Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roses are red
And violets are blue
One day we’ll cruise down
Blood Gulch Avenue
It’s red versus red
And blue versus blue
It’s I against I
And me against you

Violets are blue, roses are red
Living like this we were already dead
Hop in my car
It don’t have any doors
It’s built like a cat
It lands on all fours
My car’s like a puma
It drives on all fours

Red versus red
Blue versus blue.

So yeah, if you can’t guess what my latest obsession is, I have pretty much been watching nothing but Red vs. blue lately.
I first discovered the series back in high school, when watching the making of Halo 2 dvd, where they included interviews from the Red vs Blue crew. Joe later on bought the season 2 dvd from Gamestop and lent it to me. I ended up watching the dvd so much that after a while I could literally recite the entire dvd from begigning to end, which Joe would often have me do for entertainment. Then the dvd broke, I forgot about the series almost completely, and lost that cool ability.
Then my friend Neo downloaded the entire series and I got to watch the first hundred episodes. That series never stopped being funny. I think part of the series classicness comes from all the amazing lines in the show that end up becoming gold. You can mention any remote random line from the series, and when the fans hear it they all just smile. Like:
“No I can’t cuz Church is an ass and Tex doesn’t trust me right now”.
“Really? Why not?”
“Eh, cuz I finally got the sniper rifle and ended up unloading a round into her ass”.
“Hey chika bum bum”
“Caboose! What’d I tell you about that?!”
“Sorry, Sorry”
or
“ Hey Doc, nobody likes you”.
Or even:
“Man, that guy is such a jerk! If he ever talks to me like that again I’m gonna tell him he can straight to H E double hockey sticks…no, I shouldn’t say that…its not very nice –“
“If I ever see him, I’m taking his eyes as souveniers!”
“Woah! That doesn’t sound like me…I must be stressed out…Time for Yoga!”
Hell, if you want to be classic about it:
“Are you following this so far, Caboose?”
“I think so…That guy Tex, is really a robot, and he was your boyfriend, so that makes you….a gay robot”
“Yes…that’s right…I’m a gay robot”
Are you smiling yet? Hell I’m just typing this and I have a stupid grin on my face.

The series lives of off its oddball comedy and crazed and retarded characters. For those who haven’t heard of this amazing series (I’m assuming you live under a rock) The series is about two teams in the UNSC named the Red and Blue teams respectively who have orders from command to fight each other and take each teams respective flag. The problem is both teams are completely inept in their jobs and are all around morons. The blue team is composed of Church, the inept egotistical leader who was turned into a ghost once bombed by his own tank at the end of season 1, Tucker, who’s probably the only black guy on the show as well as the only person that can wield a sword, Caboose, The completely inept, dimwitted and idotic of possibly both teams. Red team is lead by Sarge, a man who, in his own words, “loves blood and violence, has a boner for murder, and only drinks the blood of his enemies….and on a occasion a strawberry YooHoo”. The other members include Simmons, Sarge’s second in command and general ass kisser who may be gunning for his position, Griff, the laziest member of the force and general wise-cracker, and Donut, the only other person on both teams who’s actually able to compete with Caboose for stupidest soldier. Other characters include Lopez El Pesado, the robot the red team had originally built, then sold to the red team, then went off on his own, Doc, the only pacifist in the army, Tex, a freelancer who kicks more ass than both teams together and Church’s ex, as well as O’Malley, an evil A.I bent on taking over the world. The kind of antics these characters get into is just hysterical, from blowing up the planet and putting earth in a time warp, to having a baby with an alien, to stopping a government conspiracy.
  The series started quite a number of years ago, before the release of halo 2, back when Halo 1 was the most popular game around. A group of guys, then not even named Rooster Teeth yet, decided to get together and fool around with the game, and got the bright idea to make a small TV show within the game, exploring just what do the Spartans of the game do when they have nothing to do and the game is off. Hilarity thus ensues. Everything from questioning the meaning of the war to discussing zombie survival plans occurs as this general clan of slacker soldiers go about their every day lives in the barren wasteland of blood gulch. The guy sover at Rooster Teeth became famous pioneers of a then little known genre of moviemaking called Machinima, or using a video game to make small little movies. The creators of Red vs Blue did this by using a group of system-linked Xbox’s and starting a multiplayer game together, at which point one player would be the dedicated cameraman, shooting the movie from his point of view, and  If you’ve never actually seen Red vs Blue, please, watch it. Even if you aren’t a fan of Halo, it’s still a rollicking good time.
Other than that, I’ve also been playing Persona 3 Portable a little bit more, because I took a huge extended break from that game. I’ve just added Fuka to my party which thus allows me to use Mitsuru in battle, and I am happy. She’s one of my most favorite characters in the game. My other would probably be Aigis, just because she’s so cute once she gains human traits, especially at the ending. Not to mention that she happens to be one of the most useful characters in the game in my opinion. While I did beat the first game, I didn’t do much of the post game content, like the secret battle against Elizabeth, or the special extra dungeon where you play only by yourself, or completing the Persona compendium, and lots of the other little goodies thrown in there. The game actually does have quite a large amount of things to do post-game; hell I didn’t even mention the hard and maniac difficulties. Persona 3 FES was my third most favorite RPG of all time, but I can safely say that its PSP port really does blow it out of the water. While the PSP did lose out on the anime cutscenes and the in game cutscenes, as well as The Answer from FES, it did gain the controllable party members from Persona 4, a couple new Persona’s, new music, an all new female protagonist, new social links, a streamlined visual novel-like game system, and other such things that just make it worth playing again even if you did play the other two versions of it. Best part is that like FES, the game is sold on a budget price, and you can choose to download the game off of PSN, or buy the actual UMD disc, for those who’d rather not go out or those who like to have the actual disc in their hands (like me)
I’ve also been playing Monster Hunter Portable 3 with the English Patch. Quite frankly the game is amazing, just like every other game in the series. While the new Asian theme was a bit jarring at first, the game is still boatloads of fun. Interestingly, I’ve done quite a few quests already, yet have still to run into a wall. In the last game, Freedom Unite, I ran into my first wall quite early and it took me I think at least a month of on and off playing before I finally surpassed it. I still think it might be because im at the early stages, but we’ll see what happens.
In anime, I’m watching an anime Joe has been trying to get me to watch for the past few months lately: Queen’s Blade. Queen’s Blade was originally a series of battlebooks released in Japan. Battlebooks was something like a dnd hybrid that focused purely on combat, players would obtain a battlebook and play as the character listed on the book, and would declare attacks and turn the pages to wherever the book told them too to reflect damage or battle position changes. The player who reduced the others HP to zero would be the winner. This series focused on a tournament held exclusively by women for who would become the queen of the land, as a way of avoiding war. And obviously since this is coming from Japan, the battlebooks tend to focus very exclusively on providing large amounts of fanservice for each of the girls in the series. Part of the reason the battlebooks achieved such popularity in Japan was because certain characters would have their art done by various famous doujin artists, transforming them into a collector’s item, a game hobbyist item, and, well, fap material. Anyway, certain characters are actually figured into the story, like Reina, Listy and Tomoe, and others are on loan from various fighting games and anime, like Lili from Tekken 6, Mai Shiranui from King of Fighters, and Iroha from Samurai Spirits. The series became popular enough to also have two animes, three manga’s, an OVA, a PSP game, as well as quite a number of figures based on the characters in the series. Out of all the characters in the anime, I would definitely say my favorite’s would be Tomoe, Nyx and Claudette. Tomoe is a miko priestess who’s basically fighting to return her land of Hinomoto (an alternate reading of Nihon, the Japanese name of Japan) back to the power it used to be, and Nyx is a maid who used to work for Reina and her Claudette who was possessed by an evil staff. Claudette is the oldest sister of Reina, but since she is illegitimate daughter of their father the king, she is not next in line to take the throne. She is considered by far, however, to be the strongest contestant in the tournament, and after seeing her fight in the anime, I wholeheartedly believe it. This girl literally tears through the other girls like nothing, especially with that fucking sword she has, Thunder Clap, that lets her control lightning. Overall, while the anime is almost nothing but complete cheesecake, it is enjoyable, funny and has some interesting fights; think of it as something like Ikki Tousen, only with more variety between the actual characters and the fighting styles that are represented. Just to let you all know though; if you can’t stand animes with fanservice, stay clear. This series has fanservice up the ass, and may put you off.
I also recently got the Japanese version of Persona 2: Innocent Sin, or Persona 2:Tsumi, for the PSP. It’s a remake of the second game in the franchise that was originally released for the PS1 during the 90’s, and was remade in the same vein as the Persona 1 remake that hit the PSP a couple years ago. The game had been completely redone with an all new translation and English dub, which was thankfully a hundred times better than the original terrible dub and translation that the ps1 game was given. Also, the character Mark, who was a kid done in Black Face and with a terrible New York accent, was changed back into his original Japanese persona, and the efforts to make the game obviously not Japanese in the original were thankfully taken in favor of keeping the game what it is: obviously Japanese. The game also includes new Persona, and features the original Persona mechanic of having you negotiate with the Persona to try to get them on your side. This was done in the old Shin Megami Tensei games since you always fought demons. The original gameplay mechanic in the series was having to fight with demons and negotiate with them to join your cause, unlike the newer games in the series, Persona 3 and 4, in which instead of fighting against demons, your fighting against Shadows. Thus, it makes sense why they had removed the demon negotiations, since you’re not fighting against the demons to recruit them; it’s simply to kill them. Persona 2, like all the other persona games, starts with a rumor: It is said that if you call your own phone number, a mysterious man named Joker will answer and grant you a wish at the cost of your soul. After some of the main characters try this, they are shocked to discover that the rumor is true, and the Joker is apparently angry at the main character and another female lead, saying that they had done something to him a long time ago and was intent on getting his revenge. The main characters thus must journey to discover why they’ve been targeted by this Joker character and why they’ve been given the myseterious power of persona. There are 2 different versions of Persona 2, both of which were released on the ps1 in the 90’s, called Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment. Eternal Punishment was never released in the United States, but was given an extensive English patch to be used with modded PS1’s and PS1 emulators like PSEMU. I had originally played through the beginning of the game with the second option about 2 years ago, but gave up not too long into it due it just not being the same playing it on my computer as opposed to playing it on my TV or PSP. I could’ve converted the game into an EBOOT readable with my CFW PSP, but meh; I knew I wouldn’t play it since I converted my copy of Final Fantasy 7 into an EBOOT, and would be more busy with that. Not to mention I converted Final Fantasy 6 and Duodecim also.
  Duodecim more than anything is the game I’ve spending more time with. I just completed Lightning’s second story and have begun playing as Kain. Here’s my opinion on the new characters:

Lightning:

The Ryu of the game, which I think is appropriate. She’s easy enough that new players aren’t going to have a hard time playing as her, which is good because most new players gravitate toward her anyway, but she has enough to offer vets so she doesn’t become boring. A lot of her moves have no startup and deal nice chunks of bravery and HP damage, but she’s nothing on the likes of bravery suckers like Squall or Jecht. Her default charging HP move is a great beginner style move: fast, hardhitting and looks like it hurts, but if its dodged your fucked. Overall, I think she’s probably the easiest of the new characters to play as.
Storyline-wise, Lightning is mainly competing against Warrior of Light for the role of the leader of the side of Cosmos. Just like she was in 13, Lightning is pretty much….well…a bitch. A complete total frost bitch. Yeah she’s really serious, a great fighter, and cares mostly about winning the battle, but she is extremely distrustful of just about everybody, and god help you if you do anything close to betraying her. It doesn’t matter how much she liked you before, she will fucking kill you if you betray her. In Duodecim, they are basically showing the 12th war, the war before the first game. This thus means that all the new characters did not make it to the next war because, as later revealed, they were not dedicated enough to the war and not dedicated to their side enough to warrant it. The characters must be wholly dedicated to their side in order to make it to the next cycle. I believe Lightning didn’t make it because as is shown, she does not like following orders. Weird for a soldier, but she’s been proven that she does not like having higher beings push her around. Remember, its been shown since her original game: if she doesn’t like you, she will not be afraid to take you down; she has fought gods because they pissed her off. She’s like the ultimate girl on PMS for god’s sake.

Yuna:

Yuna has some interesting combos. Have to admit, I was a little peeved they used FFX summoner Yuna as opposed to FFX-2 gunner Yuna, and honestly wondered how they were going to make the gameplay considering she had to summon all her aeons. I then come to find out she only summons them when attacking, and its only portions of them, thus, the aeons are her attacks. Have to admit, I found that cool as fuck. She has a lot of attacks that push the enemy away, perfect since she is a midrange character, who’s main weapon once the enemy gets too close is bravery attacks. Overall, I wasn’t very interested in playing her, but she might become a new Alt for me.
Storyline-wise, her main focus was on finding her boyfriend Tidus, who happens to be on the side of Chaos with amnesia due to the machinations of her rival, the Emperor. I believe that’s why she didn’t make it; she was more concerned with finding Tidus than the war. Understandable, but its thus also understandable why you didn’t make it. Her story is pretty fleshed out, and she is shown to be in that phase between X and X-2 where she is finally starting to be more independent. Still as cute as ever.
Laguna:
The man with the golden gun, Laguna is totally out of place in this game with swords and magic, and fights with rifles, machine guns, and rocket launchers (oh my!). When I first played as him I was slightly confused on his gameplay style, since he is a slightly more run-and-gun style, and needs to maintain a certain range. His storymode involved him fighting Cloud of Darkness, which had to be one of the most annoying fights I’ve had in Dissidia since fighting Jecht with Tidus.
Storyline Laguna is without a doubt the comic relief. He’s a quite literal butt-monkey of the game. Its like he’s the Doc of Dudoecim (for anyone having watched Red vs Blue). Being Griff, I’m half tempted to say “Hey Doc, nobody likes you” whenever he’s onscreen. I think he didn’t make it past this war because he quite literally doesn’t care about the war; the guy even admits it himself. And you expect him to continue? Next.

Kain:
What might be one of the most angry characters in this game since the Warrior of Light. This guy is a monster in the right hands, particularly with his Jump attack. Worst part is he’s the only character in the game (to my knowledge) who can actually direct where his opponents go during a chase, something he really take advantage of. I know a lot of people are going to jump on him once they want to get past using Lightning.
Storyline…..Kain is almost like background. Before all the characters on the Cosmos side he finds out that the war is literally a never ending cycle their all doomed to repeat.

Tifa:
Finally they put my favorite Final Fantasy character ever in a fighting game. Tifa’s main mechanic is her feints, in which pressing the jump button at certain points in her attacks will cause her to either dash in back of the opponent if she’s close enough, or dash forward should she be too far. While it is admittedly hard to get the proper timing for doing it, she can actually use her feints as a way to dodge enemy attacks as well as trick the opponent to come into your range. She has amazing movement speed, a great jump but she has really bad range and isn’t all together too strong. She’s just like she is in FF7; a good character with a pretty face who never becomes too strong or too good, but is good enough that you won’t neglect and cool enough that you will want to use her again and again. Her main problem in the game is that so many other characters can just zone her with spells (The Emperor, Tina, Cloud of Darkness, Ultamecia, Kuja, Sephiroth) and other characters cant keep her out as well as those, but are still capable (The majority of the entire cast).
Storyline-wise, I’m actually playing through her story now, and its funny because I already have an idea of where the story is going to go: Tifa didn’t make the cut because she didn’t care about the war; all she cared about was finding Cloud and rescuing her friends. Her first part all she can talk about is trying to find Lightning and the friends. Pretty sure that’s how everything is going to go. That’s always been part of her character; she’s the motherly type who cares more about other people than herself.
Duodecim’s storyline is actually a lot better than the first game’s was by far. The first game pretty much played out like a bad fanfic, with the whole storyline about a reaccuring war, two gods duking it out, and all the warriors being caught in the middle basically. The storyline in the first part played out in a dumb way, being divided into 2 parts: the first part was the characters gaining their crystals and gaining the will to fight. The second part is actually how the 13th war played out. The whole first part of the game was absoulutely terrible; you had your character go through boards where they moved around and fought the ever-present maniquains, soulless enemies who take the form of the one of the main characters over and over and over, until you fought the main characters respective villain. At this point in a cutscene each of the warriors of Cosmos had an epiphany about themselves, which eventually allowed the characters to gain their crystals. What’s stupid was that the epiphany’s the characters have are basically the same epiphanys they all had in their respective games. Cloud decides that since he failed to save Tifa in the last cycle, he’s still going to try to protect everyone he cares about. Isn’t that the same fucking conclusion he came to in FF7 and Advent Children. I swear Cloud; for some who’s so popular you sure do have serious bouts of depression. Squall stays the asshole he’s always been. Hehe, I just thought about that. You want to have the most silent and depressing characters group together for a story? Have Cloud, Squall and Lightning together for a while. Sadly enough, that would probably be the three main characters that would kick the most ass.
Now as I’m sure most people have noticed by now, the side of Cosmos had a huge increase in its members in this game, which it did not have before. Thus, I’m hoping that for the next game, they add more villains. I seriously wanted Seifer in this game. He would have been awesome. Another villain I would want in this game is probably Garland from Final Fantasy 9. I could understand why they didn’t, since there’s always been that theory that Garland from 9 might be the same Garland from 1, but hey, maybe they could confirm it isn’t with this one. Oh well. When you think about it, a lot of the villains in most Final Fantasies weren’t really that memorable except for the main ones that were already in the game. A little conundrum I guess. For heroes they got most of the ones that I actually cared about, except for maybe Wakka from 10, Vincent from 7, Rinoa from 8, Steiner from 9, and I know Shadow from 6 is really popular.
Another game I’ve been playing is Knights in the Nightmare for the psp. I have the original game for the Nintendo DS, but admittably I got completely confused as to how to play the game. After trying to convince Joe to play it for the longest time, I finally got him to play it. All it took was one day before he finally quit altogether. I asked him to show me how he plays the game so that I could see what he was doing wrong, and I figured out how to play the game from there. Now I can actually enjoy the game for what its worth: one of the most original SRPG’s released this past decade. The game is a combination of the SRPG genre and the shmup genre in a interesting twist. During combat, your characters have no option to move, but honestly they don’t need it. Most weapons, when fully charged and using skills, are capable of attacking all the way from across the screen. Enemy attacks come in the form of bullets that spew from the enemies like shmup patterns. If hit by this, you’re character, the king of a falling kingdom who was killed and now exists as a wisp that commands your units, will lose health and experience. If you’re health goes down to zero, its game over. Turns go by slowly, with one turn being capable of taking 5 minutes. Every battle has a certain win condition that you must meet within the allotted time for victory. Enemies move freely in battle while you plan your attacks. They can attack you at any time, so part of the game also involves you dodging their bullet attacks while making strategies of your own. It creates a much more hectic and involved style of combat than what is featured in your average SRPG. The tradeoff however is that the game can get confusing as all hell if you’re like most players and just skip past the tutorials. If you’re going to play this, I highly suggest you go through the tutorials before you ever start the game. Too many people have skipped the tutorial, gotten confused about how to do anything, and quit the game calling it crap. Please don’t be one of those people.

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