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Annual Halloween Gaming feat. [Review Quickie] Dark Souls

As with every year, I try to play games during the month of October that have a theme/setting/mood related to Halloween. In October of 2011 I played Demon's Souls for the first time along with my annual playing of Splatterhouse on the PC Engine. This year is very similar to 2011 in that I have played through Demon's Souls' successor, Dark Souls in addition to Splatterhouse. I was going to do one of my Review Quickies for Dark Souls, but when I read through the one I did two years ago for Demon's Souls, I realized the one for Dark Souls would be virtually the same. All the same pluses and minuses and reasons I loved Demon's Souls are true for Dark Souls. So because of that I will talk about Dark Souls only touching on the things I feel need to be said that are new things.

Dark Souls (PS3, 2011)

In spite of technically being a new intellectual property between Namco Bandai and From Software since Sony decided to drop the ball with Demon's Souls, Dark Souls clearly stays so close to the what was established with Demon's Souls as to practically beg a lawsuit attempt. Of course, From created from scratch again anything that would infringe and came up with one-hundred percent awesome all over again and everything that could be kept was, from the feel of the gameplay, to the opaque was the story/lore was dolled out, to the lack of detailed information about a lot of things. Hopefully that last one will finally be made far less of a problem with Dark Souls II. The two biggest additions this time around is the open-world structure and the covenants. I found neither of these things really added much to the game. All the open-world structure manages to do is get you to waste a lot of time getting from place to place. I did enjoy it for how the entirety of Lordran fit together, but wasting time running through places you've already finished just to get to a new place was a bit annoying. Revisiting areas is fine and so is the open-world structure so long as you have a fast travel option to places you've already been. You do get the ability to warp after obtaining the Lordvessel, but that's so late in the game that it gets very little use. Same can be said for finally getting the Rite of Kindling, except this one I never used. Luckily the warping to bonfires you've already visited will be something you can do from the very beginning of the game in Dark Souls II, according to director Yui Tanimura. The covenants are completely optional and you do not have to join any of them if you don't want to. That can be seen as a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective. I found I liked that they were completely optional, but then they're also a really interesting aspect to the game that you'd completely miss out on if you didn't try at least one out. The covenants are supposedly going to be a much bigger thing in Dark Souls II, but I don't know what that means exactly. I'm kind of expecting them to be a thing you'll be far more compelled to experiment with in the upcoming sequel. The most interesting one was the Forest Hunter covenant. In this covenant you can be summoned from anywhere in the world of Lordran at any time to the Darkroot Garden to defend it against other players trying to make their way through it. The Blade of the Darkmoon covenant is also really cool in that you can invade other players' games in order to punish them for sinning. An example of a sin in Dark Souls is if you betray a covenant you have joined by killing one of the NPCs that's apart of it. Covenants are a really cool idea that looks to be expanded upon in Dark Souls II and it'll be interesting to see how.

You might be wondering what build did I play my character as throughout the game. Unlike in Demon's Souls where I played a sorcerer build that was about casting magic spells and miracles from distance with light armor and fast dodges. For Dark Souls I did the exact opposite and went for a melee build that was all about wielding huge weapons, clad in heavy armor, and hitting like a truck! The main stats I focused on were strength, endurance, and vitality. I put a few points into dexterity early on because I needed to, but after that any more was unnecessary. Because of this build I pretty much "tanked" all of the bosses by getting up in their faces and slapping them around with huge axes, hammers, and halberds. I still had to be smart and keep my shield up while looking for the time and place to strike. This is From's Souls series after all.

Just like with Demon's Souls, Dark Souls is a phenomenal game in every sense of the word. These games can be hard to like at first, but if you give it the time to grow on you, you just might find yourself falling in love with these games much more than almost anything else you've ever played.

Veni, vidi, vici! (for the second time)

RATING: 6 out of 6 / 10 out of 10

Gaming Madness!

I have a lot of games added to my collection for this update, a total of 25 to be exact! It's madness I tell you, MADNESS! If you'd like to watch me go over the additions you can check that out on my YouTube video. Since there are so many titles for this update, I am only going to cover a select few here. Watch my video to see them all! null Dragon's Crown (PS3) - I have already played through this game and it is a delight! I've been playing as the elf as I mentioned I would in some places and she seems like a really strong character. If you are looking for someone to co-op with and are in need of the best elf in the land, don't hesitate to let me know and Daerwen will be there to kick ass! JoJo no Kimyo na Bouken: All-Star Battle (PS3) - From the makers of the well-known Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, CyberConnect2, comes their take on a fighter for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Unlike most JoJo video games that focus exclusively on Part 3, Stardust Crusaders, this game as the name implies brings together characters from all 8 parts. It's a fan service game so if you're looking for a tournament quality fighter, you won't find it here. Having said that this game is still the best fighter CC2 has ever put out as far as I'm concerned. Ketsui: Kizuna Jigoku Tachi EXTRA (PS3) - The premier shmup developers at CAVE have finally released their first PlayStation 3 game and it is a port of their early 2000s masterpiece Ketsui! I got my hands on the limited edition which includes a 2-disc soundtrack and superplay Blu-ray. null Sokkou Seitokai: Sonic Council (SAT) - Add yet another obscure Japanese only released fighter to my collection. I played a bit when I received it and the game seems pretty good. Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo (PCE) - One of the holy grails I put off acquiring for quite awhile, but I now have it and my copy is super minty! Arguably the best of the old-school Castlevanias, you can experience the original on the cheap on Wii Virtual Console or PSP via Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Star Fox 2 (SNES) - A game that I anticipated in the mid-'90s that was canceled in spite of the game essentially being completed in favor of the N64 Star Fox game. This is a reproduction from the people at TimeWalk Games and it is very nice! I'm looking forward to playing it! Panzer Bandit (PS) - In a similar way that Gunners Heaven for the PlayStation is a Gunstar Heroes clone, this game is a Guardian Heroes clone for PlayStation. Hopefully it'll be more competent than Gunners Heaven was!

Gaming Pickups From The Last Couple Months

I have now joined the legion of 3DS owners and look forward to enjoying what the platform brings. I have kicked it off with seven games so far already! If you are looking for more people to add to your 3DS friends list, add me and let me know your code too! My 3DS Friend Code is: 2122-6348-8351. null Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS) - After a long 10 year hiatus of the main SMT series, the fourth game has finally arrived. The reviews have been largely extremely positive so I look forward to playing this entry! Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers (3DS) - This is a port of the a Sega Saturn SMT spinoff from 1997 that was going to see a release in the west on PlayStation at the time, but Sony refused to allow it. Us westerners are finally now allowed to experience it for the first time. Project x Zone (3DS) - The successor to Namco x Capcom that was only released in Japan for PlayStation 2. Reviews have been very mixed, claiming it's a lot of flash and very little substance when it comes to actual strategy. I doubt that will bother me any since I did play the PS2 game and it didn't bother me there either. It's a title that is clearly far more about the three different publishers' (Namco, Capcom, Sega) characters interacting with one another rather than anything else. null Tetris: Axis (3DS) - This is the one 3DS game I've played to any extent so far. Yes, another Tetris game, but I gotta have my Tetris on my systems, especially on my portables. This is a great version of Tetris with all of the expected modes, plus some good (Fever, Fit, and BombBliss) and bad (Stage Racer, Shadow Wide, and Capture) variants. Star Fox 64 3D (3DS) - I don't have quite the love for Star Fox 64 like so many others, but I do enjoy it and didn't already have the N64 version since I, well, don't have an N64 anymore. Code of Princess (3DS) - This game looks like a fun Guardian Heroes style beat-'em-up/RPG. Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS) - I bought this mainly to get the $30 Nintendo eShop credit they were giving when you registered this and Shin Megami Tensei IV. I've heard a lot of good things about this new Fire Emblem and it seems to be the best way into the series for newbies. null Agile Warrior F-111X (PS) - Looks like a fun Ace Combat style game where you can blow up all the things! Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (PS) - I've already played this game years ago. I'm using this copy to replace my greatest hits green labeled copy since I found it very cheap. null F.E.A.R. 3 (PS3) - I received this game for my birthday this year from my brother because he and another fellow, RivalShadeX, were playing online together and they wanted me to join them. Quantum Theory (PS3) - A Gears of War clone by Tecmo Koei. I remember playing the demo years ago I feeling like it wasn't very good at all, but I was persuaded to get it when I came across it because it was only $5. Bionic Commando (PS3) - While not a particularly well received re-imagining of the classic series, it still looked good enough to me to give it a shot for cheap. Tomb Raider: Underworld (PS3) - After playing my first Tomb Raider game in Tomb Raider: Legend earlier this year, I decided to pick up the direct sequel to that game since it clearly ended on a cliffhanger and I want to see the end of that story. Persona 4 Arena (PS3) - I held out on this one for awhile since it has been very hard to keep up with all the different fighters coming out, but now I have it so I'll give it a go in the near future.

E3 2013 Thoughts & Games That Interested Me

photo PS4joystiq1-tn_zps1ab195fe.jpg My personal thoughts on E3 and the games that most interested me can be listened to via an audio blog. It runs 29 minutes long. If you would like to download an MP3 of it: click here. Games Covered: [PS3] BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z The Last Guardian [3DS] Contra Shin Megami Tensei IV Project x Zone [Wii U] Bayonetta 2 The Wonderful 101 Super Mario 3D World Super Smash Bros. for Wii U [PS4] Killzone: Shadow Fall Watch_Dogs Wolfenstein: The New Order Shadow Warrior inFamous: Second Son Transistor Final Fantasy XV The Order: 1886 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Mirror's Edge 2

[GPY] Usagi's School of Hard Knocks!

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Words by Evil Guppy Our wonderful Shateigashira, Miyamoto Usagi, has come to the conclusion that it is time that we guppies break away from the chains of suckyness and rise to our place as champions of the online fighting community! Thus, Evil Guppy [GPY] is proud to open the doors to Usagi's School of Hard Knocks! At this prestigious school, Sensei Usagi will help teach us the various facets of fighting games to help better our abilities and the quality of our fighting game GPY events. Usagi's classes will function like our traditional GPY events but instead of battles and buttons, it will be a place to learn, practice, and hone our fighting skills! But before we can officially attend Usagi's School of Hard Knocks, we first need to select a fighting game to focus on. The officers have selected six fighting titles to focus on and we hope to reduce them down to one or two with your help. Darkstalkers Resurrection - For $14.99 you can get Darkstalkers Resurrection and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (Not to be confused with Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix) via the PlayStation Store. Fighting Vipers - Only $4.99 on the PSN Store. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (HD Ver.) - $19.99 on the PSN Store. Marvel vs. Capcom Origins - for $14.99, you can get digital copies for both Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix - $9.99 on the PSN Store. Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown - It was previously free for PlayStation Plus members and can be purchased digitally for $14.99 or with all the DLC for $29.99. There are two surveys at the original site's post. The first asks "What fighting games do you own", you can select as many as apply. The second survey asks "which fighting games do you want to play", here you can select your top choices. Feel free to select multiple choices but please try to keep it to your top contenders. After the votes have been tallied we will pick the top game (or maybe two depending on feedback) and then hold our first class. Tardiness is unacceptable and liability waivers must be signed by a parent or guardian! And don't forget your homework! Check out the YouTube series First Attack for some great tips. Now go vote before sensei Usagi smacks you with a ruler! --- Additional words by Miyamoto Usagi I want to stress how important it is that any interested participants really need to watch First Attack. I don't want to spend all the time it would take to teach everyone from scratch by myself. It would be too time consuming for GPY events. I need people to come to these events and ask questions about what they've watched and about things as we are playing. I can help, but I'm not an expert. Also, these events are open to all. Even if you aren't a member of [GPY], but are interested in joining us please let me or Evil Guppy know on Twitter or comment on this post.

Games/Movies Pickups for June 2013

More games! And this time movies, too!  Triggerheart Exelica Enhanced (PS2) - Fun looking shmup with a unique enemy swinging mechanic that was originally on Xbox 360, then ported to PS2 the year after in Japan which is quite the strange trip backwards wouldn't you say? KOF: Maximum Impact Regulation "A" (PS2) - This is the arcade upgrade version of Maximum Impact 2 which only came out in Japan and was later ported to PS2. I've always enjoyed the Maximum Impact series even though they didn't perform well in sales for SNK. Homura (PS2) - I can't remember exactly why I originally wanted this game, but clearly something looked interesting or I wouldn't have put it on my want list. When I get around to it perhaps I'll remember what that was. *heh* Next 2 games not pictured Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (PS2) - I've enjoyed Ace Combat 2 on the original PlayStation so perhaps I'll enjoy this one too. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2 - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon (PS2) - My MegaTen PS2 collection is now complete!  Spaceballs - Probably my favorite parody film because it actually makes jokes and not just a bunch of references like in today's "parodys." Ninja Scroll - One of the classic animes of the 1990s. Not a lot of substance, but definitely a whole lot of flash. Death Proof - I really enjoy this movie and I know many don't, but just love Tarantino's dialog scenes and this one has more than is usual for him. Oh yeah, there's also a ton of great car stunts in the final act! Hard Boiled - One of John Woo's many great pre-hollywood action films. I also recommend The Killer and A Better Tomorrow. The Player - A very underrated satire of hollywood. A fun watch! Zatoichi - If you can get past the fairly distracting and poorly done CG blood effects it's an entertaining good time watching Takeshi Kitano play the blind swordsman, Zatoichi. Downfall - A very interesting dramatic look at the last moments of the Third Reich.

New AMD-based Desktop Computer

Here's my new custom desktop computer. It has been a long time coming since my last one was originally built in 2004! I spared little expense (the graphics card is moderate because this system isn't intended for gaming) to make it a beast that will hopefully last me for many years to come like the previous one. CASE: Cooler Master Elite 431 POWER SUPPLY: XtremeGear 600W MOTHERBOARD: GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ Crossfire USB 3.0 SATA-III PROCESSOR: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-core RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4GBx4) DDR3/1866MHz Dual Channel VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 1GB 16X PCIe 3.0 HARD DRIVE: Western Digital 1TB Caviar Blue SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 7200 RPM FLASH CARD READER: 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer DVD DRIVE: Samsung 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW WATERCOOLER: Asetek 510LC 120MM My future plan is to switch to an SSD hard drive when they come down in price enough. I don't do hybrids. Computer Apr. 2013 - angled Computer Apr. 2013 - back Computer Apr. 2013 - inside (bottom) Computer Apr. 2013 - inside (top) Computer Apr. 2013 - side (open) Computer Apr. 2013 - front Computer Apr. 2013 - side (closed)

Last 2 Months of Gaming Pickups

I bring you a new batch of gaming goodness that I've added to my awesome gaming collection. Check it out, won't you?  Korg DS-10 Plus (DS) - This is not so much a game as it is a real synthesizer on a DS cart. Fun to mess around with! Destruction Derby (PS) - A solid game for an early PlayStation release. DD keeps it nice and simple so you can enjoy those awesome-for-1995 crashes! Skydiving Extreme (PS) - Only the greatest game ever made about skydiving! :D Kurohyou: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinshou & Kurohyou 2: Ryu ga Gotoku Ashura Hen (PSP) - Both of these titles are part of a spinoff series from the main Yakuza franchise from Sega. Looking forward to seeing how they are in the future. Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi (PSP) - Hey look! A new physical PSP game for North America! Sure, it's mediocre, but there's hot guys everywhere! :lol: WTF: Work Time Fun (PSP) - I used to own this and now I own it again. Can't resist that ramen timer! Flex, flex, spice, and enjoy! Vampire Resurrection (PS3) - This is a re-release of the second and third games in the Darkstalkers series of fighters by Capcom. I have always enjoyed them, but they never achieved much popularity outside of Japan. I'm looking for some peeps to play against so let me know if you'd like to play. Midway Arcade Origins (PS3) - A compilation of 31 Midway arcade games. Hopefully it'll turn out to have mostly proper emulation and crisper visuals than last generation's Midway Arcade Treasures releases. Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 (PS3) - My love for some licenses leads me, at times, make what are probably not great purchases. This is the follow-up to the first FotNS Dynasty Warriors game and I now have both, but have played neither so far. It wasn't released physically for PS3 in North America so I found out there was an english version released for non-Japan Asia and picked it up. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND (PS3) - The changes made in Continuum Shift II really rubbed me the wrong way so I'm hoping CS Extend will set it right again. I bought the not-so-limited limited edition for pretty cheap and it came with an artbook, soundtrack, and a now outdated calendar. Unreal II: The Awakening (XB) - It's Epic Games trying to tell a story in the Unreal universe. How cute. I'm sure that narrative with be top-notch and the voice acting superb. What's that? It isn't? Shocking. Burnout Revenge (XB) - It's the direct follow-up to Burnout 3. What's not to like? Shadow Hearts: From the New World (PS2) - A JRPG series that has an intriguing looking battle system. I picked up the third one in the series because it seems to take itself less seriously than the previous entries. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (PS2) - A great update of OutRun 2 from the previous year, but now also on PS2! Rogue Trooper (PS2) - I played this a few weeks ago. A fun, solid game with a good amount of cool options to take out your enemies. Red Faction II (PS2) - A spur of the moment purchase on the cheap. Looks solid. Unreal Tournament (PS2) - I played this through soon after I bought it. For a launch port of UT for PS2, it's pretty good and even has keyboard and mouse support. Alter Echo (PS2) - Looks like a decent action/adventure.

[Review Quickie] Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3, 2013) + excellent instrumental soundtrack + combat is a lot of fun and is very satisfying to "cut what you will" + really good over-the-top boss battles + voice acting and narrative are decent and ironically enjoyable (NANOMACHINES, SON!) - camera can be unwieldy at times Can Platinum do no wrong, Ladies and Gentlemen? They not only consistently create incredible games of their own, but now you can put "game rescuer" on their resume as well! Platinum truly are kings of the action game. Nobody can touch them! This time they flex their action game prowess with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Ever since I played Metal Gear Solid 4 for the first time and saw what they did with Raiden, I was begging for an action game spin-off. That game is here and it is glorious! The Zandatsu mechanic is what really drives the gameplay here and it was done masterfully. Cutting enemies up and taking their energy-spine-thing is super satisfying, especially when you chain three of them together! The parry mechanic is effectively how you "block" and if you time it especially well, you will strike back immediately and if landed will usually result in an opportunity for a Zandatsu. There's also many different helpful items and sub-weapons like various grenades, rocket launchers, and stealth items. A few of the bosses' weapons can be had after defeating them and used as secondary weapons like Monsoon's sai and Sundowner's pincer blades. Boss battles are another big highlight. Many are over-the-top fun, especially the final boss Senator Armstrong which is getting many different nicknames from the gaming community. Mine is Senator Incredible Hulk. As you can tell, I think MGR is yet another phenomenal game by Platinum and if you are an action aficionado like I am: play this game! RATING: 5 out of 6 / 8.5 out of 10