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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Next post will be a discussion of sorts. A forum if you will. So now I need your votes on a topic. I feel that reader participation has been much too low, mayhap my fault, which makes me utterly depressed and uninspired to write. So here are the topics:

-Monster Hunter Tri and being motivated to grind

-Experiences in the World of Warcraft and why people still play

-The future of video gaming, in all its vague glory

-Retro, and why I think people as young as me and younger than me are posers if they say they’re into retro games

Now comment. Which topic, and why?

Do it or there won’t be any Saucy Sunday!!

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Read this if you haven’t already

I like EVE. Perhaps even more than playing it, which I found fairly satisfying, I like reading about it. It’s a great boon to an MMO where the developers are always trying to push the boundaries for what can be done. Where WoW rehashes old ideas to make them work better, EVE comes up with completely new stuff. I mean, EVE has a fully working economy created by players. We hardly have that in the real world.

The expansion Tyrannis seeks to further EVE’s climb to awesomeness by giving players the choice to colonize planets so they can start making profits from resource production. I picture the corporations  in zero-sec sectors fighting tooth and nail to secure systems so no other people can come to their planets and steal their resources. Pretty goddamned spiffy right?

I know you said yes. So I know you’ll agree with me that Dust 514 seems like helluva sweet idea aswell.  While the gameplay vids released to date have triggered lukewarm feelings inside of me, the potential of the game tickles my balls. I like online FPS games, and bigger is no doubt better. MAG sucked, but I mean, BF2BC is pretty awesome. So, the formula isn’t flawed, it’s just that they have have to nail the execution. And CCP is one of the few gaming industry devs that I have faith in. I look forward to seeing the future development of the EVE franchise.

So, what are your thoughts on the matter. RTS inspired FPS meets the huge dynamic world of EVE, bound to fail or bound for glory?

There’s a very fine line between the awesome and the absurd. At what point when we see something that’s supposed to be cool, do we think it’s just over the top and stupid? Where do we draw the line between cool and redundant? I don’t know. These are hard questions to answer, mostly relating to them being highly subjective. Kind of like anime for example. Some people like anime. I used to like it, but these days I’m put off by the genre because of their high-tailing stories and stupid special moves. And yet, one of my favourite series ever is Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann. An anime where galaxies are thrown as shurikens.

It may be that to appreciate the absurdity of it all, it must be so absurd that our brains can’t register how over the top it is. That’s how I feel about Tengen Toppa anyways (You oughta check it out, you’ll be surprised at how serious it is, amidst all the absurdity).

Anyways. Today I was blown away. Monster Hunter has a way with making weapons feel right. Smashing your hammer into the face of a Great Jaggi just feels right. But we’ve gone over why already. But today, when I thought I couldn’t love Monster Hunter any more than I already did, I got my hands on the Switch Axe. It’s kind of like the Matrix. You have to see it for yourself to believe it. And even then, you probably need to try it to really understand how awesome this is.

MHFU introduced the gunlance. A weapon that’s uncontestably one of the most awesome weapons in gaming history. You stab it into the maw of some unwitting beast and blow its face off with a shell. That’s pretty spiffy. But Capcom doesn’t settle for just awesome. They went ahead and made the Switch Axe. On some basic mental level in my mind I know that I should be questioning the very existance of this weapon. It’s a mechanical beast that switches from axe to sword and blasts shit. It’s absurd. But it’s also fucking cool.

I think it’s time all of you people got yourselves a Wii and Monster Hunter Tri. The hunt is on.

Here’s the review of Monster Hunter Tri: It is awesome.

You might be taken aback by that statement.

“What…? He’s had the game for a couple of hours, and he says it’s awesome. He’s hardly played it… Unprofessional, man.”

I’ve got a middle finger for you here if you think what I’m hustling is unbiased opinions. Here’s a fact at least. I bloody love Monster Hunter. MHFU is easily one of my favourite games ever, and Monster Hunter Tri is an updated version of this with a sweet looking sheen to it. So, this game was a hit from the get-go, it never had the chance to disappoint simply because it was what it was.

I think I may make what I just did my standard. I quite enjoy when you get the low-down of the game at the beginning of the review, and can get into the details later. So here are the details.

If you still don’t know what the Monster Hunter Franchise is, then here’s a quick run down. Monster Hunter is the beast from the East. In Japan Monster Hunter is quite understandably huge. In the EU and the US we didn’t quite catch on to this with the release of MHFU. Shitty marketing and a formula that may or may not have been suited for the western crowd made sure that the game went under the radar for most people. It would have for me aswell, if not for a Eurogamer review that peaked my interest. It only got an eight, but there was something about the art direction that made me consider it. I do not regret my decision. It taught to me the joy of the small things in games. Like for example, lodging a sword weighing more than a sumo wrestler in the neck of a prehistoric burrowing sand dinosaur and then doing a cheer gesture on its oversized corpse. It’s a game about fighting bosses at its core. But it’s a game with many subtleties tying into the gameplay which leads it to be a wholly satisfying and wonderful experience.

On to some first impressions of Monster Hunter Tri. It all starts in a village. As it always does. Off the bat I’m swept away by the cozy presentation. Once again, take heed, I’m a sucker for the type of visceral panache Monster Hunter offers. The camera shows a boat arriving, hinting that you the player are on board. Then we get some snippets of village life. It all serves to create a very cozy atmosphere. And then an ominous rumble. Then you get to enter into the gameplay.

You arrive at a sea-side village as a rookie Monster Hunter to deal with the vicious Lagiacrus. That’s your mission. But you’re only a rookie so you’ll need to get experienced in hunting, gather arms and armor, and buff up to become a general badass. So you start off doing things to help out the village after the ominous rumbling who scared some farm hands off, and ruined some village amenities. That’s essentially the tutorial. Unlike the past games where you could get into the questing immediately, here you must go through the rookie process. I can’t commit to whining about it, since Tri introduces many new features that were wholly unfamiliar to me. The beginning really serves to ease you into the Monster Hunter way. I expect this game will be easier to approach for a beginner than MHFU was. All in all a great cozy start.

The only weapon I have tried out has been the great sword. One of my preferred weapons from MHFU. It doesn’t quite act like in the previous game. Sure, it’s essentially the same. But there are some minor differences. It is for example harder to adjust facing direction while in a combo. Meaning you must read your prey better when attacking, because once you’re in the chain it’s more difficult to get hits in where you want them unless you’ve placed yourself strategically. Also the vertical attack button now gets you three swipes, as opposed to in the previous game, having to alternate horisontal, vertical, horisontal to make a chain. I quite like the middle attack in the chain, where you basically slam the beast with the flat side of the blade. It was really satisfying to see the Jaggi I fought out  in the wilderness feel the brunt of that particular attack and fly off limp and utterly dead to the side.

It was also pretty awesome to be rammed by the Jaggi. As you get slammed backwards your character regains balance midair and grabs for the ground making a pretty awesome looking recovery. They haven’t lost any of their animation awesomeness. That’s it for tonight, more to come on this fantastic game.

Spent the last two days checking out video reviews of Monster Hunter Tri. With its EU release on Friday I’ll soon be hunting on new pastures. If you want to check out what people think of the Wii installment of the Monster Hunter franchise you can head on over to gametrailers.com, eurogamer.net or IGN.com.

There’s been a lot of Monster Hunter rants in this blog. And maybe that’s why I only have a dozen or so readers. It makes me question why I bother blogging. The people who read this blog, will in most cases have to suffer through my opinions about games either way. So I’ve begun asking myself why I blog. I think it started out as some utopian dream that I’d have hundreds of readers. Well, things didn’t really pan out that way. So after a while I started rationalizing. “I’m blogging for myself.” After rationalizing further I had to come to the sore conclusion, that if I was blogging for myself it wouldn’t be such a goddamned chore writing a post every set date. The problem is this. Sometimes I want to write things about games. But only sometimes. Not all the time. So why have a blog where people expect to read about something every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday if you don’t really want to say anything every day? I don’t know. I’ll try to figure it out but we’ll see.

I’m back!

So, being away from the city, out in the beautiful wilderness, of course left me with only one thing to do. Playing Monster Hunter. I did actually enjoy snowboarding aswell, but from a gaming perspective, the journey west was very successful. I downed Shen Gaoren and crafted the True Devil Slicer. All in all pretty swell. If not for the fact that I got my ass handed to me by the high ranking White Monoblos and regular Monoblos. So, now begins the process of figuring out how to kill them so I can tear their guts out to string me a bow.

I like games that completely consume my mind. Except for the times when it infects my brain to the point where I can’t sleep because I’m thinking of some stupid strategy to get me that gut bow. Since I wasn’t gonna post anything today I’ll make this short and sweet. So to finish this saucy sunday off I’ll link you this neat trailer:

http://www.gametrailers.com/video/ashes-to-gears-of-war/64419

This is a timed update. I sent this post to the robotic overmind for automatic uploading because I am away this Sunday and for the rest of the week. So expect no blog posts!

I hope the robot managed to deliver this.

Today feels uninspired. Some days there are just not a whole lot of things going on. Especially gaming news-wise. Generally the only times we get to hear about awesome games and how awesome they are, is when there are gaming conventions. E3 for example is the summer’s long awaited gaming reveal bonanza. After that delicious time of announcements, however, there is the silence. The silence that generally lasts until Blizzcon when Blizzard reveal their next franchise reboot. Which reminds me, they did not reveal the new IP that was promised during the last Blizzcon!

There are, of course, always sporadic announcements. It’s just that big titles never tend to come on a Thursday the 8th of April. But, if you’re interested in checking out a neat looking game, you should head on over to your preferred gaming site and type in The Witcher 2 into the search field. The released vids are hella spiffy. Looking forward to this atypical fantasy rpg. More juice from former Soviet!

Today’s post will be a somber one. So if you’re in the mood for some cheerful reading you can head on over somewhere else.

Earlier in the day, when I was doing my morning web-browsing I saw a news report about the war in Iraq. More specifically the report detailed the murder of a number of civilians by an american Apache helicopter. I didn’t take much note of it, thinking to myself simply “goddamned hacks” and went about my business. Some time later during the day I decided to watch the clip.

It all begins from the perspective of the gunner cam of the helicopter. This being very familiar to anyone who has played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Just as the war criminal was about to open fire I thought to myself; “Don’t shirk away, it’s probably pretty graphic, but it happens everyday.”. Seeing the civilians being gunned down didn’t even leave me with a note of remorse. I simply thought that the gung ho bravado the Air Force gunner displayed as he was commenting the murders was retarded. Even if they had been armed, one would hope that a soldier at least shows a modicum of respect for the fact that he’s just made sure someone’s family will never see their father, son or brother again.

So, at first I was simply not feeling anything, and after a while I felt rather sick about myself for not feeling anything. “Have I really become this jaded?” was the thought that popped into my head. Steeled by the gaming industry I watched on. And I must admit, what i saw from there made me feel awful. It turns out I’m not completely fucked in the head. Not even the black and white of the gunner cam could filter out the tragedy of the whole event. Rather than being a sudden pang of sadness for the fact that things like this happen, it crept up on me the more I watched. For those that don’t feel like watching the clip that can be found on Youtube, the summary is something like this:

Wounded man tries to crawl away. Gunner rants about how he wants him to pick up a gun so he can shoot him. Van comes to pick up wounded man. Fire at will is granted. Van and men trying to save the man is destroyed. Troops arrive. Two children are found wounded in the van.

There is no radio chatter from the chopper when the marines arrive, but I wonder what the gunner thought to himself when he sees the ground-team running the children to the medivac.

As horrible as this whole event is, it got me thinking about violence in games. The best of games can have you crying because a character dies. For me FFVII comes to mind. But however well the story delivers the impact of the death, I don’t think we ever compute the event as being anything related to the real thing. Death is never final in games. With Aeries all I have to do is start the game over again, and I can relive those happy moments for Cloud. There’s no such thing for real life, no quickload button to remove that bullet from your head.

Are we really becoming jaded about violence and death? I doubt it. Seeing a news reel showing off corpses and mayhem somewhere is likely to give little cause to raise your eyebrows. But when you face the real thing, in all its somber glory, I don’t think it matters how many civilians you shot in Moder Warfare 2. So, somehow I think the critics of violence in video games are missing the mark. We’re not really becoming jaded. We’re just playing, over and over again, bits and snippets of every day happenings around the world. Whether it be shooting “insurgents” or stabbing a man in the chest, it’s happening somewhere in the world. Maybe they should put their efforts there first.

Since I feel too few people play Mount & Blade I have decided to make a running blog post story. It’ll be done with a little twist, but in the end I should be able to show off all neat features of the game. Note that I am not endorsed by Taleworld in any way, Warband just happens to be the game I am playing right now, and as such I’m unable to process any other peripheral games at the moment. In a while maybe I can write some posts about the trivial games that are currently on the horizon.

The Journey of Temujin

Mount & Blade is a roleplaying game at its core. While it does merge several types of games, it all begins in a character creation screen.

So, before we start out we answer a few questions regarding your characters past. Who was your father? What did you work with before adventuring? Why did you leave your home to seek out adventure? While these questions do not have any impact on story-related events while playing, they do confer stats and equipment from the start. So choosing these will likely influence what type of character you will be playing.

After answering the starter questions you get to create a look for your man or woman. I made mine look like a Khergit Horseman. There’s a surprising amount of tweaking available, so you can make your character look as decent or retarded as you feel like.

In the above screen you assign your skills. As you can see there’s quite a bit to choose from. But the explanation is as follows. The left side lets you add attributes. These govern the maximum of any skill you can have and give bonuses to them. The middle contains the skills. From this you basically create your character, choosing from shield use, leadership and the ability to take prisoners. The system works well, and definitely makes you feel as though you’re free to create the character you want to play. On the right are the weapon skills. These govern damage and speed of strikes. So basically, if you’re not skilled at using one-handers a Nord Huscarl with a battle axe will crack your skull open before your swing hits home.

With the character creation explained, so begins the journey of Temujin, neatly named after some conquering warlord way, way back when.

Journal of Temujin

Day 1

At last I left the steppes of the East. The elders could no longer still my rage, and so I took a caravan to Tulga, heart of the Khanate. The spirits must have guided us safely home, because no less than three times could I see steppe bandits on the ridges watching us. Like vultures waiting for the time to sweep in they crept out of distance. An armored traveler guiding us through the windlands said they wouldn’t strike while we were still waking. Hearing that I decided I would keep an eye open during nighttime, those dogs would have made great target practice for my newly strung bow. My endeavor proved disappointing.

We arrived at Tulga as the sun was setting. Cities are odd things. The buldings can’t be moved, so they must always stand there. Never can they follow the herd. I do not understand it. The elders had told me that there would always be people wandering about, trading and being loud. I found this to be untrue. As it was late when we arrived it seemed like they had all gone to their houses. The caravan master urged us to find an inn to rest, but I wanted to see this place for myself. So I wandered the streets alone. My exploration was cut short by a broadhead digging its way into a cart beside me.

The robber’s aim was untrue, and his will forsaken by the four winds. My arrows, however, found their way home into his heart. Just as I was about to search his corpse for gold a man called out to me. He ran up to me and explained how it was dangerous to walk about during the late hours. And offering his own home as refuge for the night. I took him up on the offer, wary of his intentions.

My suspicions turned out to be justified. The man was a merchant in the City. And he was in need of help to find his brother who had been kidnapped by local bandits. As the elders had warned me, the city-folk are a weak kind who cannot fend for themselves. But the man offered me coin, so I took him up on his offer. He bade me find help in the local villages so that we might attack the band of villains at their heart. I was not even given time to sleep before he had me out of the door. As the journey had not been as spending as it could have been, I decided it to be for the best if I make myself a warband as soon as I might. I need many good men for the task ahead, so I set off to gather some men from the western villages.


I managed to rally some tribesmen with the promise of gold. Tomorrow we hunt for bandits. If we can find some from the same clan who kidnapped the merchant’s brother, we can surely find out which foxhole they keep as home. We shall see what the winds bring.