Thursday, 19 September 2013

Journey (game)

While visiting my boyfriend he purchased this game for PlayStation 3 and we both really enjoyed playing it. Though the game was already released last year I'd like to introduce it, so no one else would miss out on this stunningly beautiful indie game.


Journey is a PlayStation 3 indie game, developed by Thatgamecompany in 2012. The player controls a character in a deserted area, collecting scrolls with symbol writing, that allows the character to jump. The player tries to reach a mountain visible in the horizon, while collecting these symbols to progress in parts of the game that require jumping. While getting closer and closer to the mountain, the scenery changes and you may also encounter other identical looking characters on your way. I first thought these were NPCs, but as the game finished I was surprised to find out that I had played the game with six other players online, which would explain why the thought-to-be NPCs weren't following me like typical AI characters would. The game is rather short in length, but every minute was definitely worth it. 

Graphics and music

The graphical aspect of Journey is stunning. The way the sand moves, the way your character's clothing moves while jumping; it's all simply beautiful. While moving forward in the game, the different scenery never ceased to amaze me. At one point I was in a desert, but after a while I found myself in a mystical environment that seemed both like underwater but also oddly reminded me of stars and the space. While the basic idea of the game itself is rather simple, the music and amazing animation won't let anyone down. Your character doesn't seem to be able to speak, but produces notes that collect the scripts around you, giving you more jumps. Each player you may encounter on your journey to the mountain have their own individual sound, different to yours. At the end of the game, you will also see which player has been making each different sound. The soundtrack of the game has been composed by Austin Wintory. The music is really fitting for the world of the game, and certainly doesn't let down the amazing environment the game offers.

The Story

What made Journey strikingly different to other games I have played, was the lack of verbal story and communication. These made the playing experience very unique. Your journey was slowly completed after each 'check point' by a drawing made by a mysterious character wearing a white cloak. This figure seems to be able to produce the same kind of sounds as you do, but nothing more is being told of it. Much of the story is thus up to the player's imagination. The player is not really being told what to do by words, but images and clues, thus expected to figure it out by themselves. You may for example encounter flying objects resembling a paper kite, should you follow them or not, is a decision you can think about while playing. The game has various similar hints that you may notice along the way, which will help you to complete the game. Such include noticing how to avoid/ hide from seemingly offensive rock-dragons, or not getting blown away by strong winds.
After completing your Journey, the player may still be left with questions about the world they just peeked into.

Conclusion and other thoughts

Amazing game. Play it. No seriously, if you are any interested in a good indie game, I would highly recommend this one. While the game may not be very fast paced or action packed, it certainly offered an experience I hadn't had before in any of the games I have played. Journey really is your journey through the universe it presents. The game is overall really well-made and simply smart.

I really can't wait for the next release from Thatgamecompany, which is currently under development. I hope they will be able to amaze me again. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Mortal Instruments - City of Bones (movie)

Oh my... where to even start. A friend of mine dragged me and a couple of others to see this movie. And I thought - fantasy? - why not! But no... no.

The movie - short introduction

So the movie itself is based on a book, which I heard is actually quite entertaining. The movie mixes the elements from the book, however, adding some of its own to the mix. And the mix ended up to be a cliché. The movie tells the story of a teenage girl who starts drawing weird symbols. One night she goes to a club where she witnesses the murder of a mysterious looking young man. Later she finds out that the man was actually a demon, her mother a 'Shadowhunter', and that the stories she has heard as a child about vampires and werewolves, are real. Clary (the heroine of the story) gets dragged into an Institute for the Shadowhunters, where she starts recovering her memories of the past; and her hidden abilities. The plot also includes some romantic elements of 'forbidden love'. While the plot itself could produce a decent enough fantasy movie, it just didn't work out. This is why:

The cliché

The film has been said to contain elements of many fantasy works of the past years. The forbidden love? Twilight. Institute for Shadowhunters? Hogwarts, for witches and wizards. Werewolves, vampires, demons... you name it. However, the only unique aspect the plot clearly had were the runes the Shadowhunters marked their skin with to perform certain abilities. I will come to this later.
While many movies may contain the lately popular fantasy elements, what really amused me were some of the romantic scenes. A girl landing on a boy with their lips almost touching? Never seen that before. Main characters kissing passionately when suddenly a 'rain' comes down with jolly and magnificent music on the background? That made me laugh - out loud. The male main character seeing the heroine on a glittering background? Seriously. Or getting busted while making out in the corridor, but that always happens, so let's pass it.
These, and many other parts of the movie actually made the person next to me facepalm a few times.

Comical - unintentionally?

I just have to mention the fighting scene with really happy party music or something on the background. I hope it was supposed to be made funny and completely inappropriate to the context.
Secondly, the 'main rune' the heroine frequently draws in the beginning of the movie. Is it just me, or does it look like a bunny? Seriously. Look at it:
A bunny. Or a modern art carrot.
How is this not a bunny? Or a carrot, if bunny isn't the first thing that comes to your mind. After I realised how much it reminds me of a rabbit, I couldn't take the movie seriously anymore. That's not the movies fault, of course, but am I the only one who thinks it's clearly a bunny?

On a side note + conclusion

The movie was clearly aimed at the female audience. Topless men fighting in leather pants? Yes please for some, no thanks for others. This aspect of the movie is actually a positive thing compared to the many male-centric movies out there, I won't comment whether it was made well or not.
The movie has received surprisingly negative reviews from the critics. Rotting Tomatoes, for example, give the movie the score of only 12%. I personally wouldn't especially recommend this movie, either. If you like movies such as Twilight, this movie could entertain you, but I comparing these two, I think Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones may have been even more of a flop. 

I am currently working on the book, though, and hope it will positively surprise me. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, MH Online?


Monster hunter 3 Ultimate is the first Monster Hunter game to make it to a Nintendo hand console. The series has been developed by Capcom. The basic idea of the game is to hunt monster, collect materials, craft new equipment and weapons; and to help the village you live in. The game consists of different areas, such as Moga Woods, which then again consist of smaller numbered areas. When I first got into the series, I found the loading screens between the numbered areas quite annoying, but you'll get used to them eventually. Each area consists of different kinda of monster, ores, herbs, insects, etc. The player can choose different sets to accustom to different environments and monsters. Additionally the game features an opportunity to farm, trade with sailing merchants and so on. There is definitely a lot to explore on different areas of the game, even though the hunting grounds require a short loading period when changing from one area to another. 

Weapon choices

The player starts off with a hunting knife and some sort of a shield. These work just fine for the 1 star quests, but you may want to craft some new gear later on in the game. Though some weapons have been superior in previous Monster Hunter titles, in 3 Ultimate no weapon strikes to me as superior. When fighting faster monsters, you may want to use a faster weapon, such as dual blades, while a Great Sword is a good weapon for starters, as it has a high dmg output and allows you to defend yourself better. I'd recommend you to try out the different weapons, see which ones you prefer, and switch between a couple of depending on your hunting plans. Besides the weapon itself, you may use additional items to boost your performance, such as bombs, food buffs, healing potions etc. It's also a good idea to take advantage of the utility of your character, while sometimes it may be handy to pic a weapon that allows you to take a few hits, avoiding those hits is often also an option. 


Besides 'free hunting' the game includes quests of different difficulty, you start off with '1 star' quests and proceed to the higher levels as you get more reputation in the Hunter's Guild. Completing these quests takes you further on in the game, gives you some extra pocket money, and of course, resources. Embarking on a quest is also the only way to access some of the areas in the game (basically all but Moga Woods). The quests usually includes killing, capturing, or collecting something, and then turning the items in at the start point of the quests. I'd highly recommend you to always take the map with you from the blue chest, before you start off your quest. Unlike when free hunting in Moga Woods, while on a quest you can't see the whole map of the area without picking one up at the beginning. It's good to check out the quest objective before leaving the village too, because sometimes, it might be hard to complete it without some extra equipment (e.g pickaxe for mining). 


The game offers you various kinds of monsters, living in different kinds of environment. As opposed to some previous titles in the series, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate offers underwater combat, which works quite similarly to land one. Different areas, however, do require some adapting to. Underwater you obviously need to take care of your oxygen supply, which can be filled up by potions, air bubbles found underwater; or, by quite obviously, swimming to the surface. On desert areas you will find cool drinks handy, or you may collapse from the heat. Similarly, in cold areas you might want to have a sip of some hot drink to warm you up. From the forecast you can predict what kind of monsters you may encounter on specific areas at the time. 

Monster Hunter Online - Graphics look amazing

Monster Hunter Online?

Monster Hunter Online Beta began 6th of July 2013. It is still unknown, whether the game will be released worldwide, and when that might be. It's made in cooperation with Capcom and Tencent. According to Crytek, the game is unlikely to be released outside China. I really hope they change their decision and bring the joy of Monster Hunter Online to gamers outside China, too. The game is said to be free-to-play, and obviously multiplayer due to the online nature of it.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Overview of Fire Emblem: Awakening


Fire Emblem: Awakening is the latest title in the Fire Emblem series by Nintendo and was published on Nintendo 3DS in 2012 (JPN) and 2013 elsewhere. The game is a Strategy RPG consisting of four different difficulties Normal, Hard, Lunatic and Lunatic +. Additionally the game allows the player to play on the classic permanent death-mode or choose a more casual play style, where the characters resurrect after each chapter. The game also offers various DLCs for a price of approximately 2-3 pounds each, latest one being published 31.8.2013. Like the other titles in the series, Awakening consist of a few cinematics, story scenes, and tactical maps consisting of squares. The player moves the units on the squared map to accomplish the map objective (mainly either Defeat the Commander, or Rout the Enemy).

For Beginners

Fire Emblem: Awakening is a great start for those not so familiar with the series or genre. The Normal mode doesn't require grinding or major knowledge on the tactical aspects such as the weapon triangles. Those do come in handy later in the game, but no chapter should be overly difficult even for a more inexperienced player, especially if you are not going for a no-deaths run. The game is still a good introduction to the genre and series, no matter which difficulty you choose, and will surely offer some challenge in the latter chapters and Epilogues. I wouldn't recommend Normal mode for old Fire Emblem fans, as at least I personally found it a bit too faceroll at times.

For experiences players

For more experienced players I'd recommend starting up with the Hard-mode, unless you are extremely familiar with the game and want to start out with Lunatic. Just a warning, but chapter 2 can be extremely frustrating on Lunatic. Awakening really meets the expectations and provides challenge for even those who have completed other titles in the series on harder difficulties. The possibility to grind DLCs almost endlessly and using Reeking Boxes to summon more enemies to grind, however, does sometimes defeat the idea of these harder difficulties. Some argue that even Lunatic can be laughably easy with all the grind, while others say it is necessary to beat the game. I personally grinded a bit on my Lunatic playthrough, as I was going for a no-deaths run and found it more enjoyable to play when my characters were on a slightly higher level than without grinding. This also makes it possible to enhance the relationships between the characters for ideal matches thinking about the child-units in the game. Don't forget to use Second Seals to obtain some of the skills you may want for your characters, or to pass it on to their children. 

Supports and Relationships

In Awakening, the supports between the characters actually matter. The higher the support level, the better the characters work as a team, blocking incoming attacks and attacking together. Pairing up the characters during the fight also increases their stats. If a certain female and male unit get to S-support level, they will marry, and depending on the female you might be able to recruit their child later on in the game. The child units are generally stronger than their parents, and I'd highly recommend you to recruit at least some of these, no matter what difficulty you are playing on. The children will also inherit some of their parents' skills, so make sure you have whatever skill you want to pass on to the child before starting the recruiting chapter. Passing down skills such as Galeforce is recommended (allows you to act second time if you land a killing blow). Remember, that also the parents' class will be partially inheritable; the child will be able to access the classes of both of their parents, unless the class is gender-specific. The children's hair colour is always inherited from their father, except for Morgan (Avatar's child).


In conclusion, Fire Emblem: Awakening is definitely one of the most interesting 3DS titles this year. It is not too overwhelming for beginners, but still offers lots of tactical challenge for experienced players. For those really into the series, there are plenty of available DLC content for rather cheap prices. The player can either choose a map that gives, for example, an easy way of making gold, conversation scenes between the characters to give more insight into them, or maps to recruit new playable characters or obtaining new playable classes. The gameplay is highly enjoyable, and the support system has developed a lot from the previous games. A must have for any RPG fan, especially those who have enjoyed other Japanese RPGs (e.g Disgaea, Atelier Iris, Suikoden)

I will later make a separate post on different characters and their builds, as well as recommended DLC contents, depending on your playstyle, difficulty, and interests. 


This will be a short post to introduce the blog. I have long been trying to find a channel to write my ideas about certain games, movies, music etc. Since not many of my friends share similar interests, especially in gaming, I decided to start writing a blog, where I introduce and explain, rate and recommend what I've lately tried out/ watched/ listened to. I will try to post weekly/ at least every second week.
Games I mainly play on Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PlayStation 2/3 (4 soon, hopefully), PSP and PC. I play everything from a good single player on a console to some MMOs online. When it comes to movies, I enjoy pretty much everything, but some degree of fantasy always warms my heart.
I am also into books and comics, but those have got a bit less of my attention lately, partially because of my studies, which include a lot of reading.
I hope you enjoy your time, don't hesitate to comment or recommend anything! I will try to answer all questions, should you have any.