Sunday, February 26, 2017

Play Log: Easy times

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.

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.

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.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Play Log: Quality phone time

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
For whatever faults IBO has, the one thing I really must praise it for is how consistently it delivers on the fights.  This series has pretty much never gone more than one or two episodes without some kind of battle scene, and this frequency combined with the high quality of the choreography make it really entertaining to watch, regardless of anything else.

Cowboy Bebop
I just watched episode 15 today, which was a Faye-centric episode.  I didn't find Faye to be that interesting up till this point so I had held off on watching it, but it was better than I thought it would be.  I guess I shouldn't have been so quick to underestimate this show.

Train Conductor World
I installed this a while ago but never got around to trying it.  It's actually really fun!  It kinda reminds me of Flight Control, a game from the early iOS App Store days where you had to manage incoming flight traffic.  Train Conductor World gets incredibly hectic and challenging, but in a sort of exhilarating way.

Fire Emblem Heroes
Well, this is a thing.  It's okay, I guess?  The core gameplay is definitely Fire Emblem, but heavily simplified.  The in-app purchases seem exorbitantly expensive, but at least for now there's enough to do without spending anything.  To my surprise, it also has a bit of a story, though it's not like Fire Emblem games have a history of engrossing tales, so I'm certainly not expecting a lot here.

I never had a PS1 or SNES so the often-called "golden age of JRPGs" was mostly lost on me.  I'm not on some quest to fix that, but I do like JRPGs and wanted to try something different from the modern fare I'm used to, so I popped in Grandia.  I'm already impressed, it has such a lighthearted, easygoing tone.  And it has voice acting, which is surprising.

Muramasa: Rebirth
I played several hours of this game closer to when I first got my Vita.  There's even a brief writeup about it somewhere on the site, I think.  Anyway, it's been on my mind a lot lately so I decided to come back to it.  After spending a couple hours playing it, I already feel like I remember what eventually drove me away from the game in the first place.  The combat is cool and challenging in a way that's just right, but the game pretty much has nothing else going on.  You're just running from place to place, killing enemies and sometimes talking to people.  I had the same problem with Dragon's Crown, but that had the excuse of being a beat 'em up.  I'm starting to wonder if this is just how Vanillaware operates.  Makes we want to try Odin Sphere, and soon.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
The story in this game is getting pretty interesting, and the combat's reasonably fun too.  Yet something about playing it feels a little monotonous.