Game diaries

Bloodborne: into the woods

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People always say that a change in scenery can be therapeutic. After the frustration Vicar Amelia brought on, it was with some relief that I left the claustrophobic streets of Yharnam and move into the next major areas which revolve around dark, oppressive forests. The next two bosses were far more trivial than the areas that lead to their lairs, a welcome change for me. It was amongst the witches and tombstones of Hemwick Charnel Lane that I faced my first invader.

After the jump, snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes? Continue reading →

Bloodborne: so a vicar and a hunter walk into a cathedral…

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It was fifteen hours into Bloodborne that I hit my first wall. The Cleric Beast, Papa G (I love the communities nicknames for Father Gascoigne), and the Blood Starved Beast had all fallen one after another, each with some element of challenge, but nothing close to inducing a controller-breaking rage. But as I made my way up the steps of the Grand Cathedral and watched the cutscene for Vicar Amelia, I had no idea that my idyllic stroll through Yharnam was about to be rudely cut short.

After the jump, who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Continue reading →

Bloodborne: bringing a broadsword to a gunfight

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The combat systems in the Dark Souls games have always been a point of contention. While I enjoyed much of the combat in Dark Souls, it was incredibly easy to find certain tools and cheese bosses or enemies to death. Self-proclaimed masochists would play the game with a two-handed weapon and no shields or other challenge builds in order to push them further and reduce the relative ease that certain weapons and armor provided. Dark Souls 2 brought positives to the combat system, but was plagued by lackluster hitboxes, overzealous latency correction, and the ability to circle strafe enemies to death.

After the jump, how does Bloodborne compare? Continue reading →

Bloodborne: prepare to load

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The streets of Central Yharnam are empty of friendly faces. Patrols of hounds and savage villagers patrol, attacking any outsider roaming their city. Knocking on door after door I am turned away, mocked for my stupidity at being caught outside on the night of the hunt, or derided as a foreigner there is no refuge offered. The only bit of comfort I find is the voice of a child, asking after her mother and offering me a small music box in return. I descend into the darkness of the sewers below Yharnam to carve my way through crawling corpses and giant rats towards my next foe: Father Gascoigne.

After the jump, how many days since your last confession? Continue reading →

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 →