Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons

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

Friday, August 5, 2011

  Recently bought a copy of Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions. While I stopped being a fan of Spiderman due to his overexposure after the movies, I heard a lot of good things about this game. For those who don’t know, the game’s story involves Mysterio intending to steal an artifact known as the Tablet of Order and Chaos, from a museum when he is busted by Spiderman. During the battle Spiderman punches the tablet into pieces, and it turns out the artifact is in fact real, and destroying is throwing reality out of whack. Madam Web then contacts him and tells him he must gather all the pieces of the tablet before Spidermans villains use it for evil purposes, and he will have the help of Ultimate Spiderman, Spiderman Noir, and Spiderman 2099. You then play through assorted levels, each one taking place in one of the Spidermen worlds, and each with its own brand of gameplay. Spiderman Noir uses more stealth as he must stick to the shadows to regenerate health, Ultimate Spiderman focuses more on combat due to his use of the symbiote suit from Venom fame and its resulting rage powerup. Amazing Spiderman focuses on the stylish combat evident in that comic series, including transforming your web into weapons. Finally Spiderman 2099 focuses on using the special powers only he has, like his accelerated visions or gliding capabilities, on top of the futuristic setting.
Quite frankly, I think this game is awesome. Its just pure unadulterated fun, with a great sense of humor behind it all. Spiderman, like in the comic books, is constantly making wisecracks throughout the level, from how Electro doesn’t wear pants to playing off of Madam Webb’s lame jokes. The game will keep you laughing indefinetly, especially if you used to watch the Spiderman animated cartoon from the 90’s. I especially like how Jim Cunnings comes back to voice Kraven. For those who don’t know, Jim Cunnings is famous for being one of the most prolific voice actors in the American cartoon industry, from doing Winnie the Pooh and Tigger to Scar in the Lion King, and even the Tasmanian Devil. He really helped make Kraven such a cool character in the cartoon, and he makes Kraven come alive in this game. Overall I’m having a lot of fun with this game, and will most likely play it all the way to completion.
  Another recent purchase is the Game of the Year edition of Borderlands. My friend Miguel introduced to me this game a while ago, and we both literally spent an entire day playing the game, taking my level one Siren to level 16. She’s level 19 now, and I finally managed to beat that first boss, the leader of the local bandit gangs. I’m still too low level to really take on the next mission, so I’m planning on doing a couple of other quests to level up. The game is fun in that sense that even though it offers near endless amounts of gameplay, its still well-suited for just quick bursts of gameplay. Problem with the game is that this is a game that survives on its co-op. I’ve been doing single-player due to no Xbox live, and its been slow going. Its not the difficulty either; the game uses a system in which the challenge is tied to the level of the quest as well as your current level, so mission don’t get challenging unless you’re like 5-8 levels below the recommended. Its slow going just because the game isn’t as fun if you’re only playing single-player; the game is basically nothing but fetchquests at that point. But if you play with another person, every quest becomes a memorable experience, especially if you work together to complete a quest in which the two of you have no business completing. Miguel and I had taken on this mission in which we had to kill two of these Skag leaders, one who could control lightning and one who could control fire. The mission was at least 7 or eight levels higher than us, but we were able to do it after we died like close to 20-30 times, maybe even more. We never gave up no matter how quickly or how many times they killed us, but man, did that feel good when we finally killed them both. Its those kind of moments that you just can’t make in a single-player game. While admittedly the RPG aspects are barely there, it’s a really fun time. Depending on how many people still play this game, this would be a game where I would consider getting xbox live for. Maybe even internet.
  For some reason, against my better judgement, I went and decided to buy Agarest Senki Zero, or as its known in America, The Record of Agarest War Zero. While I did buy the first game, I didn’t enjoy it too much. I wanted too. I really wanted too. But I didn’t. The game was too long. It took about 10 minutes for every regular battle in the game. You progressed through the game map by going to spaces, and those spaces inevitably had a battle. This thus means you’re spending more time having random battles than anything else in the game, and with the battle system in the game being so slow paced and uninteresting, it bogs the game down. Thus, I never really progressed past the first generation. Seeing as how this is an improved sequel, you figured they would improve the battle system. But no. They didn’t. Its exactly the same. What did they improve on? They added the feature they had from Trinity Universe and Hyperdimension Neptunia, and added moving portraits of their characters. Which look terrible due to the artists art style, which while awesome, does not work in motion. They only good thing (depending on how much you like the series) is that this game is only 2 generations as opposed to the first game’s five. What made me laugh though is how the first games generations all started the same way: main character is in the army, fights an enemy, enemy pwns the shit out of him, he dies and gets resurrected. When I played Zero, guess what? That’s exactly how Zero starts. These guys are so original they ripped off themselves. Typical. I wonder about Compile Hearts games sometimes, because I own almost all of them. Cross Edge, Trinity Universe, Agarest Senki one and zero, Hyperdimension Neptunia, most of their games that have been released in the US. While I really REALLY want to like the company, its hard too when they seem so content to just release rehashed trash instead of trying to make something original, or even trying to improve their shit at the very least. Half their games all feel the same, with characters I don’t even really like, unless they are guest characters, like Morrigan or Etna or Flonne. Anyway, yeah. Agarest Senki Zero doesn’t seem like its worth it yet. At all. Don’t know if I can play this until completion seeing as I didn’t so with the first game. Might also give up on the company’s games if the Neptunia sequel doesn’t amount to much. At this point all they’re games are pretty much kusoge.
  Also recently got Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force 1 on a deal. I played Tag Force 5 a lot before, but I always wanted to play 1 because I didn’t get to deal much with the GX series. The American dub of it is famously horrendous, and the Japanese series is very hard to find nowadays, unlike its sequel 5d’s. I actually really liked the characters in GX, like Asuka, Judai, and Rei. Yeah they weren’t nearly as good as say Jack Atlas, Yusei or Aki, but still, they were interesting characters who garnered my attention way more than anyone from fucking DM did. A lot of people say that DM was the best season of Yu-Gi-Oh. No. No it wasn’t. They’re letting they’re nostalgia get the better of them. DM had some of the worst characters in the series. Jounouchi, Honda, and Anzu were completely ineffectual in just about every single capacity, Mai completely failed on being any kind of character with any importance, and all of Yugi’s rivals completely failed not only of providing him any challenge but of having any sort of meaning or significance. The only character who mattered in the show is Kaiba, and even then all he really did was screw the rules ‘cause he had money. At least the characters in 5D’s were actually interesting, and even in GX the characters were more interesting if you watch the Japanese dub, due to all the things that happened in the Japanese dub, like the big reveal of who Judai really was. When the English dub was made they completely took out a lot of the shit that really happened originally, to the point where for a long time they removed the last season of the show, giving many viewers the impression that Judai had died until they finally brought the last season over here. Not to mention they completely skipped over season 3, resulting in tag force 3 never being ported here to the States since it was based on that whole missing season. Overall Yu-Gi-Oh gets fucked over here in the states, since 4kids continually tries to market a series meant for teens to adults, to kids. Wake up guys; its not like Yu-Gi-Oh is popular with kids anymore; all anyone does is play the card game anyway. Still trying to get somewhere in Tag Force though; until you get all the cards needed for your deck, the game is really slowgoing.
  Also got a copy of Spiderman Web of Shadows. This one is a recommendation from Neo, who liked this game a lot better than Shattered Dimensions, because it has his one favorite feature from every Spiderman game: Being able to websling around town. That shit alone is so much fun; it really makes you feel like you are Spiderman. Gameplay in the game is mostly sandbox, and is reminiscent of Spiderman 2, the movie based game on the original Xbox. You are free to choose to do whatever you want to do and the game only progresses by choosing the missions you can get from various in game characters. The story involves Venom trying to take over New York by sending his symbiotes all over and possessing people, even getting Marvel heroes like Wolverine and Luke Cage infected. Spiderman, who gets his black suit from the beginning of the adventure, can switch between the two on the fly, and must choose in some of the pivotal missions whether or not he wants to make good or bad choices. Making good choices allows him to resist the temptation of the black suit and get help from the Marvel superheros, like Wolverine, Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Moon Knight. Making evil choices means he succumbs to the powers of the black suit and has the help of the Marvel villains, like Vulture, Black Cat, and Rhino. While regular Spiderman focuses primarily on combos and stylish combat, Black suit Spiderman focuses on short attack strings which deal tremendous amounts of damage. You’re free to choose either suit for the missions, as it’s the choices you make that decide how you go about the story, whether you will be going along the evil route or whether you will be going down the good route. While I make most of the good decisions in the game whenever they come around, I am still more on the bad path because I chose Black Cat over Mary Jane the first time. I can’t help it; I think Black Cat is a far more interesting character than Mary Jane. You can also do small things to raise your evil or good meter, such as rescuing civilians or failing to rescue them, and breaking up gang wars and stopping Kingpin’s hitmen. The only thing you can’t do is outright evil things like killing police officers or civilians. I was stuck for quite a while on Venom until I started to realized I could glitch his patterns into repeating one over and over, which let me get through that hard ass stage. Now I’m just stuck on the boss immediately after: Electro. While creating electrical walls that will bounce you off if you hit them, he will be sending all kinds of electrical projectiles right at you, so I kept getting bounced off the walls into projectiles and onto the walls on the other side, repeating the process. I literally got turned into a Spiderman pinball. That was embarrassing. Felt like I was doing the Dr. Octopus boss battle from Spiderman 2.
  Also started playing Catherine over the weekend, and beat the game relatively over the course of one afternoon (4 hours on Friday, 2 hours on Saturday). I had played the game also when it came out in Japan months ago, but the game was way too hard, imfamously so, and I pretty much gave up out of frustration on the 2nd boss. The American version of the game includes the patch that was made later on which eased the games difficulty, including adding an easy mode. While Normal mode in the Japanese version felt more like it should’ve been Hard, the easy mode in the American version feels easy. I got gold all the way up to Stage 7 in my playthrough before the game started getting hard. While I totally predicted the final boss of the game from the first few hours of playthrough, the story still surprised me by just how mature it is. While there are a lot of games that deal with relationships as a focus, very few of them ever do it in a mature, life-like situations. Typically they are the backdrop for some greater conflict, or are given birth as a result of a greater conflict, ala Final Fantasy 8. Catherine however has everything take place around not just Vincent’s relationship problems, but around the relationship problems of all the main characters as well as the minor characters. Every part of Catherine asks the questions of why is marriage important or should a cheater be forgiven, all done in a very mature tone that speaks to those who have gone through similar situations. Every part of the game has some kind of metaphor that speaks to the overall theme of the game. Lots of people feel that the game was way too hard considering most will be playing for the story, never realizing that the difficulty speaks to the main message, in that the climb a man takes to adulthood, when he begins to take responsibility for his actions, is never easy and is always frustrating, a puzzle in itself as the man tries his best to understand women.
Anyway, enough gushing about it. From the beginning I automatically went for Catherine, because I though Katherine was way too much of a bitch. Catherine to me seemed not only more of a more interesting character, but a better match for Vincent anyway. Even the game says that Catherine is more his type than Katherine is. The only reason he really is going with Katherine is because she’s the safe bet since they’ve been dating so long, not to mention she was supposedly pregnant. It leads to a whole other theme of the game: Will you do what society views as right even at the cost of your own happiness, or will you do what you want to do, at the cost of being shunned by society? This is what leads to the games morality meter, which can barely even be called a morality meter. On both sides of the meter lie one side representing law and the other freedom. Unlike other games, you don’t get to choose Vincent’s decisions from a list at an important juncture, and the meter shifts. The meter shifts when you are asked seemingly unimportant questions by random people in the bar or in the nightmare world, and the meter will choose how Vincents reacts in certain scenes, as well as deciding your overall ending. It’s a unique system in that people who are used to this kind of thing will get their heads spun.
  Actual gameplay is the puzzle game that everybody knows. You are on a puzzle stage in which the bottom is constantly falling and you must push and pull blocks in order to make it to the top. It can be fast and frentic, especially when a stage involves traps. You’re encouraged to go through the stage fast in order to have high points at the end, in a sort of high score type motif that ends up being rather addictive. I’m actually considering trying to gold everything. Either way, I’m probably going to play this game until I get all the different endings, though I doubt any of them are going to top Catherine’s Freedom ending. Highly advise everyone to go for that one first because it was way too funny.
  Also been playing the Megaman Battle Network and Star Force series. I’ve heard a ton of good things about this series from Neo and Chico. Apparently the Battle Network series owned Jose and Neo all throughout high school, as I kept hearing stories of how they used to play this series to extreme heights. They were telling me about all the crazy boss battles that are hidden in that game, like one where you can fight the Colonel from Megaman X4. Apparently the character actually has a raging demon special. Crazy.
I’ve been playing a lot of games lately, so I’m going to this entry here for now, or I’m going to just end up typing nonstop. See you guys next time.