Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Play Log: Fun Times

I spent a good portion of this month traveling, hence the break in activity.

Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta
I believe I commented earlier that this show was pretty easy on the eyes.  That was an understatement.  The animation is honestly pretty damn topnotch sometimes.  And Kotoha is awesome.  I like her character, I like her design, I like her ability.

I went and did a bit of research concerning just where this anime sits in the continuity, and apparently it is actually supposed to be generally covering the beginning of the manga.  It sure as heck doesn't feel that way, though.  Take the vampire twins, for example, or the cop.  The story treats them as familiar characters, but they never had an introduction...

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
I think I finally understand what's been throwing me for a loop with IBO.  I don't want to make Gundam sound like some super intelligent franchise, but I do feel like they're usually more cerebral than IBO.  It's a franchise that loves to portray clashes between various philosophical and political ideals.  IBO has this as well (mainly in McGillis and Rustal), but on the whole it's less about a bunch of high-minded individuals fighting to change the world and more about people fighting to preserve what's important to them, or better their own lives.  So the battles are more emotional, more base, and more brutal.  What the show lacks in complexity it makes up for in raw impact.

Company of Heroes 2
I'm probably lying to myself even as I write this, but I don't know how much more of this game I have left in me.  It's still fun, but the community is insufferable, and it's obvious Relic's not going to add anything more to it beyond perhaps the occasional skin or balance patch.

Cowboy Bebop
This is a great show and I'm glad I finally got around to watching it.  However, as mature adventure stories go I think I liked Michiko and Hatchin more.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Play Log: War Rages Again

Company of Heroes 2 
Whelp.  I feel like by getting this game working my Surface I've re-opened a forbidden well.  I don't think I realized how much CoH2 was cannibalizing my time with other games until I found myself regularly turning to it instead of continuing Trails of Cold Steel or Grandia.

Sadly, while the game is workable on here, I think I might have to veto maps like Sittard Summer.  I love the occasional bridge game just as much as the next guy, but my poor Surface can't handle all the action that gets compressed onto that bridge.  I ended up in a 4v4 custom game with 200 popcap and double resources, and my FPS would regularly dip into slideshow territory.

In other news, Relic is inching closer to another significant balance update.  Very little of it is of much interest to me, but they're completely overhauling the PIAT, which is a godsend.  They also seem to be nerfing the AEC vs infantry which is a little bit of a bummer since unlike every other faction, Brits don't really have a mid-game option for dominating infantry.  But on the other hand it's getting a boost to its overall vehicle hunting capabilities, which is probably the bigger boon in the end.

Cowboy Bebop
This show continues to be good, but at the same time my enjoyment of it has waned a little.  I'm not sure why.

Moana
So I saw this.  It was good, but this is one of those movies that I think I enjoyed more for the visuals and animation than for the content.  The story was fine, the songs were fine, and I did like Moana as the main character.  But it's a really colorful movie, which made it fun to watch in and of itself.

Inside Out
I guess I'm playing catch up with animated movies.  I didn't think much of Inside Out based on the pitch and trailers, but I ended up really enjoying the premise.  There were a few beats here and there that I found predictable, but it was overall a pretty imaginative movie.

I also found myself rewatching Frozen in Japanese, as it was airing on TV.  I had forgotten how charming that movie was.  They clearly did an outstanding job on the Japanese dub.  I vaguely remember hearing that Frozen was absurdly popular in Japan, maybe even more so than it was in the US.  That seems to hold true, as my dormmate said he's seen it five times, and also apparently had memorized the lyrics to every tune in the movie in the process.  Him and anyone else that walked by would happily sing along to the music as it cropped up.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Play Log: Easy times

Shadowverse
They put out a pretty big update yesterday that finally added some new story chapters.  I've only played a bit of the new Swordcraft chapters, but the AI sure did open a can of whoop ass on me, despite the fact that I think my decks are a lot more developed than when I first beat the story.  I did beat it, but I'm not looking forward to the new AI difficulties they also added.  Elite was already quite a pain.

In other news, there's a Granblue fantasy crossover event going on.  I haven't played Granblue because the mobile version's still Japan-only, but at least this means more rupees and card packs!

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
So, I finally got to the part where the prologue takes place.  It's been well over a year since I started this game, so I had completely forgotten that the prologue had in fact shown a bit from the middle of the game.

The state of technology in this world is a real hodgepodge.  They have guns, armored cars and main battle tanks, but air power and automotive transportation is still in its developing stage.  Meanwhile you have the Internet in its infancy, and people still running around with swords and staves.  I'm definitely thinking about this too closely in terms of our own world's technological history, but what they have going on in Zemuria is very interesting.

Company of Heroes 2
Had a compstomp game yesterday where we were so thoroughly outpaced in tech by the AI that they had tanks on the field before I had my first light vehicle.  I'm dumbstruck how it happened.

I've been tinkering with more Soviet commanders.  I'm usually all about Armored Assault tactics, but there are some commanders that give Conscripts submachine guns, and that seems like a match made in heaven.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Spice and Wolf Synopsis: Volume 5

The girl giggled. “There is that, but there’s something about you that just makes a girl with a bit of confidence want to have a go. Do you get that a lot?”

I haven't seen the anime in a while, but I'm pretty sure this comprises the second half of Season 2.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Play Log: Surface Gaming

Company of Heroes 2
I tried running this on my Surface a long time ago, and was discouraged by the results.  But I couldn't stay away from it, so I decided to try tweaking the settings some more.  It's... playable.  I had to lower the resolution a ton and most of the quality settings are at low-medium, and I also had to download AutoHotkey because Relic can't be bothered to implement proper key rebinding in-game.  Also it's probably never getting more than 30 frames.  But it works.


Endless Legend
This game was on sale and an alternative to Civ V sounded attractive to me, so I decided to give it a shot.  It's interesting, not sure how I feel about it.  The biggest mechanical difference that jumps out at me is how open-ended the research is.  In Civ, you have a branching, but linear chart of research.  One technology leads to another, and some technologies have prerequisite technologies.  In Endless Legend, it's not like that at all.  The techs are organized into Eras, and you unlock new Eras as you continue your research.  But within each Era, there's no structure.  It's just a giant pool of techs, that you can research in whatever order you want.  You can even opt to pretty much ignore techs if you want, as you only need a fraction of each Era's techs to unlock the next Era.  It's very different from Civ's "no research left behind" approach.


TheoTown
This here's basically SimCity, but for Android.  And not SimCity 4, either.  Something earlier, more basic, like SimCity 2000.  It really does feel like like a SimCity game, through and through, complete with the fact that I basically wasted a whole evening staring at my phone playing it.  It's also completely free, which is cool.

The Legend of the Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
The more I play this game the more I somewhat wish I had the background of having played the Trails in the Sky games.  Once you get to Heimdallr and later Legram, the references to the older games get more common.  It's not in any way affecting the main story at hand, it's just that sometimes you have scenes or bits of dialogue that I can tell I might have gotten more of a kick out of if I had played the earlier games.

As a side note, Legram's a pretty cool place.  It's the first field study location that I really find myself admiring.

Starbound
I bought this game a long time ago, back when it was basically in its fund-raising phase.  The promise of a way-expanded Terraria was too enticing to pass up.  I played it briefly a couple years ago and wasn't pulled in by it, and it has since then evidently had a lot of ups, downs, and big changes.  I finally decided to give it another, more serious shot and... I like it.  It kinda does feel like an expanded Terraria, but I've only just scratched the surface, so I don't want to get too into comparing the two.

Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta

So, I watched some of the first adaptation this series got back in... 2007, was it?  I remember thinking it was decent, though I never got around to finishing it.  Anyway, the visuals of this one attracted me to it.  It's a fun show, with charming characters, clean animation and colorful designs.  But watching it, it really does feel like I've been dropped right in the middle of a story.  These characters already have established traits, histories and developments, and it's clear that some stuff has already happened before episode 1.  It's like picking up a 50-episode show at episode 25.  Funny enough though, this hasn't really impeded my enjoyment of the show, because I just like watching the characters.