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About Honor_Hand

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  • Birthday 01/23/90

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  1. This is interesting, but I'm pretty sure it'll only be for the title. Now, how cool would it be to see a car racing game in anime style a la Auto Modellista? As for Unbound itself, cool. Nice to see a new entry in the series. They have been spacing out new entries into the franchise quite well so I hope they're taking advantage of all this extra time to produce a great game. It's good seeing both Criterion and Codemasters directing this project. Pretty talented teams when it comes to racing games. No love for the old-gen consoles, though. Sad.
  2. Platinum #178 - Dusk Diver

    L23ac2c.png  1L8f1042.png

    Unleash 120% of your power and protect Ximending alongside your guardians


    All right. Finally, I get some time to lay down my thoughts on this game. I completed this one almost a month ago, by September 9th. Owing to real-life job responsibilities and a myriad of internet issues that persist to this day, I opted to postpone this write-up until now. No more procrastination now, though. Dusk Diver here is a distinctive take on the 3D beat 'em up genre from a small indie developer. The first thing that stroke me as unique about this game was its origin. Dusk Diver is a Taiwanese production. That sole fact drew me immensely to it because it's always nice seeing the takes and developments of the videogame industry in other Asian countries outside of Japan. With that in mind, let's venture in and see what these dusk divers are all about!



    Press any button to start the game

    I like sexy outfits, yes


    Dusk Diver, as previously mentioned, can be categorized as a 3D brawler. However, it also features a relatively light blend of Musou combat elements in addition to a small dash of RPG elements. It was first released in October 2019 as a JERA Game Studio & JFI Games production. A few other names appear upon booting and online, and I'm unsure who's the publisher in which location, but suffice to say that names like PQube, Justdan International, and Wanin Games are also behind it. The game takes place in a commercial district known as Ximending, which is based in a real-life location in Taipei, Taiwan. Here, we'll be filling the shoes of a young girl called Yumo Yang. Yumo and her best friend Yusha suddenly find themselves trapped in an alternate dimension of this place they love to hang around. Before truly realizing where they are, mysterious monsters known as Chaos Beasts attack them, and before they faint, a gangster-lookalike warrior known as Leo saves them. After this, we learn that this twisted, alternate dimension is known as Youshanding and that Leo, the one who saved us before, is a Kunlunian, an ancient spirit race.

    What follows from here is Yumo realizing she has mysterious spiritual powers. Powers that allow her to connect with her Kunlunian friends to fight the Chaos Beast menace that threatens to seep from Youshanding into the real world of Ximending and cause havoc. Throughout the story, we'll come under the supervision of the Boss, a mouthy, money-obsessed ceramic bear pot Kunlunian that's in charge of defending the real world. Yumo, our heroine, will eventually find other guardian Kunlunians, such as a fruit-adoring, always-half-asleep bat and a sexy, tit-heavy goldfish/sea creature. Both will accompany our task of protecting Ximending and the real world.


    The story sounds super weird on paper, but trust me, it works. It's not super deep or thought-provoking by any means, but it is a solid enough narrative to tell the story of a regular girl turning into a magical girl to save the day. It comes packed with a good selection of relationship-building moments with your guardian spirits, and the ending was, in my opinion, also sweet and conclusive to what transpired. The writing was solid for the most part, but I did notice a few misspelled words and unnatural expressions in a few parts. Nothing too bad, though. All in all, a solid tale to accompany the game.




    The Boss is right. People have to understand the true artistic vision of skin-showing outfits


    The gameplay has two distinct sections: Ximending & Youshanding. The commercial Ximending district acts more like a hub. Here, Yumo will get to explore the streets and alleys of this portion of the city. Ximending is the place where we will be doing small quests to help the NPCs around, collect Dragon Vein Shards to improve our skills and combat effectiveness, partake in bonding activities with our guardians, or just eat in the many street stalls and restaurants dotted around to buff our party for the next mission. Youshading is the twisted, neon-looking, bizarre alternate dimension to Ximending, where the Chaos Beasts reside. Here is where we'll be undertaking all of our combat missions. Youshanding is, usually, a reskin of Ximending at times and a battle arena at other times. Here, the activity of the Chaos Beasts and Kunlunians directly affects the residents of Ximending. Yumo's task is to take the beasts down to avoid them coming through dimensional fissures into the real world.


    The combat was perhaps my favorite part of the game. It's not deep compared to something like DmC, but that doesn't mean it's not thoroughly enjoyable. Yumo has no weapon other than her fists and kicks, but even though the combos we have in our arsenal are simple to perform, there's a nice weight to how the combat feels that keeps it entertaining throughout the game. It depends on alternating between light and heavy attacks, summoning our guardians for assistance and combination attacks, and dodging when needed. Avoiding enemy attacks at the right moment puts the game in slo-mo, giving us extra time to react. Combination attacks with our partners require us to learn specific button-presses when performing basic chains on enemies, but they can be very effective. Finally, there's D.ARMS, a mode for Yumo to engage in a transformation sequence and gain enhanced offensive capabilities and even more devastating attacks against the Chaos Beasts. A little animation that makes us invulnerable plays out whenever we trigger certain special attacks, and I never grow bored of watching these. Le Viada, in particular, has some fan-servicey ones that I thoroughly appreciated.



    Leave everything to me! This store could use more competent employees, though


    Our guardians are summoned via a press of the D-pad. Depending on the chain combo we're currently performing, we can get different attacks with them. Alternatively, you can also summon specific attacks from them if you wish. For example, grandpa Leo's assistance relies on sheer strength; fruit-lover Bahet prefers to rock and disrupt enemies' shields with his guitar, and aquatic-hottie Le Viada instead opts for a more ranged gunplay approach. They're all a cool bunch, and you will inevitably grow more attached to one or the other during your time with the game.


    There's one last thing I want to say about the combat. Inspired by other Musou games, Yumo and her companions have to fight dozens and dozens of enemies simultaneously before moving into the next area of the map to clear another big batch of enemies. Although the combat feels good, the low variance of enemies and repetitive scenarios of Youshanding sometimes make the combat feel a bit repetitive. That said, none of the missions feel too long to partake in. Since they're reasonably sprinkled in with moments of hanging out in Ximending, it never really overstayed its welcome.



    I just love these special attack animations when they play out


    When it comes to the presentation, the game stands out vibrantly with its abundant use of color all over the place. From the colored silhouettes of NPCs in the distance when walking or distinct adverts littered throughout the world in Ximending to the more striking, neon-looking streets dotted with its weird buildings in Youshanding, Dusk Diver's art direction is undoubtedly one of its strongest suits. Both worlds come off as unique in their own right while at the same time having plenty of references to local Taiwanese culture to make you feel that it's a world that's lived in and real. Character's animations are top-notch during combat as they're very fluid and smooth. If I had to deduct points here somewhere, it would be on character detail and animations when not in combat. That is when you are chatting and interacting with your guardians in Ximending. This part is probably one small area that could use some improvement: enhanced detail and more convincing animations outside of combat. Performance on the game stays stable for the most part. However, later missions with large enemy groups present a choke on the game's performance. At least they did on my PS4 Slim. Whenever there are a lot of enemies and orbs on screen, the game does chug in a very noticeable manner.



    Sometimes Youshanding will look all weird like this


    Dusk Diver's music consists of grungy guitar compositions for ducking out in Youshanding and more subdued and relaxing electronic pieces for story bits and Ximending inhabiting. Boss battles feature more creative arrangements that use castanets or heavy bass tones to produce an entirely different mix suited to the encounter in front of us. The climax scene in the story features its own rocking theme that will make you feel pumped for the final moments of the story, just like in every good anime series out there. In all, a solid music production that manages to keep us invested in our adventure. One complaint here, though, is that the grungy guitar feels a bit overused for the Youshanding missions, which enhances their repetition feeling. Some standouts from the game I could highlight include (and sorry for the low-quality links, but it's all I could find online): Drowning CharismaShe Never Gives UpSen-Sen -Nemea Mix-A Sunny Shopping DayInquiry for Truth & Keep The Faith.


    Voice acting, you have the option of both Chinese and Japanese. For the first time ever, I opted for Chinese voiceovers to respect the artist's original vision. Much like whenever I play with Japanese voiceovers, I couldn't understand a thing, but I could feel the actors did their best to voice all the cast. Leo's voice, in particular, grew on me throughout the game. Also, Yusha, Yumo's best friend, totally sounds like a clumsy girl. Which she is. With this in mind, I'd say all the cast was perfectly voice-acted.



    My Kung Fu is stronger than yours!


    Trophies in Dusk Diver are easy to attain and present little challenge. In addition to obtaining several trophies for clearing the story, the rest of the list is made out of clearing all NPC quests, achieving max familiarity with all food vendors, obtaining all collectibles from gacha machines (no RNG here), and upgrading all of your stats and your guardians to the max. There are, however, a few trophies that need special mention and attention from the start of the game. When the peach is ripe requires you to sprinkle a specific tree in the game with water a lot. Doing this every chance you get in the game after starting out is recommended to lessen your grind later. Where there's a will there's a wish is for acquiring all of the lottery poetry. There's no money involved in getting these, but they are randomly obtained every time you visit the temple. If you have a turbo controller, you can make short work of this one in a few hours. Everything about the magical girl is directly related to getting all the collectibles in the game, including the poetry, and is one of the last trophies you will get. Finally, The Guardian of Ximending, for obtaining S ranks all missions in the game on both Normal and Hard difficulty. This one is directly related to maximizing your stats and that of your guardians. You won't be able to go for the S ranks early on in the game, but once you're all souped up, they don't present much of a challenge. Maybe 1-3 tries per mission at most since the S rank is solely dependent on completion time. Most of the missions are combat-oriented, but there are like 5% of them that feature some platforming elements. Now, the platforming here isn't exactly bad, but it lacks a bit of refinement, so these few missions could prove a bit more tricky than the rest.


    TL;DR: I've read people online comparing this game to Yakuza. Coincidentally, I've seen people online saying Yakuza is Japanese GTA... People, this is not Taiwanese GTA nor Taiwanese Yakuza. Persona has also been thrown around when comparing this one, but I can't really comment there.


    For me, Dusk Diver is an interesting indie project that evokes feelings of Musou games and mahou shoujo anime series as well but with a more modern, heavy Taiwanese cultural influence. It is a solid game with some key areas that could use refinement, namely character level of detail and enemy and soundtrack variety. Outside of that, it's an enjoyable time with its well-founded and weighty combat, direct story-telling, and vibrant and striking presentation. I feel the game deserves more attention than what it gets now. It frequently goes on discount for less than ten bucks, which makes it an excellent recommendation should you spot it in a sale.




    Thanks for reading!


    1. Show previous comments  5 more
    2. AihaLoveleaf


      lol, I was about to ask how you found time to finish this between all the racing game madness, but it looks like you actually got it done a while ago. Senran Kagura is the closest thing I've played to a Musou game, and I noticed in one of the screenshots that the combat area is gated off, kind of like the "Shinobi area" (or at least I think that's what it was called) in those games. Is it fair to say a SK fan would get into Dusk Diver? Like @Cave Johnson mentioned, I was also sold when you mentioned Magical Girls. I'll make sure to check this one out in the future. 

    3. ihadalifeb4this
    4. Honor_Hand


      Thanks, everyone! =D


      @XchocomanX Great choice on this one, man! Yeah, the art style is quite unique. Gonna be looking forward to playing the sequel one of these days. ^^


      @Cave Johnson Give it a go if you have a chance. Take notice that it's a small dash, it's not full Dynasty Warriors nor full Mahou Shoujo tropes, but some light elements of it here and there. The story indeed emphasizes friendship and has a sweet ending. Again, nothing super revolutionary or complex, but alright if you like those things. It was enjoyable enough for me. ;D


      @Zassy Aye, as I mentioned to you before, I thought it was a surprisingly solid and well-rounded game. It certainly deserves a better average rating out there, but it seems not many have given it a chance yet. Hopefully, this will change in the coming future. Yumo may be an ordinary teenager but I hope she got her butt in proper shape for the sequel to nail those jumps better. =w= Viada wasn't needing any expansion but from what you've told me, she got one for DD2. I can only imagine how she's going to look by the time we get to DD3. owo


      The Genshin behemoth is probably the one I first noticed. Before that one, I had no idea there were so many little Asian projects popping around. I know they have a great presence on mobile but I didn't know they were already available on PC 6-7 years ago. It's cool to be able to get more variety and different takes on the medium. It provides us with much-needed spice and different cultural references to behold and wonder about. =3 Thanks for the clarification there about the publishing! That does clear a lot of the confusion I had with PQube and the others. The ellipses still remain in the vertical center of the script instead of the bottom but at least those broken tags were fixed as I didn't see any weird lines of code like that during my playthrough. ^^


      In regards to that response of Yumo to Viada's ultimate Musou special, I actually took pictures of that as well. It seems like I didn't get them right, though. x3 Need to work on my timing for taking pictures on PS4 better. uwu;;


      Glad to hear that a few of the best tracks from this game carried over to the sequel. =D Can't wait to hear the remixes when I get there. And totally, Chinese sounds a lot more formidable when it comes to sharper, harsher tones. There's a noticeable contrast there between Leo's loudness and Bahet's soft-spoken voice. Boss definitely takes the cake over everyone, though, as you most accurately mentioned there. xxD


      Looking forward to that "accidental" redistribution of Taiwanese wealth subplot with Yusha by the time DD3 comes out. Talk about a clumsy girl losing her wallet every 5 seconds. x3


      @AihaLoveleaf Yep. I actually finished this one a week before the racing madness started. Had no work and no internet at the moment and said, "Fuck it, time to finish DD" and I did, lol. xxD You'll be pleased to know that DD here uses those same enclosed areas a la Senran Kagura for enemy encounters. I'd say that, if you liked SK, there's content to enjoy here in DD too. Just be mindful that there's a lot less fanservice here. ^^;; I mean, there is, just not in the same vast quantities SK provides.


      The Mahou Shoujo elements to it are also light. What I associated with it was, namely, the story and its angle of a girl gaining unnatural powers to fight baddies/monsters with her companions, the transformation sequence, and a sweet ending involving in friendship. It's probably not super cutesy like other Maou Shoujo series, but it definitely draws some inspiration from them.

  3. Status Report #4:

    Codemasters Rushing Complete!


    A bit of quick update here to announce that I was able to successfully complete and secure these three games that were supposed to be shutting down servers: DiRT Rally, DiRT 4, and OnRush. I had to boost these three games like a madman for the last two weeks due to EA's poor-timed and short-noticed shutdown announcement on them. Well, the server closure announcement was confirmed to be today October 3rd for the first two games, while OnRush was just suspected to be closing down at the end of the previous month due to the whole GameSparks thing. All in all, two weeks was barely enough time to secure these games, so I had to rush.



    An accurate depiction of the rushing that would ensue


    DiRT Rally was the first one I managed to complete. If it weren't for the huge boosting group of over 30 people that I am in, I probably wouldn't have been able to secure this one. Way too many people to give thanks to here, but thanks to this collective effort, we were able to add enough padding for the different online events to achieve top-tier times. I almost made the car's radiator blow near the end of the monthly event too, so that was kinda close. Guide told me to drive slow and steady, and instead, I went all Déjà vu on the stages. xP Don't do that, guys. Better take it easy if you can. I know of a few gamers that messed up their cars online so bad that they weren't able to complete this one. ^^;; Anyhow, this was the first one I managed to secure on time.


    OnRush was the next game I tackled. I started this one on the 25th of September thinking I only had time until the end of that month to achieve everything. Turns out that, when the date came (September 30th), EA then announces that the game still has 2 months more left alive. Sheesh, thanks EA... But still, Gamesparks was happening and no one really knew if this thing was going to remain online. So, with all the rush you can imagine, I went in ahead and completed this one. It's important to mention that the guide here doesn't measure the correct time estimate to complete this game. It actually takes around 30-40 hours to complete. Additionally, there's one online trophy that the guide here doesn't mention. The one for acquiring 250 items in the game, which is pretty much one of the last trophies before the platinum. So there I was, racing like a madman on September 30th, my Venezuelan internet disconnecting me every 5 minutes from the game impeding my progress, and a fucking thunderstorm raging outside as I made my way to complete this one up. It gave me quite the adrenaline rush, as you can imagine. Be sure to do this one whenever you have time, @AihaLoveleaf.


    The last one being completed was DiRT 4. This one gave me a lot of trouble in the form of freezing, errors, and some constant disconnections of my own that almost got me banned from playing online. Fortunately enough, I was able to complete everything online thanks to a couple of dedicated boosters that helped me up. My last big point of contention was the Flavour of the Week trophy. In addition to praying to my catgirl goddess for the weekly events not to crash up on me, it was uncertain whether the trophy would pop. This uncertainty came in the form of my second weekly event finishing on the exact same date as the closure of the servers was happening. In the end, though. It popped. Servers are still up for the day so maybe they'll be closing down later on today. Either that or EA doesn't know shit about what they're doing, which wouldn't surprise me either.



    You can't catch me, EA \8D/


    So glad I was able to secure all these games on time. OnRush's platinum, I will talk more that one in detail luego. As for DiRT Rally's and Dirt 4's platinum trophies, I will do them when I have time. The games seem great so I can't wait to experience them fully. =D A big thanks to @Destructor-8 for his tips on how to tackle these games online in an efficient manner. Also, major props to all the random boosters and friends that helped out there. You were all truly wonderful! ^__^


    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Honor_Hand


      @Destructor-8 Thanks, man! Yeah, fortunately enough, I was able to get everything done on time. Thanks for the tips again!


      @AihaLoveleaf Lol, I wasn't sure I was going to make it either, but I somehow did. xxD At least they're keeping the newer games around. So you can always hop on DIRT Rally 2.0 whenever you want and do the flatout races there. \8D/ It'll be the perfect trial by fire into the racing genre for you, much like how you did Continuum Shift that time. ;D


      Best of luck with OnRush. Let me know of anything if you need help there. ^^


      @Zassy Yeah, lol, I know. That's the one unmistakable truth about EA. x3


      I wish they would have given us more time to work on these games. 2 weeks is extremely short-notice. At least a month or two would have sufficed. Three months in advance would have been just the right courtesy, though. Not like:


      EA: "Hey, guys, we closing down the game in the next 2 weeks."

      Game: has an online trophy that requires 2 weeks to pop.

      Everyone: *insert surprised Pikachu meme face here*


      If I had the money for it, I would totally own an itasha myself to cruise around town. And as cool as Miku is, I'd most likely wrap mine all over with Felicia's ass front and center. Public decency be damned, we cruis'n in style tonight. B'] Bam! *cues in Get Low theme from NFSU* =w=

    3. Destructor-8


      Yeah all good. I know you'll enjoy the rest of it so have fun with it. I don't know if I recommended this on discord but when you do the masters trophy, consider doing it on hillclimb. It's a more challenging way of doing the masters trophy but a much more enjoyable experience. There will be a bit of Trackmania vibes with the survival aspect plus good practice for Dirt Rally 2.0 if you decide on doing it. I enjoyed this one a lot more than Trackmania even though it's a different, but it's all about that survival lol. It would have been nice if it was in Dirt Rally 2.0 but ah well, it's still brilliant regardless.

    4. Honor_Hand


      @Destructor-8 Awesome, man. Thanks for the recommendation there. I'll have it in mind to have a more rewarding experience, especially if I can get some Trackmania vibes from it. DiRT Rally 2.0 is coming for sure, just not right now. xxD It's an entirely different game from Trackmania, but yeah, I'm expecting this series to be in the upper echelon of racing games, so for sure I'm going to be having a blast with it. ^^

  4. Ahh, and here I was expecting to be harder instead. Welp. Thanks for the info on that! ^^
  5. The trophies alright nice to me. Interested to see what that "Advanced Mode" is all about. I am deeply interested in this game, especially because the devs know what's what.
  6. This reminds I still have the previous Dakar game pending to do. I have yet to experience rally raid properly in a video game, so I ended up adding this one to my wishlist. It should be interesting.
  7. I'm still logged online on OnRush here. The game seems to be still working online for me. Just claimed a few gear loot boxes to be safe and I am still leveling up.
  8. Status Report #3:

    About how much my ISPs suck


    EA having my ass on fire

    Hey there, everyone! Sorry for the relatively low amount of entries under my profile over the past few days/weeks. Work has made me decently busy over these last few days, but above that, I've been experiencing many troubles with my internet connections. Almost three weeks ago, both of my ISPs died on me due to, uh, Venezuela. And it wasn't until a week and a half later that one of them came back online but with a severely compromised speed. I've been calling and making complaints to no avail ever since, and the problem hasn't been resolved yet. I had to work that first week using mobile data, with all the annoyances and issues that come with it. Then, my other (1.5 Mbps) ISP came back a week and a half ago, but the connection has been slower than usual and extremely jittery. My other slightly faster connection (10 Mbps) is still dead, and I still have to pay a full bill this month for the service. Can you believe that? What bastards! xP

    But anyways, enough complaining from me. I had the chance to complete at least three games while that happened, one of them being Ducati. I have yet to prepare a nice write-up for the other two: Dusk Diver and Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. I'll try to do that over the next week. I just figured I should drop you a line here and let you know.



    More about this awesome Taiwanese game soon


    In other news, I'm sure you're all aware of the many games EA will be shutting down. Even with the shit Internet I have right now, I still took on the task of doing the online trophies of both DiRT Rally & DiRT 4 before October 3rd. Thank fuck I already had both of those games downloaded onto my console as, I kid you not, I was actually preparing myself to start them soon. What EA's notice did was basically put me on overdrive to do them. So far, progress has been coming along nicely on DiRT Rally. I've managed to get all of the online trophies done except for the one for the Wager event. I'm not foreseeing any problems here because the times have been easy to beat to be around the top tier. That and I'm also part of a huge boosting group that's using an army of alt accounts to ease our way into the top spots of the events, lol. The game itself has been pretty good. The driving feels sublime, and I expect it to be a tough challenge with its sim-based approach and current 1.53% rarity. 


    DiRT 4, on the other hand, I'm expecting the online of this one to be very tough to complete, primarily due to the Flavour of the Week trophy that requires you to beat back-to-back weekly events. I already did one, but the trophy is awarded at the end of the second week. If you do the math, the server closure is happening on the same day my 2nd week ends, making it entirely a gamble of whether I will get this trophy or not. In addition to this, Sweaty for completing 25 Pro Tour events has been troublesome. Matchmaking seems to be slightly broken and is very difficult to match with other people. So far, I've only been able to play with randoms a few times, but the thing is, the game has frozen or errored out on me at least four times playing this mode, forcing me to back out to my PS4's main menu. The game penalizes you for quitting an event by deducting points or placing a temporary ban on you. Last message I got stated that I could be temporarily banned from online if I keep quitting matches. As you can see, this one is hanging by a thread. ^^;; Frankly, I have my doubts on this one, and I feel the other boosters as well have their doubts, hence why I haven't seen much effort put towards it. I'm still going to try, though. =P 



    Co-driver: Do a barrel roll!

    Me: Got it


    Finally, OnRush. EA hasn't stated anything about this one, but everyone is afraid it could get shut down due to the Gamesparks thing if it doesn't migrate to another service. I already had the game, so I thought about doing it as well since it's short. I didn't have this one downloaded on my console, so I had to do that with my current connection. It took me nine days to download OnRush's 19 GB of data. Yeah, that's how fast my connection is right now. Amazing, I know. I have 5 days to complete this game before Gamesprk gets shut down. Carmaggedon: Max Damage is another game people were saying could get shut down too, but it seems it will be the mobile version of it instead. I don't have this one, and I thought it would just be better to wait and see what happens. I was never a big fan of the original Carmaggedon, and this one looks kinda crappy, so yeah. Maybe luego. 


    So that's about for my current endeavors. I love how EA hands these 2-weeks notice about server closures. 8D One of the games I'm playing should be safe, the other one is a big gamble, and the third one I'm starting right now and have to rush it in the next 5 days. Outside of that, Genshin Impact and Valentino Rossi The Game have been rounding up the rest of my game time. Hopefully, I can get back more into those after I'm done with all this running around. I will be seeing you later on my next write-up. In the meantime, I gotta rush...on OnRush. \8D/


    1. Show previous comments  9 more
    2. Yuber6969


      Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Dusk Diver. Zassy already sold me on the game, but still.


      Good luck on the Flavour of the Week trophy. I was in a similar situation with Killzone Mercenary and it cost me the plat.

    3. Zassy


      You have legitimate grounds to fire your ISPs to Saturn, oy. From what I've heard and from what you've further expressed here, "connectivity" sounds like an option, not a pledge, from them. They'll get around to supplying bandwidth sooner or later, myeh, *shrug* <- that, that sort of indifference. Unless it's staggering incompetence. More likely, a clunky mixture of both. .3.


      See, this is why singleplayer gaming rocks - is what I used to preach, before "always-online" and server-side singleplayer gaming began to arise; by now, several corporations toy with our hobby like it's an afterthought. Definite congratulations for knocking out what you've managed to accomplish thus far, like Rally. And good luck from now through October 3rd onward. ^^


      Quite curious as to your chosen screencaps for Dusk Diver 1 - will need to select different POVs once I will Double Up a recap for both DDs. Also highly interested in your Sumerian thoughts as you traverse Genshin Impact's richest foliage. Mildly apprehensive about the desert, once it lands tonight/tomorrow, but good gracious has the rainforest half satisfied. <3 Richest exploration thus far!


      @Yuber6969 Kinda surprised that my piecemeal feedback sold you, hmm. =s DD1 and DD2 each have platforming, somewhat. Unsold...? ^^;;; I dunno, I always advise to await fuller overviews, but then I got only meager ca$h to spend /so/ gotta be picky here. That said, since you will /read/ fuller overviews before year's end, you'll fill your database and learn fo' sho'. *nod* They're interesting little projects, the Dusk Divers - not quite musou, not quite brawler, not quite action-RPG; not quite Senran, not quite Akiba's, not quite Ys - but chiefly, they're not "Yakuza lite" any more than Yakuza = "GTA but Japanese", meow. Certain reviews get so sloppy like that. x.o

    4. Honor_Hand


      @Yuber6969 For sure. I'll be sure to write something about it as soon as I can find some time. =)

      Here's hoping I can unlock that trophy. I'm going to be up late at night on the 2nd waiting for it to pop before they flip the switch on the game's servers, lol. xxD


      @Zassy If I could, I'd fire them into Pluto instead. 8D To be fair, I think it's all just a big mix of incompetence and them not caring. So yeah, a clunky, sticky mixture of both is what it is. .w.

      Single-player gaming absolutely rocks! But aye, I know what you mean. Server-side single-player gaming and "always online" games are annoying. Like, I can tolerate and understand them at times, but when my internet sucks, there's very little I can do on my end to enjoy these games. ;w; Thanks for the good wishes, Zassy. ^__^

      I'll be looking forward to that double treat of DD1 & DD2 for when you're ready to lay down your thoughts on them. I know you still have ways to go to finish DD2 but I am positive your experience with them will delight us here. Thoughts on Genshin and my Sumerian endeavors will come in due time whenever I can secure more exploration of the new region. The first sneak peek that I can give you is that, indeed, the rainforest exploration has so far surpassed all of my expectations with the quality of new content the devs can deliver. Very vibrant and lush, much like a rainforest, ;3

  9. Outstanding work on clearing and platinum'ing Hatsune Miku. Project DIVA F 2nd, Aiha. =D Fair to say you had a blast playing that one given all the extra time you spent on it. Unfortunately, there's very little I could say about the game as I have very little experience with rhythm games in general. ^^;; This one does look like a good time considering all the extra enjoyment you got out of it. That and that it prepared you for the big boys/girls leagues of rhythm game mastery later on. That DIVA Room grinding and head patting sounds like it was quite intense, though. Even with the use of that extra DLC character. x3
  10. Awesome. Looking forward to this one landing on PlayStation. Absolutely adored Trackmania Turbo so I am looking to get more of that with this entry. I am a bit on the fence about the game being FTP and always online, two things that certainly spell doom for me. I mean, it'll depend on how it all plays out. In Turbo, the online was mostly to upload and compare times, but the actual races could be done offline too. Which compared to NFS 2015's always online antics, it feels much better for me given my crappy connection. If this one is always online just to even play the game, then crap. That's no good for me. Anyways, I'll be downloading and playing this one when it comes out.
  11. Platinum #177 - Ducati - 90th Anniversary (PS4)


    A pretty "meh" game for a 90th anniversary


    Making a one-brand-focused video game is hard, as having to abide by products from only one company will inevitably impact the variety you can have. Racing games are no exception to this rule. Over the years, the medium has seen several examples, many being on the low end of the spectrum regarding quality. To be honest, the only great one-brand-focused racing game I've ever played has to be EA's Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed released 22 years ago. That game kicked so much ass back in the day, specifically the PC version. I think it still holds up very well to this day, considering that it was petty much publicity for Porsche vehicles. And damn, I love Porsches, so maybe that's why I am a bit biased toward it. But anyways, anyone who played it knows.



    Press "Options" to ride


    Coming back from that tangent, here we have Ducati - 90th Anniversary. Ducati is a game developed and published by Italian-based Milestone, which you may already know for their, uhm, average-to-okay racers out there. I bought this game in a sale for one buck. The purpose of my purchase was to try a bike racing game for cheap to see if it could be a venue worth pursuing. I struggle to think of anything below that price here on this side of the world, so fair to say Ducati here fits the bill as far as being cheap. The real question here is: Is it good? You already know the answer to that, but oh well, let's dive in anyway.


    My experience with bike racing is somewhat limited. Maybe a bit of Excitebike back in the day, some Extreme-G on the N64, Suzuki Alstare Extreme Racing from Criterion before they made Burnout. So yeah, not that much bike racing for me. Let's say they have never been something that interests me that heavily. Milestone, however, does seem to have a fair amount of experience with bike racing, as they're currently at the helm of the MotoGP games and have control of other bike-racing franchises, such as the MXGP and Ride games. Ducati here is actually a spin-off of the Ride franchise. It was released in 2016, and let me tell you, it shows. It feels more like a standalone release of something that could've been DLC for another game than an actual game.



    Vroom, vroom, I can do write-ups of games no one cares about like this one too


    As you can imagine, the game's focus revolves entirely around the Italian Ducati brand of bikes. The game covers the history of this manufacturer through its Historic Tour mode, from the brand's rose to prominence in the 1950s until today. The problem is, you start in the classic era and move your way up to the more modern machines, but the game never does anything to make you "feel" attached to this or that era. At least a small video with footage of the bikes in the different eras would've been welcome to introduce you to each of them. Instead, you get a small block of text before each race, depending on the bike you get to drive. Speaking of them, there are around 40 bikes in the game. All of them Ducati, of course. They're decently modeled, but the amount of reskins and model variations is notable. Another thing is the courses in the game. There are only eight tracks to drive, and while they feature alternate layouts, the track variety feels hugely lacking. Expect the common ones like Imola, Donington, and Road America to be in here, alongside a couple of others that were new for me, like Potrero de los Funes and Magny-Cours.


    The driving felt okay, neither bad nor great. It's hard to compare it with other bike racing games because I don't have much experience with them. I am currently playing the Valentino Rossi game (from the same developer), and that one feels better. The one thing I can say is that the driving felt responsive and engaging to a nice degree. You can apply a few realism options to the game to control the driver's tuck-in and the bike's rear brakes and throttle management. Since this was my first time on a bike game after a while, I decided to leave many of these options on. I turned these off for the game I am playing now, and the driving feels more involved. So yeah, maybe that plays a big part in the enjoyment too. The game also has a rewind feature that allows you to wind up back time should you make a mistake. The driving model here is stuck somewhere in the middle between the arcade and simulation ends. Appropriate braking before each turn and correct throttle management on higher-end bikes are vital for proper driving. In general, the driving felt solid even if I had many of the assist options enabled during my playthrough.



    As lacking as the eye can see


    Graphically, the game looks average, with decent bike modeling and simple geometry and texture work on the courses. Nothing really stands out. Performance was appropriate during the races, but the game takes a tad too much time loading, even with an SSD. Music... There is none. This is my first time playing a racing game with no music. None. Nada. Zero music plays during the races. There's music on the menu and pre-race section, but none during the race. The sound effects of the different bikes are rather punchy and nice, but the decision not to use music for the races is puzzling. Like why would you do this? No music in a racing game is the equivalent of, I don't know, no base-building in an RTS game or no jumping in a platforming game. Sure, you can have those. The question is, why would you want that? O.o

    The trophies in this game are easy to attain and straightforward. You just need to complete all the races in the different eras and do a few miscellaneous things with your bike. You don't even have to buy the bikes since they are all rewarded when you unlock a new era. Even though the game is easy, some time trial events are a bit of a jump in difficulty compared to the rest of the game, so watch out for those. Still, they're not too bad, and at the most, you'll be able to clear them in 2-4 attempts. Finally, online trophies! You have to complete 20 online races in the game. Credit goes to @cr1s here for helping me boost these trophies. Probably the most fun I had with the game was making cr1s fall off his bike after crashing into him countless times, lol. Another thing worth mentioning here is that the counter for 20 online races completed was bugged for us, so we had to do way more races so that the trophies popped for both of us.



    Leaning with style in the most scenic track of the game


    TL;DR: So there you have it, an averagely okayish, slightly mediocre bike racing game that lacks content and music. There are only so many red Ducati bikes you can drive here before you get bored. Even so, the game is short, and its trophies are easy, so anyone interested in those can have a go at them. Personally, I'd say this one-dollar experiment was successful in making me interested in playing more bike games. Sure, this one isn't one I'd recommend, but there's gotta be something better out there... Right?


    1. Show previous comments  9 more
    2. Destructor-8


      I think you'll like it. It's probably the best one so have fun.

    3. AihaLoveleaf


      A bit late after being out of town for a few days, but fashionably late of course 




      Knew it was a bad sign as soon as I saw Milestone as the developer -- "This game is going to be meh, isn't it?" "Yep, it's meh"


      My ideal biking game would probably be something more arcade-like. Super Hang-On is about the only biking game I've played to any extent, so that's where I'd have the bar set, as far as whether a future game is more fun or less fun. Unfortunately, Ducati doesn't seem to be it. With the way these racing games are looking right now, there will probably be a sudden shutdown announced for this one too, lol. Gonna have to let it go though, if it's anytime soon.

    4. Honor_Hand


      @AihaLoveleaf Fashionably late is great too. Glad that you're back in town from your trip, man. I can't imagine PSNP without our current resident Miku expert. ;D

      I came into this one expecting it to be meh, and to be honest, I was not disappointed in that regard, lol. My expectations with Milestone's games are always on the low side. Super Hang-On is a nice bar to compare when it comes to bike racing games. SEGA nailed it with that one all those years ago. There have been a few attempts at replicating it from indies but nothing too mind-boggling so far. And damn, talk about shutdowns left and right with racing games. Between DiRT Rally, DiRT 4, and OnRush for the next 10-13 days, I have my plate full here. o.x

  12. Platinum #176 - Gensou SkyDrift

    L1c8376.png  1L3f381f.png

    Ride them Touhou Babes~ ♪


    Throughout my gaming racing career, I've had the chance to drive various vehicles, from ordinary things like cars, trucks, and bikes; to less common stuff such as boats, jet skis, anti-gravity vehicles, and, eh, robot animals. Simply put, if it can be rode and driven, it can be raced too. Now, think for a second, what's the one thing you'd love "to ride" if given a chance? Heh~ That's right. Anime girls! Why not? It seems plausible to me and not weird at all. Highly desirable, if anything. Enters Gensou SkyDriift, my second look at the Touhou franchise. A racing Touhou game and a damn decent one at that.



    Welcome to Mari Kart!

    Now, you can make the case that I've "raced anime girls" in the past. Like, "HH, remember, you played Drive Girls before!" And you're right, I did. However, can that even be considered a racing game? ... Actually, let me rephrase that for a second. Can that nightmarish piece of software even be considered a game? ^^;; And don't get me wrong, I love the idea behind it, but it was just so poorly executed that it ended up being terrible in the end. Not to mention that the game is more action-based than racing, as driving makes more of a combat mechanic than anything. You can also make a point that the itasha cars I did in NFS (2015) were me "riding anime girls." But no, good sir/miss, those are "anime girls" plastered over cars, so it's not the same. Gensou SkyDritf (GS) is the real deal with all the hot girl-on-girl riding action you can imagine. 


    Now, I don't know precisely what type of game you're imagining, but GS here plays more like a kart racing game. A tag-team kart racing game very similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash on the NGC, which is uncommon even in the kart racing spectrum. So, one of the girls is the "rider," and the other acts as the "board," with you being free to switch between one or the other during the race. The game was developed by illuCalab and released on PS4 in March 2021. As with many Touhou games, it's a fangame. Publishing rights on PS4 were handled by a company named Phoenixx.


    Upon booting up, the game shows a few options to tackle. There's a Story Mode, a quick race option, and a multiplayer option for you to race with friends locally or over the Internet. The Story Mode actually has a story, but I'd be lying if I said I remember what happened on it. Much like many racing games out there, it feels tacked and unnecessary. But at the same time, it's short, straight to the point, and explains why the girls are racing and need to ride one another. It's... funny, and if you're a Touhou fan, you might get a kick out of the dialogue exchange, but I felt it was largely unnecessary. Regardless, you'll need to go through the story mode twice to unlock all the characters in the game, of which there are plenty. I can really commend the game for its diverse roster of Touhou gals in it. There are 22 characters in the game. What's best, each one of them has very different stats and specials they can use during races, making each one feel truly unique. So it's fun mixing them to find the combination you feel more comfortable with.



    Aya relegated to Lakitu's role, Ayayayaya~


    The racing mechanics feel good, for the most part, but a few design choices do hold the game back a little. There's a boost start, an easy-to-use drift mechanic, and a spell system from which you can get power-ups. Instead of being layered about the tracks, you get power-ups as you charge each character's "power bar" during the race. Different-colored boost rings on the course provide different speed-ups to your momentum and, simultaneously, charge your "power bar" depending on your character's stats. You have two charge levels for your bar, but once any of the levels is full, you can opt to receive a random power-up. Power-ups cover the range of temporary increases in speed, homing projectiles, obstacles for your opponents, and so on. Naturally, a level two "power bar" gives you a higher chance of receiving more advanced power-ups or your character's signature special. I liked this idea in the game since it provides plenty of depth and allows for strategizing while racing. At the same time, the way some power-ups work could use refinement. For example, it'd be great to have an indication of when you have a homing projectile on your ass just so that if you have something to counter with, you can do so. But no, the game doesn't tell you anything. When it comes to the sense of speed and how drifting feels, I can say the game got those two right. There are no mini-turbos to be earned from drifting, but how each girl turns feels subtle and responsive, especially if you pick a character with a high drift attribute.


    Outside of its story mode, the game lacks single-player content. No Grand Prix Mode, no tournaments, no mirrored tracks, no speedier classes, no time trials, no image gallery to unlock, there's nothing else in the game to keep you hooked to its interesting core mechanics. The tracks themselves feature nice, creative designs and layouts, and there's a decent selection of 20 of them. They feature alternate paths and shortcuts for you to take if you're crafty enough with your power-ups. Going back to the layouts, they were all fun to race on, with only two being kind of frustrating: Misty Lake & Voile Library.




    These two were my favorite gals here. And yes, exploding horribly is fun 83


    When it comes to the presentation, I rarely bash games for having weak graphics, but damn, GS's visuals are hella dated. Its 3D elements look like they could be from an early PS2 game. Character 3D models are crude-looking and lack animations, and the stages also feature simple geometry everywhere. Fortunately enough, the stage's design and original theme do hold up despite the primitive visuals. The menu's 2D art featuring the Touhou gals looks pretty good with vivid, colorful, expressive artwork. Moving onto the sound part, composers SOUND HOLIC, StarDrops & U2 Akiyama delivered an outstanding assortment of remixes of classic Touhou themes. There are probably less than two dozen or so songs, but their quality and composition are exceedingly good and a perfect fit for the different tracks in the game. Sometimes they can be cheery; other times, they can be eerie. They can also feature some sick dancy beats, but in the end, they're all positively 100% rocking when they need to. I always like to share standouts so that people know what to expect. Choosing these five tracks was particularly tough because they're all pretty good:

    Gensou SkyDrift, unfortunately, suffers from a severe case of lazy trophy implementation. All you have to do is beat the campaign mode twice (which is easy), use every character and race on every track, beat your own ghost, and that's it. There's online to be done, too, but the game only asks you to play 1 Free Match & 10 Ranked Matches. The whole trophy list can be finished in a single afternoon if you set your mind to it. It doesn't challenge the player nor provides reasons to stick around. In addition to this, all trophies share the same JPEG image. They even messed up on the copypasting at some point because Played Voile Library in VERSUS Mode carries the description of the previous trophy even though it pops for playing in Sea of Tranquility. Like, come on, that's just peak laziness there. 



    You should have given me the catgirl right from the start, game, not after I was done with everything xxD


    TL;DR: So, not the H-game about "riding anime girls" you're thinking about, but a frankly competent kart racer. I'm surprised at the bad reviews online. In my opinion, it gets the two fundamentals of an enjoyable racing game very well: tight, deep gameplay & a kickass soundtrack. Nevertheless, it's lacking severely in other areas, such as single-player content via extra modes or a better presentation. For Touhou fans, it undoubtedly delivers. For racing fans, it might be a curious game that you might want to give a go at the right price. For everyone else, there are better racing games out there. 


    There's plenty of potential here. A sequel could iron out these shortcomings and elevate the game further. Here's hoping I can have a chance to ride the Touhou gals again in the future.

    1. Show previous comments  8 more
    2. Yuber6969


      Congrats! You made this sound like a pretty shitty game, but what I see is an easy kart racer. In other words, a racing game I can actually plat! xD


      Will wishlist this one.

    3. Flubberwunked


      Congrats! Glad to hear that you enjoyed it despite it having a few flaws. I bought this game when I was searching the newly released games and I was so down to play a Touhou kart racer lol. It was a good time, but the trophy list and its requirements left me wanting more. The Platinum trophy also suffers from laziness as the trophy name "You're Sky Drifter" doesn't sound quite right and the text "Completed all achievement." under it looks pretty bad lol. 

      It's a pretty fun racing game with some good mechanics although I wish they put more effort into the 3D models to make them look as good as the artwork. Gensokyo Defenders also looks pretty rough, but it's still a fun tower defense game that I would highly recommend 👍

      I see that you're also a fan of Reisen 👀, but my duo was just Cirno as the rider (lol) and Flandre at the bottom doing all the flying. 

    4. Honor_Hand


      @Yuber6969 No, it's a pretty decent game actually. But yeah, it's a very easy kart racer. No way I can see the Yuber messing this one up, lol. xD


      @Flubberwunked This one was a pretty good experiment for a Touhou racer I'd say. ^^ Idk, I felt it got the most important part of a racing game right, but then, the trophy list and lack of modes are so empty that they only leave you wanting more. Now that you mention it, yeah, the platinum trophy's title and its description sound super lazy too. They could've tried to put more effort there. Hopefully, if they ever revisit this Touhou racer idea, they'll be able to deliver a more complete package of it because what they have here it's pretty solid overall. =)


      Awesome! Thanks for that recommendation on Gensokyo Defenders too. I already had it on my wishlist. I like tower defense games too and even if it looks rough, so long as the gameplay holds up, it should be a good time.


      Lol with Cirno as the rider. xxD What can I say about Reisen? Bunny girls are great too. 🐇👀

  13. Yellow Iris from Battle Circuit, mm-hmm. 👀 She had a cameo in UMvC3 as an alternate skin for Felicia, so your "bootleg green Felicia" comparison is not too far off from the mark. xxD I'd so play with her...in the game, of course. 😌 I love the beat 'ems so the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle is an obligatory pick for me at some point. Funnily enough, Final Fight is the only game there I'm familiar with. Everything else there is going to be new for me. Highly looking forward to Battle Circuit for obvious reasons. The only big downside I see to the collection is the easy trophy list it has, as it doesn't challenge the player too much compared to other similar games out there with more demanding lists.
  14. Excellent work on completing Titanfall 2, Aiha. I actually added that one to my profile a couple of months back amidst fear of a possible server issue/closure/something that could've rendered those online trophies unobtainable. So I picked the game for what was essentially dollar change money and did the online at the time. The FPS angle always catches my attention, and the fact that it got so much praise led me to check it out, although admittedly, before checking your review here, I had zero idea what the game was about. Now I know titans will be falling from the sky, lol. xxD But really, great work on this one. Outstanding job on that Gauntlet level too. I saw the video of your successful attempt, and you played like a boss. Now, 10 hours? Damn. I remember previous CoD's had challenging speedruns in their tutorial levels, but this one here sounds particularly tough. Now I am all the more interested in checking this one out to see if it's really that hard.
  15. Bratty girls do the trick for me too, not gonna lie. 😌 Mm-hmm, and what a fine work the artist did on her submission. I remember it pretty well. Easy to see why she'd get the most upvotes there. ;D TOTSUGEKI!!! 🐬 Kinda... xxD Yeah, most of the girls under that section are from, I believe, their mobile gacha game Senran Kagura: New Link. Since I didn't know most of them, they ended up on that part of my tier. That and transformations as well, I opted to put those on that side as well. Looking forward to that tier list after you're done with Peach Beach Splash. ;D Really liked the concept of that one. It has some performance issues and lacks a bit of the story hook of the main games but the gameplay is solid. Plus getting all those girls wet is always worth it~ 8D