Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons

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

Friday, April 15, 2011


  Well hello everyone. Spring is finally here and hopefully the rain here where I live calms the fuck down and the sun can shine in, Age of Aquarias style.
  I recently purchased a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, and playing it on my brand new 3ds is awesome. The game plays like a dungeon crawler in the same vein as the original Devil Summoner games in the series. You play as a nameless protagonist who’s part of an elite team of soldiers brought together to journey into a giant anomaly in the Antartic known as the Shwarzvelt, and venture inside before the anamoly threatens to destroy the world. On the journey inside, the anamoly actually begins to attack the crews, and once crashlanded inside, creatures called demons begin to attack the soildiers. At this point, a mysterious voice calls, and the soldiers gain the power to recruit certain demons into their ranks. With these newfound powers, your squadron and you must fight off the demon hoards and find out what the Shwarzvelt truly is. The gameplay involves battling demons in a first-person perspective similar to the old Phantasy Star games, and will involve the demon negotiating from the older Shin Megami Tensei games, like Nocturne and DDS. Very interested in the game so far.
  Also bought a used copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne off of Amazon. The game was in great condition, and has very little scratches. The plot for this game has you once again as a nameless protagonist who is traveling to the hospital with your two friends to visit your teacher. While there, you notice that the entire hospital is abandoned. Upon further investigating, you then discover that what seems like Satanic rituals have been going on inside the hospitals basement area. You then come across a gentlemen in a wheel chair saying that he wanted to enjoy the end of the world in peace, and he gets ready to attack you with his demon. Right as he is about to kill you, your teacher arrives and negotiates with the man to let you live. She then takes you to the hospital roof, where she then begins to explain that not only does she know about what’s going on with the strange group, she wants you to watch from you position. Telling you to come find her once everything is over, you then watch as the entire world is destroyed in a giant maelstrom. You wake up to find that the entire world looks completely different, and have come to see that you have been transformed into something between human and demon. You must then use your strange newfound powers to find out exactly what has happened with the world while you convince demons to help you in exchange for favors. The gameplay is slightly similar to the older Shin Megami Tensei games, which seems to be the norm for any game that’s not in Persona or that doesn’t involve Raidou Kuzunoha. This game is actually pretty hard to find because
A)    The game had a very limited run
B)    The game’s become famous for being one of the hardest JRPG’s released last generation.

  The game definitely deserves its reputation as a hard game. The first boss alone requires you to be at level 8 or 9 while the game starts you at level 1-3 I believe. After getting ninja’d by some demons earlier on, I decided to stay near the healing room located in the basement area and just level up to the appropriate area. Spent the better part of an evening doing nothing but leveling up. This game really is fun; the atmosphere alone keeps you glued in, as does the music. The game also came with the included soundtrack, so once I get to listen to that I’ll talk about it.
  I’ve also been playing some Castlevania Judgement for the Wii, possibly one of the biggest kusoge on the system. For those who don’t know the premise, the game basically takes characters from the Castlevania series and puts them in a fighting game. The game includes characters like Simon and Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, Grant Danasty, Maria Renard, Alucard, Dracula, Death, and Shanoa. The Biggest complaint I have with this game is the art style. As opposed to getting Kojima Michiru to do the art, considering she’s been doing the art for the series since the beginning, they instead got, , the creator of Death Note. He couldn’t have given two shits about keeping true to the original series; he turned every single character in the game into a Deathnote character. This is especially bad considering I’ve grown an utter hate for the series due to it getting absolutely EVERYWHERE. Simon looks like Light in drag, Maria looks like Misa Misa with a gothic lolita look as opposed to simply gothic, Death looks like a Shinigami (hahahahahaha) and Grant looks like Rem. Another complaint is just the simple fact that each character’s story does nothing for them in the grand scheme of things. Simon’s story is him trying to fight the legendary three warriors from his ancestry to prove that he’s worthy of being a Belmont and that he is strong on his own, not because of the Vampire Killer. Weird, considering that was his story IN THE FIRST FUCKING CASTLEVANIA GAME! The one problem that was most criticized upon the game’s release was the controls. The game uses the Wiimote, and the players slashes across the screen for attacks while using the nunchuck to dodge and block. The game is extremely erratic with its recognition of what you are doing, whether it’s the aforementioned two or anything else. However, as a friend recommended, you simply have to use a Gamecube controller, at which point both actions are relegated to actual buttons. Why couldn’t they do that from the beginning? Once you do that though, the game becomes an actually playable piece of shit as opposed to that unplayable mess of shit. The game by itself is definitely nothing special, and plays pretty badly. From what I’ve seen, there’s no real combo’s in the game, and the specials can get ridiculously hard to connect with because they apparently can’t be done mid-combo. Thus if you want to connect with them you have to wait until your opponent whiffs an attack and pray that the game doesn’t fuck up and you connect. Not a good way to do them at all.
Also played Castlevania Lords of Shadows. Quite frankly, I hate this game. Don’t like it at all. My main reason for hating this game is because it doesn’t feel like a Castlevania game at all. Its not even just the story. If you are playing the game, or have seen videos of it, look when Gabriel is doing combos. Don’t the combo’s look very familiar? Maybe his werewolf like grunting sounds familiar? It’s because this game is a complete clone of God of War and Dante’s Inferno. Everything from the game play and the combo’s to the main character and the stages, everything screams God of War and Dante’s Inferno. It retains nothing of Castlevania’s charm and style. Will probably not finish this, as I can’t see the point of playing any game I don’t like to completion. If you’re a fan of Castlevania at all, ignore this game completely. If you like generic action games that look cool but have no depth other than pressing buttons in a certain order, than maybe this game will sit right next to God of War on your shelf. 
  Also started playing one of the newest big hit ps3 games, Alteir Rorona. For those who don’t know, the game is the newest entry in the Alteir series from the ps2. The game primarily consists of the use of alchemy, like other games in the series. The story revolves around a young alchemist apprentice named Rorona and her teacher. After running their alchemic factory for quite a while, they receive a letter from the king saying that if they cannot complete the task assigned to them and raise the reputation of the shop, then they shall be immediately closed. Its now up to Rorona to keep the shop open and make the shop the most popular alchemy shop in the world. The game is very unique in that it focuses more on item gathering and item synthesis than on fighting monsters out on the field, and has some visual novel style game play to it as you interact with the various characters. The game can actually get pretty addicting despite how it sounds. Also bought the newest Ar Tonelico game that came out on the ps3. Haven’t played it yet, but I’ll post about it when I do.
  Another game that I’ve been playing is Yakuza 4. After Joe was telling me so many things about this game, I decided to give it a try. I am completely surprised to say that, contrary to my original opinion, this game is actually really good! The story is surprisingly engaging, and the characters all have their own little quirks that make them all interesting. Kiryuu is still the man. After playing this game though, I can completely see why Sega never made Shenmue 3; they remade it with a Yakuza theme, made Ryo much more bad ass, took out the phoenix mirror, and renamed the series Yakuza. Seriously, how can you not notice the similarities? Right now in the game I’ve pretty much just started playing as Taiga, and am trying to find out what happened with my old family and why they decided to betray me the way they did. Still, you have to admit that he was a bad ass when he murdered damn near that entire other family just walking in. Him having to go jail for nothing was not cool though.
  I also decided to start renting games from Gamefly. This way I can save some amount of money by renting games that I don’t all together care about or that are really hard to find. The first two games that I have coming in are Dead Space 2 and Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1, since Joe recently bought 2. I have been extremely afraid to play Dead Space 2 though. I’m horrible with horror games. Funny thing is I actually like horror movies, but I think maybe because it’s a game and I’m much more involved with the goings on, the game just frightens me all that much more. For those few people who don’t know what this game is about, I’ll tell you now.
  After completely using up the Earth’s resources, humans have taken to space and have resorted to soaking up other world’s resources in order to keep going. One of these pillagers crafts called Ravagers, is the U.S.S. Ishimura, which is on it’s way to pillage a dead world known as Aegis 7. On the planet the crew find a strange alien device known as the Marker. While taking the relic aboard thinking they have found the first evidence of alien life, the Marker immediately begins to have an effect on the people aboard the ship. The living go completely insane and murderous, and the dead then transform into horrible abominations called the Necromorphs, who begin to mutilate and brutally murder the living. It’s not long before the entire ship is completely overrun. Then, in the first game, you take control of an engineer named Isaac Clarke who is going aboard the Ishimura to try to find out what is going on. Isaac isn’t going for just the mission, however; his girlfriend is aboard the ship. After making his way through the first game, Isaac wakes up to find that he has been taken in by scientists doing experiments on exactly why this is happened, and finds that he has caught dementia, a side effect of prolonged exposure to the Marker, and may be just as crazy as the people aboard the ship. Not too long after he is rescued, the ship he is aboard is attacked and overrun by the Necromorphs. Isaac must now find out what is going on with the Marker and his own head. While I’m sure the game is fun for some people, I don’t like it so far simply because this game is scaring the shit out of me. The last scary game I really played was Doom 3 on the Xbox. While that game was equally scary, it was not so bad because when you were playing the game you had tons of weapons on you to save you. Sometimes depending on what weapons you have, you can just charge through the hoards guns blazing. Sometimes you’re scared but sometimes you just feel overpowered. With this game though for more than half the game you’re severely overpowered to do anything, and all the enemies can kill you easily. This creates the feeling of tension and fear that the game is known for because you’re constantly a few steps away from death. I’ve actually been running away from playing the game because the game really does scare the shit out of me. Will try to keep playing through this game, but I don’t know if I’m going to have the courage for it…
Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2 are games that I really wanted to jump on when they first came out, but didn’t have the money for then. Wish I did; they probably would have been worth a lot of money now. 2 is owned by Joe and the first game is from Gamefly. The game basically takes place in a post apocalyptic world in which the last of the human race has split into 12 tribes that each fighting each other to gain entrance into a heaven like place called Nirvana. You play as the main character of one tribe who, during a battle with another tribe, encounter a tremendous light, then a young girl. After this flash of light, the main character and some of his tribe members have found that they can now transform into demons, who feed on humans. The only one who can somehow control these demons thru a song is the young girl who came with the light. Your goal thus is to fight the other tribes to get yours into nirvana. The game is a departure from the rest of the Megaten games mostly because you don’t actually collect demons or have conversations with them; you don’t even collect any! Since you’re characters themselves are the demons, they never actually change their forms and you never get any demons besides the party members, which I could imagine would piss off longtime fans of the series. So far I’m having fun with the game; its stylish and the battle system reminds me a lot of final Fantasy X, which is always a good thing.
  Along with Dead Space 2, I also started playing Dead Space Extraction, a light-gun game that was released on the Nintendo Wii. The game plays mostly like every other light gun game you have ever played, except the Necromorphs are a lot faster than your typical zombies or random soldiers. Overall a lot of fun, but I really need to get the Wii zapper for this game.
  I’ve also been on a bit of a Godzilla rampage this past month. Something about seeing a copy of Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S on Ebay for like 5 bucks must’ve done it. Among the films that I ordered:
Godzilla Tokyo S.O.S.
Godzilla Final Wars
Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (the original)
Godzilla 2000
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-out Attack
Ghidorah the three-headed monster
And also with non-Godzilla related movies Shaun of the Dead and the 40-year Old Virgin.
  Godzilla has and always will be apart of my childhood. I think its part of what led me to gaining such a love for Asian culture in general. I remember how many times I would check every channel on Sundays just to see when the Godzilla all day marathon would come on, and I would sit their every single day doing nothing but watching the Godzilla movies, just because it was so rare for them to ever come on. That was pretty much the only way to ever watch a Godzilla movie unless you raided a movie store and just got really really lucky. Back then, Godzilla movies, and foreign movies in general, were extremely hard to come by just because the countries had no real idea that there was even a market for those types of films here. Keep in mind this was before Poke’mon came out and America all of a sudden became Japan-crazy. I think Godzilla, The Terminator, Robo-Cop, the X-men, the Nintendo Gameboy, Poke’mon, and Beast Wars pretty much defined my entire childhood completely, so this is a really nice feeling for me.
  Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla the original was pretty much my favorite Godzilla movie ever, not only because it was the first Godzilla movie I ever had on tape, but also because I think it was the most violent. In the movie Angirus gets his jaw ripped off by Mecha Godzilla and Godzilla gets his jugular sliced open. Considering the most violent thing that happens in a typical Godzilla movie is that someone gets slammed or someone blows up, it’s like going from Battlebots to Robo-Cop. Also the movie had some interesting, if not completely inappropriate, music. Not to mention, like almost every review you’ll read online, the movie is extremely colorful.
  Anyway, out of all the movies, I would have to say that Godzilla: Final Wars is definitely the best movie out of all the ones I bought. The plot of this one quite frankly is just insane so I’m not even going to bother explaining it, but let me just tell you the important shit: Monsters all over the world begin to attack. The American Godzilla attacks Australia, Rodan attacks NYC, Angirus attacks Shanghai, and King Shisa, in a cruel bit of irony, attacks Okinawa, among others. As a last ditch resort to stop both the monsters attacking and the aliens trying to take over the world, the Japanese government release Godzilla from underneath the mountain he was under, and he begins to run roughshod over every monster in his path. And I mean, every monster in his path. He even kills the American Godzilla in a span of all but 2 minutes. The movie is nothing but a rollicking good time that features everything you love to see in a good Godzilla movie: tons and tons of monsters fighting. It even features the humans fighting in some decently choreographed martial arts sequences. Not to mention that Don Frye, a.k.a Mike fucking Haggar, is in this movie truly kicking some ass. Interestingly enough, he speaks English throughout the entire movie, while everyone else not only speaks Japanese, but speaks to him in Japanese only and yet everyone understands each other. I mean sure it’s just like my house when my family comes over, but there’s a heck of a difference when the people involved aren’t of the same race. But seriously, if I was ever able to make the Final Fight live action that I had been planning in my head for the past year or two, Don Frye is definitely who I’d cast as Mike Haggar. He looks just like a slimmer version of the character, not to mention he’s a total bad ass.
  EB Games also did a buy two get 1 free deal again, so I picked up a couple games. I picked two of the Godzilla games that were released on the Gamecube and PS2, which aren’t that bad for Kusoge. Also picked up Oneechanbara Revolutions on the Wii, with Valkyrie Profile 2, Resident Evil 5 and Bioshock. Then, on a trip to Book-Off in Time’s Sqaure, I also picked up the Japanese copies of Shinobi, Kunoichi, Dead or Alive 2, Ridge Racer 5, Shikigami no Shiro 3 for the Wii, and Super Street Fighter 2 on the Sega Genises. Considering the most expensive game on that list was Shikigami no Shiro at $20, I think it was a great purchase.
  The Oneechanbara, for those who don’t know, are considered to be 2 of the very best Kusoge that have been released in quite a while. Both have a rather unique concept wrapped a rather non-unique concept: Samurai Girls in bikini’s and saira fuku battle against zombies. Strange concept, huh? What I find unique about it is that unlike most zombie apocalypse films, this doesn’t take place before or during the apocalypse; it takes place years after the apocalypse has already happened. The entire human race has near gone completely extinct, except for a few stragglers and people capable of fighting the creatures off. Just about the only people capable of killing the creatures are those with the Imichi blood, or Bane’s blood in English, an ancient clan of warriors dating back to the Sengoku period. However, this blood also curses them with an extreme blood rage that triggers when too much blood gets on their bodies, causing them to go berserk and go into a frenzy of murder. The other part of the plot involves an evil witch named Himeko who is trying to collect Aya and Saki’s blood to use for her immortality rituals. While the plot at many times becomes completely throw away, the game play itself actually becomes quite good in that monotonous, button masher sort of way. Being someone who likes Beat ‘em ups like Streets of Rage, Final Fight and Golden Axe, I found it enjoyable. And as someone who enjoys Kusoge like Final Fight: Streetwise, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, and Cheetamen, I also found it more enjoyable than I really thought it would end up being. And as someone who enjoys boobs, samurais, and bikini’s, I found it even more awesome. What can I say? Maybe it’s the red-blooded American in me?
  Resident Evil 5 is meh. I personally have hated Resident Evil 4 and 5 for more than a couple years now. Why? I find them to be amazingly shitty. They took one of my most favorite horror series ever, and turned it into a generic horror house action game, with enemies popping out just to make you jump and scream like a little girl. It also is heavily based on American tastes, with Leon suddenly transforming from a whiny, bishounen bitch-cop into Clint fuckin Eastwood, and Chris going from a meh not-very-remarkable character, into Arnold fuckin Shwarzenneger who can punch fucking boulders. Seriously the games have turned fucking stupid with all this Manjini and Las Plagas bullshit. Not to mention that this early in the storyline they killed my favorite character in the game, Albert Wesker. Seriously guys? This early into the series, and you kill the best villain you have? What the hell is the matter with you, Capcom? And yeah you might think that the series is not very early in, but remember, its only 5. Anyway, I’ve been playing co-op with Joe in this game, and it’s only slightly more fun when you’re drunk than when you’re sober. I don’t know, maybe its because I’m less cynical when I’m drunk, but it’s like when I’m drunk, everything’s all, “ooooh, explosions are cool!” I guess.
Bioshock is an interesting game I guess. Like I’ve said before on the blog, I really don’t like to play games that end up being ridiculously popular because they tend to never live up to my expectations. Bioshock happens to be one of those games that’s dumb popular, but hey, I loved Elder Scrolls Oblivion, right? Bioshock is an odd beast; I could best describe as something similar to Psy-Ops or The Force Unleashed. Its one of those type of games where you have your main weapons ( Bioshock: guns and wrenches, Psy-Ops: guns and Force Unleashed: Lightsabers), which are completely outshone by a sub weapon that the developers have obviously put way more effort in and want you to use more (Bioshock: Plasmids, Psy-Ops: Telekinesis, Force Unleashed: The Force). The plasmids in the game are more similar to Telekinesis than anything, with some of them including things like Pyrokinesis, Telekinesis, and other such little goodies. While the underwater setting is unique and interesting, I don’t sense the atmosphere that fans have continually said is so amazing. And I hate fighting the Big Daddies oh my god I hate fighting the Big Daddies. They are the worst.
  The Japanese copies of Shinobi, Kunoichi, and Dead or Alive 2 were really just purchases I made for the sake of I could. I have the English versions of all three games, but the Japanese versions were only 5 dollars each, so it’s not like it killed me. Shinobi and Kunoichi are two of what I consider to be the best action games ever released on the ps2 in its history, as well as two of the most underrated games for the system, being completely outshined by Ninja Gaiden. Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore, while not being the best version of the game (that’s definitely Ultimate on the Xbox) I found the game to be a rollicking good time, and one of the best fighters for the system.
  Shikigami no Shiro 3 is quite the interesting game, and definetly a fine shmup from what I’ve played. You might have heard of it as Castle of Shikigami 3 in America, where all of the Japanese voice acting was removed for American voices. Considering the Japanese voice acting is also pretty bad, I don’t even want to think how bad the English voice acting is. The game sports a large cast of characters with varying bullets, and the story, (from what I understand), is nonsensical as ever. If you’re interested I can definitely recommend it.
  
Eegads, another long ass entry. I’m gonna go play Hokuto no Ken.

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