Dead or Alive has a bit of a bad rep due to its rather exagerated take on the female characters but I’ve always been a fan, focusing on the multi tier stages and fantastic counter system. Then things went a bit sour for me around DoA4, which introduced the mid-kick counter and cheap as hell AI. But DoA5 was a really solid fighting game which I rather enjoyed when it came out a year ago. It had its problems (like the damn 4 point counter system returning again…) but it was solid.
And now, we get an update in the form of DoA5 Ultimate. Like Super Streetfighter 4, it adds some new characters and game mechanics, which means that they can’t push it as an update as the new features make it impossible (think of the ability to choose your ultra attack in SSFIV). The game was actually released as a disk based product a few weeks ago but now, the EU PSN store has it and we finally get to experience the thing which makes this title stand out. This DoA is FREE TO PLAY!
Normally, that would be a kiss of death to many titles I can think of but I give the benefit of the doubt on this one. Fighting game fans may remember that Microsoft also announced that Killer instinct is going to be a F2P title on Xbone but they got under heavy fire for announcing that the initial download will only contain 1 character and a handful of stages and only the most basic game modes. But at least you can play online. It’s not really surprising that people were less than thrilled and, in this case, they can really learn a thing or 2 from Team Ninja!
The “core edition” of DoA5U gives you all the stages from DoA5, 4 character and the ability to play anybody who has a copy of the game, even the full disk version! The modes are all in there as well, save for the story mode (which is a separate purchase) but as someone who has already played through it in the vanilla version, it doesn’t bother me. The tutorial mode is taken straight from DoA5+ on the PS Vita and is a massive step up from the original release. There is a pretty large amount of content in the free version and, on top of it all, 2 characters are randomly unlocked for a trial period before rotating to another character so you still get a chance to use some, even if you haven’t purchased them! The only bad thing is that you cannot fight against characters you have not purchased. But then again, if they appeared in different modes, then it would mean that their data is already in the game and you are just paying for an unlock code. Remember when ppl went into a furore with Streetfighter X Tekken?
The other complaint is that it feels like the game DoA5 should have been from the start. The number of unlockables was pretty bare bones in DoA5 and we attributed that to Tecmo wanting our money via DLC costumes but there’s way more in DoA5U. Buyers of the vita copy have more grounds for complaints as their version is now completely obsolete and it’s highly unlikely that Team Ninja was not already working on this latest version when DoA5+ was released…
Still, this may be the first F2P game which I don’t really have any issues with. I’m likely to buy just a few characters, such as Hitomi, Lei Fang and Momiji but if the whole game unlock goes on sale later, I can still benefit! Microsoft may have left a bad taste in ppls mouths when they announced their plans for Killer Instinct but DoA5U proves that a F2P fighting game doesn’t have to be stingy with the content. This is way more than a “generous Demo” and the low price of free should be enough to get more people into the game (though the online still needs some work it seems…).
Apologies for the lack of a post last week. For once, I’m going to pull the “real-life” card. Last week was just ridiculously hectic that I didn’t have much time to do anything of note. Still, after things calmed down, I was able to proceed with more work on Asuna and also max out my characters in Tales of Xillia. That allows me to take some time off the game before going back in to tackle the Jude route but instead, I jumped into Dragon’s Crown by purchasing the PS3 version off the US PSN store (which is still cheaper than a disk version will be when it’s released next month in the UK!!!). Dragon’s Crown is absolutely brilliant btw and I’m just hoping that I can trade data between my US PS3 game and my eventual UK Vita version!
But I digress, here’s how Asuna is looking right now!
At this stage, it’s just really the facial features and the hair left, although the hands will definitely need touching up as some paint was scratched off when I tried to add the ribbons on the arm. I’m pretty sure that it was an oversight by the GK maker who was probably new to this whole thing and it’s becoming a recurring theme for this kit, something will present itself which appears to simply a badly thought out part of the design.
The raised detail was the first part, the huge overskirt is another issue as it was a pain in the ass to connect and throws the balance of the kit way off. Speaking of which, I’m still struggling with the whole balance issue due to the feet not being flat and the right foot seemingly not meant to be even touching the ground. If I try to position the kit so that both feet touch the ground, the whole kit looks like it’s slanting… There’s also no marking as to where the scabbard is meant to go so you have to guess and just hope that it looks OK in relation to the rest of the kit.
Some of the detailing is also very very rough, which adversely affects our ability to paint them, the sword is a good example of this. The detailing is rather rough and uneven, which is then reflected in the paintjob. And because it’s rather shallow, trying to smooth it down by sanding could end up destroying all the detail anyway…
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t say that this is a bad kit. I’ve certainly tried to work on ones which are far worse, but Asuna does fee, exceptionally rough as far as kits go. Perhaps this was the makers first kit? Still, not much longer to go. Think I’ll do one of the Volks kits next. My pile is getting a bit too big for comfort…
And back to Asuna, at least for a little while before I go back to Tales of Xillia. Need to do my 2nd playthrough…
But I did manage to do some more detailing and also painted the arms too. Still need some more detailing required in certain areas. The putty needs to be painted as well but at least there are no more gaps between the body and the arms now.
…And I just noticed a seam line on the left arm which I didn’t see before. So that’s something I have to go back and fix before proceeding. The balance of the figure is also really bad. I’m not sure if attaching it to a base will be able to resolve it. The feet aren’t flat and I’m not even sure if the right foot is meant to touch the floor…
Overall, it’s weird how lopsided this kit is. Some parts are made rather well and some of the details are actually rather impressive but then you come across the strange balance and the details on the legs, which are way too high, which makes it very hard to paint and make it look even. In any case, the left arm needs to be redone and then I can go onto the additional straps and the head, then I can put this figure to bed.
Well, that didn’t take too long afterall! With at least one runthrough now under my belt, I feel that I can talk about it more at length! But please be aware that there may be spoilers contained in these words but I will try to steer clear of any major revelations.
Tales of Xillia is the 15th “mother” title in the series (basically, not a spinoff) but only the 6th to reach the UK and the first to be a PS3 exclusive title. As far as Tales games go, it’s got all the standard tropes one would expect from the series. with 1 or 2 exceptions (which I will get into later). In a unique twist to the formula, Tales of Xillia grants you the option to control 2 characters, which are chosen at the start of the game, Jude Mathis (a medical student) and Milla Maxwell (supposedly the physical manifestation of the main deity of the world in which the game is set). The majority of the game is played with the 2 together but on occasion, they will split and the character you chose will determine how the story unfolds. Now, if you haven’t played the game yet, here’s the biggest piece of advice I can give at this time… PLAY JUDE FIRST!!! Milla has lots of gaps in her story which are clearly part of Judes playthrough so you’ll have a much better understanding of the plot if you play his game first. Plus there’s an insufferable boss near the start of the final chapter of the game which Jude avoids entirely!!
As far as the game goes, the battle system has undergone another evolution and I dare say it’s one of the best in a tales game. For those who have never played a tales game before, combat is done in realtime, with the player controlling a single character with AI handling the rest. Players have access to basic attacks and special Artes. Artes are split into physical arts and elemental artes (basically magic). Characters have a limited number of Action points (AP) to perform attacks and technique points (TP). Every attack will cost 1AP while artes cost a certain amount of TP. The more powerful the attack, the more TP is used but TP can be restored using items or simply hitting the enemy. Balancing the 2 is important if you you want to perform powerful combos.
Key to the new system is the ability to “link” with other characters, which affects their AI to assist you with blindsiding enemy units and (most crucially) makes performing combined artes much easier than in previous games. Anyone remember how irritating it was to set up an arte circle in Tales of the Abyss, then luring the enemy into them before finally performing a linked arte? You can forget all that here! Instead, there’s a 3rd bar shared by the entire party which is split into 5 segments on the left side of the screen. When a segment is filled, you are permitted to perform a single linked arte with your partner. If the bar is full, it will slowly drain but allow you to perform multiple linked artes in succession as well as grant you access to your characters “mystic Arte”. Basically a massive super move unique to your character.
The world map is also gone and replaced with a quick warp system but I don’t think many people will miss that. However it does only allow you to warp to places you have already been (assuming that the plot won’t prevent you from doing so) so you will still need to traverse various fields and paths at least once. It’s similar to Tales of Graces but traversing the fields is a more brisk affair this time around.
Talking about Tales of Xillia is tough in some ways as players of previous Tales games will need little help with explanations while newcomers will need somewhat detailed steps on what makes the tales series stand out. But I’ll just say that the battle system in the tales series is one of its greatest strengths and one of the best I’ve ever played (behind the grandia series and xenogears).
Now, time to get into a bit more detail on the good and bad bits!
Continue reading Mini Review: Tales of Xillia
Sorry guys. Don’t know how it happened but it seems that photobucket seems to believe that I have used up my months bandwidth (although this has never happened before) in the space of 7 days.
What makes it worse is that the useless site doesn’t give out any stats to show where all this new traffic comes from so I don’t know if it’s an error, one article suddenly became MEGA popular or something bad happened. The support section of photobucket is also worse than having to deal with an “overseas” helpdesk. I’ve tried to contact support to find out what the hell is going on but until then, there’s not much I can do. Maybe I should change my image storing site. But flickr isn’t exactly the most flexible when it comes to blogging. Suggestions?
Not much progress on the Asuna front (actuall, more like none at all) as I have been sucked into Tales of Xillia!! Sadly, I haven’t quite finished the game yet (Chapter 4 of 5) so it doesn’t feel right to write a mini-review for it yet. But then, this week saw the release of DiveKick, a fighting game with an interesting and humorous mechanic.
You see, in Divekick, there are only 2 buttons for you to press. Dive (or jump) and kick. That’s it! You want to move forward? you need to jump and then kick to move yourself forward. Moving back? Pressing kick on the ground makes your character kick the floor to jump back a short while. Each match requires a player to win 5 rounds (in default setting) and each round is a sudden death round. 1 kick connecting will win you the round. It’s incredibly basic but that’s why it works! There are other mechanics in play, such as when time starts running out, a red line will appear in the middle of the stage. when time runs out, the winner is determined by the person who stands closest to the line. Each character also has 2 special moves, one performed in the air and the other on the ground. These require meter which you will need to build up by kicking. Once the bar is filled, then the character will enter a mode similar to X-factor in MvC3.
The game itself is a massive injoke within the FGC with every character being a parody of either video game characters or real life people in the FGC. Hell, they put Seth Killian in there (and he’s cheap as F**K as the final boss!). But we also have 2 characters named Dive and Kick who are parodies of Yun and Yang in SFIII, Dr Shoals, who wears an iron mask and screams “FOOTDIVE!” (no prizes for guessing who she parodies) and a mutated skunk bear named Redacted. Just to give you a hint, she looks like a wolf(erine) and parodies the legal disputes which often cause small fan projects to be closed down due to the fact that they don’t get permission from the license holder. And It’s Mahvel baybee!!
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell, but how does it hold up?
Continue reading Mini Review: DiveKick
Not much of an update this week. Just some slow progress made on Asuna along with a few headaches along the way (Like huge seam lines appearing after priming, necessitating the need to sand them down and redo the whole process again).
Here’s her current state. The details on the legs have been tidied up a little, but work is still needed on some parts as well as the short skirt. I have a feeling I’ll need to paint the frills on the longer skirt as well since it doesn’t look right as an all-white piece. The cloth on the arms are going to be a royal pain in the ass to do as the designs at the end are rather intricate, meaning that a lot of cutting and shaping of the masking tape is in order… I’ll also need to deal with the gaps between the body and the arms.
One other oddity I also came across was the discovery that the left foot is actually curved a little. As this is the load bearing leg, it means that the kit is actually meant to stand on the ball of the foot with the ankle raised… So she’s going to need a stand or some kind of support…
What a pain…
And now for our regularly scheduled stuff. Feels like it’s been ages since I did a post on my regular garage kits but that doesn’t mean that I’ve been neglecting them.
It’s strange but I don’t usually get buyers regret over my purchases. Even if my enthusiasm for a kit cools dramatically after purchasing it, the kit can still be useful as a base for experimenting with various things (though, if the kit is just crap, that’s a whole different matter. Working on Noel is such a chore as the parts are so bad…)
And that’s what has happened to this Asuna kit I purchased a while back, before the anime started airing. I’m still trying to find a good skintone colour for future kits since my previous kits have been very pale. Dead Master was OK as it suited the character but I don’t think it did my Taiga any favours. I’ve tried a few things with Asuna, and more will be happening later on but I think I’m settling on the tone already.
One oddity with this kit, other than the strange way the legs bend, is that the sculptor really raised the height of the details, especially on the legs! This made painting it much harder than usual as it’s very hard to hand brush an even finish. You can see that I still need to work on the red parts to even it out in the photo. Even the sculptor seemed to have difficulty as there were lots of rough edges to his own work which was on display at events! Well, I still have some time. Though Tales of Xillia is due this Friday…
Whew, I finally managed to finish the GK coverage over at tomopop so I can focus on my own personal one! yay!! Almost free!!!
Anyway, this post will be focusing on the kits which caught my eye so for a more general look at the kits at the event, jump over to tomopop and look at their galleries.
I had gone into WF hoping to get my hands on the Busou Shinki kits from Grizzry Panda…
But then Ques Q jumped in and announced that they had obtained the kits for a general (and likely) PVC release. That pretty much kicked me in the balls! The PVC release of a former GK isn’t something new to me, it’s happened a couple of times before, but back then I had purchased the kits before the announcement. This time it’s after and I found all my desire to buy and paint the kits evaporate. Why go through the trouble when there will be a cheaper and more readily available version out soon with a paintjob comparable or even surpassing what I am able to do? ugh…
Luckily, there was one huge saviour on the dealer floor in the shape of this…
A kit of Noire from Hyperdimension Neptunia!! Say what you will about the game, I always loved noire and finally seeing a kit of her has me super excited!
As for the rest…
Continue reading Summer Wonder Festival 2013 Garage Kits
Well, it was going to happen sooner or later. Actually it should have been sooner but, y’know, stuff! After I reviewed Senran Kagura Burst, there was always a more than passing interest in the jump to the PS Vita in Shinovi Versus (yes, that IS the actual spelling of the title). Senran Kagura Burst surprised with it’s solid gameplay even if the game as a whole wasn’t anything to really write home about but they decided to change tack when it came to a new vita title.
Although the game has been billed as a “spin-off”, the story itself is a direct sequel to Burst. The Hanzou girls are now seniors, Homura and the other former hebi joshi girls are in hiding after the events of burst (which conveniently allows for 5 new girls to take their place) and we get a new group from Gessen Jogakuen.
So basically, we get 2 completely new teams which brings the total up to 4. Gessen Jogakuen is considered a “light ninja faction” like Hanzou Gakuen but they take a more extreme view and believe that all evil should be eliminated without question. Kinda like the old addage “when you stare long enough at the abyss, the abyss stares back at you”, they aren’t the friendliest of people when it comes to fights. The new Hebi girls are just out to rebuild their school after the events of Burst. There are 3 hebi girls with 2 more who transferred from Gessen Jokakuen. Without spoiling too much, those 2 have some business with Hebi Joshi Gakuen. And there’s the Hanzou girls, who are basically taking a back seat and dealing with whatever is thrown at them. The Homura Group appears in all 3 stories, with differing connections but they themselves become playable once you complete the story mode for the first 3 groups.
Gameplay is very much the same as the previous games, with a story mode for each faction and an addition story for each character (which are almost always ridiculous). New costumes need to be purchased with in-game currency instead of simply being unlocked (although some still are) but otherwise, the game is the same as before so you can read the previous review to get an idea on the basic system.
Aside from the new characters, the biggest change is that the game has moved from a 2.5D scrolling fighter into a fully 3D one, very reminiscent of the Dynasty Warriors games. The old techniques are still there though so you can end combos with launchers to throw enemies into the air and continue from there. But to make things interesting again, there are new elements at play. For example, when both units are in the air, and both attack, it triggers a mini-game where you have to mash your buttons as fast as you can. The loser is then placed in a stun and pushed back again, leaving the attacker to continue their attack. This can be done both as an attacker or defender and acts as a way to break out of the air combos which were so important in the earlier games. There are also new units with special abilities and many characters have been tweaked to ensure that they play very differently from before. Yagyuu and Hibari are the most noticeable from the offset but all the Homura group girls have been changed. The makers have also implemented a guard button which allows you to take a certain amount of damage before the guard breaks and leaves you vunerable.
To help with the shift to 3D, there’s a new lock-on mode which is activated by touching the screen on the character you want to lock onto (Which is almost always the boss character) and every character has a new super move which required 5 charged bars and the character having less than 20% health. Not to brag, but I have never found myself in a situation where I am able to pull them off, so they remain a mystery to me. There are also now competitive online modes but I haven’t been able to try those out.
That’s about it with regards to the new systems in the game. How was it?
Continue reading Mini Review: Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus