CyberPunch83's Blog - Oct to Dec 17 (39 followers)
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Nov
13
PermalinkBattle of the Binge
Quick aside: this wasn't the intended content for this blog post today. Recent events and discoveries have bumped this one up in the priority list, and the planned content from today will be moved to later in the week, likely Friday or maybe next Monday if another bump needs to happen. Despite being bumped in favour of this content, fear not. The blog will still be worth reading when it is published, and I highly recommend you check it out once it published. Make sure you follow so you know right away when it is published. I generally post Mondays and Fridays.

Old habits die hard. Some never die at all, and instead just get pushed to the back of your mind, waiting for their moment to resurface and take their place once more. It could be said I did something similar to that in the last few days. By sheer coincidence, I stumbled across a link to a package in the Xbox store for World of Tanks. This is one of the games that received an upgrade to graphics and overall look for the Xbox One X, and to celebrate that, released a 'New Tanker' package. This isn't the first time a promotional package has quietly been released, but one of the best.

Contained within this package was a Tier II American T1E6-X1 Light Tank, or a garage slot if you already had that vehicle, and three days of premium time. Anyone who knows me and my dedication/obsession over World of Tanks over the last three years knows this was a golden opportunity for me, plopped directly into my virtual lap. A free three days of premium, when all I had left to do in this game to get 100% completion once again was a whole load of grinding? Sign me up.

Rather humourously, the package indicates in its Store description that it's intended for new players on the Xbox One X. A nice gesture to be sure, but one with no method of enforcement. The Store doesn't know if you're a new player to World of Tanks, or if you're a grizzled, jaded veteran who's been around since the original Xbox 360 launch way back in February 2014. I will fully admit to being in the latter category any day of the week. With all this in mind, I downloaded the pack and waited.

I wanted to wait until I had a few consecutive days to make the most of this gift of premium time. That time started on Sunday. From mid-morning Sunday to mid-morning on Wednesday, the plan is to get as much World of Tanks in as possible, and finally unlock the 'Top Shelf' achievement. For those just joining is now, that achievement is for researching a Tier X vehicle of all four classes that currently go to Tier X. These are Medium and Heavy Tanks, Tank Destroyers and Artillery. As of this writing, only Medium Tanks and Artillery remains for me.

I've been grinding these last two vehicles out for the better part of the last day as of this writing, and much progress has been made. There was a spreadsheet created to track my progress toward this achievement, to see how much Gold would have to be purchased at any point if I decided I had enough with the grind and just wanted the achievement now. It has now progressed to the point where I no longer need to buy any Gold and could use the Gold I have on-hand from past purchases and earnings.

As a result of this, I have been moving the proverbial goalposts in my spreadsheet, removing amounts of on-hand Gold as enough earnings come in. This reflects the amount of my own Gold I would not need to spend in order to get enough XP to distribute. I have no idea what this Gold will be spent on in the future, but I know it won't be spent here. At this moment, researching the last Tier X vehicles will require a combination of Tank XP and free XP,the latter of which is earned in small amounts from every vehicle and placed in a shared pool.

The next step, after Gold purchases have been removed from the equation, will be to remove free XP from the equation as well. I have close to 100,000 free XP as of this writing to distribute wherever I see fit, keeping in mind if using a combination of the two to research a vehicle, all of the available Tank XP will be used first. Slowly the on-hand free XP will be removed from the pool until ideally nothing but Tank XP is used for researching the vehicles. This is the ultimate end goal for this grind, and the reason for this spreadsheet.

Once all of that is done, I will research the vehicles with just the earned Tank XP, unlock the last achievement of this game, and hopefully put it away for a very long time. I'm slightly concerned there will be more achievements added at some point soon after this last achievement unlock, since two nations have since been added to the game and no related achievements have been added. This will likely change. World of Tanks has 114 achievements. The sky is the limit for this title since it is not held back by the Xbox 360 achievement list anymore.

Who's to say where World of Tanks will go next. Do you want to see more achievements added to the title? What changes or improvements do you want to see added to the game? Let me know in the comments. I'm interested to see what the players want.

Coming up on Monday: the blog originally intended for today.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 13 November 17 at 18:36 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Nov
12
PermalinkNew Consoles and Stuff
There's a funny thing about backups of any sort. You never realize how important they can be until the moment after you would have needed one most. This blog was mostly written and ready to go earlier in the day, which is still technically late, which is another matter entirely. I then went in to make further updates and add more content, and for whatever reason by internet connection blinked and I lost it all. There was no previous version to come back from. Needless to say I'm not impressed with that, but nothing that can be done now really.

If you've ever considered writing blogs like these or even are currently a blog writer on the sire, I would recommend using some sort of a backup for the content until you're ready to upload. This isn't the first time that I have lost progress on writing something due to a blip in my internet connection, and you always hope each time will be the last. Sometimes there can be no way to guarantee this, so you work around it as much as possible. Either a Word document or some other program can save you a lot of time and hassle.

No more preview pieces. No more 4k displays of test footage. The Xbox One X is officially upon us. Not quite the next generation, but a major improvement over both the Xbox One and the Xbox One S to be sure. Though people may have an immediate problem in getting their hands on the console, since multiple outlets are reporting that GameStop sold through their entire initial shipment of consoles. Expect some minor delays before more are back in stock. This can only mean good things for both Xbox and Microsoft going forward.

This console should put Microsoft ahead of both Nintendo and Sony toward the end of this generation, which I couldn't be happier about. Xbox gamer through and through here. I do plan on picking up one of the new boxes eventually, but it is not a high priority. Not only that, but I don't currently own the requisite 4k television to properly take advantage of the display output alongside the constant 60 fps and significantly reduced load times. As soon as I've seen one in full action I'll make a blog about the experince.

Until then, here's a review for a game that irritated both myself and petranat to no end.

Disney/Pixar Brave Micro-Review: Movie-based games have a certain reputation and set of expectations about them. This game does something a bit different from what we've seen before and feature a unnecessarily-hard final boss battle. It comes on multiple stages, because of course it does, and presents a challenge more than anything else you have seen up to that point. I won't go into much more detail, since that goes into spoiler territory, and that's not what we're here to do. Instead we'll quickly cover some other aspects of the game that were not great.

Outside of this, the game can be completed relatively quickly, since the levels are never really that long, and maybe have one or two tough fight encounters with bosses or mini-bosses. There is an upgrade system, and based on my experience with the game, will require more than one playthrough to earn all upgrades. I don't think there is any way there are enough coins, even after finding every single source of them in the game to do it in one run. I certainly never managed to do this myself.

If you play this game in co-op, don't forget to upgrade the co-op wisp as well. While it may not be as useful as you may like since it cannot activate pressure plates or anything that requires standing in place, the upgrades to make the wisp more effective in combat cannot be ignored. You don't want to be stuck in a combat encounter and be ineffective even when using the proper element to deal the most damage to an enemy. With this in mind, always keep track of the elements you should be using. These are too effective to be ignored.

In the end, Brave is still a somewhat enjoyable experience. Being thrown against a brick wall at the end of the game with the bosses, seemingly irrelevant of upgrades to either character, nearly ruin what could have, and indeed should have been another quick, ultimately forgettable film-based game. This did not happen, and Disney/Pixar Brave will be remembered as a game that turned sour quickly despite being an otherwise linear affair with some minor puzzle-solving and small amounts of platforming to be found.

Verdict: only recommended for fans of seemingly-easy games. 3/10

Coming up on Monday: an entry in a relatively-new series.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 12 November 17 at 05:46 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Nov
06
PermalinkLet the Games Begin
It's that time of the year again. The game-developing machines over at the third-party publishers have begun to bear fruit in the form of this year's crop of new games. There's really no point in covering them here, since I won't be playing many of them if at all, and the games are guaranteed to sell well in excess of three or four million copies each, further confirming the continued existence of not only the franchises themselves, but the publishers and developers behind them as well.

With all of this in mind, let's instead cast our minds back, away from pre-order culture, guaranteed sequels and the never-ending hype machine. Let's instead go back to 2005, when the Xbox 360 was still the brand-new console, this site didn't exist yet, and no one was quite sure what would become of these little things called achievements. Specifically, we're back to a launch title, one that will stand for quite a while as one of the last played to type games I've ever seen.

Amped 3 Micro-Review: It's finally over. Five chapters, seven mountains, and 240 mini-games. All while wearing an oversized gnome outfit earned in the first chapter and never taken off since then. I have completed Amped 3, and found some slightly irritating things about the game along the way. Namely, one of the achievement descriptions lies to you. I know this was a launch title, and some games have vague descriptions, but this one is just incorrect.

The 'Supreme Snow God' achievement description is, and I quote, earn a Gold Medal for ALL challenges and media callouts. Fair enough. Your standard 'earn gold on everything' achievement. Nothing weird there. There are also five achievements for 'stoking' people on certain mountains. There are seven mountains in the game. You would be forgiven for not giving much thought to these peaks outside from the scant few story missions and side missions in which you must earn Gold.

It turns out you need to stoke people on every single mountain to earn those last Gold medals, despite the game not telling you this anywhere. To find this out after thinking you have completed every single action and event in the game is not a nice feeling. While it didn't take long to get those last few people stoked and earn that achievement, that doesn't excuse the game not telling you everything you need to need to know right away.

Every other facet of the game I have covered in my numerous progress reports on this game. The controls are alright, the park builder mechanic is effectively necessary to complete some of the harder challenges and media callouts, the graphics and sound are what should be expected for 2005. Special mention goes to the cutscenes, which look like absolute hot garbage on a 1080p screen. Clearly they were not designed for that.

Verdict: the goofier, more fun-loving cousin to SSX. 6/10

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Madagascar Kartz First Thoughts: In 2009, Activision decided there was enough room in the kart racer subgenre to throw their digital hat into the ring via Dreamworks characters of which they had the game rights. There couldn't have been much more thought than that which went into this game, since it really has the barest of concepts: here are some characters from the Madagascar series of films, and some extras thrown in to flesh out the roster a bit. That fleshed-out roster is nine players.

You also get nine tracks to race as well, broken up into Championships of three races each. Four speed levels, 50-200cc. You had better get very used to seeing the first track of each Championship a lot as well, since when you restart a race from the pause menu, it restarts the WHOLE CHAMPIONSHIP. I don't know who made this design decision, but they clearly should not be in charge of deciding such things, or why there isn't just an option to restart the single race within the championship. Perhaps some fake difficulty.

The rest of the game is pretty standard and predictable. There are quick races, time trial modes, and checkpoint races in both single and multiplayer flavours. A pretty standard set of options for this game. One quick note on the number of tracks: in an effort to pad out the gameplay, the 200cc championship mirrors the tracks. Not reversed, since on some of the courses that wouldn't be physically possible, but instead flipped around, as if you were playing in a mirror. 200cc is also the fastest difficulty, so good luck with that one.

One gameplay protip I can share with you now: Shrek is the best character in the game. That isn't really a spoiler as such since there are three achievements tied to either the character or his signature track. Each character is given a 1-5 rating on speed, turbo and grip. Taking all of those into account, the Jolly Green Giant is the best character in all aspects combined. You don't unlock him until well into the game, but it's well worth the wait.

Coming up on Friday: the 8 1/2th generation.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 06 November 17 at 16:41 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Nov
04
PermalinkTrapped in Here with Me
Just a couple of progress items for you here today. Two longer-term projects, one of which recently wrapped up. Truth be told, I've been trying to really make a push on the Achievement Research Project. There are no more games projected for release on the Xbox 360 for 2017, so the retroactive modifications are done, and time to focus on the real wotk that needs to be done. Expect an update on that in a week or so, ideally once I've got past two or three more full letters.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution Progress Report: For those less interested in the lore of the Naruto universe and more interested in the fighting mechanics, this game is a perfect fit. A huge roster of characters only really matched by later entries in the series by virtue of the franchise introducing new characters at that time. However this game is more than a brawler with a massive roster, though you would be forgiven for thinking that was the case.

There are small amounts of narrative, where you play iconic moments from the franchise while following a certain character and some of their trademark fights against certain other characters. These are required playing to unlock the full roster for use in the tournament mode which comprises the bulk of the game. With this game being light on story progression, Bandai Namco took this opportunity to create an all-new side story around Naruto.

Avid watchers of the anime will recognize this character and where it comes from, however the game leaves its origins a mystery, for reasons I'm not quite sure why. Games based on anime franchises have had a touchy relationship with characters introduced for filler arcs, since there canonicity changes based on the phase of the moon. For the time being, this particular character seems to be mostly-canon, and perhaps in future games, the backstory of this character is explored in full. I know I'm hoping to see that done later.

Despite being a game mostly about fighting, there is still an overworld to explore, of the Leaf Village and surrounding areas. This is where you find items to use in fights the in-game currency of ryo to buy items to use in fights, and discount coupons to use in conjunction with your ryo to buy items used in fights. It's all about those items used in fights, you know? The game also has a lottery. No, this isn't supposed to be baby's first gambling simulator.

The way it takes shape is tickets you find throughout the game, which you take to a central location in the village. For each ticket redeemed, you get a spin on the prize wheel with LS. Items can be earned like collectible masks and plush figures of characters, along with items that can be used in fights. It really is all about that mechanic during the overworld sections. Not a bad idea by far, though perhaps a little uninspired, since there are no collectibles or other such things to do.

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Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse Micro-Review: I've already spoke about a lot of the facets of this game, including how it plays, its inspiration and how it all comes together in one coherent package that was a joy to play. So let's talk about the final boss fight and how much it sucks compared to the rest of the game. Seriously, this game's difficulty curve hit a straight line approaching this level, in true 16-bit fashion.

As you can guess from the game layout, each act was split into three levels, two of gameplay and a third of a boss fight. It stands to reason the final act of the game, leading right into the final boss fight, will mix things up in some way as to not be a relatively boring climax to the game up to that point. This game does that, but nearly ratchets itself up too hard in the process. It's a climbing level with few checkpoints requiring some careful jumps. This is merely the interlude to the boss fight itself.

I won't go into excruciating detail since I do want people to play and enjoy this game for themselves, but it's your typical arena layout with multiple stages, including dodging and attacking. There is nothing wrong with this formula, and there's a reason it's been used in so many games over the years: because it works. Don't be surprised if you run out of lives for the first time on this boss fight, since it is long enough to be tough based on that alone.

All of those minor complaints aside, this game is a ton of fun and I really enjoyed it. The game really is a throwback to classic side-scrollers from generations gone by. I can't say that enough. If you played those games when you were younger and have nostalgia for that style of gameplay, this title should scratch that itch quite nicely. Even at full price, this game still gets a recommendation from me as a game that should be played and enjoyed.

Verdict: recommended for both fans of the House of Mouse and side-scrollers. 9/10

Coming up on Monday: it's the most wonderful time of the year.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 04 November 17 at 00:53 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Oct
30
PermalinkKing of the Hill
Quick addendum to my blog from last week: my wording about petranat being overall garbage at the combat in Assassin's Creed Liberation HD has proven to be incorrect. She has requested I make an edit to the blog to say she is not absolute crap at the combat in the game, rather she had forgot about using smoke bombs to stun enemies and score some easy kills. The change has been noted, I apologize for making any incorrect suggestions and shouldn't be making that mistake again.

Amped 3 Progress Report: This game is finding ways to get even stranger by the day. I didn't even know this was possible. For those that may not be aware, Amped 3 is published by 2K Games. Apparently this means of course an evil organization masquerading as a games company will be introduced at the end of the third act as a new antagonist faction for the remainder of the game. This organization is one letter away from the same name of an American intelligence agency, and is meant to be an expy of Electronic Arts. Because of course.

Apparently back in 2005 there was enough of a rivalry between the two companies to make an evil equivalent of one in a video game where it will live on forever. As far as I am aware no legal action came from it so we can assume it was fine, or at least didn't ruffle too many feathers over at EA. Maybe it was done all in jest and they were aware of the joke and gave it their blessing behind the scenes. Either way it happened 12 years ago and is still around now.

The game has two shedloads of minigames and side missions, somewhere around 240. This is a lot. I have spent more time up to this point playing the minigames and earning gold medals on all of them than I have on the actual campaign of the game. Based on the achievement list, the game has five acts, and I am on the fourth. It would seem that acts four and five are departures from the standard method up to that point of one mountain per chapter, since there are seven mountains total and only five campaign acts.

Without giving too much away, the last half of the game, from Act 3 onward, consists of you rescuing the group the game tried to spend the first two acts introducing and attempting to endear the player to them. That last part didn't really work since there really aren't enough story missions aside from the side missions to really get to know these characters. The rapid-fire nature of the way each character brings their own style of cutscenes to the game breaks it up more than any cohesion that could be gained by these characters forming a group.

We are hurtling toward the conclusion of what is currently the weirdest Xbox 360 launch title I've played. In my quest to play them all i may wander into something even weirder, but it will take a lot to match or exceed the weirdness on display here. There is still Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. That one may equal the bizarre. Regardless of that I'm eager to finish Amped 3 and move on to more games from there.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution Progress Report: That may be one of the longest full titles for a game I've seen in a long time. I know Japanese games tend to do things like this since in their language entire words can be represented as one character, making naming like that much more space-efficient. However when you bring that over to a Latin-based language like English, sometimes you get more than you bargained for in terms of title length.

Being a Naruto game, this is a 2.5D fighting title. Being a Bandai Namco Naruto title, it's very good. The premise of this one is simple: every important ninja from the franchise has been brought together for an ultimate tournament to determine who is the best ninja of all time, or 'across time and space' as the game likes to remind you at nearly every opportunity. It's a great concept and a great excuse for bringing every character, currently living or dead, together into one massive tournament.

The character roster is one of the largest I've ever seen in a fighting game. Not only are there easil over 50 unique characters, but there are also multiple variations of characters as well, including somewhere around six for the series protagonist alone. They really do love their alternate outfits, which gives the game quite a bit of character. Gameplay is as simple as it gets, you're fighting anywhere from one to four enemies at the same tie, with one character always targeted for you.

The game eschews a lot of story in favour of more fights, but there are some narrative elements kept in, known as 'Ninja Escapades'. These are iconic battles from throughout the franchise's history, and serve as an excuse for another fight to unlock a character to use in your team in the actual tournament modes. It never really gets old, and the difficulty curve is enough to never really punish you or go too easy on you throughout the multiple multi-round tournaments.

Coming up on Friday: four foot-think stone walls keeping you in.
Posted by CyberPunch83 on 30 October 17 at 18:32 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.