So, had an irritating go on MHW in that I’m fighting a Kula-Ya-Ku or Great Jagras, with about 50-75 points extra of armour defence and does it make a damn difference to the fights? No. At one point Jagras manages to land a big hit and it has the same 50% health whack as when I had the lower defence which makes a mockery of its entire crafting structure. The Kulu fight did similarly cheap crap and it’s pretty demotivating in terms of incentive to play the game. If the better armour doesn’t reduce the hit, why bother with it all?
I’ve started replaying Kid Icarus Uprising, which I got about six chapters into (I have no idea how much of the game that is) a few years ago and then lost interest in and dropped.
Immediately, I was reminded of why I wasn’t compelled to finish it. There is absolutely no comfortable way to hold and control it. On paper it sounds fine - move with the circle pad, shoot with the shoulder button and aim with either the face buttons, analogue nub or stylus. But it’s just really awkward in practice, especially trying to turn in the on-foot sections. I ended up using the stand that comes with the game (an admission of control failure if ever there was one!) and it helps a bit, but not much. If ever there was a 3DS game crying out for a Switch remake, it’s this, which would benefit massively from twin sticks or motion controls.
I had a go on the online multiplayer for the first time too. The game’s six years old and I got a game no problem. No idea what was going on in it, mind, but there was lots of explosions and I got loads of rewards, so I guess it went well?
So 90 hours in and I’m slowly getting the hang of MHW - I’m sure others have done this much, much faster!
Had a new longsword, had the camera set to far, tried it out on the agile bastard that is Tzitiki (high rank variant). Despite him getting a few lucky hits in,. I dodged more so will be looking into the Evade armour skills. Defence held up better too. Have finally worked out to read the heartbeat for the monster in the bottom left corner and had a Shamos tailrider to harass the hell out of it. Also finally purchased the Armourstone or whatever it’s called, next will be the one that ups the attack. The item did seem to make its effect felt.
Also found some new investigations that allow me to go after the king bastards that are Odogaron and Toda-Kadichi, but with 5 faints allowed instead of 3 - that’s a major advantage, will have to try that.
So a game of two halves earlier…
First, not a good half. Tried Nerg again and again Nerg gets to ignore Guard, Defence and just about every other stat it wants to. Tried taking out a Dodogama, as I’d got reasonably far with it in expedition before it legged it. Got it to near death and what happens, it brings out instant one-hit kill moves. Then Bazelgeuse interrupts what was supposed to be a private punch-up. Next time, the ground gets literally dropped a foot, trapping me so he gets shot by halitosis fire breath. So, massively fucking frustrating.
Things got a bit better later as I got a Bazelgeuse Talon without even doing anything - the king bastard picked a fight, it got broken and if that happens, you get the parts. Cue a major, permanent defence upgrade. I then tried the same Jagras Blade that almost killed Dodogama on a load of Gastodon and it was a slaughter. With enough cash, I then upgraded one of the longswords and killed two Toba-Kadichi to start building a thunderlance. Might have a chance on the high rank version - or it’ll be stupidly overpowered like the others.
The “challenge” of the game still boils down to that it nerfs you. Defence ought to allow your character to not get stunned, it doesn’t. You can’t cancel animations. The camera does not track your enemy. Everything is done manually and done slowly - you’ll watch your character eat a shitload of food in a cutscene and find in the field, it takes its damn time to do anything. Hell, you’ll press the button, expecting action to follow and it doesn’t because it didn’t register, instead you get it on the second or third press.
The game areas look wonderful and the monster animation is quite something, but I remain looking at this game thinking it could be so much better than it is. The only thing it really exemplifies is the idea of a live service game that doesn’t rip off its consumer. That it’s core gameplay is as addictive as it is to overcome all its self-inflicted flaws is impressive, but what it would be without those? So much better.
Halo 1 will always be a classic. I like 2 as well because of the new stuff like twin guns and being able to drive the enemy tanks. And who doesn’t like playing the ARbiter?
I also am getting back into MMO’s with an old game called Guildwars 2. The world is so huge, I cannot even map it all since I only play occasionally. That’s ok though. So much still needs to be explored and I am having the time of my life just savoring the game’s eveery pixel.
Today’s MHW go started off awful - a Toba-Kadichi that wouldn’t die and a Rathian forever interfering but doing very little killing of its prey - the said Toba-Kadichi. Bloody frustrating - so had to give it another go this time. It got down to 5mins, the bastard is near-dead but isn’t going to sleep, I was aiming to capture this time, not kill, bu he just kept going at it. Then, immediately after I come out with the line ‘what is it going to take to kill you?’, wham, he’s dead.
After that did a load of casual collecting and killing, racked up both Kalu-Ya-Ku and Great Jagras. Then took a trip to Elder’s Recess.
I’m doing a Dodogama quest that isn’t working, no way do I take him out, especially as he’d whacked me twice. Then Bazelgeuse turned up… Until now, my Bazelgeuse strategy has been the Rincewind - fucking leg it! This time? This, I go with the ‘oh fuck it’ option and whack him. I’m going to get blown, that is inevitable, but I manage to get a couple of hits in, avoid a couple of explosions and a material piece drops. I dive for it, get it, it’s a Bazelgeuse talon! Exactly what I wanted and then I immediately get killed in an explosion. But I got the talon! Why does it matter? Because you can use it to give your character a permanent stat boost. I have the Defence one and it made a small but discernible difference.
I then take on Dodogama again, but this time with a water greatsword and pound his arse into the ground - which opens up a new armour set and a new camp, which was sweet.
Knowing I’m not going to top that anytime soon, I quit while I’m ahead.
I’m heading back towards ‘do not care anymore’ on MHW after tonight.
First, Nerg. There were times when I could not even see my character, never mind which direction to face. On one bit I had Guard up, but the game I was on a ledge so it didn’t count. Which was pretty much the story of the entire dumb, irritating fight.
So, decided to experiment with a new weapon, the bow. It wasn’t bad. Tried my luck on Urugaan, which went better than expected - in that he didn’t kill me outright. The big problem with this bow is my character kept putting it away. You can’t just aim and fire, no you must manually pull the bow out, then aim and fire, by the time the second it takes to draw it is done your angle of shot is gone and it happens so damn frequently. Despite all of that, I get him down to the low health level. Time’s running low so capturing? Might work. Except it doesn’t, because again the game ignored its own rules! Skull icon denoting low health? Check. Shock trapped? Check. Fire Tranq Bombs? Check. Except I dropped 8 of the fuckers on him and he just shrugs it off, so that’s 50mins up in smoke because the game can’t even stick to its own systems.
The problem here is I do need to kill these bastards to get better armour but the entire affair is so blatantly stacked against doing so, it’s not funny. Armour upgrades? Don’t make enough difference in defence. Damage output? Also artificially stunted. It’s a fucking insulting endgame structure - the only challenge is that it stops you powering up your character, while supplying shit controls with a camera to match.
Time to play something else? Probably, except even with all this that central gameplay loop is damn addictive.
So, this is how Monster Hunter gets you.
You have a bad run, you lose, 50mins of work goes up in smoke and you are cheesed off.
But.… Part of your mind suspects that there is that combination that might help, that “special set of skills” that would allow you to take out those monsters you failed on. Or, the same combination might allow you to do over some monsters to get better kit to better attempt to screw over the monsters you lost to!
And so it proves, as I just spent a good 20mins looking over armour + skill combos, with a view towards what works best for the bow, which I tried out last night and, first time out, took Urugaan to the brink of death with! As I did that I’m noticing other stuff like Defence Boost, that it technically looks lower, but with the skill and a full upgrade it might accumulate to a higher addition!
So, do I have a few ideas? Yes. Will I try them out? Probably tomorrow.
First, full Stun Resistance combined with Level 2 evasion. I trialled this on Tzitki and it was so very, very crazy as he has this stun attack that now did, well, it did sweet fuck all. Meanwhile the greater evasion distance enabled much easier hit-and-run attacks. It was impressive.
Second, I found that what I had seen as one point was actually one level. The difference? I had an evade decoration on one piece of armour, much higher level than the one with the stun resistance skill. When I put that back on, it took the evade skill up to its full Level 3 status, because the jewel contributes an entire level - which really opens up a host of options. Still pretty limited, but lot of potential combinations - which can be crafted to match to the monster being hunted.
So, tried out that evasion skill - I took out a Great Jagras in High Rank with a water greatsword, which the thing is resist to at the elemental. The amount of hits it managed to land was massively reduced!
There’s another skill that extends the invulnerabilty aspect of the evade move. So, you can guess what I’m up to - I’m trying to work out how I can have a combination of full Stun Resistance, Evade Extender and Evade Window all active at the same time - and it looks to be possible!
So, in the language of Dyer, Toba-Kadichi is a twat. … Twat. And yes, he really is - but he’s once again a dead one.
Despite Rathian having a mad-on for the thing, forever going after it but, not actually killing it! Come on Rathian, kill the bastard already.
Despite my resorting to dung pods near the end to get Rathian to leg it, only for Kadachi to leg it after the thing!
It died on the last 5min segment, though not without doing a large amount of cheating crap.
There were some major benefits, got three claws off the bastard, which was unexpected. That was enough to do the Leap Charm but there’s still some rounds left to go with the thing, as there’s other stuff I haven’t got from him and need to. So I’ll just have to carve it from the corpses of his friends.
What was very satisfying was my Galakaja companion every so often setting up a mini-cannon to bombard Toba-Kadichi, it was great. At one point I had the Galakaja, Palico and a Jagras tailrider whacking the crap out of him.
Got some new armour, slightly increased defence, don’t yet have the super-skills combo I’m aiming for.
Storyline in Just Cause 3 is dull as ditchwater and the controls are a wee bit clunky but the combination of high explosives and grappling hook, parachute and wingsuit can lead to some dramatic looking moments.
Well, sometimes at least.
Also, there’s nothing quite like tethering a deer to an aeroplane and letting it pull off some acrobatics.
Having fun with the game though more as a sandbox than a piece of narrative.
For me the story missions exist simply as a way of unlocking all the abilities. Now that is done, as far as I know, I’m just bouncing from location to location liberating everything I come across.
The Just Cause games are probably my favourite of the free-roam sandbox genre. The emphasis is exactly were it needs to be (on blowing everything up, and giving you freedom and fun over logic, reality and anything that could be called grounded). I haven’t even started the third one yet, but I completed the first two. I need to hurry up and put the hours in before the fourth one is released.
An up-and-down go on MHW today:
UP: Killed Tobe-Kadichi again, but this time in just over 15mins which is the fastest time I have ever slayed his electric arse. Only got one of the pelts I was after so did him again, but this time, this time I captured the bastard - cue 5 pelt reward! Ni-ice.
DOWN: So thinking I might be in a with a shot, I upgraded the Thunder Lance and tried Nerg again. To no fucking avail. Had upped defence / offence, had good gear, made no fucking difference whatsoever, which was more than a little disheartening as it took a lot of work getting those extras.
UP: So, went and tried out a bow on Radobaan and, to my surprise, took him low enough to be captured! The significance being that I got Urugaan down to the same level, but didn’t know the right combination of capture tools - now I do. In theory, what I did to Radobaan I can do to his big brother. Though both have an irritating tendency of being able to change their direction of roll 90 to 180 degrees on the spot! Despite that I also killed one, with a blast greatsword but it looks like I might not have to kill it to get the stuff I need for its armour.
Also, both wins were with Galakajas, Deviuljho and Odogaron interference. In contrast, this time Kadichi was remarkably solo, which was why I got to kill him so quick.
Overall, I’m getting closer to saying screw it on the final monsters. The sole reason not to is I was in the same position on Diabolos, HR Anjanath and Pink Rathian and there is a supposed super-build for fucking over Nergigante, similar to how I fucked over Diabolos. Plus, the experience of taking both of the Gaan brothers to and over the edge of death proves small damage can add up - the problem with Nergigante is staying alive long enough.
I really think they should have had difficulty tiers, it would have been very easy to implement and would actually make it the mainstream game it was marketed as, instead of the mainstream super-bastard it is.
EDIT: Forgot to mention the Yakuza Kiwami 2 demo is out. It’s a very small, but very fun slice of the game and a good intro. Did a couple of substories, beat up a load of idiots but the highlight? Did a heat move where Kiryu threw a kid off a bridge. I expected the kid to get dunked, instead he landed on a passing barge front rail, balls first. With his nuts crushed, then he fell into the river. It was a wonderful demonstration of the warped brilliance the series is known for.
When this is out, it’s going to the top of the ‘must play’ pile.
I’ve just started playing Bomber Crew which was available through Xbox game pass.
The game tasks you with managing and partially controlling the crew of a Lancaster bomber during ww2.
The games simplistic art style, a cross between 8-bit and minecraft-esque blocks, hides quite a deep and challenging real-time management game.
Your bomber crew gain experience as they complete missions and level up learning new skills as they go.
During the course of a mission they will get on with their jobs as they are trained to. However they rely on you to highlight new navigation markers, designate targets (both on the ground and fighters), ensure that repairs are undertaken, move ammo to the guns as they run out etc. This obviously needs your full focus so that you stay on top of jobs as you fly and is manageable in normal conditions. As soon as you add in enemy fighters, flak, clouds and targets it all becomes a lot more tricky.
Mission success is not dependant on your survival, just finishing your mission. This is a hard lesson to learn when you first lose a member of your crew or worse the entire plane. In my last mission I went to high altitude to shake the fighters that were chasing me but I forgot that my crew were not wearing the right flight suits for prolonged exposure to low temperatures. All but one member of the crew fell unconscious and a newly recruited gunner took control of the plane. Without a navigator though he just continued on the current flight path deeper and deeper into Europe before finally succumbing to the conditions a himself. I had to watch as the plane slowly fell from the sky. The mission was a success but I lost a highly skilled crew and a well upgraded plane.
I highly recommend giving it a try.
Let’s ride the MHW roller-coaster once more:
DOWN / UP: Hunting a high rank Anjanath in order to get Aloy armour! The down part is I had probably +100 defence than the last time I fought him and the bastard still gets to near kill me - there’s times when the game just makes mockery of its own gear system and this was one of them. On the other hand, increased offensive capability made itself noticed - I lopped off his tail, bust his head and his legs - he eventually started legging it to his nest near dead. Perfect! I was carrying the trap kits - got back, tranqed him, went for a trap, can’t, he’s on vines. OK, fine, there’s ways around this - laid it as close as I could, woke him up, lured to the trap - whammo, captured. So, good huh? Er, nope - I need four of the Nora tickets, so there’s three more rounds with this bastard left to go.
DOWN: Upgraded a lightning lance, tried Nerg once more - again to no avail, though damage was up to 30-40 depending on move which is an improvement, the problem remains staying alive but a solution might be beckoning.
UP: Took on Uragaan again, with a water bow. It did a surprising amount of small damage frequently, add in “help” from Bazelgeuse, Dodogama and an erupting lava fountain he happened to be in the vicinity of - probably racked up to 1000HP lopped off, the trick was ensuring the other monsters didn’t go for me - so each time I legged it. Once he was showing the skull icon, I legged it to his lair and it was tranq bombs then shock trap, got him this time. What’s the armour look like from him? Insane. It starts at 60. Which is higher than just about everything else save DLC enemies like Deviljho. So, going to be capturing his arse again.
UP: Did a couple of other events quests - one gave me Watcher armour set for my Palico, the other a new watersword. Duffed up Zorah Magdaros twice and finally crafted the blast longsword I’ve had on the hit list for ages.
I’m still highly critical of the “boss” structure for the main story, as regardless of the preparation, a new enemy will still be able to overpower you easily. The camera remains a major weakness as too often you cannot see what is going on, or even your character, but the game is based around being able to tell what the monster is doing and responding accordingly.
Mentioned this in another thread but didn’t want to spam it too much with images. From a street festival I went to today:
The stalls were all great and very inventive.
Those are ingenious. Never mind the kids, loads of adults would like those.
Changing tack, had a surprisingly good MHW session today. Turns out the canteen, in its new souped up form offers meals that give a major stat boost - so I went after a high rank Anjanath, for The Proving quest, that opens up the Aloy armour set, with a meal that boosted my health + stamina by 50%, upped attack and defence and buffed the Palico. Still not an easy fight, but it was easier. Managed to whack him down to the low health status, then he decided to put a last fight before giving in to leg it to sleep. Found, tranqed and trapped 'im. Got a good set of rewards, including 2 Nora Brave tickets, last time I only got 1. 4 are needed for the armour and this quest is only available until 26 July as part of the Summer Festival special they’ve got on.
I then went and, somehow, captured a Urugaan, while using a Jagras Hacker on it! This is not the kind of monster you really ought to try doing up close ‘n’ personal. On the other hand, it was in expedition mode which makes my character practically immortal! I have as long as until said monster decides to leg it out of there - by using every trick in the book, including other monsters and a lava geyser, took Urugaan far enough down that he had to sleep. I legged it after him, tranqed then shock trapped him. In a bid to get another lava nugget, tried another go at the bastard. This time he legged it, slept and recovered enough health to no longer display the skull icon - fuck it, he’s going down, tranqed, trapped, he woke up pissed, but paralysed, two more whacks of the blade got him back down to low enough and whammo! Another one captured.
The one disappointment that came out of this is that I finally got to create Urugaan Greaves, only to find its armour level is already maxed out - I can’t upgrade it further, which is a pain in the arse. On the other hand, it is better armour than what I have, so maybe I can get the other couple of pieces to also grant the armour set skill, which is supposed to be pretty hefty.
So, despite that, I am a lot closer to achieving the two goals of getting the Urugaan and Aloy armours. I only need 1 more Nora Brave ticket, then it’s all normal parts that I don’t need that specific quest for.
The past few days, I’ve been playing BS Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets. The BS is not for bullshit, but for Broadcast Satellite. This is one of the games for the Satellaview add-on for the SNES (that was only released in Japan) where games were broadcast by satellite.
Most of these were based on existing games - new tracks for F-Zero, challenge levels for Mario etc and this Zelda game is along the same lines. Reusing elements from Link to the Past, it’s essentially the second/Master quest the game didn’t come with.
You play not as Link, but the avatar from your Satellaview system (the reconstruction rom basically lets you play as a girl that looks a bit like Link or Link in a backwards baseball cap), a mysterious stranger who is the Hero of Light, transported to Hyrule to find and investigate eight mysterious stone tablets that are in the light world dungeons from LttP. You explore these across four chapters, each timed to run an hour. The time limit is part of the satellite broadcast tie-in. The Satellaview was operated by a satellite radio company, so games would show off that element. BS Zelda features a CD quality soundtrack and voice-over of the sage guiding you, Princess Zelda and a couple of others. They give you general advice, story background, but also warn you of timed events - sales in the magic shop, temporarily unlimited arrows etc.
It works quite well, with the time limit adding a level of difficulty and urgency that keeps things moving. The translated reconstruction ROM can be played two ways - with the voice-over added as subtitles across the bottom of the screen, or with a full reconstructed and translated dub. The latter is the better option, a couple of hammy performances aside (their Zelda is very good though, better than the one in Breath of the Wild). The only downside is that when you’ve got that version running, the music isn’t tied to what you’re doing or where you are, so it is just like listening to a soundtrack CD rather than an actual score. And there are a couple of moments, including the finale, where it ends up playing two different bits of music over the top of each other.
Still, odd glitches like that and one dungeon where some of the chests had already been looted (stymieing my progress, as a key was missing) aside, it’s a remarkable bit of fan coding to take this ephemeral experience and turn it into a working game. If you’ve got a SNES emulator and don’t mind having to fiddle with some patching, it’s worth checking out.