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Messages - Bleac

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Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: November 04, 2018, 01:54:57 AM »
In Red Dead Redemption II I've gone completely native and turned off all HUD and onscreen displays. I'm in it now! :ganishka:

It's great for inhabiting the world because you really learn the lay of the land instead of just following the tiny GPS or directions (and it turns off all on screen directions too). I have to know where I'm going or check my map, which can make the simplest errands an adventure, but that's kind of the point of this game so I'm embracing it. I mean, when you just follow that GPS it's like you're playing that and you don't even know the town you're riding through for the half dozenth time, so this is better (or I've gone crazy alone out on the plains =). The only drawback is sometimes you can't tell where a chance encounter is coming from (someone yelling for help, etc) or when you're about to walk into a bushwhacking horde of enemies. It's a pretty small price to pay though for the added immersion and beauty.

I used the same approach while playing the Witcher 3 and I definitely understand what you're saying. Paying more attention to the game world for a change, especially in cases where it's full of details and realism such as in RDR2 is a viable and exciting way to go about it. You start to notice all the clues and clever hints that were put in there for you to see but which can be easily overlooked due to the presence of HUD elements.

However, open worlds are a totally different breed from the style of world building that goes into Souls games and Salt and Sanctuary respectively. There are no maps so the world needs to be more reliably structured, so that you can remember where things are in accordance to one another and have landmarks, places that you know how to get to which lead to other places you're not fully accustomed to yet. I don't know if Salt and Sanctuary failed to do that or if it's just the 2D restriction that makes it seem so, but I don't think a Souls-like world design fits that game either way.

Sounds like a personal issue, because orienting myself was never a problem for me in the 2D format.

I'm sure a big part of the problem is my natural inclination towards 3D for orientation but I believe the game is also to blame to some extent (basically what I said to Griffith above)

It doesn't help that a lot of the levels feel very samey; the second half of "The Spirit Stone Slumbers" in particular was a major offender of this. Whoever thought it was a good idea to set a mission inside an underground tomb consisting entirely of rectangular rooms connected by square hallways filled to the brim with the same Sentry statues everywhere, and where everything is drab grey-green in color needs to be shot. The lack of landmarks in this sea of monotony means it's nigh impossible to tell if you're covering new ground or accidentally backtracking, and it's just boring as hell to look at.

I can actually think of a couple similar locations in Souls games such as the sewer portion of the Depths, the underground well in the Painted World and the Tomb of Giants in DkS 1, The Gutter (fuck that place man) and Shaded Woods in DkS 2 and the lower part of the Smouldering Lake in DkS 3. All of the aforementioned have more or less labyrinth like designs and I think the expectation is that the average player will die and go back and try a different path until they have it all figured out. If it's annoying and a hindrance that's how you know it serves its purpose I guess.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: November 03, 2018, 02:40:11 PM »
Doubt I'll replay this game as religiously as I did for the Soulsborne games (and Salt and Sanctuary)

It's interesting to see you liked Salt and Sanctuary more than Nioh. The art style is original and the combat is smooth but the level design feels inadequate to me. It attempts the Dark Souls interconnected world which so many people praise, but because it's a 2D game, it's fundamentally linear and this combination becomes confusing. If I took a break from it and came back after a couple of days I'd have no idea where I am and where I'm supposed to go. Maybe that's just my faulty orientation, but that never happened to me in any souls game, because once I had gone through an area I knew exactly where it was, what was around it and the general direction of things in a 3 dimensional space. In Salt and Sanctuary your field of vision is limited, and because of the 2D side scrolling camera I couldn't get a grasp of the world's dimension and location. I found myself spending more time back tracking and fixing my in game compass than actually progressing. Maybe that's how it was intended and you're supposed to go through the game many times in order to become familiar with the world, which is true in the case of the Souls games as well, but not nearly to this extent. To me it was just confusing and frustrating. I should go back and at least finish it, because it's not a bad game, and I enjoyed the combat aspects, but I don't see myself replaying it religiously.

Shootin' the Breeze / Re: Adventures in YouTube
« on: October 23, 2018, 07:30:23 PM »
That looks pretty dreamy. Makes me imagine an open world game set in the Berserk universe.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Dark Horse Releases "Deluxe" Berserk Edition
« on: October 20, 2018, 04:58:12 PM »
I have no doubt you must know what you're talking about but are you sure? (I didn't read it yet.) In that case it's probaly not a mistake made by Dark Horse since it's exactly written "Blame!" on the japanese volumes. Or maybe that's what you meant? :???:

I knew it's supposed to be pronounced "BLAM" as well.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Berserk PS2 Soundtrack Composers?
« on: October 19, 2018, 09:36:28 AM »
I bought the official MP3s back when they were available (2004 or so, I think)

You really do collect everything Berserk, huh Walter? I'd be curious to see what are some of the most bizarre or rare Berserk related products you own, if that's available anywhere.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Berserk's Future Release Schedule Approximation
« on: October 16, 2018, 12:36:47 AM »
Miura is 52 year old.

It's pretty hilarious how we're treating Miura like a finite human resource. :miura:

Speculation Nation / Re: Death
« on: October 13, 2018, 08:22:14 PM »
his warrior genes from Guts and Casca

I'm not sure what you mean by that. One doesn't get born a warrior, they achieve this condition through training. Simply inheriting Guts' physical potential doesn't mean he'll automatically be a warrior as well. The only way I can make sense of this is assuming you meant he was born inherently talented, which would allow him to perfect martial arts more efficiently, but even so, he would still need to put in effort and interest towards achieving that goal.

Sorry if it came out too critical, something about "warrior genes" just sounded off to me.

Then I highly recommend you Sun-Ken Rock, a manhwa too, in the same style, but way better in all aspects in my opinion. :)

I had actually looked at it before but I found it to be excessively goofy for my taste. It might just be another misleading introduction though. I'm definitely willing to give it another chance, because Boichi's art style is amazing when he's serious.

I'm actually a pretty big manga enthusiast, so I'm tempted to list a plethora of titles, but I'll try to keep it concise.

First of all, even though I had discovered Berserk recently (around 3 years ago, which is a short time compared to how many years people in this community have been around for), I quickly realized this would be the best manga I would probably ever read. I expect it to stay as my number one for a very long time to come.

That being said, currently holding the second spot would have to be Kokou no Hito (The Climber), although the Japanese title actually translates to "a solitary man". I had read it also very recently, about half a year ago and it left a fresh impact that has yet to be surpassed by something else. The manga is based on a novel with the same name, which in turn is based on a real life person by the name of Katō Buntarō who shares certain similarities with the main character. Because of this it tackles more literary themes, such as man vs self, man vs nature, adversity, self sacrifice, much like Berserk.

The story follows the life of Mori Buntarou and his heroic journey to become an exceptional mountain climber. I have to admit, the first 32 chapters don't give the best first impression. They focus on Buntarou's high school years and initiation into climbing, and they suffer from quite a couple of cliches. The artwork in the beginning is also inferior compared to the rest of the series. However, despite the somewhat misleading first quarter, it picks up abruptly for the remainder of the story.

It's a complicated story with striking art and visual symbolism, which I think is what the mangaka went for. It's a coming of age story, but not the slice of life type, it has a rather realistic/pessimistic tone to it. Even thought it's categorized as a sports series, I find it to be more of a psychological manga, but it offers a lot of insight into mountains and the sport of climbing. It does a great job at evoking powerful feelings out of the reader. I consider it to be a work of art, in the truest sense of the word.

It's a shame that it has no English publication. It was officially translated only in Italian and Chinese. I would love to have the whole physical collection in English but as of right now scans are probably the only way to read it in English.

Aside from that, other titles that I'm fond of are The Breaker and The Breaker: New Waves, which is actually a Korean manhwa series. It's one of the best Karate Kid type formulas that I have encountered. Great artwork, drama, martial arts, the whole package.
I rooted for the evil main dude and felt bad that he arbitrarily lost at the end to some even more unconvincing, hastily introduced clone of the kid he'd already beat in what must have been the defining arc of the series before they squeezed out those extra few volumes.

I think his defeat was to be expected considering how bold and unrealistical his goal was. What happened at the end was a combined effort from both Mello and Near to take him down, which makes sense if you think about it simplistically, 2 great minds are better than 1. I'm a bit foggy on the details because it's been a while, but I enjoyed the ending. Light Yagami is still one of my favourite characters ever.

That's a cool, unique depiction of femto's "helmet." Is he falling apart? Or is the texture of Guts' cloak sort of being superimposed on him? Something else?

Seems to me like this is what sibir might have gone for

Edit: The manga panel, with the same kind of pronounced shading

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: September 30, 2018, 07:11:28 PM »
I picked up something on the recommendation of a friend: CrossCode.
Anyway, check out the trailer:

It has some great tunes.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Volume 40 release
« on: September 28, 2018, 09:57:14 AM »
I've just seen this on Twitter a minute ago and came straight here, knew you guys had probably massacred it already. I must say, even with the heavy editing, it's embarrassingly bad. Do Japanese people really like this stuff?

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Dark Horse Releases "Deluxe" Berserk Edition
« on: September 26, 2018, 08:24:49 PM »
It looks more and more like there's going to be virtually no reason to buy this edition except for collecting purposes. I'm relatively new to this community, so I ask you guys, has there ever been a case when Dark Horse listened to the community, particularly the people over here regarding changes to the official releases? I know Aazealh mentioned once that 2 DH editors had accounts on the site, and you seem to be pretty familiar with their procedures. Is there any chance a petition or a collective letter or something of the sort, asking for at least a few of these crucial changes to be made would manage to persuade them? I know, pretty naive and wishful question, but since they're showing such lack of professionalism, might as well consider the possibility.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Volume 40 release
« on: September 26, 2018, 07:55:00 PM »
The Casca piece has beautiful colors, and I especially like how well drawn her hands are. As Makoto Yukimura said once in an interview "Hands are the most expressive part of a character, after the face". It's a good painting, but one thing that feels a bit off to me is the pronounced digital influence; not that I have anything against digital, but in this case, I feel like there's a visible discrepancy between the pastel colors and theme the painting is trying to convey and the almost gaudy digital highlights. I think the other one does a slightly better job at incorporating the digital medium, but aside from that they both look amazing.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: September 25, 2018, 10:34:29 AM »
Sure, but a lot of those examples are general story elements or universal themes not only appealing to a young audience but to anyone,  and can be found in almost all fantasy, or fiction, from ancient mythology, Shakespeare, to LotR, Star Wars, Marvel, and even Berserk.

Yeah, those are some fundamental story telling devices, but in order to make a remarkable story that appeals to anyone, especially more mature audiences you need to expand on them considerably more than what your regular JRPG usually does. The fact that they kept these stories rather digestible and predictable is what makes them stop being enjoyable at a certain point, once you get over that age. This is what I understood from what you were saying, and it's where I partially disagree.

I'm talking more specifically when like Final Fantasy's character archetypes skew more towards some fucked up school-aged fashionista as opposed to a classical hero like Guts. So, it's about specific bubblegum elements meant to appeal to certain idea of hip or cool that's just hard for those outside that demo to identify with or find appealing unless it's really on point otherwise.

Yeah, Final Fantasy is its own species by this point. Square Enix JRPGs in general are iconic for those kinds of character archetypes. If you see an emo looking teen with some kind of unpractical weapon and spiky hair on the cover art of a game you can be sure it's made by Square without even looking at the tag. While those can be considered classic JRPGs, they fall into a specific category which doesn't age that well regardless.

It's a given that I'm too old to fully engage with most of those stories, but a well written adolescent story would still interest me.

Right, you'll probably never experience a story with the same impressionable mindset and passion as when you were younger, but as long as you're aware of when this stuff was made and who was primarily expected to engage in it you can appreciate it at any age. (this pretty much applies for old media entertainment in general)

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: September 25, 2018, 02:13:23 AM »
Countertheory: You are too old, but bad voice acting isn't the problem; on the contrary, no matter how well localized, and perhaps even because of it, the translation/dub is going to be an issue to us because most of those games are YA stories now, if they ever weren't, and no longer to our taste. It didn't always seem that way, and maybe it wasn't in simpler times when you basically had middle aged programmers writing their own games and the translations were literal at best (which imbued them with a kind of stilted, almost proverbial seriousness). Now, between exponentially improved sound, graphics and production values, it's impossible to escape the fact these games are largely about and for teenagers, which also wasn't so bad when WE were teenagers. =)

It's undeniable that the majority of JRPGs, especially the old ones tackle lighthearted themes with anime like designs and generic (at least by contemporary standards) high fantasy worlds, good vs evil narratives, the power of friendship and so on, which is why it's fair to assume they were targeted at a young demographic, but I don't think you necessarily have to be a teenager or a youngster to properly enjoy them. This brings about a whole separate argument, which is that adults who still play and enjoy video games in general have a persistent childish and melancholic side to them, which didn't disappear with adulthood and might never fully stop lingering. That might explain why a vast number of grown-ups are still passionate about JPRGs, old and new alike.

So I guess this is my counterargument to your countertheory to Walter's opinion about JRPGs  :???:

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: September 24, 2018, 04:52:23 PM »
There were a number of moves I just couldn't use because they were grating to hear and embarrassing to watch, like Sue's "Rah-Rah! Cheer."

Haha, yeah, I don't think I used her "Rah-Rah!" move more than once either. At some point though the combat shouts became just background noise to me. I can usually tolerate bad voice acting in games if everything else is good. I also kind of already expect it when it comes to Japanese games adapted for the West.

Grandia 2 is good (at least, I remember it was good when I played eons ago on the Dreamcast), but it's considerably more streamlined, which may or may not be a good thing depending on what you liked about the first game.

It's also a shorter game that'll take you about 30-40 hours to beat, as opposed to the original's 70-80 hours, though that's in part because it's a more tightly-paced narrative, whereas the first one sprinkles a lot of hilarious misadventures along the way that don't really contribute to the plot.

What I liked about the first game was the good balance between story and action, and the fact that it wasn't essentially a visual novel like some JRPGs. As long as it doesn't do that I don't have a problem with it being more streamlined.

I felt like all the misadventures and detours contributed a lot to the narrative and especially the characters. If they had cut to the chase I don't think these characters would have remained so memorable to people. It gives off a real sense of development which in the end makes it worth all the extra work to get there. So what I hope from Grandia 2 is the same good use of character interaction and development, even if the time spent with them isn't gonna be that long in comparison.

Video Games / Re: Looking for a game
« on: September 24, 2018, 03:46:47 PM »
Unfortunately there aren't that many good true sandbox MMORPGs. There is Albion Online which is probably the closest you can get, but it's cross-platform and kind of simplistic and boring in terms of design because of that.

There's Black Desert Online. It's grind intensive and has a pretty steep learning curve, so if you want to just have fun and sink in large amounts of time it's the go to for that. However, there comes a certain point when you need to invest real money to be even remotely competitive. I played it myself, it's a good game, it has the best combat system in any MMO if you ask me, but if you're the hardcore type of player who doesn't like to be left behind it probably isn't worth it.

EVE Online is F2P if you're into sci-fi and also Ashes of Creation is supposedly and ambitious, upcoming sandbox MMORPG, might wanna keep an eye out for it. That's all I can think of off the top of my head. It's kind of disappointing, I love a good sandbox game as well, but so far haven't found anything that would keep me interested for a long time.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Dark Horse Releasing Berserk Guidebook
« on: September 23, 2018, 05:36:54 PM »
And while yes, most of the content in this dumb book isn't of much use to fans, let's not all shit our pants.

Yeah I understand, it's not such a big deal but it kinda makes you wish they came up with something more ingenious to add there, even if it's filler. Baseless parameters and stats they pulled mostly out of their asses to attribute to the characters is just silly.

Don't forget that it has a sizable (16 pg), recent interview with Miura, touching on things like his message to fans about the breaks, he and his staff's reaction to the anime (slim, but it's there), along with a variety of other awesome topics. That alone is well worth the price of admission.

I guess you're right, Miura's interview and comments and the exclusive art are the redeeming components.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Dark Horse Releasing Berserk Guidebook
« on: September 23, 2018, 02:50:43 PM »
To be fair that's from Hakusensha, Dark Horse is just translating it.

I thought they added some stuff like that in, because it looks so out of place. I guess Hakusensha is not an exception when it comes to bad marketing decisions (at least from my perspective, maybe Japanese people love knowing exactly how sociable and emotionally stable Guts is).

These things are popular in Japan, but more appropriate for shounen series than for a manga like Berserk.

That's true

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Dark Horse Releasing Berserk Guidebook
« on: September 23, 2018, 12:51:20 PM »
The publishers fully embraced the Jrpg meme  :schierke:

Those "parameters" are more indicative of a medical exam or something to me. Just picture Guts getting his parameters checked and in order.

I fail to understand how can DH be so shallow and out of touch with the community and the essence of Berserk after so many years of publishing it.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: September 23, 2018, 12:27:32 PM »
Grandia has one of my favorite combat systems in an RPG, but the grating voice acting ruined it for me, and I never finished it.

I could get over the voice acting for the most part, but even aside from that the game is quite lengthy, especially if you want to get all the dialogue from each village and NPC populated area. I can see how people might have dropped it at some point for one of these reasons.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: September 23, 2018, 10:14:53 AM »
Completed the original Grandia at 73 hours, it was a fairly addicting game. It's one of the more unique JRPGs I've played, and it's not made by Square either. It nails the balance between story and combat/dungeon crawling nicely and has well thought out game design choices. The story was original enough to be enjoyable, and to keep me interested, with some classic fantasy motifs patched in there, but where the game shines for me is in regards to the combat and characters.

The combat screen, unique to the Grandia series, is a bit confusing the first time it pops up, like many old RPGs and games in general it doesn't hold your hand, but once figured out it's a somewhat strategical battle system to mess around with. It never gets boring to fight enemies, I absolutely loved it. Also, the fact that enemies have health bars in this game, unlike most traditional turn based RPGs, is something I much prefer, and I think it allows for more planned out courses of action.

The way you level up your weapon and magic classes individually, based on how often you use them (similar to FF2), might turn some people off, but I liked it. Frankly, I hadn't expected I would dig it in the first instance, but after getting a bit further into the game I realized it doesn't make such a noticeable difference and that it balances into the natural progression. It works surprisingly well and encourages you to play using a variety of weapons and magic that you gradually find along the way, some of them being more suited for different types of enemies. There's a general EXP gain that raises all your party's basic stats as well, so progression never feels broken. Unless you skip every encounter, there's no need for grinding.

On the topic of encounters, highly important aspect for me is the choice of visible enemies on the map. You can run past them if you're quick enough and don't have too many members in your party. I've always detested the random encounters in JRPGs, probably one of my least favourite things about them, so I, for one, am really glad they went with visible enemies for this game. Once you kill all the enemies in an area or dungeon they stay dead until you leave and return to said area or dungeon. This is great because it allows you to explore for treasure without being interrupted every 20 seconds by a random encounter.

Regarding the characters, they're well designed and written (the English dub can get corny at times, but I understand you can play it with original Japanese voices somehow, wish I'd known that before I started). It's especially enjoyable to watch their development. I got attached to the cast before realizing it. Even though it plays out like a conventional high fantasy story at times, nothing you haven't seen before in a different form, it still holds a sort of individual charm, which I ended up enjoying. Overall the game has great combat and characters, and good music, story and world design. I'm going to buy Grandia 2 on Steam and I hope it's just as good as the original.

Video Games / Re: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
« on: August 23, 2018, 07:01:49 AM »
Some more Sekiro: SDT gameplay from the recent Gamescom demo event:

Here's Marcus (ENB) with some commentary in addition to the footage.
Also Vaati with just 21 minutes of silent gameplay.

I recommend watching both if you have the time because it really shows the multitude of angles this game can be approached from.

Speculation Nation / Re: Am I the only one who...
« on: August 14, 2018, 06:25:05 PM »

Let me chip in with some Conrad love as well. *sigh* When will Miura finally do this story justice?  :puck:

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