Martial Arts Adventure Island – Blade & Soul

So MMO Action RPGs are something sort of exist, but mostly on the edges of usual discussion, being attempts to remove (or at least, dampen) the cooldown musical keyboard game many traditional MMORPGs went with for their combat. Probably something that doesn’t help why they don’t get talked about is that a few tend to come from Korea, land of the notoriously grindy timesink design philosophy. Although we get a few shuttle their way over, usually with the incredibly slow progress stripped out and everything accelerated to fit, although Blade & Soul is one of those that simply didn’t come over.

Three-and-a-half years later, it’s finally getting an English release. Which is also over a year after it got a Japanese anime series. It took the long way round, which means it works quite nicely on older computers! Excellent.

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Impressions of Conquering Northern Japan on a Whim

About a month ago, there was a free weekend on Steam for Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence, a long-running Japanese grand strategy series which basically dropped off the western rear-end of the Earth since the PS2, (technically last seen in the crossover Pokémon Conquest for DS, yes, that exists, pretty good SRPG actually). I messed around with it on that weekend.

Not that you’d know there was a free weekend for the first localised instalment for a decade of the long-running series, as it wasn’t advertised on Steam anywhere. I actually found it out through a retailer’s news post, great work there. Although maybe they were hiding the astonishingly stingy sale discount of 17%. Considering it has a £50 pricetag anyway, this brought it down to… still more expensive than even higher-than average PC game price. Fallout 4’s part of that club, being £40 instead of £35, and that sale still meant Nobunaga’s Ambition was more offensive to your wallet. The game actually went on the slightly more generous discount of about 20% during the Steam autumn sale with little fanfare. Now I may be a business novice, but I know enough that this is a niche game and it was on greater discount on PS3 at the exact same time. The PS4 version was not discounted as much as the PS3 one because they needed to make this more complicated, and you can grab physical copies of it cheaper anyway, and oh this is just ridiculous.

Oh, and they sell ‘additional scenarios’ (9 of them!) for £2, or £2.50 from PSN, a pop as well. Marvellous.

Enough about floundering attempts to sell your niche, relatively-unknown grand strategy games on PCs and consoles, to the actual game itself. Which is basically the Samurai Warriors version of Feudal Japan, not surprising as it’s also a Koei Tecmo game. Although with less of entire armies being knocked senseless by one or two people, and more shooting galleries of troops formations firing stuff at each other.

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Things I Love About Guild Wars 2

The Heart of Thorns expansion hit today in the single-digit hours of the morning, and continuing from the design issues that confound me, now things I actually like about the game. This is where it gets mostly gushy, sugar warning.

What it Doesn’t Expect of You

One of things I like so much about it, is that it doesn’t expect you to play that much. It’s not assumed you will be dedicated in playing it, things are easy enough to dip in and out of, and this has only been reinforced with more comparatively recent changes, such as shuffling daily achievement rewards mostly entirely into daily log-in rewards, so simply by logging in on a day, you are immediately rewarded with something, instead of having to do some menial tasks for stuff. They don’t even need to be consecutive days. These often throw free level-up items at you, and you can easily stockpile them if you want to make new characters and drag them in high-level areas quicker if you wish.

This on top of the fact it doesn’t have a subscription service of any sort, it’s very happy with you simply not playing for a while, not forcing any sort of obligation onto you. Read the rest of this entry

Things that Baffle me about Guild Wars 2

Seeing as the expansion, Heart of Thorns, launches tomorrow to an influx of failures to login after the snail’s pace of a download that will inevitably happen, some long overdue musings on what I do and don’t like about Guild Wars 2, starting with the bad so I hopefully I don’t sound like I hopelessly bitter about it. I thought I might go for a mixed list but it got a bit long. I’m bound to miss something though. There’s always a lost niggle.


You can join multiple guilds at once in Guild Wars 2! Yay! Don’t have to have mutually-exclusive social circles!

Except you can only ‘represent’ one guild at a time, which means you can only get the bonuses of, earn the guild currency influence for, and use the guild chat of a single guild at a time, which kind of defeats most of the point of having membership of multiple guilds. The influence-earning part is also highly important, as you can only earn influence (through just playing the game mostly) for a single guild at a time, most guilds have ‘100% or 99% representation’ policies, meaning they’ll kick you out if you’re not constantly repping the guild, meaning you can’t access other guild chats, defeating the point of having multiple guilds for different social circles. Read the rest of this entry

The Ongoing Management Disaster of Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 has a major image problem at the moment, and it’s all about the upcoming first paid-for expansion they’re adding to the three-year-old game, Heart of Thorns, and how they’re messing up everything tremendously.

It was first announced, although previously highly suspected of existing prior, at the beginning of the year, just as their Living Story Season 2 was coming to a close with its last story segment and finishing touches to their latest map zone, which was all well and good, no release details were mentioned, and everyone carried on normal.

Then there was nothing, everyone expected a bit of a lull in game updates but it was a couple of months, it wasn’t a big deal.

They’d slowly drip feed some new features of something, like aspects of the new character class, or more of the server vs server map changes.

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Ar nosurge – Adventures in Singing in Space

Ar nosurge is a strange game, and incredibly difficult to talk about without spoilers which make it so great, so such spoilers are banished from here. Instead, here are some other things which make it a fascinating oddball of a game. It’s also the ‘sequel’ to a Vita sort-of online dating sim, because. This will be long and rambly.

Ar nosurge, (yes, the lack of capitalisation is deliberate, I have no idea why either), is a sort-of spiritual successor to the little strange series Ar Tonelico, which is a trilogy of games where music comes from songs in completely fabricated, but fully-formed, languages. Although that’s one of the few stylistic aspects Ar nosurge actually keeps, as well as the incredibly verbose visual novel sections of going into people’s minds to try help them deal with their personal issues. Instead of being on a planet where many people live on floating continents in the sky, Ar nosurge is much more in the realms of science-fiction, set on a gigantic colony ship containing entire cities, stuck on its journey for thousands of years.

Where everything is going wrong.

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Valkyria Chronicles 2, the Sequel of Disappointment

Valkyria Chronicles’ sequel is a very confused game, one which completely misunderstands what made the first game so good and instead tries to chase a market that didn’t even really care. Although problems start with its development, seeing as the first game on PS3 was good, but didn’t really sell, it was decided to cut costs by putting the PSP, it only really gets worse. Read the rest of this entry

Verbose Tangential Trains of Thought Ahoy!

It’s a wonder what having no internet does, like make you write up a bunch of words about a sequel not living up its predecessor because of production meddling.

Thus I decided to set this up, and because I’m a bad person, only recently managed to get myself to properly edit things together, even though the theme I just nabbed straight from seeing someone else use it and liking it.

Expect infrequent ramblings about mostly games, but mostly anything that I can’t stop talking about in one way or another.

Clearly the best start is a negative one right?