Nearly a year later, featuring Transistor!

010-funny-animal-gifs-dog-slapWell, I think the adjoining image perfectly encapsulates my feelings on my negligence of this blog.  Please don’t send any animals to bitch paw(slap) me.  I realize I’ve taken quite an extensive pause from posting.  The past year has been quite a change and due to a six-month reprieve from internet access beyond a cellphone, I was would have been capable of only blog posts no more than a few sentences in length.  Of course, I could have written posts from my smartphone, which throws tantrums like a two-year-old.  Luckily I have access to a much better phone now, but also my lovely computer.  I’ve been back for a while, but it took some time for me to crawl back into old habits.

So a lot has happened since my last post in August of last year.  New Anime series, new films, games, books, comics, and so much more that I spent nearly three months catching up on six months worth of geekery.  SDCC has recently passed and with it a wealth of goodies that have me itching for trailers.  Legend of Korra wrapped up its story arc last year and not only granted the wish of Korrasami shippers but managed to agitate the fans that didn’t see the pairing coming or are hardcore Makorra fans.  I have my own opinion of the finale, but that’s for a later post and when I’m not running on fumes.

transistorRecently, Steam held their summer sale, which just hearing the words “Steam Summer Sale” sends gamers into a hungry frenzy, hoping to devour the best in PC gaming deals and software.  I admit that I’ve not been an active user of Steam, but I decided this year that I would jump on some of the deals being dangled in front me.  Well, I got quite a few of them.

I’m picky when it comes to choosing the right game.  Some huge names made their way into the sale, like Witcher 3 and GTA V.  While I was excited to see such titles featured, I set myself a goal.  Only buy the games that were less than $8.  I’ll admit that most of my haul was games under $3, but they were some games with pretty positive responses from gamers and reviews matter a lot to me when making a purchase.

One title popped up on the list, a title I’d never heard much about but was by Supergiant Games, makers of the acclaimed action-RPG, Bastion.  I’ve played a little of Bastion and I enjoyed it, so I thought that this game had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, I acted too late to snag Transistor the first time, but luckily Steam gives some of their best sellers a second chance.  One play of the trailer and I knew I’d be buying this game just not for play value, but the phenomenal soundtrack.

In Transistor, you play Red, a famous singer that for reasons not yet known, was to be assassinated by a group known as the Camerata.  The assassination failed, but in the process Red’s voice has been absorbed by a weapon known as the Transistor which is buried deep into the body of a man that we assume was serving to protect Red.  His persona is also absorbed by Transistor, which allows the weapon a voice and consciousness, which leads Red through Cloudbank and narrates our journey.  Red takes the weapon into her possession and uses it to fight off intelligent minions of the Camerata, known only as the Process.

I skimmed through some reviews that complained of the game’s confusing storyline and how so little is explained at the beginning.  It’s a game that slowly stitches the story together, to understand just how Red has found herself in this dangerous position.  I view games much like visual and interactive books, so the plot didn’t so much throw me off as it did for some.  The story is interesting, as well as the game’s choice of music and art design.  It also manages to have a protagonist that is mute, but by cut scenes and interactive items, you are able to hear Red’s voice in its full glory.  Admittedly, what sold me on this game was the song that plays in the background of the game’s trailers and I forked out the extra cash just to snatch up this amazing OST.

The game has been entertaining thus far, a game that allows you two methods of battle.  There is real-time battling, where you hit buttons and sequence attacks, but also try to avoid the oncoming blows of enemies.  Or you can choose Turn() battling, which allows you to essentially pause the game, plan out a strategy whether landing an attack, moving to a particular location or dashing away from enemy view.   Unfortunately the Turn() method comes at a price of emptying Red’s action bar, but it refills and until it does, it’s best to line of sight your enemies until Red is able to attack again.  I love that we’re given a choice, rather than forcing us to a singular method of battle.  If you’re willing to wait those extra seconds, the Turn() base system is definitely a fun way of combat.

And the soundtrack. . .have I mentioned the soundtrack?  Ashley Barrett’s voice adds a perfect ethereal touch to this game and I think it’s a huge part

of what makes this game so phenomenal.  As I played, I realized sometime later that even though Red doesn’t speak, we KNOW her voice.  Just those snippets of music give us enough of Red to understand her need to stop the Camerata and to feel the horror of losing something so precious.  I think I played most of this game with a heavy heart and after learning of Sybil’s intentions and what she cost Red, it made the song “In Circles” a powerfully emotional song.

I don’t want to delve much more into the plot and reveal too much to spoil it for those that might purchase the game in the future.  The plot is interesting, very sad in my opinion, and the gameplay is a hell of a lot more fun that I was expecting.  If an excellent soundtrack and quality gameplay doesn’t sell you, maybe the game’s art style will.  I mean, THIS IS A GAME!

t3 t2 t1

So if you’re looking into something a little different, I HIGHLY recommend this game.  I can only hope that Supergiant’s future games are just as fun and beautiful.

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Otome Tuesdays- My Sweet Prince: Meet the boys Part 1

princes

Please note!  Spoilers ahead for the following princes: Chezem, Lambert, and Melchiorre.  

I love Otome games.  They are visual novels, meaning you’re reading a story with visual elements added to make the story all the more alluring.  Most games require money to play, unless you play one of the free games.  Even for free, there are limitations and time constraints due to the no-cost aspect of the game.  Often if you hit a checkpoint and are unable to produce the items needed or charm level required to pass through, you may find yourself at a standstill for days or weeks.  Luckily some games offer special events where you can earn currency to turn in for special items during the event or save up some in-game currency like Zeni to purchase checkpoint or avatar items.  As long as you level up skills (like Lessons in My Sweet Prince) and login each day for your login bonus, that will earn you a little more coinage.

My Sweet Prince is one of the first Otome games that I’ve played and is a rather cute game in the Shall We Date series.  You start the game as a young Japanese woman on vacation in a foreign country.  Your terrible luck results in all of your belongings being stolen, but the thief leaves behind a jeweled bracelet and unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), you are now in possession of the bracelet that determines the heir to the kingdom.  Almost immediately you are whisked away to the palace, where the king informs you that because you are in possession of the bracelet, that you must determine whom will be the next king.   A rather daunting task, considering there’s six princes to choose from and each with their own quirks and skeletons in their closet.  Plus they’re all beautiful, so that makes choosing all the more difficult!

I’m on my seventh play-through of the game (five princes, one replay because of a bad ending, and now I’m on Ivan the butler) and so far, I’ve enjoyed each story offered.  I don’t think I could offer an opinion of my favorite prince thus far, but I can give some insight into their varying and sometimes frustrating personalities.  In the end you end up loving them.  Or in the case of some princes, you wish you had picked a different love interest or picked a different route.  The following are in the order I played them and just a brief observation of each and why they were perhaps not the best pics for the playable character.

chezem 1) Prince Chezem– The quiet prince of the lot, he’s an intellectual sort that bides his time with books and devouring knowledge.  He seems to have little interest in people and ignores the PC (Player Character) from the beginning, but because of his interest in Japan, he gradually lets her into his private life and starts to be more open with people.  He was once friends with Falitna, the daughter of the scheming and rather annoying Minister Balam.  Unlike the other princes, Falitna does not appeared to be engaged to Chezem, but merely a friend whom had a misunderstanding as children.  I’m not a fan of Faltina, but this appears to be the only story that she appears remotely friendly to the PC at some point.  After playing through some of the other PCs, it’s nice to see a different and refreshing side of her.

Chezem’s story doesn’t have the varying degrees of complexity some of the other prince’s have, but it is a sweet enough story.  The constant pressure from Balam puts an enormous mount of stress on Chezem.  Due to his mother’s fortune, it seems people only involve themselves to somehow get access to said fortune.  I feel bad for Chezem.  He’s the popular kid on campus, that only has friends due to his wealth and nothing more.  Without that wealth, they would drop him in a heartbeat.  I wasn’t disappointed with my play-through of Chezem, though he wasn’t the most interesting of characters.  His quiet nature sometimes made it difficult to really enjoy him.

Choose Chezem- If you enjoy the quiet and anti-social type, that gradually warms up to the PC.

 

lambert

2) Prince Lambert– Oi, this guy.  If you’re a fan of being being reminded you are just a drab commoner, he’s definitely the prince for you.  He’s rather haughty and spares little time for the PC in the beginning.  Don’t be fooled, despite his attitude, he’s a very dedicated prince and desires the throne to better his country.  After saving him from a rather embarrassing predicament, he begins to warm up to the PC.  There is a very awkward bath scene early on and I must say it had me laughing.  My reaction would have been pretty much the same as the PC.  Unfortunately, as any character in Otome games, he’s clueless to his own feelings and questions why he says/does certain things that pertain to the PC.  Really, Lambert?  You’re so clueless and inexperienced that you can’t tell what your heart is telling you?  It’s almost as irritating as the same line most PCs use in Otome games.  “What’s this feeling in my chest?”  Either your in love or it’s a heart attack.  I’m not sure which I’m hoping for right now.

My first play through was disappointing, as I had made poor choices and ended up with the ending I didn’t desire.  Unfortunately, that’s a drawback of merely picking what you feel is best in these games.  If you want a particular outcome, search for online guides for the prince of your choosing.  After a few unfortunate choices in selected games, I decided to use guides to keep from making the same mistakes again.  Unlike games like Ninja Assassin + and Ninja Love +, the default ending is not a normal one.  You can end up alone.  This is an otome game!  You don’t want to be alone!

I’ve noticed that his personality stays the same in most of the other story-lines and remains critical when it comes to the PC.  Lambert loves timeliness and the PC loves sleeping in.  I cannot offer any insight on Lambert’s spin-offs(besides one or two that I earned during events).  He seemed different in both, more caring towards the PC.  In the spin-offs of other prince’s, I will say he seemed very much the same.

Choose Lambert- If you’re into the prudent and sort of cold type.  He’s similar to Ivan, in that he’s a perfectionist and like Jun, he can be a little mean, but I’d say Ivan is a little more critical (at least in the first few chapters) and Jun is like having a villain that found his way back to the light.

 

Melchiorre_(2)3) Prince Melchiorre– Oh, this playboy.  Every Otome game has one–the hot guy that all the females fawn over.  In the beginning he seemed to me to be a sort of flighty character.  I’ve never really picked one of the womanizing types, cause I generally don’t enjoy those types of story-lines.  He’s one of the few princes that has little to no interest in the crown, due to a secret he’s been harboring since his youth.  His story really surprised me, as I figured he was just a playboy that had little interest in executing authority, but there was much more to Melchiorre.  From the beginning he flirts with the PC, though she’s very shy and often tries to wave off his affections.  It made me wonder how a relationship between the two would ever come to be, but pick the right path and it happens.  Even though he makes passes at the PC, that doesn’t stop his flirtatious manner towards other women.

I was close to crying when I reached the last few chapters, as it played out in a most unexpected but pleasant way.  Unlike the other princes, Melchiorre’s is more personal and shows an emotional connection that was missing from the other princes.  Yes, they’re all brothers, but just how close are they?  How far would they go for each other?  I’d say thus far that Melchiorre’s story was the most interesting, just because of the big revelation in the later chapters and how the PC and the other characters deal with the revelation.  His nonchalant attitude towards the crown is similar to Alvah’s though a tad more playful and justified.  Of the princes whom harbor caution towards taking the throne, Melchiorre’s reasons are the most justified.

Choose Melchiorre- If you love the flirty type.  Also, his story has a interesting and somewhat sad twist, which makes it worth playing.