Archive for the 'Gaming Goodies' Category


Trophy Hunt – 8/28

It hasn’t been a productive week as I write this. I find myself picking listlessly at the pile, snatching a bronze here, a silver there. Currently working on Vikings, a little Diablo clone drenched in Norse warpaint, but it doesn’t really satisfy. The gameplay is very slow, progression slower still, plot minimal, and trophies few and far between. Unsatisfying on all fronts.

I did finally put Kawaii Deathu Desu to bed, after some 600 playthroughs, 90 of them in one day, and I am very glad I no longer have to look at the game. It was quite amusing at first, but after staring at it for twenty hours or so, what charm it had has worn off. I was quite happy to move it to the “hidden content items” section of the PS4 library.

Unsure of what I want to do now. GameFly tells me The Last of Us 2 is due to arrive in my mailbox any day now. I’m not excited about it. I couldn’t stand the first one, and don’t see any reason to be excited for the sequel, but I’ve had enough of people claiming I can’t say I dislike it unless I play it, so I’m going to slap it on my trophy list so people can see I did play it and probably will still hate it. Still, given the minimal effort it looks like the trophies will take in that one, I don’t expect it’s going to keep me interested for long, and will probably need to be taken in small bites.

Right now I think I’m just killing time until I can dive into Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I’m hoping it will scratch the itch of something action-y and grind-y yet relatively quick. The knowledge that I’ll be able to play with friends, even though they all opted for the Switch version, is nice… we’ll see if the game still holds up all these years later.

What’s on your blotter, folks? What games are you working on, what do you wish you were working on, what games do you hate and wish you weren’t playing but are bullying your way through anyway? Have you tried Crystal Chronicles yet? What do you think? Let us know down below!


Stop the PS5 Hype Train

I’m a Sony fanboy.

There, I said it.

Now, I’m not one of those fanboys who automatically thinks Sony can do no wrong, nor am I one who thinks everything the other console makers do is stupid or worthless. I own an Xbox One and a Switch. I had a 360 and a Wii. I had an original Xbox and a GameCube. I’ve always been relatively cosmopolitan in my gaming life, but since the PS1, my heart lies with Sony.

This generation is no different. But, seriously, they need to quit it.

“Why?” you ask. “Why, if you are such a fanboy, do you say they need to quit it, whatever ‘it’ is?”

Simple. Because they keep layering on more stuff, more hype, more flash and sizzle without giving us the important thing: a price and a date. They’re building hype up to unrealistic proportions, and what it feels like is that by the time they finally say “Okay, you can go to Amazon and buy it now” I’m going to be too exhausted and worn out to care.

Contrast with Nintendo, who is just plugging along doing their own thing, or Microsoft, who keeps tripping over their feet. The hype train is huge, and a lot of that hype seems well placed, but one can still overload on it, and I think it’s a real danger.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is “Quit hyping it up, give me a date, shut up and take my money, damnit!”

I’m looking forward to grabbing Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I’ll be happy to play Yakuza 7 and Marvel’s Avengers on the console. I’ll probably snap up Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and will probably enjoy it, at least a little bit. I’m very pleased to see Far Cry 6, Gotham Knights and Suicide Squad are on the way, and though they can’t seem to make up their minds on what they’re doing, I’ll be glad to welcome Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 when it finally arrives. But at this point, I’m sick of hearing about it.

Anyone else with me? Anyone else getting tired of all the sizzle and just wants the damn thing in their hands? What games are you looking forward to, or which ones do you think are duds waiting to happen? Let us know down below!


Trophy Hunting – 8/21

The hunt continues. It’s endless, really. A constant war against the unachieved, the uncounted, the rare beasties hiding in the already-too-long list of games I’ve played.

I’ve been told it’s pointless, that I should give up… but I can’t. It may be unhealthy, but a significant portion of my pride and joy is wrapped up in earning these little meaningless shinies, and damnit, I’m going to keep doing it.

This last week has been slow, but somewhat fruitful. Persona 5 will fall before my blade. I’d already done the Royal reissue, and had come back to clean up the regular version, but for a while it was touch and go. One trophy, “Passionate Listener” required me to hear 250 lines of dialogue from one particular party member. The problem is, a lot of those lines basically come from getting your ass kicked, and given that I’ve played and finished all the Personas – and a few other Shin Megami Tensei games as well – I kind of already know how it works. My experience with Royal only taught me more about this specific entry.

I had reached the last boss, the final chance to earn Passionate Listener, and did not yet have it. Most enemies had been steamrolled, and by the time I realized I needed to lose a bit more, to suffer from ailments, to deliberately cast ineffective spells, I was already so overpowered that most enemies ran from me and those that were left died too quickly.

Then it happened. The final boss hit me with a status effect. Then another. And another. The whole party was incapacitated. The talkative one went nuts, reeling off line after line of how so-and-so was out of it, their defense was lowered, they couldn’t hit anything. Grinning, I swapped out some members, and let it happen again. And again.

The ding as the trophy popped just as my last member recovered automatically from the bad status was more satisfying than unloading all the skills I’d been holding back on his stupid face and blowing a Godzilla sized hole in his skull. If you’ve finished either version of Persona 5, you know.

So the plat is going to happen. I just have to start New Game+, work my way through the first month of the game, fuse the ultimate Persona and kick the hell out of the optional boss. I’m not stressing any of that. Just dreading the three hours it’ll take to get there (which is funny, since between the two versions I’ve already put 200+ hours into Persona 5. Another 3 is really just a drop in the pool.) After that, a fresh shiny platinum will be mine.

Other games being worked on are Death Mark, which is a breeze that I just need to sit down and do; I’ve already beaten it on Vita, and am only playing the PS4 version for the additional case. It’s realistically just an hour of two of fast forward, followed by another hour or so to solve the bonus case, but between Persona, the heat, and general malaise I just haven’t done it yet.

Also on the blotter is Assassin’s Creed III, in my quest to finish all of the extant games before Valhalla drops. Haven’t gotten far, but it’s nothing special. There’s also Kawaii Deathu Desu, which is a very bizarre little offering. Basically, Death and several other monsters have decided they want to be Japanese idols. The problem? Legions of rabid fans trying to interrupt their concerts! The solution? Slay them and collect their souls, of course! It’s fast, it’s mindless, and it’s fun. The trophies are a little glitchy, but rebooting seems to fix it every time, so no worries there… and it makes for a nice palate cleanser after the slog and seriousness of most of my library the last couple of weeks.

What about all of you? What are you playing, what trophies have you earned that give you pride and fulfillment, which ones are torturing you to no end? Let us know down below!


The Trophy Hunt

Trophy hunting is still a thing, despite not having had any updates in a while. I managed to pull to level 52 on PSN, for whatever that may be worth.

Since it would be excessive, and probably almost impossible to sort out, listing everything since the last one of these updates isn’t going to be the idea; instead you get a quick peek at what I’m currently working on. There’s four games I want to touch on today.

First up, Persona 5. Yes, it’s old. Yes, I recently coaxed the platinum from its upgraded cousin, Persona 5 Royal. But given that it’s been sitting on my shelf since release – it was picked up shortly before moving, and got lost in the shuffle – I figured I might as well go back and finish this one. It’s JRPG goodness to the core, with the typical ultra-hard, heavily reliant on weaknesses and stat buffs and debuffs combat that all Shin Megami Tensei games are known for, with an excellent plot and great characters. Well, except for Haru. She still sucks. The trophy list in the original version is a bit more painful than the Royal update, however; the worst offender – and the one I’m most concerned about causing me to miss the Platinum – is to hear 250 of Futaba’s “Navigation” lines.

Basically what that entails is making sure in every combat you try every spell and attack type. Hope you get plenty of crits and reflects. Let your party members get their asses kicked, by suffering criticals and weakness attacks themselves. Let your party members rot with no health. Make sure they miss a few attacks, and let them die a few times. Make sure you try every form of negotiation on most enemy types. Baton pass constantly, swap Joker’s Persona far more often than you need to. It makes combat go from rapid fire win-or-loss affairs into clunky slogs where a spreadsheet can be your friend… and then she repeats lines half the time. Ugh.

The rest of the game is pretty standard; max out your Social Links, fuse all the Personae, beat the game and get the true ending, kill the optional bosses. All doable, and fun enough. But that one Futaba trophy…

Next is sort of a double header; Dragon Quest Heroes, both 1 and 2. They’re made by Omega Force, the folks behind Dynasty Warriors and its eight million spinoffs, which means they should be right up my alley. It’s not.

The first game is far worse than the second, but combat is slow and clunky, with frequent enemies who have 10k+ HP – while you do an average of 100 damage per swing, if you’re lucky. The boss monsters are even worse, and the “optional” veteran bosses are in the hundreds of thousands of HP with plenty of one-hit kills… and they’re all required for the Platinum. But that’s not the worst of it.

The Puff-Puffs. Oooooh, the Puff-Puffs. See, after a battle, there’s a chance your party members will give you a Puff-Puff. What precisely that entails varies by the character, but it’s totally random if you get one or not. It’s also random which character will give you one. The possibility of it happening is extremely low. I had 1 by the time the main story was done. There are twelve party members. As I write this, with hundreds of missions and repeats under my belt, I’m still only to 10/12. I hate RNG trophies, and I especially hate ones that have low rates of success. This one layers both of those multiple times.

Then there’s the enemies and their crowd control. Almost every enemy can stun you. Most of them have sweeping attacks that fling you into the air, or freeze you, or put you to sleep. This means you spend a significant amount of time mashing the dodge button and crossing your fingers, or sitting there twiddling your thumbs while enemies beat the everloving crap out of you and you can do nothing about it. At all. Awesome.

DQH2 is better in a lot of respects – combat is faster, more akin to a standard Musou game, fewer crowd controlling enemies, a nice almost open world design – but the trophy list still includes the Puff-Puffs and an almost ridiculous amount of grinding. We’ll see if I can endure it.

Lastly is Spirit Hunter: Death Mark. Now, yes, I did already do that one on Vita, and normally I object to stacking. But the PS4 version includes an additional case, and damnit, I love the game. I want to see everything it has to offer. So thanks to the wonders of GameFly, I’m doing it again, with the new ghost to fight.

Final opinions? Persona 5, if you haven’t already played it, is wonderful… just be wary of keeping Futaba happy. I’d recommend skipping it in favor of the Royal version, though. Dragon Quest Heroes? Don’t even start it. The sequel? More fun, but expect a hundred hours of grinding if you open that door. Death Mark? Even if you don’t normally like VNs or adventure games, I heartily recommend it – and its sequel, NG, though Death Mark is still the better of the two in my opinion.

Until next week, folks, happy hunting!


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


Trophy Hunt – 1/2


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


Trophy Hunt – 11/19


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


Trophy Hunt – 11/12


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





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!

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Trophy Hunt – 11/6


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!

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