Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Link's Awakening DX

So now I'm up to the sixth dungeon.  I have in my posession almost all the awesome stuff: The Master Sword, the Hookshot, and the Boomerang.  Also got the bow and arrow (paid the 980 rupees at the shop rather than stealing it), and upgraded my bomb capacity to 60.  Magic Powder capacity got upgraded from 20 to 40 a long time ago, and the bow and arrow capacity can't be upgraded just yet.

One thing I find kind of annoying is all the item juggling that you need to do.  Some things, like the power bracelet, should really just be a persistent upgrade, in that once you get it, it's always equipped and you don't have to constantly switch back to it whenever you need to do some heavy lifting.  The flippers are a persistent upgrade, thankfully...

Still, the game is quite good.  Especially the music.  Even with the Game Boy's limited sound capabilities, the music sounds amazing.  I kind of wish I could turn off the sound effects so that they wouldn't override parts of the music.

By the way, this is by no means a no-death run, nor am I really going for 100% completion.  I want all the heart containers, and in the process of completing the game I'm getting all the equipment, but... the photos, which were an addition in the DX version just like the Color Dungeon?  Fuck the photos.  I've gotten a few of them, but I don't really care.

My preferred setup tends to be Master Sword on A and Hookshot on B.  The Master Sword is quite powerful, especially when you're at full health and it shoots its beam.  The Hookshot is just awesome because I can stab people from across the screen with it.  I bring in the Boomerang every now and then (mostly if I need to throw it on a diagonal, which is something the Hookshot can't do), but its limited range keeps it as a "just when I need it" item.

Project 'Bout Fuckin' Time: Link's Awakening DX

Consider Project 'Bout Fuckin' Time officially started.  I started up The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX on my GameCube + GameBoy Player earlier today, and worked my way up to and partway through the third dungeon.  In addition, I beat the Color Dungeon and grabbed the blue tunic (the one that halves all damage Link takes).  Being that I accidentally run into enemies and take contact damage a lot, the blue tunic should help tremendously.

There's not really much I can say other than that I'm using a guide to make sure I'm getting everything.  There's actually a guide on GameFAQs written expressly for that purpose, and it's coming in quite handy.

I doubt I'm going to do session posts because honestly Link's Awakening DX is a fairly short game.  Instead there will just be small status updates, like the one you're currently reading.

After Link's Awakening DX, I expect I'll dive into Final Fantasy 4, which is of course the other half of Project 'Bout Fuckin' Time.

Sorry Jon, I'm not playing Hit and Run yet.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Initial D 5th Stage

Before I begin, I'd like to mention (and/or remind) that I'm watching Central-Anime's DVD releases, and thus have only seen the first eight episodes.

This season seems like they're trying to combine 4th Stage with 1st Stage.  1st Stage was understandably full of story in addition to the racing, since at that point nobody knew who Takumi was and were in a collective state of disbelief that he and his underpowered car were capable of defeating them.  As the seasons progressed, the story got pushed to the back more and more as the series was concentrating on the racing.  4th Stage was all racing and very little else.  And I liked it that way.

5th Stage begins with an entire episode of story.  A throwaway plot involving two impostors, just to set up Takumi meeting this girl, who plays golf and was driven to do so by her father (so, in a similar situation to Takumi, basically).  The first race is in the latter half of the second episode.  Then in the downhill portion of that race, there's a rather unnecessary cut from the race to the girl taking a bath and thinking about Takumi.

Don't get me wrong, Takumi probably needs a life outside of downhill drift racing, but... the subplot with this girl seems just kind of tacked on, almost to the point that that 5th Stage could do without it and not even care.  Maybe she'll matter later on down the line or something.

Later on another subplot develops with a "grim reaper", who drives a black Skyline.  Kind of similar to 1st Stage, where the Trueno was the "ghost car".  This grim reaper has a connection to Ryosuke, and his appearance is apparently enough to make Ryosuke modify his FC a bit and go race him.  Or so we think, because episode 8 ends with them standing in a parking lot.

5th Stage is by no means bad, but the phrase "get on with it" comes into my head a lot while watching.  The races feel much more drawn out, and the addition of subplots only further serves to draw things out.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Anime Season

  • Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W - The first season was a good mix of action, comedy, and ecchi harem.  This second season looks to be much of the same.  No complaints.  I especially loved the bit at the beginning of the first episode where they used the OP from the first season.
  • To aru Kagaku no Railgun S - Just like the first season of Railgun, it kicked off with an excellent first episode where Misaka fires her signature attack at the climactic moment.  Definitely looking forward to more (and of course any and all screen time for Saten is appreciated).
  • Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san - I was drawn into this one by the description in the anime season charts, which has led me astray in the past, but seems to be pretty solid here.  It's a lighthearted comedy, and offsets the other things I'm watching quite well.  The episodes are also only 12 minutes long, including the OP, end credits, and preview.  Also, hopefully the existence of the anime adaptation for this will spur some interest in scanlations of the manga, because there are none.
Still checking out, but looking good enough to continue:
  • Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko - I grabbed the first episode just to check it out.  I was thinking "oh, the male protagonist will meet the female protagonist, something will happen regarding their circumstances, they'll end up in a mostly ecchi relationship, and it'll be a fanservice series".  That's quite pleasantly not what it is.  The male protagonist is still a massive pervert, but there's a weird supernatural power at work and there seems to be a decent storyline.  Now we just have to see if they squander it for the standard "first few episodes serious, last few episodes serious, and the middle is ecchi fanservice filler".

    Also, currently watching gg's subs for this.  I don't really care too much for them because they have a tendency to trollsub everything "because it's not a serious series so who cares about a serious translation?".  Well, I care.  Fuck you.  There's always HorribleSubs.
Intrigued me because I had a similar idea but I haven't actually been watching it:
  • Photo Kano - A while back I had an idea (that I am very sure is by no means original) involving something similar to the premise for this series.  I'm interested in it for that reason alone, just to see where this series takes the idea.  From screenshots I can deduce it's mostly fanservice (although I'm sure that's a fairly skewed representation of what goes on), which would be right in line with what I expect.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sakura Matsuri 2013

So, CAINE went yet again.  My budget was $40, half of which immediately went to gas.  This budget doesn't count the $5 admission fee.

On the way up I had two initially talkative passengers who both quickly ran out of things to say and were silent for most of the trip, which just made the journey feel longer.  Neither of them contributed anything towards gas.

Once we were there, the metro station was crowded to all hell.  I distinctly remember it being less crowded the past few years.  Anyway, as we found out, the DC Metro jacked up the price of the single day pass to $14, meaning it was cheaper to actually figure out the fare for a round trip and buy a farecard for that much.  They have a stupid $1 per trip "tax" on using paper farecards (perhaps better known as a tax on people who don't live in the region and thus don't have SmarTrip cards), so with the fare in both directions (that's two trips) being $3.50/trip, a farecard for the day would be $9.  Also, (unchanged from ever) the farecard machines have a $5 maximum on the amount of change they will give you, so people who only had $20 bills had to double up.

So, with nearly 3/4 of my budget gone, I needed food.  This is a good time to mention that the festival was just as crowded as the Metro station was.  The only place that had okonomiyaki had a line that was at least an hour long.  I ended up going to a different place that had yakisoba and taiyaki.  For $10, I got cold yakisoba that was nowhere near as good as the stuff I've been making lately, and two lukewarm taiyaki an hour later when I could just walk up and buy.

With subpar food down, it was time to explore.  The festival is basically four blocks of one street, and a few of the side streets.  Walked from one end to the other, watching people play fighting games at the Nekocon booth, and looking at all kinds of merchandise that I couldn't afford, which included noting that one booth had dakimakura covers.

A couple blocks away from the J-pop stage, you can hear its subwoofer and only its subwoofer.  It's kind of weird, because you could see the singer-dressed-in-maid-costume singing on stage, but the bass so overpowered her voice that you couldn't hear it unless you were less than a block away.

Anyway, at the other end of the street was the stage where they do the real musictaiko drum performances and other more traditional forms of music.  That stuff is interesting to listen to for about 15 minutes or so.

After a while a whole group of us got tired of the festival and went to the Lincoln Memorial.  On our way back people started calling us, repeatedly, to ask where we were and to say that everyone was haphazardly leaving.  Since we hadn't set a defined time and place to meet before leaving, we went through the fun of figuring out who had left with who to make sure we weren't leaving people.  For the Nth year in a row, I had different passengers (well, different passenger, I only had one) on the way back.  We got thirsty partway back so we stopped at a gas station and got a couple of those 23oz cans of Arizona Green Tea for $1.01 each after tax.

Four miles later my car reached 130000 miles on its odometer.

So, tally up how much money I spent.  If you didn't get $40.01, you're wrong.  My wallet hurts, and for what?  Mediocre food, sunburn because I forgot my hat, and a festival where I had more fun when we left to walk elsewhere for a while.  Safe to say I'm probably not going back next year.  There's just nothing to do there that's really worth all the cost and time it takes to get there and back.

Advice to future CAINE trips to Sakura Matsuri:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Promised Guild Wars 2 Explanation

So, I've retreated from Guild Wars 2.  It's not a bad game, I just don't really have the drive to play it.

The first reason I stopped playing GW2 is simple: My computer is old and doesn't run it very well.  I'd like to actually be able to enjoy the game, and this includes being able to get more than one frame every few seconds when a lot of stuff is happening on screen.

The second reason is a group of reasons under the same header: Things it does that I disagree with.
  • GW2 was billed as a Guild Wars MMO.  But it plays more like an MMO set in the Guild Wars universe.  Basically, they put too much standard MMO stuff in GW2 for my tastes.
  • ArenaNet was trying to change the MMORPG for the better with GW2, and I respect that desire.  The most notable change is the lack of a dedicated healing profession.  That alone sets it apart from pretty much every role-playing game ever.  I have kind of a love-hate relationship with this, because I like that they were bold enough to try it, but the self-healing skills they gave all the classes can only mitigate your health loss, they can never result in net health gain during a battle.  There are skills that can be used to heal allies (Elementalist Water Magic, basically), but they're much of the same.
  • There is a lot of grind in the game, and this is unusual given how ArenaNet was specifically trying to reduce the amount of grind associated with MMORPGs.  Experience grinding they eliminated pretty well, simply by giving you experience for literally everything you do, even non-combat things like simply exploring the map.  But there are many other sources of grind in the game, and I can't overlook them.
  • The crafting professions.  They're unnecessary.  Get rid of them and go back to the GW1 method of crafting items: Get materials, give materials to crafting NPC along with some money, get crafted item.  It was a perfect system and never needed changing.  The crafting professions add a lot of grind to the game.
  • Related to the crafting professions, the method of gathering the materials required to progress them.  You have to buy not one, not two, but three separate tools to gather all the resources, and those tools have a limited number of uses.  Furthermore, some things require a tool to be made from a specific material in order to be gathered.  Also, the resource nodes move around periodically.
  • The level curve of a bunch of the lower-level areas never felt right.  I always found myself trying to fight things several levels higher than me just because I wanted to explore and was tired of fighting on the same few patches of land.  In the betas I noticed that the Charr 1-15 area was pretty good level curve-wise, and used that area for all of my characters thereafter, regardless of race.
  • The "sidekick" system, or perhaps better referred to as "the downlevelling system".  I have a love-hate relationship with this.  On one side, in GW1 it was always annoying to play with low level characters (perhaps your friends who have just gotten the game) because they never felt the full challenge since you were able to one-hit everything in the areas you were helping them go through with your max-level, max-armor, max-gear, awesome skill set character.  In that regard, automatically downlevelling the player to the area they're in allows all players around them to feel the proper level of challenge.  But in doing so, you forfeit any kind of noticeable strength gain or sense of achievement.  It's impossible to utilize your character's full potential because in the areas designed for your level, you'll have a lot of challenge, and if you go somewhere else to try to gain the satisfaction of killing something in fewer hits than you used to, surprise, you get downlevelled and it still takes the same number of hits as it always did.  Make the system check for other characters within a specific range of you and downlevel everyone in the area to the average level of all players in the area, rather than making hours upon hours of gameplay time useless.  I'm sorry, it's embarrassing to die in a level 1 area as a level 42 character.
  • Speaking of death, an armor breaking/repair system?  Really?  Get that shit off my waffle.  GW1 did just fine without it, there's no reason to add it here.  Especially when you said that, and I quote, "death is the penalty".  The repair system basically adds a monetary penalty to each death.
  • The dye system needs work.  I love the range of dye colors, and I understand that they wanted some dye colors to be harder to obtain than others.  That was in GW1.  But what wasn't in GW1: having the availability of dye colors be character-specific.  Why did someone think this was a good idea?
  • They got rid of the compass showing you enemies and your aggro radius.  Why?  It was so useful.  Coupled with names on anything being occluded by terrain features, and you'll constantly be accidentally running into more than you can handle, and then when retreating you'll get patrolled up on.
  • Underwater combat is incredibly lacking.  The handful of available underwater skills are awkward to use at best.  Also, when you decide to surface, the camera gets hung up on the surface of the water and won't go above it until you reach the surface.
  • I like what they did with having half your skill bar be dependent on the type of weapons you're using, but they could have taken it further.  Once you settle on a weapon combo that works for your play style, your first five skill slots will be the same old boring skills all throughout the game.  Why not let suitably rare weapons have different skills?  It would reward the player for going through the effort required to get the item and give them a sense of achievement.
  • Melee combat is awkward because the melee range skills don't move you into melee range of your target when you use them.
  • Three tiers of "max" items?  Really?  That's so WoW.  What was so wrong with the GW1 method of having max gear be simple and easy to obtain?
  • I love the sheer versatility of the GW2 Elementalist.  I think in all my posts about GW2 I've made this point blatantly clear.  So explain to me then, why do all of the Elementalist's traits force you onto just one or two elements?  And why can't I weapon swap between a staff and dual daggers without first having to leave combat?  I know the reason why Elementalists didn't get weapon swapping is because they have attunement swapping to change their first five skill slots, but the Elementalists' traits make players less likely to attunement swap.  Also, Engineers got shafted on the weapon swap front as well.  Do all the different kits and turrets and whatnot really warrant artificial removal of versatility?
  • Also, regarding traits: Severe monetary cost to re-spec your traits?  Seriously?  Bring back the ease of re-adjusting attribute levels when in town like in GW1.  Except, make that "when out of combat" instead.
  • Elite skills saw a huge change in GW2.  They're no longer the skill you lean on, use the most often, and no longer the keystone of your build.  Rather, they're the exact opposite now, they're the skill you keep as your "ace in the sleeve", to whip out when your normal approach is useless.  They work quite well for that purpose, but the recharge times.  Holy fuck, those recharge times.  They're ridiculous.  Trim them down a bit and Elite skills might become a bit more useful.  By the way, I've only seen a few of the Elementalist Elite skills, and of the ones I have, Summon Fiery Greatsword is by far my favorite.  Nothing keeps a group of enemies guessing like an Elementalist running into melee to beat their asses with a huge fucking greatsword that's on fire.  Well, I lied.  Nothing keeps a group of enemies guessing like an Elementalist and that Elementalist's buddy both running into melee to beat their asses with huge fucking greatswords that are on fire.  Since you get two when you use the skill, one for yourself and one on the ground for an ally to pick up.
Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that somewhere along the line of developing their Guild Wars MMO, ArenaNet let way too much of the MMO creep into Guild Wars.  Despite all of this, I still want to play the game, but now I know what I'm really playing.  In the meantime, you can find me in GW1.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rogue Galaxy Post-Game Session 12

Started Insectron Rank C, and noticed that the curve for experience gains really starts to mount right after level 3.  I had to face several level 4 insectors, which I had some trouble hitting.  In the 5th round I also lost a Dark Emperor, but won with no other issues.

This indicates two things to me: that my "keep everyone in a line and advance it every turn" strategy for steamrolling Insectron only goes so far; and that I need to use Insectron Rank B to level up, forfeiting the 5th round so I can restart from the beginning.  It's only going to get harder from here, and I need my Dark Emperors to have relevant stats.

As it turns out, there is a "forfeit" option, but it's pretty well hidden.  You forfeit by selecting an empty space on your turn and selecting "Give Up" out of the menu.

I used Rank A for more levelling up, until I got them to ACE, then I beat it.  Between Rank A and Rank S I did a lot of stat maxing with food, probably too much to be honest.  I should have ground stats on the first four Rank S battles for a while, I'd have had less to feed them and would have ended up with max health on all of them.  Instead, I got max strength, defense, and resists on all of them, and varying degrees of high health for all.

Anyway, with my insectors no longer able to gain stat boosts, I stomped Rank S.  But I wasn't there just to beat it once.  Beating it a second time unlocks a costume for Lilika.  So I ran right back in, only to suffer a stupid loss on the fourth battle.  Basically, I got cocky and moved my king to the edge of the board, and the stupid idol girl sent her Dark Emperor in to use its attack with its inherent "flip backwards" property on poor PALPATINE, which of course 100 throw resist couldn't defend against and he got flipped out of the arena.

Second time through I didn't make that blunder.  I stomped all the way to the 5th round, against Dr. Pocacchio.  The thing that makes him difficult is that he has an insector you can't get anywhere in the game.  Just like the Dark Emperor it can use its special attack infinitely, and its special attack is much better, as it deals hefty damage to everything around it, and applies stun.  I ended up chasing it around the board with one of my two remaining Dark Emperors while my king was stunned, and eventually killed it.  Tough, but not the impossible insector most of the internet makes it out to be.

With that, I equipped the costume on Lilika and went to Galaxy Corporation to claim my reward for completing Insectron, which of course was sole remaining costume for Jupis.

Everything is now 100% complete, and I have all the costumes.  Rogue Galaxy officially done.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nothing posted in ages...

So, I got a job.  A real one this time.  It's sucking away all my free time.  Which means less time to play games and write blog posts.

Here's a quick rundown of what's happened recently:
  • Guitar Hero 5: FCed Deadbolt by Thrice
  • Rogue Galaxy: All my Dark Emperors are ACE and have all their stats except for health maxed.  Currently feeding them the item that boosts their health until they reach max health or stop gaining boosts from food, before entering Insectron S Rank.
  • The Simpsons: Hit and Run: Still haven't started playing it.
  • Project 'Bout Fuckin' Time: Still haven't started it.
  • Food: I've been making yakisobapan for my lunches for work recently.  Might eventually formulate a recipe post.  It's really not a complex thing to make.
  • Winter Anime Season: Finished Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT and Minami-ke Tadaima.  Haganai NEXT had its moments but wasn't quite as good as the first season, and Minami-ke Tadaima was actually pretty decent.  Initial D 5th Stage on hold, basically watching Central-Anime's DVD version.
  • Spring Anime Season: Watching Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W, and To aru Kagaku no Railgun S.  Checking out Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san and a couple others.
  • Guild Wars: Retreated from GW2, for a variety of reasons I'll probably dedicate a post to in the near future.  Playing GW1 sporadically.
  • Computer stuff: Learning XSLT and Windows PowerShell.
  • CAINE: CAINE is attending Sakura Matsuri this weekend.  We wrapped up our scheduled showings recently and by far the best thing we watched this semester was Steins;Gate.  It was up against Now and Then, Here and There, Kino no Tabi, and Megas XLR.  Also, for whatever reason, we had a showing that consisted of both Nanoha movies.  I'm not really into magical girl stuff.