terabient: Yu Narukami...uh...dressed as his uncle (P4: Narukami)
these unplanned hiatuses from DW are getting longer and longer, aren't they?

naturally the thing that has caused me to rise to the surface of the internet like a dying fish is the advent of the Steam summer sale. help me discover the most efficient way to throw my money into Valve's bottomless pit of digital goods, flist! or do the opposite and encourage fiscal responsibility or...something.

My only definite buys are Sunless Sea and RefRain. I'm looking for opinions on the following:

Kindred Spirits on the Roof
Pros:
-lesbian visual novel/dating sim
-GHOST lesbian visual novel/dating sim
-The lesbians actually have sex!

Cons:
-it's a bit pricey for a visual novel, even with the sale discount
-no idea if the sex scene illustrations are aesthetically and/or narratively satisfying

Akiba's Trip
Pros:
-Apparently a scathing satire of Japanese otaku culture by people who are actually a part of it

Cons:
-The reviews saying it's a "scathing satire" tend to be white dude weeaboo types. I'm not going to say they're lying, but i am going to suggest that they are maybe not great at properly applying the phrase "scathing satire" especially when it comes to video games--particularly when the examples they offer as 'satire' are mostly...not? or are very obvious, very easy to make jokes.
-Even the positive reviews say the actual gameplay is mediocre.

Sublevel Zero
Pros:
-3D, full range of motion shoot-em-up! :o
-Sweet soundtrack

Cons:
-Roguelike (eh)
-Crafting (UGH)
-CRAFTING in a ROGUELIKE SHMUP UUUUGGGGHHHHHHH like okay i guess collecting random junk in procedurally generated dungeons so you can smash it together and make better guns is just ~the trend~ these days but i cannot think of anything LESS fun. Maybe flying into a wall forever, idk.

SOMA
Pros:
-Made by the group behind Amnesia: Dark Descent...which I've never played, actually, but I have heard good things about it!
-It's a horror game under the sea, which is definitely the most horrifying environment on Earth, even a fictional, future Earth.
-There are R O B O T S

Cons:
-you can't fight anything so it's either die or puzzle your way past monsters. i'm bad at puzzles :(
-i like horror games in theory but in reality i am a total wimp and usually give up on them b/c they're 2spooky4me. :((

---

i'm not really looking at much else, but i'm down for any recs you're willing to share. :)
terabient: by <user name=xfreischutz site=tumblr.com> (Default)
SoooOOOOOoooo the Steam Winter Sale is live, and a lot of other digital game storefronts are also having winter sales because if something proves to be popular it must be copied relentlessly. Thanks, capitalism.

I didn't buy anything during the autumn sale so my wishlist has had some time to lengthen, although there are quite a few games there that are perpetual 'maybe' purchases. Not in a rush to make decisions this time since daily and flash deals aren't happening...I admit there's a lot less excitement around the sale because of that, although I was really frustrated with the limited time deals because I usually missed them. :P Still, they definitely gave me a reason to check Steam every time I had a chance. Now, it's just a matter of determining what's worth buying and what isn't.

On the "almost certainly will buy" list:

-Resident Evil 4 HD
-Undertale - well, I think I'm actually the last gamer I know to play this, so I probably shouldn't give a summary? lol
-Why Am I Dead At Sea Got recommended over at NeoGAF, apparently you're a ghost trying to figure out what killed you while heading off some potential tragedy threatening the ship? Also described as Earthbound-like, which may be becoming its own subgenre of indie gaming.
-Sunless Sea The trailer and reviews sound amazing, and a few friends have it on their rec lists as well. A Lovecraftian RPG taking place in an underground sea sounds fascinating. I've passed on it a few times but 50% off is the biggest discount I've seen so I might as well take the plunge.
-Suguri/Acceleration of Suguri - doujin horizontal shmup that I've been meaning to get for a long time but have yet to pick up. They're going for $2 and the sequel is coming out in January, so that's probably a sign to get it.
-Eschatos/Judgment Silver Sword/Cardinal Sins - I uh, already have this game on my 360 but I've become one of those people who is slowly digitizing her physical game collection. It's a shmup collection with Judgement Silver Sword and Cardinal Sins being from the Wonderswan handheld, and Eschatos a 360 release. Eschatos has a really neat chaining/multiplier mechanic that's significantly less stringent than DoDonPachi's, and a timed mode that's fun as well--you have a very short amount of time to complete a stage (less time than you need) but time is added on depending on how well you perform. Cardnial Sins is really neat--each stage is loosely based on one of the seven deadly sins, with different scoring mechanics and enemies; you have to figure out what you're required to do to pass to the next stage. It's kind of like Wario Ware, but...a shmup. And uh, I honestly can't remember what JSS is like, but it's included in the bundle so I'll find out eventually.

My full wishlist is here, if anyone is interested in offering opinions on what else to buy. If you have your own wishlists feel free to link to them in the comments so I can bug you about what you should/shouldn't get too!

I'd offer to do some gifting but I heard international gifting isn't possible anymore on Steam, which is super lame and bleeeeehhhh. I'll see if there's some kind of work around but if not, boo. BOOOOOO. :(
terabient: by <user name=xfreischutz site=tumblr.com> (Default)
Played some more Destiny today. I only have a vague idea of how everything works, but it hasn't been too hard to grasp the basics of character progression and how to advance the game. When Destiny was first released, people described it as Phantasy Star Online with Halo mechanics, a comparison that my sister agreed with and that seems apt from what I've played so far. There's the 3 races/3 classes setup, the Guardians are functionally the same as the Hunter's Guild in PSO, The Last City is Pioneer 2 and plot of both games is basically 'discover what destroyed the civilization here, uh oh wait looks like our activity has awakened something DARK and TERRIBLE.' Destiny's Hive even has the same 'sentient infection' vibe that PSO's Dark Force had. The way the social hubs and actual gameplay areas work seem identical to the way PSO2 is set up as well...I wonder if Destiny will add in 'My Room' personal spaces and player shops in the future? Haha, I wouldn't mind if they did.

The gameplay has been pretty enjoyable so far. Controlling your character is intuitive and tight--going from walk -> run -> jump -> double jump -> run -> slide is remarkably fluid and natural, and it's easy to traverse the landscape and position yourself in firefights. Enemies haven't been challenging but it's not like the beginning of the game is supposed to be tough anyway; I'm just glad the enemy AI isn't as limited as Borderlands, where it became painfully easy to predict what each enemy type would do because they had like...2 behaviors total. The weaponry, is already quite varied and easy to use with quality feedback--I can feel the difference between a successful shotgun blast and when I've missed the mark, not just discern it from the damage numbers that pop up on screen. I suppose its a bit strange to praise the basics of game mechanics like this, but it's something that Destiny does really well; it's hard to describe how comfortable it feels to play.

The environments (all two that I've seen) are gorgeous. The skies are particularly beautiful. I've spent a fair amount of time just watching the day/night progress so I can enjoy the different lighting effects and scenery.

As far as things that annoy me, WELL. As one might think from a game titled 'Destiny' the story and worldbuilding is not exactly brimming with originality. From what I've experienced in game: in the distant past, humanity traveled through space and inadvertently awoke some awful thing that tried to destroy everything; it didn't succeed but it wasn't exactly defeated, either, and now 'The Guardians' are protecting what's left of humanity/keeping the evil at bay. The plot has Guardians utilizing light energy for weaponry so when NPCs talking about 'driving back the darkness with your light!' they are talking metaphorically and literally which makes me laugh and laugh and laugh with how over the top it is. I also had to suffer through a cutscene in which an NPC who was clearly in the know about all of Destiny's backstory blathered on about how he could tell me all about the history everyone keeps alluding to vaguely...but then he didn't because of course those times are coming again so I will get to experience them first hand! I mean, why even bother including a 'story' cutscene like that, Bungie. It is a literal waste of time.

The other thing is that while the world is beautiful you mostly just look at it. It's a problem that plagues a lot of open-world games as of late; the game has meticulously rendered and detailed environments but you don't interact with them in any meaningful way. There are quests which send you here and there across the landscape, but you don't explore as much as you follow markers on your radar until you see a glowy thing and press a button to get a checkmark next to some meaningless task. It's pretty telling that about 5 hours into this game, I was being 'led' to new areas but instead of gawking at them my eyes were focused on the radar in the corner so I could finish a side quest. Oh well.
terabient: A robot posing in front of a disco ball that shoots lasers (Borderlands: Claptrap - LASER INFERNO)
LOOOOoooong day at work. I mean, it's always long because it's eleven hours, but also it was...a very eventful day, and a forty minute drive each way that happened to take place in the rain and darkness. HOORAY FOR THE ONSET OF WINTER AND DENTIST VISITS...?

Played roughly 15 minutes of Destiny last night. I wasn't even able to finish the tutorial because I was so tired, but I did create a violet-colored robot girl and I think I picked the tank class for her? (She's a Titan.) I'm glad that the robot girl faces aren't particularly feminized, although having them be smaller/slimmer than the male faces is a tiresome stereotype. Can't dismantle the gender binary all at once, I suppose.

The other game I played was the Xbox One dashboard, which I DO NOT recommend in its current state. It crashed like, 3 times last night! Once it was while I was trying to select an icon for my profile. The other times it just got hung up on menus for no discernible reason. Is that what I can expect if I upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10? Whatever, the point is that the Xbox One dashboard sucks and a huge downgrade from literally every single Xbox 360 dashboard that ever existed over the years. boooooooooo

I'm going to go back to the Destinylands for the evening, and will exhaust you with my thoughts about it tomorrow. Have fun, everyone~
terabient: Madoka is embarrassed while Homura side-eyes her (Puella Magi: Madoka and Homura)
I've been playing Mushihimesama for about an hour each evening. So far, I've cleared Novice Original and Novice Maniac without using a continue, gotten up to stage 5 in Novice Ultra before having to continue, and I credit fed my way through Arrange mode from Stage 4 onwards. I'm mostly pleased with my progress; it took me roughly a year to clear Deathsmiles--the first bullet hell I sunk significant time into--without continuing. Granted, I've only done so on the easiest difficulties so far, but progress is progress.

Anyway, rather than tackling Ultra or Arrange mode, I decided to learn how the scoring system works in Maniac mode and see if I could beat my high score--on the Steam leader boards, I'm...57, I think? Since that was from my first one-credit clear, I figured with some practice I would be able to beat that score quickly. The reality: I haven't come close to beating my original score. :( Part of me wants to keep practicing until I put together a really good run in Mushihimesama; part of me wants to change things up and work on some other Cave-developed shooter. Or maybe any shooter that isn't Mushihimesama. Or maybe...not play a shooter at all for a few days. Haha, this might be why my bullet hell skills are still solidly average after fairly frequent playing since 2010.

I didn't intend for NaBloPoMo to turn into 'exhaustive updates on personal progress in bullet hell games' month, but hey, here we are! I suppose I find the relative straightforward quality of the games to be intriguing; every game boils down to two goals: "shoot baddies,dodge bullets" and "get the highest score" --and yet, even within the strict confines of the design there is a remarkable amount of creativity and diversity within the genre.

...I really should start writing these entries sooner, before I'm ready to collapse into bed. There are a lot of things I've been mulling about wrt bullet hell game design, but right now I'm too tired to articulate them clearly. I imagine it can't be very intersting to read. Guess I'll try again tomorrow.
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