Thursday, November 28, 2013

Umineko no Naku Koro ni


One of the longest VN series that i have read so far and most likely even longer than Clannad. While it is not my personal favorite VN, i can see why Umineko got so many hype over the net and i can say the quality of the VN is very high. Umineko is the second Naku koro ni series after Higurashi(which i should give a read) and the appeal of the series is the mystery itself. I use the tweak patch for Umineko which makes the PC VN got voice acting as well as redrawn sprite which gives the best experience of the Umineko journey. The VN series itself divided into 2 VN with 4 chapters and each chapters roughly will take 16-20 hours to read which just show how enormous Umineko as a series.

I won't dwell much about storyline but basically Umineko revolves around the mystery of incident in an island called Rokkenjima where all members of the members of renowned family of Ushiromiya disappeared in bizarre circumstances in 1986 during their family reunion. And the theme of the series is the fantasy interpretation of the incident which basically involve Witches and Magics. The 8 chapters of the Umineko represent possible scenarios of the incident and as the story goes on the world umineko is expanded steadily. And unlike most conventional VNs, there is no true interpretation of the Rokkenjima incident but each chapters hold some fragments of truth.

The main appeal of Umineko is the journey itself rather than the end destination. Expect lots of mind games throughout the VN and plenty of nasty twists here and there. Mystery fans will really enjoy this series but it is still good for normal VN readers as long as you don't try to dwell too much about some parts. Out of 8 Chapters of Umineko the 6th is my personal favorite as the mutual romance feelings of the protagonist and heroine finally reached to each other. Though personally i still find Umineko could help for some more romance for Battler and Beatrice. Lastly music of Umineko is really good and expect lots of good trance considering one of the major contributor for the music did some works on DJ Max. My suggestion if you are getting into umineko, savor it slowly because the journey through the series is one of a kind and i regretted that i marathon the VN in a week. There is also fighting game based on Umineko which is quite interesting though unfortunately my Laptop is pretty much dead to run the game.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

N-Gage series

I have never talked about this before but i used to play N-Gage games alot and believes it was a good gaming platform. The ngage i referred about is the first generation one where Nokia tried to wrestle against Nintendo's portable market and in the end failed to do so and the 2nd gen Ngage is just a former shell of this once promising platform. The main reason why i believe Ngage failed is not because of the games which are actually better than your average GBA games but due to lack of exposures of the platform to the public, moreover the Ngage itself comes in the wrong time where 3G networks are not widely used and have rather weak specs which is a problem for mobile phone. Probably the release of NDS and PSP drove the nail into the coffin which is quite a sad thing to see. If Ngage were to compete against GBA, i think it will have some chance to survive but unfortunately the fate is cruel and proved otherwise. At this point i doubt Ngage will ever resurrect again considering the 2nd failure but with the recent acquisition by Microsoft, with proper planning i would say Nokia could possibly release a worthy platform of Mobile gaming.

 While not all Ngage games are really good, in this platform there are some hidden Gems that worth  playing. Here are some of those titles that i find to be great title

  • Rifts: Promise of Power
  • Pocket Kingdom
  • Pathway to Glory
  • Pathway to Glory: Ikusa Island
  • High Seize
  • Asphalt 2
  • Ashen
  • ONE
  • Glimmerati
Out of those titles, Pathway to Glory is probably the most famous one but my personal favorite would be Pocket Kingdom and Rifts Promise of Power which i may discuss about it in the future. However the best thing this Platform is that it it my gateway some of the interesting series like Civilization, Warhammer 40k and Rifts.

I wished there were some emulators for Ngage for Android because those games represent the best moment of my mobile gaming and never released to other platform. It is rather sad to see that Nokia has abandoned this platform not once but twice and i wished they made these Ngage games available to their mobile phone.

Does anyone played Ngage before and what is your favorite title?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Super Robot Wars Masoukishin III: Pride of Justice review

First of all i will apologize for bad quality pictures in advance since i am unable to take screenshots from my Vita for this game since it has protected lock for taking screenshots which is a dumb idea by Winkysoft/Bandai and it is a waste of those beautiful CGs. By far Pride of Justice is probably the weakest entry of Masoukishin series that i played mainly due to the gameplay issue and the storyline did not really progress anywhere and did not have the same appeal from the first game. Though as follower of Masoukishin fans i suppose the story is still passable.

There are couple of new additions from the previous series. The most noticeable changes from the previous game are that Fang and Rosary gets new attire to make them look less retro and in addition Antillas team got two new members joining their team. One is Remia who is Zash older sister and the other one is Treis a reverse trap who Gido rescued early in the first route split. Also each character now got their unique theme song which are mixed bag but some of them are quite decent. Finally each route got their own secrets and one combination attack for specific pair of characters which are really cool.

As always there are 3 routes in this game which are quite simple as you branch off early in the game when you got the first choice. Each route covers totally different story and focused on different characters. Pride of Justice route are divided into Fang, Eran and Tyutti which are ordered from easiest to hardest. The reason why Tyutti is the hardest one is because at the last stage you will fight around 20 Gatswo+ which got 40k HP each, a really hard stage by Masoukishin standard

The main issue of the gameplay is that the difficulty in Pride of Justice is much harder than any previous Masoukishin in a bad way. Probably this is one of the few game that the Grunt units are actually more threatening than the Boss unit itself. As you progress through the game the Grunt unit obviously gets stronger but that's not it, around middle of the game they can one shot your unupgraded units even if you block and around last 10 chapters some of them are able to kill your fully upgraded unit in 1-2 hits. To make it worse, the AI in this game is badly programmed since the enemy will only aim at your weakest unit non stop until they are dead and probably you will soft reset lots of times if you make silly mistakes. The most dangerous grunts in this game are the Nimbus which looks like FA Gundam and the Radat kingdom grunts and also the Pink Volkruss grunts. The difficulty spike is mainly due to Winky soft trying to push DLC mission which will gives you upgrade parts when you finish the games.

My suggestions if you are going to get this game is the same rule like previous series, always upgrade your Masoukishins since they will be your primary attacker especially Yanlong who can hit a whopping 100k damage with his Seiden Kafuu Seiun ken when it is fully upgraded along with Soul seishin. For each specific route you need to invest certain characters as they get quite powerful with their combination attacks. Lastly never invest on more than 10 units because by the end of the game non FUBd units are easily one shotted by the grunts.

I suppose the absurd difficulty along with bad DLC approach makes this niche SRW series even more unpopular which makes the preowned copy of the game are sold for dirt cheap in Japan. I think with Pride of Justice, Winkysoft need to reevaluate the direction they should go in particular the balance of their game. Personally i still find the game worth my money as i still clocked about 40 hours though i can't be bothered to get the Platinum trophy.

From this point on i will cover the story of each routes based from what i can comprehend and since it will be spoilerific by nature so tread on your own discretion.