Friday, March 21, 2014

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Why not say Sega-All Stars?)

I find it really confusing to sort the difference between these 2 titles. I think they slapped the Sonic name on here for a selling point.  Anyway, if you're looking for a racing game like Mario Kart or one like Gran Turismo.  Not gonna find it here. This is more of the in-between of both games. Generally frustrating like all other races too as well.

Graphics: 

Well if you're looking for better graphics since Mario Kart Wii. You can say this was Sega's Answer to Mario Kart Wii.  By having far better graphics and a rather dynamic track design this does beat Mario Kart in that regard.  But since graphics are at the bottom of my list of things I care about it.

Gameplay

Let's talk about the dynamic tracks.  What I mean by "Dynamic Tracks". I mean most of the tracks on this game change each lap either by explosions on the course that change the layout or being forced to take a separate route.  This is where the vehicle change comes into play (and why you slap on name Transformed in the title).  You'll watch your car transform into a plane or a hovercraft/boat.  I honestly found this rather exciting.  But of course you want to be in your aircraft form for as long as possible as even the game tells you that its faster.  While the course map is more or less the same as in regards to turns and straightaways its hard to notice when you have to shift your focus towards the track changes.

I do wish character selection was a bit more vast and that "Wreck-It Ralph" wasn't in this game though.  You pretty much got the Sonic cast that ppl care about. Then 1 or 2 characters from other games. (Other versions such as the PC version gained extra characters that don't really make sense like Team Fortress 2 characters???? but whatever.)

I haven't tried out the multiplayer yet but I did find that the leaderboards were already hacked or glitched it seems.  I've seen people with lap times as low as 3 seconds. So I'm going WTF? How?  Apparently this game was rather buggy and still is to a degree.  The main bugs I come across tend to be when I start the game it doesn't load so I have to go back to my PSN home menu and restart the game. Other bugs tend to be me somehow going way out of bounds especially during transformations, I even came across one where I had to repeat lap 2 cause the game said I went out of bounds during a drift. Really inconvenient but not unplayable.

Career Mode I feel could use some work.  Like every other Sega All-Stars Game you have to work really hard to unlock things.  While you could sit at C or B class and finish everything easily. You'll quickly discover that you need to be A and S rank to progress any further. This doesn't help the fact that you need to do this to unlock characters as well.

Music

Hearing some remixed tracks of older stages or games is pretty cool. I personally found myself liking the Golden Axe theme and Shinobi theme.  Love the Shinobi theme hate the track though lol. What tends to ruin the music however is when a character gains All-Star (The Equilvalent of Mario Kart's Star Powerup). You'll hear that character's theme for a few seconds and then the track theme resets.

Difficulty

OMG these guys are bullies. This is what separates this game from Mario Kart Wii. While in Mario Kart you could sit in first place and the only thing you'd have to worry about is a random shell of the blue variety headed your way. This game is more about skill.  While all the weapons are generally balanced the AI is a bully and has the sturdiness of a Gran Turismo AI car (AKA the brick wall cars).  Trying to reach 1st place is hard enough especially in the A or S Class.  You're generally rewarded for skill while driving in this game. Be it the classic drift mechanic to something as advance as Risk boost where you gain a boost for avoiding an obstacle at the last second. Messing up on a drift or messing up a stunt can result in your position dropping drastically.  There are no slackers in this game.  Even in GP mode I never see the same racer behind or in front of me.

Career Mode is worse in the aspect of difficulty. With stages like Pursuit where you're chasing a tank trying to kill you. Or Traffic Attack where you have to weave your way through traffic and hope not to crash. Its heavy on the skill requirement and there's frustration to be involved as well.

Replay Value

The replay value aside from online and multiplay comes from having to level up your characters to unlock various mods to there cars.  Or you could just play as Metal Sonic who already has everything unlocked and is max level.  Up to you but I like playing as Knuckles and Gillius.

What Would I Change

I would change how Career Mode works. Instead of forcing me to replay the same stage at a higher rank for another Star to my record how about based on how well you've done the first time you played it have a set benchmark to meet.  Its very annoying to go back and play some of courses again to unlock more characters and mods.

Overall 

I enjoy this game. Wish I had people I know who still play this. But its enjoyable.  Age is a factor that doesn't serve this game well too.  But I'll take it over the seriousness of Gran Turismo or the random factor that Mario Kart possesses. This definitely stands out as a racing game. But it is rather buggy while not unplayable the bugs you come across are very inconvenient.

Original Price: $40.00
Paid: $35.99
Worth: $25.00

I Miss High ScoreBoards In Games (Part 1)

I miss high scores.

1 thing I loved when playing fighting games was the high score board. But lately...in the year 2014. High Score Boards mean nothing.

High score boards in the past were a means of showing off. Especially in arcades.  It was the way you would show off to everyone that you're great the game.  And the day you walk in either the scoreboard was reset or you find someone else has beaten it. You start to wonder how did this person get a high score.

But that wasn't why I loved High Score Boards.  I used it as my benchmark for my personal best. Seeing the high score boards and my own score I wonder how that person got such a score and try to beat it my own way. That's how I would better myself and know how well I'm doing.  Cause you know you got a perfect bonus at the end of a match that gave like 50,000 points, doing something like first attack, or finishing the match quickly, etc.

But nowadays. Scoreboards have amounted to nothing.  With the inclusion of online play and leaderboards.  You're now able to see high scores from around the world. Everyone who's played the game is listed here. Problem is you find these scores are impossible. They're either way too high and you just don't show up anywhere on that list. Or you find that leaderboard is glitched, hacked, etc. in some way.  Some games don't even bother with the scoreboard anymore since everyone is more concerned with playing online vs. mode.

People make the excuse that, "Oh you're just fighting the AI That doesn't mean you're good at the game." So the point of competing for the best high score is generally meaningless when you have no one willing to really try.  The AI has been judged to a point that its pretty much against the law to even play an AI opponent. "Oh the AI knows what you're gonna do before you do it! Oh the AI is too stupid."  The same can be said of human players IMO.

So I have days where I wonder. "What's the point of high scores when there's no one around to push you to improve it?"  Everyone's either hacking it or just not playing that mode at all. Personally playing Fighters to try and beat my own personal high score is about all I can do. But it gets boring when I find no one else trying it. I don't care much for online matches. Its all fun and games till the game gets boring or someone takes things too seriously.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten (We Promise your life will go to this game)

While like every other Disgaea game prepare to devote part of your life to this game.  You may not want to but its gonna happen.  Unfortunately this game demands more of your time than any other.  I mean more than you can possibly imagine. And you won't see much of a payoff unless your devoting a great portion of your time and energy towards this game.


Storyline - Innuendos, World is Messed up, You know the drill.


While the storyline is rather basic. Its good compared to most games of today. While sticking to the comedy and keeping the story its enough to satisfy the player.  The things I don't like about this game however are the innuendos and dirty jokes thrown in at the most inconvenient times. During character creation one of the characters talks about being turned on by sniffing someone's shoes. Another time being a character asking to sniff panties or someone to smell his. The rest being scenes of how screwed up humanity is.  Sheesh can't I have a game where I its not talking about bad the world is?  If you're willing to look past that then there is a story.  For me quite a few parts made me feel rather uncomfortable. But most people I find that play Disgaea or any other game in its series don't even care for the storyline.  That's not even the selling point either.

If the story isn't about how the world sucks then its about innuendos with some comedy.

Gameplay - Prepare to have a case of soda, stay awake food, etc.


This is where things turned me off.  At first things started out rather well.  I'm cool with strategy RPGs.  However the game quickly turned into being all about numbers and how powerful you can make a character.  I played with the intention of messing with the other game content later. But I found myself forced to jump into barely halfway through the main story.

Item World is Lame

The most annoying part of the game and where most of your hours will go if its not spent killing enemies and hoping to reach a particular level. Generally its to make whatever piece of equipment or item stronger so that you can benefit even greater. I ended up frustrated of falling asleep in the middle of the day going through this. If you're not careful you can end up fighting enemies that clearly outclass you in every way making any sort of strategy you had planned useless.  To make matters worse there's only 3 ways out. Finish it, use a special item, or Game Over.  This is made worse with the online feature as you might end up fighting other players characters that are clearly stronger than your own virtually ruining your day.  And this was in low level items apparently when I asked the forums.  Better to cut off online to make things a little more balanced.  My worst experience was using a feature where I could call someone else's character for help.  There character showed up to help only to die by the NPC Gatekeeper that's supposed to be neutral. Guess it was being a referee telling me not to call for help ever.

This wouldn't be so bad however this function of the game is forced. You'll end up at a point in the story where the game denies you to make any more progress till you use item world to a certain degree.
You want to progress the story? Nope Gotta do Item World First

No Sense of Progress in Leveling

Leveling in this game is atrocious. The max level is 9999 but it doesn't stop there. Simallar to Pokemon to make the strongest character you need certain things to go your way.  Since that's true you can reincarnate your character back to LVL 1 and begin the leveling process all over again. Even more so you can go to Character World to make your character even stronger.  While Character World isn't as tedious as Item World is, the leveling part is still slow till you acquire something that can only be found...."IN ITEM WORLD ARGH!!!!"

So until you find that certain something your character will level up rather slowly.  While you can go on Youtube and find ppl reaching max level in like 2 minutes. However I lack that "specific thing" (whatever it is) I need to level that fast.  I wouldn't feel so bad about leveling if I actually saw a major difference in stat boost.  But I don't really see or feel a sense of accomplishment till I hit like LVL 500 or 1000.  To make it worse pretty much the sense of strategy the game has was virtually out the window.  And I haven't even beaten the game yet. You seriously won't see a major difference in stats till you hit level 100 from then on its another 50 to 100 levels till you see a noticeable change in stats. Even then its not enough I found enemies as low as LVL 250 able to inflict damage well over 40% of my unit HP at LVL 1000. This wasn't due to some adverse effect in the game or some sort of boost the enemy received in stats and my armor is as up-to-date as it can get.  This game is just weird about handout stat boost or giving you a sense that you're stronger. Even fighting enemies that are evenly matched to your units levels/stats forget about having a balanced fight. So guess what the only way to feel stronger is to reincarnate your characters and hope there stats increase is enough. Which it won't be.

*Side Note: Don't trust what strategy guides say. They'll end up leading down the a path where you'll get stuck for awhile. Also with the patch downloaded things are rather tough to grind as apparently everyone I talked to used a glitch that was patched out of the game. The patch cannot be uninstalled since if you do the game will read your save as a corrupted file. I've tested this.  So I can't utilize this glitch everyone's talking about. This is what everyone mentioned for me to do however I cannot due to these issues.

You could have 1 unit around the same level as the enemy but that doesn't matter. The enemy is still stronger.

Online Interaction is Crazy

The things that can happen online are rather unique but highly dependent on people actually playing online.  I honestly hate being signed in on PSN cause of the many bad things that can happen to me. Or should I say the 1 thing that keeps happening.  The game being as old as it is there's of course players that have already grinded to the point that they have the strongest character around.  Well I personally keep coming across a player's character that has pretty much all maxed out stats. So ruining any Senate hearings I have as well as any already horrible times in Item World.  I pretty much have to shut off online to make sure this guy doesn't show up.  As for me well no one else seems to play this game online so I get none of the benefits I can apparently get from online.

Might as well turn off Online unless you like encountering guys 
that should be clearly done with the game.

Overall

I have to say this game would be pretty fun but with the grinding being a requirement and strategy being thrown out the window barely halfway through the game. I'm honestly disappointed. The game is more about grinding to make a great character and show it off to friends assuming you have friends that play the game. If anything keeps me there its the comedy. I can still do without the innuendos and dirty jokes.  This is definitely a game for those that just have nothing better to do.  You won't see much progress unless you're devoting all your time to it even then it'll still take a long time.  I might look into Disgaea D2 since that's supposed to be better and overall fair compared to this game.

Side Note 2: If I have to utilize some glitch or hack a game to make progress or "Have Fun" Then the game isn't really worth it.  I've received offers for people to "hack my save file" or to just download another save. Even to start over without the patch.  I'm not going out of my way to fix a game to bring things to my favor.

One of the few scenes I actually did like in the game. 
Although I have to call this game a hypocrite as well in what's being stated here. LOL

Disgaea 4: A Promised Unforgotten
Cost:  $59.99
I Paid: $13.49
Worth: $11.00


Character Highlight: Valvatorez

While I absolutely detest Vampires. Valvatorez is kinda cool in this story. One of the few characters that isn't going around telling everyone to feel sorry for him cause of some tragic past.  His motto about keeping promises (and forcing everyone else to keep theirs) makes him rather unique in terms of RPG characters. Especially in this day and age.  While he has this silly antics about sardines and tends to be naive about what's going on around him. He manages to keep his beliefs and move on.  He doesn't even complain about his lot in life. He doesn't really care about how low on the "food chain" he is. This guy I feel truly stands out from what seems to be the status quo of today where everyone's either emo or did something and wants everyone to feel sorry for him or her.  We need more characters like this honestly.