[sticky entry] Sticky: about the jester

Jul. 6th, 2015 05:56 am
ghostmirage: Amatsuki Vol. 2 by Takayama Shinobu, featuring Shinonome Kon (Amatsuki)
Kei is a part-time editor and author who also really likes talking about video games. While most commonly found on the other blog, Kei recently rediscovered this blog after leaving it dusty for more than two years, and is considering reviving it once again. Will most probably talk about more video games later.
ghostmirage: The unnamed protagonist from Persona 3 (Default)

Sleep is pointless where GE2 is concerned
 
I have been waiting for years for this game to come out, so when I got wind that the demo was getting released in August, I got really, really excited. Hell, I was prepared to download it the moment it became 1/8/2013 where I live, I was that excited. Famitsu is hosting the download, which I was very thankful for since I don't have a PSN account. After a decent amount of fangirling, I finally started the game.

So how's the demo, and is it looking any better than GE? Let's find out. I won't go into details about all the new weapons and the Blood Art system - you can find more info about that in the wiki.
 
WARNING: THE AUTHOR OF THIS POST IS VERY BIASED TOWARDS THE FRANCHISE. THIS REVIEW IS TO BE TAKEN WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. BETTER YET, GET THE GAME YOURSELF AND SEE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT IT.

THE GAME
 
EXTREME FANGASM


God, this is so nostalgic


Hurray for limited knowledge in Japanese!


Character creation time
 
The first big difference between GE and GE2 is the character creation part. There are added customizable features like the colour of the eyes, and hair accessories - although the latter one was restricted to only one hairstyle. When choosing a face for your character, you can see how the face looks like with different emotions. The one I picked was particularly adorable when she's upset. The hair colour is also much more customizable, featuring a colour palette instead of preset colours like in GE. I couldn't customize the clothes though, although that may be because this is a demo and not the full game. I don't know.
 

How come we didn't have this in the Far East Branch?!
 
 
Graphic wise, GE2 has far outclassed its predecessor. The verdantly lush garden called Freyja, the steampunk-nuanced laboratory, and the highly efficient-looking lobby were stunningly designed. Overall, GE2 has a more steampunk feel to it, which made sense since it takes place quite some time after the events in GE. GE had a strong post-apocalyptic look to it, so I guess GE2 was made to be more technologically advanced then?






 
The vending machine/merchant was pretty cool! I totally wasn't expecting for the merchant to be a vending machine, out of all things. The new design for the Norn terminal was pretty refreshing, too. The environment wasn't the only part that got an overhaul, though.

The cutscenes were given a total revamp, too.
 

He was so happy when we called him senpai


They were much more animated, and the expressions were really something. They were so well-done watching the cutscenes felt like watching parts from an anime.

Bonus: GE2 comes with a Gintama costume and hairstyle! The boys get Gintoki's outfit and hairstyle, while the girls get Kagura's. Apparently the costumes are based on the upcoming Gintama movie where Kagura's all grown up, hence how her outfit looks a lot like Gintoki's and her hair's much longer.


I didn't change her hairstyle, tho'

Now let's have a look at the missions.


This one's about hunting Gboro-Gboro and Zygotes
 

The ultimate demo team


Bah, pesky Ogretails


Enter the Garm...
 
...which wasn't that hard to kill. I've heard other people say the Aragami were getting harder and harder to kill, and the difficulty curve was higher than it was in GE. I have to say, I don't find the battles that hard. In fact, it wasn't very hard at all. Of course, tackling the Aragami without any weapon or skill upgrades is tantamount to pushing a boulder uphill like Sisyphus - I upgraded my Charge Spear to a level 3 Garm-core Charge Spear and went for the level 2 Piercing Blood Art. This mission took me about fifteen minutes and an S grade, it was that easy.


 
Look at that fancy move!
 
The thing I like best about the Charge Spear is that when you press the R and square buttons at the same time, your character does a backflip. If you can time your attacks correctly and you have a shitload of stamina, your attacks can be linked into one unending chain - which is pretty goddamn awesome to me. I don't usually go for Pierce attacks - I used the Long Blade in GE - but the Charge Spear really got me hooked.

Another interesting thing about GE2 is that the Aragami bullets that you get depend on the kind of gun that you use. When I used the Shotgun, I got tornado bullets from a Chi You. When I used an Assault gun, I got shot bullets. The amount of bullets isn't restricted anymore either; one mission I collected about 13 bullets. That's a pretty big improvement, since that means I won't have to frantically search for the bullet that I wanted during battles.

That's not to say the demo doesn't have any weaknesses. There were glitches here and there, like your character disappearing into the Norn terminal when you access it while running, or suddenly appear a good distance away from your initial position while bashing an Aragami. So far those are the only glitches that I can see.

THE ABSOLUTELY BIAS VERDICT

None

This is a demo. Why in the world would I rate a demo? And if I were to rate a demo, how would I rate it? Based on what? However, having said all that I think GE2 is shaping up to be a fantastic game. The battles were fluid and beautifully done, the fields were much more interesting than the ones in GE - you can see where the wall in the cathedral in the City of Mercy collapsed after the final battle against the Black Hannibal in GE which was a highly well-done detail - and the Blood Art system? Fucking awesome. All things taken into consideration, GE2 is a much-approved upgrade to GE, with better graphics, better battle mechanics, better environments, and hopefully better story. I can't stress this enough - as a fan of GE, the full game is definitely a must have.

GOD EATER 2 is slated for release on November 14, 2013.

Here are some screenshots of my male character, Loa. BECAUSE I CAN.


I love that smug expression on his face
 

Look at my baby
 

I love this part the most - both Nana and Loa are so adorable!

Til next time!

ghostmirage: (Vocaloid)
 
game cover
 
 Megpoid the Music♯ is a rhythm-based video game for the PSP featuring - surprise, surpise! - Internet Co. Ltd.'s GUMI. It's very similar to the widely popular Project Diva franchise. Developed by ParaPhray, Megpoid the Music♯ was released on March 28, 2013. Given that it's a fairly recent game, there aren't any English patches for it yet but IDGAF - a Project Diva-esque game with GUMI in it? Count me in.

I've actually done a review of this game several weeks before, but I decided to scrap it and do a new one due to a couple of reasons: 1) I did the review during a particularly stressful week with exams and all, so it wasn't of good quality; and 2) I didn't use my own screenshots, which was pretty damn half-assed of me. So yeah - I figured out how to take screenshots and all that crap and I've played it long enough to get the hang of it, so here's a new and improved review!
 
THE GAME

Let's get started!
 
 


See where she's pointing? Select that to play.


Song selection menu (that PERFECT for Rosetta on Expert was surprisingly easy)
 
There's a pleasantly varied selection of songs available for play in this game. Project Diva tends to rehash the same songs over and over again for three games - I mean, come on, there's only so much of Luka Luka Night Fever a guy could take, y'know? Megpoid the Music♯ has a lot of interesting songs - they included some of my favourites like Rosetta (which explains why I cleared the Expert mode so quickly), Ama no Jaku, Jyuumensou, Aitai, Cattleya, Carnival/Cannibal (depends on your outlook), and Mozaik Role. The types of songs are pretty varied - you've got the cutesy love song like Noboru↑-P's 恋はきっと急上昇☆ (Love is Surely Soaring); crazy psycho ones like otetsu's  カーニバル (Carnival/Cannival); sexy and oh-so-catchy dance tracks like KiLLER LADY by Hachiouji-P; the obligatory samfree song Megu Megu☆Fire Endless Night; and the pure what-the-fuck-ery that is the last song in the game, 絶唱のカヴァリエーレ (Zesshou no Kavuarieere) by Maiden Knight. Oddly enough, I couldn't find any information about that song; neither on Nico or on YouTube or on Google. Which is pretty freaky weird, since it's a pretty cool song.
 

SE stands for Sound Effects for when you hit the notes, by the way
 
I really can't help you with the help items, since I never use them. Never even bought them once, not even in Project Diva, so yeah. Try and explore and see what they do. I also have a habit of using the same default SE for the notes, so I can't recommend anything about that either.


 
When I first tried these out, I got pissed because every time I chose the left option they'd always give me the Native GUMI costume (the costume you start out with). Over time and with more costumes I collected, the function of that option became clearer. If you don't have the default costume, though, they'll just give you the Native GUMI costume. Also, once you picked a costume for a song, it will remain that way every time you play it. Which is pretty cool, because in Project Diva you have to change costumes every time you play a different song.


The default costume for VERSUS


Gameplay for the song Cattleya. Because I CAN.
 
The most obvious difference between Megpoid the Music♯ and Project Diva is definitely the way them notes come at you. In Project Diva, they come at you from every which way you could think of, which is pretty damn tricky to nail. A couple of songs in EXTREME mode and you'd go nuts. Haywire, even. As you can see, Megpoid the Music♯ plays in a linear motion - the notes come in straight line. The screenshot above was in Normal mode, which only features two notes. Okay, technically four. Challenge mode gives you three (technically six) notes while Expert mode gives you four (seriously? EIGHT) notes. Getting the timing is the only tricky part of this game - that, and trying not to get dizzy from the MV playing in the background. 

Also, see that orange gauge at the bottom left corner with the cute GUMI icon? That's called the Groove Gauge. That Groove Gauge is SOLE DETERMINANT of whether or not you clear the song. The crazy thing about it? Getting that gauge filled to only 80% is a bad - BAD as in you've failed to clear the song. I'm not kidding. 80% is not a good thing. In fact, it's the equivalent of failing. Keep that in mind next time you get your exam papers back, kids.


What happens when you score a PERFECT -DAMN SHE'S CUTE
 
There are five scores you can get when hitting notes. Brilliant is obviously a bulls-eye. Great and Good are when you missed by a teeny millimeter. Fine is when your timing slipped a little and you pressed that button a tad too late, and Miss is, well... pretty damn obvious, innit? The different grades you get when clearing a song are BAD (I've mentioned that before), WELL, EXCELLENT, WONDERFUL and PERFECT. BAD when you're terrible at filling that Groove Gauge, WELL when you've filled it enough but you've got so many misses. EXCELLENT is when you don't miss too many notes, but still not a perfect combo. You get a WONDERFUL when you don't have any misses but still not a perfect combo and PERFECT when you get a perfect combo.

Oh, and by the way, getting a Fine note breaks your combo. C-C-C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!


 
Next on the menu is going to GUMI's room.




Gotta do some stretching exercises before dancing




 
There are, as always, several options you can choose to do in GUMI's room. Pretty obvious what they are, so I won't elaborate on it too much.

I will, however, elaborate a little bit on the Media Player (that's what I call it - the game just calls it Player).
 

 
You can set up your own playlist, just like in Project Diva. The interface is a lot neater though. You can figure it out even if you can't read any Japanese, it just takes a little bit of common sense.




It even loops for forever!
 
The best part about the Player is the fact that if you choose to just play the songs in your playlist and not the MVs, you get to see GUMI do the song's dance routine! It's helluva convenient if, say, you wanted to learn the dance or something. *coughcough


Look at how hardworking she is!
 
Trivia: the items you put in her room affect her actions during idle mode. I placed a laptop on her shelf and I came upon her using it, which is pretty neat if you ask me. You don't get this with Project Diva.

Next, we're going to the Shop.




 
Standard rhythm-based video game items, nothing new about it.


 
Most of her costumes have colour variations, so even if there are few choices the idea of collecting them in all their different colours is appealing enough for me to play over and over again. That, and my own personal goal to attain PERFECT in all the songs. Oh hey, I have 69200 game points. Better go spend them.


What's in them presents? NOBODY KNOWS
 
You can give the presents to GUMI and she'll like it (I think?), but like I said, you'll never know what's in those presents. Well, maybe you could if you can read Japanese, but I can't so IDGAF. 

Want to check your all time high-score for a particular song? Time to check your data.




I might have mixed the bottom two up. Oops.
 
There's only one other person I know who might be interested in this game. His name is Rach - he's pretty much my partner-in-crime for anything Vocaloid. He's a huge GUMI fan, so I gave him a copy of this game to try out. I'll say what his response to this game was later on, but I don't think he's going to be playing it anytime soon anymore, so I have no friends and thus cannot test out how my friends' profiles might look like. Dammit.

You can choose several things for your profile. The first is obviously your name. The second one is your title, I think (like I said, I can't read Japanese so this is all guesswork - MOSTLY accurate guesswork, mind you). The third is your birth date, the fourth is possibly your favourite song out of all the available songs in the game and the last is your comment.


Incidentally, this is how my profile looks like
 
You've played for several hours and want to take a break? Don't exit the game just yet! Gotta save first.




DLC? What DLC?
 
The biggest problem I have with this game is the fact that there is NO AUTOSAVE FUNCTION (I'm putting that in capital letters so you know exactly what to fix next time, ParaPhray). You have to save manually every time. Sure, that's not really a big deal, but the game doesn't really emphasize the need to save, y'know? It doesn't even remind you to save. Project Diva has an autosave function; it saves every time it displays a loading screen, so it's pretty convenient. I had no idea Megpoid the Music♯ had no autosave function, so the first time I played it, I exited without saving and all my data disappeared. And I had cleared out all the songs, too. It's a bit of a hassle to be saving every time you want to exit the game, so that's a major down point for this game.


Other stuff
 
I never bothered much about the last three items on the menu, since they're really not that important. Head to the settings to change the volume of the BGM and SE and all that, go to the tutorial to get the hang of the game if you're really such a noob at this kind of game, and that last one? No idea. I'll try checking it out if I ever feel like it.


THE VERDICT

3/5

So, what did Rach think about this game?

It gave him a migraine. He said the notes coming at him in that linear fashion were too much for him to handle. He gave up after several tries. It's a damn shame, because he really is a big fan of GUMI and I thought this would be a great game for him. I think he prefers Project Diva on a whole, hahah.

On my part, I think this is a pretty decent attempt by ParaPhray to come up with something to compete with Sega and Crypton Future Media's Project Diva, albeit with a few glitches here and there. The loading time can be a tad bit too long, and when I've chosen to play a song there's a terrible static right after GUMI says something. It also lags, which is a pretty fatal error in any rhythm-based video game. What if the glitch is the reason for your missing the timing?! The horror! Well, not that it's ever happened to me, but it's rather worrisome. The lag is a bit obvious, too. The sound and animation quality are stellar, though. It has enough replay value to keep you coming back to tackle the harder songs, and plus - the opportunity to play Carnival/Cannibal in a game? Not something I'd want to miss.

I really want to give more, but the technical issues were too much for me to overlook. It has potential and it's a great game, but fix that lack-of-autosave problem and improve the gameplay quality a bit and you'll have an awesome game worthy of the awesome songs in it. Take note, ParaPhray!
 
P.S. I looked at the specs for Project Diva: F and it has Eh? Aa, Sou and hachi's World's End Umbrella. Eh, Aa Sou. is my favourite Sinsyakaijin song EVER and I am a huge fan of LOVE hachi's works, so that pisses me off a bit since F is only for the Vita and PS3. I hate you, Sega and Cryptooooooooooooooon.

Ah well, Papiyon's tuning for Miku in Eh? Aa, Sou. was terrible anyway. *sobs

Til next time!

July 2015

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