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 3

Hello everyone. Missed me?

I managed to get that Kanji dictionary that I was talking about buying a couple of entries ago. The good thing is that while I was expecting the price to come to around 100 dollars, it actually only cost me about 40, so that was a little piece of good luck. The dictionary is very good in any case, and it’s really been helping me in learning more Kanji, in particular the readings. I’m going to try to do what I used to do when I was a kid, and just read the dictionary for fun. When I was kid I used to try to find the word that sounded the craziest, and memorize it and use it in real life. It helped my vocabulary greatly, so with my kanji it might help in the same way. Another thing that I appreciate is that the dictionary also shows how to write the kanji with the proper stroke order. Writing the kanji with the proper stroke order as opposed to taking shortcuts and just winging it is something a lot of people have problems with. Kanji isn’t like the English alphabet, which is flexible enough that a lot of people have different ways of writing each letter. With Kanji, you must write each kanji in the exact stroke order they teach you, otherwise, you will be called out on it by a native Japanese. Learning the correct way of writing each character is essential. So anyway, I’ve been using the dictionary to memorize different Kanji.

In games, I also bought a game that I have been looking forward to for a long time: Blazblue Continuum Shift. If you don’t want to hear spoilers, you are warned now that I am going to spoil the story as far as I am. Yeah, I loved the first game, so I couldn’t wait for this. Don’t really like how bad they nerfed Noel in this entry though. I blame all the drive spammers from the first game. Anyway, I actually might be switching mains in this game to Tsubaki, because Noel plays so differently from how she used to play. I also really like Tsubaki because of her play style. She has a lot of options and moves to work with, including a DP, a charge, two air moves that can be TK’d, a power charge, an uppercut that doesn’t take her off the floor, numerous cancels, super-powered versions of her regular moves that use her power charge, I mean she just has so much that she is capable of doing with all those moves that I could see me playing her for a very long time and never ever get bored. Her only real problem is that she lacks a lot of strength unless she’s charged. I might also start playing Makoto and Valkenhein when they finally get released. I still consider it bull that I have to buy them even though I already bought the game, but oh well. At least the game was budget priced. I’ll still play Noel from time to time, but until I get used to her changes and learn more shit with her, she’s going to be strictly in the lab. I also really like the story mode of the game. As is routinuely said, Blazblue has just about the best story ever given to a fighting game, a genre where typically every character enters a tournament for some dumb-ass reason. Here the characters actually have relationships, goals, desires, personality, and backgrounds which actually explain why they are the way they are. Even though the game revealed that Tsubaki’s entire family resorted to incest in-breeding in order to keep the purity of their blood. My response: Eww. It was also really surprising to see that Jin is actually becoming a good guy. He’s always being portrayed as being a supreme jack-ass in the rest of the story, that it’s surprising to see that he still cares about Tusbaki, even going so far as to try to convince her to abandon using her Nox Nyctores, Izayoi. Turns out that since Izayoi’s special ability is to steal light, it will eventually steal her light and cause her to go blind. Why does bad shit happen to all my favorite characters? Same thing with Noel, now she’s become the ultimate weapon of the series. Jin is also becoming one of my favorite characters, now that he’s slowly becoming less of a douche. Even back when I did hate him, I always liked his voice actor, simply because he has such a wide-range in his vocal capabilities, going from arrogant and condescending to everyone, bat-shit insane to Ragna, and psycho-angry to Noel and Nu. I’ll never get used to his “Nii-san” though. Way too creepy. Tsubaki’s “Jin-nii-sama” is awesomely cute though. She gets completely moe whenever she’s around Jin. I guess she’s been taking moe lessons from her friend Noel. Next thing you know the both of them are going to join the K-on club, singing backup vocals lol. I’ve also noticed that Hazama is becoming very famous online, I guess because of the Smooth Criminal video someone made of him. A lot of people also like his sense of style, what with the suit and hat and all that. He’s too cool to ignore, even though in the story he’s a super asshole. I find him rather hard to play though. His combos seem to involve standard jump-cancel air combos, then grabbing his opponent with Ouroboros, and continuing the combo. Maybe if I watch vids of people playing him and get something like a character guide for him, I’ll understand him better. I also highly suggest that people go through all the tutorial mode of the game, just for basic mechanics and also for the character they are looking to main. The basic mechanics portion of the tutorial are not that important unless this is your first fighting game, but what’s good is that it also teaches basic fighting game fundamentals, like mix-ups, zoning, spacing, and footsies. I’m glad Blazblue is actually stepping up and teaching people such important things, as it will definetly help to alleviate the problem of noobs coming into the game spamming drives, and also help those looking to enter the hugely growing fighting game community. Then the characters portion teaches you not only how to properly play the character with their correct strategy, but also teaches you some of their basics. Then the game’s included challenge mode also runs the gamut of teaching you the characters movelist and their basic bnb’s, going harder the farther you progress in a manner very similar to SSF4’s Trial mode. Now no one has any excuse as to why they can’t learn a certain character. Hell, all they needed left to do was provide a direct link to dustloop.com and it would be like Blazblue for beginners. At this rate I might try to learn the basics with all the characters; I no longer have any excuse.

I’m also wondering if they are going to include the other modes for the downloadable characters. They would need to include the character, their story mode, their challenge mode, their tutorial mode, the ability to play them in Legion mode, plus other things. I know that’s a lot, but hell, if you’re going to make us pay. My theory is that the above content is on the disc somewhere, but you won’t be able to access it unless you buy the character, similarly to the demo unlock code needed with Marvel vs. Capcom 2. I laugh whenever people complain about having to replay certain parts in order to get the next ending in story mode. These people have obviously never played a full Visual Novel. Anyway, the game is very entertaining so far, and it’s going to be a lot better once I can start playing with everyone at CF. Hopefully the community will revive now that the game is out. I remember back when Blazblue: CT was at its hay-day, it was hard to even get a chance at the machine. Then all of a sudden, the game just became a bag holder for everyone playing Tekken 6. Now the problem is that everyone I see playing the game is using either Litchi or Tager, probably since they’re both the top-tier characters right now. I’ve heard that the reason the community was so thoroughly destroyed was due to a Blazblue tournament that was being held where 70 players signed up and absolutely no one showed up. Still, would something like that really cause an entire community to just dry up like that? My personal theory is that it was a combined effort of Arakune, Rachel, and Nu being overly top-tier, and the driver spammers online. However, I believe the latter was less to blame then the former, simply because if that could kill a community, MVC2 would have been dead long time ago. Not to mention a couple of over-powered, but still balanced characters are nothing once you learn the match-up correctly. Heartnana proved that by whooping Nu players with Noel, who isn’t nowhere near top-tier. I think people just got tired of trying. If you want proof that god-tier characters can be taken down by normal or low-tier characters, check out Marvel player. He takes out characters like Storm, Cyclops and Magneto with his feared team of Ken, Colossus and Rouge like nobody’s business. It’s all about not leaving any openings, learning the matchup, and picking your execution up to the next level. You gots to believe, man! lol

Anyway, I’m also really hyped up for the console release of Arcana Heart 3. To think people were saying for years that it would never happen. Like I said, you got to believe and keep the faith people. This year is going to be another great year for fighting games, and next year looks even better. Street Figher x Tekken, KOF13, MVC3, AH3, MK9. Now all I need to hear is that CVS3 is finally going to see the light of day. So many fighting games to play, so little time to play them all. I’m going to have to choose which ones I’m going to be serious about and which ones I’m going to have to be casual.

I also bought DJMAX Hot Tunes like I knew I would. The game has a great mix of selected tracks, including the new rock rendition of Oblivion. But hot damn, this game got about ten times harder. I guess since now you have to press the right button and you don’t have the saver in which the game won’t allow you to miss if you didn’t press a button, the game has become much harder than before. Not to mention I haven’t played the game in quite a while. Guess I’m going to have to practice all over again.

Also bought Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, a rhythm game based around the popular vocaloid Hatsune Miku and various songs made using her Vocaloid program. The games basically a giant love letter to Miku and all her fans. It even includes fanart drawn by the fans. The game involves pressing the face buttons in time to the symbols that show across the screen; your standard rhythm game. What makes it unique is the different gamut the game runs across it’s song list, from ballads to punk to pop to anime opening sounding songs. All while Miku dances, poses and moes up your psp. The only problem with the game is that the combo meter, and what the game constitutes as a combo or combo breaker seems to change whenever the game feels like it. Sometimes it seems like the game decides for itself whether or not you comboed, despite you feeling you clearly hit it. Songs also unlock on a pretty steady clip; just about everytime you complete a song, another one unlocks for you, which feels very rewarding compared to the slower unlocks featured in the DJMAX series, and encourages you to continue for hours on end. I’m also interested in the downloadable add-on for the game, which allows you to play the game on your ps3, complete with HD graphics. Unfortunately, it is only available in Japan, and you must have a JPN ps3 account to access the JPN PSN Store. You can do it on an American ps3, but it involves so many different steps (not to mention you have to pay for the add-on) that I don’t feel like doing. Mendokusaishi.

Lastly, I also bought Mushihime-sama: Futari. I heard so much about the game from shmup fans all over, and after playing DeathSmiles, I felt the game deserved a shot. I love the game, but it has one problem: Omigod, this game is so fucking hard. Like wow. If I practiced, I could get through Deathsmiles easy mode without dieing until I get to the final stage. When I played Futari for the first time on easy, I must’ve continued more than 30 times! The game mind-boggles me with its difficulty, especially in the last stage. Also, Cave needs to improve their voice-acting in game. The two main characters in Futari have the worst voices I’ve ever heard in my life. Especially when they die, it just gets to sound like nails on a chalkboard, especially when you hear it time and time again. Maybe it’s an incentive to not die? Lol, one could imagine. The voice acting in DeathSmiles is also pretty atrocious, but it’s not nearly as bad as it is here in Futari. Oh well, one doesn’t play a game like this for voice-acting right? The point of the game is in its hot shooting action, which it provides in spades. The enemies are varied and interesting, and the shooting patterns are crazy to the point where you truly think there’s no possible way to beat this without bombing or getting hit; and sometimes, you’re even right.

Also seeing as how I’m planning on getting some more fighting games for my 360 and seeing as how I like playing shmups with my arcade stick, I decided I wanted to get an arcade stick for my 360. Hearing that, Joe decided to sell me his Tekken 6 arcade stick for a mere $40. A steal considering that not only is the stick in near-mint condition, but he also threw in the artbook and original box at the same price. Even if the entire box was already open and not in mint condition, I think he would’ve gotten at least $75 for the set. Yeah I feel bad that I took advantage but I do live in New York after all. Plus, knowing Joe he would not care because he still got enough money to eat. Anyway, the stick is in near-mint condition because Joseph rarely ever used it. He had bought the stick mainly because he wanted to try using an arcade stick to get familiar with it, since whenever he would go to the Brooklyn sessions last year, he would lose because he never learned to use an arcade stick, and the sessions were pretty much arcade stick only. When he found out that the Limited Edition version of Tekken 6 would come with a Tekken 6 arcade stick, he decided he would get that version in order to get used to how it worked. I think he stood with that for about….4 months before breaking down and giving up. I tried to tell him that he needed to stick with it, that getting used to stick is going to take a while but will be ultimately worth it. Joe never listens to me though, so whatever. His loss is my gain. For anyone who’s looking to buy the T6 arcade stick since it’s a relatively cheap stick…I advise you to just buy a Mayflash and mod it. Will cost you slightly more but it’s worth it. Here’s the cons of the T6 arcade stick:

1) Opening the arcade stick at all requires a hex-key screwdriver, similar to the original SF4 tourney stick.

2) Buttons and stick are standard Hori as opposed to the fan-favorite Sanwa (obvious since Hori made the arcade stick).

3) The buttons are hot-wired to the circuit board, meaning no quick-disconnects and meaning that it would be an absolute pain to mod, if you can mod at all.

4) The 360 version that I bought connects to the system wirelessly, meaning that since there’s no midway connecter to the system like the ps3 version or SSF4 tourney sticks, this stick is absolutely incapable of using any kind of converter to work for any other kind of system, and can only be used on a 360.

5) The button placement, in terms of standard notation and not finger placement, is all-over the place and doesn’t use the standard layout.

6) Needs two double AA batteries.

7) Once the stick has been registered with a 360, if you want to change it to the 1P controller or 2P controller, you have to reset the 360. No matter what you do with the stick, if you register it as the 2P controller, it will stay as the 2P controller until you reset the system.

The pro’s:

1) Hori parts, while not being the Sanwa style that I prefer, are still high quality and still work well for me.

2) The stick is extremely light weight since the casing is plastic and doesn’t use the metal or wood that’s so common.

3) Wireless

4) The artwork on it is ok.

Overall, I do like the stick, but I would not use this as my main stick. I will use it for now until I can get a modded arcade stick for my 360. Most likely I will get a custom stick from SRK member Dstyles, who I just met and realized lives in Bed-stuy, about a half-hour walk from me. I’ve seen some of his previous work and have come to like his style. Seeing as it’s my main game right now, I will try to get some Blazblue themed artwork, most likely one with Tsubaki and Noel on it, along with some clear blue buttons and a blue balltop, everything Sanwa of course. Speaking of Dstyles, he will be hosting a SSF4 tourney on the 8/14, along with a possible tekken 6 tourney the week before. I’m going to make it for the SSF4 tourney, and will try to make it for the Tekken 6 tourney. As for the SSF4 tourney I will also be donating my 360, ps3, arcade stick’s and possibly a TV, that is if Dstyles can get someone to drive me to his house. Otherwise he’s only getting the console’s.

Now that I think about it, Joe makes me laugh. During the past week, Joe and I played each other some in Blazblue. I ended up damn near raping him with Tsubaki, while he was using Lambda-11 and Hakumen. The thing about Joe is that he always tells me that he can’t do Lambda’s challenge mode combos, which is why he loses against me a lot. He says that no matter how hard he tries, he can never get any sort of combos to work. I ask him how long did he try the combo. He tells me about ten, fifteen times. Makes me laugh my ass off. I keep telling him how he needs to practice the combo more and more, but Joe lacks a lot of patience and just decides he will “stick with his own combos”. Two hit combos mind you. Then he wonders why in the hell he’s losing. He just says he “can’t do combos”, in just about every fighting game we play. From Street Fighter to Tekken, to Arcana Heart to even DOA, his favorite fighting game. Two years ago, I couldn’t do any combos in any fighting game I played. After two years of practicing hardcore, and even converting to stick from pad, now I can at least do certain combos, and even bnb’s. No one can do combos right away, but you practice and learn and practice and learn. When I learn my first combo in any fighting game, it can take me an entire day to properly learn it, to the point to where I can do it in a match, or even otherwise, but still I put in the practice. Joe though, doesn’t put in the practice and just gives up. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you can win without knowing combos; no matter how many combos you know or how damaging they are, fundamentals will help you out way more. But Joe’s fundamentals are almost non-existent, similar to mine. Thing is, I still try to use fundamentals like spacing and zoning, where as Joe just tries to attack me. Also, I, at the very least, have combos to make up for my weakness. Joe does not have this. Joe pretty much needs to try to hit me and hope for the best. I try to help him out by teaching him some things, but he pretty much doesn’t use what I teach him. Oh well.

I have also been playing Agarest War more, since I haven’t played it in a while. I’m still pretty much in the beginning of the first generation since I haven’t played much, but the game is still a lot of fun. The first available love interest in the game, the blue-haired elfin girl, has joined my party, as well as her brother. Now I have to go on some fetch-quest in which we have to try to kill some creature in a cave in order to get the king of some other kingdom to help us stop Leonhart’s kingdom from taking over the rest of the land. The main problem I have with the game, however, is the translation; quite frankly, it’s horrible. Thankfully there’s no English voice acting, but the script translation is the problem. The characters all speak as though they from Middle-Earth when the Japanese voice acting has them speaking pretty much regular Japanese, except for Vira-Loor, who speaks old man-japanese. From what I see, Arksys has a pretty big problem when it comes to translations. Deathsmiles has the same problem, and hell, even Blazblue has its fair share of mistranslations. In particular I’m speaking about the cutscene from when Tsubaki and Jin first met when they were children. Not properly translating the conversation or Tsubaki’s “Jin-Nii-sama” caused the entire cutscene to lose all of its sentimental meaning, which is important since it’s an important part of the story for Jin and Tsubaki. Instead it now just sounds stupid. Not to mention they translated “Yubi-kiri” for “Cross my Heart”, which is similar but still different enough to irk. I especially don’t know why they couldn’t leave the honorifics; Persona did it all the time, and the fans love it for that. Hell, that’s the first thing that grabbed me about Persona 3, because I had grown so tired of translations, and for the first time here was a good one. But anyway, back to Agarest. The game offers nearly unlimited options to level-grind, since you can go back to any stage where you fought enemies before and fight there again and again for an unlimited amount of times. Thing is that the game is very slow when you level up. You need to a ton of experience to level up anywhere and enemies give shit experience. It’s especially long considering Tales doesn’t feel anywhere near this long. The story also moves at a pretty slow pace considering how much fighting you have to do, but it’s still fun so whatever.

I’ve also been practicing some more in DeathSmiles. I want to try to be able to 1cc this game, but I don’t know how I’m going to be able to when the final level always causes me to die. I’m seriously starting to think it’s impossible to defeat TyrannoSatan without dying at least once. Hell, sometimes I think it’s impossible to beat Jitterbug without dying at least once. In order to help fix that, I’m going to try to start watching some replay vids and youtube runs to try to find the holes in his patterns. Thing is, everyone plays the stage levels at level 3, which is way too hard for me considering I’m having difficulty with level 1. I’m still trying to get better though. I think part of the problem with getting better at shmups is just the fact that almost all the motivation to improve has to come from yourself. With fighting games, your motivation can be completely outward. You have great players, tourneys, combo vids, match vids, and other such things to help motivate you, and the inward motivation is primarily the satisfaction you get from truly beating someone down or the gratification from seeing yourself become btt. With shmups though, your primary motivation is going to be beating someone’s high score or 1cc’ing the game. Not to mention leaderboards. Unlike fighting games, there’s no true multiplayer aspect to shmups like there is with fighting games. Thus, if you yourself don’t want to improve, there’s little else to stop you from simply bombing through every difficult pattern in the game and continuing every time you die. Truth be told, no matter what kind of motivation you try to have, inner motivation is the best in any situation, whether it be video games or real life.

I’ve also begun taking up the challenge of learning to use the nunchaku. I bought a pair of practice one’s at a store I know in Chinatown, and am happy to see that not only are they the right practice size, but they work like a charm. I’ve managed to learn some of the correct stances and hand switching. I would just like to say I’m learning them seriously; not like you see kids on youtube try, get hit in the nether regions, then just give up. Where did I get the motivation for this? Pretty much from watching Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto using nunchaku. I think it’s no stretch from the truth that Bruce Lee and Inosanto were complete masters of the nunchaku in every degree of their possible use, being fully capable of using them in complete real life situations.

The thing that strikes me about Bruce Lee when I think of him, is that how different would the world of martial arts be had Bruce Lee still been alive today? It crosses just about every Bruce Lee fans mind when they watch one of his movies. Lee was one of the very first martial artists to train for real-life situations against thugs on the street, and one of the very first to think about mixing different martial skills into one cohesive unit. This is exemplified in his martial art, Jeet Kune Do. In this martial art, Lee took the shuffling, dodging footwork of western boxing, the un-telegraphed, quick strikes of western fencing, the always stance ready, calculated footwork of Kenjustsu, the explosive sudden power of BajiQuan style Kung Fu, the inner-ki controlling energies of Wing-Chun style Kung Fu, and combined them with his unmatched speed, power and superior mind. Bruce Lee had an amazing mind for fighting. He could pick up on just about every little pattern his opponent had, and had an uncanny speed in sensing when his opponent was planning on attacking and where, not to mention the amazing ability to take advantage of every single opening his opponent left. He would do this by training himself in order to react to any little movement his opponent made, which can easily be seen in many of his movies. Another reason as to why Bruce Lee was such an amazing martial artist was his absolutely unwavering dedication to his training. Bruce Lee was undeniably one of the most fit men that has ever set foot on this planet. His doctors have said time and time again after his death that Lee had the body of an 18 year old at his late twenties, and that he had not a pinch of fat on his entire body. His workout plans as laid out by Linda Lee herself has surprised champion bodybuilders with its intensity and length. Lee would spend almost half his day alone exercising, and the rest practicing his moves and sparring. One wouldn’t be able to keep up with that kind of regimen unless one had the dedication and passion for his physical health like Lee had. I can say myself that I don’t think I would be able to keep up with his regimen for even a week. Bruce Lee was a specimen of peak physical fitness at an almost legendary scale. His mark on the martial arts could never be denied. So it still makes you think: for the small amount of time that Bruce Lee was on this earth, he made a huge impact on the world of martial arts. Imagine if he was still alive today, and continued his study of martial arts and continued to grow his martial art of Jeet Kune Do. Imagine how much more powerful Jeet Kune Do would be today if Lee could still add to it? Thankfully Inosanto is still teaching and adding to the art by studying numerous other arts to use with his other styles and JKD. But you can’t help but imagine how much bigger the art would be had Lee still been around to teach and grow.

Omigod, I just turned this blog into a Bruce Lee tribute lol. Let me talk about something else.

Anyway, in anime I’ve pretty much just been watching K-on!! Thankfully it’s getting better, but is still pretty moe to me. Got to say though, episode 16, in which Azusa basically spends some time with each of her sempai, was pretty funny. It isn’t everyday where we get to see Azusa interact with each of the other girls, so this was a nice change of pace. I also liked episode 13, where Ritsu and Mugi basically went on a date. Even my sister agrees, those two make a very cute couple. Next they need to do an episode where Mio and Yui are together by themselves. Not so much for my pleasure, but I just want to see the fans heads explode from the sheer moe-ness of the entire idea lol. I also like that the company is listening a little more to the fanbase by giving Mugi more screen time. In the first season she was almost background until someone needed tea or they used her villa. Either way, we still have an entire season more of K-on to look forward to, so at least that’s still coming.

Other than that, my sister’s computer’s down because she didn’t take very good care of her plug, so now I have to buy her a new one. Then because her laptop is the only capable of getting our internet signal at the moment, I haven’t been able to get any anime at all. So now I’m going to have to buy her another laptop adapter so that we can use her laptop again. Great. More money out of my pocket.

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