Rising from the dead for Christmas

Well, my deadlines are finally over, and that means I can actually update my blog again after a very stressful month. I’m not gonna lie though, there’s probably very little chance of me updating that much.

In terms of gaming, I haven’t actually had time to do much to be honest. I’ve only just had the opportunity this past week to catch up on all my gaming news, previews and reviews. Sitting down to read my GamesTM magazine was a bizarre thrill. After reading up on Bioshock Infinite and Dead Space 3 it’s safe to say I am incredibly excited about both of them. Even though Dead Space 3 is taking an entirely new route with the co-op, it still looks pretty damn terrifying. Bioshock Infinite excites me because the world is actually alive this time. From what i’ve seen and heard of Infinite, it looks as though we are going to be witnessing the rapid decline of Columbia, as opposed to walking into a wrecked city full of spliced up lunatics.

lizcomstock_ONLINE

Classic Bioshock, with a twist

I downloaded the demo for Ni No Kuni for PS3 the other day, but I’m a little bit disappointed to be honest. The demo has two sections to play, but both pretty much just entail boss battles. I was expecting more of an introduction to the story (especially since it was a 2.7GB download), but I’m still planning on getting the game when it comes out. A Ghilbi-animated game from Level-5? What isn’t to love?

A Ghibli JRPG? I'm sold

A Ghibli JRPG? I’m sold

I’ve been replaying Cafeteria Nipponica while I wait impatiently for a new translated Kairosoft game on Google Play, and about a week ago The Pyraplex became available. Of course I jumped on that as soon as I could and have played it twice already, the second time I played through it on the way to and from London to see the man. I’m still hoping, because I’m greedy, that there will be another one out in time for Christmas. Looking at the Japanese website just made me crave more Kairo goodness.

Not the best, but it passes the time

Not the best, but it passes the time

Anyway, it’s Christmas in a few days and I am excited, but also kind of not feeling like it’s that close. I have all my presents from family in my hometown under my little Christmas tree in my room, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s happening on Tuesday. Here’s to hoping there’s a few games hidden inside some of that shiny wrapping paper.

Expect the obligatory Christmas post with lots of pictures, and a merry Christmas to all my readers.

Ouya; My thoughts so far

I’m not going to lie; I have only just recently started to hear things about this Ouya console/whatever it is. At first I thought it was some bizarre console that an old company had dug up to try and get in on the console game. When I looked it up however, it revealed a Kickstarter project, wanting a $1 million donation from the community. I’ve seen a few of these projects pop up, but none wanting quite such a hefty amount of money. What’s even more impressive though, is that they have made nearly 6 times their goal amount, with 46,726 backers and $5,991,568 in the bank at the time of writing this. Of course this is no amateur project, but one with several industry professionals behind it, seeking to bring gaming back to the living room and away from mobile gaming. If you have read my blog before you will know of my love for mobile gaming (especially anything made by Kairosoft), but I do have to confess that I miss the simple gaming of yesteryear. Reading the pledge on the Ouya Kickstarter page really fills me with confidence that this could, and should, be a good console.

What interests me the most is that this console is going to be powered by Android. Now, I’m no expert on operating systems, and I am an Android user, but if that system is powerful enough to run a console then wow, I’m glad I’m on team Android. It’s nice to see Android power being used for a home console, and not for another mobile console that people will use for their commute and not much else. A new home console competitor on the market excites me. I’m an Xbox fan, and a PS3 owner, but it would be nice to see someone give Sony & Microsoft a run for their money for once, rather than just seeing them have a girly cat-fight with each other each time a new console from the opposition is announced.

Can this little box really compete in the industry?

Can this little box really compete in the industry?

However, I remain sceptical about the ‘free-to-play’ service. I get where they’re coming from, but this does just sound like the same old in-game purchases coming back to haunt us. Gamers want affordable, fun experiences, and the Ouya team aim to provide this; but at what cost? They say they are using the free-to-play model, but they have to make their money somehwere. The console itself is apparently only going to be $99 including the controller, cheaper than any handheld device out there. Couple this cheap market price with free-to-play game and there’s got to be a catch somewhere. I’m not saying the Ouya will fail due to this perhaps unpredictable plan for profit, I just think it needs to be careful about what it promises. I for one don’t just want a giant free-to-play game emblazoned across my TV screen, swarming with ads until I pay up front.  I also don’t want a game that I can play all the way through, but it takes me forever because I can’t defeat that final boss without forking out the extra cash for that shiny sword.

The controller looks currently flawed, but it's still early days

The controller looks currently flawed, but it’s still early days

I suppose I’m kind of excited and sceptical all at once. The specs look good from my point of view, and the freedom for anyone to go in and develop a game on it is brilliant, but also a little bit scary if it is not managed at all. The freedom to root the console is a bit strange, like the developers are inviting us to play around with what they have built, almost like they’re saying they didn’t finish it, but also it allows for excellent customisation for those who want it. In a way though, the Ouya does seem like the Xbox Market Place with its Indie games developers and trials of Arcade games. I won’t judge until the finished product arrives and I get to have a decent look at it, but for now, I am impressed with the Ouya and excited to see what it does for the world of gaming. How do you feel about the Ouya?

Image credit; http://www.facebook.com/ouyas

Classic VS Modern…FIGHT!

It’s been a week of classic and modern gaming for me, not just in my own personal gaming experiences, but also in the news. I’ve bought an old and a new game for a total of £7, and my two biggest news stories have involved a new game and a classic favourite of mine.

Lets start with my most recent purchases. Wild Arms is a PsOne Classic on the PSN that I snapped up for £3.99 earlier this week. Anyone who knows my love for JRPGs will appreciate why I just had to have this. I’m going to attempt to write a retro review of it when I’ve finished, but I’m only about 10 hours into it at the moment. Anyway, it’s a really good classic JRPG, and I remember my parents playing the Wild Arms series when I was much younger, so I never really dipped my toes into it. I’m glad I spent the money though as it gives a real sense of nostalgia and joy being able to play a sprite animated, turn based, “oh my God the world is ending!” style game for the first time in a while. The story isn’t really anything to write home about (yet), but it’s entertaining nonetheless to pass the time with.

Don't judge Wild Arms by its graphics alone

Don’t judge Wild Arms by its graphics alone

There is also a new Kairosoft game on the Android store which I discovered at 2AM on Wednesday morning. Needless to say, £2.99 and several hours later I was very tired, but it was so worth it. The latest sim-style gem from Kairosoft is called The Sushi Spinnery, and lets you take control of a new Sushi-belt restaurant. Yes it’s pretty much the same concept as every other Kairosoft game, but that’s not the point. They’re fun, they have different things to do in each one, and well, I just love sushi. Playing this game did make me want to go and make some sushi, so if sales of nori sheets and sushi rice suddenly increase over the next week or so I won’t be surprised.

Persona 4 Arena looks stylish and well thought out

Persona 4 Arena looks stylish and well thought out

Now we move onto the news that excited me;  Persona 4 Arena on X360 and PS3. Of course I’ve known about the game for a while, but new videos have surfaced, and it looks amazing. I’m a massive fan of the Persona series, but I was a little scepitcal about this when it was first announced, but I have to say it’s looking pretty awesome now. I love that they have included characters from Persona 3, and watching some of the videos from it the battle system looks completely insane. It’s oh so Japanese, and that makes it even better. Aigis suddenly pulling giant guns out of nowhere, and Mitsuru casting Mabufu on an unsuspecting enemy. I need this in my life.

On a final note, there has been something in gaming news that doesn’t so much excite me, but I do have my own thoughts on it; Final Fantasy VII re release on PC. Now, everyone knows I love Final Fantasy VII more than any other game on the planet, but I’ve always been dead set against any sort of remake of it. I was even a little iffy about Advent Children because of it clearly having voice acting int it, but they pulled it off quite well. This PC re release isn’t a remake though, it’s exactly what it says on the tin; a straight re release of a game that’s already available on PC. Admittedly the original is probably not able to run on current Windows systems, but it still seems kind of pointless to me. I still have my original PSOne copy from 1997, and if I really wanted to I could download it onto my PS3 or PSP. I just don’t see point in the straight re release when they’re not even offering much in the way of new content either. They are including something to boost your stats to the max which to me is just cheating. FFVII is not a difficult game to level up in. As long as you know the best place to go and level up in then you’re sorted. There is no challenge in a game that allows you reach level 99 straight away.

Please stop cashing in Squeenix

Please stop cashing in Squeenix

I guess it’s just me but I’d rather they left FFVII on it’s pedestal and stopped bringing it down to cash in on it.

I still don’t like motion control

There. I said it. I don’t like motion control. Never really have, and perhaps never really will. I posted an article about this a couple of years ago. Back then I was skeptical, but now I just downright don’t like it.

What has prompted this sudden outburst I hear you say? Well, I finally got around to playing The Legend of Zelda; Skyward Sword the other day, and as beautiful as it looks, and as fun as it is to run around as Link again, I couldn’t help but feel as though some of the magic was lost when I had to start waving around the Wiimote. The frustration of waving my arms around distracted from the beautiful music, the stunning animation and the essence of what Zelda is actually about.

I don’t know, it’s frustrating for me. I want these games to be good, but I just don’t see that people really want to flail their arms around like a raving lunatic and pretend to be Link, or a Jedi Knight. The reviews on Star Wars Kinect have hardly been glowing, lets be honest. Motion control is still a bit of a gimmick for me. I don’t own the Kinect, nor do I want to. I have it back home, and it’s completely unused. I have played with the PSMove a few times and it just doesn’t do anything for me at all.

Dear game developers; just give me a good game, with a good story, good characters and kickass gameplay. That’s all I want. I don’t want to shout FUS-ROH-DAH at my Xbox, that just makes me feel a little bit silly. I just don’t understand this latest generation of console additions. I’m hoping that E3 won’t be as Kinect-centric as it was last year. I am also hoping that Microsoft don’t do what the rumours are stating; release a console that doesn’t require discs. I’ve seen several posts about this across the internet with one valid argument against it; not everyone’s internet is not capable of downloading mammoth games. For a start off, I don’t even have wireless internet in this house so that means that this Xbox would be useless to me.

This brings me back to that classic saying; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Gaming was never broken, so please stop trying to add fancy little gadgets to it. Gaming is not a swiss army knife that you just add ridiculous things to. That just makes it bulky and ugly. Just let me have my controller. I play games to wind down. The last thing I want to do is start waving a controller around, and get frustrated because the motion sensor keeps ballsing up and not detecting me.

Moving on from my rant, I am hopefully starting a second blog. I won’t be abandoning this one, don’t worry! I want to start a second blog so I can make note of all the weird and wonderful things that happen to me when on public transport. If you follow me on Twitter then you will know that I spend a lot of time on public transport, and a lot of the time I come across some bizarre people. My tales of woe make my family laugh, so hopefully I can make the internet laugh as well!

Those who read my previous post will remember that I was waiting patiently for Pocket Academy 2 to pop up in English on the Android store. Well, the very second I hit the publish button, I did my daily Kairosoft search and BAM, the original Pocket Academy was there and ripe for the taking. Needless to say I bought it instantly and played it for about 5 hours (entirely ignoring the man, and everyone else around me…), and I have just finished it for a second time. It’s magical, that’s all I have to say. I need more Kairosoft, MORE!

And on a very final note, I have my only and last exam on Thursday which I think if I revise for any more my head might pop. The Saturday after my exam the man is coming to stay, so I will be away from the Internets until he has gone on the 17th. Hopefully I will be back with an update next weekend!

Tis the season to be uninterested

Every year my love for video games wanes for one reason or another. Now appears to be that time of year. This year I have the added stress of uni work taking over, but in the past few weeks I just don’t have the time, nor the energy to turn on any of my gaming consoles. A quick recap on what has caught my interest though.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 was about 5 days late, which made me severely rage. Then my Stray Sheep Edition of Catherine was late because Amazon didn’t actually bother to check they had it stocked before release date. Both arrived eventually, but in the end Catherine held my attention a lot more.

Final Fantasy XIII-2

All style, and still lacking some substance

*Sigh* You know, I was really hoping to get a lot more from FFXIII-2 after FFXIII was such a disaster. It started off well, and yeah they’ve fixed quite a lot of the things that were truly awful in the original game, but it hasn’t held my interest at all. Instead of holding your hand you’re literally just thrown into this world without even the slightes hint about what you’re meant to be doing. I’m currently trying to find invisivible treasure with the help of Mog (The awesome Moogle that unfortunately does have a tendancy to grate on you occasionally). Mog can cast some form of magic that reveals hidden chests, but his radius is very small. Trying to find treasure with such a tiny radius is beyond frustrating.

The story is also a little bit confusing to me personally, with a lot of assumed understanding, and typical JRPG repeating of what has been said (as if that will have it make any more sense). All in all, a bit disappointed, but I will go back to it once I have some time over Easter.

Catherine

Catherine has stunning visuals, and quite a deep story at times

Ah Catherine, you did not disappoint me in the slightest. Before I begin, it is important to note that Catherine really is not for everyone. For the men out there that just want to look at 3D rendered boobs, there’s a hell of a lot of man bashing in it. If you’re cool with being berated for idiocy, then carry on and play. That being said, this isn’t a game for women, nor is it a game for men. It’s a game for those who enjoy puzzles, the visual element of it is just a bonus. I played this with the man, and we both had a good laugh at it. The story is a little bit complicated, but it resolves itself at the end with a bit of a twist I wasn’t really expecting. The puzzles can be fiendishly difficult without the help of a YouTube video or two, but that doesn’t really remove from the enjoyment of is. I’m on my second playthrough, manipulating the ‘Good and Evil’ scale in order to see a different ending (and whore some achievements out of it).

Aside from these two games though? I haven’t really played anything else. I’ve spent the weekend playing Dungeon Village by, you guessed it, Kairosoft and that was really enjoyable. It could have had some more substance to it, but I’m on my second playthrough of that as well.

It's beautiful, and awesome. 'Nuff said.

A list of things I have no interest in

There are a lot of things being released at the moment that the world seems to get excited over, but I just can’t seem to find it in me to care. The PSVita is one of them. Why on earth would I want this? I have a PSP, I don’t need or want a PSVita. How many people are still playing their PSVita as much as they were on release date? If you can prove that there are many, then I tip my hat to you.

Another thing I don’t care about is Mass Effect 3. It’s no secret that I hold no love for the Mass Effect series. Not saying it’s not a good series, because it is, I just can’t find myself to care about the story. ME3 also has Jessica Chobot in it. Not entirely sure why, but I’m not even going to start on my rant about that. This is certainly one game I won’t be buying.

I still find myself waiting for that one game that will consume my whole soul and not let me leave until I have finished it. Someone please guide me to the place that this game is. Even Skyrim hasn’t held my attention that much, mainly because of not having the time to engross myself in it.

I hope this phase of disinterest disappears soon, as I’m a bit bored of not wanting to play my games.