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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Final Fantasy XIII-2 first impressions

Since my nVidia drivers crashed again on my computer, I eventually decided to start playing on Final Fantasy XIII-2 instead of my PC games. The nVidia drivers have been rather unstable after that one time I tried to upgrade the drivers and then roll back to the old one because the upgrade made the TV connection not work… Somehow managed to get it to work again until today. I’m planning to reinstall the PC now, and I’m considering just installing Windows 8 while I’m at it.

Anyways, XIII-2. Old photo:

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Those who are interested in the game probably know most of the stuff about it already, so I’ll just list some random thoughts I had when playing the game.

  • Checking out the available DLC: Why is half of the DLC just different costumes for the characters? Why would anyone want to OH THEY HAVE ASSASSIN’S CREED COSTUME FOR NOEL AND N7 (Mass Effect) ARMOR IT’S AWESOME!
  • Unlike the first game, the tutorial doesn’t seem to last for the first 9 chapters of the game.
  • Character upgrade system is simplified. Probably a good thing.
  • The game is not as linear as the first one, because you can do a bunch of side missions already from the start of the game. Quite a few fetch quests though.
  • Quick-time events! How I not have missed you from Resident Evil. Jokes asides, it’s not that bad, and I also wonder if they have a different animation/cut scene when you miss some of the button presses. (I think I missed once or twice, but the cut scene continued so I’m not sure if anything changed.)
  • Battles are sometimes cinematic, with cut scenes and quick-time events happening half-ways through a battle. Pretty cool!
  • Oh and the game features time travel. I wonder if you can travel to the same areas in the past and change things to see the changes in the future, like Chrono Trigger! Probably not though.

 

I also played through the latest DLC for Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3, called “The Beginning of the End”, which tells the story of what happened to the player character from the previous two games. It didn’t really explain much though, I feel like it was just a quick and dirty way of “disposing” of your old player character. But oh well, it was amusing to play through nevertheless.

 

Posted by on 2012-12-30 in Games

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Party in Bergen, Christmas gaming

December and 2012 is almost over! This Christmas I ended up staying behind in Oslo while most of my family went travelling. The biggest reason is that I wanted for once to have a real vacation, without having to force myself to talk with other people, which is actually really tiresome for me. I’ve mostly stayed at home playing video games and watching Netflix. Since I usually eat dinner with my family once a week, I don’t really miss them that much. Vilhelm stayed over a few days, but went back home earlier today.

Mid-December I went to Bergen to join their Christmas party, we sang a Christmas song and had games with the youth there. Had an enjoyable time! I didn’t manage to take any good pictures. Need to practice more using my phone camera…

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Lorna and Patrick invited us for dinner, it was nice seeing them again and playing with their kid, Celina. She was a bit over a year old if I remember correctly. I was tricking her with a “laser” pen, she didn’t seem to be overly amused because she was looking at me with a rather accusing look on her face whenever I moved the laser away from her!

I’m glad they had those ads about testing the smoke detectors at home, because when I had a look at mine, I found out that they didn’t even have batteries! I guess the one who rented my apartment before must have removed the batteries…? Why would she do that without buying new ones?? Was she burning her food all the time? Oh well, I bought new batteries in any case… Ended up buying quite expensive batteries compared to the ones at IKEA, but I was too lazy to look in lots of stores and figured I’d better buy it quickly. In case a fire starts.

Anyways, once vacation started (and my family left on their travels), I’ve mostly locked myself at home playing games. I’ll list the games I’ve finished since my last blog post and some brief comments about each of them:

Virtue’s Last Reward (Zero Escape) – Loved this game! There are so many plot twists and mysteries in the game that even if you manage to guess some of them, you probably won’t be able to guess all of them! Getting to the final ending to see all the explanations for the mysteries was quite satisfying.

Darksiders – I definitely can see the reason why people say this game reminds them of Zelda: The dungeon designs where you have to solve puzzles to get access to different parts of the dungeons, the items which allows you to access new parts of the world/game map, and the dungeon bosses which require you to use those items to defeat them. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a rip-off though – if anything I’d call it a homage! All that asides, the game is pretty much what I tend to call “a generic button-masher action game”. The story did have some kind of plot twist, but was still quite bland. The Zelda elements/puzzles made the game more enjoyable, but I felt that some of the action segments dragged on for too long. It was an all right game, but I feel no urge to get the sequel.

Ever 17: The Out of Infinity – After finishing Virtue’s Last Reward, I read in some forum that the writer for that game, Takumi Nakazawa, also made this game. Unlike VLR, Ever17 is a pure visual novel, meaning besides a few dialogue options, there is no actual traditional gameplay. You just read through tons of dialogue. There isn’t much graphics either, most of the game you’ll be in around 20 rooms or so each with a single image, with the character images on top of it. They don’t have animations either, but do have different moods. Sometimes there might be still images of “cutscenes”.

The story, however, was really as great as I was told! It’s kind of a “mystery story” like 999 and VLR, and you will hardly be able to guess everything before you get to the explanations given in the final ending. While the game still has some “dating sim” feel to it (which made me somewhat skeptical to playing it at first), it didn’t detract too much from the mystery part of the game. Seriously though, I can’t even watch the opening without thinking it seems like a “dating sim”:

Anyways, I ended up buying the game via a Japanese download shop and then downloading the English version via torrent since the English box version of the game is hard to find… It’s a good game if you like anime/manga, mystery stories and don’t mind reading lots of text on a computer screen.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – I kind of like the Assassin’s Creed games, but there are just too many “side missions”! Still an enjoyable game though. I eventually managed to get myself to stop doing missions and finish the game. Although I did buy/upgrade all the shops and landmarks. And at least get the ten “Truth” puzzles. Also the Armor of Brutus. *sigh*

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Managed to finish this game in one day! I do like the voice acting and dialogue in this game, it really is like watching an action adventure movie. I really suck at the shooting part of this game though. I did play on easy, but I also activated “Fast motion” mode so I could play the game quicker, which really sped up the game, especially on the climbing parts of the game. But it probably made the shooting parts harder since all the enemies moved faster. Had to turn it off on the last few chapters in the game.

Still a few days left of my vacation, I’m considering whether I want to play more short games like Uncharted or start on some of the longer games on my list, like Borderlands, Final Fantasy XIII-2 or Fallout 3. Might want to finish the StarCraft II campaign too I guess.

 

Posted by on 2012-12-29 in Games, Rambling

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I am older! Also I bought more games.

I celebrated my birthday with my family and some friends a few weeks ago, it was nice! My mother asked if I wanted to invite more friends and have a bigger party, but I just felt like it was too much work.

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We also had a celebration at work because I turned 30, a “round” number. Even got some gifts there too! All in all I got some useful gifts: some kitchenware, a Leatherman (chosen by my boss at work), and a few clothing articles. Rather glad for those gifts!

I played through Resident Evil 6 with my brother, and finished Professor Layton and The Miracle Mask. Right now the game I’m playing the most is Virtue’s Last Reward for the 3DS (there’s also a Vita version), which is an excellent game if you don’t mind Visual Novel types of games. Because the longest part of the game is the Novel part where you see the characters interact with each other, while the Escape part of the game is a point and click type of puzzle game where you have to pick up items and use them correctly in order to find the exit for the room you’re currently in.

Virtue's Last Reward

The game is a sequel to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, one of my favorite games for the DS. The story of Virtue’s Last Reward is that nine people wake up in a locked facility, where they are told by a computer AI called Zero Jr. that they have to participate in a game that he calls the “Nonary Game”. The people have to try to escape the game, while they are also trying to find out which of the participants they can trust and which might be Zero Sr. himself, the person who arranged the whole thing and created Zero Jr. At certain points in the story you can make choices, and the story will diverge into different paths depending on your choices.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the story so I’ll try not going into details, but in any case, what I liked about those two games is finding out the back story for each person little by little, and figuring out what is the deal with the game and the multiple endings! While the first game had 6 different endings, this sequel states that it has 24 different endings! Luckily they added the possibility to directly jump to any game path that you have already played to. In the first game you had to play through the game from the beginning to get the other endings, though you could fast-forward quite quickly through text that you have already seen before (you can also do this in Virtue’s Last Reward).

WARNING: The 3DS version has a save bug which may corrupt your save file! And there’s only one save file, so there’s no way of making backups… If you save in the PEC (pressure exchange) puzzle room or the Crew’s Quarters puzzle room, the game may crash, corrupting your save file. However, I never saved in a puzzle room, but my save file got corrupted when I saved in the PEC room during the Novel section of the game! Some people say that the safest is to save only in corridors and warehouses. But in any case, definitely avoid saving in the PEC or Crew’s Quarters rooms, no matter if it’s during the puzzle or during the novel section!

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Also there’s a new Humble Bundle, with games from the economically challenged company THQ. Amongst the games are Darksiders, Metro 2033 and, if you pay above the average of currently 5.65USD, Saints Row: The Third. So far I’ve only tested out Darksiders, it seems to have amazing nVidia 3D Vision support! I had to download the XBox 360 controller emulator to get my non-XBox controller to work with the game in Windows. Oh yeah, for those who are using non-Windows computers, please note that this bundle only works in Windows, and only with Steam (it’s not possible to download the games DRM-free). As of this moment there are about 10 days left to get this bundle.

I also bought Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty when it was on a 50% sale last week. It is a neat game, but the 3D Vision support is a bit problematic, because the 3D settings that works best with the cutscenes and mission selection part of the game, doesn’t work so well during the main game, so I have to adjust the settings when it switches to and from the main game. Maybe I should just give up 3D in this game…

starcraft ii

Man, so much for not buying games… At least I didn’t end up buying the Wii U. I went to SpillExpo in Lillestrøm (barely half hour away from Oslo), a gaming expo in Norway, but I was rather disappointed with the size of the expo. It was even smaller than Gamex! And they didn’t have the Wii U for sale! I had already tried the Wii U at Gamex, so I weren’t really that excited about trying it again.

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I did get to try Dead Space 3, Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. And apparently we could go to JuleExpo (Christmas expo) and antiques expo for no extra cost once we were inside, which was at least somewhat amusing. Just had a quick look at those though. Almost should have had a closer look since we had pay money to enter, but I guess then we’d only have more people try to sell us stuff… While at SpillExpo there were just too few shops in my opinion.

Last Friday I also went to a friend’s place for dinner and board games. Played Power Grid, a game that we’ve had for a few years but haven’t played much in a while. It was quite fun, although we found out we did get some of the rules wrong! There are just too many rules to keep in mind… Still, I definitely want to try the game again with the proper rules some time. Also played Quarriors and Dominion.

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Games asides, I have been using Netflix quite a bit, usually watching shows on my second monitor while doing other stuff. I’ve tried to catch up on certain shows that I wanted to see, and I’ve also watched a few other shows that I hadn’t watched before. Watched through season 1 of The Walking Dead, season 1 and 2 of Fringe, and currently watching through Dexter. Also once in a while I watch Archer and Doctor Who, and I watched a few of Russell Peters’ stand-up shows, they are quite funny! Been quite a while since I saw his shows for the first time, so it was fun seeing that they’re now available on Netflix.

I think I’ll go and play more Virtue’s Last Reward now. Since my save file got corrupted I’ve been putting the game on auto mode to get through the text while doing other stuff (so I’ve been running it instead of Netflix). Luckily I can also quite quickly play through the puzzle rooms that I’ve already played since I remember how to solve them. I still haven’t gotten through all the story paths that I had done before the save got corrupted, but I’ve taken some new story paths too so I won’t get too bored with going through the same things again.

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Posted by on 2012-12-02 in Rambling

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