippy with me, I didn’t come up with the Idea, It was in the end of the Majora’s Mask manga by Akira Himekawa, all I did was fill in a few thigns here and there and put it into a folklore type story. See you next time Mega fans, Same Mega time, Same Mega Place, Mega
From a financial standpoint, I’m pretty poor, So I have to plan out purchases like a new computer or console many months in advance, and then be Damned sure that’s what I want. I budget myself to buying a few things a month, and then some savings if things don’t come up. That being said, I’m more than likely going to miss out on the launch for the new systems.
While I’m definitely going to get a Wii U (Loves me my Zelda, and Monolith Soft games) It’ll be a year out from now, at least, the big problem I’ll have with that is that Nintendo games, new or used, usually retain their value pretty well, Hell I still have gaps in my Wii collection where certain games should be. To make sure That doesn’t happen this time around, I’m probably going to buy the Wii U games I want when they launch, whether or not I have the console at the time. Crazy, I Know. but damnit, I’d rather have it new and shiny when I do get my Wii U than wait a year and get the second or third printing that costs just as much USED as it did New at launch. Don’t you judge me!
Anyway, I’ve completely skipped on the PS3 thus far, not because of fanboyism (That’s what Nintendo was for.) or because there weren’t any games I wanted for it, but because that entry point to getting it always made me think, “Well I could save up for 3 months, if I’m lucky, get the PS3 and maybe one or two games. OR, I could buy five to ten games for the consoles I have, or books, or smaller purchases over the next few months without the worry of saying.”
As for why I didn’t get one initially, at the time that I was at the cusp of the decision, Halo 3 and the upcoming Fable II, as well as a couple of other exclusives sold me on it, simple as that. Nothing Sony was marketing was really catching my eyes, especially considering the larger price on it at the time. For as much as I spent to get my 360, an extra wireless controller, two battery packs and three used games, as well as play most of the games I already owned for my Xbox, I would have been only been able to get a ps3 and maybe two used games, and not be able to play the large collection of PS2 games I had (this was 2008, when they had already discontinued the backwards compatible PS3s).
I bring this up, because all of these factors are going to affect the next console releases. Of course they’re competing with not only the mobile markets, they have to compete the digital market on PC’s, as those are becoming more common to plug right into a TV and use like a console/set top box. So, services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus are neat to have, but I don’t think they’ll be enough to Sell the three to four hundred dollar price tag hardware. They’re going to need to cater to, at least a bit, to the already large install base with their current systems, by letting them play the games they already own, as well as transfer over digital content they might have, on top of showing, continually, new things coming for the new piece of hardware they’re trying so hard to sell us.
The Wii U and the PS Vita really dropped the ball on that last bit, with large gaps in their game release schedule right after launches. They relied far too hard on just selling the hardware’s shiny new features, as opposed to anything that might use those features. Nintendo had the same problem selling the 3ds at start, but then remedied this by getting some big releases for the console, and then kept the games coming, Sony hasn’t yet.
As for backwards compatibility, I’ve already been reading about the complications of the Cell processor being a reason why the Orbis/PS4 probably wont be able to play PS3 games, Which, I would say is true, because frankly it’s the only system I haven’t seen people able to emulate… yet. Microsoft has a great chance to leap ahead of Sony during transitional years, Nintendo did great on that with not only being able to play Wii games on the new console, but even that the Wii mote is used for quite a few games for it, So you already have equipment for it, and the support of the Virtual Console in the eShop (though I’d be hard pressed to say I didn’t wish for continued GCN support, Here’s to wishing for it on the Virtual Console!), but from what I’ve seen, they still haven’t grasped the idea of having an account, so people are mad that they only get one chance to transfer content from their Wii to Wii U through a somewhat convoluted process.
With all the new toys coming on the horizon, They’ve all got an uphill battle and have to tread carefully with what they offer. They all have the chance to turn around any failings they might have had the last generation, or screw it up completely. Nintendo stated a strong release lineup of first and second party titles, Sony has it’s upcoming Press conference, where they have the chance to announce more Giant Enemy Crabs, as well as an ungodly price point, or really sell it with some hard core software and services and something developers wont have a problem programming for, and Microsoft has to continue what they’re doing, but with more exclusive AAA titles (and possibly a Banjo Threeie), or risk being seen as the Generic console with nothing to offer exclusively over the other one.
Granted, I’m not a business analyst, but I can still see where these companies made their mistakes, and only hope that they did too, and learned from them, instead of just assuming people will just take in whatever they shovel out. It’s a different age of technology, where things are becoming more and more universal, what with fully functional laptops blurring the lines with tablets, desktop towers and streaming devices becoming the norm for set top boxes, Smart phones having a set base for operational systems, and being far more open to customization for everyday use, all of these trends are becoming the norm, and there needs to be a bigger push for the “Why should I give you my money, over the other guy?”
Played the demo today. Name should be changed to Gears of War: Hoth edition. While a demo of course doesn’t quite paint all of what a game has to offer, It feels like it took the same direction started in Dead Space 2, and put more on a direction towards action and combat over fear and atmosphere. Sure for new players there’s going to be the initial shock factor of the grotesque enemies, but that wears off rather quick, and then when they add in things like religious zealots who shoot at you with guns, it definitely takes away from the “horror” experience. That isn’t to say it’s bad, it handled really well, finding parts for to customize weapons (I made a carbine with a line gun attached) was pretty neat, blasting away at enemies is still satisfying, cutting limbs off with the cutter, the areas looked wonderfully detailed,so kudos to the programmers and art directors. The problem I have is that they seem to have failed to set any sort of atmosphere that says either Survival, or Horror, instead devolving into a slower paced third person shooter, with an emphasis on “Boo” scares where things pop out and then you shoot them. I know it’s the same gripe that comes up whenever a sequel to an established horror game comes up, but they come up for a reason. Mainly, it seems the things that made these games like Resident Evil and Dead Space (I’m not quite sure went wrong with Silent Hill, it just went on until each game seemed like a parody of the earlier ones), Which start out with settings and pacing and atmosphere that was all about the built up until you were tense enough to attack anything you even thought moved (sometimes even things that were in the room with you), shout a few obscenities, and possibly drop your controller.
Something I’ve noticed in the last few years is that horror games diverged into two categories: Horror Adventures (Read: Point and Click, Text adventures), where you interact with the environment, but slowly, like with Amnesia: the Dark Descent, or more flailingly laughable Rise of Nightmares for the Kinect. The other, of course is the more widely accepted Horror Action (Read: Survival Horror, FPS horror) genre, where now there’s a emphasis on action, and more Surprise and Shock scares.
Now, for me, both types of these have their pro’s and cons. With the Horror Adventure styled games, on top of greater depth, there’s a lot of build up and tension, and you’re never quite sure when or where, or what might happen, and the real sense of helplessness because you have no way of fighting off anything that might come, of very limited ways of doing so while you run away. The con to this, for me anyway, is the pacing is usually very slow, While it does help build up any paranoia and fear, you can end up spending hours and essentially accomplish nothing beyond finding a note or a statue with a key attached before the pig monster that somehow the game designers ripped from your nightmares gently brushes his fingertips out of the shadow in the corner of your screen. Did you see that? Or was the suspense just .making you paranoid? The counter to this, of course is the Horror Action games. These rely heavily on shocking imagery like elaborate nasty monsters, or surprises like things just popping out of nowhere right in your face.Walking down the hallway and then HOLY FREAKING CRAP, there’s a frogmonster with an axe jumping towards as you fumble to hit aim, then fire, and then 20 zombies! These keep you going because the pacing is a lot quicker, and you’re usually just shooting with no less than a couple of minutes between combat, or they just throw hundreds of hundreds of certain types of monsters at you *cough*ZOMBIES*cough* but any scare is just, “Oh look at that thing, kinda looks like someone took a dog, turned it inside out, and microwaved it,” and then just becomes “Oh another one?… and another… 4 more you say…” So any feeling of helplessness is removed as a factor as you figure out the best way to kill and/or avoid them, even boss fights lose their edge in that department because they stuck to a formula that you HAVE to fight one at the end of each stage.Don’t get me wrong, I still find these fun as shooting galleries, but they irk me because they always try to sell me the game as something scary, when its a yawnsome popcorn scare at best.
I liked survival horror games, because they seemed to be the best of two worlds, in the way that they kept you engaged to tell you a story, while engrossing you in that world, and why you should be afraid. Half the scares were in the presenation, a good chunk of it was the story telling, and then the rest came out of visuals and things the game would throw at you.
Silent Hill 2 always seems to be the best example for this argument, I mean you’re in Silent Hill, trying to find your wife, whom you thought was dead, but this fog, this all encompassing fog keeps you from seeing what’s really there, or not there. Then you meet these characters that seem entirely off, but you can’t tell why, just yet. then at certain points, everything is turned inside out into meat walls and Pyramid heads, you don’t know why and there’s a rapist with a butcher knife bigger than you chasing you for some yet, unknown reason, all the while fighting off little things and big things, with breakable weapons and trying to find your way to the next location until you find your wife who, as it turns out, you freaking killed and the entire scenario was all in your head as a way of dealing with your guilt and building your own personal hell. It had everything: Scenery, characters, action gameplay that still left you feeling weak and defenseless half of the time, a story that lead you deeper and deeper into a scary, but real feeling scenario of psychosis and guilt, or a surreal fantasy that brought you straight into a fleshy pit that punished someone for their acts in life similar to part’s of Dante’s Inferno.
Resident Evils first few games didn’t have so much scariness in it as it did suspense. Yeah sure, zombies and genetic freaks, but it was more about being thrown into a completely unknown situation. Sure you were sent in as a S.T.A.R.S. Alpha teams Chris “Captain Kickass” Redfield or Jill “Sandwich” Valentine, who were both highly trained and decorated ex military, who go to check on what was reportedly a bunch of scientists in the boonies, after rumors were spreading, they still managed to put you in that Helpless state by trapping you in a house with not only mutations and killer freaks, but pitfalls, puzzles, and little to no ammo, with things turning sour at each and every turn, and a greater mystery being unraveled with all the betrayal and intrigue leading up to player finding out that they were sent there by Wesker intentionally as a test of the BOWs.
Both of these series managed to do these things well enough to still be praised even by today’s standards, but along the line I guess they tried to eke out a formula in order to print survival horror money. Capcom ended up with a homogenized third person action game, and Silent Hill, well I haven’t really played them since 4, but from what I’ve read, and playthroughs I watched, they all just lost any sort of… personal nature to the scenarios. They just weren’t sucking people in, or seemingly trying to be scarier on a deeper level.
Now Let me briefly talk about Co-Op in horror. There’s a frame of mind that says Co Op diminishes any horror elements in a game. I disagree on the grounds that They just keep screwing up how to do it. in the games that do it, they drop both you, and your partner into a setting, with guns, together. No real threats arise, because Bimbette and Commander badass are gonna kill all the zombies together and go skipping through the supposed wasteland on their way looking for a hexagonal crank. Instead, I would propose a cooperative game, that makes you as isolated as you are cooperative.You’d be dependent on them for survival and progress, but at the same time you’d go through bits where you’d talk to them via in game chat, and all of a sudden it would cut out, and you’d still have to depend on them, You just wouldn’t know how. In a vast labyrinth where you have to fight off monsters on your own, figure out traps and pitfalls, and solve puzzles that would unlock their path while you have to travel forward not knowing what’ll be around the corner while you wait for them to find your next door opener. It’s all about building tension. For all you know, this random labyrinth could be built so your partner could go off and send you into a trap for no reason, or when the comm cuts out, they could be dead and you’d have no idea until the last second, with no way of knowing you can or should help them. I’m not making a damn game, I’m just saying things that build tension until that big scare comes up as you explore it. Don’t criticize lol.
I’m not trying to start a revolution, just trying to figure out where it all went wrong.