Just a very quick update this time around to show that progress is being made with Homura, albeit very slowly. The problem is that the parts quality is very low so after priming the parts, hundreds of airholes became visible on pretty much every part! The legs got it worst but I’ve been using liquid putty to try and fill in the holes and then sanding the parts down again before going through the priming process again and it’s been very very slow…
Here’s a pic of the head just to give you guys an idea:
Yup, each one of those specs is an airhole and there’s no guaranteed way of knowing which ones are filled and which ones aren’t until you re-prime the part. Hence why it’s taken this long just to get this far! Progress has been made but this has been a real slog and the end isn’t in sight yet. Hopefully, my next project won’t be as big a pain in the ass or as poor quality as this one…
OK, I have to confess that I never thought this would get a western release and was a little adamant about buying it but decent word of mouth and general curiosity won me over… So let’s take a look at monster monpiece for the PS Vita
At its core, this is collectible card battle game (think Yu-Gi-Oh or Weiss Schwarz) with a tower defence base to the battle mechanic. But if you’ve heard anything about this game recently, it’s probably due to the additional mechanic used when you want to upgrade your cards. We’ll get into that later…
And because the game is aiming squarely for the otaku market, every character in this game as well as every card you collect is female. Cue sexism outrage!!! All done? OK. The core of the game is a somewhat simple but surprisingly deep battle system where you and an opponent face eachother in a 7X3 grid. You control 3×3 squares on one end, the opponent takes the same space on the opposite side and a single neutral area separates the 2. The object of the game is to attack your opponents base on the opposite end of the field. To do this, you summon monsters on your side of the field and every turn after they are summoned, they will either advance one space or attack an adjacent enemy card. Once they reach the opponents end of the field, the card will then attack the enemy base and deal 1 piece of damage to the base. Once the enemy base runs out of HP, they lose. Simple!
There are 4 different types of cards, melee units (who attack adjacent cards for high damage), ranged units (who do less damage but can hit from further away), healers and buffers (who strengthen the ally card it’s next to). Cards have varying stats and some have special abilities, such as being able to move forward as soon as they are summoned, and more powerful skills which can affect areas of the board. Monsters are summoned using mana, which is generated at a variable rate but by default, is 3 mana per turn. You can increase the amount you get by summoning special cards or by utilizing a special chain feature in the game. Each card is given one of four colours. If you summon 3 monsters in succession, each corresponding summon will net you a small bonus which includes stat buffs for your cards on the field and additional mana. Still with me so far? Like all other card games, it looks complicated when you read the rules but is actually very simple when you just play it.
Monster cards can also be upgraded by paying a certain amount of points (obtained by winning battles) and then playing a minigame where you rub the artwork on the card and find a weakpoint to exploit. You’ll end up rubbing, poking and pinching your card to raise a bar and, if you fill it, you’ll upgrade the card to its next form. And if you do it well enough, you might also get the extreme rub mode where you rub the front and back touchpads to fill the bar up extra quickly, all the while being “serenaded” by the voice of the monster sounding aroused. Unsurprisingly, this is what most western publications has latched onto as being inappropriate and started waving the sexism banners and generally saying they’re outraged. Personally, I don’t care. Call me insensitive but I’m just tired of everyone trying to point out that everything is sexist. It’s good to raise awareness of problems within the male dominated games industry but now, it’s just turning into noise. I have a different problem with it, which I’ll get into later.
The game itself is wrapped around a simple but serviceable story involving a quest to save your friend from some evil power which has possessed her. A staple story from old school RPGs. It’s not going to win awards but it does the job and the characters are likeable enough to encourage you to keep going.
That’s about it for the info. How did it play?
Continue reading Mini Review: Monster Monpiece
*Five Star Stories reference for those who didn’t know*
To be honest, I never thought that I would get this far but here I am, seven years in and still blogging about stuff nobody really cares about! And, as tradition demands, here’s the anniversary post for my purchases for the past year.
My volume of purchases this year has declined quite dramatically compared to last year, and yet I STILL had difficulty fitting them all onto my desk for the group shot! I blame the AGP Infinite Stratos girls!!
It was quite surprising to see that I have actually bought so few figures in the past 12 months. Part of that can be attributed to the massive purchase of mine which hit late last year (and isn’t in the pic), and part can also be attributed to my ever decreasing space to hold my purchases… Damn my hording instincts!! Then again, there really hasn’t been that much which has grabbed my attention too. Maybe I’m just getting jaded due to old age…
Anyways, on with the breakdown!
Continue reading Over the 7777
A bit of sad news this time around. It’s actually been a few weeks since this happened but Tokyo-Hunter, one of the first Proxy services for buying limited edition items in Japan is no more.
They haven’t really been trading for some time but their website was still up until recently but now, even that is gone. I had been using them for a while now as, unlike other proxy services, they went to events like Wonder Festival so I could ask them to try and get garage kits direct from the sellers at the events. Heck, most of my GK have come through these guys so it goes without saying that I’m really sad to see the site go. I got to know the guys behind the site too and am still on friendly terms with them.
However, they aren’t the only ones who closed shop, Q, an old friend who currently lives in Hong Kong has also recently announced that he is taking a hiatus from blogging. To be honest, I don’t blame him. The fandom has changed a massive amount in recent years and news is more quickly posted and absorbed on other platforms like twitter and tumblr, which negates the need for blogs, especially if you’re sharing news articles which could be found elsewhere. Even I’ve recently found blogging to be a bit of a slog but at least I do have original content which I choose to post in the form of my garage kits but it did get me thinking about how many others have blogged but quit. Of the many I used to follow, I think only Tier has been going strong with Tentacle Armada. Most of the others have either dropped off entirely or migrated to the likes of twitter and other microblogging sites.
Well, nothing lasts forever but I wonder if the bells are starting to toll for this blog too…
Man, it feels good to get back into painting a little. Even if it’s pretty basic stuff. I’ve now completed the base for Homura and have moved onto the main part of the kit. The lack of instructions on how to assemble the base was a pain but I think I managed to work it out.
As luck would have it, the parts on the base didn’t need much work on them before they were ready to be primed and painted. The same can’t be said for Homura though. She’s going to need a lot of work before I can piece her together. Some of the parts don’t fit well and there are lots of seam lines and a few pinholes to fill too… It’s amazing to see how much better Grizzry Panda got in terms of kit quality in such a short space of time!
As for the base itself, The hardest part was trying to find a way to distinguish the weapons from the cogs. Something I still have yet to figure out. I drybrushed some metallic paint onto the cogs to show a bit more wear and tear compared to the weapons but they still don’t really stand out from eachother. I might try to revisit the base later if I get an idea but, short of turning the military weapons into pew-pew lasers, I don’t really have an idea at present. Next modeling update might take a while now since Homura needs some serious work…
Apologies for the lack of updates in recent weeks. A combination of busy busy busy followed by a long-ish holiday where I basically shut down meant that I haven’t really done much in terms of model building or gaming. Well, the gaming bit was a lie but I went back to some of my older backlog. Been playing lots of Super Robot Wars OG 2 for example.
Stuff has happened, but nothing which I thought I could stretch to a full post. If I was doing a video post or something, maybe I’d be able to stitch various things together to make a full post but that ain’t happening here. Sorry to say that the next couple of weeks also look packed, with my entire bank holiday weekend being written off as I help run a kendo competition at my club. Still, I did receive my first amiami purchase package in a long while and thought I’d share a bit!
Finally, after a few delays, I got my Noire from Hyperdimension Neptunia… And boy do I wish that I didn’t now! This figure is the first in a long while which I struggle to describe as anything other than bad… Been a while since I did a tomopop review, much less a negative one but Noire might be the first in a while. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the super robot Chogokin Genesic GaoGaiGar and SH Figuarts Noel Vermillion from Blazblue!
Continue reading And suddenly, LOOT!
It may surprise you that I’ve been a long time fan of the deception series. Heck, I first played it before it was even released in europe back in 1998. Sadly, I did miss the very first deception game from 1996 but I played Kagero: deception 2 while I was in Japan and, after fumbling around for a while, I took great pleasure in seeing what kind of torture I could put the enemy units through. Imagine my surprise when I saw Deception 2 on UK store shelves! I instantly snapped it up and I still own the original PS1 disk. Things went quite for a while after that until the PS2 game Kagero 2: Dark Illusion was released in the UK as Trapt. Again, I instantly snapped that one up and I was very excited when Deception IV was announced.
The UK may have missed a couple of games in the series but there’s no way I’m missing one which gets a general release on these shores!
All the deception games follow the same basic structure in terms of story and overall gameplay but Deception IV changes things quite a bit, which I’ll get into later. Storywise, every game has you controlling a character who finds themselves in an old abandoned building (Almost always a mansion to begin with) with orders to basically kill anyone who is stupid (or unlucky) enough to wander in. Deception IV follows the first 2 Kagero games in that the main character is remorseless in her attempts to kill intruders while Deception 2 (not released in the UK) and Trapt had more sympathetic characters who ended up bloodying up their hands to defend themselves. In Deception IV, you are killing intruders to draw in descendants of 12 sages who imprisoned a powerful demon many years ago and you want to release it so you need to kill the descendent to do so.
Gameplay for all deception games involve you setting a number of traps in the various rooms in the building to take out intruders. They’re split into ceiling traps, wall traps and floor traps with points gained by stringing multiple traps together to form a long combo and involving various fixed traps within the rooms themselves. Trapt shook things up by adding dark Illusions, elaborate room traps which are very painful but have strict activation requirements. but they are glorious. I mean, look at this!!!
Sadly, there are no dark illusions in deception IV but there are similar room traps available in certain locations. There have also been some significant changes to the gameplay as well compared to previous games. Firstly, the traps have been separated into 3 different categories. There’s elaborate, sadistic and humiliating traps now and each type of trap has a demon associated with them. These demons act as your companions during the story and also provide you with additional sub-quests in the form of specific requests. Complete the requests and they will reward you with a bonus points in the category the demon represents. This is important as if you want to unlock more powerful traps, you need to have a minimum amount of points for that particular category. You can also increase them by using traps of those categories in your combos but it’s easier to complete the requests to get large amounts of points.
The next change is more significant. Previously, you were limited to carrying 9 traps into a stage, 3 of each type and you could only set one of each category in any 1 room. This was because each type of trap was mapped to a specific face button on the controller. This meant that you were limited to a maximum of a 3 trap combo unless you made use of the fixed traps in the rooms. Deception IV does away with this limitation and provides you with a a chain of slots which you can place traps into. The chain increases as you progress in the game so you can get rather long combos using just the traps in your repertoire and not have to worry about room traps. The number of traps you can take into a stage has increased dramatically as well. This raises a few new issues. In previous games, you could set traps all over the room and the triggering of the traps could be done at any time since each one was tied to a button which allows you to change plans on a whim. In Deception IV, that is much more difficult as you need to select your desired trap before you can trigger it. As a result, once you have set your traps, you MUST lure the enemy into the start of the chain as it’s not possible to select a trap later on in the chain quickly enough to take advantage of any sudden changes in their behaviour.
Also, since all traps are now triggered with a single button and the order is controlled by the order in which you set them, the newly freed face buttons have new uses in the form of abilities which you can unlock for your character such as a taunt to get enemies to chase you with reckless abandon or perform a heal spell.
That’s pretty much it for the game description. How does it fare?
Continue reading Mini Review: Deception IV: Blood Ties
And yet another anime season is upon us! and probably not a moment too soon. The only thing remarkable about the winter season was pretty much how unremarkable it was. I don’t think a single show got me particularly excited or worked up but there were a few fun ones. Well, the winter season is generally weaker in terms of original shows, with much of the heavy lifting being done by shows which started in the previous season and were continuing on. That being said…
Robot Girls Z!
It may have only been 3 episodes long (and separated into 3 sub-episodes each) but there was something really charming about the show, although you really had to know your 70s super robot shows to get a lot of the jokes. Tamura Yukari showing up as Ankoku daishougun-ko as the final boss was comic greatness though!
But if you want a full show response, I guess it would be…
Seitokai Yakuindomo* and Gundam Build fighters
With many comedy shows coming back for a second season there’s a problem where they don’t feel quite as fresh as before and suffer as a result. Not so with Seitokai Yakuindomo*. Rather than feeling tired and familiar, it felt more like it simply didn’t miss a beat! As for Build fighters, I’m very glad that it exists. It may be the shortest gundam TV show in the series history but it was a really fun watch and, after the massive disappointment of Gundam AGE, showed that you don’t need to have massive drama, space wars and ideology conflicts to make a fun gundam show. Sometimes, you can just have fun, like with G Gundam!
Continue reading Anime Roundup: Spring 2014
Back when I did a small preview post for my Grizzry Panda Busou Shinki kits, I didn’t get very far as I explained that I was missing a core piece of the kit as my kit had a duplicate part instead of what I needed. So, I contacted Grizzry Panda and he said that he would send a replacement part, even though I was in another country. I thought that was pretty cool but was warned that it would take a while since it had to be shipped overseas.
Well, last week I got the part… And something extra.
Yup, along with the part, Grizzry Panda also sent me a whole other kit!! I believe that this is Heartbeat Miku, the design which accompanies the supercell song Odds and Ends, which was the main theme for Project Diva f. Not being a Miku fan, that’s about the limit of my knowledge but I’m not going to say no to such a kind gesture. Especially one from such a good GK maker! Incidentally, this kit retails for ¥10,000 at events!!
I did a quick build and, like the Busou Shinki sisters, the kit is incredibly clean from the offset. A huge contrast to Homura, who has air bubbles all over the place. I’m still trying to clean up the guns!! I don’t think I’ll get around to building Miku anytime soon but I’ll definitely be building her. It just took me completely by surprise and gives GK builders one more reason to go the extra mile and buy direct from the makers and not from places like E2046, cos they do awesome things like this!! Consider me SOLD!! (not that I wasn’t already. I haven’t bought a recast in years!)
This is probably the first BIG release of the year. Sure, there have been some large names like Lightning returns but in terms of sheer expectation and marketing behind it, nothing comes close and very few will come close this year! Stand by for Titanfall!
I think everyone knows the score when it comes to this game. It’s the first game by Respawn entertainment, a team of developers who left Infinity Ward at the end of Modern Warfare 2. These guys are responsible for the multiplayer system which pretty much defined an entire console generation so it’s safe to say they know how things tick.
The game itself is pretty much pure multiplayer with zero single player elements in it. Heck, you can’t even play the game without an online connection. You play as a pilot on one of 2 sides to a conflict. Setups are very similar to those seen in CoD:MW with 2 major exceptions. The first is a jump pack on your pilot which allows you to double jump into the air and run across walls for an extended period of time. The other is the titan from the title, a large mecha which is airdropped to your location after a certain period of time and allows you access to heavier firepower and armour at the expense of mobility. You play as part of a larger army with AI bots appearing on both sides to give a better feeling of a large scale battle taking place. Having said that, the AI of the bots is dumb as hell. They’re basically fodder so don’t expect them to be able to carry you through a match. They’re there to be shot, that’s all.
The basic game modes are all there. Deathmatch, Capture the flag, domination and a few twists like last titan standing and a mode where only pilot kills are counted. All things considered, the game does come off as a little bare but the pedigree behind the title is beyond solid. So, how does it play?
Continue reading Mini Review: Titanfall