Game diaries

Bloodborne: a midsummer night’s terror

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I awake in a hospital bed. A man I do not know has just given me a transfusion of “Yharnam Blood”. As if that wasn’t enough to disturb me, a pool of blood appears and expands on the floor next to my bed. Some sort of bloody wolf surfaces and begins crawling towards me. As it extends a razor-sharp claw towards me, I am completely incapable of helping myself. Suddenly the beast bursts into flames and its life is snuffed out. My relief is only temporary, however, as a pale arm appears at the foot of the bed. I am horrified as I am surrounded by what appears to be the animated, decaying corpses of small children. They climb all over me, their horrifying faces fill my vision, and darkness takes me.

After the jump, what fresh hell is this? Continue reading →

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: monster hunter triumphant

I’ve played enough games over the years to know that if you come up across something you can’t accomplish and that other options exist, maybe you’re supposed to do those other things first. I distinctly remember coming across a boss early into Darksiders 2 that I was in no way equipped to deal with but not before spending half an hour trying to kill the blasted thing. Eventually I gave up, came back when I was supposed to and promptly killed its bark covered ass.

After the jump, killing its scale covered ass Continue reading →

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: not so Great Jaggi

Day three and I’m feeling pretty good about this whole monster hunting thing. I’ve got some materials, I have a companion and my reputation among the village’s residents is starting to grow resulting in more quests coming my way. I head on over to the guild hall to take a look at their quests and come across what looks like a pretty easy endeavor. Someone wants eggs for an omelet. Eggs? How hard can it be to deliver some eggs?

After the jump, it’s actually pretty hard… Continue reading →

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: pigs and cats

Once I have a few quests under my belt in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate the game starts to open up but unfortunately not in the four hour phone call from my sister way in which I get every piece of information I could possibly wish for but in the conversation with my twelve year old son way in that I know something happened but I have to poke and prod and hope that I ask the right question at the right time.

But hey, I have a talking cat and a pig in a sombrero so it can’t all be bad.

After the jump, palicos and poogles… Continue reading →

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: getting acquainted

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the 3DS isn’t the first time I’ve played a Monster Hunter game. I tried Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the 3DS, but couldn’t get into it. I also tried Monster Hunter Freedom Unite when it was free via PlayStation Plus. In both cases I found the game obtuse, difficult, and not at all deserving of the attention that this series garners. Normally if a game series doesn’t entice me with two releases I’m happy to write it off but between a New 3DS XL with a c-stick for camera control and this MonHun being billed as the most accessible MonHun yet, I figure it’s time to see if I can get as obsessed with killing dinosaurs as the rest of the world.

After the break, all aboard the MonHun train… Continue reading →

Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Matriarch

Tom: This week’s villain is The Matriach, who rules over a bunch of crows. This week’s random die roll situates us in the Wagner Mars Base. Here we are, fighting birds on Mars. You can’t make this stuff up.

Jay: I’m glad we don’t have to, as Sentinels of the Multiverse provides so many wonderful, quirky interactions. I’ll let the readers in on a little secret as we begin. This is the game that made me fall in love with Sentinels all over again. The ebb and flow, tragedies and triumphs, made for a story worthy of a Hollywood production.

After the jump, birdocalypse. Continue reading →

4 years in Persona 4: Persona 4 ever and ever, ’til death torn apart

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It took 93 hours for me to realize that I’d been tricked in thinking I was capable of completing Persona 4. Where I was once unable to settle into the game, it had recently made a home upon me, as does a cat who’s decided to nap. I hadn’t noticed, and in standing to take my leave, we were suddenly tumbling to the ground alongside each other, its claws caught in my clothes as I tried to escape. It pondered a lifetime in seconds, “How did I come to be owned by this person?” before we hit the floor.

And this time, it was personal. Find out just how personal after the jump. Continue reading →

4 years in Persona 4: Social Links in full bloom (2013-2014)

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I’d been at Persona 4 for three years. Playing any kind of game for that long requires a different approach than what committing regular hours to it asks of someone.

This was like building a sand castle that would take all summer long — constantly at risk of being washed away or stomped on by some uncontrollable force. Construction would be put on hold for the tide to lower, or to recover from having to fight some beach jerk. Once I’d picked myself up, operations would continue. I’d refresh myself on the game’s story, re-familiarize myself with my registered personas, and soldier on.

The end of 2012, however, brought with it a tidal wave. After the jump, we will rebuild. Continue reading →

4 years in Persona 4: pursuing my true self (2011-2013)

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That’s right — two years in this entry. We’ve got a lot to cover, and that’s not even counting all the stuff I had to leave out just to make sense of everything.

Also, I gotta say, it really killed the mood to fixate on Chie like that. Not when Persona 4 gives you the chance to be a player and go romantic with all the female S-Links. Truly, this was the land of opportunity, Japan. Opportunistic lands out there. Really fertile stuff, if you go for it — girl-wise. Game-wise, though, Persona 4 may as well have been dead to me by February of 2011.

After the jump, two more years closer to the end. Continue reading →

Sentinels of the Multiverse: La Capitan

Jay: After copious amounts of research for this week’s challenge, which consisted of watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and yelling “Arrr” around the house, I have come to the conclusion that pirates are pushovers. Seriously, how scary can a pirate be? All they do is sing sea shanties, drink rum and apply generous amounts of mascara to themselves. In what way is any of that threatening?

Sentinels of the Multiverse knows how to make a pirate formidable. Give her a time-traveling galleon and she will rule the world, right after she destroys me and Tom.

After the jump, crossing oceans of time. Continue reading →

4 years in Persona 4: from Juneau to Junes (2010-2011)

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So there I was, asleep, 8PM, fighting an addiction to caffeine the only way that I knew how: having crawled into a dark corner of my bedroom underneath a pile of blankets and laundry. I’m not a drug addict, but I feel like if I’m ever curious about how withdrawal feels, that I can stifle that curiosity by shutting off my grip on caffeine.

The shock of finishing Persona 3 had rendered me aimless. Without a compass, I was capable of reckless decisions like ignoring my subservience to energy drinks which resulted in three-hour post-work naps. Naps around 6:30PM. All the great decision-making that I’d been doing that summer was suddenly unwound by completing a video game.

After the jump, that could only mean one thing Continue reading →

4 Years in Persona 4: fast times at Gekkoukan High (2007-2010)

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I’m going off memory for most of this, so things aren’t 100% accurate. Fortunately, it being my own memory means nobody will know how right or wrong I am, leaving me to falsify information as I please. Vote for me in the primaries.

But yes, I’ve been playing Persona 4 for the last four years. It’s still the same PS2 disc and original save file. What’s wrong with me? Maybe we’ll find out. Before that, we have to talk about Persona 3. Numbers come in a certain order, according to some scholars, and it just so happens there’s some groundwork to lay here.

Jump ahead for the story I gotta tell ya first… Continue reading →

Sentinels of the Multiverse: Kismet

Jay: I don’t usually pair songs and games together. I know many folks love to have theme appropriate music while they wage war against orcs or travel the high seas. Hollywood has trained us that all epic moments come with their own soundtrack. I’m just not that kind of player. I’m so focused on the rules and the flow of the game that I tune everything else out, so anything I would play is drowned out by the chatter in my head as I manage the game.

This week, however, I decided to change things up a bit. I couldn’t help myself. The villain we are fighting just demands a theme song. You don’t have to look far, either, for the perfect fit. So with the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra belting out “Luck Be A Lady”, I commenced battle with Kismet.

After the jump, charmed, I’m sure. Continue reading →

Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Dreamer

Jay: Superhero fiction is at its best when it goes beyond the simple trope of a hero trading punches with a villain. Often, the more powerful a hero becomes, the less interesting they seem as their problems and solutions become farther removed from our own experiences. Bringing those conflicts and troubles closer to home can make a superhero tale more relatable and appealing. I have dealt with a two year old throwing a tantrum and I’ve soothed a child roused from slumber due to a nightmare. Now, spin me a tale of a super powered child that throws a tantrum that levels a city block and you have me hooked. Better yet, tell me a story of a child so powerful that her dreams and nightmares are made manifest. In one version of the story, the child is secreted away to a government facility and experimented upon in the hopes of controlling these demons. In an alternate version, the child is never taught how to control her abilities and those same demons run amok. Now, it is up to super heroes to rescue the child and put a stop to those projections. This is what we face in today’s battle, as the Visionary faces her greatest foe, the Dreamer, and is forced to confront this version of her past that grows ever more dangerous as her nightmares consumer her.

Tom: While Jay plays over over to today’s game using heaps of backstory, I’ll be in charge of the gameplay angle. This week’s villain, The Dreamer, is a superlative example of Sentinels developer Greater Than Games at their very best. The Dreamer plays unlike any other villain.

After the jump, awakening the dreamer. Continue reading →

Sentinels of the Multiverse: Plague Rat

Jay: For today’s Sentinels of the Multiverse battle, we take on a pest. Plague Rat, a former Rook City drug lord mutated by his own illicit product, roams the sewers of the city looking for victims. His bite transmits a terrible virus that not only damages the heroes, but potentially turns them against each other. Plague Rat’s nemesis is Chrono-Ranger, a bounty hunter who travels the timestream, hunting monsters for fun and profit.

Tom: Plague Rat doesn’t have a lot of fancy tricks because he doesn’t need them. He is a brutal damage dealing machine who heals himself up once he’s infected all the heroes. This is going to be nasty, brutish, and short.

After the jump, you dirty rat! Continue reading →