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#485815 What Are You Currently Playing?

Posted by Ocelot on 15 October 2017 - 04:04 AM

Alright, Yakuza 6 is in the bag, baby! I wrapped it up after about 40 hours, dipping a toe into everything the game had to offer but not getting anywhere near 100% completion. These games can be massive timesinks if you really want to tick off every checkbox, but I just ain't about that life these days. Besides, I still have two more Yakuza games to play this year alone, and then there's the Fist of the Northstar crossover game next year, and then there are still two more Japan-only samurai-era games in the series I still have to play that are apparently full of archaic Japanese that might as well be Greek to me at my current level of Japanese proficiency :P


OK, so let's back up a bit. When we last left Yakuza 6, we were on the trail of the guy who knocked up our daughter and left her to get hit by a car and embroiled in a massive turf war between the Tokyo Yakuza, the Chinese Mafia, the opportunistic remains of a ruthless Korean crime syndicate, a small but mysteriously powerful Hiroshima Yakuza family, and, weirdly enough, a shipbuilding corporation that seemed to own half the property in the small town we'd settled down in. I absolutely adore these games, but one thing I would recommend is that you not come on board looking for a simple story. Yakuza games are long, complex affairs, with large casts of characters all with their own murky motivations. You don't quite need a flowchart to keep up but, well, it wouldn't hurt. Actually, you probably do need a flowchart for Yakuza 5. And... you might need one for Yakuza 6, too. Honestly, by the time they pulled in the hundred-year-old politician who'd been pulling strings from his deathbed I think I might have gone a little bit cross-eyed.


I should probably have seen it coming that the fellow I thought might have been my daughter's baby daddy wasn't actually the guy, because that little story thread popped up much too early in the proceedings. Shortly after I arrived back in Tokyo on his trail, I ended up a captive audience to an excruciatingly long monologue introducing the concept of 'Heihaizi', children born in China outside the One Child Policy, who can't be entered on the country's population registration system and as such can't go to school or get any kind of healthcare or... y'know, live like normal people. Because the world is terrible. Anyway, the aforementioned Chinese Mafia have struck a deal with the also aforementioned Hiroshima Yakuza to smuggle these kids over into Japan, set them up with Japanese families and forge citizenship papers for them. The head of the Hiroshima Yakuza is also the head of a huge Japanese shipbuilding conglomerate, and it's on his ships that the Chinese kiddos come over to Japan. The catch is, of course, that the Chinese kiddos are raise as sleeper agents, ready to do a cheeky bit of espionage on the Japanese when the need arises.


And, needless to say, this leads to a lovely period of our story during which some of our friends are revealed to have been SECRET CHINESE AGENTS THE WHOLE TIME, OH NOOOOO! I enjoyed this part a lot, because I love a good shocking plot reveal in my Yakuza games.




Unfortunately, the plot twists kept coming and coming for hours and hours afterwards, and even my voracious appetite had been sated well before the end. I was a little bit exhausted by the time the credits rolled, and I'm not a huge fan of the way the game ended. I won't spoil it, because this game is still almost six months away from being released in English and I don't want anyone accidentally ruining it for themselves, but what I will spoil is the most ridiculous of all the plot twists, because I NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS.


OK, are you with me? This is maybe the most preposterous thing I've ever seen in a video game. A plot twist so far out of left field you'd think the fielder had thrown it from the next baseball field over. IT IS 100% BONKS and you guys need to know all about it. So, if you plan to play Yakuza 6 one day, maybe don't read this, but if your only interest in Yakuza games is reading me waffle about them then DEFINITELY READ THIS BECAUSE IT'S SO GOOD!




There are still a few plot twists to come before that one and the ending, but honestly the game never outdoes that moment. And, the ending... isn't all that strong. I likes me some Yakuza, but every now and then it feels like the writers just let the story get away from them towards the ending. You know you're always going to finish the game by fighting a muscular dude with a big tattoo on his back, but Yakuza 6 keeps you guessing until the last couple of hours and when it's finally revealed who's going to be doing the punching it's a real anticlimax. The best Yakuzas (i.e. 2 and 0) set up really strong antagonists in the early hours of the game, and while I don't think you have to have a perfect foil for the protagonist to write a good story, it does really help. Particularly in a story where you're trying to say goodbye to a longtime fan favourite character. Yakuza 6's story isn't one of the better ones in the series.


But, hey, these Yakuza games all have a few problems, and I still loved 6 overall. It has amazingly strong characters and writing, probably the best cast of bros in the series to date, and I was more invested in the early chapters of the story than I think I'd ever been before. The side stuff is wonderful, too, with the best sidequests in the series and some really fun minigames. It's such a pretty game, too, and while the drop back to 30FPS puts a big ol' damper on the combat, it's still plenty of fun to punch thousands of dudes into submission and there were some absolutely fantastic bossfights. Were I the sort of feller who ranked things, I'd be tempted to declare my official Yakuza rankings to be:


2 > 0 > 4 > 6 > 3 > 5 > 1 > Dead Souls


In conclusion:



#485806 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 12 October 2017 - 05:04 AM

Phasma is the key to all this. She's a chrome-er character than we've ever had in the movies before.


EDIT - You guys I said I wasn't going to watch the trailer again. I was wrong. The hype got me like:






EDIT - Why can't I stop watching this trailer, you guys? I just noticed that there are old AT-ATs mixed in with the new ones in that salt flat planet scene, and the old ones are like horsies whereas the new ones are like gorillas. Neato.

#485804 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 12 October 2017 - 01:25 AM

Who needs cynicism when you can have CORPORATE FOCUS TESTED MASCOT CHARACTERS?






(I'm going to be sad when Luke dies)

#485797 The Video Game News Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 11 October 2017 - 03:55 AM

Death will be a subscription service. $99.95 a year for the sweet release, and if you ever miss a payment they'll haul you back into the light against your will so your consciousness can be put to work in the endless prime number calculation cyber-mines. EA Oblivion, coming soon (pre-order now).

#485796 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 11 October 2017 - 01:57 AM

I'm not sure if that logic holds weight in a universe were science and medicine is so advanced you can literally impersonate another person, down to their very voice.


​Though to be fair, that was in the Clone Wars show and ​with Jedi Technology.


I'm sure TR-8R will get brought back for some kind of slice of the EU, but let's keep those TV show writers away from the main movies. They'd probably have a newly-revived Mecha Han Solo come back for vengeance, flying in on a lightsabre helicopter and telling Kylo not to get cocky.

#485784 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 10 October 2017 - 01:06 AM

OK, so I might be turning into a huge mark for anything Phasma, but oh man this bit looks so cool:




I'm trying really hard not to watch this trailer again. I knew there was no way I could avoid watching it outright, but maybe if I only watch it once I won't obsess over it and ruin the whole movie for myself.

#485782 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 09 October 2017 - 10:34 PM

I mean, TR-8R did die. I don't think there was much chance of him coming back either way :P



#485778 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 09 October 2017 - 07:02 PM





#485722 What Are You Currently Playing?

Posted by Ocelot on 02 October 2017 - 07:30 AM

It's been far too long since I posted about a Yakuza game, but it's kind of hard to keep writing about them when you've played all the games in the series that have been released in English, even the dumb zombie shooter spin-off. I've been absolutely smitten with this series ever since I got Yakuza 4 through Playstation Plus a couple of years ago, and playing every English-translated Yakuza game there is to completion simply wasn't enough. There was only one thing for it: play the Japanese ones!


So here I am in Yakuza 6, the hottest, newest, most beautiful game in the series, which isn't going to come out in English for another six months or so. And, to my surprise, I'm not doing too badly. My Japanese isn't great, but it's coming along, and so far I've found there's nothing better than playing games for improving my skills. I mean, I'm going to be playing them anyway, so why not turn those hours of video game time into hours of practice? It's not like I'm ever going to run out of Japanese games to play. Turns out, you get better at things pretty quickly when you do them for hours and hours.




Yakuza 6 is built on an entirely new engine, and as such it is absolutely gorgeous. Look at that exquisite specimen of a man up there. Kazuma Kiryu, our hero, the ex-Yakuza with a heart of gold, is now 48 years old, and as usual is simply trying to enjoy his retirement from a life of organized crime. However, Yakuza 6 picks up directly from the ending of Yakuza 5, and as such Kiryu is almost immediately send to jail for five years for all the stunts he pulled at the end of that game. Meanwhile, Haruka, his adoptive daughter, has disappeared, filled with despair due to... well, some stuff that would take a while to get into. Long story short, Kiryu gets out of jail to find Haruka gone, and finding her will be your main objective in this here video game.


Our journey this time takes us out of our usual city in Tokyo to a small fishing town in Hiroshima, where everyone speaks with thick accents in a dialect that I really struggle with, but underneath their gruff exteriors they're really some tiptop people, and also they're all hiding TERRIBLE SEEECREEEETS! Yakuza games are soap operas with punching, after all, so all the best cliches are present. Everyone is hiding secrets at all times, mindblowing revelations are commonplace, Yakuza 3 had an evil twin and now Yakuza 6 has, DUN DUN DUNNNNN, a secret lovechild! Y'see, Haruka has been busy in the years she's been incommunicado; not only did she get mixed up with some bumpkin Yakuzas in Hiroshima, but she... well, she has a baby. I don't want to say it's actually her child yet, because she's been such a cartoonishly pure and innocent character in the series so far that I struggle to believe the writers would knock her up, but somehow she's ended up taking care of a baby boy named Haruto. And oh, by the way, now she's in a coma. Soap opera, remember?


So Kiryu, the tall, dashing, muscular man with a giant dragon tattooed on his back, must take matters into his own hands, unveil the secrets of Haruka's journey, and take care of a widdle baby, and you guys? You have not lived until you've heard Kazuma Kiryu cooing to a baby in his voice so deep it could rattle your fillings loose:



Have I mentioned that I love this series?


So I'm right in the meat of the game now, I think. I've got a lead on a guy who might be Haruto's father, and I've just fought a flamboyant member of the Korean Mafia, who's given me the location of this schmuck's hideout in exchange for a jolly good beating. It might just be that I have to concentrate harder than usual in order to understand the game in Japanese, but this story has me enthralled. I'm feeling those feelings you feel when you can't wait to see how the story goes, but you also love all the side content so much that you never want the game to end. This game is really good.



#485717 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 01 October 2017 - 03:17 AM

Hey speaking of the silly tie-in novels, I've been listening to this one, and I think it's pretty neat:




It feels very much like a '70s pulp sci fi paperback that just so happens to be tied in to those Star Wars, which I suppose is basically what Star Wars started as anyway. Phasma was a warrior on a real craphole of a planet until General Hux's Dad crash landed there one day, and they go on a journey through a series of fun sci fi tropes.


Did you know that General Hux's first name is Armitage, by the way? Oh Star Wars...


EDIT - Spoilers for the dumb book about dumb Phasma (that is actually perfectly enjoyable, but I'm being mean here), but this might be the best example of "Everything in Star Wars is related to everything else" since "Darth Vader built C-3PO": Phasma's armour is made out of this:




Or at least one like it. General Hux's Dad flew around in a Naboo cruiser that Palpatine had used back in the day, crashed it on Phasma's planet, then later on Phasma came back, cut some of the metal off and used a 3D printer/scanner to make a replica of her regular white Stormtrooper armour. I feel like the author sat down and thought "Phasma chrome. What else chrome? That one ship from Episode 1 chrome. Phasma wears chrome ship."


But, yeah, not a bad book at all. It makes a pretty good case for why Phasma betrayed the First Order so easily in TFA, at least: she doesn't care about anyone but herself and will turn on anyone at any moment if it helps her survive. No idea whether she'll ever become more of a thing in the movies, but I still think she's neato.


Now I'm going to listen to that new Timothy Zahn Thrawn book, because you get two choices when you cash in one of those free Audible trials and, what am I going to do, listen to real books for actual adults? Pshaw.

#485663 moving Wicktures that you are watching

Posted by Ocelot on 23 September 2017 - 07:57 AM

I like to watch movies, you guys, and I like to complain about them when they're bad, but one thing I try to avoid is questioning the basic premise. I don't like to go looking for plot holes, because I just don't think there's any value in that. Once you start asking "Why didn't the characters do x thing that I as the omniscient viewer have decided was the correct move?", the whole artifice of movie-making falls down. Why didn't Gandalf just ask the Eagles to fly over Mt Doom so he could slam dunk the Ring in there? Because then there'd be no movie, of course. Congratulations, your clever deduction has robbed the world of a beloved work of fiction, I hope you're happy. At a certain point you just have to accept that the movie is what it is, and then evaluate accordingly. By all means, tear this hypothetical movie to pieces for executing its premise badly, but digging too deep isn't going to get you anywhere.


However, sometimes a movie comes along that is so dumb as to be impossible to watch passively without being driven to despair. I suspect Prometheus was just that for a lot of people, but I found enough to like in that movie that I still really enjoyed it (at least until I watched it again at home). But then Ridley Scott went and made a sequel to Prometheus and inexplicably doubled down on every inscrutably stupid thing about the original, and oh my God I wanted to scream. Ladies and gentlemen, let's talk about Alien Covenant.


We start aboard a spaceship called... I don't know, the S.S. Bad Decisions, a big ol' floating fridge full of cryosleeping future settlers of a colony planet. Due to some random space explosions, some of the space gizmos break and the crew is thawed to solder things back together so they can go on with the journey. James Franco is in the movie for three seconds to burn up inside his sleep pod, for some reason. It's during the repairs that the crew pick up a mysterious signal coming from a nearby planet, which they realise is a human voice singing, and then make the first in a long line of inexplicably dumb, utterly unrelatable decisions in this movie: they go and investigate.


OK, so check it out. Colony ship. Thousands of frozen colonists on board, even more frozen embryos, all kinds of flora and fauna to populate the new planet with, and presumably the materials to build a bunch of stuff. The crew has repaired the damage to the ship, and all they have to do is pop back into their pods and sleep their way on to their destination planet. Presumably they are all absolutely forbidden from deviating from this plan in any way, both by whatever contracts they signed when accepting the job, and by, oh my God, the common sense they all share as human beings. You absolutely cannot risk thousands of lives to go and check out a signal in the middle of space! And let me clarify here that it isn't even a distress signal, it's a woman's voice singing a John Denver song. A recording, no less! Not even a live transmission! Yet not only do they deviate from the original plan, they straight up abandon it, on the grounds that if this planet can be the source of a recorded signal of a human woman, IT'S PROBABLY A BETTER PLANET FOR ALL THE COLONISTS TO LIVE ON THAN THE ONE THEY PLANNED TO LAND ON.


I am not joking. This happens ten minutes into the movie. A crew running a spaceship full of colonists decides, on a whim, to go and land on a different planet instead. One they've never seen or heard of before, and have no evidence is even remotely habitable. Because, sure, why not, right? I mean, the original goal planet was vetted and confirmed as an ideal home and all, but to get there they'd have to go through all the hassle of lying down in their pods and then getting up again without perceiving that any time had passed, and who can be bothered? Definitely a better idea to divert, again, THOUSANDS OF SLEEPING HUMAN BEINGS to check out this new planet that's, y'know, probably not a horrible nightmare world. I mean, what are the odds of it being a horrible nightmare world? Slim, right? Probably slim.


OH WAIT IT WAS A HORRIBLE NIGHTMARE WORLD. And, like, it doesn't even pretend not to be. As soon as they arrive they can see a giant, apocalyptic thunderstorm covering the whole planet, but our intrepid heroes don't even bat an eyelid. When they barely make it through the storm in their landing craft and find the terrain so harsh and rocky that they have to land in the water? Eh, that's probably fine, right? Before they even reach the source of the signal, one of the crew sets to work on an ecology report, so convinced are they that this is definitely their new home. Remember how stupid it was when the scientists in Prometheus popped their helmets off to breathe the air on their planet without even checking if there might be horrible pathogens everywhere? The crew in Covenant never even put helmets on. They just leap out of the ship, ready to go exploring; I'm pretty sure nobody ever even mentions the idea that this planet might not have breathable air.


So like five minutes in someone sucks down a nice lungful of evil spores, and then all the characters compete with eachother for the rest of the movie to see who can make the worst decisions. It turns out that this is the planet that Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace landed on after escaping at the end of Prometheus, and Fassbender has been conducting evil experiments with the evil goo in his spare time when he isn't bending fass. Noomi Rapace dies off-screen between movies, by the way, in case anyone was wondering. I think she's the only character with less screentime than James Franco. Fassbender lives in an evil castle, and he invites our heroes in to stay with him so he can trick them into getting killed by his alien concoctions. Well, I say 'tricked'; it's more like he just asks them nicely, and they comply because they're the worst-written characters in recent memory. He just tells one dude to touch a Facehugger egg, gently reassures him that it's perfectly safe when it opens menacingly, and then encourages him to stick his face right in it, and the guy just does it.


Up until this point, the big colony ship has been safe up in orbit while only a few of the crew went down to the planet, so at least these maniacs haven't actually killed every human being they were contracted to safeguard, right? Well, try this on for size: the crew of the S.S. Bad Decisions is entirely made up of married couples. I assume this was a company-wide mandate established by the CEO of Bad Decisions Corp, Chad L. Baddecisions Jr. Because, of course, there's a husband aboard the ship and his wife down on the planet, and despite repeated demands from his crewmates that he not do it, assurances from the ship's computer that the ship will literally fall apart if he does it, he does it anyway. Yep, let's just fly that puppy right down into the storm where its massive bulk can be torn apart by hurricane-force winds, all so you can get a clearer radio signal down to the surface to find out if your wife's OK. What could possibly go wrong?


I don't even know what to say any more. Usually the idea of an "everyone dies" horror movie is that the people were trying not to die, but every decision that every character makes in this movie is solely for the purpose of being gruesomely murdered. You can't possibly relate to any of these schmucks, not just because they're paper-thin stereotypes whose names you probably won't even catch, but because none of them even seem the slightest bit interested in staying alive. Why should I care about them if they don't care about themselves? Am I supposed to be pleased when a couple of them accidentally live until the end of the movie by sheer dumb luck? Katherine Waterston's character is the only one who makes anything approaching a wise choice, but the rest of these schmucks might as well have just walked out into space without suits on at the start of the movie.


What a stupid, stupid movie. Just absolute rubbish. I didn't even mention the excruciatingly long setpiece where they try and escape the planet on some kind of cargo lifter ship thing that can't fly properly for some reason and wobbles around insanely as if it can't produce enough lift to get off the ground (shouldn't a cargo lifter without any cargo on it be really powerful?), or the bit where they try and outdo the chestburster scene from the original Alien and somehow make it worse even with 38 years of technological progress in special effects. This movie made me genuinely upset. What a load of utter garbage.

#485651 What Are You Currently Playing?

Posted by Ocelot on 22 September 2017 - 05:04 AM

OCELOT'S SAGE ADVICE FOR ANYONE CURRENTLY PLAYING METROID SAMUS RETURNS: Stay off Youtube until you're done, because oh man there's a really good surprise at the end!


So I just finished it with 100% item completion, in 12 hours and 27 minutes (which is like twice as long as any other 2D Metroid). I absolutely loved it! I think it might be my favourite Metroid game. It feels so good to play, and it put a big dumb smile on my face so many times. The bosses were all the best in the series by a mile, and the powers you can use make you feel like such a huge space bounty hunting badass. Samus Returns takes all the best elements of Samus' arsenal throughout the city and maps them to a really excellent control scheme, using just about every button on the 3DS and a few more virtual ones on the touchscreen, that ensure you have every ability at your fingertips ready to go at a moment's notice, with no clumsy subweapon cycling or radial menus. 


And what cool abilities they are! Samus has Raiden's parry from Revengeance and Bayonetta's Witch Time, along with all the classic Metroid stuff and a few cool new things thrown in for good measure. The only thing missing is the Speed Booster, which I have to admit I do miss. The time-slowing ability replaces it, letting you dash across fragile surfaces before they crumble, for example, but it's just not quite the same, and I always really enjoy the Shinespark puzzles in the other games. But, hey, it's more than made up for by some really fun new tricks, and there's one thing you can do with the Spider Ball and a Power Bomb that I think gets you moving even faster than the Speed Booster ever did.


For the first time in a Metroid game, I actually found myself really looking forward to fighting dudes. The basic goal of exterminating every Metroid on the planet means there are a lot of pitched battles, from tutorial mini-bosses to real, full-fat super bosses, and I loved them all. Far from the "I'm just going to fill the screen with projectiles" tactics of Super Metroid's bosses, Samus Returns pits you against really enjoyable foes with nice patterns for you to learn and exploit, and even though you fight a lot of'em I thought they stayed fun all the way through. I liked the various flavours of Metroids, but it's the big boy one-off bosses that are the real highlight. Tough as nails, particularly this big scary giant mining robot that dogs you through half the game, but the fights are perfectly fair and this Samus is more than capable of styling on fools without taking a hit if you're playing well enough. 


OH MAN you guys, I loved this game so much! Like I said before, it's such a shame we had to wait so long for a new 2D Metroid, but boy this game was worth waiting for. Now I just hope Nintendo will get Mercury Steam working on a new one ASAP so we don't have to wait another 12 years for another one.

#485643 Movie/Television/Disney Entertainment Conglomerate News

Posted by Ocelot on 19 September 2017 - 11:04 PM


It's like they spliced Nu Tomb Raider with the Angelina Jolie movies, somehow. I don't know, I'll probably watch it one day. Looks kind of... bad, but also fine? Certainly seems to have more personality than that Assassin's Creed movie, at least. Or, y'know, the actual game this movie is based on. Alicia Vikander didn't even exasperatedly tell us "I'VE GOT TO _____".


The real story here is Alicia Vikander's bod, though:




Are you seeing that tricep horseshoe?


EDIT - Full Punisher trailer:






#485638 Star Wars: Johnny Boyg vs. Big Gwenny C

Posted by Ocelot on 19 September 2017 - 09:18 AM





(And then sustain that hype for two weeks and a bit. Call it three, really.)

#485621 The Video Game News Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 18 September 2017 - 05:40 AM

Alright, losers, today is the day. 18 hours from now, Sony's TGS conference is going to begin, and Devil May Cry 5 is definitely going to be announced there. And don't give me any of that "Ocelot, you say this every time and it never happens", because this time it's definitely happening.





The time has come, and so have I.


EDIT - It didn't happen.