Archive for the 'Gaming Goodies' Category

06
Jan
20

Trophy Hunt – 1/6

Trophy Test

I gave up. Kingdom Hearts is on its way back to GameFly. Between hating Chain of Memories even more than I hate the rest of the series, boredom with Birth By Sleep as I went to fill in Aqua and Ventus’ reports after already having done everything with Terra, and beating my head against the wall repeatedly trying to finish the EX Gummi Missions in Kingdom Hearts II, I decided it was best to walk away. I can always come back to it later, I suppose.

As though attempting to purge myself of the taint, I went back to a few games that still needed some love. Redownloaded Dishonored, and made it through the first couple of chapters (both lethal and non-lethal), snatching a nice double handful of trophies along the way. Don’t know if it’s grabbed me enough to make me bludgeon through the whole thing on the way to the platinum just yet, but it was a nice change of pace.

Also picked up Resident Evil 6 again; I’d previously beaten Chris and Jake’s campaigns, but Ada and Leon still needed love as well as most of the miscellaneous trophies. Picked up a handful of the misc. stuff in a couple of sessions, but not much story progress. I’ll get there. Probably going to speed through Leon’s campaign tonight, then pick at Ada and the collectibles while I wait to see what torture GameFly inflicts on me next.

While on the subject of RE6, I just want to point out: It isn’t nearly as bad as some folks make it out to be. Is it a good Resident Evil? Oh, good Christ, no. But is it a decent game with lots of content and fun to be found? Yes. (Note, I am considered a pariah in the RE fandom for this opinion, as well as the one that says RE4 isn’t all that great.)

Mega Man X Legacy Collection is going strong, even though I’m awful at it. Finished all the X1 content, and knocked out most of X4; still have to kill the last boss with Rookie Hunter mode turned off. (Sigma kicked my ass for about 3 hours, I decided I’d had enough, and in a moment of weakness I turned to easy mode. Sue me.) Haven’t touched X3 as of yet, and X2 is made of hatred (can’t even take out Overdrive Ostrich so far), but I’ll get there eventually, I’m sure.

Also came back to Doom (Reboot/2016/4 or whatever you want to call it.) I’d knocked out all the multiplayer trophies a while ago, but hadn’t gotten far in singleplayer. Trying to rectify that. Just got back from my first trip into hell, which I think is around the 1/3rd to halfway point. Picking up collectibles and weapon challenges as I go, unless they prove to be too big a pain in the ass (I can always use chapter select to pick them up later when I’m a dark god fully stocked with Runes and the BFG), and only got one trophy out of it so far (the one for going to hell the first time), since the other basic stuff had already been knocked out when I picked at it initially, but it’ll steamroll eventually, I’m sure.

The living room in the (no longer exactly) new place is coming together, and the streaming PC was located at last, so I may get back to doing some streams soon; any suggestions on what you’d like to see played if and when I do? Always open. What trophies are you looking at, or have recently been added to your cabinet? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

02
Jan
20

Trophy Hunt – 1/2

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Been a bit since I did one of these, since I decided to take a sabbatical and then everything went south for Christmas.

Not much was accomplished during the month of December, I fear. I did manage to get the Platinum in the first three Uncharted games, which was satisfying. I still have to do a few things to claim 100% in them – have to do the speed runs in Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception, and have to do Brutal difficulty on all three – but I am pleased to have finally ticked them off my list. Maybe one day I’ll go back and do the PS3 versions, just because. Also on the Uncharted train, I restarted Golden Abyss on the Vita, though given my Vita’s battery issues and comfort issues while using it, it’s significantly slower going than the console editions were.

I also delved back into one of my most hated series ever. Kingdom Hearts. I know it makes me a heartless monster, but I’ve never liked the series. I enjoy the hell out of the combat mechanics, it satisfies my semi-autistic OCD grind-loving tendencies, but the graphic style and plot – or, as I call it, “that incomprehensible mess that was the result of three dozen unmedicated schizophrenic fanboys being let loose with typewriters and nobody to tell them ‘no'” – as well as the godawful voice acting and the general attitude of most of the fans of the series irritate me. Still, it was lurking in my trophy log with only one trophy popped from ages ago, so I decided to tick it off.

Kingdom Hearts has fallen to my blade. Kingdom Hearts II is almost done; I have to do the stupid skateboard game with 5,000 points, get 1,000 points skateboarding in Twilight Town, do the posters minigame, deal with the Gummi Ship crap and beat it on hard. It’ll happen, it’s just annoying. Birth By Sleep is likewise almost done; I have to finish filling in Aqua and Ventus’ journals (mostly finish off the arena and beat the Flaming Dogturd of Hatred… I mean, the Mysterious Figure… with them) and then beat it on hard. I also have to finish the damned duck-quacking rhythm minigame, but I’m already tearing my hair out from hearing “It’s A Small World” roughly 8,000 times trying to get it. Chain of Memories, though. Ugh. I have… 3? Maybe 4? trophies in it, and I hate the damned thing. It takes away the one joy I find in these games (the combat) and replaces it with a sluggish, unintuitive and frequently annoying mess, replaces the decent exploration with an annoying collectathon that is more trouble than it’s worth, and amps up the unintelligible story to 11. Yay.

I’ll wade through – if only to say I did it – but I am not happy about it.

Other minor progress was made on the Crash Bandicoot collection, though the platinums for that are likely to remain permanently out of reach; those time trials are just not something I think I can do. The controls and frustration factor are just too aggravating for me to persevere. Also picked up volume 1 of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection, and while my ancient skills at this arcane series have long since faded, I’ve managed to bludgeon my way into Sigma’s Fortress in the first game, and feel confident that I will be able to get the platinum, given time and effort. Lastly, delved back into Silent Hill: Book of Memories, which I am aware makes me a heathen but is still a game I enjoy. The trophy grind is ridiculous here – you get one for roughly every 4 maps you complete, but it’s going to take a whole lot of grinding on each one to get some progress done – and I’ll never platinum it (can’t afford the DLC, and there’s a handful of multiplayer trophies that just aren’t happening 7 years after the game came out) but I still like it.

All in all, not a great month – especially compared to periods where I managed to platinum 10-15 games and rack up several hundred trophies – but at least a somewhat satisfying one. We’ll see how the new year goes.

What’re you working on? What games should I chase after imaginary e-penis points in next? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

19
Nov
19

Trophy Hunt – 11/19

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It has been a period of reflection, for the most part. I finished Catherine: Full Body, with the exception of the Rapunzel minigame and the Babel levels. Both are being picked at, but my frenzy for the game has subsided a bit. Code Vein has fallen to my determination, with two of the four endings checked off. The last two can be done in one run (essentially, ignore an item, kill the last boss; reload your save, pick up that item, kill the boss again), but I’ve been picking at it slowly. The Cathedral area is pain personified, the least navigation friendly zone in any Souls-like game I’ve ever played, and doing it a third time (while having to poke into all the corners, because you need to collect all the doodads for the final ending) is just not making me a happy camper.

But, as noted, it’s been about reflection. Going back and ticking a few boxes on older games. I’ve been working on Indigo Prophecy, which I remember enjoying when it originally came out, and which still has some charm to it, but whenever it pops up the “get ready!” prompt in the middle of the screen, I cringe. Whoever decided to make the controls operate off of a pair of Simon Says machines running in the middle of the screen at fast pace never stopped to contemplate folks who’re down an eye. Kinda hard to focus on both of them, and you need to if you want to pass the QTEs. Still, about halfway through.

I also redownloaded Beyond: Two Souls, intending to give it a try again. I’ve absolutely demolished Heavy Rain, I’m about halfway through Detroit, I beat Indigo Prophecy when it originally came out and have hit the halfway mark on the PS4 version. What was missing? David Cage’s other magnum opus.

God, I hate Beyond. It makes me want to punch Ellen Page right in the nose. I hate Jodie, I hate Aiden, I hate the storytelling, I hate the lack of an actual story, and while Cage frequently has questionable control schemes (as noted, Indigo Prophecy‘s QTEs are annoying, and Heavy Rain and Detroit both have some iffy moments), Beyond seems determined to make me smash the damned controller. “Press the direction of Jodie’s movement when the camera slows!” the game tells me helpfully. Sure. Mind telling me which part’s movement I’m following? How about not changing the camera angle mid-input? Some indication of when to actually press it? No? Okay.

I don’t know how he managed to convince Sony to let him make Detroit after Beyond, but I’m apparently in the minority. Oh well. I’ve gotten up to where Ellen Page is homeless and feeling very indie-film, so I think I’m about a third of the way through; I can slog through the rest. Don’t know if I’m going to get the Platinum, though; among other things, it requires playing through the whole game in Duo mode, which I am not looking forward to.

Also revisited an old survival horror game called White Night. It’s a weird little artsy noir ghost story. Has some good ideas – the graphical presentation is definitely different and interesting, the story so far (I’m in chapter 3 of 6 currently) is interesting, grotesque enough to make you go “ewww” and subtle enough to make you have to work out the details and connections yourself without it feeling too vague and airy.

The controls are fucking awful, though. Combined with limited save opportunities, limited resources and one hit kills, as well as 150+ collectibles, it’s a slog. Another one that’s probably not going to be in the Platinum cabinet; among other things, you have to beat the game in one sitting between 8PM and 8AM the next day, which given how tedious and frustrating the game can be, I don’t know that I want to do it. But I’m pretty sure I can knock it into the 90%+ range, if I just sit down and do it.

All this backtracking and picking at things long dormant in my trophy list is about to push my overall percentage to 50%. I will do a little dance when that happens. (Probably about the same time as I finish either White NightBeyond, or Indigo Prophecy, though completing the Rapunzel minigame in Catherine or getting the last couple of endings in Code Vein might do it, as well. Pushing a 15-20% into the 60%s seems more likely than tipping an 80% into a 90%, though.

Ghost Parade is on the way from GameFly; how no idea how that’s going to go. Apparently it’s a Metroidvania set in a forest full of Indonesian mythological and supernatural creatures? We’ll see. No one’s done a trophy guide for it yet that I can find, so it’s going to be mostly blind. We’ll see if I can wring a Plat out of it. Doesn’t seem very popular or played, either. Could end up in the rare shelf. Exciting!

What about you folks out there? What are you playing? What’s in your to-do list? What do you think should be added to mine? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

12
Nov
19

Trophy Hunt – 11/12

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The hunt continues (and will likely never end, unless they dispose of them when PS5 hits… which will make me very sad.) This last week, we assaulted Catherine, claiming all the story-based, ending-based and miscellaneous trophies. All that remains there is getting a gold rank on everything (halfway down; Easy’s done, Normal’s almost done. All that’s left is a couple more Normal and then Hard), completing Babel mode (which is a goddamn nightmare and not something I’m looking forward to) and doing the Rapunzel minigame. The enjoyment has passed… now it’s time for the slog. I still think the game is great, though, and people need to play it.

Code: Realize – Wintertide Miracles was devoured, though I was unimpressed. With VNs, I try to actually read them, but if the game doesn’t grab me within the first chunk, I will put that sucker on fast-forward and just blitz the rest. I don’t know who was responsible for this, but it read more like bad fan-fiction than a proper entry in the series. I liked the original, but all the sequels and additional material have been garbage. Still, another Platinum for the pile.

Sekiro hovers with just the first couple of trophies done; I got sidelined by deciding I wanted to do something mindless, so went and got Saint’s Row: Gat Out of Hell dusted off, and went to town. I’m missing one more collectible (can’t for the life of me find Gat’s last commentary) and then just have to rack up 20 hours played and one minigame trophy. I accept that I won’t get the Platinum (there’s a trophy for playing 3 hours in online co-op, and no one seems interested in this game anymore), but I am confident I can at least park it at 90%, which is good enough.

Last of the major progress this week was Code: Vein. Only two bosses down, but I have a good smattering of the miscellaneous trophies and have been making good progress. Love the game, especially given that it is much faster paced than I was expecting (given as it is frequently billed as anime Dark Souls), though it’s another one that’s never going to see a Platinum due to online requirements.

There was some other random picking; picked up a trophy or two in Rack ‘n’ Ruin and Indigo Prophecy, both of which I really should just go and finish. (And in the same vein as Indigo Prophecy, I still have Detroit: Become Human and Beyond: Two Souls rotting on my hard drive and hovering at around 20% complete, which should also be dealt with.)

What about the rest of you? Working on any particularly nasty trophies, or have some suggestions for my cabinet? Let me know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

09
Nov
19

Judgment

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cathrine-full-body-normal-hero-01-ps4-us-21aug19Apparently, I’ve been blocked and unpersonned by several people this week. Over a video game. The game, in this case, is Catherine: Full Body. It’s an animated visual novel/puzzle game dealing with a mid-thirties man who has no idea what the hell he wants out of life and has to navigate through a series of killer nightmares, his longtime girlfriend and her demands to grow up, a young and vivacious lady who represents the forbidden fruit and everything he thinks he wants in a woman, and a strange girl who recently came into his life.

Big spoilers incoming. Stop now if you don’t want to know.

The mysterious girl? Not actually a girl. By the end of the game, he explicitly identifies as a boy. He’s a crossdresser. Also, not human – actually an angelic alien – but that’s really a sideline. Thus began the screams of “problematic!”

This was exasperated by hodgepodge clips that showed Vincent’s shocked face, pan shots of Rin (the angel), and a scene where he bats Rin’s hand away. Of course! It’s that nasty transphobia!

Except it’s not. Because Rin’s not trans, for one. Also, because all of that is taken out of context. The pan shot they used? Vincent isn’t even in the room at that point. Vincent’s shocked face? Taken from a different part of the game where young Catherine is discovered in his bed and he has no idea what happened. The hand-batting is the closest thing to “problematic,” and in context of the scene – and what happens immediately afterward – it makes sense. Vincent ran to Rin because “she” fell down. He thought “she” was hurt. I’m putting it in quotes not as an attempt to spread “hate speech,” but because up to that point of the game, you have no reason to think of Rin as anything else, and all the characters (except Erica, who is problematic in her own ways, supposedly) refer to Rin as “her.”

Rin is mostly naked, and when Vincent checks on “her,” he sees a male body. He’s surprised. Not revolted, not having a moment of so-called trans-panic. Just shocked. Rin tries to comfort him – which, throughout the game, Rin has been kind of bad at, not being used to normal human interactions – and he bats Rin away.

Rin looks hurt. Understandably so. Vincent realizes what he’s done, and immediately begins to apologize, but Rin runs off. You spend most of the rest of the game trying to get ahold of Rin, to apologize to him. If you’re following the Rin path through the game, Vincent admits that he doesn’t care what others think, what gender Rin is or is not, or even if Rin is human. On the Rin path, Vincent knows what he wants, and it’s Rin. If you’re on the Catherine or Katherine paths, he still admits to having feelings for Rin, and still isn’t repulsed, but his feelings for Catherine or Katherine are stronger. Not because they’re “real” women, but because Vincent feels something for them, and he still expresses regret at having to hurt the other two, no matter what the combination of affection levels is.

Then there’s the Erica stuff. Erica’s a transwoman. She’s also been friends with Vincent since high school (pre-transition.) There’s been reams of paper spewed forth on all the problems with her, but what it basically boils down to is that she gets deadnamed on some paths, the nightmares (which are specifically applied to men who are cheating or otherwise not engaging in “fruitful” relationships) afflict her, and a character who becomes her boyfriend over the course of the game gets a little weirded out when he finds out about her past.

Note that in that last instance, they don’t break up. There’s no indication of trouble in the relationship. The nightmares affecting her? Well, somehow I doubt ancient Babylonian gods like Duzumid are very woke, and further, Erica IS preventing a fruitful relationship by being involved with Toby (who could be off knocking someone else up, which Duzumid the Shepherd considers the primary criteria for who gets to live), so her having the nightmares isn’t exactly a surprise.

Note that most of that is gone in the new version. Erica is still trans, but almost all references to her biological sex have been scrubbed… except one, but that has set off the hornet’s nest all over again.

In one of the endings, Catherine (the young one) creates a time portal and sends herself and Vincent back through it, to when Vincent was still in high school. She then appears there, and they begin a relationship, all for the purpose of having a chance to be happy with him. In this ending, Erica is shown to still be Eric. Some people interpret this ending as being the “happiest for everyone,” and thus the ending is transphobic because it’s saying Erica is happier as Eric.

Those people are stupid. The ending is not intended to be the happiest outcome for everyone; it just works out that way in some cases. Jonny, for instance, who has had a thing for Katherine since they were kids, is now free to be with Katherine, as Vincent is with Catherine instead. Orlando, warned by Vincent of what’s going to happen, has a chance to save his business and marriage before it goes south. But those are side effects of the central idea: Vincent and Catherine get a happy ending.

Second, in other paths, it’s explicitly stated that Vincent and his friends knew Erica as Eric in high school. This ending shows them during their high school years… which would have been pre-transition for her. There’s 14 years between that and when the bulk of the game takes place… the likelihood is that she just hasn’t transitioned yet, not that she doesn’t. There’s also some images that imply there’s something going on between “him” and Toby even pre-transition, so it looks like it may work out for them in the end anyway.

There’s also the accusations that the game is misogynistic (because Vincent is portrayed as a serial cheater, because Katherine is frequently “bossy” or “bitchy” – generally, because she’s tired of being his mother and wants to be his girlfriend and for him to have his shit together – or because the guys give crap to Erica – ignoring that they give each other the same amount of shit, as any gang of high-school mates is liable to do) or how Catherine is a rapist (because Vincent doesn’t remember many of their encounters and frequently finds her in his apartment even though he doesn’t recall inviting her over or letting her in.) Like the rest, they’re missing the big picture and seeing what they want to see there.

Long story short: If you read/see/hear some piece of art or entertainment is “problematic,” instead of just joining the bandwagon and starting to slam on anyone who enjoys it or discusses it, go out and experience it for yourself. If you still think it’s problematic, that’s fine. But understanding the context and the whole story seems like it should be necessary to make that judgment.

But that’s just my two cents. What about you? Did you play Catherine, either the original or the remake? What did you think? Is there some other art piece that’s treated as “problematic” that you are judged for enjoying, or that you end up having to defend? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

06
Nov
19

Trophy Hunt – 11/6

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This last week was all about Spirit Hunter: NG. For those not aware of it, the game is a visual novel, primarily focused on hunting ghosts and surviving their “grudges” against the living; it’s the sequel to last year’s Death Mark (which has since been rebranded as Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, for some reason; don’t know why they didn’t just call this one Death Mark 2: Spirit Hunter or some such, but hey, whatever floats your boat.)

It was pretty satisfying, and like the original, was genuinely disturbing in some parts, especially when discussing the origin of the ghosts. For a couple of examples, one of the cases involves a pregnant woman who was kidnapped, had her child cut out of her by a midwife, and then left to die in the middle of a park; another involves a mentally challenged young woman with gigantism who believed her teddy bear was alive (and her little brother.) When the doll was damaged, being beheaded, she misinterpreted a local legend and began decapitating local animals, believing that if she presented them to a local shrine, it would allow her “brother” to be alive again. The townspeople turned on and murdered her.

Yeah, it’s pretty fucked up. Like the first game, the art is amazing and suits the game perfectly, with monsters who are honestly more disturbing than those found in nearly any other game with the possible exception of Silent Hill; it’s just frustrating that past chapter 1, the game blocks using the share button, so I wasn’t able to spread some of that great art around.

The trophy list wasn’t anything special, essentially entirely progression based, with a minimum of two and a half-ish playthroughs (for the “good” ending you have to resolve all the ghost’s issues and keep all your pals alive; for the “bad” ending, you have to “kill” all the ghosts – and thus, most of your friends – and for the “normal” ending, you mix and match a bit.) There’s also separate trophies for each chapter’s resolution, one for appeasing the spirit, the other for banishing it.

I enjoyed my time with the game, and again, like the first, my only complaint was I wanted more. Thankfully, from what I hear, Spirit Hunter 3 is in the works, so perhaps next Halloween we’ll get that one; it almost certainly won’t be available for Vita, but whether it’ll be PS4, PS5, or skip ’em both and just go to Switch is up in the air. We’ll see.

There was also some picking at Friday the 13th, picking up a couple of miscellaneous trophies (for calling in Tommy Jarvis 13 times and attacking Jason 13 times with a flare gun), though the rampant abuse of the systems and people’s mocking attitudes have somewhat soured me on the game. I also finally sat down and finished a playthrough of Hidden Agenda, which is a great game, even though sometimes your choices and what ends up happening seem to have vague relations at best.

Last, but not least, Yakuza 4 has finally hit the PS4, so I’ve been working on that. Mostly trying to get the assorted miscellaneous trophies out of the way, like the minigames and such, before diving into the story in earnest, but it’ll probably be mined for all the trophies I can get in the next week or so. Like most Yakuza games, I probably won’t platinum it – the goddamn shogi and mahjong hoses me every time – but also like other Yakuza titles, I’ll do my best to do everything else.

Also picked up SekiroCatherine: Full Body (really enjoying people telling me how problematic and transphobic I am over that one) and Code: Vein, but haven’t really delved into those, as of yet.

As always, if you want to stalk me and my progress, you can find me on PSN under Ashande or on Xbox as Typo Monster. You can also stop by my Twitch channel, where I sometimes stream my escapades. If you like what I do and want to help me keep at it, you can drop a dime in the bucket over on Patreon, as well.

What about you folks? What are you playing? Got suggestions on games or trophies I should chase after next? Drop ’em down below!

KA Spiral no signature

29
Oct
19

Trophy Hunt – 10/29

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Made a bit of progress this week, but still running behind due to the grinding in Fist of the North Star. It’s gonna take a while to recover from that I think.

This week, I’ve been playing Night Trap. Yes, that Night Trap. You know, the one that, alongside Mortal Kombat, is pretty much responsible for the ESRB. It’s fun, and I’m about halfway through the list, but the thing that strikes me the most about it is how honestly tame it really is.

That scene is sparked a lot of controversy. A very PG scene of a stereotypical horror girl being surprised by the killer in a bathroom. There’s no nudity. Her nightie would probably pass muster on anything Fox airs. There’s no blood. But that was going to warp the minds of all us impressionable children and create a legion of serial killers.

What’s really funny to me is the 25th Anniversary Edition for PS4 and Vita is actually rated “T.” Apparently, even the ESRB – spawned from this scene – agrees that maybe it wasn’t actually that bad. Hilarious.

Right now all that’s left is to trap a boatload of Augers (1987, to be specific, though I’ve got at least 700 right now, having done two perfect runs after popping the “Catch 500” trophy), watch everyone die at least once (three times for dear old Dana Plato), and fill in the movie and production still collection categories (which mostly involves seeing all those deaths and seeing every story scene in the game at least once. So a lot of sitting around, catching just enough of the vampires to make sure the game doesn’t end early. Yay.)

Also started Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It’s interesting, though not as Dark Souls as some folks would like to claim. It feels kind of like a middle ground between Nioh (which was Dark SoulsOnimusha and Diablo in a blender) and a “real” Dark Souls game, then put on fast forward and with Spider-Man movement options. I like it, but I haven’t even gotten to the first boss as of yet (mostly poking around the first area, seeing what I can and can’t get away with, grinding skill points.) I expect it to be enjoyable.

Also started getting into Path of Exile. It’s good stuff, at least if you’ve already pillaged Diablo II and III for everything they’re worth. I don’t care for the loot system, though; too much crap drops, too much of it is useless, and the vendor system kinda sucks in my opinion. Still playable, certainly, but doesn’t grab me the way it’s spiritual forebears did.

Last bit; if anyone is actually playing Borderlands 2 VR – the PSN stats say not many area, but I’m sure at least one of you out there may be – they finally gave it a patch to include most of the DLC. So far as I can tell it doesn’t have the latest patch – the one that added the “prelude to Borderlands 3” content – but it does have all 4 of the major DLC packs, adds Gaige and Krieg to the roster, and all the holiday-themed one-shot adventures plus the level cap raises. All for free. With all the trophies from the regular or Handsome editions. So that’s fun.

Spirit Hunter: NG (and why, for the life of me, they didn’t call it Death Mark 2 so it would at least have some brand recognition in this country) is supposed to arrive today or tomorrow through the wonders of GameFly. I think it will serve as a nice palate cleanser.

What about you? What games are you playing? What games do you think I should be playing? Let me know down below, or you can stalk me on PSN at Ashande, XBox Live as Typo Monster, or right here on Twitch.

KA Spiral no signature

23
Oct
19

Trophy Hunt – 10/23

It’s very slow going, with one game to blame.

There was some small progress on God of War II, but given that I have been mostly without my Vita charger and for some reason it’s never worked to charge it off the PS4 no matter what the “USB charge settings” say, there’s not enough battery to get far in that, especially given how it inexplicably drains while playing that game.

There was some picking at Friday the 13th, finally earning two of the unique kill trophies. I wasn’t aware they’d finally implemented the single player challenges; to be honest, I thought the game was dead after the lawsuits. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, you can’t earn trophies in the single player modes, and multiplayer might as well be dead; waiting 20+ minutes for a match, sitting in the lobby for enough players for another 10 minutes, then the host leaves and you get to start all over again. I was hoping the release of the Switch version would have reinvigorated the game somewhat (it’s what made me pick it back up, learning it hadn’t been killed yet), and that they would have finally added Jason X, but sadly both were hollow hopes.

Then there’s Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. At last update, I had finished the main game and was picking off the grindy and post-game trophies before heading into Extra Hard mode for the finale. Having finally finished that grinding, I say this:

Fuck this game’s grind. I have earned most of the battle trophies in several Star Ocean games (sometimes more than once, as I’ve lost save files or rebought them for other platforms.) I’ve hunted flags galore in Assassin’s Creed games. I have literally spent a thousand hours in both Diablo III and The Binding of Isaac. I’m not a stranger to grinds, and frequently enjoy them.

But this. Ugh. Part of it is the monotony; there’s no change, no feeling of progress, not even little magic numbers going up because you don’t earn XP for any of the minigames you have to engage in. Second is that you have to play those minigames. The colosseum isn’t terrible, just repetitive, but it’s pretty much the shortest part. You’ll need about 1.5 million casino chips, earned (at best) at an average of 2k per hand of blackjack. You’ll need to knock out $100 million in debt (for a broken vase) in 3 minute bursts of running a hostess club where you earn between $3k and $1 million per round… and you’ll be investing a crapton of time and money you obtain through other means to find and train hostesses and keep them in shape to earn that money. You’ll have to earn roughly 180k of racing points, that you’ll earn, under optimum conditions, about 1,800 a go. That’s not counting the grinding you’ll have to do to get your car to a point where you can actually win those races.

Aside from that, there’s a boatload of playing minigames to get the shopkeepers to like you enough to sell the other components you need, grinding to level up your secret techniques so you stand a chance against the top-tier colosseum matches, and grinding for the cash to do your upgrades and buy the materials (you’ll need around $200 million.) It’s miserable.

On the bright side, as of this morning, it’s done. There’s 3 trophies left; one for maxing out all skills (which doesn’t require much grinding, but there are roadblocks in the skill trees that can only be undone by orbs you only get for finishing a chapter.) The trick? There’s 11 chapters, and 15 or so of the roadblocks. So 2 playthroughs to deal with that. There’s one for using a specific attack against a specific boss (you might be able to do it on your first playthrough, but it would require you doing all the grinding at the midpoint of your first playthrough,) and the last is for finishing it on Extra Hard (which, after that grinding, is pathetically easy.)

It’ll be done today or tomorrow, and then I can go play something else, but goddamn. Fuck that grind.

What about you? What do you feel about grinds? Let me know down below!

17
Oct
19

Trophy Hunt – 10/17

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Rise of Insanity has finally been completed. It’s not 100% yet – have to go back through and find all the collectibles – but at least the main game is out of the way.

I don’t know how to feel about it. I know what they were trying to do, but I feel like they missed a lot of the boats that would have given it more punch. There’s a lot of imagery that seems there because “ooooooh, spoopy!” but doesn’t actually relate to the murder and madness that form the bulk of the plot. Perhaps I missed a collectible that explained it, but all the crow imagery – while very pretty and suitably atmospheric – seems tacked on with no reason. On top of that, the “twist” of who you’re playing and what’s going on was telegraphed five minutes in… but half the game’s notes and the way things are presented don’t seem compatible with it.

I’m not going to spoil it – if you want spoilers, you can see me playing it over on Twitch – because it’s still worth a playthrough if you enjoy games like Slender or Layers of Fear, and it’s pretty inexpensive… but if you like horror walking sims and haven’t yet played Layers of Fear or Layers of Fear 2, I recommend those first.

Beyond that, primarily been working on Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. It’s Sega doing what Koei has been doing with Dynasty Warriors: Take your well-known franchise, slap a popular skin on it, call it new. This time, instead of covering generic hack and slash with a coat of Zelda paint, it’s Yakuza with FotNS on top. It’s very well done, and for the most part feels like a decent Yakuza game, but it’s not taking any spots in the series’ hall of fame.

The main story’s fine, the combat works – even if it does become trivially easy once you get good at doing Perfect Channel attacks and unlock the Ki Field ability – and there’s certainly a boatload of content to explore. The problem is in the minigames. Most Yakuza games have a metric shitton of random minigames to play, and Lost Paradise is no different but unlike most Yakuza games, the amount of time you’ll have to spend playing them if you want to finish everything is ridiculously high… and there’s less variation.

For example, the club management minigame, which was most prominent in Yakuza 0 but also had variations in 3, 4 and 6 (probably 5 too, but I didn’t get to play much of that one since my PS3 cooked itself right after it came out here.) In those other games, if you want the trophies related to it (or the tickmarks for your Completion list, or the related substories) you’ll get through it in about 3-4 hours once you get the hang of it. There’s also some variety in the missions, the characters are actually developed, and you feel like you’re getting something out of it (be it money or items) that are actually worth your time investment.

In Lost Paradise, you’re pretty much forced into the game after you break a priceless vase and have to work off a 100,000,000 debt. The missions are 2-3 minutes long, usually stressful to start with, and until you unlock the last couple of them (and have a stable of S-Rank, max level hostesses), you’re going to get between 20k and 200k towards that debt. And no money or items to use in the meantime. When you finally get to the last mission, you’ll get around 1 million per go, but you’re going to need to repeat it around 85-90 times to pay off that debt (which is the roadblock to 3 substories, two hidden bosses, and the last match in the Colesseum minigame, all of which have associated trophies.)

The racing minigame is also a giant pain in the ass, tedious as hell, only has five tracks, and if you want to Platinum it, you’re going to be repeating one of them at least 20 times to rack up the BP (the racing currency) required to buy one piece of the top tier armor.

Right now I’m at 80% on the trophy list, with the primary hangup being the hostess minigame. Still owe 69 million. When that’s done, I can blitz the last few substories (and pop three trophies, one for each hidden boss and one for all substories done), finish the last two Colesseum fights (rematches against the hidden bosses, which pops two more), grind the Colesseum for crafting mats to finish upgrading junk, and then blitz Legend difficulty in about 3 hours, which means I’ll be done.

It will be the first Yakuza game I’ve actually platinumed. The mahjong stuff screws me over in most of the others, Dead Souls suffered from exploding PS3 syndrome, and Judgment is on hold because it’s been packed in prep for the move. Part of me is sad about that.

Beyond that, I’ve been picking at Caravan Story, which is a free-to-play “action” RPG that mostly plays itself. Going to be a nasty grind (you need to kill 10,000 monsters and enslave 1,000 more) but nothing exciting. Mainly something to stare at while holding X when I can’t take looking at the hostesses anymore.

Moving this week, so hopefully, things will be set back up and I can do a proper stream at some point next week; thinking either Alien: Isolation or maybe Yakuza: Dead Souls, if my PS3 wants to cooperate with me (I got a new one more than a year ago, but ran out of ports on the TV and couldn’t get behind it to rewire things. That will be fixed in the move.) If any of you out there have suggestions, I’m open to other ideas, too.

As always, shameless shill time: If you like my stuff and want to help me keep doing it, you can drop a dime in the bucket over on Patreon; everything helps and is always appreciated, but never required. If you want to help me get breathing again, I’ve got a GoFundMe for my surgery set up, too.

Until next time, folks!

KA Spiral no signature

11
Oct
19

Trophy Hunt – 10/11

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Well, two Platinums were added to the cabinet this week, though I’m not particularly happy about either of ’em…

First was Ghostbusters: Remastered (or, as the trophy card says, “Ghostbusters: Remasterd…”) Now, I’m not unhappy about having the Platinum because there’s something wrong with the game. On the contrary, it’s splendid. I love Ghostbusters. I always have. The original movie was the first non-Disney thing I was allowed to watch, and I watched it literally hundreds of times when I was young. When the game originally came out in the dim dark days of 2009, I was over the moon. I adored it, played the hell out of it, laughed my ass off at it.

The main flaw in the original was the janky online setup and the glitched trophies associated with it… but we can’t all be perfect.

The new version is exactly the same, just shinier and prettier, and with a little nod to the deceased Mr. Ramis at the beginning. They jettisoned the online play. It’s a trifle clunky – of course, it always was – but it still deserves my love in every way and was well worth every penny, both when it came out for $60 back in the day and when it landed last week for $30.

What’s the problem?

It’s over. That’s all. I ripped the game apart and claimed the Platinum in a single day, and while I adored every minute I spent with the game and am very happy to have played it again, it just makes me sad. It’s the sense of “I loved it, and I ate it too fast, and now that it’s gone, it’ll never come back.” There’s not going to be a game like it ever again, I fear, and I rushed it.

Aside from the length, though, if you have ever even slightly enjoyed anything Ghostbusters related, go play the game, already. It’s great stuff.

The other was disappointing for a more mundane reason. Virginia, a walking simulator. I have no beef with walking simulators. Some of them I quite enjoy (Slender and Edith Finch come to mind, though some argue Slender straddles a weird line between survival horror and walking sim.) Some of them I can’t stand, considering them pretentious. Gone Home and Here They Lie fit into that camp.

Virginia manages to be the queen of the garbage heap. It’s more pretentious than Life is Strange or Gone Home, piles on garbage graphics (of course, calling it “artistic choice,” thus ensuring that anyone who points out that the characters are just friggin’ Nintendo Miis or XB360 Avatars are some kind of bigot), takes any semblance of story and flushes it straight down the toilet alongside any concept of coherence (while claiming it is “inspired” by things like Twin Peaks; sorry, chief, go play Deadly Premonition. David Lynch-ean nonsense has its own sense, and flitting randomly around without any explanation isn’t how to do it) and then decides to have a literal goddamn acid drop, as if in some last-ditch effort to explain or excuse the whole mess.

Yeah. Plus, I dunno about you, but given that my not-quite-launch-but-close PS4 Pro can handle marathons of Yakuza or Devil May Cry 5 before it goes into “jet engine” mode or skipping frames, I am concerned that this bland piece of shit frequently chugs along at a framerate that makes me more motion sick than the first time I tried Resident Evil 7 in VR mode and makes the fans sound like they’re trying to start a launch sequence the whole time.

The trophy list is just as idiotic and senseless as the game itself; no real descriptions, just vague, pretentious bullshit. My favorite is “Benway: The true ship is the ship-builder,” though “Flea: Victories in time and space” pulls a second. The first one you get for mucking with a guy building a model of a ship. The other you get for annoying your investigation partner by fiddling with her radio.

The most annoying of all is “Doam: Bis!” You get this by beating the game a second time. I don’t know why; according to Google Translate, “Bis” means “encore” in Albanian, but I have no idea if that’s related. The reason this is stupid is because there is no bloody reason to do it more than once. There are collectibles, but there are no actual choices, no branching paths, nothing that changes what happens. So it’s just a pretentious “hey, play our game again! You can waste a second two hours, right?”

Of course, I did. Because leaving the game at 92% would have been more infuriating than playing it already was. But that’s some bullshit.

So Virginia will now sit at the top of the pile of “worst game I’ve ever played,” and hopefully it may save some of you from being subjected to it.

Beyond that, finished the Consequences DLC for The Evil Within… will probably go do Kurayama mode for that and The Assignment soon; finished Yakuza 3, so just need to do all the grindy crap and finish it on Legend; and started playing Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, which might as well be advertised as “Yakuza, with an anime paintjob.” Then of course Yakuza 4 hits late this month, so… yeah.

What’ve you been playing? What did you think of Ghostbusters or Virginia? Is there something you think I should give a try? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature




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