Amnesia: The Dark Descent

posted in: Games | 0

So Amnesia is by the same people that made the relatively unknown ‘Penumbra’ series, a game known for its unique engine and inability to fightback against the world around you.

I heard about it initially from a kotaku post on ‘scariest games’, Amnesia was listed multiple times as THE scariest game ever made, and being that its halloween – I wanted to have a little scare, unfortunately I got slightly more than a ‘little’ scare. Being a complete wuss in these types of games, I figured id be more compelled to play through if I had someone else playing with me, hence I made cross get the game and we played together, without him I probably would have gotten to about 20 minutes into the game before closing it and never wanting to play again.

You wake up in a castle and have amnesia and stuff, there is a plotline with lots of diaries and allsorts but I sort of didnt care about that, instead placing priority on my survival.

The main game mechanics which distinguish this game from others is the ‘hand control’ system, which basically means you have to turn cranks yourself, and open doors or drawers by pushing or pulling on them, its a weird feature at first but becomes natural pretty fast and it definately adds to the tension in the game – being able to peek around doors before you open them fully, or having to quickly spin around and close a door if something is chasing you – is much more intense than pressing F and having the door fly open/close shut.

Another pretty key feature in the game is light and your sanity, the latter of which relying on the former, and the former relying on you checking every crevase for lantern oil or tinderboxes to light torches to illuminate rooms, without light your sanity will begin to falter, your vision will blur, your senses will dull, your reactions will fail and in general you’ll just feel all sorts of nasty. Lantern oil thus turns into the only thing you ever want to see when you look around an area.

What you dont want to see (or in some cases, wont see) are the monsters, which are genuinely terrifying. These guys may lumber around initially but instantly turn into world class sprinters upon spotting you – and its fucking horrible.

The graphics, what you can see of them, are pretty fantastic and the atmosphere, the music, sounds and set pieces are perfectly done.

Its without a doubt the best genuine survival horror game ive ever played, and i’ve never screamed so loud at…. anything… before…

And here is audio proof – http://soundcloud.com/mengplex/mengandcrossamnesia

We basically recorded ourselves whilst we were playing, these are the highlights – TURN YOUR SOUND DOWN.

Cladun: This is an RPG!

posted in: Games | 0

So Cladun asis a Nippon Ichi RPG, anyone who has played a few nippon ichi games knows what this basically leads to… Level and equipment grinding , create a char and random dungeons!
The game sort of gives you some form of story, but it could probably be summarized in a 10 minute TV show, I paid really little attention to it – whatever.
The core of the game then is going through the dungeons presented to find treasure, there are proper dungeons which have been constructed well and usually have mechanics to them (almost like mini zelda dungeons, hit switch, kill monsters… little flags like that) and then theres the random dungeon (ran-geon), which has ~100 floors, clearing 20 floors takes me about half an hour, sound tedious? I should mention this half an hour feels like around 10 minutes – and its a fun 10 minutes too. Realistically you’ll be spending majority of your time grinding the rangeons, which operate in a ‘take the money and run’ or progress further style – every few floors you’ll find an exit which will let you keep 100% exp gained, money and all the items you’ve found – or you can keep going and get more of all the former listed – the catch being if you die, you only recieve half exp and no items (i cant remember about money).

The character creator is pretty much what you see in the trailer below, its kinda cool and the way their stats pan out is always intresting but there arent any massive benefits to doing so (other than being able to model the character yourself – i personally made a hatsune miku because it was easy, but other people have made some really sweet stuff).
The ‘magic circle’ , sort of explained in the trailer below, is the main driving force of the game, and what will probably be driving your grinding of rangeons, leveling gives chars more mana, which lets them power up with more items, which makes your main character kick more ass, which lets you get further in the rangeon, which lets you level up and get better items, which gives your characters more levels, which gives them more mana, which lets them power up wi…….. you get the idea. Its addictive.

The below trailer should really start at 1:25, I advise you skip to that bit so that you miss out all the boring stuff at the beginning.

All in all, this is Cladun. an RPG!
And its a good one too, as long as you like dungeon grinding.
The game shares alot of similarity with Disgaea and dungeon crawling games, However its unique and charming – im a sucker for 8bit though.

waghlbabhal

posted in: Anime, blog | 0

In other news, completely wasted today more or less. Didnt manage to get much revision done, sent off one or two job applications (pleeeaaaase riot games marketing intern), and watched some of the ol’ animu. Panty and stocking this week was particuarly ridiculous, which is saying something from a series which has a monster made of shit, an alliance which shoots sperm and a bunch of other kooky shit.

Oh, I also started watching Bakuman the anime, based on….

Im sort of growing to like weeky released stuff, although its annoying when you really want to know what happens next in the story. I mean with the other stuff im currently following it isnt much of a big deal, with bakuman seems REALLY story driven so it might get annoying.

Oh and for the record, shibby didnt deserve to be fired from apprentice this week. Just thought i’d get that out there.

Might try and wake up nice and early tomorrow to get some work done…. But i’ll probably sleep through 5 of my alarms and wake up at 12.

Sonic Fan Remix

posted in: Games | 0

For anyone that didnt know, one of the sonic fan games has had a demo released. Check it out and be amazed at how much better it is than Sonic 4

http://www.sonicretro.org/2010/10/sonic-fan-remix-available-for-download/

Ive given it a playthrough, and its pretty awesome. Some things look a little weird, and its a bit bizarre playing Sonic with a keyboard (I couldnt get my 360 pad to work), but overall its beautiful and the physics feel right. Its really awesome stuff considering it was made by only 2 guys (one artist and one programmer).

Who knows, maybe some fans will eventually make a good streets of rage fangame too..

Machete (2010)

posted in: films | 0

So… Machete is probably the closest thing we’ll ever get to a Duke Nukem film without a Duke Nukem film actually being made. (and lets face it, if it was announced, it wouldnt show its face for a good 20 years anyway)

Machete is basically a guy that doesnt give a fuck, the sort of guy who if sent on a mission of impossible odds and is shown into a big room of guns – will almost immediately go for a Machete. He walks around, doesnt give a fuck, chops peoples heads off and fucks bitches.
The plot is pretty laughable, but nobody is watching it for that, its just a pure hack and slash gorefest style film, and im quite okay with this.

Also, jessica alba has a semi-nude scene, lynsey lohan is topless for half the film and in the first 5 minutes of the film a woman pulls a mobile phone out of her snatch. Guns, blood and tits.

If you have a pair of balls, you should probably check the film out.

Where to start…

posted in: Anime, blog, films, Games, Uni stuff, work | 0

<'Machete' and 'Cladun: This is an RPG' will get their own blog posts because they deserve them>

Work/University Bit:
It feels like whilst theres not strictly a whole lot going on currently with university, its really really busy. I decided this year instead of waiting until the end of the year to summarise my lecture notes, i’d read through them during the year and summarise as I go – obviously, this has not worked out. Im constantly falling further and further behind in lecture summaries… I also got an essay title yesterday, I havent actually read the details on it yet…. i guess i’ll read it now……………………….. Okay, so its 3000 words and due in about 40 days (fucksake.) , you also know you’re in trouble when the description on what your essay is about actually specifies “this is a HARD essay” (yes, in caps),  the essay is also about the human genome, which is fucking hate – mainly because I dont understand that shit. Uffff….
Contributing to the stress of university is the knowing that I need to start applying for graduate jobs or internships now, with most deadlines being in November sometime, I actually spent 3 hours today filling in 1 application, which will probably not get through screening phase anyway. Very very depressing.

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Games bit:
Our internet actually went down for 4 days or so, but thankfully I had just finished downloading ‘DJmax Portable 3’ and ‘Cladun: This is an RPG!’ , both for PSP. DJMP3 is pretty awesome, a twist on the traditional DJmaxPortable gameplay style with remixing tracks and stuff in (kinda like DJhero ,where you have a pseudo crossfader to deal with now) , the downside is that it doesnt have many songs (about 40?) , ah well.
I also downloaded Starcraft 2, but I dont think the crack i’ve got will work with it because it autoupdated to latest. I just wanna try out the campaign without having to shell out £30 :<
I’ll give Cladun its own review at some point because its really good, i clocked 10 hours into it over 2 days, and being on the PSP, thats probably the most play its gotten in such a small period of time.

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Films bit:
Along with seeing machete, I also saw ‘Chaos’ (2005) , starring Jason Statham. Its a pretty weird film, starting off as an action film and then seeming to lose its own way half way through, changing genre a few times before eventually deciding it wants to flip the script on the audience. It was alright i guess, I personally thought it was a little boring, but maybe thats just because I was expecting something along the lines of crank or the transporter after hearing the film title ‘Chaos’. I guess its sort of a detective/psychological film by the end? ehh….

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Anime Bit:
I picked up a bunch of currently airing series, something I dont usually do because I like to be able to watch through all the episodes at my own leisure (and because sometimes its awesome to be able to clear half a season in 1 sitting, especially if its a series that likes using cliffhanger endings)
Anywho… The weekly shows im now watching are…
Panty and Stocking with garterbelt – [which had a really disgusting 3rd episode, no wonder it almost got banned…]– The world god only knows – Which has a shit title, its about a guy that is the king of dating sims, he is then tasked with making real girls fall in love with him (or he gets beheaded)
Squid Girl (Ika musume) – Who is… a squid. Really funny, nice lighthearted comedy (always good when something listed as a comedy actually makes you laugh)
Ore no imouto… (Theres no way my sister can be this cute) – Guy finds out his sister is a super otaku, and has to help her out
I also recently finished ‘Umineko no naku koro ni‘ , from the makers of Higurashi (when the Cicadas cry) , Its a complete mindfuck of an anime, and I dont really recommend it at all, it IS watchable but in general its such a mess that you wont want to, the characters are also annoying as fuck.
Im coming very close to the end of Seto No Hanayome (My bride is a mermaid), so will give opinions on that too soon…
If this blog post makes you want to pick up a series, Id go with Squid Girl for sure.

Japan is bizarre (Live Miku?)

posted in: Anime | 0

So i came across a ‘Hatsune miku live’ download link and ended up checking it out mostly out of curiosity (not that im denying i enjoy the music but…), Japan is truly a bizarre place, Its certainly not often you see a live performance by a virtual voice. I suppose The Gorillaz do somewhat similar stuff at their live gigs but this just seems crazy. Hordes of japanese people with glowsticks watching what is essentially a video of a dancing avatar along to semi-live music (live instruments, synthesized voice) Very very bizarre. Its quite cool that they use it to change her costumes and stuff between and sometimes mid song, quickly i might add – unlike a lady gaga or pink concert (or someone who changes outfits constantly between songs, i wouldnt know, ive never been to one). [a bit when she appears in a swimsuit was a little creepy though]

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Also The below picture should be all the incentive you need to start watching Detroit Metal City and witness its greatness. only on a second watchthrough have i realised just how damn funny it is. Shame its so short.

Sonic the hedgehog 4

posted in: Games | 0

So it doesnt quite comply with the ‘Sonic Cycle’ , Sonic really does seem to be the only character in the game, and the reviews havent been too bad yet, And from my playthrough I wouldnt really say i endured ‘Massive disapointment’ , although that may be because I never really raised my hopes in the first place.

Ima break it down right hurrrr…

Graphics:

Fine, I like the background layering technique, im not too keen on the animations of sonic himself but they could be worse i suppose.

Gameplay (Core) :

Ehhhhh…….. Mixed opinions. For starters the physics are off, sonic accelerates at odd speeds and airbrakes like a monster.

The airdash/lockon thing which has been put in works fine however, coming in useful to speed up gameplay and keep you moving in the right direction with bursts of speed. The gameplay is for the most part classic sonic though, its a shame the physics make it feel like it isnt.

Gameplay (Level design) :

There are 4 zones

a green hill/emerald hill ripoff ,

a casino night/carnival night ripoff ,

a Labyrinth zone / aquatic ruin / sandopolis 2 ripoff ,

and a chemical plant / scrap brain ripoff

There is a SHOCKING lack of originality, they straight up use parts of the unique things about the copied zones and shamelessly incorporate it into the level. Examples are the spiral bridges from emerald hill, the slot machines from casino night and rotating cylinders from carnival night , the water slides from labyrinth zone, the arrow spitters and spears from aquatic ruin, the darkness from sandopolis, the teleporters from chemical plant………

They even copy paste bosses from previous sonic games, the boss from green hill zone that we’ve all seen a dozen times is fucking back, why? So is the electroclaw boss from Carnival night. They both have a new berserk mode but the core of the boss is the exact same. its silly.

I’d also like to add that the  vines in (i think it was…) splash hill 3? or 2? are fucking stupid and should never have made it past beta. At least make shit work if you’re going to put it in, i spent about 2 minutes swinging around on vines unable to make a particular jump because the mechanic is too precise.

Audio:

The biggest disapointment in my opinion, the entire soundtrack was leaked a while ago but its only when you hear it in game whilst playing do you realise just how horrible it is. I cant believe a company as big as sega can’t find someone good to make Sonic music for a sonic game. Can you not rehire howard drossin or Masato nakamura? or hell, even Hideki Naganuma would have made far superior music to the shit thats currently in the game.

Summary:

A reasonable sonic game, completely let down by a lack of originality, terrible music and odd engine/physics.

I can only describe it as a sonic fan game as opposed to an actual sonic sequel.

I dont understand how fans somehow manage to make much better looking games than they do….

Examples of such fanwork….

The Disapearance of Alice Creed (2009)

posted in: films | 0

Good british cinema?… Really?
So i saw ‘The disapearance of alice creed’ last night, I started watching it knowing absolutely nothing of the plot, actors, origins etc. And tbh it was probably for the better, if someone had told me the story is about 2 guys that kidnap a girl and keep her in a room for 90% of the film, I probably would have walked out and gone to do something else.
Thats the story in a nutshell really, they kidnap her, gag her, strip her, make her pee in a bottle and shit in a bucket, and thats the majority of the film… until everything gets flipped on its head. About half way through the film, its like someone realised ‘wait. this is going to be a boring as fuck film’ and then decided to put as many twists in as they could think of.
I wont spoil by revealing any of the twists, but the way the film pans out is alot more intresting than I expected.

4/5
Worth a watch fo sho.

Dead Rising 2 / Civ V

posted in: Games | 0

Dead Rising 2

Havent quite finished it yet, actually.. that makes it sound like im close mind you. They really seem to have fixed everything wrong with the original Dead Rising though, although the lack of the photography system ala frank west is kind of lame.
Psychopaths are challenging as before, and there seem to be plenty of survivors around to save for dat longevity, and thats not even getting into the huge puzzle game of working out what items you can combine – half of which are just bizarre (battery + garden rake anyone?). Special mention also for the blanka mask and battery pack – fucking genius capcom.

Civilization V

Better than Civ IV. By a mile.
I actually hated Civilization 4  but Civ 5 just seems way easier to play, way easier to understand and…. just… better…
my only gripe with the game is that you turn it on, and 3 hours of your life are missing.

The end of the first week

posted in: Anime, blog, Games | 0

Yay! its friday!

On the whole not too much has happened this week, 4 half days of lectures full of boring material – although our EXTREME enviroment biology module is actually kind of cool, shame i slept through it today due to Crash last night.

Crash is basically a rock night, and is usually really really bad. Like…. 15 people in the whole place and the DJ just plays metallica and iron maiden and shit that im not really into. Last night however…. Goddamn. I can only assume its because of all of the freshers around but it was beasty , surely nobody can turn down Andrew WK’s ‘party hard’ and Bizkits ‘Rollin’ , it was totally bizzarre, I knew (and liked) about 80% of the music , which is something which NEVER happens. I sung until my voice went hoarse and skanked til I got a 2nd stitch. Great fun.
The only problem is i paid for it today when i had a 9am lecture (after falling asleep around 3:30am), was a complete cawps and then came back and had the most amazing 5 hour nap.

Cant remember most of my dream but im sure one of them involved me screaming at a giant motherfucker of a daddy long legs (although it was like…. huge and mutated with a mosquito or some gross shit) , I also vaguely remember being in some sort of gypsy hut which was actually a van that was travelling somewhere, and in another dream I had some sort of handglider backpack and picked up an old school friend (JennferD, who I havent seen in like 8 years wtf) and we just flew around together.

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Gaming side:
Ive been putting off finishing Dead Rising 2 because im what i can only assume is the final boss and its like the final boss of DR1 all over again (aka. annoying as fuck), and i really dont have enough health and stuff to deal with that shit >_>” The game other than that has been really awesome though, seems like theres lots of survivors and psychopaths hiding around to keep replay value up, the events which arent announced by female otis are such a nice (or sometimes horrible) surprise, particularly when you want to save because you’ve been playing ages and havent saved… and then you turn the corner and its some psycho that tries to shank you with a shard of glass…

Got to around turn 200 of Civ5 and havent played it since, I feel like once you start to get past a certain level it just gets a little too much to manage unless you put all of your units to sleep. And also what are you supposed to do in that game? Ive done the whole wage war thing but it seems like its inevitable before everyone else forms an alliance against me, so am i just supposed to sit there and spam end turn to research stuff and gain citizens or what? idk. Cool game but I still dont think its for me, it really is a great time burner though.

Played through mirrors edge again, the time trials are really brutal, as are the speed runs. The times they set are so silly, it seems more or less impossible unless you proper study the world record times on youtube, and even then, some of the shit they pull is ridiculous (and in a speedrun, death is practically an 8min run failed)

I also started playing through Resident evil 5 again with a housemate, I forgot what that game is like on a first playthrough, it actually feels like a resident evil game again when you have the shitty starting weapons and are scrambling around for ammo. Its such a different game after an initial complete, sort of why I wanted to play it again, I forgot the fear of those headsnake things, and dogs are annoying as fuck… and chainsaw guys refuse to die and I havent even met the locust things yet but preemptive FML for those.

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Anime stuff:
Did i already recommend you all watch Detroit Metal City? Do it.
Other than that, Ive recently picked up ‘Umineko no naku koro ni’, vaguely similar to higurashi i guess? But very different and weird at the same time. The anime runs almost like a game, with particular characters being in an alternate universe and watching the main universe, and trying to solve the riddles as they come and stuff…. Its sort of what i’d imagine a Phoenix wright anime to be like, although probably slightly worse. Its intresting though.

Ive also almost finished Rec, an anime about a voice actress living with some random guy, its okay i guess,

I watched the whole of Hajime No ippo : New challenger , which was a really good boxing anime, first time ive watched anything from the ippo universe but it was easy to understand and get into despite being a sequel. Worth a watch i’d say.

Finished ‘Moyashimon’ , which is about a kid that can see microbes… Kind of up my street, its pretty cool and sort of educational i guess, Not sure if i could recommend it unless you have some sort of grasp on science though as its not terribly intresting other than seeing the little microorganisms floating about in the room making cute noises.

Oh finally, I saw the first episode of ‘Panty and stocking with garterbelt’ (hereby PSG) . Its actually really funny and odd. A very  PPG style but with a dirty jokes twist. I would say this scene sums up the anime, but its actually way better.

House update

posted in: blog | 0

Long delayed blog post about my new room, Moved in about a week ago now and had to clean a hell of a lot. The room still feels filthy in all honesty, I sometimes feel like im having an allergic reaction to the room itself.

We had internet for a whole 2 days or so, but we got it sorted out eventually. It does have a weird issue of sometimes dropping connection though.

Other issues with the house includes…
– A leak from the 2nd floor ceiling from our bathroom, we now need a new bath and stuff…
– Not enough kitchen storage space
– and a fridge which needs a fucking bungee cord to keep closed
– A cubicle shower which puts out about as much water as i could run up and down the stairs with a shot glass…

On the plus side, we have 2 TV’s in the lounge and another TV upstairs in one of the guys rooms. Allowing for a potential system link xbox scenario in the future.