Monday, November 30, 2009

BB: Continuum Shift 1st Impressions

All the speculations of BBCS boils down to this week. All the rumors, impressions, thoughts are one by one confirmed or dispelled. This week was a hectic week for the BB crowd. I've seen lots of new faces, heard lots of comments, and changed lots of my own views which were purely based on speculation and rumors.

As a disclaimer, I'm not going to post mechanic changes here; it can be found all over the net. I'm just going to give my impressions based on what I've seen this week.

The fundamental mindset of playing Blazblue changed with the new Guard Primer gauge and the revamped Burst mechanic. People will no longer mash Burst at the last minute. Burst is now used quite tactically. I think the general mindset of using it now is if you are under pressure and you think that bursting will give you a better shot at winning, or to break momentum. Almost like the way defensive burst is used in GGAC.

Due to the overall damage decrease, and the fact that bursting no longer remove your ability to barrier and increase your damage taken, matches take a significantly longer time. Time outs can happen quite often, especially when people are turtling around, a tactic mostly used at Calamity Trigger just because of everyone's potential damage output in that game.

Guard Primer changes the game alot. It gives people the option to do block strings and pressure based on a move. Most high risk moves take away a guard primer, but some characters get rather safe moves that do the same, and those moves usually give frame advantage (Ragna's 214D), allowing them to continue the pressure. Now when people rushdown and get their block strings blocked, at least they feel that they have done something to 'damage' the guard primer, which also takes quite long to recover.

On to characters, I think it's still quite early to create tier lists, and sometimes I don't agree with what most people in blazblue boards say; I just write what I think.

Ragna - Ragna is currently dominating the arcades here. Alot of people don't know how to deal with 214D spam. That and because Ragna hasn't really changed that much from CT, only more damage options, so old Ragna players just pick him up easily, learn a couple of new combos, and kill everyone. I think he'll probably end up as

Jin - Jin's playstyle changed quite a lot. He's no longer as quick as he was before. Longer air 236D landing recovery kinda removes his ability to pressure with it. 5D inability to special cancel (except Drive attacks) makes it hard to combo on a hit, espacially combining the fact that breaking ice is quite fast now and players don't have to mash it out. jB is slower now, but the purpose is still the same imo; still a decent jump in move. Also, as of now, his combos can only hit around 2.8k damage without meter. Even 623C counter hit can't really combo much anymore.

At least he has good corner pressure now as well as great projectiles. Jin still seems very flexible and solid imo. He's playstyle probably involves quite a bit of zoning now with jC and fishing for openings and CHs as opposed to CT where jB solves everything for any rushdown situation.

Also, most of his combo now involves the C mash move, so for those who never used it in a combo in CT, time to really get used to it in CS.

Litchi - Litchi is probably on her way to A-tier. Corner combo still ends with complete knockdown, easy 4.5k damage meterless combo off a random and relatively safe hit (2C xx 41236D). Not only that, she has pretty good block strings now, which are also relatively safe.

Arakune - Arakune is quite okay without fever. During fever mode though, it's quite a havoc. Most people usually end up just blocking until the fever mode is all gone. There's a huge damage combo already discovered during fever mode, so I expect him to raise up to at least middle-top tier.

Noel - I don't know why people keeps screaming over the nerfs as if it broke Noel (eheheh). Sure she's nerfed, but no where near 'unplayable'...she's just a harder character to use now. 5D is effectively a fuujin now. Much like fuujin, it can be stopped but at least she gets a move with invul frame. I managed to get out of alot of shit by just mashing it, just need to know when to use it now.

I still think noel is okay. The current 3.5k meterless combo is very very good, just that it's hard to get it in. I think there's already a corner 4.4k combo discovered too. There are just too many things waiting to be discovered for her, so I don't think Noel players should cry just yet. The game is still young after all.

Taokaka - She lost most of her easy damage, although taunt combo is still back. I heard it can go up to 6k damage, but that's very unlikely here. To cover up for all her small nerfs, at least she has projectile options now. Maybe there's a new way of playing Taokaka but there's no way of knowing now since every player out there plays Taokaka the old way which is fairing rather decently. But her lost of CH 5C > 6C really hurt her.

Lambda-13 - I wouldn't say she's nerfed to oblivion. She's still playable, and still solid in her own way, just not as broken as before. Right now, it seems most of her damage comes from a nice Pulsar hit, and 6A as anti air. 2C is still an anti air but it's way slower than before. The current strategy right now is just to do projectile (which eats a guard primer) and zone away with act pulsar. Right now people are having some trouble punishing that move even on block, but I heard you have predict it and force it to whiff by backdashing.

Carl - Carl's game play doesn't change that much from CT. Although clap loop is gone, sandwich loop is still very strong so people still try their best not to go between him and the doll. Otherwise, I haven't seen enough Carl to really comment on it

Bang - Bang is truely a hero now as most boards have stated. People are still not used to punishing his Drive moves, which are no longer JCable on block. However, the Drive is 2 times faster now so it punishes alot of stuff. Poison damage is actually rather significant, though not the same tier as Testament's in GGAC. Also, he has a new close range/anti air drive that is unpunishable.

Basically you can play him exactly the way as you did in CS, while being mindful a few move changes. You can play him the same way, and somehow feel alot stronger with all your improved moves.

Hazama - Hazama seems to suffer alot of problems with damage output. Combos that net him 3k damage have very strict timing. Overall, he's a very versatile zoning character with the ability to fake his projectiles and follow them at his will. Maybe we'll see some cool setups off him in the future but right now, it's hard for him to mixup without using his projectile.

Tsubaki - Tsubaki also seems to suffer from damage output. She has problems with her own gauge too. If she rushes down, she doesn't have many chance to charge it. Combos that involve just 1 or 2 meter don't really deal eye-poping damage either. It'd be quite interesting to see how she will turn out.

Tager - Tager is quite strong now, but not overpowered imo. He seems to have an easier time doing 360/720 grabs off blockstrings now though...don't even need to IB as much as before. I don't have much to comment on him; he's playstyle is the same, you still look out for the same things against him. The only difference is that he is more dangerous now with his increased speed and also his new moves.

Rachel - Haven't seen a decent Rachel yet.

Hakumen - I only fought Zio's Hakumen. Like Bang and Tager, he just got stronger and has more tools. It's rather hard to get used to his new zoning tool: jC, which knocks you far away. Also, projectile spamming is stopped with his new barrier thingy ability, giving him a chance against characters that pokes you with projectile moves.

Overall, it's been good games over the week. All the trying out of new combos for my Jin and Noel has ended quite fruitfully. I probably only have problems figuring out which combos are character specific.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BBCS out in SG!

That was was only like one week since the release in Japan and all of a sudden, it's here in Singapore. Well, I'm glad there is actually a big crowd for Blazblue, or else we'll be stuck with the old version for 6 months like we did with Guilty Gear.

Too bad I'm in camp when I heard the news >.<

Oh well, I'd have to wait for tomorrow before I can check it out. Yay for Medical Appointments :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

AFA 09 wrapup

AFA 09 was a great event done up by horrible organizing. It is only great because it is what it is: an anime festival where otakus all over Singapore come together and unleash their inner otakus within an atmosphere where it is encouraged.

Amidst all the fun, the happiness and the crazed crowd, one can't help but notice how incredibly amateurish the way this convention is being organized. Oh well, it's a good thing for us and a bad thing for them.

Firstly, the organizers, for whatever reasons unknown, decide to overprice the tickets at $18 for one day, $25 for a set ticket for two days. I know many people are turned off by the mere look at the price. I don't get it, it's just a convention. I foolishly thought that this year's AFA is going to be worth its price, but I was wrong. The whole place is like a PC fair only that it has merchandises for anime instead. Luckily, there's a free way in.

That idea came about when I heard Hatman (some name I came out with) mentioning the 'backdoor'. We know that the loading bay is actually the back of all the convention halls and each hall have like 2 backdoors. Again, you think they are smart enough to at least put guards at the doors to prevent freeloaders and protect their $18/$25 entrance fee but nooooooo... it was unguarded.

To add on to that flaw, this is how they keep track of the returning people. The ticket actually has one tear-able part (two if you got the $25 one) to indicate that it was used. In other words, your ticket is only there to allow you in. To know that you are a returning customer, they use those famous UV 'chops'. Woo! Way to go freeloaders! I enter from the back, get a chop and I'm officially a ticket holder for that day! Eat that ticket buyers!

Ah we must not forget the concert. $108 for one day, $188 for both days. Looking at the crazy pricing, I initially thought that at LEAST it would really be a $108-worth seat, maybe a bit less since it's makeshift at a convention hall. Maybe outsiders cannot even view the concert, that would actually make some sense. But when I entered AFA, I saw it the so-called 'viewing area' for myself; a mere 5-6 steps away from the last row seat. Sure, it's an improvement from last year's 0 steps, but c'mon.

The long long long queue...outside.

Oh that's not all. I really wished I was done with this rant and go on to the more happy stuff but no it doesn't end here. There is actually a queue for non-ticket holders. Initially it was within the convention but at around 6pm, they brought it outside. What now they are afraid that their $18/$25 ticket plan is backfiring? Now they are allowing even outside people into the concert! $0 to see all your anime idols! They don't even bother with checking if you are AT LEAST a ticket holder to let you I guess it really is part of their plan. To confirm that they are really desperate, there's a few marshallers walking up and down our queue asking if we are ticket holders. Dammit, I thought it was pretty obviously that we aren't already.

So we can see just from these examples that due to desperation and bad planning on the organizer's part, you can actually pay $0 to see everything. Even if you don't backdoor, you can still pay $0 to watch the concert! Who asked them to even name such a price for AFA? Are they implying that they only want to let richer otakus to enter? Why can't they think of the people selling stuffs at their booths inside? It's effectively $18 to get in and $4 to get a simple badge...that's $22 for a badge. I know those hardcore otakus wouldn't care, but think of the rest man. You are supposed to be PROMOTING anime, not the other way round.

Queue barriers, very useful for queues!

It doesn't help to know that it took them so long to realize how useful queue barriers (the pic above) can help them. They discovered it on the Sunday afternoon (2nd day btw). I overheard two organizers talking about how awesome it is =/

So on to the AFA itself, aka the happier stuff.

that's Kar/Son, the bakahiki.blogspot guy...wonder if he updated :p

Cosplays are not so bad overall for AFA 09. I actually didn't cringe during the cosplay competition that took place at the afternoon. I spent most of my Saturday at the Weiss Schwarz tournament area (after the tournament...I didn't take part) and playing like 5-6 games. Even though I went myself, I met up with quite a number of my friends and ended up following them around.

1/35 Gundam with incredible detail

Everything else is pretty much the same. The huge Bandai booths, Gundams, mechanizes, freelance artist booths, Animax, KKnM, etc. I kinda regretted not trying out the maid cafe, but the stuff there costs $25 for a full meal, so I think I'll pass. $18 for entrance and $25 for meal makes it almost $40+. That's most than 80 arcade games right there.


I'm not really a big fan of Danny Choo, but I know his appearance there made lots of people happy. He even has his showcase of figurines, which I ended up taking the nendroids XD.

The concert was great, just like last year. Shoko went on stage first, but sadly I only knew like 2 of her songs (the Gurren Lagaan OP and the Evangelion one). Hatsune Miku came up next on the screen -_-; Everyone was crazy excited about her. Essentially, it's just her on the screen dancing the same dance steps as the PSP game. After singing 3-4 songs, she left. I'm glad she did tbh, it was quite painful to my eyes after all that lagging. Afterwards, Aniki came up.

Shoko + Aniki = lots of happy people!

I thought I wouldn't be as happy to sing along with Aniki as I did last year, but god his robot songs are just too fucking gar and awesome. His stage time was quite crazy...I thought he was going to die from heart attack from the way he's singing. There's no way to describe this awesomeness in words so I'm not even going to try.

Sunday was quite strict on the phototaking at the concert area. They actually have this fat orange guy catching people. Ya sure he can catch the people, doesn't mean he can stand on some platform and block my !@#$ view =/

It's her~~with a huge gun!

Of course, the main course before the concert on Sunday was supposed to be the K-on live dubbing + interview with the seiyuus. When 4 seiyuus went on stage, everyone instantly knew something was wrong. Of all the people to be missing, it must be the seiyuu for Mio, probably the most popular of all the K-on cast. Zzz what a disappointment, but it's okay, it's not the organizer's fault, but they should at least put on their website right? Oh wait, that would diminish the size of the already small crowd.

Random art!

Overall, for me it's a rather good convention. Pricing probably screwed up alot of people though, but aside from that it's pretty decent. However, you can actually tell it's not really going to be good for the organizers since the place wasn't really as packed as last year. There are areas that seemed almost...empty.

For more photos: click here

Friday, November 20, 2009

Failed exam answers (from Sankaku)

I was surfing Sankaku Complex and came across this.

I'll post it here so because it's too epic to disappear off the face of the internet..

All the credits to Sankaku Complex.

I'm racist, so I'm just gonna say: I like the Malaria bit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review: "Temple of Elemental Evil"

Many DND fans have been waiting for a game that can capture DnD's original tabletop mechanics. Even though Bioware came up with all those amazing DND-related RPGs like Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights, it didn't really imitate the tabletop feel, especially with their added custom mechanics and inconsistencies due to the game being inherently real-time.

Enter Temple of Elemental Evil, a game that attempts to capture the original tabletop's system. Unfortunately, it's made by the notorious Troika. Despite its admirable efforts, the game is littered with all kinds of ridiculous bugs which even makes amateur programmers go 'Why?!'. The company went on to create "Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines" with similar results (great game, bad programming) and it eventually died.

Fortunately, ToEE has a huge fanbase dedicated to fixing their games: Circle of Eight.

ToEE's radial menu neatly covers everything you need for a character

Honestly, I have never seen such an incredibly dedicated fanbase before. Most joke that Trioka should pay them for fixing their games (which they did, imho, very successfully). Not only their mods fix almost every existing bugs, they also added more levels, more spells and even went to improve the AI. Since they are so successful, I'm going to talk about the CO8-patched game instead of the vanilla version.

Back to the game, Temple of Elemental Evil is actually adapted from a pretty old Living Greyhawk adventure module for the tabletop DnD with the same name. For those who didn't know, Greyhawk is an age-old setting for DnD created by the late Gary Gygax (creator of DnD itself, god bless him). If you read the DnD Player's Handbook, you realize that most of the spells are named after famous wizards from the Greyhawk setting (Otto, Bigby, Melf, Mordenkainen, Tenser). Anyway, enough of the background-knowledge rambling...

When you start a new game, you are required to create up to 5 characters for your party. Make sure you have pre-DND knowledge, or at LEAST read the manual before attempt to create your character; DnD is a game that can really punish a badly built character, no difference for ToEE.

Crappy stats >.<

There are two ways you can create stats for your character: Rolling and Point Buy. Rolling is basically rolling 3 d20 dices (or 4 dices take best 3 results? I'm not sure which system they use) for a stat. Point Buy allows you to assign points to stats. The bad thing is that there are only 25 points, barely enough to make a decent character. If you think 25 is not enough, you can always cheat to make it to the more conventional 28 or 32. Anything above that will probably take most of the fun out of the game.

As a starter tip, I'd suggest new players to create 1 melee-tank class (fighter, paladins, ranger to a lesser extent), 1 healer (druid or cleric, bards are NOT counted), 1 rogue (only one class suited for that) and 1 arcane spellcaster aka nuker (sorcerer or wizards, bards don't nuke). The last slot can be anything you wish.

This is actually slower than it looks..

What's great about this game is that it imitates the combat on tabletop DnD. This means that ToEE is a rather slow-paced turn-based strategy game, thus it may not be suitable for some people. Every turn must be planned semi-carefully. A 'Glitterdust' spell one turn earlier or later could make a big difference.

The story is actually very simple and short. Basically you start of at some tutorial level specific to what alignment your party is, get led to a quiet town, kill some bandits at a moathouse and somehow try to enter the Temple of Elemental Evil itself. Once you are at the temple, you can either work for any of the 4 Elemental Node's priest, or just slaughter your way up the temple, eventually killing off the Big Bad Evil Guy. If you are a good party, you will naturally try to kill the BBEG. If you are an evil party, you will kill the BBEG to save yourself. So either way, you have to 'save the world'.

Fighting in town!

It really seems that the focus of ToEE is combat. Most, if not all, of the quests requires you to kill lots of stuff. Almost all the basic combat mechanics from the tabletop is implemented into the game: Defensive Casting, Total Defence, Defensive Fighting, 5-foot step(!), Improved Trip, Cover penalties(!), etc. They also managed to (fairly)correctly implement out-of-combat skills like crafting. Like the tabletop, crafting plays a very big part to the game.

In the end, this game is good for tabletop DnD who wish for a computerized true-to-the-tabletop DnD game. It's great to test out combat/party builds that are within the 3.5 Edition DnD Core Rulebooks. I would definitely say ToEE has high replayability just because of that reason.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Starcraft Pimpest Plays

I've been into quite a bit of Starcraft recently, and I never got sick of these 'pimpest plays' videos. And Casy's fake expo play is so good I must put it here.

July thought Casy had already expanded because his Overlord that can be seen at 4:40 could only see the mining SCVs. Thinking that Casy has spent his resources on a new command center, July proceeded to build/tech up on his side, not expecting the bio rush that eventually killed him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It's been a great first month since NeetGeek went to play. It may not be in the best shape at the moment, but I'm still rather happy with it. Here I'll just put some updates and thoughts.

- I'd admit, I did start this hoping to earn a bit of income through ads, but now it's only secondary. I realized I have many other things irl to worry about than to focus my entire soul into this blog.

Post about your life!
- There are some people who kinda like me ranting random stuff about my life. I don't mind doing it once in awhile, but I just find all those posts dry as hell (hence the removal). They have no real topic, no aim, just pure blabbering. I always wanted to revamp my posts to make them more focused to a topic. Makes it more meaningful than posting "I ate chicken rice today...again (picture of chicken rice)".

Still, I should post something interesting yet unrelated that happened to me every now and then. I always wanted to, just that nothing really interesting is happening to me now that is exactly actually sharable with everyone AND unrelated to this blog. If I did share everything that I find even remotely interesting, this blog will end up like a bored person's blog whose post titles go along the lines of "What my teacher said to me" or "My classmate farted haha!"

And first the next 6 months, I'm still working with the Singapore Armed Forces, so my work life is more or less 'unbloggable'.

Is that a navigation bar at the top?
- The navbar on top is still in construction. It is to hopefully organize my post. At least now when you list by labels, it isn't as messy as before (although the spacing is weird). As far as labeling goes, I'm still thinking about what to place...

I noticed you posted something random and unrelated
- Although NeetGeek is a blog about gaming and anime, sometimes it's not always all fun and games. At its core, it's still my blog, but the biggest things that interest me is still games and animes, so most of my posts will still be MOSTLY about them. I might deviate and post about art and music, both also my interests, although even then they might fall into the gaming/anime side. I might eventually post about totally unrelated stuff but I still try to make them interesting.

Your posts are getting lesser and lesser?
- I know my posts are getting less frequent. Maybe because I'm getting busier. I realized posting big posts like reviews and rants takes a hell lot of my free time, which I can use to play games or watch animes. I still try my best to post at least twice a week, though I haven't reached that limit yet. But I get the feeling that time will eventually come

Any bad news to share?
- Currently, I'm back to 'stay in' status, which means I am expected to sleep in my camp which is 2hr train rides away from home, which means I won't be able to touch my PC on most weekdays to check on certain sites that were blocked by my office's computer for news and interesting things. This also means that I will be (once again) spending alot more time on my PSP/DS. And also SF4 and Blazblue.

Any good news to share?
- Not much. I might be picking up WoW TCG. I might also start getting into board games, but that's a little hard since my budget is really tight. I might even start blogging about board games...hmmm....

What's happening around you recently?
- Right now I'm waiting for AFA on the 21st/22nd. I haven't bought the $25 tickets yet though. I spent the past Sundays playing Weiss Schwarz, though it's getting hard to decide if I want to pay for 2nd boxes since there're quite a few places to order cards if I want to collect. $120 for a 50/50 chance of your RR appearing is not a good idea.

For games, my X360 is currently rotting, though I'm hoping to get Dragon Age soon. My labtop is still a piece of overheating chunk, resetting itself while playing Bejeweled once. I'm playing Cross Edge on PS3, but it is a grindfest like all NIS games so I don't see myself completing it anytime soon.

Anything to say to your viewers?
I honestly don't know how many(or few) of you are out there, but thanks for the views anyways :)

Any plans for the future?
Right now, I'm not intending to let this blog die. I do have some plans for it, just don't really have the time nor the equipment to do it, but who knows what the future holds?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Review: "Suikoden"

Suikoden is a successful classic RPG series on the PS1 created by Konami, which span off around 7 games (to date). Here I will be reviewing the very first Suikoden game which started it all.

What makes Suikoden great was not only the story, but the characters you meet. Combat is rather fast for a JRPG of its time due to the "Auto" function and if separate characters hit separate enemies, they will do it simultaneously.

Suikoden is also one of the earlier RPGs (or the earliest? I'm not sure) to give the player a 'fortress', a home where your NPCs will dwell, setup shops, play mini-games, display accomplishments, and many more. Building it up not only gives the players not only a sense of completion and accomplishment, but makes the players feel more 'homey'.

I know your fort looks...bad, but it's in the middle of the sea! And don't judge a book by its cover.

The story is pretty cliche actually: You are Tir McDohl, son of the famous General Teo. Somehow you were bestowed upon a power cursed Rune that mustn't fall into the hands an evil person, and somehow, you became a traitor to your country and end up joining a rebel force. From there, you gather the (potentially) 108 Stars of Destiny (aka recruit-able NPCs), find a castle to house everyone, and fight back against the people who outcasted you.

What's good about the story is actually the build up. The game has quite a few sad moments, to show that being a leader of an army isn't that easy, and the responsibilities and backlashes of being the bearer of a powerful cursed Rune.

As far as character-level customization goes, this game can be rather lacking. Every character is restricted to their own weapon and the most you can do to it is to 'sharpen' them (increase its damage). As for armor, you can pretty much ignore it until mid-late game when the enemies start to almost kill you in one hit.

Although there are 108 NPCs you can recruit, not all of them can fight, and for those who can fight, some are distinctly more powerful than others. This means that there will be characters that you will probably never want to use in a fight. Generally, any character that has very good physical attacks and/or magical attacks are accepted into a party. Those with stats spread out everywhere are usually never touched, unless you really really like that character for whatever reasons.


One thing I'd like to point out is that Suikoden games, including this one, is quite notorious for preventing any newbies from getting the 108 NPCs. It's best you get a walkthrough to keep track of who you can recruit and when. Not only that, you must search walkthroughs to find out if anyone is going to be missable. As gamers, we would like to have a perfect ending in RPGs, don't we? ;)

So for this Suikoden, the missable character is Pahn. When you get him back (I'm trying to do this with as little spoilers), make sure you level him up and sharpen his weapon. If you don't, he will be lost forever and you will not be able to get all 108 characters (I made the mistake and overwrote my file on my first playthrough. I almost decided to quit playing it because of that).

There are two other combat 'mini-games' that can take place in the story. The first is the war fight, two armies fighting each other. This is basically a simple rock, paper, scissors game, although you can 'peek' at what the opponent is going to do for a couple to times...with its information possibly fake. Because it can be based on luck, save before every big battle (actually, just save before you talk to your strategist in your castle everytime before you reply to his "Are you ready?" question).

1v1 fight

The second is the 1v1 fight. It's also a rock, paper, scissors game, which you can guess what the opponent is thinking by what he says before he attacks. For example, sentences alike to "I'll show you my strength!" implies that he is probably going to make a "Desperate Attack" next turn, thus its a good time to "Defend" as it completely dodges "Wild Attack" and ripostes in return.

These fights may sound shallow and gimmicky but I felt that it is necessary to the game. It adds on to the feel of the game. The war game tries to make you feel that you are really a leader of your army. The 1v1 fights are usually important and/or emotional fights for your character, so it actually emphasizes on that detail, thus creating some kind of depth to the story at the same time.

Overall, Suikoden 1 is actually a pretty good game for a starting franchise. Although it is not perfect, and although some parts of the game may be redundant, it still is worth a play. It's great to see this franchise grow and move on to new ideas and concepts over the years.

Here's the intro video:

- Good Story
- Good attempts to immerse players into the game
- Lots of memorable (108) characters
- Combat is simple and quick

- Some parts of the game may seem clunky at times
- Might cause grief to perfectionists who doesn't skim the walkthrough before playing
- Nothing especially innovative or unique to the game other than allowing you to recruit 108 characters
- Weak villain character development.

NeetGeek gives "Suikoden": 7/10!

Friday, November 6, 2009

3D floor art

Holy shit. Just imagine how hard it is to do this. You must be damn good at perspective for this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Review: "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2"

So one day I was walking around Seow Chun and chanced upon Sigma 2's trailer on their wide screen plasma TV. For the first 10 seconds, I was pretty sure the graphics are better, and then when I saw that you can play other characters other than Ryu Hayabusa (namely Rachel, Momoji and Ayane <3),>Co-op is another reason too, but playing Ayane is more important to me XD

I never really played much of Ninja Gaiden 2 for the X360. I only went halfway through Mentor Mode, in which I gave up because of its difficulty and frustration (I kept thinking that I was wasting my time). Jeer at me if you want for not being hardcore enough, but I have other stuff to do at that point of time.

I buy only for Ayane XD

NGS2, compared to NG2, is relatively easier. Not only the AI stop using cheap tactics to murder you (like dying ninjas jihad-ing you one by one when you let your guard down for a every small moment), but you also gain the use of the Izuna combo early in the game. In fact all your level 1 weapons now comes with the Izuna combo, so it becomes a staple combo for everything.

For those who doesn't know what is Izuna, it is actually an fast air combo (which means it rarely gets interrupted) which deals tons of damage to a character that can be lifted. It is especially useful early game, since everyone then can be lifted. Here's a vid on Izuna Drop:

On to another point: Blood. I thought that the lack of blood wouldn't upset me, just a minor setback...but I was wrong. Throughout my play through NGS2, I really missed the spill of blood everywhere when Ryu forces his blade through the victims' joints. Now it's replaced by some lame blue aura. Just try searching YouTube for NG2 for X360. You'll see how bloody it is.

Where did all the blood go?

Gameplay is still pretty much the same. You kill people, they spawn 'Essences'. There are 3 kinds of 'Essences': Blue to replenishing health, Red for replenishing mana and Yellow for cash. Essences is also used for boosting your Ultimate Technique (read on for those who doesn't know what I'm talking about).

The Blacksmith no longer uses cash for upgrades though. Instead, every Blacksmith shop you find is limited to one upgrade, so you can no longer grind to upgrade your weapons anymore. On the bright side, now you can spend all your money on healing items (I had MAX for every item at mentor mode at almost all times, and I'm not even THAT good).

WTF is this?!

On to characters, Ryu himself have lost several of his ranged equipments, leaving him only the Bow/Arrow and a huge gun. I spent like a long time searching the entire sewers for his Incendiary Shuriken which he gets at NG2 only to give up, search the FAQs and realize he doesn't get it anymore. That's my only gripe about Ryu. Other than that, he's still solid.

Between some of the original chapters, there are 3 more chapters, each allowing you to play as one of the new characters. Although all of them only uses one weapon and ninpou (magic), they are still significantly different.

Co-op character selection!

Momoji has good range, has double jump and an air Ultimate Technique. For those who don't know, Ultimate Technique is a charge up move with 3 levels. Level 2 and 3 will automatically unleash series of deadly combos to a target. If there are 'Essences' nearby, you will attract them while you are charging the Ultimate Technique. One essence, regardless of size and color, will instantly level up the Ultimate Technique.

Rachel's Ultimate Technique is a shockwave. She also carries a very potent ranged weapon that can actually kill (it's a machine gun..). Also her damage seems to be quite high.

Ayane is very short ranged, so compared to all the characters, she will look somewhat handicapped. I still haven't found out anything espacially good about Ayane (sadly DX) but she has explosive shurikens at least (so that's where my incendiary shurikens went!). It's still fun to play her though! (I'm being biased here)

All in all, I will never regret purchasing NGS2. One fun addon is the availability of co-op mode, where you can pair up with others online to complete mission maps. Gameplay is still the same in co-op, just less people to defeat and Essence management may be a little screwed up (like if 1 Blue Essence is sitting around, who will it go to?).

MUA2? Nah, just my imagination..

So is easier good? I would say that that is the wrong question to ask. It's not that easy, yet not that hard, a nice balance for an average player. Also, some might consider both to be different games due to the different mechanics and the different audiences it seems to target: NG2 for hardcore bloodthirsty people and NGS2 for the less hardcore, 'play-for-fun' people.

And I agree with that. Saying that NG2 sucks because it's difficult is just being short-sighted but that's another rant ;)

NeetGeek gives Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2: 8.5/10