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I have apparently now spent about 26 hours on mask of deception according to the save game data. I don't appear to be wrong about how rare the battles are - in the Free Battle mode, there are only 11-12 battles I can replay to build up BP. That averages out to less than 1 battle per 2 hours of visual novel.

Mind you, I'm enjoying the visual novel for what it is. I don't particularly feel it's been a waste of cash to buy both this and Mask of Truth - but I have absolutely no interest in buying the DLC. (note: I haven't even looked at the DLC for Mask of Truth, so I reserve the right to change my stance on this. I highly doubt I will be changing said stance however.)

I've spent more time on free battle to build up the BP, although going through them have less use for actual leveling up. In story battles, everyone gets quite a bit of XP after completing the battle, enough to level up several times I find. In free battle, you only get XP for what you attack on the battlefield. So while you will get a level here and there, the main purpose of free battle is to build up the BP to slowly boost up the stats of your characters.

Not much else to report on this game I guess other than notes on the story itself, which I don't really feel like getting into. A part of me does hope that they release a ps4 version of the original Utawarerumono which comes before these two games. An all ages version obviously. ^_^;

Anyway Game Night will focus on other games going forward - I'll do a Game Night or two specific for Mask of Truth when I get to it, but otherwise just assume I'm playing Utawarerumono throughout the week, etc in addition to whatever is on the plate for Game Night. :)

Next Game Night will be probably be Blaster Master Zero on the Switch. I'm actually already playing it although in short bursts. So unless I complete it beforehand, it'll be the next game night. I'll post about it in detail regardless of what happens.
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I had a short game night this weekend and finally began the mask of deception. This is looking like it will be more visual novel than game, much like Tears to Tiara II appeared to be. (Another game I want to get back to this fall.)

This doesn't mean I hate it, it just means it'll be more sitting and reading the story than anything else. It does seem to be fully voiced thus far. (For spoken dialogue - whatever the main character, Haku, is thinking doesn't have spoken dialogue.)

To give an idea of the breakdown, thus far, of game play to visual novel - I played for 2.5 hours this weekend. I had 2 battles. Everything else was dialogue and being pitied by Kuon for being so weak. Sucks to be a human in that world I guess.

Not really much to say about the game so far. There's still a lot to go so I might start playing this for an hour or so a day in addition to it eating up the next few game nights.

As for why there hasn't been any Game Nights for the last several weeks (Not that anyone cares, but I guess to leave a record of my excuse! ;) it simply boils down to it being the summer. Summer for me tends to be way too hot and humid most days. At home I'm generally stuck in front of a fan or two all the time and that doesn't make for comfortable gaming! Last weekend was probably the first weekend with comfortable temperatures since GN #9. I would have played longer than 2.5 hours but I was also taking the opportunity to work on my 7800 homebrew project. :)


Also, remember when part of my rant from way back included how the title screen of this game was a "protected scene" - and that I had mused as to whether or not the company simply decided to protect the entire game from people recording/sharing video of?

Well, it turns out most of the game appears to be unprotected (At least as far as 2.5 hours in. That may change after a particular point in the game knowing this company.) What was protected was the title screen itself, and for whatever reason, the save menu. I don't understand what's so freaking special about those two screens that make it so important to block the PS4's built in record and publish feature.

I'm sure it'll be a rant for later.
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Still haven't had another game night yet. Some random gaming, sure, but no concentrated effort on a particular game. While goldpseudo was in town on his trip across Canada, we swapped some games/dvds/etc - mostly dups we had. On my side of the deal I got a few NES and SNES games.

Of those I'm stuck between deciding if I want to focus a game night on either Final Fantasy (NES) or Super Metroid (SNES). I was about to start Super Metroid last night but it seems the hookups for the SNES aren't with the SNES... As such tonight I'll probably just hook the NES up and start in on Final Fantasy. I'll do a little digging for the SNES hookups before then but I honestly don't even know where to start looking for them.

With regards to the 7800Basic tinkering I managed to adjust the game play as indicated in the last post. I also added a master clock in the background that keeps track of the total time the current game has been running - it'll display itself on the game over screen.

Not a lot of progress, I agree, but at this point the code is all over the place. I spent more time last night removing old player 2 variables both in the variable lists and in the code itself than with the actual gameplay changes! The next thing I want to add to the game is a bit more creative effects when you lose a life or hit a game over. (little explosion effects for instance instead of simply disappearing) However... that didn't go well! I think I'm going to have to spend time during this next week just looking at reorganizing the code.
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Still playing SAO:Hollow Fragment, but took a break for Touhou Double Focus which I bought with the last flash sale on PSN.

The game is one of those many fan/doujin games based on Touhou that are starting to get released on the PS4. This one here has the player controlling Aya and Momiji as they try to navigate and escape a magical book world. Ultimately it's a relatively short Metroidvania type game.

There are a total of 5 bosses - 6 if you include the final form of the last boss as separate, but back down to 5 when you realize the third boss is actually more of a race with a fairy instead of something to beat up.

If you don't know all the controls, this game can have some seriously messed up difficulty. I only played on Normal and there were some places that at first felt like a death trap. One thing you really have to do is observe the enemies you see and get familiar with their AI. Some of the later fairies you'll have to fight are pretty tough to beat due to their ranged attacks, but in most cases it seems if they're not looking at you, you can just walk up behind them and club them with Momiji's sword. Otherwise you'll want to stand back and use Aya's ranged attacks.

I almost rage quit the entire thing on the first boss given the amount of damage it was doing and how little life you start off with. Then I realized, accidentally, that Momiji can block projectiles with a shield.

During the 3rd boss (that race) I found out that Aya's back-dash actually made her invincible for about a second afterwards. (So just turn around and backdash... forward... through a few enemies that were trying to block your way. Much faster than trying to fight them!)

Took a while before I figured out exactly how the Portal system worked - for a while it seemed bugged and kept transporting me to a particular portal. Apparently you have to select the portal you want to go to from the map. But when you place a new portal prior to doing that, it would auto-select that last placed portal. Which worked fine for me for a good long time.

It took a bit over 6 hours to complete on Normal. I'm not sure if that was counting all the retries at the bosses or not. Now that I know where everything is, I could probably go for a full run with much better time. On the plus side with the exception of finding one hidden photo shot (Aya is a reporter with a camera after all!) I can say I found all the items without help from a faq. Some of them quite accidentally - and I won't kid you when I say some of the secrets are damned cheap. Fake walls, fake floors, and for ONE place in the game (At the start of the game no less) there's just one place where there are invisible platforms to reach one of the powerup items that increase your max life.

I'm kind of afraid to try the harder difficulties. I might later on, but for now I think I can call it good. I'm glad I picked this up on on the last flash sale on PSN though all the same. Like Shantae, it was fairly short.

I'd recommend people that play it to save often however. I did have one game crash while playing as I was heading back up to Patchouli. Luckily for me I had saved it only a minute before.

I suppose I'll give a few tips for the bosses. :p

Boss Strategies! )
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No surprise, this weekend's game night was again SAO.

I've gotten use to the battle system enough at this point, although I'm still clumsy and slow to update my skill palette (basically the skills you set up for fast execution) I'm not entirely sure how to get skill points yet but I guess I can look into the tutorials again.

For the main world, I only advanced a little bit - going up to floor 78. I've found the boss so I can go after it any time I want but I decided to go leveling up characters by adventuring into the Hollow Fragment.

They like to pass off "Hey if you don't want to you can just ignore the hollow fragment. It's totally unrelated to the main story." but really if you want efficient leveling or equipment - you're going there. And that was the bulk of my exploration this week. I'd pick random characters to group with and then I'd head in there to level them up. Main character or not, if they'd group with me I'd bring them in to get their level up to about 90-95.

I noticed one of the main characters only had level 60 so I brought them in to the hollowed fragment. Keeping in mind my character is level 110, I quickly got them up to level 95 or so within a couple hours. During all that time I only got maybe 2 levels myself.

I believe I mentioned this game is also part "dating sim" in that you can build relationships with the other characters. I noticed this also extends to the side characters that aren't really intended to have any real effect on the story. Of course, they don't have anything special done up for them - admittedly it would have meant a hell of a lot of work to add anime animations for every (n)pc in the game outside of those who were main characters in the anime/manga, but still.

Note that the "dating sim" side of the game is fairly weak and bland. I'm assuming it has an effect on the final ending you receive like in other games where they try to do things like this but I won't know that until I get to the top of the tower I suppose.

Oh, I also had my first sword forged in the game this week. When I realized the extra components you could toss into the forging process for extra stat boosts weren't limited to just one at a time I essentially handed over every ingredient that qualified. :D

The resulting sword is stronger than anything I've found or enhanced myself so far and while I tossed a lot of ingredients in, it wasn't anything near the maximum possible. Going to have to raise some cash and resources to get another sword crafted this week I think since my character is primarily a dual-sword user.
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Yeah, I should stop mulling over what game I might play on gamenight. It'll save how many times I change it. Still not started on Utawarerumono - seems like I'll probably be waiting until I have both halves of the game before I start at this rate.

So this weekend I started on SAO: Hollow Fragment. From what I know of the manga continuity, this game breaks from it. It takes place in the upper levels of Aincrad that the players never actually go to in the manga. It also adds in a "Hollow Fragment" world that you can travel to. To completely burst continuity they basically teleport in a couple characters that are in later storylines after the life-or-death game in Aincrad. I'm assuming I'm typing that name correctly. Basically a 100 floor world and the players had to go to the top and beat the last boss to be able to log out. Dying in the game resulted in death in RL. (By the VR headgear players were using nuking their brain with intense microwaves.)

Anyway, yeah, it takes place in the upper layers. I'm only about to reach the second floor boss (floor 77) myself so I can't say too much about the storyline for the game.

The battle system seems a bit similar to the earlier .hack game series, although you're rarely locked into a room/bubble until you defeat an enemy. It also doesn't have 1st person view like the first .hack series did. Unfortunately. I use to enjoy running around in first person mode in the first series...

It took a while to grasp the battle system, and even now I know I'm not using it all that great. Only died once though. (Luckily no microwaving going on here. :P)

In addition to the main combat and relatively limited exploration (Areas have been pretty linear so far but again I'm at the beginning of the game.) there's a quest system where completing some quests unlock tips for fighting the floor boss and a relationship system with the other party members. You can help train them during combat to adjust their AI and apparently to learn new skills and carry on conversations while running around the hub town.

While I'm liking the game so far (I tend to like Sword Art Online overall anyhow) I'm glad I got this game on sale back in the golden week sale.

I'm likely going to keep playing this for a few weeks so I'll type up more later after I get a bit more use to the system and see more of the story. I've yet to go back to the hollow fragment realm for instance.
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I meant to get this out earlier in the week, but yes, I switched up the focus for last week's game night last minute.

I didn't play it as much as I thought I would, but I did complete 2.5 of the 6 games in the collection.

Duck Tales, and Rescue Rangers I completed on Saturday. I found Tailspin just too unplayable overall due to the controls.

I tinkered some with Darkwing Duck - I plan on trying that game again later on, although I found it a bit hard. Probably would have been easier if I checked the controls/etc. I just figured out how to use special weapons before I turned it off.

The 0.5 I mention above though is because of Duck Tales 2. I did get an ending on that one but I don't know if that was a bad ending (probably was) since I didn't finish getting everything. Plus to get that ending I -did- use the rewind option on the egypt boss. After using the rewind once I was able to time all the hits near perfectly though. I'll play through it again before I claim to have beaten it for the list.

I didn't even touch Rescue Rangers 2. I'll probably play these games again independent of the game night activities however so we'll see how that goes.
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I went ahead and picked this up with the PSN sale this week. For some reason I was expecting 4 games so I was calculating in my head "18 odd dollars divided by 4.. hm. about 4.50 per game."

Ended up being 6 games total, as there were two Rescue Ranger games and two Ducktales games.

The alternative to playing these games for me would have been tracking down the original NES carts. Which would have cost these days anywhere from 50 to 300 dollars each I'm sure. 9_9

So at about 3 bucks each, I think it was worth it.

However this now brings me to the question of if I'm going to march forward with Utawarerumono tomorrow, or instead try to go through the Afternoon Collection. Right now I think I'm likely to switch it up to the collection, if only because Utawarerumono is a half-game that will end in a cliffhanger that won't be resolvable until later this summer when the Mask of Truth is released.

So putting off starting the game makes a bit of sense if I want to avoid an extensive wait between games. It's the same kinda deal that I faced with the old .hack games. I wasn't affected too much by the original .hack games since I think all 4 parts were out by the time I started collecting them - but had to get Kane to track me down a copy of mutation (vol 3) before I could completely finish it. In .hack//gu though, was annoying having to wait for each segment of the game to be released and obtained.

On a separate note though, by July the heat is going to be unbearable here like it is every year. I may end up putting the PS3 and PS4 to the side for a couple months and focus on older consoles (ps2 and down) simply because those are less likely to melt on me in the 30-40C heat.

On an barely related note, I saw some copies of the original .hack series at a pawnshop here in town. Each going for 50-80 bucks. x.x Given the games were like 30-40 when they were new... glad I picked them up when I did! (Kinda like Xenoblades on the Wii. Got it for 30 bucks, but you can check amazon for current prices!)
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This game didn't take nearly as long as I expected it to take. I went through the game twice, first with the normal mode and got Ending 1. This unlocked "Magic Mode" (half magic consumption, half defense) so I went through it again.

The second time through I aimed to get all the items as well, which I succeeded at obtaining. As a result of this, plus having a total time of just over 4 hours, I got ending 2.

Ending 3 apparently involves getting all the items but managing to finish the game in under 4 hours. Given all the pointless backtracking I did even with that, I could have easily gotten ending 3. I was just 20 minutes off I think.

Ending 4 involves just completing the game in under 2 hours. You don't need to get all the items.

I might try for those one day when I get bored (or I may take a stab at it during the week before the next game night starts) but for now I'm finished with it.

Well animated, but obviously fairly short if it's expected that you can finish the game in under 2 hours. I had one game crash happen during all that time, with rather pissed me off. I learned to save every time I passed a save point regardless of if I managed to get anything new or not just in case. While worth what I paid for it, I'm glad I got it on sale. (Then again I bought it twice on sale apparently. I have this in my steam library as well...)

Next up, Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception.
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I've already completed the main game. I spent last night mostly just trying to do sidequests and trying to figure everything out. Still a lot of quests to unlock apparently, although I made a lot of progress.

But later today I'm going to do just one more jab at the A2/9S battle, or maybe two, to get endings D and E unlocked. Apparently there's 26 endings. Most are likely just quick bad ones like G. I unlocked the K ending last night by eating the mackerel fish thingy Jackass gives your character to see how the oily fish reacts when eaten by an android.

In short, it kills you. But oh does it taste good, are apparently 2B's last thoughts. ^_^

So anyway, I'm just about done with the game. I -was- going to keep at it and unlock everything, but I did some searching online and verified that those locked elevator doors with the self-destructing guards are in fact ties to the recently released DLC. IE: In-game advertisements, eternally reminding you of what your $79.99+tax didn't buy you.

I won't be buying any more Square Enix games for a while as a result of this, so it's probably a lucky thing for them that I already have Final Fantasy XV purchased.

I did the same to NIS America when they released the original Hyperdimension Neptunia game and had some of the DLC characters join the game and be in the party - but refuse to participate in battle until the couple dollars were paid. If it's DLC, fucking leave it out of the game completely. It probably wouldn't have been nearly as annoying if NIS didn't try spinning it as "Creative advertising." like it was a GOOD thing.

So yeah I'll be done with this game after doing a little more exploration to satisfy any curiosity I still have. I'll probably go quickly level to 99 with a trick in the FAQ I read (some monster that can net lots of xp via quickly hacking it with 9S - which infinitely respawns) then attempt to unlock the secret boss Emil.

If/when I do a review for the game, it'll probably still get a decent score overall, but the "creative advertising" will be earning it a deduction.
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I was worried earlier this week when I "accidentally" completed it. Seemed way too short, and if it was true then it meant I apparently missed a hell of a lot of things.

But apparently this is just how the game rolls. It likes to flash the end credits now and then. With each playthrough the story continues, either by revisiting the same events from a different character's perspective, or continuing from where the last one left off.

First story mode was with 2B. Second story redid the same events but from the perspective of 9S, the tracer that helps 2B. So you had "endings" A and B by the time you finished them. And if you did what I did, you'd also have ending "G" which was kinda funny if silly. Currently going through stories C and D concurrently it seems. After a bit of start up with 2B the characters you control are A2 or 9S. Apparently you do one at a time. I chose A2 first since it's a new character. I have to say 9S's hacking skillz end up sorely missed at times.

The game seems to be an Action Adventure RPG with bullet hell sequences... Mash one part dragon's dogma with one part final fantasy and one part gradius for good measure. You can probably add a bit of Zelda in there if you consider the pods annoying talkative helper fairies.

I will NOT be buying the DLC for the game however. I've found some locked doors leading to something thus far unused. Complete with helpful bots standing guard declaring nothing at all is behind the locked doors! I better not find out those are in-game advertisements for the DLC as I think there were some levels included with that. It'd definitely drag down the overall score I give this thing, if I ever officially try to write up a real review.
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Starting in on something to hopefully clear out the insane backlog on my video game collection. :P Game Night~

That translates to me just sitting down and actually focusing on a game in my collection even if I had been ignoring it all week.

This week I'm starting in on Nier:Automata on the PS4. I've already returned from the desert mission as of now so we'll see how things go. I'm probably going to stick with this game til I complete it. Not sure if the game warrants all the praise it's been receiving from the internet but it's still early and it's been enjoyable so far. Especially now that I'm starting to remember the controls. I will not be bothering with the DLC however. Low content for the high price tag imo.

Also, yes this is Game Night #2. First one was last weekend when I started and got through Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity. I finished going through the game with Remillia on Sunday, but completed Sakuya's path during the week. Both paths are identical - it's mostly just the conversations that change a bit depending on which character you decide to play and of course the moves/skills that each character has. I was actually expecting it to be harder to play the game with Sakuya but except for one thing it was about the same.

At some point this weekend I may sit down and try to write up a pitiful quality review of the games I focus on with my Game Night sessions. Trying to decide how best to grade a game based on my personal tastes. This would undoubtedly cause negative points deducted for DLC or buggy releases. Either way if I DO get a review written up, I'll be sure to post it here.

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