Posts Tagged ‘gaming

28
Aug
20

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!

27
Aug
20

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!

14
Aug
20

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!

06
Jan
20

Trophy Hunt – 1/6

Trophy Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KA Spiral no signature

02
Jan
20

Trophy Hunt – 1/2

Gaming_Cave.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KA Spiral no signature

19
Nov
19

Trophy Hunt – 11/19

Gaming_Cave.jpg

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

06
Nov
19

Trophy Hunt – 11/6

Gaming_Cave.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KA Spiral no signature

29
Oct
19

Trophy Hunt – 10/29

Gaming_Cave.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KA Spiral no signature

23
Oct
19

Trophy Hunt – 10/23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17
Oct
19

Trophy Hunt – 10/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, folks!

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