Larx

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  1. Gosh, still in mild disbelief, and would be in *major* disbelief had P4G not recently dropped on PC. Feeling far more than a tad HECK YEAHHHHHH at this announcement~! With the Raidou Kuzunoha edition, the ~snappiest~ detective, at that! Positively a remaster to rejoice about. Great games like SMT III more than earned it!
  2. Trust the Rat: Reach maximum affinity with Argo. Heh. I really knew next to nothing about her going into SAO:HR, but she came away as one of my new favorites. Truthfully, I still wouldn't label myself a fan of SAO, but rather, I can enjoy faux-MMOs /and/ happen to fancy several of the SAO secondary characters, such as the emergent Sinon and The Boy™ Agil. Anyway, I cleared the main storyline of HR (*sniffle*<3) and am deliberating how much more of it to take on, in the near-future, before skipping into other games - lost most current interest in picking up SAO:AL until a couple performance enhancements launch. 'Sides, we've got the new Sakura Wars, the OG Utawarerumono remaster, the backlog with quality products like Valkyria Chronicles 4 and The Caligula Effect - add to those, eyes on the upcoming Cold Steel IV, Ys IX, the slick PS5 nearing the horizon.... Plus assorted VNs on my upgraded PC (oops, a distraction from PS4, ehe). Never, -never- a shortage of t'dos for me in this contemporary span of video gaming. Japan just won't frickin' quit~ \o/
  3. I lap up characters, worlds, and narrative in video games. The older I get, the stronger our electronic realms appeal to me, and the ever-expanding roster of my plot-heavy game library reflects that crest. Video gaming became my habit of choice as early as at 3 years old, and over 3 decades later, I refuse to quit it: I never would part with video games if I had any say in it. I certainly appreciate other media like books that weave intricate tales, I do, but video games grant me the enchanting, engrossing ability to interact with the world built and its cast depicted. Take the aforementioned Trails (of Cold Steel, in the interest of PlayStation commonality). I could watch a program - anime, live-action, whichever - about Zemuria, and it'd surely be neat. Or I could read a richly-textured book of Zemurian tales and chew further into its realm. Or, I could traipse across Zemuria myself. Yes, it's strictly "not me"; I control Rean Schwarzer and his mates, and it's his & their tale(s) that I chart, but I can explore and roam every scrap of accessible Zemurian landscape and cityscape of my choice -and- at my motivation. I get to set foot in the shop, the market, or skip it this run. I can head back out to the plains, the hilltops, the distant military encampments, or I can stay on track with the main arc. I can talk to whomever, multiple times, or just funnel ahead to the next urgent objective. The game bricklays the plot and events, but I get to immerse my head into its world as deeply as its technical constraints will allow. I set the pace, I savor the discoveries, and I engage with every manner of conversation and combat encounter. I am not *inside* Zemuria - that's on the TV screen - but Zemuria's mine to engage. I can slow the pace of a novel, but its events will play out in identical sequence every time. A cinematic film plays the same footage each viewing. Games grant me option. A kinetic novel rings closest in skeleton to non-interactive media, and I'd admit to VG bias creeping in for -those-. Beyond them, though, gaming offers plenty to select for m'self. Moreover, when I play - again, current example - Trails, I interact with more than its battles and banter. I control my trek through its visuals, bend toward its most pleasing audio. Wanna hang around a particular scenic landmark or city? I can make Rean do that. Want to listen to a calming town theme or vigorous battle theme on loop? I can do -that- too! Want to shuffle party members and test out new battle formulae, or just hear additional situational voice-acted lines? You guessed it: I can do /that/ as well~ In a book or a show, Rean would necessarily get paired with Her or Him, with a retinue of Them, and major events would play out identically with each revisit. Here, I can swap around Elliot, or Laura, or whoever else strikes my fancy and is available at that moment. I get to connect the dots; I get to establish the flow - isn't it, after all, "the journey, not the destination"? I don't fully buy that adage, but it applies pretty well to video games. Interactive entertainment thoroughly overjoys me, and I'll not quit it, no ma'am, no sir. All that prattled, and yet, I will absolutely play a plotless game periodically: a rhythm game. Yet even with those, in say DJ Max or Project DIVA, the simple characters and vignettes provide a sense of coziness, of charm in their designated backdrops. The nameless occupants of a few dozen DJ Max PVs capture my attention much more than featureless, colorless backdrops would; similarly, in Project DIVA, Miku & co. make the rhythm their home, the videos their stage to perform. I like Project DIVA and DJ Max *so* much more since they star characters and play out little scenes. It would be a discouraging blow to lose the characters. So yeah, even in games without concrete stories, the natural allure of a cast rewards me. ^^ I like video game characters. I like them a fricking *lot*. And yeah, gameplay brings the fun, yes it does. I want my games to be infectiously fun. I also want to attach to the souls within them. Peoples and narratives - they engender that attachment.
  4. Peeress of Pull-ups: Complete all pull-up challenges. Aftermath:
  5. Heavenly Dart Player: Rise to the top of the 7th Heaven darts leaderboard. A decade of Yakuza, yet I needed several weak re-tries for this one. No-skill victory. Ha, I own a dartboard, even. (Not much good at it.) Ahh well~ FF7R re-envisions in fashions that I honestly wouldn't have speculated. It is one heck of a surreal product to enter, 23 years onward. I can't bloody put it down. @[email protected] Glory be.
  6. Like with other slow-burn worlds built, such as in the Legend of Heroes (Trails) series, I greatly adore eavesdropping on NPC exchanges, and FF7R delivers those in quantity. All that, IMO, rewardingly expands the populace of Midgar with which I could only modestly engage, back on PS1. It doesn't center around massive plot revelations or world-bending grandeur; rather, it peers into the everyday lives of those who reside within this steel testament to industry. I *lap* that up. I lap it up. Amidst all the alterations, I applaud those insertions. Enjoying this combat a heck of a lot, enjoying the revised soundtrack - got more than a couple quabbles (a few frustrating characterizations, a few uneven sequences, a few tacky "gamey" facets, plus an encroaching apprehension that Square will -bend- too much), but make no mistake, I am digging FF7R hard. It won't become everything that I'd hoped since I elected not to pin an array of hopes /on/ it. I am entering into it as a redone, not done, deal, where Square re-envisions this RPG which entranced me since the late '90s but here ushers something complementary, familiar *and* new, for 2020. So yeah. Yeah, I'm liking it bunches. Wherever it lands from here, I'm liking this whopper thus far. Phew.
  7. I honestly don't know what to say. I mused ahead of time, more than twice, but right this moment, I'm simply....mystified. This sucker rests on my desk, reborn, 23 years after Final Fantasy 7 seized me in a vise grip and ushered me into the realm of PlayStation, where I've resided ever since. I've played on PC, Sega, Atari, Neo-Geo, Wonderswan, Ninty, & more - but this one tethered me to PS. For quite a while, FF7 was my all-time favorite video game; and even after I cleared it several times on PS1 and platinum'd it on PS4, I could revisit its planet of Gaia with no reluctance. I genuinely don't know how I'll take to this remake. Will I adore it? Will I loathe it? Will I come away startlingly indifferent? Will it please, delight, overjoy, frustrate, irritate, unimpress, deject, disappoint, baffle, perplex - people, I truly wish that I could answer ya. Yet here it stands, and here I go, back into the shoes of Cloud Strife, back with AVALANCHE, back against the Shinra Electric Power Company - back to the city of Midgar, the Mako HQ, which entrenched me into the realms of earnest video game storytelling, evermore. Okay. I can crack a smile after all. Hope against hope: greatness awaits.
  8. #46: Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace More of a Slicier-of-Lifer Steins;Gate with /sprinkles/ of relationships, rather than a full-blown rom-com. S'fine by me. Pretty decent what-if product, color me pleased! Would MDE serve as an amicable gateway into the realm of Steins? Mmm, unlikely, unlikely. Although it explains a fair amount of the universe's gist, the visual novel looks to target the S;G established fanbase. Given that Rintaro Okabe stars, please don't expect overly much in the realm of flirtation or smooth manliness~ However, once I surmounted (or, more accurately, mitigated) my initial reluctance, I found myself once again enraptured within the Future Gadgets Lab, nestled within the trendy heart of Akihabara. MDE enters preexisting chronology at a hazy midsection, and therefore, revives the Phone Trigger interface of the original creation. This go-round, the game keeps a checklist of all read emails and requires the player to receive & read all of them to complete the library, in addition to the customary CG acquisitions, tips databank, and route clears. It handily sorts by time received so that the player can quickly double back into earlier save files and zip ahead to email branches for any stray emails missed or as-yet unreceived. Being a fairly easily revisitable visual novel, MDE offers scarce little resistance to its platinum, save for one route which requires a minor sequence of actions to access, plus the 'good' sense to -ignore- a handful of email chains if one would like to receive certain seemingly unconnected emails from other lab mems. That mechanic never made full sense to me before, and its virtue continues to elude me today, but the skip feature zooms so fast that text-hunting concerns fall limp to the wayside. Even Huke's illustrations fit a S;G standard: a distinctive, captivating artstyle, albeit with a few unruly scattershot 'stretched' persons. On the cusp of brilliance, if not for the periodic stretchy persons! In summary, I liked MDE and feel glad that I took a shot at it. This is a nicely decent gaiden game, and one which I'd warmly recommend to folks keen to delve back into the Akiba of Steins;Gate, with demonstrably less dire peril. ...but, sadly, with more typographical, syntactical, and formatting mistakes, in its localization. This is becoming a problem amongst localized niche-ier J-games, and it saddens to view. I could cynically chalk it up to lazy or ill-trained translators, but after reflecting upon the increasing frequency of periodic sloppiness in a number of localized video games, I am drawing a more measured conclusion: Too much t'do. Asian-borne video game scripts, specifically for JRPGs and VNs, have very obviously en masse exploded since the '90s. We receive a surfeit in both categories that we quite frankly wouldn't and didn't receive 4, or even 3, console generations ago. This affluence includes the PC market, as well, with its recent outpouring of visual novels on Western storefronts. Reams and reams and reams of text are getting translated, in comparatively strong demand -to get- translated, and additional publishers and contractors answer the noisy bell on a quarterly basis. Behemoths like Trails of Cold Steel III are nowadays taken more for granted, when even as recently as the long-awaited Trails in the Sky sequel, such undertakings formidably posed hefty challenges and stood as monumental juggernauts. Prior thinner plots in series like Ys give way to decisively thicker scripts in recent entries. All of this and more combines for a dogpile of translation work, regardless of any one laborer's aptitude, and expectations fuse with deadlines to pinch proofreading/editing/finalization something harsh. I believe that a large source of sloppiness *is* the heavy crunch. How, then, could it improve? Realistically, I don't expect it to, anytime soon. We zealous loyalists chug too many localized games, fastly, and beefily. Seller-side contributors, however diligent and passionate, are only humans. I myself make small mistakes at my workplace, more than I ever become aware of; however, my mistakes don't tend to get viewed and reviewed by a wide array of stringent eyes. Ultimately, mind you, I'm not acquitting or absolving notable inadequacy. Editing, proofreading, natural translation - these talents, and more, polish localized products to a superb glow, when they deftly operate. It bites, time and again, to witness an array of grammatical defects and spelling blemishes. It discouragingly bites for real. I suppose, then, that I am attempting to consolidate an internal understanding of this continual outcome. If localizers could decelerate, however minutely, the more common pitfalls could surely get patched up with little stress. Do I see that happening? Eh-heh. Nope. So goes it. A spot of patience and understanding, then, earns some validity. Expect and advocate high-quality standards, but cage up the hellfire, is what I will decide to enact. Mighty thanks to the great ones, well done to the wearied ones, and to the uneven ones, become better - and chin up.
  9. Yes! I hold the senior employee overnight trainer position at my workplace and maintain my sleep schedule everyday. Overnight shift rocks for me for a few major reasons: - Since my best friend's Western European, and I'm Eastern North American, we can communicate online for ample hours this way or even synchronize our PlayStation sessions. - I can always shop during smaller crowds and atypical hours. Great benefit! - Introverted preeeeeetty hardcore IRL. Less excuse required when I sleep and housekeep during social bustle. Anyhow, of my ~3,400 trophies, the breakdown: 4:00 A.M. - 158 5:00 A.M. - 150 6:00 A.M. - 110 7:00 A.M. - 109 8:00 A.M. - 81 9:00 A.M. - 70 Lightest hours = 10:00 A.M. & noon, nearly-guaranteed sleep hours for me in 2019 and 2020. Heaviest hours = 11:00 P.M. & 1:00 A.M.
  10. #45: Dusk Diver Expectations and reality make unreliable neighbors. Some games we expect to love, and we do relish them; others, we don't expect much and get pleasantly surprised. Still others manage to let us down in ways we couldn't have foreseen going in, and then there are the products where we neither expect nor enjoy *too* much but just want something to do. For me, I anticipated a decent, moderately satisfying time with Dusk Diver, a contemporary B-grade action RPG straight out of the heart of Taiwan. Pleasingly, I got something a lil' better! I'll tell you some about it, and then you can decide for yourself if it sounds like something which might tickle your fancy, too. Dusk Diver melds a current-day Asian cityscape, a la a stripped-down Yakuza or Persona, with 3D battle stages light on platforming and heavier on musou-grade combos. Within the lively commercial distinct of Ximending, Taipei, our unassuming heroine Yumo strolls headlong with her BFF Yusha into a spiritual disturbance and winds up working - literally, part-time at a convenience mart - in conjunction with Kunlunian beings who assume human forms to interact with the natural plane. No one's quite sure, or perhaps quite forthcoming(?), why the mystical realm has begun to glacially encroach upon facets of Taiwanese everyday life. Allying with a handful of potent protectors, Yumo swallows the corrective task during her summer break and ventures out to investigate and ultimately set the place again at peace. Beyond the core cast of a half-dozen, few NPCs get a chance to make much of an impact, but that core cast lends itself well to the proceedings, with each possessing a couple of quirks expected of their nature. Nothing overly stunned me throughout the plot, but that's fine too: "nothing new under the sun," all that. The core cast was plenty likable for me, and that likability extends to the game as a whole. That, in fact, wound up DD's strongest pleasure for me: pretty much everything was nice and enjoyable. Within the district's mystical counterpart, Youshanding, Yumo manages to string together useful combos to fend off the small hordes of troublesome Chaos Beasts and summons her Kunlunian allies for a healthy assortment of musou special attacks. Might, crowd control, and long-range all factor in, and much like the agile Yumo herself, allies can be summoned in a nimble flash, even overlapping special attacks with flicks of the D-pad. The game aspires more toward the Senran Kagura pace of ground speed, and I'll practically -never- complain about that! Yumo isn't quite as aerially acrobatic as Marvelous' shinobi squadrons, but she can hop up platforms and across rooftops without much hassle for the game's sporadic platforming sections, which never much irritated me. Side missions and Hard mode replays enable Yumo to accumulate additional skill points to max out the power of herself and her ally crew, and cash from vendor trash practically spills over by endgame, encouraging robust usage of recharge items to pursue the rewarding S-Ranks. Outside of the combat stages, the city hosts ho-hum NPC quests, but even they serve as periodic breathers to chill after a few punchy combat missions. Food vendors sell a neat array of street grub, and Yumo can scarf one down of her preference before each mission, that it will confer its buff for the duration of the stage. I opted for the Mandarin Chinese voice acting; nearly all of it sounded quite capable, with praise specially directed at Yumo herself and the foxy Le Viada. The character and beastie models looked pretty solid, the city looks simplified yet snappy, the spirit-realm stages glow with distinct color, the urban/rock/lounge soundtrack sounds -precisely- as it ought, animations feel smooth in every direction - like I cited, DD tends to do everything as a *core* video game okay or above. If it is no masterwork, then it is certainly a solid, likable charmer. Then, doesn't it falter? Mmhm, it does. Where, then, does it falter? I mean, yeah, every game has its drawbacks. Texture pop-in rears its face far too commonly upon hopping maps. I could have stood for a few more indoor locations, for traversal. The light platforming sections would benefit from some inclusion of an aerial evasive maneuver, else they can frustrate, and one particular chapter objective stresses the poor player out with an unwisely narrow time limit. Largest at fault is the editing of the translation. (PQube did not translate Dusk Diver, I'll point out, simply distribute it.) Several sentences come out clunky or overly formal for conversational English, others misspell or misuse one or more words, and a couple of tooltips flat-out botch their code and display the underlying HTML formatting. Ergh. ._. (None of this will likely get patched, as again, PQube distributed, not localized, DD.) The sloppiness bites; although it doesn't detract from my applause for the game as a video game, it worsens the professionalism of the end Western-market product. I can only hope that those flaws won't dissuade too many, as again, I like the game a heck of a lot. You're looking at 16-20 hours for the platinum trophy, with expectable goals for a city/musou build: S-Rank all stages (tip: Hyper Mode extenders and gauge recovery medicine = your chummiest pals), max out each skillpoint on playable characters, finish all town quests and chow down on all vendor foodstuffs, and water the tree inside the convenience mart garden until it blooms. Et cetera. I liked that last one. ^.^ Nothing sharply flummoxed me beyond a couple cursory retries, not even the pair of platforming "challenges" or that breakneck time-limited chapter, although I could have done with a smaller temple lottery, randomized as if to stick its tongue out at us. Gotta say, PSNP, it felt really darn good to earn this one. I like a veritable cavalcade of A/B/C-grade J-games. Add Dusk Diver to that heap, as a diligent Taiwanese acolyte. Dusk Diver was a treat, and I am highly gladdened that I gave it a shot~ Major props to the dev team for a quality outcome! May the money roll in like the Cold Stone Creamery onslaught into Ximending!
  11. Master Environmentalist: Pick up 30 pieces of rubbish from the beach in front of Morning Glory. Environmentally-conscientious ex-yakuza rule!
  12. Together Forever | Ice Cold Sniper | Sincere Swordswoman | Grimm the Provident: Reach maximum affinity with Asuna. | Reach maximum affinity with Sinon. | Reach maximum affinity with Yuuki. | Complete the Oldrobe Forest. Now doesn't that fourth trophy image mesh prettily with the prior three? :> Anyway, my yearlong (or longer) Hollow Realization decathlon continues interspersed between more focused playthroughs. I've come to realize, quite un-hollow-ly, that I like the bulk of the SAO gals. They don't tend to undergo astonishing character development or exhibit vibrantly refreshing traits, but they set a cozy, chummy scene that I'd be quite unlike myself to reject. ^^ I suppose that any weariness for SAO game fans arises from cycling through the affection loops game after game, to near-identical outcomes. As a simulated MMO, it works pretty darn well for the casual entrant, and I'm more than happy to endeavor to play through one of 'em to totality. Yuuki *gets* me:
  13. #44: Azur Lane: Crosswave At long, overdue last, I earned my premiere platinum of 2020, on 03/03! It was a fun voyage, rife with shipfu, that embarked. Azur Lane: Crosswave has its share of flaws, owing to its over-adherence to the mobile game’s framework, plus Compile Heart’s trademark unglamourous grindy habit, but it largely succeeds as its own naval deal and pleased me greatly to wade through - ah, but one ought to know, beforehand, which class of video game one would enter, here: This is a text-heavy game. I repeat: This is a text-heavy game. Whether you favor or disfavor Crosswave’s final product largely hinges upon your affinity for plentiful exchanges of dialogue. A decisive skew toward visual novel circumnavigates Crosswave's core shipgirl skirmishes; as such, the end result, while certainly not “5 minutes of gameplay total” as snided elsewhere, piles on the talkin’ among Crosswave’s cast of 28 playable, 35 support, and 3 extra ladies. A quick dip into the shipyard reveals what’s up. AL: Crosswave plays out on the open seas. The quick-paced 3D skirmishes get up with frenzy, since a shipgirl can skate across the surface of the water much swifter than an old iron broadside. Fleets deploy up to 3 to a side, drawn from the 28 playables up front and passively flanked by the 35 support gals who auto-activate support skills from offscreen. Lighter ships rely upon their pew-pew guns to buy time and chip damage until they can launch torpedoes or heavy volleys, whereas heavier ships blast with their battle cannons or launch small squadrons of dogfighters and bombers to assault their opponents. Each shipgirl can also access on cooldowns a (truthfully over-convenient) lock-on volley and a unique skill which was sourced from the base AL game. A small assortment of mass-produced enemy boats and aircraft comprises the literal cannon fodder. Since the game adheres to Azur Lane’s ranking system, clashes play out in under 120 seconds for S Ranks, meaning they can at times feel unsatisfyingly incomplete. An array of 110 Extreme Battles on the side mildly mitigates any lulls away from the field of engagement, during the story mode’s 7 chapters of talkin’ and seafaring events. The story itself offers decent conversation from several popular AL mainstays like Enterprise and Akagi, not to mention an extended look at merchantess-turned-emcee Akashi, plus actual character development for its protagonist duo, Shimakaze and Suruga, neither of whom irritated me on the regular - no, rather, I grew fond of both. It nestles to its credit into a midsection between CH’s more sorrowful darker entries (Death End Re;Quest & Dragon Star Varnir) and their peppier puffs of plot (Hyperdimension Neptunia). I happen to like reams of crunchy dialogue in video games, and Crosswave provided several quality and/or grin-worthy moments for me in its tale. Nonetheless, it /can/ really drag on when a half-dozen chats, half of them idle, intersperse between meaningful battle rounds. As I alluded, the Extreme Battles serve as concise but energized action if one’s itching for a match. Do note that variety isn’t much of a component - in the absence of terrain, the ocean can only give a thin surface, and these gals sure don’t jump. The character models look acceptable - pleasant, if pretty standard, for the budget, with small but fitting animations. A tad too many seiyuu chirp in their voice acting for my liking, but several others carry themselves with womanly heft, and audio can be adjusted and muted as desired - recently touching Final Fantasy XIII, for example, reminded me of how far standard-issue customization options have arrived, and games now are richer for them! Speaking of audio, it /immediately/ struck me that Compa assigned their veteran, Kenji Kaneko, to score half of Crosswave’s soundtrack. This composer employs obvious musical traits to the attentive ear, such as 16-bar sections which love to shift from a minor sixth on the 15th bar to the home chord on the 16th bar. This trend dates all the way back to Cross Edge, on early PS3, and it kinda betrays the product as an Idea Factory jam. Not unlikable music, mind, merely somewhat formulaic. Mr. Yugi Sugiura, of Death End Re;Quest and Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (among others), handles the other, less Neppish tunes. I tended to like his output stronger, on the whole. I would be remiss not to mention the trophy legwork (uh...hull? rigging?). Nothing at all is missable, nor difficult, particularly on the game’s pushover Easy mode; Normal begins soft but gradually ramps up to medium-soft; Hard converts enemy aircraft carriers into damage soaks and can KO one’s fleet in one or two mistimed dodges or force-field blocks. For trophies, no particular difficulty mode is mandated. The iffy (....I apologize) affection grind takes the platinum to task, is all, needing 10 completed vanguard or support deployments per character +plus+ 10 (can be concurrent) matches cleared with each lass set as the base’s secretary, for a total of 630 minimum sorties across story mode and Extreme Battles. You’re looking at, mmm, 300, 360, maaaybe 400 of those to clear the story mode and pre-affection grinds? Grab a book, YouTube, the mobile Azur Lane - *some*thing, as you cycle through waves of 10 clears of the approx. 25-second Extreme Battle #001. I truly do wish that this platinum postgame tidied more neatly and less vapidly, since it weighs down the nice finale otherwise. Azur Lane brought me increasing joy the more I played it and endeared to my favorite shipgirls, and Crosswave subsequently delighted me in multiple ways. Budgets and simplicity ensure that Compa games can’t compete with Final Fantasy or Tales of… for scale of grandeur, but they positively -can- warm the interested heart. I would earnestly welcome an enhanced, improved sequel: not sacrificing any crunchy dialogue, but tuning and rounding the general flow and structure of the video game, probably ditching AL’s grading stipulations for a more expansive operation on the crystal blue water. I am *definitely* gladdened that it delivered on my measured expectation, and I’ll see Clevebro and the other 65 shipfu off with a cheery smile. Tally ho~!
  14. Ohh my GOSH. O.O IT'S HAPPENING. Yeah, yeah, I'll take that!! My current game playthroughs can SUSPEND. At work (overnight shift) at the moment, but I ordered the demo to download as I sleep; then, once I wake....?
  15. Guardian of the Blue Route: You repelled all rival fleets! Happy to cross over to Lv. 21 playing the Azur Lane console title. Very nearly, its platinum served as my ascension. That'll come shortly, and satisfaction anew!