Thursday, July 2, 2015

The internet lied to me!

I finally finished Hyrule Warriors' TP map today, and it was a LOT easier than I thought it was going to be. Literally the only two A ranks I'm still missing are the ones from the upper left corner I mentioned in a previous post. THIS was the hardest it ever got. Are you serious? Whatever happened to the "you NEED everyone to be AT LEAST level 120 to even stand a chance" everyone was saying (some people going as far as throwing the 150 figure around)? As of this writing Link and Sheik are the only ones who've reached level 120, and no one else is higher than 110. It's not like I'm an amazing player or anything, I just found out yesterday that you could delay Ganondorf's combos to make his C1 bar charge faster, making said C1 virtually spammable. I figured out a very basic thing near the end of the game*! So yeah, it's not down to me being so great.

On the other hand, I tried a few missions in the MM map I couldn't A-rank on my first go, and they're much, MUCH harder than anything the TP map threw at me. So if anything deserves that "you can't 100% it without loads of grinding" reputation (Challenge Mode notwithstanding), it's MM, not TP.

*In my defense, it wasn't that useful before the MM pack came out, because back then the bar charged so slowly and there was no invincibility on the fully-charged C1, so it wasn't worth cheesing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Need pointers for Cucco's Fury!

I finally unlocked it after four attempts (I died on the first and third, and took too long by 38 seconds on the second), and tried the first two missions there, but it seems like it's going to be a lot more brutal and difficult than with Ganon, despite the latter's insane hitbox. Spamming punch-punch-punch-dodge 'til the Dinolfos come home worked well enough there, but with the giant Cucco it's going to be even less of a cakewalk. Any ideas?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The PC master race tastes dirt again

(Yeah, that's two Arkham Knight-related posts today, but that's what everyone else is talking about anyway, so why not?)

There are few gaming communities more snobby and condescendent than the followers of the almighty PC that can do no wrong (such as there being more games on Steam than any console - don't you DARE mock the exceptional quality control they have, God Newell is perfect!). Now I've mentioned before that they do have some valid points, such as modding, skipping neverending intros (I've specifically brought up the Arkham series before), and so on. But the platform has its issues, and sticking your head into the ground and acting like they don't exist isn't going to make them go away.

Consoles' biggest selling point, and the one that allows them to thrive (defying all logic, members of the Church of the Personal Computer would say), is that no knowledge of hardware is required. Here's your box, now play some games. Of course it comes at the cost of the raw performance a high-end gaming PC can have, but them's the breaks. If you're happy with what your PS4 or Xbox One gets you, and you don't want to bother learning the finer points of PC hardware and just want to play some games, well there you go.

On the developers' side, consoles are also a godsend. You just need to make your game work on two different boxes (three if your game gets a Wii U release, one if you're a first- or second-party developer), and with that you can reach millions and millions of people. PCs are more of a mess, you need to make your game work properly with an astronomical number of different configurations, and every one will respond differently to your game. You need to add many, many, MANY different quality settings to make sure both midrange PCs can run your game at all, and high-end ones can shoot for that holy grail of photorealism. And I can only imagine how much of a PITA it is. No wonder many developers make their games for consoles first and foremost, and PC's almost an afterthought.

Enter Arkham Knight. Now there have been a few calamitous PC launches for games that ran just fine on consoles over the last few years, but this is probably the most high-profile one. Problems are especially noticeable for AMD GPU users, since the Arkham series are made mostly with Nvidia cards in mind. But everyone seems to be having issues regardless, with the worst-case scenario of the game not working properly at the lowest settings with a recent, state-of-the-art graphics card actually coming true.

But the problem is that it seems like it could've been easily avoided. Arkham Origins also had a perilous PC launch, and for whatever inane reason WB decided to entrust Arkham Knight's PC porting process to the exact same company that did AO's. I mean, what were they thinking? Even Sega knew better than to give Big Red Button the mandate of making Fire and Ice.

This extraordinarily bad decision has the same effect as the crumpled masses of broken bones Batman tends to leave behind to gamers who were waiting for this. Just how anticipated was this game? Well, Arkham Origins was NOT made by Rocksteady, and while I found it a pretty good game (if only too similar to Arkham City, and not quite as good either), most people weren't so kind in their assessment. So Rocksteady, the company that made the first two entries in the series such smash hits, returned for one last go. To put it in perspective, it's as if Retro returned to make Metroid Prime 4 after the affront that was Other M (although by not even the most severe standards could AO even come close to being considered as bad as Other M, they're both perceived as obvious weak points in their respective series). And then release comes... and the game doesn't work. Yeah, I'd be pissed too.

But the outraged reaction from PC worshippers has been absolutely hilarious. This saga exposes every last item in the (admittedly somewhat short) list of weaknesses PC has compared to consoles, and they just can't fathom that their platform of choice is anything less than perfect. There's enough salt in there to kill a billion Meat Boys, and the tears are just so delicious.

Mmmm, yummy.

Wow, modern gamers suck.

So apparently you don't get the full ending to Arkham Knight unless you complete the game 100%. And amazingly, it's getting some people all kinds of pissy. Oh, God forbid we get some kind of interesting reward for taking the time to do all the side stuff. It's something we don't see nearly enough these days. All you get most of the time is an achievement. Now I'm kind of an achievement whore myself, so it's not THAT bad, but it's nice to see a game actually giving you something meaningful for putting in the extra effort.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

And here I thought Nintendo had trouble generating hype.

Always count on Square Enix to scuttle its own ship. First they announce that FF7 port and make people so angry that they go "fine, we'll make a remake like you wanted". But then they decide to tamper with it to enough of an extent that it probably won't feel like the same game. And with the way Square has been doing things over the last decade, it has people very worried - and I agree with them. The people who wanted this remake are those who grew up with it, and those people tend to despise the "modern" FF formula. Sometimes the best course of action is the easiest one, and you'd be guaranteed to please millions of people with a 1:1 remake. It doesn't need "reimagining", most people can agree on that. It was a fantastic game as it was - a bit overrated, sure, but not because the game was bad or anything, it just has crazy nutso fans. What, is late-90s "imagination" inferior by virtue of being older now? What they seem like they're doing is as if George Lucas rewrote the entire story to the original Star Wars trilogy so that it matches the horrid blandness of the prequels. You thought Greedo shooting first was a travesty? Brace yourselves, because clearly there's no getting offa this train Square's on. We're finally getting the most awaited and coveted game in existence, and they can't even give that to us without getting us worried they're gonna fuck it up.

Monday, June 22, 2015

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW

I would like to announce that I am officially pursuing the Republican nomination for the 2016 American presidential election. I mean, it's not every day that I get the chance to look THIS competent compared to the competition.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I just had to brag, didn't I?

I don't remember if it was here or somewhere else, but I recently complained about the relative lack of difficulty I ran into so far in Hyrule Warriors' legendary TP map. Even the orange section, the fourth out of six, seemed much easier than in the MM map. And going into today, I had three missions left there, the first three on the top row.

I began with the middle one, a "rack up KOs" mission that had a Heart Piece as an A-rank reward for Impa. After doing a reconnaissance run with Ruto (because she's a bit better and much better equipped in my game), I went for it with Impa, and my butthole was as tight as it could be the whole way through. Luckily the Giant Blade hits Volga's weakness, so the plan was to stay away as much as possible and nail C4 after C4 from a reasonable distance. Volga's a bitch to fight, but I got lucky and didn't get on the receiving end of his C3, which is always an "are you fucking serious" moment when you're a mile away and still get hit by it. From there on out it was a matter of hitting the Lizalfos' water weakness, trying to wear down any Dinolfos I ran into without forcing it, and running the hell away from the giant bosses. Surprisingly, there were more than enough enemies and more than enough time to get the required 1200 kills even without beating the giant bosses, so being extra careful around Dinolfos was enough to net me a tense A-rank. So far so good. (As an added bonus, a Defenseless Giant Blade dropped, which allowed me to make a really good weapon for Impa, so maybe I'll be using her more from here on out.)

Next mission was for Zant's 8-bit weapon. The mission itself wasn't that hard in terms of simple completion, but for what seemed to be the first time on this map enemies did enough damage to make the A-rank an apparent impossibility. It would've been a lot more manageable had I been able to do this with anyone BUT Zant, but as it is, even after all the damage buffs he got throughout the patching process, he's still vulnerable enough to make Ganondorf cringe. Starting right in front of a Link you have no choice but to beat is especially bad news, because his regular string alone easily deals ten hearts worth of damage. So I beat the mission just to get the hang of it (and a B-rank in the bank), tried it a few more times, took a few hits every time, then said fuck it. First time I'm leaving something on the table on this map, and I'm not surprised Zant is involved. Even Agitha had some tough missions I ended up pulling off just fine.

Finally... well, there goes that A-rank on the last mission, I thought to myself after seeing the Imprisoned's ugly mug on the preview screen. But before I could beat the old bag of scales, I was confronted to the MM's map's trademark for the first time on this map: having to take out every last officer out there, and being forced to take them on a half-dozen at once. Now this was a Ghirahim-only mission, and let it be known that Ghirahim just might be the best character for taking out a single officer from complete safety. Six at a time, though? Not a chance. This would've been Volga's department, especially considering they were all Icy Big Poes. And they had a lot of freaking health, too. They did a very reasonable amount of damage, though, which was a shame considering I had to put up with the Imprisoned. Despite the insane amount of Icy Big Poes I had to go through, if I didn't have to fight it the A-rank would've been entirely doable. But if there's something the Imprisoned's good at, it's wasting your time. It seems to have been designed to do so in the most effective (or least, as the case may be) fashion possible. So I had to swallow my pride and take another B-rank for the time being. Oh well, at least costumes don't require an A, or even a B, so at least I got Ghirahim's as a consolation prize.

tl;dr version: the moment you say something is too easy, that's the exact moment it becomes too hard. But we all know that already, don't we?