Shenmue Continues…

Currently I am playing Shenmue as Ryo Hazuki. He is a teenage schoolboy. He doesn’t care much about his studies. He is more concern about being a detective, investigating his father’s death. I sympathize with him. Losing a parent is very difficult. Ryo wants to avenge his father’s death. I would do the same, if I were in his shoes.

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The tone of the game is far from serious despite the seriousness of the situation. The game took on a macho approach. Ryo is called to action right off the bat. This sort of plot is cliche. If you are familiar with Hong Kong action films, most of the time, it has to do with vengeance. Despite how I feel about the plot so far, I am actually enjoying the game on a personal level. 1) It brings back to my earliest childhood memory: My mother used to put me in front of the T.V to distract me so she could do some housework. I think I was about three years old. I became addicted to Hong Kong action films ever since (thanks Mom). 2) I am a fan of quick time event and racing games. I like chasing after bad guys and punishing them. 3) I like Ryo’s assertiveness. He was so adamant about finding work at the harbor, he harassed just about everyone at the harbor until he got a job, moving crates. Before the actual work starts, we do a little race with the forklifts. I thought that part was actually fun.

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But of course work is not all fun. There is some fighting involved. Work bullies are the worst. In Ryo’s case it was a necessary. His main purpose at the harbor was to sniff out the Mad Angels, which is a group of foreigners thugs. Wow, I just realized Ryo is the ultimate Japanese police, seriously. It’s not a bad thing. He puts things in order and he is quite fair. I can understand that from a nationalist perspective. Lastly, the story is engaging and simple enough for me to follow. I don’t care for complex things lately. I am trying to be kind to my brain.

Overall, I really enjoy the casualness of the game even though I know the targeted audience is for children. Hey children know how to have fun. I will always be a child at heart. A child’s heart is less critical and open to new things. I just want to enjoy games. Life is already so serious. Can we all just find a time to laugh about it?

My final thought for tonight goes to the silly motorcycle scene. It’s silly because it is so long. For a second, I thought I was watching a movie. I don’t mind it. Well, I guess Nozumi should have her farewell ride with her crush. After all, she is leaving for Canada. Oh my Ryo, such a gentleman for rejecting a girl kindly.

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A Little Drama at Work

Awhile ago, I wrote a post about my struggle at work on how video games motivate me in my life. A lot has happened in between since that post.  Things did normalize for a bit but then got crazy. There has been some ongoing drama at work that I don’t even need to watch Korean drama to be entertained. I get enough dose of entertainment at work.  Yeah, that’s how bad it was. On the positive note, I gain the respect from my boss. He told me I have good work ethic and I’m the nicest person in the world.  Wow, what a nice compliment! You can thank my mom.  She taught me to be polite.  My alter ego can be actually disturbing. I prefer alone time, killing demons or blowing things up in virtual reality. It calms me down.

Sounds like I have a dual personality. I am not fake. It’s just being courteous.  At work, things can get really stressful because meeting deadline is a big thing there and when we are tired and under pressure, it’s hard not to make mistakes.  Some people take it personally and unfortunately, some people are not always friendly and cooperative. One of the girls from my department couldn’t get along with other girls.  She was really mean and nasty to the point some people did not want to approach her. She eventually quit. It’s a shame as she was really bright. I really wish she had more patience, and most of all, I wish she wasn’t so hard and critical on herself. I know she was suffering from anxiety. She told me she got a lot of pressure from her mom about her weight and her overall look. Personally, I think she is really cute. I get it.  It’s hard to accept yourself when the Asian mom is critical.

This work incident made me think of the game I played earlier this year: Virtue’s Last Reward.  The text below helped me cope during those difficult times. I don’t think she was aware her mean talk was like a knife. It cuts people up and reduce them to little particles. For awhile, I wanted to quit my job. She was so unpleasant.  With that attitude, no one wins in the end. Humans can achieve great things if they work together and respect one another. In the end, I think all of us just want to do our our work and go home so we can sleep soundly. I know I want to go to bed having pleasant dreams. Oh I was so annoyed. I broke out from stress just thinking about it.

Zero Escape: The Nonary Games_20180407173018I hope the girl understand that grown ups should learn to cooperate. You are still a child, if you think the world center around you.

Anyway, in the upcoming future, I plan to play Final Fantasy VIII because it’s my brother’s favorite Final Fantasy game, and I want to write an in- depth analysis and share it on this blog. Why not?  Writing and talking about games casually can be quite fun. It helps me release stress. But first I need to complete Shenmue. It may take a couple more months at this rate.  There should be a trophy for the slowest gamer on the planet because that’s really me.

Until next time, take good care of yourself and Happy Halloween!

 

 

Dark Souls: What I’ve Learned in Ash Lake & about the Sexual Creatures

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I learned many things in my stay in Ash Lake because I got careless and greedy for the hard to reach item and eventually got cursed by two basilisks that greeted me when I entered into one of the enclosed area. What is interesting about Ash Lake is the way how the basilisk’s toxic black smoke turns into a crystal mist once the creature is out in the open area.  You still can get cursed if you let the mist consumed you, but the amount of time to get toxic is not as fast as the black smoke. I wonder if the effect has to do with my current stats, or there is something very special about this holy ground.

And so my progress in the game was stalled because I had to farm for Purging Stone, but I didn’t mind. The developer didn’t make it difficult to search for the stone because the Maneater Shells that drop the item can be found nearby.  On the plus side, the creature also drops Twinkling Titanite, a precious stone for upgrade purposes.  Having a lot of the stones gives player the freedom to enhance weapons and test it.  In my head, I am always thinking: “What weapon shall I use to kill my enemies?” The game sure knows how to respect the players’ time and give us that flexibility to make our own decision. Thanks Darks Souls for not making it dull, but at the same time, not overwhelming me with choices.

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The magical thing about games like Dark Souls is its ability to keep my mind focused and entertained while offering educational benefits. I naturally like to study.  In the game, the symbolic meaning behind the Maneater Shells tickled my brain as soon as I understood what it meant.  The moral lesson of the Maneater Shell is if you poke your head at every attractive clams you encounter, you might get your head chopped off.   As you can tell from the picture above, there are a pile of skulls in its gaping mouth. So learn how to be a wise player because Dark Souls’ universe will punish you if you are careless.

Luckily, in the area, there are only two Maneater Shells. One is by the medusa Black Hydra. The placement of that Maneater Shell is meant to make it difficult to defeat the hydra upfront.  So the best solution is to shoot it down with arrows from afar.  I found a place just for that.  Unfortunately, I ran out of arrows so I couldn’t kill it.  I’m making a mental note to visit the place again once I unlock the teleport ability.

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For such a small area, I really enjoyed my time in Ash Lake.  As I mentioned before, it’s an oasis.  I was bullying the poor giant mushroom with my Poison Mist spell and watched the confused mushroom heading for the water.  Eventually I got killed by its punch.  Obviously, it didn’t like me near it.  So then I collected my souls and headed back up to the big tree (The Great Hollow) and entered back into the swamp. The erected mushroom may be cute, but cuteness is also deadly, but more importantly not all enemies are hostile. They are merely just defending themselves.  No need to kill everything that crosses your path. Lesson learned.

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Back in the swamp,  I realized I equipped the wrong armor because I was just too eager to try on any new armor I came across. I do appreciate practical fashion that gives me good stats. The appropriate attire is Tattered Cloth Robe because of its high poison resistant. The armor is lighter as well–good for rolling.  I must confess though,  I was getting rather annoyed changing armor in this area because peeping tom Giant Mosquitoes can’t control itself and decided to pester. They can be such a pain.  In real life, mosquitoes gently land on your skin and rarely do you feel bitten.  In this game, the mosquitoes are obnoxiously vicious; they will repeatedly try to poke you even when your shield is up.  They can’t take “No” for an answer.  Running away would only worsen the situation as the number of them increased. It’s best to blast it with fireballs and get rid of them once and for all.  Confrontation is sometimes necessary.  Lesson learned.

There are many reasons why I love Dark Souls. One of the big reasons is its depiction of the world. It is not all that different from our world even though it’s a fantasy.  I love this type of storytelling because it tells stories without being outright offensive. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is not entirely perfect.  But I will mention my dislikes at a later time. For now, it’s time for me to stop fooling around and go defeat Quelaag.  I just hope I won’t lose my sanity in the process and turn completely Hollow.  Whatever humanity is left, I will fight for it.

Until next time, thank you for reading. Take care now.

Going Back to Dark Souls

I don’t think I can last long without playing games. I was beginning to feel irritable. But more so, I was craving to play something that will prevent me from mind-wandering.  So I went back to Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition (remastered version is not worth the purchase).  I realized the sound effects in the game are superb.  It is so soothing to my ears.  I’m in Blighttown at the moment, and I realized the sound effects can make the world in Dark Souls feels massive or enclosed.   Sound effects really matter to me more than the visual presentation.  It’s a huge determining factor whether I will enjoy a game or not.

Two things I learned from watching myself play the game.  I realized that I am not a skilled player–I just have a lot of patience.  I see my flaws on what I could have done better and how I could have killed the boss faster from watching the video clip below (sorry for the low quality clip).  The whole time I was observing my surroundings and thinking when to attack.  I do get impatient at times, if you  noticed how I swing my sword more than three times.  Two might be good, then back off.  Paying attention to your surroundings is important, especially when trying to study its move. Your environment is also your weapon.  Overall, the boss-fight was sloppy. I give myself a D+ for poor performance.

The second thing I learn about myself  is  the type of video games I enjoy the most is really just problem solving (how do I kill the boss efficiently.)  Honestly, I just want to kill the bosses in Dark Souls over and over and skip the exploration, so I can perfect at killing bosses.  I really don’t care about how difficult a game is. That sort of thing is a bit overrated. I just want to be entertained–not stressed. Okay, I admit sometimes my mindset do scare me a little, but you know kittens like to play with their food before they eat it.  I think I’m the same way.  I am just exercising my brain cells. So I expect a fun gameplay.  Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate a good story in games.  It’s just normally, if I want a good story, I prefer reading a book or watching a TV series. If video games have a mind blowing story, I might literally die from happiness because books + video games= lifelong companion.

P.S

I can’t wait to see Beauty and the Beast next month. One of my co-workers is performing.  Going there to give her my support.  So most likely, I will write my thoughts about the play on this blog.

My Thoughts on The Last of Us

I think I am quite unfair sometimes dismissing a game because of its popularity.   Back in 2013, there was this huge hype about The Last of Us. At that time, I was too busy playing Dark Souls II to drop the game to see what the hype is all about. Thanks to my purchase of the PS4 back in 2015 (the main reason I bought the console was for Bloodborne), it came with a digital copy of The Last of Us.  I decided to give the game a whirl because I want to challenge my preconceived notion about the game.

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To my surprise, I must admit, I did enjoy the game to some extent.  The biggest strength about the game is the father and daughter like relationship.  I found the father and daughter bonding between Joel and Ellie more believable than the father and daughter relationship I saw in Resident Evil Revelations 2, The Evil Within 2 and even Nier Gestalt (another topic I will go into detail at a later time).  Partly it’s because Ellie was side by side with Joel most of the time so I saw the father and daughter relationship growing closer.

Even in combat, Ellie is not useless like Sheva in Resident Evil 5.  Throughout the game, teamwork is heavily emphasized in order for the two characters to survive. The most memorable part in the game to me is when there was a switch from Joel to Ellie. At that point in the game, I didn’t know if she was all alone, until later, I found out that she was nursing Joel back to his health.  I was relief. When she drove the bad guys away from harming the injured Joel–that’s when I began to sympathize with Ellie because I would do the same for my dad without a doubt. I felt Ellie’s urgency to protect Joel. When the role was switched to Joel, I felt the very same urgency to protect Ellie from David, the potential rapist. That part really did strengthened their bond and implied how much they need each other to survive, but more importantly, how much they trust each other.

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As Joel and Ellie relationship deepened in the game, I felt sympathy for them. So towards the end of the game, my reaction when I had to shoot the doctor to save Ellie was plausible even if Joel was seen as a monster. Similarly,  Ellie is not that innocent and saintlike either when she hesitantly accepted Joel’s answer about the fireflies. For one, she trusts Joel with her life and grew attached to him. She couldn’t bear the thought of losing him, as we saw in the earlier scene where she threw a little tantrum and ran off with the horse.  But at the same time, she felt tremendously guilty for not being able to save human lives as she mentioned her best friend was the first to go, and of course there was Tess.

The story aimed at taking the realistic approach in life, depicting real human behavior. Every day humans make sacrifices and face tough decisions. With a stern face, Joel already made the decision to carve his own fate.  Any normal human being who underwent a traumatic event will never be the same.  He never recovered from the tragedy in the beginning (losing his daughter) but at least he has someone to fight for, which is Ellie.  It makes perfect sense why the title is called The Last of Us.   The game is about two people who lost everything–and they are not willing to give up on each other even at the expense of saving humanity.  From my understanding, the writer is trying to write an epic script where all human beings can relate to.   Joel is considered a romantic, chivalric modern day man who embodied the utmost masculine energy.  Ironically, some people argued that he is a bad guy.  It appears the writer must have agreed with the ancient thinkers that humans are fickle.  Joel is neither good nor bad.  But the moral of the story is not what bothered me.  The heart warming story and gameplay weren’t properly stitched together to bring out that quality game experience.  The game feels like a book, but plays like a movie.  There’s nothing really exciting about the gameplay.

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Typically,  I am not much of a stickler for story in video games.  Most of the time, if the gameplay is fun enough I will keep playing even if story is lacking.  The gameplay in The Last of Us is very stale and tedious. There were only two instances I thought was exciting.  One part is when Joel got separated from Ellie for a brief moment, forcing him to dive into the water and navigate in the dark enclosed area to find a keycard. In the area, there were clickers.  At first, I was a little nervous as I dislike dark places, filled with lurking monsters, but as soon as I realized I have many different types of weapons, my nervousness went away as there weren’t many obstacles to overcome in order to reunite with Ellie. I blasted the enemies away with my shotgun.  Once I obtained the key, I bypassed all of them and got out quickly.  Not much of a challenge there.  The other part is when Joel was hanging upside down shooting the infected. That part reminded me of a section in Resident Evil Revelation, where Chris Redfield fell from the cliff and was pinned down to the ground, having to defend himself from the approaching wolves while waiting for Jessica to make her way down to help him. The only difference between the two games, is that Last of Us gameplay is forgiving. The game autosaves frequently.   So if you die constantly, it puts you in a decent spot in the game to try again. If you get stuck in the game, push L3 button when it appears. This will give you a hint.  The game is very generous, but that consideration actually kills any challenges that the game has to offer, and what is even worse, it makes the gameplay become dull quickly as gameplay becomes predictable.  I think I would be just content watching a movie version of the Last of Us than go through all that unnecessary trouble.

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Honestly, I don’t have much to say about the gameplay in The Last of Us.  It’s very basic and simple. There was a lot of sneaking, hiding,  and some shooting.   There were plenty of  beautiful scenic areas in the game which stirred up some personal old memories, which I rather forget. Despite my personal little discomfort, the realistic setting in the game aligned well with the mature undertone of the game.  I didn’t mind the flow of the game.  I could play the game at ease during the weekdays.  I even completed the game on normal difficulty when I thought I was playing on easy mode the whole time.  Although I am not going to lie, there were a few times I died in the game.  The controls don’t feel as fluid as other games that I’m used to, which made the gameplay experience frustrating.  I admit, I  was swearing at the last section of the game when I was unfairly ambushed with flying bullets.  I rarely get mad in games by the way. The last section made it difficult to explore without getting spotted.

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To summarize my experience, the game felt very genuine to me as it amplified the American identity–a free and rugged individual who has a choice.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That’s for you to decide.   The more I think about it, the game is just a political statement more than anything.   I was entertained while the game last, but not entertained enough to demand for a sequel.

My Video Games Shopping List (Part II)

There were only a few games I am interested  from watching E3. It’s a good thing. This will give me a chance to clear my backlog and help me save up money for bigger things.  I got some big plans at the end of this year.  It all work out just fine.

So I will name the games I am looking forward to here. Not all of them are from watching the E3 event.

#1 Bayblon’s Fall

Reminds me of Xenoblade Chronicles/ White Knight Chronicles.

#2 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Honestly, this trailer makes me worrisome as it reminds me of Nioh.   Even though I have a hard time getting into Nioh, I will attempt to play it again.  When I was playing Nioh  last year, my brain was already fried. I had way too many  things going on in my life.  I realized I have my limitation.  Brain is overheated. Need sleep.   I am willing to give Nioh another try though.  Some people prefer Nioh gaming mechanics over Dark Souls. I am a bit surprised because I didn’t really like how fast Nioh moves in comparison to Dark Souls. Every time I play this type of game, I do get the adrenaline rush–droplets of sweat dripping down my forehead.  Game can’t get intense sometimes.

I must admit, I am glad  FromSoftware is not making the same thing.  There are so many games out there that imitate Dark Souls success. It is rather annoying.  There is even a twitter account dedicated to that.

#3 Soul Calibur VI

I like fighting games because I like watching martial arts films.  Soul Calibur is my favorite fighting game franchise as it involves swords. I like hitting, cutting, hacking, and slicing things very much.  A great game to play to blow off some steam.

#4 Shenmue 1 & 2 Remastered

I never got the chance to play the first two installments. This will give me a chance to experience the game before Shenmue 3 release. I heard that the game came into development after being inspired by a musical piece.  I think this one of the games that have that romantic quality.  It reminds me so much of the international films (Hong Kong) I grew up watching as a kid.

That is my list of games.  These games will keep me busy for next few years.  Every time I told myself I am quitting games because modern games disappoint me, some new game come out looking all flashy, grabbing my attention, I find myself back to where I started.   So that’s why I give up trying to give up games.  It’s like telling a person to stop drinking tea.   Now if only have the proper time to enjoy them–it’s very difficult these days.  Adult life is so demanding.

P. S

My co-worker is excited for Last of Us II and asked me if I feel the same.  I actually  turned around so he can’t see me giggling.  People do have different taste in games surely.  Even though Last of Us never did appeal to me, I am actually currently playing the game so I can give my proper thoughts on it.

Video Games Motivate Me In Life

Holy mole-y, I am afraid I might turn into an expert on survival/horror games at this rate. That’s all I write about in this blog. I am currently playing  Rule of Rose and then Cat Lady. I will do a brief analysis on those games in the near future. I actually enjoy playing variety of games. I am not all goth.

It seems that there are new challenges and obstacles I’m facing in the worklife, and that’s where I am focusing my attention on.  It is causing me some stress. I wake up feeling a bit dreadful so it is hard to focus on games when I am thinking about work.  Not everyone have faith in my ability. I feel a little discouraged.  But like Xianghua from Soulcalibur series, I put on my hand on my hips and say, No way! I am not accepting defeat. Negative thoughts go away!

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               photo source

I have doubts. I hate making mistakes, but I feel like a rookie, re-learning things. But I tell myself it’s okay.  All work is stressful.  Some may be a bit more stressful than others. Throughout my life I have had several jobs (“shitty” jobs) and I’ve learned that patience and perseverance are good skills at mastering things. My destiny is to climb on top of the mountains and sit on it.  One day, I will become a powerful, influential woman (maybe I am just dreaming. Hehe).

Thanks to a particular blogger, I don’t want to embarrass him by calling him out, but his gameplay style is very similar to mine except he is more knowledgeable about video games than me based on the number of games he played and I am pretty sure, he is far better than I am.   He confessed that he had to knock down the difficulty setting to easy just to learn the flow of the game. Sometimes starting on easy mode is not a bad thing.  I acknowledge I’m playing games on baby mode these days.  There is no shame in it. Sometimes games are just too hard.  But it’s better to learn it than give up completely. Beating a game is still quite rewarding regardless of the difficulty setting.

Some people think that gaming is a waste of time. Looking back, I never gave up on my goals. It just might take me longer to get there.  I spent my youth locked in my room playing games for hours.  Truth is, I am just a tomboy in a skirt, a child at heart, eager to conquer the world,  but based on my appearance, I get discriminated a lot. I get it–I make people feel nervous.

I don’t care if people don’t believe in me.  All I know is I am quite confident in myself.  When I wake up each day, I think of my day as a fresh start. One little step I make is closer to my goal. If I don’t understand something then I will sit and learn.   And when it’s time to face the ultimate boss, I would have gathered all the resources and be fully equipped for the final battle. As long as I live, I still have a chance to do things better, to get better, and I won’t stop until my final rest. Sometimes I admit, I need to learn how to ask for help when I feel like I am drowning.  And I do feel it, but I will be okay. I will only ask for help when I’m on the verge of being K.O!

I am feeling so good right now.  I will wake up refreshed in the morning ready to battle work.

Anyway, I hope you guys stay strong even if life is tough whoever you are. If you think you are alone, you’re not. Have courage and you can do it! Until next time, take care.