Friday, 24 February 2012

Persona 4: Update 2 + Metal Gear Solid 3D demo

So, it's only a quick update for Persona 4 this time round. I have just over half of the social links done now and i've been pushing my way through the extra bosses in each of the dungeons whilst completing requests along the way. Only got up to the 19th of November with it, but that leaves me open to starting the next story section in the next playthrough later today.

Asides from that, i almost had missed the fact that the Metal Gear Solid 3D demo was available on the eshop, so i took this chance to give it a try and see what i thought.

The demo itself is about 20 minutes long-ish at most, those who have played MGS titles before probably could get it down within 10 minutes maybe. Most of it was focused on stealth than anything else, but you will get a bit of a fire-fight at the end if you aren't careful. Control where..ok. I was given the impression at the start that all the controls where going to be on the main 3DS only, however once i got into the options, they do let you change to the CPP, which i found to be far more comfortable for the game in general. Having your camera mapped to your second circle pad rather than the ABXY buttons works a lot better, since it gives the rest of the buttons room to spread out on the controls, changing stance is now on B as well as up on the d-pad, for example. I actually can see this turning into something of a trend with 3DS games to some extent. Maybe not so much with Nintendos own titles, but with third party ones coming from capcom, or like kojima productions as seen, people will move to have the CPP as an available control scheme, or maybe even push to require it in the future.

In terms of gameplay. I had, to this point, never played Metal Gear Solid. What madness is this you say? Well, i just never found it took my fancy until the last year, when i saw MGS2 available for £3 whilst browsing through town. Anyways, i had no real idea as to what to expect in regards to the gameplay. Having most of the demo be stealth felt like it wasn't giving me much chance to see everything, but watching how camouflage worked and the level of detail put into the game to enhance that is very much respectable. When i got to the end of the demo, i found myself struggling to actually keep in stealth, and ended up engaged in combat. Firing at every enemy only to then realise, i've got tranqs which weren't knocking them out! I got a little fire up about this and just basically started to whack them in melee instead, finally taking them all out, and getting to the objective which ends the demo. How long do tranqs take to actually work anyways? Would be nice to know, since i was confused, thinking i need to hit them to get them to work.

The only other thing to really bring to mention was the 3D. at times, it was ok, but a lot of the 3D in the game was a little too strong. It got uncomfortable a bit too much and i found myself turning it off more often than i really wanted to. I didn't see an option to adjust it in the options menu, but i may have missed it. hopefully there will be so that i can enjoy it, much like i did with revelations' well balanced 3D.

Overall, hits and misses abound, it was somewhat enjoyable. I'll certainly consider picking it up, but i may end up waiting until it gets put on deal before i do, specially with so many other titles left to complete.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Quest for completion - Persona 4: Update 1

After a rather delayed start-back for Persona 4, i made a small, albeit decent amount of progress from what i got time to do yesterday. I was able to complete the Heaven dungeon(i won't say who's involved, purely because if someone reads this and has yet to play the game(or when you read this, watch the anime), it will spoil things) which had a boss. At times he did give me those feelings of "OH HELL" but thankfully, my team where able to hold it together and take him out. Was a long one though. All i can say is, Black Frost & Yatofusa with Mind charge + Agidyne = god tier. Yukiko is one hell of a healer with the right equipment too, every time my party took nearly 300 damage, it was restored in one cast. Only person of my team that felt a little useless was Chie. Her magic is meh, and her accuracy for melee was a little sub-par. Could have done with boosting her hit/evasion more probably, but it worked out in the end anyways.

After that, i spent a few of the following days after that(i finished the dungeon 2 days after it opened up), i got the devil arcana up a rank as well as fortune up 2. Annoyingly, for Naotos arcana, i didn't realise you need max understanding for one of the conversation options. Raged since UNDERSTANDING NEVER LIKES TO INCREASE, bar that, only 4 ranks away from max for Naoto now.

Plan is for tonight and tomorrow morning, to get to the end of november, and into december, hopefully with 2-3 more social links maxed.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Resident Evil Revelations and the Circle Pad Pro

Having finished Resident Evil Revelations about a couple of weeks ago, blitzing the raid mode and so on with both the Circle Pad Pro(the latest addition to the 3DS), i thought it a good time to give my thoughts on how the game plays, which control scheme i prefer, and of course, how well the Circle Pad Pro(CPP from here on) works. So let's start with Revelations.

Resident Evil Revelations is yet another addition to the ever growing Resident Evil franchise, which Capcom themselves has said, would bring back horror to the series. This was a huge statement for them to make, specially considering how both 4 and 5 had put less emphasis on it, 5 more so than 4 obviously. So it wouldn't be too surprising to say i was a little sceptical about it all. not only that, but how would the game work control wise? Thankfully, both of these where answered well.

Horror, or rather, Survival horror was always what the series was best known for, and with this, it certainly brings them back to the genre, even if just a bit. The atmosphere for the majority of the setting, which is an abandoned ship named the Queen Zenobia, is that of what you probably remember of the first game. A, what appears to be, ship in which there is noone left alive and you are left there to investigate and survive your time there. And it feels like it too. You get feeling of hesitance at some points within the game of, what will be round here, and will something jump out of nowhere. There is even a point late into the game in which the lights flicker a lot, and it leaves you thinking, will something just appear suddenly or not. That is what i was after, finally giving me the sense of horror again. That's not to say there was tonnes, there is points in the game in which you play as Chris/Jessica and Keith/Quint in other settings which focus more on action and combat than it does your survivability. In those sections, there is just no sense of fear given to you. The ship sections do though, not always to the same extent, but there is something there, an element in the background maybe, which is a step in the right direction. One can only hope Capcom keep to this with Resident Evil 6.

Jill exploring the many mysteries of the ship

Now for the gameplay. Resident Evil has always been known for standing still when aiming and shooting, but for the first time in the series(not including Mercenaries 3D), you can move and shoot. This may seem like a small detail, but it's pretty big in terms of this series. However, when using the original control scheme, without the CPP, you have to hold both shoulder buttons to be able to move, and you can't alter your aim at the same time. This is a little hit and miss for me, but it makes sense with the controls you are given. Hold R and hit Y to fire, B to reload and x for subweapon(with/without R), you get the idea. This is ok for the most part, but it gets a little more stressful later in the game when you have more enemies flying out at you, specially with Raid mode. Thankfully, there is an alternative you can use in the CPP. It is £15 so it's a bit of an investment for use in just one game at present. However, the extra circle pad, and three extra shoulder buttons is fantastic. You can aim and move as you would in most third person shooters with this setup, the keybindings you get as normal are comfortable and it doesn't take too long to get used to. It also helps those of you who found the 3DS to be too small to handle as well. I'll do a small post on the CPP itself later, but for the purpose of Revelations, it's a big hit. You can also switch between third person and first person perspectives in aiming, third person being the one i'd recommend. The rest of the games system is very much what you've come to expect. Move aim shoot kill zombie-like things. But this time, enemies do not drop ammo and herbs, you need to find some about, or use your scanner which for stories sake, is to identify what these things are and the virus used, to find items in the environment. Scanning enough enemies awards you with a single green herb as well. asides from that, you can control a lot of the reloading and item switching via the touch screen, and that is also the only way you can access your inventroy and map.

Environments look nice both with/without 3D

Story and 3D. Now the story is very much what we've come to expect from Resident Evil now they've moved passed the Raccoon City events. The BSAA have been called in to investigate this abandoned ship which was where Chris/Jessicas last known co-ordinates where set to. This leads into a decently paced, yet perhaps slightly obvious road in which you try to find out who did it, and who is behind everything. It does bring in new characters to the team, so if you are getting tired of seeing Jill sandwiches and that guy Chris, then this helps, as well as a new look into the BSAA and who they are. The characters themselves do enough to carry the story, and does bring into question some things about Chris and Jills relationship and what kind of level it is at, not by their interactions so much as their interactions with their partners in it, but there isn't much else to say for them. What was more interesting was the new look into the BSAA and rival organisations and how, despite being on the same side, they have completely different mind-sets into how to deal with these biohazards and those affected by them. It could maybe have done with a few more twists and turns here and there, but it was certainly solid.

The 3D itself is probably the most comfortable i've seen in a 3DS game to date. I played about 3/4s of the game before i had realised i had never turned off the 3D once. It's a little more uncomfortable when set to strong and obviously more so with Strongest. Do things appear to work better with it? Yes, to an extent. You do get that feeling of things being a bit closer than they are to you and further away, and it doesn't really drop the frame rate either which is a bonus. The only times that hits you really is when you go between certain sections of the game, though they thankfully keep you in small rooms when they do that loading, as to not affect your general gameplay for the rest of the game.

Finally, there is achievements in the game if you are one of those who likes them. They unlock things in the game like the Raid mode, which is a co-op/multiplayer mode or single player, if you prefer that, in which you play through the sequences of the game in a mission mode style of play. Going against different times and killing everything you can while taking as few hits as possible so that you can get the best rank you can. The streetpass works for this by giving you extra missons with unique unlockables for weapons and custom parts which gives it that extra re-playability value. And you level up as well, which helps as the enemies themselves level up with difficulty and progression. You need to finish the first three chapters for this at first and you get Jill/Chris/Parker to play as at first, but you get more as you play both modes.

So overall. I was extremely happy with this game, and still am. I got my moneys worth with this and the CPP. I keep pushing on with the Raid mode and my hard difficulty playthrough, completing every misson i can buying weapons and levelling up as much as i can to get those achievements and unlockables. I'd recommend anyone who is a fan of the series, or in general looking for games on the 3DS to play to get this. Well worth the pick-up.

Let gaming commence! The quest to completion

So in the same idea as a few other people whom i speak to on twitter, i have a lot, and i do mean a lot, of games i need to actually just sit down and complete. But it's not just sitting down to complete them that's the problem, but what game to actually sit down and finish. As such, i decided to write out two lists of games for me to randomise and pick out from to complete as i go. Why two lists? Well, i move between home, where i work, and my flat in edinburgh every week, and at home i have only a couple of my consoles, at the flat i have the rest. So to balance it out, i've decided that it would work best to pick one from each list, so that i can sit down and complete one here, and there.

So Here is the list of games to work at at home:

  1. Assassins Creed Brotherhood
  2. Valkyria Chronicles
  3. Project Slypheed
  4. Kingdom Hearts 2: FM +(gotta beat the secret bosses for the secret cinematic)
  5. Persona 4
  6. Persona 3 FES
  7. Final Fantasy XIII
  8. Disgaea 4
  9. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  10. .hack//Outbreak + part 4
  11. Lost Odyssey
  12. God Hand
  13. Katawa Shoujo
  14. VVVVVV
  15. Sonic Generations
I probably have more for competion at home, but this is as good a list to start with as any. Now for the list for at the flat, this will include portables, because obviously with the travel aspect, i can get some time in on them.

  1. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  2. Xenoblade Chronicles
  3. The Witcher
  4. Torchlight
  5. Persona 4
  6. P3P
  7. Persona 3 FES(including these three as it is easy to transport my PS2 back and forth)
  8. One Piece: unlimited Cruise SP
  9. Metroid Prime 3
  10. Skyrim
  11. Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
  12. ZHP: Unlosing Hero vs DarkDeath Evilman
  13. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
  14. Shadow of the Colossus
  15. Super Robot Taisen K(DS)
  16. Beyond Good & Evil
And i think, that's a good place to leave them for now. I could add a bajillion more, but then, i'd probably never get them done. I decided only with the list at the flat, to complete Skyward Sword. I'm down to two dungeons to go, so it shouldn't take long(he says after putting 5 and a half hours in to get 1 dungeon down last time), so this random number pick(random number generator) is for the next one. So the two games are: Number 5: Persona 4 and..number 13: Fire Emblem. A nice start i think. Hopefully i can fire up progress as i go with these as i get them down. Think i'll need to get me some caffeine with Persona 4, long game means long nights. Hah.