Sleepy Blog Author is Sleepy.

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This is not the update I mentioned last time, but instead just a simple blog post, made for the sake of making a blog post, as opposed to being a blog post about something specific.

 

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Except it's not - I'm simply bored. :P

That's not to say that I was boredom-free before writing this blog post either. Finishing a significant number of games from my backlog was a goal to be accomplished over the past few months. While that was exactly what transpired, I didn't actually finish those that I had originally intended to, instead I ended up playing all of those new games I purchased (a lot of which I had mixed opinions on).

I did consider writing a few paragraphs about each of the games I got a hold of, but that would take forever (we are talking about over three months worth of gaming after all). I'll put up some reviews of what I felt were the most noteworthy titles instead - maybe next week, or maybe later (along with reviews I said I would post a little while ago).

For an easily accessible summary of my gaming activities over the aforementioned period, you're welcome to take a look at (or a glance, if you prefer :P) the Raptr and Backloggery cards below:

 

Raptr Gamercard

 

              

 

In other news, the EU PSN store is currently running a sale on military-themed games (there's probably something like that going on the other stores too). I usually prefer boxed retail copies as opposed to digital versions, but I couldn't help but notice both Air Conflicts games on sale for under £10 each. After playing the respective demos for each of the games when they first came out I decided to wait for a price drop on both games. That price drop finally came along. :P On a sidenote, I'll be keeping a close eye on Air Conflicts: Vietnam, and probably get it after it's been out for a while. Arcade flight sims (and flight sims in general) are rare on consoles these days, especially those about Vietnam.

I also replayed a few old games on a whim, one of those being Battlestations Pacific. Long story short, it took me about three days to reach end of the japanese campaign on the highest difficulty, though I eventually got stuck on the final mission. I took a break and ended up finishing the US campaign on a lower difficulty in what I think was two days. Before anyone asks, the answer is 'yes': a major contributor to the Japanese campaign being spread out over three days was the large collection of retries. :P

Okay, boredom-fuelled blog post is now finished. Time to find my pillow - it's almost 5:00 am. :P

The Alchemist will visit again within the next few weeks. Or possibly sooner, depending when those reviews get written.

 

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~Alchemist3001

Testing, Testing. One, Two, Three.

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I wasn't actually going to update this blog until about a week later, but since it turns out that a certain glitch on the site had set my profile to the 'private' setting without my input, I may as well stick this up here. Thanks to N-E-Me for notifying me about this issue.

I've just set up my profile so that everyone can see it, while friends should be able to see the blog. For the sake of making sure things are working the way they're supposed to now, feel free to post something in the comments section (or just PM me) so that I know you guys can actually read this, and that I'm not still giving out 'Sorry, Alchemist3001's profile is set to private.' messages.

Thanks in advance. ^.^

 

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~Alchemist3001

P.S. Anyone else excited for Ace Combat: Infinity? :P

The absent Alchemist is no longer absent. *gasp*

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As one might have deduced from the title, I've been absent from the site for just over a week. Let's just say that some people like to actually play games, as opposed to just talk about them. :P Yes, I could visit and play, but I usually end up spending way longer on here than intended, so it was easier just to keep myself sat in front of the PS3 instead. I said before that I was going to keep gaming update blog posts to a minimum, but since gaming is the main reason for my absence, I figure I may as well write about what I was playing. Actually I'm just going to write about two of the games I had been playing. I'm also going to rant about them.

Before that though, here I have the BGM track of today's blog post: 'Saber Everything Is In Her Hands', also sometimes referred to as 'Saber Everything Is In Your Hands'. ^.^

***The YouTube comments section of the video features numerous unmarked spoilers. I advise against opening the video on YouTube unless you already know what there is to know about the main characters.***

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqQCInmPl-I

This one's from Fate/Extra, a JRPG that serves as a 'sequel' of sorts to Fate/stay night, one of the most highly-praised visual novels of all time (feel free to go and check that if you want). At start of the game the player asked to choose a 'Servant'. Without wishing to go into the details of the plot, this Servant is powerful warrior who fights at the player character's side and does everything in their power to protect them from harm. Each of these Servants posses a highly-potent ability known as a 'Noble Phantasm', which in many ways could be said to define who they are. If you choose Saber, you'll get this BGM when activating her Noble Phantasm.

 

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For those not in the know, Army of TWO is a cover-based, co-op-oriented TPS from EA. The title stems from the series' emphasis on teamwork between the two players to overcome contingents of enemy troops that almost always have some kind of advantage over the players (besides numbers), whether that's an advantage in terms of firepower or terrain etc. One of the series most distinguishing features was the Aggro system. Opening fire draws attention to yourself and draws the enemy's aggro. With the enemy's attention on you, your partner is free to move about with a lower chance of being noticed and shot at. That allows him to get on the enemy's flank and surprise them. This mechanic forms the bread and butter of the core gameplay. While it's often used in different contexts, it never fully changes. You might have to let your buddy draw the fire of a mounted machine gun in order for you to get behind it, or you might want to try catching a well-armoured enemy soldier in a pincer attack so as to force him to focus his fire on only one of you at once, but the core elements of what you're doing always remain the same.

There's a chance you may have heard of some of the criticisms players made over the tone of the first two games. The Devil's Cartel reels back that tone and replaces it with a more mundane one that feels a little too familiar. Tactical World Operations (TWO); a PMC that gets things done by deploying small squads of elite operatives who operate in pairs; is contracted to protect an election candidate for the upcoming election to determine the new mayor of a certain Mexican city. The said city has since been held firmly in the iron grip of one of the country's most feared drug cartels. TWO's client has promised to eradicate the cartel from the city if elected, and as such has drawn the ire of the cartel's leader, who sends his men to have the candidate assassinated.

 

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The player characters; 'Alpha' and 'Bravo'; and the rest of the client's protection detail are ambushed by cartel members who attack their armoured convoy in the streets with shoulder-mounted weapons. In the ensuing battle, the candidate flees the scene. That's essentially where the real game starts. The story does go a little deeper, but for the most part it's just about two muscular guys wearing armour chasing their charge through an urban warzone, stopping every few steps to gun down some drug smugglers. There's a few twists and turns about half-way through, but those ultimately just lead to more of the same thing. The story is a bit better than what the previous games had to offer, but it's nothing to get too excited about.

The gameplay has been subjected to a few minor changes, for better and worse. For a start, both moving and aiming feel much smoother and responsive. Nothing ever feels sluggish. If you missed, it was probably because your target was in good cover, or you fired before you had a clear shot, not because the crosshairs swung around way off-course. The customization system is the most robust in the series, enabling you to equip and customize a lot more guns than what had previously been available, as well as determine the look of those guns. It's also possible to determine the appearance of your operative by changing their gear and armoured hockey mask. In the case of the latter, you can make your own, if you want. :P

 

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With all that's been said above, the last thing that most people will expect to hear from me is that this is the worst game in the series. Why is that you ask? Simple. The gameplay is so fundamentally flawed it's impossible for me to consider this to be a good game. The move may be fine, but the cover system is not. You have to look directly at the cover you want to move behind until a blue arrow appears indicating your character is ready to take cover behind it. This means you potentially have to turn away from an enemy before you can run to safety. I've had some ridiculous instances in which the cover system has proven to be less concrete than I'd like, such as a case in which I was forced to look at the base of a pillar before being able to take cover behind it, not helped by the fact there was a smuggler on the other side firing in my general direction whom I had to take my eyes off in order to get behind cover. There's also plenty of places that look like good cover spots, but are anything but so, thanks to the fact that the cover system won't allow you use them as such. A burnt out car can easily serve as adequate temporary cover from small-arms fire (in the game, that is). The game allows you to use most of the destroyed cars as such, but also likes to tease with a few that can't be used, for whatever reason. Outside of issues with the cover system, there's also problems with hit indicators pointing in inaccurate directions when AoE weapons are involved, my AI partner suddenly dying after disappearing from view (possibly because he may be falling through the floor), the same AI partner failing to move when needed, thus preventing me from triggering certain scripted sequences, AI of questionable quality, and general stability issues such as weird audio bugs, in-game loading that takes longer than I feel it should and random crash that force me to reset the game.

 

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Army of TWO: The Devil's Cartel - could have been good, but ends up being merely 'above average' thanks to a bunch of fundamental flaws and a lack of innovation.

 

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Chances are you've heard about how many bugs and glitches were present in the original Dead Island. You'll be sad to know that it's the same story here, only worse. There aren't many games I can think of that are quite as technically flawed as this one.

Dead Island: Riptide is set immediately after the events of Dead Island, literally a few minutes after the first game ends. A viral outbreak on the tropical island of Banoi lead to the island's inhabitants being overrun by a horde of flesh-eating zombies. Four individuals who were found to be immune to the virus escaped by helicopter and were picked up by an military vessel operating within the quarantine zone around the island. It's not long before it's discovered that the virus has also spread to ship's crew, and the four survivors of the incident on Banoi are forced to abandon ship before being stranded on the nearby island of Palanai, which; as one might have guessed; has also been infested with zombies.

 

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The story primarily focuses on the nature of the virus and the reason as to why you're immune, as well as what this means for everyone else. It's not a very good story, but it could be worse. There's a character who appears at the beginning of the game who's never seen again. I think the developers forgot about them. The rest of the story isn't particularly exciting, but it's good enough to keep the game going, assuming you don't like the gameplay.

As for the aforementioned gameplay, this is where my main complaints lie. Think 'Dead Rising goes first person and gets a hint of Borerlands thrown into the mix.' That's essentially what you're dealing with here, only with a better story than Borderlands and much weaker combat in comparison to both games. Don't like shooting enemies with revolvers that fire rockets? Don't like whacking bad guys with an oversized teddy bear? That understandable. But if either of those are the case, you better stay far away from both Dead Island games. Until you get a good weapon, you'll frequently end up scavenging for new weapons which you can use against the enemy. Most of the stuff that you pick up will actually quite useless: early on you'll want to look for powerful items which you can upgrade and carry all the way to the end, later on you'll quickly realize that the weapons you really want are those cool upgraded weapons, not the random ones to find lying around. The combat is more engaging than Borderlands and Dead Rising, but ultimately fails to hold together thanks to some weird issues that cause zombies to clip through the player character model (usually seen after a zombie lunge for the player at point blank range and somehow misses), or ones that cause them to get stuck in the scenery (that dosen't seem to happen too regularly, but it's funny to watch when it does) and very clunky and sluggish player movement.

 

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First person melee combat has never worked well. Dead Island: Riptide only serves to reinforce this. All to often it's too difficult to guage the distance between the player character and the enemy. You'll sometimes miss when it looks as if your weapon should have connected, or as already mentioned the zombies will try to grab you only to go straight past and end up standing inside your character model (maybe because they're even closer than I thought).

On the whole the game wasn't very good. There's a few nice additions such as sections where you'll have to work with the group survivors you're travelling with to defend an area from a horde of zombies which can be fun due to the sheer amount of undead you'll have to content with and the chaos that inevitably follows, but these sections are nit repeatable and still serve to highlight the many flaws with the combat system. Not a good choice of a game to pick up. Still, at least I've finished it, so that's one less title on my backlog. Excellent.

 

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That's my gaming blog post for today. I'm going for another period of absence again very soon so I can continue finishing my games. I should apologize to those who commented on my last blog post for not actually finding your comments until today, given that I only just came back to the site today. :P I should also mention it's likely I'll not see any replies to this blog post until later this week or next week during my next visit, by which point I'll have made additional headway with my backlog.

Until then. ^.^

 

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~Alchemist3001

-P.S. Photobucket is gradually becoming more like GameSpot. Try uploading something there if you want to see what I mean.

-P.S.S. Rating games is a good way to show someone what you thought about a game. It's quick, and lets them know how good you thought the finished product was. However, it's also of little help to someone who is unfamiliar with you or the game you rated (there's more to that than you think, I could write a whole editorial on that subject and related topics if need be). In light of that I might start doing reviews again. If you look through most of my reviews published here, you'll find that they're mostly reviews of little-known, out-of-the-way games, or those which are only well-known within niche communities. That's because they were originally written for a certain forum run by a friend I met here (that forum is nearly dead though :P). One day I posted these on another website, and after speaking to the CEO of the site about a certain issue these reviews caught the attention of their writing team. The majority of reviews I have listed under my reviews tab were originally written for that site. Long story short, after I found out what the staff on that site were really like, I didn't want any part of it, so I quit. I didn't have any reason to continue writing them, so I quit reviewing too, it wasn't fun anyway. :P Thinking about these ratings gives me the urge to start again, so I might do that later this year. I have a review of Under Defeat HD which has been left half-finished for literally about two months minimum. >.>

-P.S.S.S. The embed feature is doing what I saw it doing to people a few weeks ago. If I come back here tomorrow and find the video isn't showing, I'll just add the link instead.

It's broken. Again. As usual.

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Unlike a good number of the other blog posts I've made to date, the title of this one actually has some relevance to its content. Before we start looking through the broken stuff though, let's listen to today's BGM track (or not, if you're not into that sort of thing). ^.^

 

 

Not that I've ever played Raiden IV mind you. No EU release means no Xbox 360 Raiden gaming for Alchemist. :cry: With that done, let's now look at the main portion of the blog post. Bullet point time. ^.^

 

  • It's been over a week since the third and final day of E3 reached its conclusion. Most people will have already written and published their E3 blog posts some time ago, while others will have instead opted to update their blog with their thoughts on what they witnessed at this year's E3 as the conference went on. The lack of either of the above on my blog can be attributed to the fact that I didn't actually find anything interesting at this year's E3 to write about. Sure, Sony wiped the floor with MS. But then again, of course they did - from the moment Ms unveiled their new console, we knew that they were screwed one way or another. I didn't see any launch titles on either of the new systems that actually made me want to go out and buy one, nor did I see any new games that caught my attention in particular either. That's not to say that there wasn't some nice stuff to see there, but it is to say that none of the games shown there seemed like anything to be overly excited about. Star Wars: Battlefront: okay sure, the previous Battlefront games were two of the few multiplayer-based shooters that I actually liked, and I'm sure that the new Battlefront will be just as impressive. But at the same time, I'm not exactly doing handstands in the room about this game. Tales of Xillia? Yes, I want that game, of course. Was I excited to see it at E3? No, I wasn't. Why not? Simple, I've already seen and heard a lot about the game already. I was hoping to see something new, not see a game which has already been out long enough for it to get a sequel (even if both games were Japan exclusives). The same goes for Dragon's Crown, save for the fact that the game isn't out yet. It was nice to see it at E3, but I wasn't all that interested in what I was seeing because I had already seen the game before: I already knew what the game looked like, how it played, who the main characters were etc.

 

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  • For the upcoming console generation I'm planning to go with a PS4 and high-end PC. That way I can use one system for my multiplats, and still enjoy the best of the other platform's exclusives. Right now I'm planning to use the PS4 for my my multiplats and my PC for everything else (don't give me that look). On a related note, some people might know that I actually run a PSN sub-account, as opposed to a standard one. That's because I actually gave Sony my real age when I signed up to PSN, without realizing that Sony hadn't implemented a system that enabled accounts to be 'upgraded' if you will once the user reaches the appropriate age, unlike MS with their Adult and Child account setup they had running on XBL. Whenever I need to update my PSN wallet, I have to log in with the standard account that my sub-account is bound to, add funds from there, and then switch back to my sub-account when I want to buy stuff. For that reason, I'm hoping that Sony will either have brought their parental control features up-to-date and made it possible to upgrade sub-accounts to standard accounts, or implemented functionality on the PS4 that enables one to maintain multiple users (not just multiple PSN accounts) on the same system, like the PS3. Contrary to what some people might believe, I don't live in Neverland: people don't stay 17 forever.

 

  • I recently managed to get a new PS3 controller, to replace the one I had previously been using. It's difficult to play some games when the sticks have slid out of place. That was my second PS3 controller, now I'm on my third. It's a nice white one. ^.^

 

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  • Around the time that E3 concluded I found that I was unable to leave comments on people's blogs properly. I'd comment, go away and come back to find that Livefyre wasn't showing the comment. After posting comments a few days ago, my old comments showed up. This wasn't just a problem for me. I had to comment leave a comment to actually read the second comment left on my last blog post (even though my test comment showed up just fine). Livefyre is broken.

 

  • As far my current gaming exploits go, I've been unintentionally stockpiling games. My list of games to finish grows ever larger. Not that I'm complaining mind you, it's nice to always have things to play. :P Looking at some of the games I have lined up, I've drawn up a plan and decided which order I want to play them in. I just got The Lord of the Rings: War in the North as a free title from PS Plus, along with the HD versions of Shadow of the Colossus and Ico. I think I'm going to try and finish Ico first, then I'll look at either Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel or possibly Ni No Kuni. Alternatively I might go with Assassins Creed III or Bioshock Infinite. Following that I'll play SotC, TLotR and Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory in that order. Then I'll move on to Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition. Out of all of these, Dark Souls will probably take the longest to finish, so I'll save it until last. If I ever feel like taking a break from the game, I'll go back and do some post-game HNV stuff, then come back to DS. I also considered the possibility of juggling Corpse Party and Corpse Party: Book of Shadows with DS, in case HNV dosen't live to up to expectations and I get bored.

 

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  • What can I say? Tesco had a sale on - getting Assassins Creed III and Bioshock Infinite for £15 and £25 respectively wasn't bad. :P I had actually intended to start DS after playing Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires a few times over, but then I got some additional games. I was surprised when I found that GAME actually HNV in stock, given that it had been a while since I last saw any of the rarer games lying around on their store shelves. And no, Ni No Kuni dosen't count. It was sold out within the first few days of its release over here inthe UK, but that didn't stop GAME from refilling their shelves with new stock shortly thereafter. Now you can easily find a first-hand copy without much trouble. Now if I could find a retail copy of Ateiler Totori, Meruru or Ayesha. Buying the digital version of Ayesha would be a last resort, I would almost always choose to have a physical copy over the digital one anyday.

 

  • I also got my hands on a few XBLA titles, including The Behemoth's latest release: BattleBlock Theater. BBT is one of those games that beneath a somewhat bizarre plot and a really weird premise, actually has a very enjoyable gameplay experience to offer. Who wouldn't want to play as a an elephant-mouse (don't ask, seriously) while jumping over spike traps and dodging laser beams while chased by some badger-racoon hybrid creature?

 

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  • As for the games that I finished, I can say that Zone of the Enders: HD Collection was the most disappointing. I had the original Zone of the Enders on PS2 (and I still do). I stopped playing it, and forgot why. Playing ZOE: HD reminded me why. The premise is good on paper, but in practice it dosen't work. It's not possible to recreate those epic mech battles seen in the likes of mecha anime like Gundam and Macross when the AI barely even fights back against the player. There's no point to giving the player all these fancy moves and weapons when the enemy hardly even puts up a fight. The only time you're ever in any real danger in the first game is when you run into Bosses. It didn't help that the story was fairly lackluster too, and that most of the characters were very difficult for me to actually like, especially the protagonist; Leo Stenbuck. As for the second game, The 2nd Runner fixes the problem with the AI by providing the player opponents who actually pose a threat, but at the same time it thrusts the player into environments that don't allow either party to make full use of their abilities. It's nice being able to fly around at high speeds, launching homing missiles at passing foes and carving them up with your blade, but that only works when the player has enough room to manuver, and when the camera isn't getting itself wedged into a corner. Both games are ridiculously short, and the HD versions suffer from some degree of slowdown. This isn't as much of an issue in the first one as it is in the second. In the case of the latter, I can think of an instance in which the player is required to evade a homing projectile fired by a certain boss. Failing to do so can have dire consequences, as this projectile causes significant damage. Yet the game features a motion blue effect, which is greatly affected by the slowdown. When the slowdown is at its worst, the afterimages remain on screen for a lot longer than they should, making it difficult in that aforementioned scenario to actually see where the projectile is.

 

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  • Aside from ZOE:HD, I also managed to finish Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Thunder Wolves (I got that one just today) and a few playthroughs of Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires. MGR:R was a lot shorter than I thought it would be, nor was the combat as deep as I thought it would be. The game wasn't bad on the whole, but it wasn't exactly what I had been expecting. It looks very cool, and it's definitely fun to watch, but the gameplay itself is a little too simple for my tastes. It feels like a better version of Ninja Gaiden 3. With Raiden. TW is a throwback to those old arcade flight sims in which you just pilot an aircraft (or in this case a helicopter) across a relatively small map and just shoot lots of things to earn ponts. That's pretty much TW in a nutshell. :P That's not to say it's not a lot of fun though. In spite of the long loading times and momentary freezes, it does have its moments. Worth it if you have fomd memories of playing games back in the days of the PsOne. DW7:Empires is a nice improvement over the other Empires games. There's actually a point to playing as a vagabond now. There's some new weapons and a robust character customization system, along with the option to build a kingdom with those said characters.

 

With that last point, bullet-point time is now over, as is this blog post. Now to get back to gaming, though not right away. It's 4:40am, so I'll just go and rate some games and go to bed.

 

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~Alchemist3001

Wall stickers are so pretty! *gasp*

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Technically speaking it probably would have been better to post this earlier, but given that E3 is right around the corner, I'll just post it now anyway. Before I get on to that though, here's this blog post's song: 'Anu Orta Veniya' from Panzer Dragoon Orta, lyrics included in the video.

 

 

Every so often I 'Spring clean' my tracked users list. Having looked over it recently I've just realized that literally only about a quarter of the people on there are actually still around the site, and only a small portion of that quarter are people I actually talk to regularly on the main site. Before I start sifting through the names and cutting the list back down to size I figured I should let my trackers know that this is happening in advance, as there's a few people on there whom I don't speak to on a regular basis but whom I've gotten to know, if only a little. This is mainly for those people: if you'd like me to keep you on my list of tracked users, feel free to let me know, preferably before the 11th, as that's when I'll re-size the list. If you've known me for longer than a year, or if I tracked you first (as in, the first time we met, not neccessarily whether I tracked you first with this account), or if we regularly talk on the main site, you can disregard all of the above - I'll keep you on. :P

As some might have already guessed, I'm doing this partly because I don't want to have to search through a bunch of E3 blog posts from strangers in order to get to the blogs from people who I actually know.

To avoid making a blog post just about a notification and a song, I'll stick some 'extended tweets' in the space below. There are no tweet character limits here. ^.^

 

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  • I very recently bought Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax, which is a surprisingly fun game, though it's clearly better-suited to handheld systems and laptops. The success of the PSP version was almost certainly the driving force behind the release of console and Steam versions. What can I say? There's nothing like sitting on a train while saving the world in thirty seconds. :P On the flip side, I'm not a fan of having to play as a certain character for another thirrty levels before I can play as Hero again. It would have been nice for them to make the non-portable versions' second Story mode of play optional. The character I have to play as is so slow that I can't take more than a few steps before I have to go and use a Time Goddess statue.

 

  • I also bought Toy Soldiers: Cold War around the same time. It's an improvement over the first game, but I feel that Cold War would have greatly benefitted from some kind of mode to lengthen its lifespan and increase replayability, such as a level editor, or a series of ultra-hard maps, or even just a mode that enables the player to replay any of the campaign missions after tweaking the rules slightly, like increasing the number of enemies per wave, or adding extra waves to the mix, or simply providing the player with the option of randomizing each wave.

 

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  • My Darksiders 2 playthrough is temporarily on hold, on account of the fact that I don't feel like chucking any more bombs about the place trying to blow up crystals while chasing after a bunch of McGuffins that aren't even directly related to the main story. Death's an interesting guy, and the combat feels fast and fluid, but the degree to which the puzzles are repeated; even if the puzzle designs themselves aren't bad; just slows the game down and makes me want to go and play something else. Preferably something that dosen't involve collecting stuff and returning to someplace that nowhere near where I found the item. I'm not a big fan of fetch quests, so it should come as no surprise that I have mixed opinions on Darksiders 2 given that almost everything I've played up until now has been a fetch quest of some sort, and by my understanding most of the game as a whole is made up of fetch quests.

 

  • I finished Bastion about a week ago and left it with relatively good impressions. I didn't enjoy it as much as a lot of other people seemed to, but it certainly wasn't bad. It was a nice touch having a narrator whose words reflected (some) of the player character's in-game actions, such as whether or not a seemingly normal encounter with a certain enemy cost him any health or not, or how many times the player character (nearly) fell to his death while traversing a certain area.

 

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  • To echo what was said last time, you're welcome to take a look at my Backloggery page for more gaming updates. I'll stick a link to it in my blog header.

 

  • This is going to be another night (or early morning) in which I leave my computer on while I sleep so that it can finish uploading stuff to YouTube. It's uploading something right now. ^.^

 

  • Over the past month (possibly longer, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong there) YouTube had been giving its users a chance to try out their new channel design. This new design would eventually be automatically applied to every channel after a certain date. That date very recently passed. It's an improvement over what they had, but given that was never particularly good to begin with, that's not saying much. Anyway, that leaves me to make a new YouTube banner for myself. I might do a new Backloggery one too. Maybe.

 

Okay, now it's time for Alchemist's face to collide with a pillow. Good night. ^.^

Actually scratch that, I'm going to go and look at your blog posts first. Then I'll go for that collision.

 

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~Alchemist3001

EDIT: Actually I can't add my Raptr or Backloggery stuff in, so I'll look for another way to get it up somewhere.

The pancakes are trying to eat me again! *sob*

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Another short blog post from the Alchemist. :o

Good news for everyone who's looking forward to RoosterTeeth's upcoming animated series 'RWBY': the fourth and final character trailer just got published to their official YouTube channel yesterday. I was going to stick the "Yellow" trailer up on Fuse, but someone beat me to it, so now I give you the next best thing. :P I've left all four trailers below for those who might not have seen these yet.

 

 

Now, back to gaming (and sleeping). ^.^

 

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~Alchemist3001

Nooooooooo! Why would you do that?!

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Short blog post will be short. :o Before we get on with it though, I'm leaving something here:

 

 

It used to the case that I would leave a music track from a game at the end of most of the blog posts that I made. I decided it would be better if I left each one at the start from now on. Thanks to the magical power of embedding, you can now listen to the video and read the blog post at the same time without having to open a new window or tab. :o Technology is amazing. ^.^

GameSpot recently took a backseat role, as I tried to finish some important stuff. By 'stuff', I am of course referring to the act of me finishing at least a few of the games I purchased earlier in the month, not to mention the PS Plus freebies. :P

Progress has been steady, with a few bumps along the way.

Thomas Was Alone and DOA5 went by without much trouble. Even though I didn't enjoy the former, it was a nice change from the usual, while the latter served as a good indication that Team Ninja might still have it, in spite of Itagaki's departure several years ago. I say that in spite of Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge being a very heavily flawed game, to the extent that I might be tempted to recommend Ninja Gaiden 3 over Razor's Edge to someone who had never played either before.

 

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Dead Space 3 got off to a promising start, but failed to hold my interest for too long. There's technically nothing wrong with the scenarios the player is thrust into, but the implementation of these scenarios into each level is a different story altogether. It was not uncommon for me to wind up doing the same puzzles or fighting the same types of Necromorphs in similar looking rooms over and over again as I progressed further into the game. The frequency with which each of the aforementioned scenarios were used made the whole experience drag on. Things got stale and predictable, which should never happen in any good survival horror game. None of this was helped the fact that every weapon now takes the same type of ammo, which means that if the player finds a specific weapon that just so happens to be bane of Necromorphs everywhere, there's little incentive to pull out anything else other than the said weapon. The possibility of such an occurrence potentially renders the weapon crafting system completely obsolete: what's the point in experimenting with my other weapons and tinkering with them until they perfectly suit my playsyle if I can just whip out the 'ultimate weapon' and breeze through the game with little more than a scratch? Why should I use up ammo on those other two weapons; switching them in and out to fit the situation; when I already have a third that surpasses the other two in every way, especially when one considers that every round spent on a lesser weapon is one less round I have to use with the better weapon?

 

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After finishing Dead Space 3, Darksiders 2 looked like an appealing option. At least it did until I discovered that it too seems to suffer from the issue of recycling old content over and again. The main plot seems interesting enough, but there's an enourmous amount of padding that comes in the form of what are essentially a series of sub-plots that have little to do with the main character and his primary motivation for doing what he does. On the plus side, the platforming and puzzles add some welcome variety to each of the levels, while the combat is without a doubt what I consider to be the highlight of the game by far, even if it does rest somewhat on the easy side.

As for Aliens: Colonial Marines, let's just say that this game isn't quite as bad as most have made it out to be, but it isn't much better. As pointed out in Angry Joe's review, only one third of the game's missions are actually dedicated to the Xenomorphs, despite the game being titled 'Aliens: Colonial Marines'. Most of the game is spent fighting a collection of mercenaries who have supposedly been sent to clean up any evidence of their client's involvement in the events that transpire. When you do actually get to fight Xenos, there are fleeting moments of enjoyment that crop up from time to time. It's genuinely enjoyable to try and spray a few aliens as they skitter across the ground towards you, only for you run out of ammo at an inconvenient time and wind up going literally face-to-face with one. Even with its technical flaws, this could have been a much better game, had it not been dragged down by an abundance of encounters with human enemies. The Xenomorphs are supposed to be the stars of the show, yet they seldom make an appearance in this game.

 

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Anyway, that's everything concerning my latest gaming exploits for today. In other news, my Let's Plays will have to wait until I can determine as to why FRAPS dosen't detect the external input from my headset. Until then, I'll just put up some PC gaming videos without my commentary.

As I've mentioned before, major gaming updates; like this one; won't be as common on this blog as they were before. Instead I'll be using my Backloggery account and Raptr for that, unless I come across one or more that I find particularly interesting and want to write about.

For those who would like to see where my attention is directed at any given time, please feel free to take a glance at my Raptr profile:

 

 

Those wishing for a more detailed overview of my activity are welcome to view my Backloggery profile, bearing in mind that my backlog isn't always updated daily:

 

              

 

That's everything for today. I'm going back to play... something. Until next time.

 

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~Alchemist3001

"Small fork on inside? Or small fork on outside?"

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Look who's here. :o It's that one alchemist that tries to blog at 4:00am and gets all surprised when he can't remember any of the stuff he wanted to write about.

 

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Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago I said I had 'something' to show you (if not, feel free to scroll through 'Carving New Trails into the Skies'). Either way, here it is. ^.^

Before I opened this account I had got into the habit of writing short parody stories describing the misadventures of a collection of GameFAQs/GameSpot users. The users themselves were fictional, but that's not to say I didn't take some inspiration from some of my own experiences of interacting with people over the internet. Some of the characters were given names that referenced matierial from Fate (as in 'Fate/stay night). That was originally done just 'for the sake of it' - there was no 'real' reason behind the naming conventions other than the fact that I was a huge fan of the franchise.

The first parody story came about after my boredom got the better of me one evening and I figured I would write something out of the ordinary to relieve myself of the aforementioned boredom. I took a few GameFAQs users whom I had been speaking with over the past week and used their personalities as templates in order to create some simple characters, some of whom could easily be considered exaggerated forms of the various archtypical users one would expect to run into on an internet forum. People seemed to like the first story I wrote, so I made another one. They seemed to like that one too, so I ultimately continued writing these short stories.

After writing the first three stories, I decided I wanted to give the story a change of setting, which led to the characters becoming the inhabitants of an alternate universe in which various websites were actually countries. The story eventually saw the main characters joining the military and was supposed to lead into a number of parody scenarios involving mecha and space aliens. 'Supposed' is the key word there, as I never actually got that far, thanks to some other real-life business creeping up on me.

So here we are. The following are links to all of the stories I wrote. Enjoy.

 

Seiba_Aruta comes to GameSpot ***RESIDENT EVIL 5 SPOILERS***

Seiba_Aruta gets hold of a Wii (uh-oh)

Seiba_Aruta gets lost... in TROLLAND!

Seiba_Aruta and the Forgotten Password

Seiba_Aruta and the Hammer of Dusk

Seiba_Aruta joins the Faite/stae/nite Union

Seiba_Aruta enters the Magical Girl Hotel

Seiba_Aruta the submariner

The Battle for the Troll Dunes

Seiba_aruta vs. mountain

Seiba_Aruta the airman

Seiba_Aruta and BASAKA!

Fraga X5 - a Seiba_Aruta gaiden

 

The next blog post will probably continue the story. I've had a ton of ideas swirling around in my head for a while now. This is a good oppotunity for me to put them onto paper. The next time we see each other on my blog will be when I have the next part ready.

So, until then. ^.^

 

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~Alchemist3001

"This is it - checkmate!"

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Welcome to the third iteration of Alchemist's 'bullet-point' blog posts. If this is the first time you've read one of these, then I should warn you that neither good formatting nor even coherency in the content published today are priorities for me. With that out of the way, let's move on to the main attraction of the blog post! ^.^

 

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  • I've only very recently finished submitting most of my university coursework.
  • Things got 'interesting' when some of the students I had been assigned to work with as part of a group project started trying to do other people's jobs.
  • That last one's a long story. And I do mean long.
  • Literally only yesterday did I discover that a certain GameSpot user I met about a week ago is actually an editor for a gaming website that I signed up to after an old friend suddenly reappeared out of nowhere and made a blog post.
  • Here's a link to the aforementioned site: http://leetgamers.asia/

 

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  • One of my university assignments requires me to submit footage depicting a playthrough of a level I made in a game engine.
  • In order to do that, I bought FRAPS.
  • This means I am also now in a position tro start doing some of those 'Let's Plays' I mentioned in a blog post some time ago.
  • By 'some' I mean those which pertain to games I own on PC - I'm not yet in a good position to be recording console games
  • Here's a link to my Steam profile: http://steamcommunity.com/id/76561198052495745
  • Feel free to browse my games and let me know if there's anything that you might be interested in watching me Let's Play
  • Using the phrase 'Let's Play' as a verb and a noun feels weird

 

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  • Eating snow makes me all thirsty and liquidated.
  • This is not helped by the fact that I eat things inside out without listening to myself first.
  • I am now experiencing the strange and sudden urge to buy the PC version of Supreme Commander, mainly because my only experience with the game to date has been with the somewhat flawed console port.
  • I'm listening to a track from the Supreme Commander OST right now while I'm writing this.
  • There had been an instance in which the game froze after three bombers exploded on top of one another, while I had the map zoomed as far out as it could go before the unit icons appear
  • I could be wrong about the 'unit icons' part, I just remember that I could still see the individual units and explosions... and that my game crashed
  • I also remember that I spent a significant period of time building a bunch of base defences in preparation for an oncoming attack, only for the Cybrans' tanks to roll right over them and leave my base in pieces
  • Supreme Commander 2 has remained installed on my computer ever since I bought the thing during a Steam sale last year
  • Despite this, it has also remained completely untouched
  • ...

 

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  • I'm so sorry! :cry: I forgot to add in an image earlier! It's entirely my fault that those bullet points drag on! :cry:
  • Having bought FRAPS, I obviously had to make sure that it worked.
  • For that reason, my YouTube channel was recently updated with three recording test videos.
  • I had to record this one while playing in fullscreen, as I seemed to be unable to record anything as long as the game was running in windowed mode.

 

 

  • Spending a long time at the computer has caused to experience to some bad back, arm, leg and chest pains
  • In an older entry, I mentioned a certain gaming site that I very briefly wrote for.
  • I've recently received a message from one of the site's editors asking me why I chose to quit.
  • Knowing the way things are done around there, I know there are strings attached to this.
  • If there's one thing I've learned from spending time there, it's that one should never take anything said by the site's staff at face value.
  • I could go on for a lot longer about that site, but I won't. Let's just wait and see what tricks they have up their sleeve this time...

 

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  • This blog post was originally going to be quite different, but I ended up forgetting half the stuff I wanted to put in it, so it ended up like this instead.
  • To compensate for that, I'm going to leave you with a pair of videos in which some guys discover just how broken GTA IV's physics really are.

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W28xBHMKpo

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XK4F7aOnvw

Oh, and one last thing: these videos may not prove it's possible to die from walking into a lamppost, but they do prove it's possible to die from leaning over the bonnet of a car.

I was going to rate some games, maybe visit the forums and check Fuse after writing this, but it's 4:00am, my sleeping patterns aren't exactly at their best at the moment and the lack of sleep has clearly taken its toil on my ability to remember what I originally wanted to put in this blog entry. So for that reason, I'm off to bed. I haven't even been checking any of the 'personal' stuff on this site over the last few days, I've just been pretending to read GS' reviews for the XP. :P I can check everything else tomorrow.

Alchemist is sleepy now. He'll speak with you again when he isn't sitting in front of his computer, half-asleep. Goodnight. ^.^

 

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~Alchemist3001

'Carving new trails into the skies'

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If the content of my older blog entries is any indication of what one should expect to see here, then the subject matter for today's blog entry should be obvious from the title. :P

Having very recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS XL, I thought it would be a nice idea to buy a certain game from a certain series that I had been waiting to play for quite a while now.

 

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You saw it coming didn't you?

It could easily be argued that this was the game that served as the deal breaker, the title that convinced me that I had made the right choice when deciding to spend around £200 on a system that I had previously been sitting on the fence about. While I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would, it was still a fun ride.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (or Ace Combat 3D Cross Rumble, as it's known in Japan) is a modern remake of Ace Combat 2. Unlike Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, Legacy takes place in the fictional world of Strangereal, an 'alternate Earth' that's served as the setting for majority of Ace Combat games to date.

In the late 1980's, the Belkan Federation found itself at the mercy of an economic crisis. The Belkan Democratic Party was held to blame for the country's failing economy, and was promptly removed from power following the 1991 Belkan Federal Law Review. Taking the BDP's place was a particularly influential right-wing extremist party. In response to the establishment of the new federal government, two of Belka's Eastern territories declared Independence from the country. Around this time, fresh, untapped mineral resources were discovered under what was now the Republic of Ustio. Determined to retake the separatist states and secure those resources, Belka staged a full-scale invasion of Ustio on the 25th of March, 1995, thus marking the beginning of the Belkan War. This plan backfired when Ustio formed a military and political alliance with the world's two rising superpowers: the Osean Federation and the Union of Greater Yuktobanian Republics. The war ended on the 31st of December, 1995 after aircraft belonging to the Belkan Luftwaffe detonated seven nuclear bombs on a number of cities in Southern Belka, causing both sides to quickly agree to an end to the fighting.

Three years after the war, Osea and Yuktobania have long since abandoned their alliance. Both countries are involved in a massive arms race, and the world teeters on the edge of a new war. Caught between these vast superpowers is the United States of Euro Asia or simply Usea, an island continent whose geographical location makes it a place of strategic importance to both sides. Fearing an invasion from one of the two countries, the northern states of Usea commit their respective treasuries towards military spending. Convinced that securing an alliance with Osea would be beneficial to Usea, several Southern Usean states make plans to join the Osean Federation in exchange for military protection. On the day of the signing of a treaty between the Southern states and the Federation, a continent-wide coup d'etat is staged by 'conservative extremists' fearing an invasion from Osea. With the coup forces having seized weapons and military supplies well in advance, the forces of the Northern Nations are caught off guard and before long find themselves backed into a corner. To augment the strength of their remaining troops, the Northern nations contract the Special Tactical Fighter Squadron 'Scarface' to join the fight against the coup forces.

 

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Legacy retains many of the gameplay elements found in the series' previous installments, meaning that anyone who is at all familiar with the older Ace Combat games will feel right at home here. Having said that, Legacy does introduce a new mechanic: Action Maneuvering. Chasing small enemy aircraft will gradually fill up the Action Maneuver gauge. Once the gauge hits the halfway point, it becomes possible for the player to execute an Action Maneuver, resulting in a short, few-seconds long cinematic in which the player's aircraft outmaneuvers the currently targeted opponent and gets on their six. This gives the player a small window of opportunity to launch an attack that has a very high chance of striking home. Allowing the gauge to fill up further before triggering an AM provides more time in which to make sure that your attack connects with your target. Against common enemies, the proper use and application of this mechanic dosen't prove to be vital to one's success, but it's worth pulling off, if only for the points bonus.

In the event that a missile is fired at the player, a yellow arrow will appear on the Heads-Up-Display once the missile closes within a certain range. Pushing the circle pad and the AM button in the direction of the arrow will enable the player to swiftly evade the missile and potentially get behind the aircraft that fired it for a counterattack (provided they're close enough).

 

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Left: Phoenix goes head-to-head with the coup's renowned 'Beast Squadron'

Right: Scarface Squadron attacks the coup forces' coastal oil facilities

 

In certain missions, the player will run into enemy Ace Squadrons, comprised of highly-skilled pilots who tend to have a unique way of fighting that makes them considerably more dangerous than what the coup forces will usually send one's way. This is where the AM mechanic proves to be most useful, especially towards the end of the game when both Ace and regular adversaries begin pulling off AM's of their own.

For the most part, using the AM mechanic to gain an edge over the enemy is fun. It works great, it looks great and it's a nice addition to the tried-and-true Ace Combat formula. As always, the soundtrack is outstanding, with the song played during the credits roll being particularly worthy of note. Legacy also borrows more than just a few tracks from previous games, a fact that should please long-time fans of the series. Another observation worth taking account is the fact that many of Legacy's missions are very short. Bearing in mind that Legacy was intended as a portable game, this is something I can live with.

 

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AM's can be used both offensively and defensively.

 

On the flip side, Legacy sometimes suffers from a degree of slowdown. This becomes most noticeable during the missions that take place under poor weather conditions or when an explosion goes off in close proximity to the player. It's also worth noting that the campaign is ridiculously short, and can easily be completed at least twice in a single day. After finishing the campaign for the third time, my total flight time was around ten hours. Speaking of things being easy, the game as a whole seems to be somewhat lacking terms of challenge. The AM mechanic, though fun to use, gives the player a huge advantage over their opponents, one that the enemy has virtually no real counter for, besides pulling off their own AM's, which can in turn be countered with more of the player's AM's.

On the whole, I enjoyed the game. It's not the best of the portable Ace Combat games, not by a longshot, but it was fun. It's worth looking into for those who enjoy arcade flight sims, or those who just like Ace Combat.

 

"Phoenix, engage!"

 

As far as blogging goes, I do have something planned for the next few entries. While I used to regularly publish gaming updates typically consisting of a list of recently purchased games along with several paragraphs detailing my thoughts on three titles of my choosing, I've decided to shift the focus of this blog elsewhere, partly because it's proven to be less than 'cost-effective' to write a gaming update like that for only a handful of readers. While I am aware that there are more people reading than commenting, not having a two-way connection with my audience makes it difficult to gauge both the intertests and size of my audience. This new topic I'm going to focusing on with future blog entries is something that should be easier for the readers to find common ground on. If you used to read blog posts from my old account, you might remember I began writing a series of comical blog posts. Though I said numerous times that I would continue it at some point, I never found the time to do so. Now seems like a good time to change that.

To give everyone an idea what we might be looking at, I'll just leave this here:

 

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Until next time.

 

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~Alchemist3001