Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons

Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons
Black Magic shall rule over all

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Feels new yet old pt 2

Woo, I’m tired as all hell but I don’t care! Time for the new blog entry.

I finally managed to get a game that I had been wanting for quite a while: Ikki Tousen Cross Impact for the PSP. Yeah, when I heard another Ikki Tousen PSP game was coming out along with the debut of the new anime, I was pretty psyched. When I found out the game was actually miles ahead of the first PSP game, Eloquent Fist, I was stoked. When I found out J and L had the special collectors box edition, I thought, Oh man, I have got to get that! Got it I did, and I really like it surprisingly. I never decided to buy Eloquent Fist mostly because I had heard about just how bad it was, and because I had seen the gameplay footage. It looked like one of those bad Flash games you can download off of a company website. I heard this one was miles better than the first one, and that had encouraged me to buy it.

First of all, the collectors package. It comes in a big, pretty box that comes with artwork from the series. Unfortunately its one of those boxes that bends very easily, so when you pull open the tab to get at everything, the tab gets bended. They really need to stop making boxes out of this material, because it just makes it impossible to retain the collectors’ value without saving the game for years. I’m sorry but I’m not going to keep my games fresh in their plastic just for collectors’ value. I consider myself a collector, but I do want to play my games, guys. Anyway, the box comes with the game (of course), a special chibi Kanu figure that can change between her school swimsuit and school uniform outfit, an Ofuro poster with new character Ako on it, little pucks with character art on them, and a drama cd inside a dvd case with custom art. Overall, a pretty nice package. I listened to the drama cd for a while, and was very happy to see that for the most part I was completely able to keep up with what the characters were saying. Gives everything a whole new life for me. Too bad the cd was trash. It’s just Kanu, Ryuubi and Chouhi exercising with Seikyou-sensei, with them making over-exaggerated groans, moans and screams for perverts. I guess it was funny though, so it wasn’t too bad.

On to the game. The game itself includes a story mode, arcade mode, challenge mode, ad-hoc mode, and gallery mode. Story mode plays through a story in which new character Ako initiates a tournament battle between all three schools. You play through the story mode with all three schools, and this is the only way to play the other modes with Hakufu, Sousou, and Ryuubi. Also, Ako seems able to resurrect Ryoufu, Chinkyuu and Shiba-I, but then again, who doesn’t nowadays. Everyone seems capable of doing that. It’s an anime rule, sure, but it particularly happens a lot in Ikki Tousen: Characters who die only stay dead until they are resurrected for a new plot device, or until they’re needed to provide character development for another character. Either way the game is pure beat-em up throughout, with an RPG-like skill system. Basically you earn points from doing long combos and beating large amounts of enemies, which you can then use at the end of a stage to have your characters learn new skills, like increased damage and stamina, adding another hit to their combo, and adding air combos. The problem is that it can take forever for you to save enough points for you to be able to afford anything in the skill tree. Another problem is that the game still kinda looks like ass. The entire game still looks like a Flash game, and the controls are iffy. There are odd times where you are right next to your opponent, attack, and the hit detection doesn’t go on because you’re on a different plain. I blame bad programming, but the game still plays very well so I’ll just ignore it. Since it’s a beat ‘em up, the game doesn’t really take up much of your brain to play; you can just go automatic in the whole thing, or at least until you fight another one of the main characters, who will beat your ass if you’re not careful. I also find it really funny that there are some stupid infinites in the game; you can just get almost any enemy on the wall, and jump attack for an infinite. Most characters can do it with just jumping strong, but some characters can maintain the infinite longer; Ten’I and Bashoku come to mind. Also, while it was nice to include her, Saji Genpou was just not good for the game. You put a long-range wizard in a beat ‘em up. That’s never a good decision. Just look at Gauntlet. A definite negative aspect of the game though is just that the stages last for so damn long. I mean really, really long. Like stupid long. I think if the developers were going to make a beat ‘em up, they should have done some research on the two of the kings of the genre: Final Fight and Streets of Rage. Both games are wonderfully paced in that the stages are filled with enemies, but they are just right in how long they are; not too long in that you wonder about when it’s going to end, and not too short in that you think that was too fast. I think you can take one stage of this game and it would equal about the same time as two or maybe even two and a half stages of FF or SoR. I guess they figured it was okay since you have two characters in one stage as opposed to just you solo, but that’s sacrificing interest for challenge. Though it may sound like I’m dissing the game, I’m really not; it’s just that I’m a bit of a critic and always point a game’s flaws even if I really like the game. If you’re a fan of Ikki Tousen I highly recommend the game, but if you just want to play a beat ‘em up then I think you would be wise to either just rent or try to get the game cheap. Hell, you can always just download MAME and Final Fight. That’s what most people do nowadays. Might as well get the very best in the genre for nothing right?

Another game I got for the PSP is Disgaea Infinite. I heard about this game through gamefaqs and thought it was another version of Disgaea 1 for the PSP. I then looked into it and found out it was a side-story sequel to Disgaea 1 that was a visual novel. I highly doubt anyone reading this blog doesn’t know what a visual novel is, but for those who don’t I’ll explain. Basically, a visual novel is a game with sometimes moving pictures in which the players read a story that shows up on screen and interact with characters through story changing decisions that are sprinkled through the game. A big part of most VN’s are Galge’s, or Dating Sims in English. These are games in which you try to make the correct decisions in order to get one of the main female leads as you’re girlfriend. These more often than not involve hentai scenes in them. Classic examples of Galge are:

Bible Black

Minna de Nyan-nyan

X-Change

Kanon

Clannad (Doesn’t feature hentai itself, but it’s sequel, Tomoyo, it’s a wonderful life, does.)

In fact, one of my most favorite games of all time, Fate/Stay Night, happens to be a Visual Novel. So of course when I heard that there was going to be a VN based on Disgaea 1 with Laharl, Etna and Flonne, I of course had to jump on it. Best of all the game is only $20. A VN game with great characters for a seriously budget price? I’m sold. Anyway, you take control of a Prinny, one of the exploding penguin mascot characters, who needs to find out who tried to assassinate Laharl. If not, Laharl is going to cut the Prinny’s pay to the point where they will be working for him for eternity. The Prinny must solve the mystery with the help of a mysterious watch with a cute voice that can reverse time, as well as allow the Prinny to possess the other characters in the series. The game definitely retains the infamous Disgaea humor, and also apparently has Mao and Raspberyl from Disgaea 3 in it, which is a nice treat since I’m still playing through that game. Other than that there’s really nothing to talk about with the game, so I’ll just leave it at that. Really like the game, will continue playing probably to the end.

I’ve been continuing Demon Souls lately, and was surprised to find that I had been missing out on a whole section of game mechanics. I had been having a lot of problems getting anywhere in this game with my character, so I decided to restart the game with a new one. I ended up choosing a male knight, the one that’s shown in the opening movie, and replayed through the first level. Just to point out to everyone, I have the Japanese version of the game, and this game has way too many Kanji that I don’t know. Playing through the tutorial portion of the game again, I discovered something written in big Japanese kana. “R2- Paari”. “Paari?…Parry? You can parry?” So I tried it out on a rushing blue-eyed knight that was coming to take my head off. Lo and behold that moment when I faced that terrifying behemoth and I turned his sword strike away with my shield, charged forward and drove my sword right through his stomach and down to the floor…oh man, that moment was pure ecstasy. So now that I’ve discovered there’s a parry system, I’ve actually been able to get through some of the first level that I haven’t been able to go through. I’ve also managed to get the Cling ring, which lets you keep your health at the same level when you die and you won’t take the health penalty. I still haven’t gotten to the stage boss though, but that’s only because I’m kind of stocking up on souls. It still really feels good to be able to kill the blue knights in one hit, just as long as you can hit the parry correctly. Now I’m really trying to practice and get parries done consistently. Hopefully the game becomes doable now. I’m just waiting to fight the stage boss, the Phalanx. I saw a tutorial video on how to beat him, but it’s going to be hard to get the oil out to set my sword ablaze when I can’t read the Japanese very well. Hope it just says “Oiru” or something in kana. Also decided to get a printout of the game’s controls. The game came with the booklet obviously, but, once again, Japanese.

I’m also seriously considering buying the new DJMAX game, DJ Max Hot Tunes. J and L managed to a copy in and quite frankly, I really wanted it. The only reason I didn’t buy it right then and there was because I decided to buy Xross Impact instead. From what I have heard, the game is basically DJ MAX Fever though, but with some of the songs from the earlier psp titles. Either way, I’m definitely considering buying the game, and if I can, the collector’s edition, because I would love to hear the game’s soundtrack on my mp3 player. Plus the posters for the game look really awesome and I love the mahogany casing. The whole thing makes it look like if the game was some kind of platinum album encased in a museum for the whole world to see.

Lastly in games, I’ve also managed to beat Batman: Arkhum Asylum. I thought the game would go on for longer than it really did. When I got to the Poison Ivy battle, I had no idea that this battle was the last one before you fight Joker, but it turned out it was. Got to say, though, the ending was awesome. It could pretty much be described as “SUPER EXPLOSIVE FALCON PUCNH!!”. Yeah, the game was awesome, though I found it weird that the Joker decided to inject himself with the titan strain. Figured he would’ve shot it into as many of his goons as possible. Anyway, I sadly don’t think I’m going to keep playing the game for the Riddler trophies and riddles. These don’t give me much of an incentive to continue playing through the game without a story to play around with or enemies to fight. I might decide to play through the game on a harder setting though, maybe for my commitment to hard games, but I don’t think B:AA was that hard to begin with to even count for that. Oh well. I think the only times I ever died throughout the entire game was during the Scarecrow stages. I’ll definitely play through the sequel when that comes out. I just hope that my theory holds out, and that since Batman has to go through all of Gotham City, that Nightwing can help him out. Though I have always said one thing about the game: If Batman sees that not only could the Joker’s plot destroy Gotham, but the whole world, why doesn’t he call for help from the Justice League? Superman would probably have been able to take care of the whole problem. Here’s Joe’s response: Because if Batman did that, there would be no game at all, and this is a Batman game, not a Justice League game. Both valid points I suppose.

I’m trying to practice my kanji. I’ve been playing a lot of imports lately and not being able to understand the text is really, really killing me here. I only know some of the kanji they teach you in first grade in Japan, and the majority of the games that I play are meant for high school age kids. Not to mention being able to speak, read and write Japanese always looks good on a resume. I’m going to try to hold the games as rewards. Like once I put the effort and learn these kanji, I’ll be able to play through these games completely. Still that’s going to be a hell of a lot of work to go through. Near six thousand kanji total, two thousand kanji to be literate, six hundred to be able to read a newspaper. I feel sorry for the Japanese kids who have to learn this stuff through their school lives. The Japanese school system thinks that the reason kids these days aren’t literate is because they aren’t being taught well enough. It’s because they have to learn so much in such a short amount of time. Try lowering the amount of Kanji, guys, for Pete’s sake. There’s close to eight thousand kanji when you pretty much need only two thousand to get by nowadays. The Japanese themselves admit this. Why have so much?

To help me in improving my Japanese, I’m going to try playing my old buddy, My Japanese Coach. It’s one of the educational games for the Nintendo DS that helps you to learn the various aspects of Japanese, from pronunciation, comprehension, writing, and the culture. I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to learn how to write Kanji however. The game is very lenient as to what it considers correct and not correct. I’ve fumbled a lot on writing only for the game to say that I was right. Still, since I prioritize reading comprehension over writing ability, the game has helped me out a lot since I first started using it. It’s thanks to this game that I can read the kanji that I can read. Many people are surprised by the fact that I even remotely know Japanese in the first place near where I live. I think that’s simply because of two things:

1) My area is Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and sadly I think the only contact most people have in this neighborhood with Asians is at the Chinese restaurant.

2) Because of reason 1, I’m assuming, whenever I tell people that I can speak Japanese, they hear Chinese. Go figure.

I even tell people, I’m still learning, I’m nowhere near fluent, but I can hold a conversation. All they hear is, Yeah, I can speak that ching, chang, chong talk. I speak it like Spanish man. Haha, well, being a trilingual helps in a lot of things so I’m not complaining. Once I finish learning Japanese, I do plan on learning Chinese. In fact, here are all the languages I want to learn in my lifetime:

1) Japanese

2) Chinese

3) Korean

4) German

5) Latin

6) Hebrew

7) Thai

8) Spanish (Better than I can now anyway)

9) Italian

I’m a pretty ambitious person aren’t I? Ever since I heard that there are people who work at the U.N who can speak more than 10 languages, I decided to learn as many languages as I can. True story, I once went on a school field trip to the U.N, and one of the translators gave us a little test for our linguistic skills. Upon seeing my results, he told me mine’s were very good for a thirteen year old. He honestly even told me some languages to learn and ways to practice in case I genuinely wanted to pursue it as a career. Got to say I really appreciated that. Not many people would just randomly give career advice to a thirteen year old, at that serious career advice in a field he specialized in. Maybe if more people were like him, we wouldn’t have so many problems with unemployment and disgruntled kids. As to the kanji, I’m going to try to buy a Kanji dictionary at Kinokuniya or something. If I remember correctly I can buy one there for like a little over a hundred dollars. Don’t know the exact price, but if I remember correctly, it’s no more than two hundred dollars. Ugh. There’s always so much that I want, but I need to start saving money a little more, just because I think my rent is going to go back up. At least I still have money in the bank, so I can sleep a little easier.

Let’s see how much I have on my plate at the moment. Things that I have to do on any given day:

1) Practice rhythm games (DJ Hero, DJMAX, DDR)

2) Practice fighting games (T6, SSF4, BB, GG, plus a shitload of others)

3) Practice Shmups (Blazestar and Galuga, might get others)

4) Practice hard games (NGS2, DS, Izuna)

5) Play my psp games I haven’t beaten yet (more than 20)

6) Play my ps3 games I haven’t beaten yet (more than 20)

7) Play my ps2 games I haven’t beaten yet (more than 100 lolz)

8) Play my DS games I haven’t beaten yet (more than 20)

9) Hell, play my ps1 games I haven’t beaten yet (almost 20)

10) Continue practicing Japanese

11) Practice martial arts & work out

12) Practice parkour like I always said I would

13) Take up Tricking like I said I would

14) Take care of my sister and the house

15) Work lolz

ZOMG no time for anything lol. I can’t help but lol each time I look at this. I’ve got so much on my plate that I wonder how am I going to have time for all this? There’s no time for all this omg. I’m going to stop talking about this before I burst out laughing at work. OMG hahahahaha!!!!!

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