Link, the SSB kind

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2011 by link6616

Look up some tourney quality link videos now. Type in SSBM or SSBB and link vs in to youtube and watch a vid or two…

Link is focused on a very special element of fighting games and one I’m always happy to play with. Thats one of dynamism, the ability to be very dynamic. Link’s very unique combination of projectiles allow him to create a near endless amount of complex situations which force your opponent to deal with many things at once.

This ability to create so many situations makes Link’s gameplay much more reliant on understanding the properties, uses and the interactivity of these.  And it’s this aspect that makes Link a joy to play. The constant play almost against your self of testing how you can interact with your own skills, aswell as the opponent is a blast. Getting that boomerang to stun them on the way back to you so your bomb hits is a joy to watch, and combines the very best of zoning and your own position given the arcs and physics behind Smash’s engine.

If you are wanting to design a character who’s more about the what should I do rather than the how, link is an excellent example of how to pull that off while still being fun.

Also, if you ever want to vs me in SSB games, be warned I play a mean Link.

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Dragon Quest V, first impressions

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2011 by link6616

Over the last two days, I’ve managed to play about… 2 hours of DQV, which isn’t much… But with DQ, you always know what you are in for… Doesn’t stop it from being fun though.

One of the interesting things about DQV is that you play through the life of your character, witnessing his birth his time as a boy of six, and presumably some other ages. And what I like about it so far, is that the game makes you feel your character is that age… Although the fighting of monsters is kinda silly for a child of that age, the game kinda sets it up nicely…

The first dungeon is you going into a cave having be sent to play, and finding a man there, and helping him out, the 2nd dungeon’s premise is a childish challenge to go into a haunted house which if you get rid of the ghosts, will stop a cat from being teased…

These set ups, along with things like “You looked at the book shelf, but you can’t read yet’ and the way the characters treat and talk to you makes it a believable enough childhood to be just pleasantly enjoyable. So, so far, I’m giving this nice pleasant RPG the thumbs up

Rhythm Action: The ultimate relaxation

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6, 2011 by link6616

First up: Did you know the basis of hypnosis comes from intense focus followed by the willingness to follow commands.

That might be a light simplification, but have you ever played Guitar Hero, and then just have the song end without you noticing, in a state of mind so pure that you literally stopped thinking.

That’s right! Rhythm games are the only genre whose ultimate success is you totally zoning out and being hypnotized to follow the games commands perfectly.

For this reason, the ability these games above all else to create a purely empty mind, makes them incredibly relaxing. Obviously when you are playing at a level you can’t really perform at, it’s a little stressful, but something you can do, can be extremely relaxing and offer the same benefits as meditation, a practice I’ve admired, but found impossible to reap the benefits as there is too much to think about in this world to just stop thinking of your own free will.

While failure admittedly can cause stress, for some more than others, once you’ve obtained a basic mastery of the games concepts, you should be able to judge what kind of song gets that flow requirement right, to put you in a state of peace.

Who knows, maybe guitar hero isn’t just for parties, but for relaxation too!

Why I collect games.

Posted in Collection on February 5, 2011 by link6616

Collections are important, and as child I was exposed to a mighty collection of books my father owned. It was often joked about how many books he had. They covered a large range of topics, styles and cultures. With books like the Koran, CS Lewis, Discworld and the Bible all sitting side by side. I never saw most of them being read, but they all had pride of place on shelf. Books of all sizes, colours and themes.

But it’s not just about knowledge, or even about reading them in many cases. It’s about passion.

The one thing my father’s collection of books taught me wasn’t to catalog obsessively, to never touch these things to maintain their value or anything like that, these books were collected solely out of a passion for the things they contain or represent. They’d be lend out to people, they’d be off the shelf for weeks being read all over the house, the collection didn’t sit behind a glass cabinet not being touched by dirty little children. The state most big collections live their entire lives in.

It was an exciting place to explore and wander through, and because I could explore that world, and get the context of that from my father, I have a great respect for books, various authors and so on.

I’m a passionate gamer, and I want to create that kind of environment for someone else, and that is why I collect.

Finally added facebook and twitter support…

Posted in Announcements on February 5, 2011 by link6616

If you’ve befriended me via twitter or facebook (both are their sites /link6616) you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve finally added integration with those two sites, meaning in theory, when I make a new post it should update on both those channels.

If you are new to the blog, you’ll probably notice there isn’t much here, mainly because there isn’t. But start with After a thorough examination as it’s easily the best article on the site, which is mainly because it’s the only one really proof read too…

Anyway, I hope people will occasionally find things of interest here, and don’t be afraid to comment. Also, if in one of the articles you’d like me to explain something I’ve just glossed over, don’t be afraid to ask via those same comments

Combat in Birth By Sleep

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2011 by link6616

Birth By Sleep is a really nice game…

Now, context for that statement. I love combat in the game, while KH has fun combat in general, there have been some issues  that BBS deals with in clever simple ways.

KH2 ushered in some lightning fast combat that was far too automated… BBS can have this problem (especially if you aren’t playing on proud mode, which you should in BBS as it’s not as stupid as other KH games’ proud mode), but typically it doesn’t. BBS simplifies and creates more complexity in combat using it’s command deck, styles and D links, which I’ll get to in order

Your command deck is basically all the skills and moves you can use, starting with 3, and capping at 8 by the end of the game (by which point you’ll find moves taking up multiple slots too). Each ability can be used once, and then has to recharge, so when creating a command deck, you have to decide if you want flexibility or the ability to do something frequently. One of the nice things about skills is that some of them allow you to get various items and abilities earlier because they move you in various ways.

Command styles are a fairly new addition to the franchise overall… Basically as you do anything offensive your command gauge builds up and once it’s full (which isn’t very long) one of two things can happen:

If you have fufilled a requirement for a command style, you change to that style

If you haven’t do a ‘finish move’

Typically, the finish moves are not that impressive, but do have some uses here and there, so it’s normally best to go for the command style. Command styles typically give you an elemental ability attached to your weapon, increased range power, aswell as the ability to either go into a more powerful style or unleash a very powerful finisher. You acquire the styles throughout the story, and each one has a different requirement. Typically it’s to use certain elemental magics/attack although they can be awarded for other reasons.

The requirements are pretty forgiving, typically if you use a single elemental spell just once to fill up your gauge, you’ll be likely to go to that style, however given the impact styles can have on what you do, it’s important to keep track of what you do in battle, and how your command deck is set up. If you don’t have an Ice command style yet, maybe you should consider taking out all the ice spells in your deck.

The interactions between these two systems is nice, and forces you to think about what you really want, although sadly the importance of picking the right style isn’t very high, and so it falls flat a little…

D-Links are pretty worthless as a system though. Basically they only truely serve to heal you and give you access to another characters skills. Which one in a while might save you, but often since you aren’t used to the skill set, you aren’t able to play as well as you might normally have. This system doesn’t interact with you in the long run either… making it the needless extra summons were in the first 2 games.

A kingdom hearts rant (BBS is actually good)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2011 by link6616

Yes, I’ve enjoyed the Kingdom Hearts games… The only one I’ve truly disliked is 358/2 days and that’s just because it was dull.

The major complaints about the series (for me) are the plot is largely dull, and the interesting pieces are sparse through out it, despite the fact the story is actually interesting when it’s telling you it. But I think the story of kingdom hearts is an issue for a later date.

The other major complaint I have with the series on the whole is that it seems forced to dilute the experience with a lot of needless content that you have to trudge though. The 2 core titles with their gummy ship sequences and Chain Of memories (CoM) while having less of the garbage, can get quite annoying with opening doors (which later on require very exact assortments of items which can lead to a lot of tedious grinding).

I was fortunate enough to have an Action Replay and hack in all the door opening cards for CoM, and it moves from being a good but flawed game to being an amazing game.

You could fault the series for a lot of other reasons, like bad platforming, annoying camera, being made by Square (at least that’s what some people will tell you), and how the games have many systems which you can ignore. And these are mostly true of BBS too. But in this day and age I don’t expect a pure experience from most things, and BBS keeps these sequences brief and painless.

So, given I hate so much, what is it I love about Kingdom Hearts, and BBS in particular?

Combat.

The Kingdom Hearts series has really fun fast paced combat, making mass slaughter for various absences (heartless, nobodies, unverse) a lot of fun. KH1 is a little slow paced, and has a few nagging annoyances in how some of the systems work. KH2 is frantic and insane, but can be far too automated, along with magic, summons and team attacks competing for your MP, and team attacks or healing were the best options for the most part, meaning KH2’s fights could be summed up by

Mash Attack
if not hurt and team attack appears
Reaction command team attack
if hurt and has MP
heal

Presumably Proud (hard) mode forces you to use a little more cunning, but given it’s a long game with many annoying minigames and sequences meant I didn’t care, and will never play through it again.

So, now you’ve read half an essay you want to hear about the latest game in series, right. Well you’ll be pleased to know that the game starts much quicker than the first two’s horrendous starts.

And what’s more, it allows you to skip the starting tutorial the 2nd time you play!!! Sure, SE know you’ll play the game 3 times to play with each character, however, too many games force awkward long and dull tutorials on you meaning the chances of you playing them a second time are slim, so removal of these is always a welcome thing.

In Birth By Sleep, you play as one of 3 keyblade masters, Ventus (Ven), the Roxas clone who is the fast and full out aggro character who looks up at others, Terra, the slow but deadly character whose plot line seems to mimic riku’s battle with the darkness, and Aqua (pronounced Arkuwa by the cast, not Ackuwa), the nimble mage who is devoutly loyal to her duties.

All three plots run concurrently with each other, and each character plays a different role in the story, but, having only played Aqua’s story fully and half of ventus’ it seems that Terra gets everywhere first and does something that looks evil, Ven fixes that thing, but something is left unresolved, Aqua then arrives to save the day… after everyone else.

I’m placing my bets that aqua’s story is the weakest link of the 3, there is no hook to her story to keep you there, no mystery for her to solve, just to get the other 2 back. Ventus actually has stuff happen, meets characters who are going to be important later and so on. About the only interesting thing in Aqua’s story thematically is that Light creates Darkness, however, at the same time, I’m willing to assume Aqua’s story makes much more sense when giving the context of the other 2 stories…

But, overall the tale of birth by sleep is not terribly interesting. On the plus side, the amount of unneeded cutscenes is remarkably few outside of the shared but slightly extended/shorted cutscenes in each characters story. It’s a compelling enough tale to give purpose though.

Hmm, that might be pushing it for length as it is,  I’ll talk about combat in another post.