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About Shikotei-kun

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  1. Far Cry 3 Because Ubisoft decided to clean house and shut down a bunch of servers for their older games, Far Cry 3 was moved up to the front of the backlog. Like so many others have done at the same time. Single player I haven't played a shooter like this since Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and is my second Far Cry game after Primal. My usual method of playing this genre is by finding a sniper rifle as soon as possible, gain a bunch of levels and skills with side quests and non-main story activities to beef up that long-range power, and finally become an unseen death machine. Far Cry didn't let me do that, as the majority of skills are locked behind story progress. Bummer. I tried cleaning up the entire map of objectives: treasure chests, relics, letters, outposts, memory cards, side-missions, but there's just too many of them. Getting maxed out on money and experience made the majority of them pointless to do other than remove one icon from the map (and there's easily 500 of them). By the end of the game I owned every weapon, all the mods for them, and for at least 10 weapons I owned all the color variations. Must've spent at least $80.000 on unused stuff. My favorite weapons were the ARM sniper (the signature gun) for its early ability to one-shot the heavy enemies, the AK47 for its practically unlimited ammo (every baddie carries it), and another sniper rifle because I could make it muffled. Grenades were fun to use (especially after cooking them), the molotovs saw some use, but the mines and C4 charges were pointless in my experience. The one time I actually did use them, a cut-scene blew them all up and nobody ever got hurt by them. The "kill 50 people with the flamethrower" trophy is horrible: the weapon is so broken that it sets the player on fire more than half the time, and enemies rush you to set you ablaze too. I died far more often in the hour or so that I farmed kills than in any other moment. For those curious enough: no, I used molotovs and RPGs to burn the weed fields. As far as the story goes, Jason (you) has a clear goal: rescue friends, and get the hell out of here. He's done so many things to get what he wanted initially that I found some of his choices really jarring. As if he's doing this for power, and rescuing them is just "a happy accident". For someone who hasn't fired a single bullet at a person at the start of the game, Jason's change is rapid and terrifyingly so. The QTE's are a weird smash-in for this game, but I guess it's a product of its time. At least the multi-player trophies are co-op and not PvP. Many have said this before, and I'll repeat the words, but the framerate was horrible. It's supposed to run on 60fps, but it rarely met that and suffered from constant tearing. If I could set it to 30fps I'd be a happy camper as then at least it would be a stable. I think it's because of the draw distance (it's huge!) and the sheer amount of stuff the engine has to render at any given time. The game itself is gorgeous and very alive with leaves fluttering, detailed trees, animal sounds (and animals themselves), birds, random events.. only a few parts of the islands feel empty. Co-op multiplayer This mode features a different set of player characters and shows the events of 6 months prior to the main game. You get to be one of four survivors of a betrayal and potentially sold-into-slavery victims. The four mercenaries all want the money that was stolen from them by the captain (who also did the betraying) and so set out to find the bugger and cap his ass. Almost all missions follow the same formula of shooting your way through an area, find stuff to continue, then defend that area for the thingy to finish. There's also a friendly competition (for points) where players sit on a vehicle (jet-ski, quad) and gather a thingy or stand on an overseeing spot and shoot baddies with a weapon with unlimited ammo (sniper, RPG). I was surprised with how many mobs the game throws at you while defending a location or progressing through the level. Sometimes it feels more like a zombie-pocalypse game except with pirates/mercenaries. It's a fun enough experience as I continue to support others long after completing the six missions. After completing a mission you get some memory medium (USB, CD, DVD) to decode that can contain extra experience points or a weapon mod. These take real-time to decode. The higher your level is, the more weapons and mods you unlock. I do recommend getting the RPG as a secondary weapon as soon as it's available. It makes short work of the heavy enemies in 3 or 4 direct hits, which otherwise would take hundreds of normal bullets. In the past few months the following games got added to the backlog: Digital: - Alchemist Adventure - Alone With You - Alwa's Awakening - Clid The Snail - Cryptark - Die For Valhalla! - Headlander - Immortal Planet - MechaNika: Colossus Down - Moon Hunters - Omensight - Stories: The Path of Destinies - Worse Than Death Physical: - Blue Fire - The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos - Icewind Dale - Planescape: Torment - We Happy Few
  2. It's been about a week since I completed the last game and the time has been well spent. As much as I love doing it, I might need to change up my process of drawing as it just takes up far too much time. In other news, platinum number 200 is mine, and what a challenge it turned out to be! I first caught wind of this beaut when the first announcement trailer was released. Now, some two years later I finally got to play it with the disc edition released (and only paying €50 for it). The plan was fairly simple: play the game on Spirit Guide (normal) difficulty and grab everything, then -with Master Spirit Guide (extreme) unlocked- do a second playthrough. I was very unaware of the toughness of combat at first, but with just a few encounters later I had fully shifted into the "Souls-like" setting: fair, but tough. So while Babs here is meditating to increase her health bar, let's get to it. Look and feel The mountainous and cavernous region where Kena has traveled to is vibrant in color, lush in vegetation, and covered in purple-glowing poisonous growth that spreads decay wherever it resides. This stark contrast is the result of a sad and dark tale that is slowly unfolding as you progress the story. All of it is explained and almost no loose ends regarding the characters Kena meets survive the plot. Character animation is done wonderfully well, with everything wobbling back and forth as you walk and run, though I would like an in-between running (not sprinting) and walking speed as the latter is a bit too slow for exploration, and the latter too fast to feel natural. Being able to "ping" (send out a blue pulse) and see other crystals, braziers, and torches light up is a welcome change. Most games with dark caves feature lit torches (even though nobody's been there in centuries) or other light sources that require fuel, but Kena finds them all off. burnt out or straight up destroyed or malfunctioning. Every action also has an appropriate sound effect, like footsteps on sand, grass, wood, stone, reverberating in caves and with enough variation that it's never annoying to hear the same half-second bits for longer periods. During combat there are auditory cues to let the player know when an enemy is going to attack, whether on-screen or off-screen. This helped tremendously in the more chaotic fights. The little black fluffy guys are adorable and giving them more and more hats to wear made it feel like a personal army of minions (that hides at the first sign of danger). Story progression and abilities I'm not one to discuss story and spoiler-heavy terrain, but I'll try to be as vague as possible. Feel free to skip. While you're out and about, you're also able to freely explore until you reach the central hub (the village). After progressing the story one step, you'll open up a region, and it feels natural that the other places are still unreachable; there's no silly locked door you could bust down, no invisible wall or "I have no reason to go here" nonsense. Yeah, fine, there's a visible wall or spirit-wall actually. So you go out and explore the new region. At multiple points in the story you'll find yourself stuck and in need of a tool or ability to help you progress it. Almost all of these abilities open up previously inaccessible locations, or create new passageways. The way you get these abilities is pretty well thought out, so I feel like the story progresses in a very natural way. Each of them can be upgraded with and investment or two of Karma (experience points). As far as the non-story related abilities go, I rarely used them during my initial playthrough and only heavily used two or three of the combat related ones; more on this in a later section. Collectibles and other side activities Once you've reached the main hub and the map becomes available to navigate, you can see all sorts of counters when hovering the cursor over an area. With no maps to buy that point to each unfound item/activity one will need their own peepers to keep a look out for everything. Once found or completed, the map will show it as a colored dot, sortable by type. This, in a sense, is a great way to track which ones you've found and which ones you're missing. Each area shows how many optional things there are, and how many you've done, making it one of the better tracking systems I've seen so far. Many of them are also very obviously placed, like in little coves, off-the-path areas, or as a reward for indulging in plain ol' exploration. I had little trouble finding 95% of all the chests, mail, creatures, hats, shrines, meditation spots, and .. I think that was it. The other 5% took some time and gave me a few of those "how come I missed this?" moments. Sure, you can use the interactive map created by fans, but where's the fun in that? Combat, bosses, and difficulty This is probably where most (potential) players of this game are interested in: how difficult the game is to complete. From the start you've got access to Story Mode (easy), Spirit Guide (normal), and Expert Spirit Guide (hard). Master Spirit Guide (extreme) is unlocked after completing the game once on any difficulty, and does not allow changing that setting once chosen. So you're looking at two playthroughs. Trophy-wise that would mean one with 100% completion, and the second one a story-speedrun. Simple enough, no? As with almost every game I play, I start on normal and see how it goes after a while. It usually is the one that's balanced best. Like I said before, normal is already pretty tough with almost no knowledge of enemy patterns and abilities I often just plowed through them with a combo or two-three (three light attacks) usually finishes the little guys and normal grunts. The forums were pretty adamant that getting used to parrying early on would be a life-saver down the line, and, since there's a trophy for killing 3 guys with a single parry, I set to do that at the earliestt opportunity (and succeeded). Learning how to parry and the tight timing around it is very difficult, but not because the window is quite tiny. No, it's because almost every enemy attack has a short buildup, followed by a long "hold" before the actual attack, meaning you gotta see the build-up and count the half-or-whole second until hitting that button. Too soon and you'll block it, too late and you'll eat it. Painfully so. I unlocked most of the trophy related ones as soon as I could and tried to get it to pop to get it over with. I rarely used the overhead slam, running strikes or spinning riposte after a successful parry; pretty much did the whole story with just the light-combo and the bow (with Rot arrows). Why? Because I like hit-n-run strategies and fast attacks lend themselves pretty well for that. Okay, so what about bosses? Well, most of them gave me a hard time, taking between 5 and 15 tries to get past it. Most of the failed attempts were either due to getting greedy, not paying attention, or not getting out of the way in time (due to not knowing the timing of attacks). Once I did beat one of them, it felt pretty good with a sense of accomplishment. In the back of my mind I did keep notes for the second playthrough and how utterly hopeless I would be against an even more beefed up baddie. What I did notice is that a lot of the bosses (and minibosses) spawn grunts, either ad infinitum or as part of an ability/attack move. With the field already feeling cramped enough, adding more enemies felt like overkill and damage sponges while the boss would just keep coming at you. It wasn't until the second playthrough that I found a use for them other than being a nuisance. And yes, it has to do with parrying. You parry the grunt and (with the upgrade unlocked) instantly gain a Rot Point to use a Rot Hammer against the boss. Mostly ignores any armor it may have, and does a decent chunk of damage AND interrupts almost every attack. Now the difficulty I mostly played on initially was Spirit Guide (normal), and I didn't feel the need to switch it (after more than an hour of failed attempts) until I got to the very last two bosses (I did the second one too after I forgot to turn the difficulty back up). It was a huge difference: a full combo would take at least 60% of a maxed out health bar on normal, while on easy that same combo was reduced to barely 10%. Naturally I wiped the floor with the big bad, and continued on to finish off the last in the same manner. With that out of the way (and all collectibles done too) I immediately started the Master playthrough. Yes I know about the exploit that allows one to skip 99% of the game and basically cheat their way past the requirement. But I paid good money for this game, and it was a very satisfying adventure so far (especially when I found it was scratching a Souls-like itch). I was ready to crawl, grind, and bust my ass on this supposedly legendary difficulty that has the majority of players here scared shitless and not attempting it. Prepared for the worst I was surprised when I wasn't one shot immediately, or dying every minute to each encounter. Feeling confident and taking the moans of the other forumites with a bigger grain of salt, I kept going and eventually beat the first miniboss (Sprout Captain) with 3 attempts, the last one was done flawlessly (the Discord guys will know) with three consecutive successful parries and liberal use of the Hammer. I can tall you that using the little guys to gain Rot Points is a very mind-opening strategy and will make short work of a whole bunch of minibosses. I went on to defeat the Vine Knight in my first attempt, versus numerous ones in the initial playthrough, and a major boss without needing to heal up. What I'm trying to say is "yes it's difficult, but not impossibly so". You'll need to make liberal use of the Hammer, learn to parry, and timing of the heavy strike (for extra damage) to interrupt the enemy's attacks and deal massive damage to them. Final verdict It's a beautifully made game, with lots of rewards for roaming around off the story-path, great combat system and tough challenges. If you're looking for an easy game, just switch to Story Mode and enjoy the ride. It was definitely worth the entrance fee of €50 for me and I will certainly return to this game in the future (if I run out of soulsy games). Go play Kena: Bridge of Spirits! Up next I had planned to play Mistover and its DLC (now both delisted everywhere), but with Ubisoft's latest announcement regarding older (PS3) games, I've decided to pull Far Cry 3 to the front of the backlog. Yes, the online co-op bit can technically be done offline on a couch, but with my shooter skills.. I don't see that happen anytime soon.
  3. First of all, what's with the moaning about this game not having NG+?! It doesn't make this game bad, or 'unplayable'. Having all abilities from the start breaks the story progression, and opens up too many strategies otherwise gated behind the narrative. [It's too tempting, but 'git gud, scrub' applies] The graphics hide a dark story about loss, death, powerlessness, anger, misunderstanding, and more subjects you wouldn't expect from such a pretty and colorful game. Kena herself has a more somber background than I initially thought. Would you hate a Souls game if its setting was in a saturated, brightly lit Disney-inspired realm? For those who complained about the huge difficulty spike: just admit you played on Story Mode (easy), not on Spirit Guide (normal) or Expert Spirit Guide (hard). Only on the easiest difficulty does your courage (Rot ability gauge) fill up automatically. In none of the other settings it does this. Normal takes away auto-fill, hard takes away "gain on damage received". On Master they added "lowers gauge on damage received". Playing on Normal versus Easy is a world of difference in terms of damage received (and dealt). It could easily be a factor 5 difference. That means you can simply face-tank anything bosses throw at you and out DPS them with raw numbers. You'll have learned nothing during your encounters. On Master you're supposed to be avoiding damage as much as possible. Your previous run should have taught you the basics of combat, of dodging, parrying, boss patterns and enemy combos. Yeah, you'll fail encounters, yes you'll have to retry the bosses more often than before. Or you can apply the knowledge you got from the first (normal or hard) playthrough and beat these opponents faster than you'd expect. I'm currently playing through on Master and have arrived at the second major boss. I've beaten all the other ones with some struggling, and discovered more strategies that made some of them absolute cake walks. You say you hate the little guys? I like them, they're super easy to parry and instantly give you a Rot Point to use against the main boss. Abuse this! The Shrine Guardian was an eye opener to the potential of the Rot Hammer (didn't much use it on Normal) and after watching back my footage, the damage output is phenomenal. Using the little guys to gain Rot Points was something started to figure out late in the last attempt. It makes such a difference! Stone Guardian trouble? Use the little guys and Rot Hammer to ignore his armor. Want to melee him during openings? Just bomb off one leg: They're damageable once you blast off the stones. Nobody said you need to take off all the armor pieces! Like some have said, heavy attacks can and will interrupt many bosses (including the Mage's healing ability) and almost every non-boss. I've also noticed that hitting some charging bosses with a bomb will instantly detonate it, interrupt the attack and even create an opening for counter-attacks. Some bosses took multiple tries on Normal, but I managed to beat the Vine Knight in one try. I knew the moves, the openings, the strategies that worked on Normal can be applied on Master. There's just less room for error regarding damage received. You'll have to be more careful and take your time. Like I said, I have yet to beat the story on Master, but it is definitely not the nightmare people are saying it is. Give it a try yourself. As to why the advice for a 100% non-Master run: some Cursed Chests have time limits on them, and they don't change on higher difficulties. Instead it becomes a DPS check rather than just an encounter with a special rule (time limit, no-hits, beat mini-boss). It also alleviates the stress of searching for anything other than Rot and Meditation spots on Master difficulty. Extra Rot give more special attack points during combat, while meditation give more health. Know where they are will significantly make the rest of the encounters easier; not by much, but they matter! I plan to get 100% on Master after clearing the story to see if (with all abilities) the Village trio chests are easier to do, and the 15-kills-in-60-seconds at the Village Heart is doable (I used Rot Arrows on Normal to make short work of 'em). I couldn't spare the points yet: extra bomb + quick draw took priority. TL:DR Story Mode is a cakewalk, Normal is tough, Master is doable.
  4. I'm surprised nobody's gone for 42. Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PS3) 8/43 11% yet. With 3/5 Tomb Raider games at 100%, and even solid progress in the one that wasn't a stack (this one), I'm willing to believe you will eventually tackle this well beyond 50%. The speedruns aren't even that tough, and I am one who really dislikes anything time-limited. If I can come back to it after 9 years, so can you. You got this! PSN region The Netherlands.
  5. Derelict Fleet Herocade Monster Dynamite Solitaire and indeed, Mahjong Out of 14123 games (and stacks) only these 5 have only silver trophies. You're welcome. I don't know about easy, but you can't be that picky with just 5 games to choose from.
  6. Not one, but two Zelda-like games in this batch! Along with an entry of a long-time favorite franchise. Oceanhorn: Monster Of Uncharted Seas One of a few "Zelda-like" games I've played on a non-Nintendo system. It's got the bombs and arrows, the simple box puzzles, sword 'n board combat, dungeons, bosses. Even heart containers and heart pieces! There's a light touch of The Wind Waker with the whole traveling by boat, but the navigation is automated (though you do have some gameplay involved). There's completion trackers for the collectibles and chests, and exploring every nook and cranny is very rewarding. At least one item is hidden in grass and I was very, very lucky to have found that one. The magic system isn't super useful in combat if you rely on it for damage dealing. Instead it's mostly used for puzzle solving. The vast majority of those puzzles weren't overly complex, but the few that are will make great headscratchers. Either because it requires some out-of-the-box thinking, or because the solution isn't all that clear. Also, being able to clear a path with a bomb at a select few places makes searching for a way to that one chest a pain. It really wants you to get higher levels (or risk having to go back for more bombs), because when you level up you unlock upgrades (mostly carry capacity). The voice acting did feel a bit odd. Like it came from all around me, instead of from the character. Having a silent protagonist also added to the awkwardness of just hearing half a conversation. And it sounded more like narration than a conversation (again the silent other half probably didn't help). Oceanhorn plays very nicely and I've had some good fun going to the various islands and fighting through the many enemies. The challenge is fairly balanced; the enemies stay tough to fight even at the higher levels. It is only at the very end that you get the 'broken' combination of a certain weapon and unlocked ability that the majority of combat becomes pointless. All in all, it's an enjoyable game which'll keep you busy for a good 15-25 hours (depending on how well you want to explore the regions). Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart As this is the first PS5 game I've played since scratching an itch with Demon's Souls last year I realized that the controller is really heavy compared to the PS4. With that out of the way, let's get to the better part! First off, this is a full R&C game with *proper* gameplay and a complete story. None of the experimental stuff they did with All 4 One and Q Force/Full Frontal Assault, even though I did like those entries. Nope, this one is mighty and meaty, with new weapons, and old favorites. There's the Ryno schematics parts (carried by Spy Bots) to find, Gold Bolts to loot, and Armor Pieces to collect (grants some nice bonuses). This time there's also some more Lombax lore -well, kinda- to uncover! What the developers sadly did omit in this entry are the Skill Points. In most, there were these.. challenges that would yield a skill point. Like complete a race within a time limit, destroy all [object], kill all [creature], travel from [point a] to [point b] without getting hit, hit/defeat every enemy type with [weapon]. That sort of thing. That's not present in this game, and I felt that left a bit of a void. It added some challenges to a game that wouldn't suffer from them, really. What I also realized is that finding the Gold Bolts and other collectibles (like Raritanium and Armor Pieces) was far too easy. They were mapped as soon as you got near them, instead of only after obtaining the Map-o-matic (or equivalent). The same is true for all the "gather x things", the requester instantly mapped all the objectives (or after getting one and talking to 'em). Maybe it finally hit home that the triple A games have made it much too easy to "do it all" without having to explore by yourself. They've taken out exploration in an adventure game, like Ubisoft's [clear markers on the map] games! Most of the Bolts were just off the beaten path, or took the "story says go left, so go right for secret" option. They're no longer a question of "how the heck do I get there"... I loved those kind of platformer puzzles. In terms of trophies the devs also made it far easier to get them all: previous entries basically required a 100% save file. Get all the Gold Bolts, all weapon levels maxed out and all upgrade slots filled (mucho Raritanium), every arena fight completed of every tier, even complete the Challenge Mode playthrough! Instead: just 5/25 bolts, obtain all weapons, and only fully upgrade one level 5 weapon (going to level 6 opens up more upgrade slots, but they're not required), find one of each armor type (head, torso, legs), win one highest-tier arena fight.. A handful of skill points are present, but they're far too easy, like use a weapon x times, get headshots with the sniper rifle (as if nobody uses the scope). It's a bit of a disappointment. Guess that's why the platinum is nearly 70%, compared to the other entries bouncing between 9% and 35%. That said, I went for a 100% save file either way. Got to use the two new weapons unlocked in Challenge Mode to the fullest extent, upgraded every weapon to level 10 and filled out all the Raritanium upgrade slots. Found all the Craiggerbears (tough to spot them!), Gold Bolts, beaten the story twice. Like the previous entries would require. It almost doubled my playtime! I also played through the 'chapters' in a different order and noticed a few.. oddities the second time around. The first time you play through the game you might not notice, but every time you unlock an ability, the other character has it immediately. There's no explanation for it. I can understand the first ability, as it's something that faction might've given the other one earlier, but the rest doesn't make sense. Why not have the item in question for sale at the shop for cheap? Your accounts are linked after all... Some of the 'stuff that happens behind you' which -during a natural playthrough- you wouldn't see actually has nothing happen (jumping towards the camera would reveal the event behind you) other than audio playing and the asset swapped. It's the little things like that which kinda tripped me up a bit. Nothing major, just.. I dunno, not expected. I guess that's the trouble with multiple playable characters that have the same moveset. Continuing to the gameplay itself, it's pretty heavy on handholding. Characters usually don't shut up about the events unfolding right before them and act like a flipping walkthrough. As I'm solving a puzzle for the second time (NG+) and going as fast and efficient as I can I still get the comment "there's more to collect". I'd appreciate it if I got stuck, but when I'm making solid progress by having literally just collected the first 3 orbs in 20 seconds, I don't need tips or help. Gimme that stuff when I've done nothing for a minute or two. Don't get me wrong, I love the chatter between the characters and the back and forth during the story events, but in a giant free-roam area with lots of things to discover it feels rather jarring to keep hearing variations on "I should probably go to [x] now". I did like the way you switched characters. Each one has a set of missions/planets/regions to go to and by choosing to go there you take off as one, and land as another. Depending on who you're with while you visit certain places (the set of character specific places isn't 100% solid) will have some influence on the banter. Small things like that do flesh out the events a bit more. To spoil as little as possible about the story, I gotta say that the support cast was wonderful. Old faces in new jackets, but they are their own person, with their own interaction with the player characters. Graphics and level layouts are gorgeously crafted. Each level has its own vibe, color palette, and feel to it, making each region feel unique and memorable. The console's allowed far more particles (like boxes breaking into far smaller pieces), effects, details on textures, more natural lighting (with -amongst others- ray-tracing) giving creepy regions incredible vibes, desolate places a far more dusty atmosphere, and city bustle that neon glow that it would have. It's such a grand leap forward when compared to the earlier games. Not even the movie-game looked this fine. My bottom line for Rift Apart would be to play the game for the wonderful story, great character development, eye-candy graphics, and because it's an overall great entry in the saga of Ratchet & Clank. Trigger Witch Holy crap this game went far beyond my expectations! I pre-ordered this on Play-Asia (Limited Edition, comes with a numbered Balisticism Firearm License and double-disc OST) after watching the trailer, and is one of the first few PS5 games I own. I expected a simple dungeon-crawler a la Legend of Zelda, but with guns and bloody messes. I got a great story that cracked me up multiple times with the amazing, out of left field, twist at the end, hours of fun combat, dungeon exploration, relatable main and supporting characters, enjoyable music, and -most of all- a very underrated gem of a game! Think of it as giving the SNES version of Link (let's say one of the later top-downs) firearms instead of the traditional sword 'n board. Instead of going up close and personal, you can shoot the baddies from a distance! The same baddies, of course, also get ranged attacks. There's your basic revolver, but you quickly expand your arsenal with an assault rifle, twin uzis, shotgun, grenade launcher, and the further you get, the more weapons you'll carry. At the end of the game you've got a massive nine weapons to choose from, and they can all be carried at the same time and freely switched between. Each gun behaves differently: clip size, reload speed, fire speed, bullet spread, even bullet behavior may vary per gun. Beyond upgrading your weapons, you can also increase your lifebar, carry additional potions (which heal you up fully, no matter how much health you've got), and buy maps to mark all the collectibles. Mind you, the normal chests (with just money) won't be marked, so you'll still have to use your peepers to find those! The bigger purple ones contain gun parts which you need to even unlock upgrades. The story is progressed by going to the red markers on your map. The map is initially kinda blank, but entering a new area instantly maps out that part, so you don't need to get to every nook and cranny for a complete map. That said, cave entrances and such aren't on it, so exploring the world is still the only way to find those (and the majority of money chests). Some shops sell treasure maps that add "?" to the overworld and dungeons to indicate special chests. Trigger Witch plays like a good ol' twin-stick shooter combined with the dungeon crawling puzzles of the Zelda games. Add the fun story and you've got a game that'll be hard not to finish. With the vast majority of the trophies not too difficult, there are a few that'll take a while to get or at least a try or two. There's a lot to do, find, fight, loot, and upgrade so if you like the combination of the two genres, you'll definitely have fun with this game. Highly recommended! So what is next? I've currently got 199 platinums, and used the previous two games to bump that up there. As I stated in the previous post, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is up! This gorgeous looking game showed up on my radar almost a year before it released and I've been itching to start it. A week or two ago I finally made the decision to buy it (for nigh full price no less!) for PS5 (I don't do stacking, generally) and have been planning to make it number 200. Who knows if Babstickles can find the time to join me when it's review time.. I heard she got quite the tale to tell on the Guide Writer's HQ Discord server. *wink wink, nudge nudge*
  7. There seems to be a common idea floating about this thread. And I might just have a bit of information to flesh out this idea. As stolen paraphrased (bit of grammar/spelling/choice-of-words cleanup) from Together_Comic I present you the Difficulty Scale: It can be expanded by adding a few examples of each difficulty number for clarification. Having a standardized difficulty scale is the simplest of solutions. Takes very little resources, there's no trolls (assuming the writer isn't one), and it's easy to apply the right "condition" to the guide.
  8. Did a little digging around the various PSN store regions and this is what I found. Japan and Taiwan have the same CUSA code as Hong Kong: Korea seems to have their own code: France, Germany, and UK have a different code than Hong Kong: USA, Canada, and Brazil have yet another code: Though there are only two trophy lists of this game, I think it's safe to assume HK belongs to the Asian list. Also, it's probably too late for those who have yet to receive the physical edition from Play-Asia: the DLC code I received with it was for the Taiwanese region. Found that out last night.
  9. As I understand it, ad revenue is mostly based on how many people actually click on the ads displayed on the website. If you don't click ads, you don't generate as much revenue for this site. If you've got something that blocks ads, like an ad-blocking plugin, web-address blocker, or other program/setting that prevents this site from even showing ads, then you're not even giving this site the chance to get you to generate revenue. In all cases you're not paying for anything. I may have jumped subject too fast to follow, but my comment about Premium members was aimed at "being entitled to updates" (updates being what this thread is about). Premium members have forked over cash and can thus be categorized as customers, I'll admit. As such, did any of them read the ToS and can they point me to the clause where it says what Sly will do for them regarding maintenance, upgrades, and other services? The point was that the playtime data is inaccurately measured by Sony. The other numbers and timespans are based on the trophy timestamps. I'm not defending every number this site displays (or could potentially display), but a bunch of them are either "look how big this number is" or are used to determine other numbers (number of players + number of earned trophies (in points) => average completion) and are probably there for architectural purposes. It would be a simple task to also output them to the webpage for funsies. Probably just Sly's personal choice along with a slew of logical ones. If or when he decides to add playtime I wouldn't truly care. Like completionists care more about 100% profiles versus those who play a game for an hour before hop-skipping to the next without a care: different priority measurements. I can understand you want it, you should understand I don't need it. It's my opinion that the playtime number is pointless due to being inaccurate. PSNP's completion time is also inaccurate because it doesn't account for time not played. It's not intended to be as accurate as a speedrunner's playtime. That's a whole different category. Many of the statistics are just what someone can calculate based on the given information: earned vs unearned, date earned, time between first and last earned. Completion time is what this site calls the latter. Sly built a toy that gave him dates (per trophy per game per player) and info about games and their trophies. The funny bit is, that Sly at one point did pick a formula. The community then had multiple back-and-forths until there was an example leaderboard (probably the one that's still there). After that, the discussion turns back to determining the right formula (high numbers vs high rarity). Since then the thread had seen several revivals until finally locked for going against forum rules (and very much off-topic). The DLC trophy rarity is another subject that was heavily discussed (and still gets some attention). - Rarity based on owners Followed by a new discussion caused by DLC trophy rarity with just one trophy. Acquisition difficulty aside, that would always be at 100% as Sony doesn't include ownership of DLC's in its API. - Rarity base on geometric mean Either you gotta ignore the non-DLC owners (which pisses off non-DLC owners because you can now "buy UR trophies") or count only DLC owners (which makes all single-trophy DLC's rarity fixed to 100% and piss off earners). Either way, people will get pissed. There's more than a few interested parties who'd love to hear the solution that would satisfy both parties. My point was not about people needing people to help them out. My point was about people not doing the bare minimum to find the answer to a question. It was a comment towards people's lazy behavior, and the requested features that would easily become obsolete with a little effort from the users. There's stickied threads which function as FAQs, yet threads with questions whose answer lies in a sticky keep popping up. Part of the rant, and indeed not directly related to Sly, but does cause requests to be made that should not be made. Competition breeds innovation, as someone stated here. And because PSNP is at the top of its game should give it some leniency towards the drive for even more innovation. I'm not saying development should be allowed to grind to a halt (which it hasn't). I may interpret your comment wrong, but "being the best at what you do" doesn't equal to having monopoly. It might lead to getting it, but without visitor numbers and other details from all trophy tracking sites (at least the major players) it's hard to accurately state the share each one has. I wouldn't know where to find such information. Guide integration isn't flawless: it only works for the stack it was written for. It was a design choice and apparently not one easily overturned at the back-end. Communication is key, yes. Accurately assessing the impact of an adjustment is difficult. I get the question "how long would it take to [..]?" often enough. Building new features is easier than fixing an existing one overall, but this is also depending on the existing code's flexibility. There are fixes that delay the consequences for a while, and fixes that change many design choices, but work until forever. What to do? Would you rather Sly reply to every mention of a bug with "I'll get on it, gimme [amount] time"? If there's two bugs that take a week to fix, you won't get them both fixed in one week. Sometimes staying silent for a while before reporting with a wall of text the amount of work you've done will make the customer realize how much they've actually asked you to do. Yes, Sly could've made a statement acknowledging the existence of the bug. Would that have sufficed? Or would it simply cause the focus to shift to "it's been [amount] time since his statement, why isn't it fixed?"? I see little difference in the situation: still asking why it isn't fixed. There could be a myriad of bugs with smaller causes and simpler fixes that take less time to repair. Sly's statement about TSW2 mentioned a database architectural overhaul. Could be he's been working on this for several months and is now finally able to publicly state that he did. Who know how many fixes there have been without notice, and how many more there will be without notice. My time as a dev also had me find and fix bugs that I stumbled upon in code that hasn't been touched in years. Stuff that never worked, but wasn't reported or triggered (because reasons). Should I have reported that I fixed an ancient bug that required lots of specific conditions to happen, or just fix it and take it along with the next update cycle? What does the community actually expect Sly to do? What response would satisfy these announcement hungry folk?
  10. Some of the features that other sites display are incorrect (the PS4/PS5 playtime can be off by over 20%). I've got save files of over 500 hours where the PS5 states just shy of 400. Files that state 16 hours where PS5 states just 12. People have pointed in the Disputes subforum to these numbers for reasons of flagging (time spent too low), but they just aren't accurate enough. Not to mention that PS3 times are unavailable, PS4 games before 2020 (or something) are off by even more. It's pointless information. The rarity leaderboard was abandoned due to the community not being able to agree which formula to use for the points calculation (hence the myriad of threads). There have been multiple attempts to get a consensus, but each has been met with resistance at almost every step along the way. You want a rarity leaderboard? Get your heads together and figure out the rules for it that satisfies everyone. The majority got discarded because the "high raw numbers still win" scenario (which is why I think the current normal leaderboard is "not appealing" to say the least) and those with a cut-off point (above which rarity % trophies don't count) is never agreed upon. The Train Sim World 2 trophy list is getting fixed and has a deep-rooted back-end architectural reason why it breaks the limits of the system as it was designed way back when. The same was true for Ikemenzi's bronze trophy count. Changing a fundamental aspect of the system can be easy, or can be brutally complex depending on what needs to be changed. Sly has stated that a fix (for TSW2) is incoming, and is part of a larger system (database) overhaul. As for payments for writing guides: nobody receives anything (other than the GOTY event winners); not the writers, not the Guide Team (confirmed via DM). We -the writers- write guides because we want to, because we feel the need to provide other players with information we scrounged up from across the internet or first-hand experimentation and digging deep for facts. Nobody is forcing us. Nobody needs to have any qualifications to start a guide; there's no hiring process, no back-and-forth between the Guide Team and potential writers to be allowed to start, no screening or test of any kind. All one needs is to have the game on your profile and sync'd to the site to be able to start a guide. The only back-and-forth you might get is when you're ready to publish the guide. Then the Team will proof read the work and comment if necessary. They do this in their spare time. I also do not expect to get paid for spending my free time doing this. I'm the one who chose to do this after all. Knowing I helped out even a single person who might be struggling, or considering buying the game I wrote a guide for is good enough for me. It's called being selfless. I've also read about the marking of unobtainable trophies due to server shutdowns, glitches or bugs. This is not an automatable feature and must therefore be manually flagged. There are also examples of servers (or online related features) getting brought back temporarily. One would have to keep track of the literally thousands of online games and know their status every day -in case such server partially returns- to mark or unmark a trophy as unobtainable. Since this would be pointed to in tons of dispute threads, this data must be accurate and thus time consuming. And because it's manually flagged, flaggers are needed. Not everyone must be able to flag them because it will be abused. The dispute subforum is already a hotbed that doesn't need extra fuel for the flames. Sure, it's a nice feature, but ultimately you (as player) can easily find out if a game's server is up and running, or dead in the water. There's even a dedicated thread with all the knowledge you need. Sly has not responded openly to many requests for various reasons (unknown to me, just to you don't think I have any personal or direct connection), but as I read through these suggestions (and the Site Help subforum), I get the distinct feeling that people have gotten lazy. They don't want to look up things that take just a two keyword or two in a search engine. How many times has the same "my trophies are gone" topic opened up? How many times must a forumite be pointed to a stickied thread in the same subforum? With the release of the PS5 Sony has updated their API (and eventually removed the older version?). There is no information available regarding the commands, parameters, pathways, or any function call interface information. We (non-affiliated trophy trackers) had to figure this stuff out from scratching the surface and checking out what the official site uses to communicate with itself. The API has been split in two: one regarding game information, and one regarding trophy information. Which is why it took a while before PS5 lists could even be added. As for not being able to flag PS5 games; I think the current consensus is that the official firmware hasn't been cracked open yet and no illegal software has been developed for it. Therefore there aren't any ways of illegally obtaining trophies. Don't quote me on that as this info is at least some months old as I haven't kept up with that particular scene. Without knowing how Sly's programmed flaggability it might just be "set this value to True" or build a new button that adds the "flag this trophy list" functionality. Bottom line: Sly has been keeping up with the site, but doesn't shout it from the rooftops. Lots of updates, changes, fixes and other adjustments are too technical to explain (for which finding the right non-technical words is exhausting enough) or just not worth mentioning. Sly's not our developer; we are not customers. We don't pay him for anything. We're freeloaders enjoying the hard work of a single person. We're not entitled to anything. Not even Premium members (does it say anything about mandatory feature updates anywhere in the ToS you agreed upon?). Lastly: just because Sly is the only dev doesn't mean he has monopoly. There are other sites that track trophies. It's very simple to just hop on over to a different one if you're not happy here. Nobody is forcing you to stay, nobody is forcing you to leave either, nobody is forcing you to pick just one tracking site. Nobody is also going to stop you from creating your own tracking site. There're starter kits you can use to get the basic framework and work your way up from there. From my experiences as a dev myself have taught me that end-users have no concept of frameworks, architectural choices and how a simple request can easily break the system because of a choice once made. PS: I'm not angry at anyone in particular, and I apologize if my rant lit a fuse, stepped on toes, or hurt anyone's feelings. Feel free to fact check and point out any flaws or mistakes.
  11. With almost 8 weeks spent on a single game, the internal balance long vs short is ... well, not properly balanced. So I've been picking games somewhat on a whim. Not the super shortest ones, nor the week-long ones either. A random selection of the backlog, if you will. Minoria I first found Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight while browsing the digital stores, and -after some investigation- found that it was part of a series. Minoria is that series' spiritual successor. It's a lovely looking platformer with a room-based map (rooms vary in shape and size) and a somewhat interconnected realm. Combat is fairly simple in setup :short combos, an aerial attack based on equipped weapon, and a dodge and parry. The dodge grants a short period of invincibility, while the parry triggers an automatic, powerful riposte. Enemies do a lot of damage and surviving the early game will test your skills. I found that learning the parry timing (pretty generous too) for at least the grunts helped a lot. At least you start out with a method of healing and saving restores everything: health lost and items used all return upon tapping that save point! Gaining a level or two at the start makes all the difference against the first boss. It's also a great opportunity to defeat it unscathed, though there are a few more bosses that lend themselves to this purpose. In terms of navigation, some areas can be quite tricky, and wandering through the structure (let's face it, you're not leaving the cathedral) incites exploration. There are a lot of things hidden in this game, such as extra coins (for new incenses), incense or straight up extra rooms! The most useful one I found was "Odd Incense" which emits a sound when you get near a secret. Thanks to it, a guide with all the collectibles wasn't needed. You also gain a few of abilities throughout the game to help with reaching new places or an extra skill to use against the baddies. The lore of the world is mostly explained by finding parts of the Archive; pieces of paper with (part of) a story to tell. The characters you meet also have a view on the world and you may, or may not agree with them. Ultimately, the choice is yours and will lead to one of two endings (keep a backup save before meeting the final boss!). I enjoyed this game very much, enough to play it till 2AM. *Takes a peek at Momodora on the backlog* sooooon Ghost Parade A aptly named game I found browsing Play Asia a little over a year and a half ago. The art is all hand-drawn and is beautiful to look at, and the animation method is well suited for the style. The story starts off simple enough, but snowballs into a far greater endeavor which will have you traverse the whole forest before the end. Speaking of ends, I really wish the devs had changed one gold trophy from "beat all guardians" to "return home" or something similar to indicate actually completing the whole story. Now -if you played the minigames- the shiny platinum pops at the penultimate boss! There's still a few more things to do before the journey is over! As you travel from place to place, and you learn more about what's going on, so do you gain new abilities that are required to progress further. Talking with the spirits you meet can lead to a side quest, mini game, or short dialogue that adds them to your party. By placing an incense burner on the ground you can change your line-up of party members. Each has a different ability; whether it's defensive, enhancing, or offensive, many are very useful and I really liked experimenting with the various members. Some combinations of three yield a harmonic Ultimate skill that you can trigger. One of these is a literal Ghost Parade that waltzes through most of the screen, dealing massive damage to all enemies. The platforming sections range from walk in the park, to parkouring across multiple moving platforms, bouncers, all the while avoiding the abyss below or the spikes above, along with aimed fireball projectiles. Sometimes the game is nice enough to give you a choice. Sometimes. Most of the time taking the alternative route, or simply exploring the whole room doesn't yield much, if anything at all. Sadly, there's a lot of dead ends or just platforms sprinkled with enemies. I found myself more and more sticking to the objectives the later I got in-game. I wasn't using any potions or crafting material (beyond a side-quest or two), so there was really no need to get the extra stuff. Wasn't gonna use it anyway. That is, until the final boss (about half an hour after getting the platinum). Boy this thing wasn't messing around. I could strategically whittle down, or straight up facetank most other bosses, simply by out-DPS'ing the bugger. Only one boss (side quest) regularly healed itself. My response was to heal up too and keep whaling at it till its health bar was drained. With the right set of party members, it was all very doable. But that last boss.. off, it had me chugging buffs and healing potions like no tomorrow! It was the last boss, so there wasn't going to be any further use for them anyway, but it was frantic, and I hope more players continue to play that last bit of story. Also, there's a nice surprise after the credits, so don't leave yet. About the three mini-games present, I had hoped they'd show the score required to claim all the rewards before playing. That way you'd know how high you need to go before the thing becomes an endless (level 30+ on the brewing and shop-keeping) or ridiculously fast (level 15+ on the fishing) time-sink with no further recognition. They're simple fun, but at some point it's just not going to be more difficult. The one downside I do want to mention is that the cut-scenes are gorgeous, but are pre-rendered movies that should've gotten a higher bitrate. I noticed the MPEG artifacts (squares) far too often and felt somewhat saddened when I did. So in all, great fun, good story, little bit disappointed about the often empty space. Iron Crypticle Have you always wanted to be a knight in shining armor, chasing after untold treasures while rescuing damsels in distress from fiendish dragons? Well, you're not finding that sort of adventure here. This game is all about retrieving the treasures stolen by an evil creature that has fled down the floors of your castle. Initially the dungeon/crypt of this castle is 4 floors deep, each consisting of many rooms filled with nasty critters. Each room has up to three exits which open up after you completed whatever task is in the room. Most of them involve killing, some involve shopping or an arcade mini-game, but they all serve the purpose to increase your abilities. As you'd expect from a twin-stick shooter one stick moves, the other aims and shoots. There's two abilities you can use: the Atomic Gauntlet which deals massive damage to everything nearby you, and a one-time use magic scroll. The scroll you can sometimes find and has varying effects (indicated by the rune) ranging from a meteor strike, to temporal invincibility, to slowing down everything in the room. A simple enough game to get, but it will take you a few tries to really get. After winning or failing once you get Endless Mode, where you're stuck in one normal room and face wave after wave of baddies. I got as far as wave 45 before succumbing. Once you do beat the final boss on the fourth floor, the game reveals a new mode: New Game+. In this mode, the crypt has an additional 2 floors and leads to the true ending. Only one trophy is heavily dependent on the RNG gods: Kill a Fire Bug. I found this critter hiding in a jar, which would explain why I didn't encounter it during that long Endless Mode run. Like I said, it's a simple enough game and plenty of fun to master, it's just that there's no way to influence the next run other than unlocked weapons and consumables. Nothing to get you a head start because you did well last time. Typoman Getting back to the platformer genre of the current batch, I went for Typoman, where you play the hero made up from the characters of the word. "H" as legs, "E" as a torso, the "R" is your arm and the "O" your head. You're looking for the last part (the "P") to become someone new. There's a 20-some quotes (collectibles) that flesh out the story, but the majority of the game is spent leaping from puzzle to puzzle. And the puzzles are based on words. You can grab and toss letters of the alphabet to form words, and those words have power. Combining "UP" will raise certain platforms, while "DOWN" lowers them. Using "RAISE", "RISE" or other variations will hold that same power. Not all words have power, like "NOPE", but there's a bunch of them that affect you cosmetically like "HAT" or "TROLL" giving you a fancy tophat of a trollface (yeah, the meme one). I enjoyed my time going through some levels a second time for any missed collectibles. Going through the whole game while dying less than 5 times is actually pretty possible. It's not a long haul, and using backups doesn't void the trophy, so doing it in a single run isn't required. The Antonymizer mini-game is big enough and challenging enough to be a stand-alone game. It took me the better part of the day to complete it (6-7 hours) and that's with a cheat sheet. Toby: The Secret Mine Well, I bought this over a year and a half ago and forgot all about it until just now. It's a very short "puzzle" platformer that has you .. just go right, really. What few puzzles it has were trivial at best, and suffered from poor hitboxes and oddly placed triggers at worst. The near constant camera shake didn't really help the sometimes-required precision platforming. The rarity is probably due to the collectibles (the friends) and the randomness of the final chapter. Nothing is explained about the what, who, or why anything happens. If you've got 2 hours to kill and five bucks you're better off going out to make waffles. It'll take longer and leave a better after-taste. Rift Keeper For a rogue-like similar to Dungreed and Dead Cells to a certain extend, it was surprisingly easy to play. Especially when the game bugs out and has (at least) two exploits that make you incredibly powerful after a few items were collected. It's a 2D platformer random dungeon clearer. Which means that the dungeon you enter is chosen at random, not generated out of thin air. You enter a dungeon where the enemy stats (and money drops) become greater and greater, starting at 66% and ending (at level 60-something) at near 3000%. There's three types of drops from enemies: equipment, money, and gems. The latter is used to buy permanent upgrades and you start with 4. The first exploit involves getting the upgrades for free (money back guaranteed), so with 6 gems you can unlock all the damage boosts available. The Health and Money boosts will have to be bought legit (somehow they don't glitch). The second glitch I found was when equipping and removing gear. When I removed, then equipped a piece of gear, my stats were higher than before the re-equip. So with a bit of patience (a whole 30 seconds) I was capable of doing massive damage to the baddies. I only got killed by the insta-kill and exploding enemies when first encountered. Cheap deaths, sure, but they weren't going to hold me back. The bosses were hilariously simple: a tanky one, a regenerating one (near totems) and a wait-until-exposed one. The story made a bit of sense, until you actually got rid of the ones causing the problem and the townsfolk were just "well, there might be more stuff coming". But nothing ever did. You face off each boss after 10 floors, so clearing the campaign -so to speak- was done after 30 floors. Yet nothing happened for another 30 floors. No new enemies, layouts, lore bits... just more dungeon. And by that time I was basically invincible. The handful of enemy patterns were learned, the locations eventually got memorized (due to the I think 8 different dungeons?), I often got through a 100% kill-rate with more than 40% of the time-limit left. It's a fun game, but does lack the depth and variety of the other two games. Furwind The last of the current batch (I think I've had most of my short platformers taken care of now) is Furwind. The game has you play as Furwind, an inhabitant of the village in the woods that's being threatened by an ancient evil. In order to stop the revival of the big bad you're sent out to destroy the essences that have defiled the nearby temples. A lot of the villagers have been captured, including a traveling merchant who acts as your place for character and ability upgrades. Freeing these folks requires you to first find their location by collecting the map or scroll of which there are two in all non-boss levels. Each scroll opens up either a prisoner level (often a fight arena) or a challenge room (often using a certain mechanic to progress). Some of these challenges can be very tough to get through, especially when these have absolutely no checkpoints and therefore must be completed in a single life. Of all the abilities I found the flight and healing to be the most useful; healing for obvious reasons, and flight to get out of a missed jump or escape from bottomless pits and preventing a dip into lava. Both will kill you and send you back to the last checkpoint. Checkpoints, by the way, cost gems to activate and double in cost after every use! So save wisely or complete a level with far less gems than you otherwise would have had. Losing a life has it uses though, as everything gets reset, including the looted gems and other items. The only things that stay collected are the sun pieces and the scrolls (though you do have to save them with a checkpoint). I liked the variation of the levels: a forest ruin, a dark cave system, and towers with lava pools. Each have their own set of baddies, puzzles and mini-bosses. Exploration is rewarded by stashing the scrolls (for challenges and villagers) in far off corners or hard-to-reach places. The game has enough variation to keep the experience fresh and isn't overstaying its welcome with gigantic maps or overly long levels. The introduction of a new ability during each chapter, the switching of level location keeps the pace going and before long you'll face off against the inevitable rise of the big bad. Currently I'm playing Oceanhorn, but I expect that to be completed in the next few days. After that I plan on giving the PS5 some time by starting Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart followed by an undecided PS5 game and then start Kena: Bridge of Spirits. With a little effort, luck, and determination, that one will be #200! It'll be the first planned milestone since Xenon Valkyrie which was #100.
  12. For those searching and wondering: I found one hidden in a jar on floor 4 (one room before the boss) on Easy difficulty, NG+ mode. It was a regular room. It looks exactly like the trophy and is a stationary enemy (or at least it died before moving).
  13. To the right of the large cauldron is a wall with five pieces of paper on it. Those contain the recipes for each of the potions. It's not Indonesian, it's the name of the potion the customer asks for. It'll take a few minutes to memorize the recipes, but it's definitely not a tough game. You can use [options] to pause the game and look at your notes (I made notes of each recipe). All recipes require Wildfruit, and there's no rule that the ingredients need to be in a certain order, so keeping one Wildfruit 'banked' reduces the recipes to one or two extra ingredients. You need a score of 2000 to claim all the possible rewards. There's no bonus -as far as I'm aware- for getting a score between 2000 and 5000. You get 10 points for each happy customer, lose one heart if they leave, but regain all when you reach the goal. Red: Tiria Green: Urga Yellow: Jaya Jiwa Pink: Minyak Melati Blue: Bunga Kamboja White: all recipes!
  14. Been a while. I've kept my word and have brought Babstickles with me for this edition's review of Yakuza 0! What a ride, what a journey, what an incredible experience! So without further ado, let's get started! Choice Babstickles: So what made you even consider a Yakuza game? Weren't you aware of the horror stories of others caving in, cursing the mini-games.. that sort of thing? Shikotei: While scouring the new games section of the PSN store I checked out a game called Judgment. The screenshots looked interesting and the trailer peaked my curiosity. It wasn't long after that I found out it was a spin-off game from a long standing franchise named Yakuza. It took a while before I committed myself to buying an entry because the list of games I owned at the time was already long. It must've been a year or two later before I actually bought Yakuza 0. Mostly because one particular member of a Discord server wouldn't shut up about it. Figured if he'd play almost every one of them in rapid succession (story only) to get to the latest one (Like a Dragon), then the games must be quite entertaining. Babstickles: Why Zero, and not Kiwami 1? Shikotei: It's the prequel and wouldn't spoil much of the story-to-come, but it's also built in one of the better engines. Not that I truly care about the graphics side of a game, but they are more pleasing to the eyes. Zero is also praised somewhat more than the older games, saying it's one of the better ones in terms of control, pizazz and cheekiness. Babstickles: I bet you craved a bigger game after playing more than 10 short ones. Is that why you picked it up now? Shikotei: After playing 12 short games in about as many days, I indeed wanted to play something with a little more.. meat on its bones. I didn't feel like playing another digital game, so went to my physical to-do list. I picked four games that spoke to me in the moment: - Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes Of An Elusive Age - Definitive Edition - Remnant: From The Ashes - Trials Of Mana - Yakuza 0 And let the members of the Discord decide. Journey Shikotei: As this was my first time playing this franchise, I opted to play on Normal, thinking I would switch to a higher difficulty if it proved to be easy enough. What little combat I encountered in the first 10 hours felts balanced enough, until I met the big guy, Mr. Shakedown. Boy was he a tough nut (didn't crack it obviously, I got smacked around like a ragdoll)! Babstickles: Haha, yeah. The first you-won't-need-to-win fight. And actually the only type of encounter you don't need to win to prevent a game over/retry screen. Shikotei: I.. I uhh.. avoided him for quite a while after that. I spent almost 5 days in the first two chapters of the story. Just getting side stories done, raising money through combat, gaining experience and knowledge about how combat works and what my move-set is (the basic combos aren't noted anywhere), doing karaoke and arcade... lots of activities. Babstickles: You're that kind of player huh? The type that likes to do all non-story content as soon as possible so you can blast through the story once it's all done. I can understand that. Sometimes the story is too intense to stop and you really wanna know what comes after. Shikotei: Indeed. No time to grind levels/items/abilities/money when the story gains momentum! Babstickles: What did you think of the story? Shikotei: It was weird. On the one hand you have this heavy, dramatic and emotional story about Kiryu and his troubles, and on the other hand you're singing your heart out, dancing against total strangers, catching fish, bonkers combat moves (grabbing motorbikes?!). Not to mention the wacky side stories you're thrown in. While you're supposed to lay low you can go out and purchase half the businesses in Kamurocho, make billions of yen, fight to your hearts content. How come they never caught on? Babstickles: Really? Shikotei: Yeah. Hence I did as much side content as possible before going further with the story. Babstickles: But in the end, did you enjoy it? Shikotei: Oh yes, very much so. Very well written. The recaps after switching protagonists helped a great deal too. Especially after almost a week of side activities. Side content Babstickles: Let's get the two big activities out of the way: Kiryu's Real Estate Royale and Majima's Cabaret Club Czar. Which one's your favorite? Shikotei: In terms of productivity, it's Kiryu's. You can set-and-forget the timers and do other things while you wait for them to fill up. It also generates far more money than Majima's. Completing it also takes far less time and is less demanding of action, like a light idle-game. A very reliable and good source of money until one can beat Mr. Shakedown with ease (which I couldn't). It took me about 4 days to complete the storyline, only playing a bit of the main story to unlock a required area. Babstickles: And the CabaClub? Shikotei: Much more enjoyable. The interviews with the Platinum hostesses were a great exercise for me and got me to test my knowledge of the (Japanese) language and how accurate I would translate them. The dialogue text (in English) would serve as an answer sheet. I got it right quite a lot of times! The Club Czar game has some strategic elements to it, as well as some grindy bits. Maxing out some of the lower ranked (Silver and Bronze) hostesses turned out to make them quite efficient, and even helped out in the later scenarios. Learning the signs took a bit of getting used to (they're never explained beforehand). Compared to Kiryu, I needed more than two weeks to complete the Club's storyline. I even had to continue the main story three more chapters to unlock progress. Babstickles: The arcade's five games. How did you find them? Shikotei: I had the UFO catcher done in no time. It's not something I've done a lot (perhaps a few times at the fair) so it was refreshing to be able to play sort-of accurately for no cash (100 yen for 3 tries!). Of the two initially available other games, Out Run and Space Harrier, I found the former to be very difficult. I could easily get to 3 million points, but lacked the skill to get any further, seemingly too far away from the necessary 5 million. Space Harrier I could complete in a few tries. With no time limit and a very responsive and mobile character, I understood that game far easier than the racing one. When the friendship meters of the attendants maxed out, two more games became available: Fantasy Zone and Super Hang On. I think I got the motor racer in two or three tries, once I figured out what the 'boost' button did. The side-scroller spaceship-shooter took a lot more tries. I ended up buying just the Wings and extra lives (needed them too!). Babstickles: I guess the casino and other betting games went down far easier than the arcade? There was far more RNG in those. Shikotei: The casino was indeed fairly easy. It just took a while because of how Yakuza 0 registers 'profit' from a game, preventing me from playing multiple sessions in a row without fear of losing progress. The homeless betting games had that same drawback, though did encourage playing multiple sessions due to how the results of the NPCs could help you win more often. Some of the dice games were pretty fun to play! I was also very happy to finally see Koi-Koi in action, though it was very difficult to master (or even win, heh) I had fun. Babstickles: Let's see.. oh right! The internet's dreaded Mahjong! How did you fare in this game of tactics, luck, and knowledge? Shikotei: To be fair, I never dreaded playing Mahjong. Most of my experience with Mahjong is the solitaire variant, where you combine two identical tiles to clear a pile (castle, turtle, or similar structure). The actual game I never played. And it was a rollercoaster activity, with ups and downs, the thrill of nearly completing a hand, and the shock of getting Ron'd or missing out on getting a Tsumo or Ron myself. Had I grown up with this game I'd be a fervent player. After I got my completion points I played some more, just for the fun of it! Babstickles: Wow, you're one of few players then who didn't curse and swear at the other players? That's great! How did you fare with shogi then? The Asian variant to chess. Shikotei: That was a little.. no, a lot trickier to understand. Recognizing the tiles was tough enough without the (almost) constant change in moveset when they reached the farther rows. It's so complicated for a new player. Even the challenges ramped up the difficulty way too fast! Bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, I love the Western version of chess. Shogi just changes the rules too often to follow and remember. Babstickles: That's too bad. It's quite the classy game, if you'd take the time to learn it properly. What are your thoughts on the batting and bowling centers? Shikotei: The last time I played baseball (batting) was a long time ago, back in school. It was difficult then, and it was no different this time. The timings were tough to get used to. I must've spent nearly a billion to reach that 5 million earned mark. No fun at all. One mistake takes all your progress and leaves you with nothing but the bills. Bowling was a lot more fun, because you at least got multiple tries to reach the goal. I like progress, even if it's a little. But a few of these games require you to recover your play-this-game cost before you can turn a profit. Babstickles: I almost forgot the pocket circuit racing! I bet you loved that activity! Shikotei: You'd be very right! Having had a few of the RC cars as a kid (even have one survivor, though the battery's dead) I was very excited to see this as a fully playable activity. I think I spent at least 10 hours on the track, or collecting more components to see if I could get my car a little faster around the track. Beating the fastest player took more than an hour and a half of testing. I even took photos of the track and reconstructed it so I could perform the tests. It was awesome! Babstickles: What about the combat side activities? The JCC and the Styx? Shikotei: I wouldn't really classify the JCC as a combat activity, more a tactics/luck based betting game. And it was fun to watch the weird moves they performed. Winning the 10 three-round bets took some tries, dealing with the randomness of the game. Nothing too difficult, just not well balanced (especially the "mash o to win!" bits that were clearly not always winnable). The Styx arena fights were far more manageable. All but one area (with the disappearing floor) were fun to play. Otherwise just straight up combat with some settings. Babstickles: Now I know you've played a great deal of rhythm games in the past, most notable Guitar Hero. What did you think of the karaoke and disco games? Shikotei: They took some time to get used to. Mostly because I had never heard the songs before and needed to know the pacing, timing, and lyrics. Just like I was horrible at first with the previous music games. Practice makes perfect! Had those done in almost no time. I really liked how the games were also present in some of the side stories and I got to show off my skills against the opponents or the dates. You could say I had become the Karaoke King and Disco King of Kamurocho and Sotenbori before long! Well, after Miracle Johnson of course, that man is beyond human. "Judgement" and "Queen Of Passion" are definitely my favorite tracks to sing and dance to. Babstickles: There were also the two games you could play in pubs; darts and pool. Shikotei: I've played darts, once or twice. It's not something I remember much about. The various games were fun to play with the sniper darts. The opponents weren't masters of darts, luckily, as I messed up a few times for sure. Pool games were my favorite pastime in pubs and I played for years. A game was €1 and would last between 10 and 20 minutes, mostly because of the 8-ball we wanted to sink as showy as possible -often with 3 banks before pocketing-. Playing it in Yakuza 0 was a joy, as long as the AI didn't get too many turns. Contrary to darts, these guys were sinking almost every ball they shot at, even the more difficult ones (because I hid the white ball behind my color). Babstickles: Lastly, fishing. Shikotei: That was.. weird. I'm pretty sure great white sharks don't usually swim in the docks of Tokyo. I tried it with the starter rod, but rarely got a bite. When I bought the uber rod (with all the stats maxed out), I got a lot more, often within second of casting the line. It was a fun pastime, but would never go fishing myself. Too uneventful for me. Legend Babstickles: This entry in the franchise is about the only one where you can't use a clear save to start Legend. That is, you have to start a clean new game on Legend, bringing nothing from the previous playthroughs. Shikotei: You'd be surprised how easy it turned out to be. I completed the playthrough in just over 30 hours, of which I spent about 12 gaining completion points as Kiryu and Majima to unlock the Golden Gun and Golden Shotgun for them. These two weapons reduce the combat to child's play. The Gun for Kiryu does a ton of damage and one-hits almost every grunt, and in the later chapters one extra bullet finishes off every goon. The Gun has infinite bullets, and doesn't break. Majima's Shotgun doesn't do that much damage, but if a grunt gets hit by it, they'll drop to the floor and start bleeding out (losing health over time). It's an amazing crowd control method. For bosses it's not so great ad the damage is too low to take them out, and often they don't suffer from the DoT. For the end game multi-stage battle-o-rama I brought 6 death-preventing items, and a full inventory of the most powerful healing items. Only one death was prevented (got shot in rapid succession) and Majima used up a bunch of them against his final boss. Kiryu got out relatively unscathed (duh, he's been spamming the Golden Gun!). Neither character was anywhere near fully upgraded. I hadn't even started the Cabaret Club, and only completed the first two Real Estate zones due to money for health upgrades, and pocket circuit completion points. Babstickles: I would say it was easy because you spent that much time getting those two game-breaking weapons! Climax Battles Babstickles: One aspect of the game were these additional combat challenges. How did you experience these? Shikotei: They're what I call "fixed" challenges. There's nothing you can do to change the difficulty of these battles. There's no way to increase your own health, unlock more abilities, switch combat style, or even location of these fights. Many of them aren't even fights, just puzzles. Babstickles: Like the fight in the construction area where you have 10 seconds to wipe the floor with a bunch of goons? Shikotei: Yeah. The solution is unorthodox: grab the nearby 'hidden' canon and fire away! Same with the fight in Nikkyo Consortium: bunch of goons before you, one guy with a shotgun behind you and 10 seconds to clear the floor. Behind the goons is another shotgun; grab it 'n shoot them down. It's bonkers. Babstickles: You didn't complete all of them though, I see you're missing the related trophy. What happened? Shikotei: My strategy was to play as Kiryu first, and complete all the battles with him before switching to Majima and to the other half. I got stuck at one of the battles, unable to progress or beat the wall presented before me. It's weird, because defeating two Mr. Shakedowns in a tiny ring was peanuts, but defeating a bunch of goons without getting hit turned out to be impossible for me. I literally tried for 7 hours spread across multiple days. It just didn't work out. Babstickles: Why not come back to that one challenge and do the others first? Shikotei: Because you don't get anything for completing all-but-one battle, only for beating them all. If I can't get the one fight, there's no point in getting the others; I'd be just as stuck as before. Babstickles: Did you check out videos to see how others did it? Shikotei: Yeah, I saw a bunch. None of them covered how to deal with the issues I found. I watched all the battles, including the Ultimate category. Not looking forward to those. Babstickles: So you gave up. Shikotei: So I gave up. No point in getting overly frustrated at the brick wall in front of me if I can just turn away and go to greener pastures (next game). Conclusion Babstickles: Aren't you glad you don't have to have a 100% profile? Shikotei: Hah! Indeed. In all honesty, I don't really care if my profile went all the way back down to the mid-80's. It's supposed to be fun to play games. So dropping a game when it's at 97% is still a very good accomplishment in my book. I got my money's worth in enjoyment, so in the end I don't regret playing it. Babstickles: Any plans to play the other installments? There's seven more of them, you know. Shikotei: No plans. But I won't say there can't be any in the future. The past 7 weeks were spent playing just one game. The 100% completion playthrough took over 180 hours, and adding the 30 hours on Legend and some 10 hours on Climax Battles puts the total time spent on Yakuza 0 at about 220 hours. That's a lot more than I thought it'd be. If the others are the same size, that's a year's worth of games!
  15. Stable FPS. Don't care if it's 30, 60, (or pointless 120), it needs to be stable. My high-end TV can do the conversion to higher FPS with minimal artifacts. Decent graphics, as in: no pop-ins of skins (though Borderlands does a decent job of hiding them) or (lord forbid) pop-in of objects (looking at you, GTA). Personally don't really care about the quality of the graphics themselves (pixel art/retro, toony, cell-shaded, oil-drawings, (hyper)realistic) as long as they fit and are consistent. I'm happy enough with 720p; I grew up with 240i on a 12" CRT anyways.