Rom, The Vicious Spider Boss Fight

This was definitely my least favorite boss fight in Bloodborne. Took me the longest time to beat him, it was just pretty frustrating. Glad he’s done with!

Leave a comment

Bloodborne Darkbeast Paarl Boss Fight

Ugh.

Leave a comment

Forbidden Woods Done! Shadow of Yharnam Boss Fight Video

Snakes… lots of snakes, a creepy old man, some weird alien things, giant pigs and bosses that look like the Nazgûl/Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings. I’m glad I’m finally done with the Forbidden Woods!

Leave a comment

Bloodborne: Vicar Amelia boss fight

I’m not sure how I survived this fight, I was only carrying 8 Blood Vials, wasted 5 of them in the first minute and used the last one by accident. Out of desperation I used Fire Paper, Fire Paper is an item that coats your weapon in fire. This turned out to be a good idea because Vicar Amelia has a weakness to fire. Ended up stunning her at the very end. I also used Poison Knives but they literally did nothing. The health regen mechanic also helped me, if it weren’t for that I definitely would have died.

I love Bloodborne.

Leave a comment

Bloodborne: Love, Hate, Death

Bloodborne™_20150329225007

What I love about Bloodborne is that it feels like an adventure. The atmosphere in the game is so meticulously crafted. You don’t have a map so you’re never sure what to expect forcing you to rely on the senses to explore. As I was exploring and fighting through the streets of Yharnam I couldn’t help but feel stressed the majority of time, it was unnerving. I couldn’t put my finger on why that was. Yes, the game can be creepy, but it wasn’t Silent Hill. I think part of it was the fact that you don’t have a shield in the game, you have nothing to hide behind so you’re forced to push forward, to be aggressive, and not to be defensive. It pushed me out of my element and It encouraged me to play in a style I’m not used too.

Bloodborne has a reputation on being a difficult game, which I think is unfair because that overshadows the other aspects that makes the experience a lot of fun. It’s true that the game is hard, but it doesn’t feel impossible, it’s challenging. Having patience comes a long way in Bloodborne. Every enemy has a “tell” for every one of their attacks, their moves are very choreographed. The boss fights are tough, but every boss has a specific gimmick. You’re brain will want you to deal as much damage as quickly as possible, but that will only get you killed. The game rewards players who don’t rush through areas, useful treasures aren’t the only things you’ll find, but equally as important are the shortcuts you’ll unlock that will help you get around much quicker.

Bloodborne™_20150328204516

On the technical side of things, Bloodborne looks and sounds fantastic. The creatures you come across are incredibly creepy, gross and messed up. There’s nothing as hair raising as hearing the faint scrapping sound of a weapon being dragged by an enemy across the floor you yet can’t see getting louder, closer. The only real problem I have with the game are the loading times. In a game where death is prevalent, a 40 second loading time can be a nuisance especially when you just want to get back into the game after dying.

Now the problem isn’t that Bloodborne is too hard, the problem is that the major studios in the gaming industry are trying to cater to so many kinds of people that the majority of games are simply too easy, too simple. When a game is too easy you lose that sense of adventure. As much as I loved Dragon Age Inquisition it suffered from that problem. There were a lot of instances in Dragon Age were I would be shifting between feeling immersed and not. Making games easier and simplifying game mechanics isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it’s what helps bring in new gamers and it’s one of the reasons gaming has become such a popular hobby. The problem is that there isn’t any balance. A lot of developers rely on difficulty settings to try and please players looking for more of a challenge, but setting a game on hard is different than playing a game that was specifically designed to be challenging. The only thing higher difficulty settings do are usually increase the enemies health and maybe place more enemies. Most of the time it just makes the game feel cheap.

Bloodborne™_20150328223158

I enjoyed playing the Dark Souls series, but I felt that they were slightly overrated. The games garnered a lot of praise and critics seemed to gloss over the negatives like the annoying and frustrating level designs and the vagueness of the basic core game play elements so you were either left to guess what things did or you were forced to go online to do some research. With Bloodborne it’s as though creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and From Software learnt their lessons past games because the quality of Bloodborne really blows the previous Souls games away. It’s the first killer exclusive the Playstation 4 has gotten and probably the best exclusive when compared to what the Xbox One has to offer. Bloodborne is more accessible than Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, so if you’re looking for something different or something more challenging than the average game I would definitely recommend Bloodborne.

Leave a comment

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

majoras

The one thing that bothered me about Majora’s Mask was the 3-day time limit. I play games at a slow-pace, I enjoy taking my time, exploring as much as I can and taking in the environment. When I’m playing a game and it forces a time-limit on me for certain quests or challenges, I get annoyed, frustrated and feel like I’m missing out on certain things by rushing through as I try to get to the goal.

A few years ago I was able to download the N64 version of Majora’s Mask through the Wii’s Virtual Console but had a hard time getting into the game. It felt over-whelming and it was difficult to keep up with all the side-quests. If I was younger I would have loved the game, but now that I’m older and working, along with other responsibilities, this sort of game can be a burden.

So I was relieved when I read that the 3DS version of the game would be a little different. Besides the updated visuals, the game now features a notebook that keeps track of all the side-quests and rumors you come across and it also keeps track of the quests you’ve completed. You can also set alarms to remind you of time-specific moments that are critical to side-quests. Another useful feature that has been added is a song that Link can play that will move time ahead to any specific hour of your choice, which is extremely helpful when it comes to completing side-quests. The save-system has been beefed up too. In the original Majora’s Mask there were two ways to save. You either suspended the game or by reseting time and going back to the first day. In Majora’s Mask on the 3DS, there are save-points scattered across Termina that also serve as a quick-travel system.

I’ve only played a couple of hours and just completed the second dungeon, but I’m loving Majora’s Mask and I can see why it had such a strong cult following. Every character in the game feels alive, they all have schedules to keep. You can follow any person in the game and see what they do and listen in on their conversations. Each character has a unique personality. There are a lot of little stories to discover in Majora’s Mask, the side-quests are interesting to follow and aren’t simple fetch-quests. The main villain, Skull Kid isn’t just straight-up evil, his story is sad and the more you find out about him the more you feel sympathy.

Majora’s Mask is a great change of pace for the Zelda franchise, it’s nice to be doing something besides saving Zelda, Hyrule and fighting Ganondorf. So if you own a 3DS and need another great game to play, Majora’s Mask just might be it.

Leave a comment

Etrian Odyssey IV

Etrian Odyssey IV

I remember trying out the first Etrian Odyssey on the Nintendo DS and for some reason it just didn’t click with me. But I always felt it was a game that I would eventually grow to enjoy. Since then three new games have been released in the series. Atlus always seem to put their great games up on sale in the 3DS eStore and Etrian Odyssey IV was going for $14 which is incredibly cheap for a game of this quality. So it seemed like it was the best time to try it once again.

Etrian Odyssey is a dungeon crawler with a slight twist. While you explore vast dungeons you have to draw the map using the 3DS’s touch-screen. Yup, it features a map-making mechanic. This is where the game turns people off. Some people will find mapping to be a tedious exercise. On the other hand I personally find mapping to be satisfying and relaxing. There’s something strangely gratifying seeing a whole dungeon mapped out on your screen.

etrianrev2

What I also like about the game and that helps to set it apart from other RPG’s is that you have full control over what kind of party you want. Most of the time games force you to use a pre-determined set of characters, with specific abilities that aren’t really customizable. In Etrian Odyssey you start the game by creating 5 party members, you give them a name, an appearance and choose from one of seven classes. Every time they level up, you get to choose what skills to give them and which not too. Hypothetically speaking, you could have two warriors each specializing in different styles of combat. This opens up a lot of opportunities when it comes to building your party. Experimentation is key.

The lack of real story and character development could be seen as a downside, Etrian Odyssey doesn’t have some epic narrative where you’re off to defeat the greatest villain of all time. No. Your goal in Etrian Odyssey is to gain fortune and fame as you try to find and discover the secrets a legendary tree, the Yggdrasil. Along the way you’ll fight off large monsters, discover rare treasures and help out random people.

I’m really enjoying the game and I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to try something a bit different. It’s one of the most enjoyable games I’ve experienced on a handheld. Their’s a demo available in the 3DS eStore. Give it a chance and you might find a deep, complex and satisfying game.

Leave a comment

DriveClub – Quick Thoughts + Screenshots

DRIVECLUB™_20141220012907
I got my hands on DriveClub over the weekend and I’m really enjoying the game so far. It’s not a sim-racer like Gran Turismo, but it’s not an arcade racer either, it falls somewhere in-between. Unlike most racing games, the way you unlock vehicles in DriveClub is by leveling up your driver, so by doing well in events and winning challenges whenever you come across them. Leveling up also unlocks more paint-jobs for your car. Another interesting component in the game is the Club feature. In the game you can either join a club, or create one and then compete against other clubs in challenges.

Overall I’m enjoying it. It helps that the game looks amazing and it’s great that the developers included a photo-mode so you can take pictures as you race. Here are some of the shots I’ve taken, I’ve linked each one to their high-res versions, so be sure to click each one to check them out properly.

DRIVECLUB™_20141220231254
DRIVECLUB™_20141220222852 DRIVECLUB™_20141220012535 DRIVECLUB™_20141219140630

Leave a comment

Top Five Games of the Year: 2014

GOTY-six
2014 was an okay year for video games, there were quite a few good games, but not many fantastic ones. It was a year that seemed to be filled with controversy, from buggy releases to silly comments from developers (looking at you Ubisoft). Now since I don’t enjoy rushing through games there’s still some titles I’ve yet to play this year, like Far Cry 4, Super Smash Bros Persona Q and Alien Isolation. But it’s that time of year again where we make lists. This is mine. Here is my top 5 favorite games of 2014.

5 – Shovel Knight
Every once in a while a game will come along that does everything right. The art, the music, the level designs, characters. Shovel Knight is one of those games. It was originally released on the 3DS, Wii U and PC, but I’m glad to see that it’ll be coming out on the PS4 and Vita some time next year.

4 – Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta 2 is a game that is incredibly polished and improves on every aspect that made the first one so good. The action is fast paced, frantic and so much fun. You’ll be fighting small demons, huge demons, you’ll be fighting on top of fighter jets, on the side of buildings. It’s crazy, it’s fun and it’s wacky. The developer, Platinum Games has a reputation for making some of the best over-the-top action games and Bayonetta 2 is probably their best game yet.

3 – Wolfenstein New Order
Earlier in the year I was annoyed at the lack of variety in games that were coming out later in 2014 and in 2015 and wrote a blog post were I sort of criticized the industry. I used Wolfenstein as an example before I even played it and I regret it now. After playing the game and beating it, its become one of my favorite games of all time. The thing is, it doesn’t really do anything drastically different than other first person shooters. It just does everything incredibly well. The shooting, the story, the pacing, it was fantastic. This game had so many great and memorable moments. Developed by main guys behind the brilliant Chronicles of Roddick games, Wolfenstein New Order is exciting, fun and I really hope they make a sequel.

2 – Dragon Age Inquisition
When a BioWare game comes along, I tend to put every other game on hold. They tend to feature gameplay elements that I enjoy a lot. If Dragon Age Inquisition is any indication of what we can expect from BioWare in the future, I can’t wait until the next Mass Effect game comes along.

1 – Mario Kart 8
When I have friends over and we want to play something, Mario Kart 8 is what we end up going with. It’s easy to get into, it’s competitive and it can be just silly fun. It’s one of those games that I’ll end up playing for a very long time, until Nintendo release their next console and the next Mario Kart. The game has its flaws, like the incredibly disappointing Battle Mode, but all other aspects are just so good, even the online mode works like a charm.

Leave a comment

New Doom II Speedrun Record

Have 25 minutes to spare? This Doom II speed run is pretty incredible to watch.

Leave a comment