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barrel

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Everything posted by barrel

  1. barrel

    Inside

    From the album: Barrel's storage of pics

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    Final Fantasy XV

    From the album: Barrel's storage of pics

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    Cold Steel II

    From the album: Barrel's storage of pics

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    Watchu Buyin' December 2016 Edition

    I think I may get The Last Guardian tomorrow. Just got myself a PS4 Pro... for reasons I don't know, so now the game seems way more appetizing since I heard it runs noticeably better on it. Otherwise, well, I bought too much this year and I don't think I have anything I care about for the rest of the month (unless random PSN or eshop games want to change my mind.).
  5. Developer: Spike Chunsoft/Tri-Ace Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: PS Vita and PS4 Release Date: October 18, 2016 ESRB: T for Teen Tri-Ace has quickly gone from one of my favorite video game developers ever to one I could not be more divided on within a span of a few years. For nearly an entire decade I thought they could no wrong because they struck a good balance between feeling very progressive with their Japanese role-playing games such as the complex Norse-themed classic Valkyrie Profile, to developing more traditional, yet fun, titles like Star Ocean: The Second Story on PS1 -- and this continued with their PS2 output as well. However, when they transitioned to high-definition consoles by making a couple of mediocre-at-best Star Ocean sequels, as well as lending a helping hand to two generally unwanted Final Fantasy XIII sequels, they have fallen much more out of favor with many individuals -- including myself (with the exception of perhaps the enigmatic gun-toting RPG Resonance of Fate). Still, after a new partnership with Spike Chunsoft, and the proclamation of making a modern spiritual successor to Valkyrie Profile, I could not abandon my naive hope to love Tri-Ace once more with the announcement of PS4/Vita RPG Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky. Much like I Am Setsuna was to Chrono Trigger earlier this year, Exist Archive has no shame in hearkening back to its key influence of Valkyrie Profile. It reprises a similar semi-active and combo-focused battle system, platforming gameplay elements, and even shares exact same music composer Motoi Sakuraba. But, rather than feeling like appreciated fanfare, Exist Archive frankly comes off as a pale imitation of an ultimately better series. Probably the most distinct difference that Exist Archive has from its spiritual predecessor is the setting. Valkyrie Profile, the original in particular, is an incredibly somber title in regards to storytelling as it frequently dealt with tragic deaths and the impending end of the world via Ragnarok. While Exist Archive does approach the topic of death like Valkyrie Profile, there is noticeably more levity with how it is handled as the main cast are essentially whisked from modern day earth and are granted immortality on an entirely different planet by a being named Yamatoga. Granted, immortality is hardly a blessing as Yamatoga is most certainly one who does not have good intentions, and the main characters yearn to return to their home on earth. Regardless of the setup, however, it is hard to care all that much since the cast of characters and narrative itself are rather dull throughout and you spend so much more time grinding in repeated dungeons than seeing any meaningful story development. I would describe playing Exist Archive as asking for someone to scratch a specific (Valkyrie Profile) itch, only for them to tickle that spot instead; leaving one unsatisfied for many reasons. For example, Exist Archive is not a varied title at all. There is no real world map with towns to visit or any sense of agency when exploring, like the game it apparently wishes to be. You basically just pick a dungeon to go into, and it may have minor exposition, or it may not. Problem is, there aren't actually that many different dungeons, let alone enemy variety, making it feel basically the same from start of finish as you move from one level to another. It also does not help that certain skills you would have right at the start of a Valkyrie Profile title, like the ability to slide or freeze enemies with a projectile skill, you basically don't get for more than ten hours. The most mixed aspect about Exist Archive is likely its combat system, however. There is a great deal of party customization, from attacks to slot in for each character, and a real emphasis on party synergy as you string together lengthy combos with flashy finishing attacks (or Demon's Greed), which is neat. Except, there is one thing that is likely to drive players up the wall with it, which is the strange and lengthy sort of input lag for like every attack. Not only does it really make timing combos with allies in semi-active turn-based combat system awkward, it just does not feel good in general. This certainly does not bode well for a release that really does not have any aspect to fall back on except its gameplay. There are parts to Exist Archive that I like, amidst the myriads of disappointment with its game design -- namely the customization. It does take a while to show its true colors, but the game absolutely feeds on its robust party customization. Aside from mix and matching character skills to your preference, characters can gain access to new jobs, passive abilities, or mid-combat skills. Even cooler than this is a mechanic where, based on the affinity between characters (gained through many battles with the same party members), the party gets access to a thing called "learning" in which they will randomly get another passive abilities from another party member. Meaning, if you are willing have members stick together, you can save a significant amount of level grinding as well have party members play totally different from their initial character class, which is rather cool. At the end of the day, all Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky really does is remind me of games I would rather play (or sequels I'll never get). It is not nearly as compelling in regards to storytelling as Valkyrie Profile, and its glaring flaws with repetition and the disjointed combat/exploration make it that much harder to stick with it. Sure, the party customization is rather neat, and the "learning" mechanic I would like to see in other games, but for most people I would simply say check out its key gaming influence instead if they have not already. Pros + Deep combat system with very robust party customization + "Learning" mechanic is a creative way to circumvent the standard level grind + Pleasant looking environmental backdrops + Reminds me how much I like Valkyrie Profile Cons - Extremely sparse in variety for dungeon layouts and enemy encounters, making the whole experience feel very repetitive - Progression is quite slow and basically takes dozens of hours for skills you should have right away - Neither the characters or storytelling are particularly compelling - Button inputs in combat feel excessively delayed and have it feel needlessly clunky and awkward to string combos together - Noticeable load times and visual hitches during gameplay on Vita - Reminds me how much better Valkyrie Profile is Overall Score: 5.5 (out of 10) Average By constantly living in the shadow of a ultimately significantly better games, all Exist Archive really does is feel that much more forgettable when most would be better served simply playing (or re-playing) its spiritual predecessor Valkyrie Profile Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
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    Exist Archive

  7. Developer: Spike Chunsoft Publisher: Spike Chunsoft Platform: PS Vita, PC, and PS4 Release Date: Sept 13, 2016 ESRB: M for Mature I have grown accustomed to assuming that if a game title has the word Mystery in it, it is likely associated with Spike Chunsoft's classic roguelike Mystery Dungeon franchise. Well, that's only half true in the case of One Way Heroics, a former -- and surprisingly -- beloved PC only indie release. It was not until Spike Chunsoft got the approval of the same indie developer that they decided to use One Way Heroics as a template for an entirely overhauled remake called Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics. With new visuals, added playable content, and being much more widely available, one can only hope Mystery Dungeon: One Way Heroics is a worthy successor. Admittedly, I have not played the original indie release, so I was not quite sure what to make of Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics upon starting out. I mean, it is a simple game inherently -- you try to move from left to right while escaping a world-consuming light in an RPG roguelike framework. Yet, as I was playing it my brain was constantly finding comparisons to other games since it straddles the line between feeling influenced and also feeling distinctly its own thing. For example, many of the gameplay mechanics in Mystery Chronicle are quite reminiscent of the classic roguelike Shiren: The Wanderer, which is unsurprising as both are made by Spike Chunsoft. From the turn-based nature, procedurally generated level design, limited inventory space, plenty of familiar traps, or the fact the Shiren himself is literally an unlockable playable character makes it hit home even further. The comparison sort of ends there as the expectation of failure is much higher in Mystery Chronicle and it is less about winning as it is about journeying a bit further than your previous expedition while little by little unlocking more ways to play the game. This playthrough went from excellent to terrible as soon as that bug decided to show up Probably one of the cooler aspects about One Way Heroics is how it is willing to break from roguelike conventions. For one, you can actually make a permanent save during a run (or multiple, depending on your luck.), which, save-scumming temptation aside, can be very helpful as solid runs can actually last several hours. Though, considering the often harsh difficulty when on normal and above, you may often embarrassingly meet your end minutes in like I often did. The title bounces between deviously addictive and frustrating at the same breath. Lady luck often plays too big of a hand in a solid playthrough or not simply because there are so many things that can go so wrong, and so quick. For as huge of an advantage as being able to save mid-run, or use of the title's "Dream Vault" to draw upon items gained from previous playthroughs for an early advantage, I found myself in many situations I could not do anything because of what felt like bad dice rolls. Sometimes the title may decide to randomly one-shot the player with an unfortunate enemy critical, or maybe your damage output is simply not good enough to break past an enemy blocking your way during a dungeon because you had not gotten a good weapon in like thirty minutes, which led the screen-scrolling "shrine raid" to instantly kill you. As I uncovered the different endings on higher difficulties it felt like success was born of luck (... and reloads) than player ability, and bad luck was far more common. Still, Mystery Chronicle also gives you a lot of options in how you want to play it. There are many playable classes, skill perks to choose from, and pretty much every run will be different because of it. I originally found myself playing the knight class, for instance, which excelled in defense. The better I got at the game, however, I found myself favoring classes such as Ranger, which is more adept at picking locks and avoiding encounters altogether with their "sprint" ability. There are many more classes to choose from like being about to play as Danganronpa lead, Makato Naegi, whom fires Truth Bullets and has a lot of charisma to recruit allies or the Pirate class whom is strong but scares away most potential friends due to their foul mouth. It is clear the title has a lot of personality as well. However, not all of its quirk is in good taste. Weirdly enough, the title is actually rated M. It is not immediately apparent as to why with its generally family-friendly retro aesthetic until you uncover much of the juvenile writing buried in a lot of character sidequests and conversations. Pretty much every conversation with a woman character randomly turns into perverted fanservicey banter, regardless of your character's appearance. It is a shame because the title feels so close to being cute (despite the oddly bleak setting at times) only for a character to creepily suggest licking the main character all over two seconds later. It also does not help that much of the voice acting is just as cringe-worthy as a lot of the dialogue, where it becomes apparent that one voice actress in particular clearly voices at least four other characters. Speaking of which, Mystery Chronicle feels bizarrely unpolished in several other key ways as a game too. Load times are abnormally long, for example. Aside from the initial load time when the game generates a new world, there are actually frequent twenty second load times as you are going through levels. Then there are interface issues that grew under my skin as well when playing, like the inability to skip banter you have already seen (like a certain king's speech that starts every run). Which, for a title so ingrained in repetition to eventually gain success, the annoyances more than start to add up over time. In a lot of ways, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics is a title that I enjoyed less the more time I threw at it. As as a game it has some cool ideas with its decidedly unique approach on roguelikes that makes it quite easy to pick up and play. However, after a while I simply got annoyed with what felt like penchant focus on luck and the title's general lack of polish, such as abnormally long load times. Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics feels so close to being charming, but in a crowded roguelike market in which there are simply better examples to choose from, being unique does not quite travel far enough to avoid its many more glaring issues. Pros + Simple, yet addictive, take on roguelikes that is very straightforward + Lots to features to unlock or gameplay nuances one can uncover over time Cons - Bizarrely long load times - Underwhelming 2D visuals and soundtrack - Bad voice acting with some tasteless writing - RNG decides the pace of a run far more than it should, especially on harder difficulties Overall Score: 5 (out of 10) Average Though it does have its addictive moments, the frustrations that accompany Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics make it harder to justify the time spent with it when there are many better examples of roguelikes that also happen to feel more fair. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  8. barrel

    Black Friday Plans

    I was going to pick up Titanfall 2 around Black Friday, but... then I just picked it up for $30 which is better than most of the deals for it on that day. Other than that the only thing I'm set on picking up for sure is a New 3DS for $100. TK's list of stuff does make it tempting to pick up a thing or two tho...
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    One Way Heroics 4

    From the album: One Way Heroics

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    One Way Heroics

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    One Way Heroics 3

    From the album: One Way Heroics

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    One Way Heroics 2

    From the album: One Way Heroics

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    One Way Heroics 1

    From the album: One Way Heroics

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    Trails of Cold Steel II

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