Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds Overdrive (PS4)

Back in early April of 2013 Mages, and their publisher 5pb released onto the Xbox 360 XBLA library a substitute game for a planned Phantom Breaker 2D fighter. This unsuspected yet brilliantly delivered anime beat 'em up that was "Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds" ended up surprising even me. It turned out to be a game that incorporated deeply involved fighting game elements into a "Streets of Rage" style brawler. It could be played solo, or in the company of friends as a co-op, or competitive game making it all the more intriguing. There was both local, and network play included in the affordable retail cost. The art style that accompanied said gaming experience was of a cutesy chibi-anime design, and was done up in a way that utilized pixels for character builds. One might think that such an odd combination of features would screw with the game's intended quality, but in the end it was the perfect genre blend. When 5pb announced the release of an upgraded version of the same game for the PS4 earlier this year I was once again excited to take that trip down memory lane, and see what changes, if any had taken hold of the original experience. To my dismay I did not notice any real changes other than the inclusion of a former DLC character, and some possible tweaks to the character management system, and modes. Regardless of these possible basic improvements, and the lack of truly new content I still had a blast playing through the game. It definitely lived up to the asking price, and it's former glory.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Youtube Culture, Gaming, and the Entertainment Industry

Diving right in ... I've noticed, since my own Youtube channel's debut in 2008 that things slowly but surely began to effect various things in the world of social media, and entertainment. Youtube started on a harmless note with comedic videos, and videos of the homemade sort meant to entertain those newcomers who would dare invest time out of their day to view what the content provider had to offer. Eventually when money making aspects reared their ugly head alongside other harmful trends Youtube, and the accompanying social media outlets took the internet invention on a downhill spiral that it will likely never recover from. Everyone, and their mother was out to get their time in the spotlight. Everyone was looking to make the big bucks even if it meant forsaking their morals as entertainment enthusiasts. Things like "Trolling", and "Griefing" became popular. As sexist as it may sound sexy gamers also became a popular thing. To this day there are tons of copycat channels providing like-minded content of the worst sort to their subscriber fan base in hopes of reaping that PewDiePie fame, and fortune. Let's jump aboard that trend train kiddies! Choo! Choo! ...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weekend Blog Log (July 26, 2015)

For those of you who have followed me this past week on Twitter you'll know that I had a sort of emotional meltdown. For the first time in a long time I had hit rock bottom in my life, and openly so. I think it was a combination of things building up to that point, and not particularly one simple thing. My life is chaos. I endure family drama on a daily basis, and life in general has begun to collapse around me. When a certain friend started making judgmental tweets indirectly about something I had tweeted earlier it sent me even further over the deep end. I felt bad for having lost her friendship, but at the same time knew the ties must be broken. What you have to understand is that I go to Twitter for an escape. Each time I log in I look forward to the positive things my friends have to say whether it's game related, or whatever. For a long time gaming had been that escape for me, but with the quality of online gaming, and gaming in general going downhill I can no longer depend on that hobby to brighten my day. Twitter has once again become my last hope at happiness. Even that is suffering from drama though.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Destiny - "A Reflection, A Farewell"

This morning, out of sheer curiosity I logged into to Destiny on the PS4 just to see what Xur was selling. It's like a bad habit now. Regardless of the nature of this routine addiction I played through two weekly heroics with my Hunter, and Titan to get the strange coins I needed to buy whatever it was that Xur had in stock. The weekly heroic playthroughs went by fairly quickly, and smoothly on the level 32 difficulty setting, mostly thanks to void burn damage. As usual I was rewarded with 9 strange coins in each playthrough, and went to spend said tokens on Xur's stash. I should also note that someone at Bungie gifted my Titan 9 extra strange coins, possibly because I complained about the state of Destiny this morning. It didn't say it was from Bungie, but the tagline "gift from an unknown benefactor" pretty much stated the obvious. When I finally found Xur near the 'New Monarchy" vendor in the Tower (At the large sealed door) I discovered that he was peddling the same damn crap he always does. It's SSDD at it's worst. Regardless I nabbed some exotic chest armor for my Titan, and a pair of exotic gauntlets for my Hunter. Both of which will not likely be of any use for my preferred play style. As I went about my morning Destiny biz doing all of this some thoughts came to mind. Particularly about the current state of the game, and what it used to mean to me ...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

God of War III Remastered (PS4)

The 'God of War' series, for me has been a truly exciting journey through makeshift mythology. While it doesn't exactly stay true to it's Greek origin stories it does give us history buffs plenty to enjoy as we help the protagonist, 'Kratos' exact his revenge, and tear the foundations of Olympus asunder. The combo based gameplay, and brutally unforgiving boss battles help to set the proper mood for this story of vengeance, and and the Spartan soldier who was done wrong. In the beginning (aka, "God of War") we learn of Kratos being tricked into killing his beloved wife, and daughter by the Gods themselves. This act of betrayal sets into motion the ultimate fall of Ares, the original "God of War". After Ares is slain in the first game Kratos assumes his place, and identity amongst the Gods of Olympus. Not satisfied with Are's fall though Kratos takes his war mongering through the Olympian hierarchy, and sets his sight on Zeus who was the mastermind behind his betrayal. He ends up nearly defeating Zeus only to kill Athena instead. Of course Zeus retreats, and Kratos pursues him up Mount Olympus with the aid of Gaia, and the Titans who have been trying to get at Zeus themselves. Thus enters the third portion of the ongoing 'God of War' saga ...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Weekend Blog Log (July 19, 2015)

Here we are at the final day of the weekend. It is Sunday, and so far my weekend off has been a mixture of grief, and fun. I have been gaming with my friend @Bitch_Duck_ in Destiny lately, and have been enjoying our online time together. We each hail from similar life circumstances, and find comfort in chatting with each other as we game. It's a nice distraction being able to talk to her as we play. I can't say I'm enjoying Destiny too much, but being alongside her in it makes things more tolerable. In the way of family strife my Grandmother continues to worry about every little thing. She worries to a point it's consuming every moment of her daily life. Often times she says she'd be better off dead, and living life the way she does I could see myself feeling a similar way. The only advice I can offer people like her who constantly dwell on the negative things is that you're life will only be miserable so long as you continue to dwell on things that make it so. Find hope, and positivity even if it is in the simplest of pleasures. Life is only worth living if you can set goals, find hope in a better tomorrow, and strive to make the most of the time that you are given. Don't become set in your ways. Don't become satisfied with merely passing time, and hoping for an end to your misery. The only way you are going to dig yourself out of that abysmal hole that you're in is to make an effort to do so.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What Gaming Means to Me ...

First off I want to say that a certain Twitter follower whom I've blocked seems to be tinkering around with my passwords, and social media accounts. If you notice any suspicious activities/posts that seem to be coming from me be aware. They are more than likely not from me ...

Growing up I've seen some truly dark times, and have experienced a lot of grief in said times. As such gaming for me has been an escape from my troubled existence many times over. Had gaming never become a part of my life I don't think I would have done too well in the grand scheme of things. I truly don't. I know a lot of gamers out there who can relate with me in saying that same thing. When it comes to gaming in the current iteration of consoles though I'm finding it very hard to enjoy the entertainment genre I've grown up loving. The introduction of online features, and the follow-up of half-finished games that incorporate shady DLC practices have all but begun to bleed the gaming industry dry. Like a proper horror movie vampire greed, and the seeking of massive profit has started to drain the life force out of gaming, and the gamers who dare invest in it's current generation offerings. Sadly too many gamers have become complacent with said practices, and wrongdoings. They don't speak up for themselves, and just accept things as they are.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Zen Pinball 2: Ant-Man (PS3/PS4/PS VITA)

Beyond what I've seen in the movie trailers I have absolutely no clue as to what the Ant-Man origin story, or continued Marvel lore entails. It's a given that the rogue protagonist who plays the role of the miniscule hero is gifted his abilities through the scientifically created suit, and helmet that he wears. In a similar way as the Iron-Man saga we are also presented with a hint via the trailers that a certain someone is out to steal the technology, and that they eventually do. Thus creating the series' villain, the 'Yellowjacket'. I imagine all sorts of shenanigans go on as 'Scott Lang (aka, Ant-Man)' changes sizes, and commands armies of ants to defeat his almost equally sized adversary. There will no doubt be a criminal aspect thrown in as well since Scott led a former life of crime before joining forces with 'Hope Van Dyne/Hank Pym' for the good fight.

For those of you looking for that usual Marvel history lesson fret not as I did do some online digging in order to provide at least a few factoids that relate to Ant-Man's source material. Those factoids go as follows ... Like many of Marvel's masterpieces 'Ant-Man' had his humble beginnings as a guest character in a series that was not his own. In September of 1962, in the pages of a comic book known as "Tales to Astonish #35" the original Ant-Man (aka, Hank Pym) made his debut appearance. Unlike the movie protagonist Hank created, and sported the unique size and strength changing apparatus as a scientific way to combat the world's many problems. You could say he was one of Marvel's geniuses in that respect.

Thanks to the initial trio of comic book legends (Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby) whom each contributed to the origin story of Ant-Man the pint-sized hero that was Pym was able to pave the way for other characters of interest to sport the same mantle through the years, but to a different affect. Originally Hank Pym was the scientist who crafted, and the Ant-Man suit/helmet combo, but through chance encounters Pym's legacy was passed on. In the Scott Lang continuation Scott effectively steals the suit to save his daughter only to be caught by authorities, and trained later under the tutelage of Hank Pym himself in order to turn his life around for the better. Of course it goes without saying that the epic saga did not end with Hank, or Scott, and has in fact been picked up to this day as an ongoing series in the ever-expanding Marvel multi-verse. In total there are four men (possibly more ...) who have each donned the Ant-Man guise according to their own unique situations. This includes Hank Pym, Scott Lang, Eric O'Grady, and Chris McCarthy. While the story is a continuation of sorts that has been built upon through the years other famed Marvel artists including 'Robert Kirkman' and 'Phil Hester' have also contributed their visual, and novel interpretation of the characters/situations at hand. With the success of the Ant-Man film, and the revival of the super-hero we may yet see more in the way of comic book spin-offs, merchandise, video games, and films. Let us hope so!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Gaming, Blogging & Life

I have the overwhelming urge to spill my guts about how I'm feeling about certain things. I feel I owe it to everyone to be honest. In this article I'm going to talk about some things that are currently on my mind regarding the gaming industry, gaming in general, blogging, and life. I'll try to keep it all to the point, and elaborate on things when I feel it is necessary. Life for me has become complicated, and I just need to get some stuff off of my chest.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 (3DS)

The Nintendo 3DS, and Tecmo Koei's "Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3". That's a mash-up I never thought would happen. After having played it for a while, and having sampled the way it's deeply involved features were applied on the 3DS I can kind of understand why I felt that way in the first place. Certain aspects of this game port did a huge disservice to the gamer, and functionally made things more difficult than they should have been. Without disclosing all of that intended point in one paragraph, and spoiling the purpose of this review early on I will say that sometimes one screen is better than two ...

For those of you unfamiliar with the "Samurai Warriors", or "Dynasty Warriors" franchise you'll find that each game in the allotted series is an objective based action RPG experience with a historical timeline of events geared towards driving the exclusively included story forward. Most, if not all games in said franchises feature epic campaigns with various warring Asian empires/dynasties involved who are each trying to overpower one another for some reason. The games are always rich with content including a variety of different combat-centric modes of play, historical references, and a story mode that centers around a base conflict. In the midst of it all you get to play as a created character, or a character from a selection of available or unlockable protagonists. These characters of choice help to win the wars, or engagements for the generals, and warlords they choose to align with, or whom they are assigned to. When it comes to the "Samurai Warriors" games your duty as a samurai warrior will of course be combat related, and objective oriented throughout all modes of play. In the way of objectives there are always targets laid out for you in the form of characters of interest whom you must defeat with your weapons/abilities as well as lesser soldiers who attack in army sized hordes that must be defeated as well. Objectives do vary as you progress in said games, but you'll find that the provided challenges always come with a time oriented nature.

Monday, July 6, 2015

BlazBlue Chronophantasma EXTEND (PS4)

BlazBlue is a fighting game experience that is closely akin to it's Guilty Gear predecessors. In it you'll find an assorted variety of different character archetypes some of which are very close to what Guilty Gear has offered in the past. You'll also find one of the richest, if not the richest of fighting game mythologies surrounding said characters within the game's structural story mode confines. At heart this unique mythology, or lore does have subtle nods to Guilty Gears timeline of events, but seems to pick up after some of it's own world changing tragedies regarding a magic war against a recurring threat. There's various governing orders involved, and characters whose given abilities vary according to their role in the plot. Some characters wield a type of Seithr driven magic known as Ars Magus while others use science to do their bidding. There's even a council of seven heroes whose past feats have come back to haunt them in the form of an apocalypse seeking group of puppeteers. There are constant clashes between the law abiding NOL "Novus Orvis Librarium", the renegade lone wolves like 'Ragna the Bloodedge', the science foundation built/managed by Kokonoe, and the "Phantoms of Time". The conflicts are many, and those involved are continuously getting dragged into the fray whether they like it or not. While Chronophantasma is not by any means the conclusive end of the story at hand it does clear up a lot of details while advancing the ongoing plot significantly. Along with the story, and it's provided mythology/history are also plenty of offline, and online activities to enjoy as usual. Each of which offer the gamer more bang for their buck.

Hobby Pick-Ups (July 5, 2015)

As a hobbyist I've got a long list of things I like to collect. These include various entertainment related items (DVDs, Video Games ...), comic books, and toys. While out shopping this past Sunday I decided to use some of my extra monthly funds to treat myself to some of said collectibles. Seeing as my monthly budget is limited I had to choose wisely, so I spent a good hour browsing all the toys, and DVDs that Targets had to offer. When it comes to DVDs Targets usually has a nice selection with some discounted options made available. They've even started carrying steel book collector's DVDs/Blu-rays for those hardcore collectors out there. As far as my DVD browsing goes I tend to look for unique horror releases, and anything anime related. Luckily while browsing the newly released Studio Ghibli Blu-ray collection I happened upon the coveted "Spirited Away". This is the first time it was released in a DVD plus Blu-ray combo pack, and for $24.99 it was a heck of a deal!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

BlazBlue Chronophantasma EXTEND - Preview Review

In my time spent with the latest release of BBCPEX I've come to realize that I'm going to have to invest some quality time in a proper playthrough of the game in order to gain an understanding about everything it offers, and to give it a fair chance. So far I've sampled the key modes of play, and features, but have yet to try out the two new characters. I can say that for the most part the game remains the same as the last version technically, and functionally. It is also a mostly all-inclusive port. By "mostly all-inclusive" I mean that you don't have to pay for a majority of the lobby, color palette, or stage DLC that you had to pay for in the vanilla version of the game. This can all be unlocked through the gallery via the in-game currency you earn as you play online, and offline modes. Aksys Games did create some new DLC though that you will have to pony up the dough for in order to obtain. This includes a couple new color palettes, some new voice-over options, and a handful of lobby avatar items. As far as the new characters go one is a third Carl Clover clone (Celica), and the other a Nu-13 clone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Plans, Plans & More Plans ...

From the get-go it has been my aim to provide high quality, and truthfully accurate reviews for those who would care to read them. I have poured my heart out over the past four years, and have invested up to weeks at a time into providing each of the given reviews. Most of my efforts have been met with gratitude, and understanding. In some situations said reviews, and requests have even been met with misinterpretation, and butt hurt (for the lack of a better word). At times I've questioned why it is that I continue to offer my services to developers, publishers, and PR, but have always come back to the conclusion that I do it because I love gaming, and because I love posting reviews for my readers to read. Even so I'm back at that same self-exploring question. Do I continue, or do I stop? As of now I have plans to continue until at least the end of this year. I have inquired about several games, and have worked to patch relationships with certain PR so I can provide more reviews for everyone. I intend on following through with each review that I've inquired about, and will pour my heart out into said reviews like I always have ...