All About Azure_Valkyrie
As the title says...
Oh yeah, and there's sharks as well.
...that's why I enlisted the help of my evil clone to keep me safe. Unfortunetly he wasn't too interested and decided to tie me to a ceiling fan before turning it up to maximum speed. Thus a word of warning to you all, if you are being hunted by gingerbread men, do not ask your clone for help - he will simply tie you to a ceiling fan in an inverted position.
Okay, leaving aside being attacked by live bread, I finished the first year of my Computer Games Development course (not to be confused with the other Games Design course I was previously enrolled on) a few months ago. The students I met this time seemed to actually know (for the most part) what they were doing. The course itself placed a greater focus on programming than the last. I ended up making two flash games (the second one being developed as part of a group-based assignment) one of which featured a baby and a turret with built-in laser guns fighting giant toasters, teddies, kitchen sinks, and of couse, the absolutely essential "Baby Collector" (we had a less politically correct term for him originally, but calling him by that term probably wouldn't have gone down too well...). Not mentioned in the prospectus was the fact that you needed to have a certain maths qualification (or something higher) in order to pass. Now some of the c l a s s; including myself; had qualifications equivalent to the one we required. But all of us participated in some maths c l a s s e s as part of the course regardless. As one student in the c l a s s said: " I thought I left maths behind at school!" Overall it wasn't particularly difficult. Next year I'm expecting to be dealing with Hexidecimals (sp?). Now THAT will be difficult. On a sidenote the course was cut a few weeks short this year on account of plans being to relocate the college to a new campus. Only it wasn't just this campus. It was all three of them being folded into a campus smaller than the one I was sent to; which was actually the smallest. Some of the staff don't exactly seem too fond of this idea, and to be honest I don't blame them. My maths tutor said that every department will now be assigned a large 'studio' type room, where all study resources for every course will be stored. It should be obvious that this could cause some problems to say the least.
Now on a less positive note, a few days ago it was discovered there was some kind of problem with my dad's heart. It turned out that portions of it were hardening, thus making it increasingly difficult for blood to be circulated correctly. He was hospitalised for several tests before being transferred to a larger hospital for surgery. About two days ago he came out of Intensive Care after having a heart operation and I'm going to visit him tomorrow with my mother.
As for gaming, there's quite bit to talk about, but I'm not about to condense everything into one blog entry, so I'll save most of the interesting stuff for sometime in the near future (probably tomorrow). So to fill the space below with something other than just space, you get to see my thoughts and/or first impressions; if somewhat briefly; on some of the new games I've had the joy (or in some cases the lack thereof) playing in the time I've been away. If you're actually interested in what's below, then you can expect to see more detailed impressions on them in future entries.
Dungeon Siege III
A new take on what was originally a PC-based series, DSIII presents the player with a choice of one of four playable characters, each with their own unique fighting **** Lucas swings about a sword and shield, Anjali gets to impale people with a spear before lobbing balls of fire at them, the third character (whose name I can't remember) is a typical mage who also utilizes defensive melee weapons in close combat and Katarina shoots people with her rifle. Despite only having played the game for a day on Hardcore (the hardest difficulty), I'm almost halfway through. Combat occurs in real time, though I'll admit I had much more fun just blasting away with Kat's rifle than trying to fight someone up close with a sword. Even on the current difficulty this feels far too easy. I think I've only died once thus far, and that can be attributed to a careless mistake which really shouldn't have happened. The story isn't anything special, but isn't too bad either. There seem to be moral choices in this game but it's the typical 'black & white' decision rather than anything new.
Yes the graphics look fine. Not as good as I was expecting but good enough. This is one of the few FPS games of this console generation that actually has a campaign longer than 8-12 hours. Controls feel smooth and responsive, the guns feel as if they some weight behind them (unlike some other shooters featuring guns that really don't sound, or otherwise give the impression that they are actual guns, as opposed to toys) the level design seems to be fine. Now for the bad part. The AI. I don't know whether this applies to the PC version, but from what I've seen thus far it looks like something was lost in translation here. Sometimes the AI demonstrates incredible cunning, only to display an unbelieveable degree of stupidity shortly afterwards. One such example of this occured when two soldiers attempted to search a room. They entered the room and searched every area throughly, only for one of them to get stuck in a corner on the way out. On a separate occasion, I rolled a giant donut onto a enemy below. Two of his comrades came over and began searching the area when one them climbed on to the roof of the building. As they gave up the search, this same soldier simply walked off the edge of the building. This was followed by an "AAARRRGGG!" Then "OH NO! MAN DOWN! MAN DOWN!" I think you can connect the dots.
SOCOM: Special Forces
Well for starters, this is NOT SOCOM. Having said that, his isn't a bad game. It just isn't a particulry good one either. The graphics look nice, but we all know that good graphics don't neccessarily make a great game. Sure they're pretty, but impressive graphics aren't going to save a game that's sub-par in almost every other area. The AI has got be quite possibly some of the worst I've seen in a game. You tell your squad to take cover behind a wall. So they VAULT OVER THE WALL and take cover on the WRONG SIDE. Then one of them gets cut down by a mounted MG. You instruct the others to fall in as you pull back, trying to get a better angle on the gunner. But one of your squadmates dashes on into the open ignoring your orders and gets hit. Before long you've got a mess on your hands, the cause of which is the AI. The squad is a vital aspect of the game. Bad AI that causes such a critical part of the game to function incorrectly is quite obviously a major flaw - you can't have a squad-based shooter if the squad is comprised of complete and utter idiots. The AI in the original SOCOM on PS2 was better than this. Level design is linear, which isn't neccessarily a bad thing, but it can potentially make for somewhat dull missions, espicially if you're playing the campaign as opposed to a custom mission or co-op. The cover system is broken - your character automatically stands up when entering tall cover, thus potentially exposing to fire from enemies who wouldn't have a shot if your character were still crouching. Moving while in cover exposes to you to enemy fire, this includes simply turning and facing the other direction (e.g. you character is behind a wall while facing right, you turn him so he's now facing left). Some objects are larger than they look, which can cause problems if you're sniping or trying to shoot round a corner without using the broken cover system. It's possible to magically enhance your firearm's accuracy by simply aiming down the sight or scope, suddenly affording it pinpoint precision. Despite all of those flaws, playing co-op with four other players is great fun. The sheer number of enemies in custom missions and co-op ensures there's always something to shoot at. Human players means no bad AI (at least not in your squad, so that's one problem solved by playing co-op). The soundtrack has a few memorable tracks and the voice acting is strong, as are the sound effects representing gunfire and explosions. The camera is zoomed in too close to the character, but most of the time this isn't too much of a problem. This game is overall moderatly enjoyable in spite of its numerous shortcomings. Worth 'checking your bargain bin'.
A departure from the typical FEAR formula, F.3.A.R. introduces two player co-op for an expierience focused on action over horror. Despite taking a mainstream approach, the game is actually quite enjoyable. Players assume the role of either 'Pointman' or Paxton Fettel, the latter of whom is capable of suspending enemies in mid-air, giving Pointman the opportunity to pull off an easy headshot. Fettel is also able to possess enemy soldiers and use them against the enemy. That could involve possessing an enemy sniper and supporting the other player from afar, or possessing an enemy with a shield to protect Pointman as he falls back, if you find you've bitten off more than you can chew. Though the game lacks a traditional Deathmatch multiplayer mode, the existing modes are highly enjoyable and more than make up for the absence of it. Contractions is particularly worthy of note. Bearing a strong resemblence to CoD's Zombies mode, Contractions pits a maximum of four players against twenty waves of enemy combatants; ranging from soldiers to crazed cultists and supernatural creatures; as the players take on the enemy from the (relative) safety of a building, boarding up windows to slow down the opposition and sometimes exiting the building to retrieve ammo crates to increase the size of the players' weapons stockpile.
Top Gun (PSN DL Game)
A fun; if somewhat short; arcade flight game available on the PSN store. All aircraft in this game handle very unrealistically, you have infinite ammo, and your armor recovers over time (yes, you read that correctly - regenerating health in an arcade flight game). It's very short; even for a DL game; and includes ten missions in total (seven if you exclude the 5-10 minute long training missions).. There's little replay value to be found in the campaign, but the core gameplay was kept me playing anyway while trying to set new high scores. The graphics aren't particularly remarkable, but they're decent. The voice acting and script are both laughably bad, but that's to be expected from a budget game. It's worth playing if an overly simplified Heatseeker sounds appealing.
I'll have more ready from the next entry, but that's all for now.
If you were following my entries around eight months ago, you'll know that I was in the process of posting entries regarding my favourite games. The next entry in that series of blogs is going to take a look at a 1990's ****c - Wing Commander. Following that you'll see entries about Red Ninja: End Of Honor (yep, they used the US spelling even over here in the UK) and Panzer Dragoon Orta.
Now you and I are going to play a game. I'm going to post an image of a game character and you're going to try to guess who they are and what game he/she is from. Try not to hover the cursor over the image or look at its URL, since either of those could give the answer away. Most of these characters will be from less known games, and any who aren't probably won't be main characters.
Who is this blog's mystery character?
I'm also going to revive the 'Question Of The Blog' feature (which had previously only been featured in one blog before I dropped the idea). So this blog's question is:
What was the first scene from a video game that left you disturbed or "freaked out" in some way?
The Game Over or 'Funeral' sequence from Wing Commander left me little disturbed when I saw it for the first time at the age of three.
A long time ago I sold my original copy of Gunvalkyrie; an Xbox title by Sega released exclusively on Xbox. Two days a go I found a preowned copy priced at £2.50 and bought it in a heartbeat. All I can say is that this one of the most under-appreciated games around. It won't appeal to everyone, but those to do enjoy and appreciateit will understand exactly what makes it so much of a joy to play, regardless of how many times you've cleared the game.
If you're familiar with the likes of Otogi, Shinobi (PS2) and Kunochi, you'll feel right at home here. If you were to read most reviews of the game, you'd find that a common opinion shared by the critics is that the game is very hard. While this game is not for the average, casual player, I think most of the reviewers are somewhat over-exaggerating. In fact the largest barriers for new players to overcome will be the control scheme and playstyle required for one to effectively play the game.
I finished my first playthrough yesterday and am currently three quarters of the way done with my second, though I'll have to wait until my third run before I can get the True ending. I'm going to write about this in more detail at some point (most likely after posting the blog about Men Of Valor) as well as produce a review (which I should be able to actually finish this time, unlike the Singularity review which was not possible to complete due to it being too difficult to get into a multiplayer game). i'm going to replace my current theme with a Gunvalkyrie theme after acquiring the true ending.
I was expecting an option for a harder difficulty level and possibly a New Game+ option but seems both features were omitted from the game. Other than this, my only disappointment with the game is that the game just feels too easy. Yes that's right. I said 'easy'. Because as I've also already said, the greatest obstacles that can potentially limit the game's accessibilityare the control scheme and playstyle. Upon grasping both, it should be possible to progress without much difficulty (until you reach the some of the last few bosses, who can still be a pain). Thoughnone of the above issues bother me much.It was only a few minutes ago that I found a solid strategy for use against a specific boss. It took me quite few tries during my first playthrough. In the end I ended up using a Reserve Shield, a single-use only item used toprevent death by restoring the Shield to max the moment it hits zero. While I died during the final boss fight (along the Normal ending route) after a ten-minute battlewithin which I inflicted no damage whatsoever, I defeated the boss during my second attempt earned an S rank. Now how the exactly does that work?
I won't be able to continue blogging until the current family computer is moved to our new house. Unless I were to use my laptop. Which runs off Windows Vista. Or my PS3. SoI hope my new college dosen't issue any computer-based work to be completed outside of college until that time, or until a new computer is purchased.
Now it's time to be honest. Who assumed this blog would be about something else other than Gunvalkyrie after reading the title and the first paragraphup to 'A long time ago I...'
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A video made for the Fate/stay night Union.DISCLAIMER I DO NOT OWN ANY CONTENT IN THE VIDEO. FATE/STAY NIGHT, ITS CHARACTERS AND ALL RELATED FICTIONAL WORKS ARE THE PROPERTY OF TYPE-MOON. CODE IS THE PROPERTY OF SACHI TAINAKA.
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