January 31, 2017

Fallout 4 Nuka World DLC

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , — Yukino @ 7:38 PM

Fallout 4’s swan song Nuka-World dropped on the evening of August 29th here in North America. I would have dived on in but when I offered to play it for a while on the Loot Crate stream there was an anxious wait. I won’t lie, it was hard. Like, really hard. Me + Bethesda RPGs = <3

You don’t immediately show up at Nuka-World. Like Far Harbor and several other Fallout/Elder Scrolls games, you need to travel to the new map from a new location on the main map. This time it’s a train station under Raider rule. Paraphernalia featuring Bottle and Cappy litter the streets, as do long abandoned theme park merch. Yes, I grabbed every piece of it my grubby hands and Ada could carry.

 

It’s a quick trip to get the monorail working again, then it’s all aboard for the scenic view of Nuka-World. I imagine they channeled the monorail approaching Magic Kingdom at Disney World but a landscape destroyed and decorated with heads on spikes. Dismembered bodies are everywhere. After all, Raider gangs run the place. And guess what? You get to lead them all to financial glory. Well, that’s the plan.

Now you’re tasked with helping the various Raider gangs expand their territory. This involves visiting the parks surrounding the main area and making them habitable. My easiest park to clear out was Dry Rock Gulch, but that might be because I invested in robot hacking perks so I was able to skip some of the boring search and kill missions. Unfortunately, that’s also the park that featured my least favourite new ugly, the bloodworm. I’d say the World of Refreshment is a close second, instantly making me recall the time I rode It’s a Small World last year. However, Disney does a much better job of keeping the water mutant-free.

 

What about collectibles? Yes, there are a couple different booklets to keep your eyes open for. The first are blue covered recipe books that open up new Nuka-Cola mixing opportunities for you. So long as you are carrying the required varieties of (soda) pop on you and you’ve found the required recipe, you can walk up to any Nuka-Cola Mixing Station to whip up something new. The second booklets are the SCAV! magazines. Like the Islander Almanac, each of these comes with a new bonus attached. Of the ones I’ve found, they seem to be geared toward combat perks.

There’s also a hide and seek mission given to you by the Nuka Cola fanatic in the main entrance to the theme park. When I first saw her, I instantly wanted her sweet red Cappy eyeglasses. I was willing to kill her for them, but she happily gave me a pair so I could do a mission for her lazy butt. Wearing these specs let me see the hidden Cappy artwork scattered around the various parks, eventually leading to sweet Nuka Cola branded goodies. But I am never taking these off. Never!!!

 

I was happily pushing through the main quest line when I was slapped in the face. These Raider thugs wanted me to undo all the hard work I’d put into settlement building. They expected me to just let them take over my little towns so they could expand their reach. That’s when I realized the “good”/proper ending to Nuka-World went against my Minutemen ending. So I made three saves: one to do the proper ending, one for the secondary option, and a third because it’s always good to have a back up. I tidied up those proper ending trophies, now I can explore Option 2.

The new buildables are fantastic. A variety of Nuka-World display pieces are available in the workshop, including carny games from Nuka-Cade. But my favourite new addition are the shop counters. Finally, proper indoor shops without those wooden kiosks that jut into the floor above! I plan on implementing these in every settlement over time. There’s also Raider stuff to build, which is cool if you’re investing time in earning the Wasteland Warrior perk and converting from Minutemen to Raider allegiance.

 

Nuka-World had a couple of weird glitches for me. There were a couple of quests where a character I was supposed to talk to for changing allegiance was not in the settlement they should have been. Other times those markers would lead to invisible people whom I could not interact with. Each time I ran into these issues I needed to save and reload for it to correct itself. Knock on wood they aren’t/weren’t game breaking.

So is Nuka-World worth it? I’m still on the fence. Maybe a few more spins on the teacups in Kiddie Kingdom will help sway me. Or maybe that secondary ending will do it for me in a way being Overboss didn’t. Either way, I know there is more stuff for me to excavate from Nuka-World and there are new things to keep me building until Fallout 5 drops.

* This post was previously published on The Daily Crate.

Sweet Dreams: Japanese Horror Novels

Filed under: Bookshelf — Tags: , , — Yukino @ 7:31 PM

I’m writing this piece as I watch FX’s The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.Fet is tossing Strigoi into the spinning blades of a digging machine and those squirmy white worms are flying all over the place. And beside me is a list of books I need to pick up in October, one of which is a Japanese horror novel I hadn’t realized was translated.

Halloween is in the air.

Last year I shared with you all my Top 5 Japanese Horror anime and manga, with a live action movie thrown in. This time around I thought it would be great to get you hooked on a few good books that will probably haunt your dreams a little. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be good horror stories, now would they?

koushun-takami-battle-royaleI’d seen the Battle Royale movie before finding out the book had been translated into English. I’d gone to one of the Asian movie rental stores looking for some anime when I spotted the DVD on a nearby rack. Most of you are probably familiar with the story: a class of junior high students heading out on a class trip gets redirected to a deserted island, handed weapons and forced to turn on one another until only one remains.

Why I love it: Despite the horrible circumstances these kids are thrown into, there is a small group who tries to do the right thing and searches for a way to save as many as possible. I’ve also got a real soft spot for it as the original movie introduced me to Chiaki Kuriyama, better known to most as GoGo from Kill Bill.

 

otsuichi-summer-fireworks-and-my-corpseOtsuichi was an author I discovered when Viz Media started their Haikasoru imprint. I had been sent a review copy of ZOO when the line was still new. I don’t think a short story collection had ever grabbed hold of me so fast and so hard before. The next collection, Summer, Fireworks and My Corpse, features Otsuichi’s award-winning title story as well as two short stories (Black Fairy Tale and Yoko). It’s quite unsettling to have part of a story told to the reader by the decaying corpse of a young girl accidentally killed during summer vacation. And after reading Black Fairy Tale I swear my eyeballs kept tingling for a week.

Why I love them: One of ZOO‘s short stories still sticks in my mind to this day; in Song of the Sunny Spot, the last man on earth builds an android companion to care for and bury him when the time comes. The book I mentioned before that I didn’t know was out? That would be GOTH, the original novel that the manga is based on. I’ve been waiting for Viz’s translation and somehow it slipped past me.

 

hideaki-sena-parasite-eveBefore it became a cult video game series, Parasite Eve was a Japanese horror novel about science gone wrong. If you wanted to know Eve’s origin story, this would be where you want to go. Be warned, it is very science heavy, and I did find myself getting a little lost in there, but I pushed through. Medical thriller? Check. Eve using her powers to obliterate everything in her way? Starts slow in the beginning but the payout in the end more than makes up for it.

Why I love it: The Parasite Eve games were some of the first games I played on the PS1 and so I just had to learn all I could. I found this novel a year or so after Battle Royale, right around when I learned about my next entry.

 

koji-suzuki-ringRemember when Gore Verbinski decided to do a movie about a cursed video tape and a girl climbing through TVs to kill people? I had only been on the internet for a handful of years and my Japanophile-ness was just a sapling. I recall laughing at The Ring more than anything else, but since I wanted to see the original it was back to the Asian rental store for me. Fast forward a few years and I have my job at the bookstore. The buyers saw me ordering in manga and Japanese novels and decided to send a few copies of Koji Suzuki’s Ring Trilogy over.

Why I love them: By this point in time I am head over heels for all the Japanese horror I can get my hands on. I’ve seen the original Japanese movies and just have to read the original stories. Also, I can’t seem to put them down early enough which means I am not getting enough sleep. A combination of reading too late and some freaky dreams. <3

 

 

natsuo-kirino-outLast but certainly not least is Out by Natsuo Kirino. By now (2005) even the reps at Random House know how much I love manga and Japanese novels, so when a package arrived from one of them containing a copy of this horrific thriller chocolates were sent as a thank you. In Out, a young woman strangles her husband to death and frantically turns to one of her co-workers for help disposing of the body. But things get out of hand thanks to in-fighting amongst the women involved, and the fact that a man wrongly accused of the crime takes it upon himself to make sure the right person(s) pay.

Why I love it: Unlike most other stories where the women would form some weird bond based on dismembering bodies, Out shows the reader a darker, more realistic version of that type of stressful situation. In a way it was my Dexter before I even knew about Dexter.

I hope I have inspired you to take a look at Japanese horror novels, whether it be the ones I’ve gone on about or others you might stumble across. Curl up with your favourite fall drink, a flashlight, and a cozy blanket and feel the goosebumps form on your arm while an uneasy chill sends shivers up and down your spine. 

*This post was previously published on The Daily Crate.

The Tomorrow Children Review

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , — Yukino @ 7:28 PM

The Tomorrow Children has been on my radar since its 2014 announcement. As a huge fan of Q-Games’ PixelJunk series, there was never any doubt that I’d be supporting this title. I was also lucky enough to participate in both the Alpha (barely) and the Beta (a lot). The Tomorrow Children: Founder’s Pack dropped on September 6th and was purchased immediately.

 

What is The Tomorrow Children?

TomoChiru is a unique title. It blends community building with resource mining and throws in a splash of tower defense to create a Soviet-esque sandbox. You are a Projection Clone, tasked with working together in hopes of rebuilding mankind. The game draws on communist ideals like uniformity and equality, and pushes you to work cooperatively for the good of all. The policemen in your town all look the same, and the villagers you rescue from The Void are either old women or young boys. The only way to distinguish your female Projection Clone from your Comrades is to change your outfit, and some of these also come with game play perks.

Your goal is to repopulate towns to their max capacity (currently 500 inhabitants). Once you’ve done so, it’s time to move onto the next town. Just like the Littlest Hobo.

 

How Do You “Play” The Tomorrow Children?

So you’ve run through the tutorial and learned how to use your pickaxe. Now what? It might seem like a sensory overload when you arrive at your first town. Do you head out to an island first and mine for resources? Or is the town under attack by one of the various Izverg that inhabit The Void? It’s OK to stop and take a look around before diving head first into a task.

I like to start my time in a new town by checking out what the resource situation is like. Is there a huge pile of mined goods waiting by the bus stop to be put into storage? Then I’ll probably start there. If not, how is the power level? If it’s low I’ll jog on one of the treadmills for a while to bump us up a bit. Maybe there’s a building on fire that needs repair before its completely destroyed.

 

Once I’m done with that initial surveillance I’ll run over to the Union Shop and pick up as many supplies as I can carry to make mining go by smoothly. If I’ve got the Ration Coupons, I’ll take a pickaxe and chainsaw so I can do the basics: mine ore/gold and cut down trees. Shovels are great for making stairways, but until I open up more pack slots I don’t usually carry one. I am partial to hauling a shotgun around in case those tiny little mosquito-like Izverg are flying around.

While you’re spelunking, you might come across some colourful Matryoshka dolls. These are your future town residents, so long as you have built enough residencies for them. These little guys are fragile though, so be careful with them. If it falls too far or is in the path of an Izverg attack, they will shatter and cannot be fixed.

 

Now you want to take a break from mining and maybe make some improvements to your town. Fantastic!! Head over to the People’s Workbench and choose something productive to build. There are three areas you want to develop: Propaganda, Technology, and Culture. By building things that enhance each of these areas you will increase its level and earn perks for your town as a result. These can be things like reduced production costs or better consumption rates. Building is done by completing sliding puzzles, ranging from simple to hard, and will cost some resources.

Defending your town from Izverg attacks is important. In the Alpha and Beta we only had turrets available to build around the perimeter. These are great, but the Tesla Towers that are part of the final release are by far my favourite defense. These towers zap any enemy that comes within range, which is a big help if all comrades currently playing are mining out an island.

 

How Do I Buy Stuff?

Every action you perform is tallied up for you and in return you will earn the in-game currency known as Ration Coupons. Whenever you find yourself running low, or just every couple of hours or so, you can head over to the Ministry of Labour and see just how productive you’ve been. Ration Coupons are what you’ll be using to buy items from the shop kiosks built in town.

There is a paid currency option as well. Since The Tomorrow Children is going to be released as a Free to Play game, this is a typical addition to help support the game going forward. This paid currency is called Freeman Dollars and the only place where you can spend it is the Black Market. At the Black Market you’ll find more powerful tools, some cool costumes, and a variety of boosts. Because this is a PvE game with no PvP, purchasing Freeman Dollars isn’t Pay to Win or Pay to Play. Choosing to buy the EagleCorp Chainsaw means I can run to the island covered in trees and practically clear it out when the town is desperately in need of wood.

Keep your eyes on the ground for bonus Ration Coupons and Freeman Dollars. Sometimes when you perform good deeds they will generate on the ground near you. Free money!

 

Finally, completing Requests will earn you medals that can be redeemed in VoidKa machines. The first one I bought was the one that gave me another slot in my main pouch for carrying tools. Look, I like to be able to carry as much as possible and I will always vote for the Mayor who promises me an extra resource pouch slot. And I will spend my Freeman Dollars on as many Secret Pockets as I can, although I have been eyeballing a couple of those Black Market costumes…..

So if community building in The Tomorrow Children sounds like a nice chill way to relax without shooting hordes of zombies, you can pick up the Founder’s Pack right now which comes with a nice handful of perks. Hopefully I run across you somewhere out there in The Void, Comrades!

*This post was previously published on The Daily Crate.

Her Eternal Moonlight

Filed under: Bookshelf — Tags: , — Yukino @ 7:18 PM

I first saw Sailor Moon on YTV when I was 14 years old. This discovery led to my fascination with manga and anime (which lead to opening up my own shop), and eventually I realized just how much this series about transforming junior high school girls shaped how I interacted with the world around me.

her-eternal-moonlight-cover-fullHer Eternal Moonlight came about as the result of one of those deep conversations you seem to find yourselves a part of during a convention. After one such discussion, co-authors Steven Savage and Bonnie Walling set out to investigate just how Usagi and Company’s journey impacted the lives of its North American female fans. They spoke to fans who found kindred spirits in our beloved Sailor Senshi at different ages (and stages) in their lives. The bullied, the shy, the outcasts who just didn’t fit in.

They discovered that many of us had familiar stories. That for several of young women, Sailor Moon represented us in ways we had never seen on TV before. We had female superheroes we could identify with, and discovering there were more people like us led us to seek out and build a thriving, inviting community.

 

Much like its titular heroine, the Sailor Moon story in all its incarnations seems sweet and smiling, but then it packs a punch you didn’t see coming. And that’s precisely the reason that you love it.

 

As a self-proclaimed Moonie, it was wonderful to read how one of my favourite manga/anime franchises impacted other women’s lives. Whether they found the original Sailor Moon anime when it aired on TV or more recent converts who began their journey with Crystal, the women who lent their voices to Her Eternal Moonlight always struck a chord with me on a personal level. Even a week after I finished reading the book I am wondering if and how future generations might look back on this beloved series. Those friends in my life with young children whom they are sharing the Sailor Moon Crystal experience with, will those girls and boys respond to it the same way my generation did seeing as anime is more accessible now than it was in the early 90s?

Not only do the authors of Her Eternal Moonlight talk to fans about how Usagi/Serena touched their lives, Steven and Bonnie also write about Sailor Moon’s impact on North American cartoons, an increasing interest in travel and living abroad in Japan, and how fans’ love for this franchise sent them down various career paths. All around, this is a great book of collected research that all points to one thing: Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon franchise has inspired fans all around the world, shaping many of us for the better.

Whether you are simply interested in Sailor Moon’s unique community or are a fan with a desire to feel more connected to other Moonies, Her Eternal Moonlight is available to purchase now on Amazon.

*This book review was previously published on The Daily Crate.

Yomawari: Night Alone Review

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , — Yukino @ 7:13 PM

Every October I look forward to playing a scary video game; something that will cause me to jump, shriek “ACK!”, and get my heart racing a little. Last year that game was Until Dawn. In 2016, it’s disguised as kawaii chibi art in Yomawari: Night Alone.

This spooky survival horror puzzle game is centred around a young girl who loses her dog Poro and then her Big Sis when she goes out into the dark of night in search of their furry friend. Armed with what few items you can find strewn about town, Lil Sis finds herself playing deadly games of hide and seek as she searches her hometown for clues.

 

My love of the J-Horror genre is well documented on The Daily Crate. So it should come as no surprise when I say that Yomawari’s spooktacular premise of exploring a town during the night when all of the creepy crawlies are out to get me is exactly everything I was hoping it would be.

It’s one part stealth, one part puzzle, and a healthy dash of “Holy Carps!” yumpiness. The vast majority of Yomawari is avoiding, outrunning, and hiding from the youma that plague your progress. Be aware of your surroundings; there are bushes and large signs that you can hide behind if you need let the spirits pass. Some youma can only move in straight lines, which means running away in diagonals is the best way to flee. Another way to clear your path is to distract them. Tossing rocks away from you can cause some youma to investigate the noise, allowing you space to either sneak or run past until you are in the clear. There are no Metal Gear Solid “!” alerts when you get spotted. You’ll need to keep that flashlight scanning the area with your volume turned up.

 

Puzzles are everywhere in Yomawari and are essential in progressing the story. Some cannot be cleared when you first encounter them, usually because you don’t have the necessary items needed to complete them. But if it pertains to completing your current chapter, either the item(s) needed will be provided in the area or after witnessing an event in said area. There are also sidequests scattered about town which will net you collectible items that end up decorating Lil Sis’ room and go towards unlocking a trophy/achievement.

From the Sadako-like youma I encountered near some cliffs to the Jizo statues around town that are used as quicksave points (all hard saves can only be performed at Home or when you clear a chapter), the Japanese iconography jumps out at me, which I absolutely love as an otaku. I also love the contrast between the chibi design of Lil Sis, Big Sis, and Poro, against the creepy youma and the dark images of a town in the dead of night. Everything that drew me to wanting Yomawari from the trailer and preview art comes together exactly how I hoped it would.

 

If you’re looking to challenge yourself with something spooky on Halloween, Yomawari is a perfect game to play in the dark with the sound all the way up. You can pick it up digitally on Steam and for the PS Vita right now for $19.99. If you would prefer to get a PS Vita hard copy, you will also receive htol#NiQ. This two-fer is available in a standard edition or a limited edition which comes with art books for both titles and an 18 track OST (the version I purchased).

*This review was previously published on The Daily Crate.

World of Final Fantasy Review

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , — Yukino @ 7:10 PM

Full disclaimer: After being incredibly disappointed in Final Fantasy XIII I was turned off from the franchise as a whole. I still love and will always love IX which is my all-time favorite, followed by XIII. I thought I might never find myself exploring a new game in the series, and then they showed me a world inhabited by the most adorable chibis. I was in love all over again.

 

Twins Lann and Reynn find their lives interrupted one day by the enigmatic Enna Kros. The land of Grymoire is in trouble, their absentee mother in danger, and it is time for the twins to get out there and save the day. Apparently the siblings have forgotten much because Enna “reminds” them that they are Mirage Masters, people with the ability to capture and use Mirage enemies in battle. They leave the comfort of Nine Wood Hills and with floating fluffball Tama for guidance, they begin their journey through Grymoire.

World of Final Fantasy follows the traditional FF formula: story happens, you travel to a region/dungeon, fight boss, move onto the next chunk of story. There are also side quests to take part in, whether they be the traditional fetch/fight ones acquired from civilians about town or the new Intervention quests obtained from the mysterious girl in the Tearoom.

 

Let’s discuss the Girl Who Forgot Her Name. She resides in a unique space between time accessed through a doorway located in Nine Wood Hills. Using the Arma Gems you gain from winning boss battles, you can choose to take part in Interventions or purchase Champion medals. During Interventions, Lann and Reynn “take over” for Champions who find themselves in rather dangerous situations, essentially battling on their behalf. One of my personal favourite Interventions is purely cinematic and involves a certain Black Mage that I have loved since the day I met him.

Champion medals are one of the new gameplay mechanics introduced in World of Final Fantasy. They are similar to Summons from previous installments; once you fill your meter with enough stars, using a medal calls a Champion into battle, performing their signature move to grant you varying bonuses. Most medals require one or two stars (your meter maxes at three) and you can set three active medals at a time. I’m a fan of Tifa’s Final Heaven for doing some damage and keeping Refia’s medal on hand to heal me up if I’ve dipped into the red and plagued with status effects. If you picked up the Day One, Collector’s or Limited editions, you’ll find yourself with a bonus Sephiroth medal which will make FFVII fans happy.

 

But the biggest mechanic here is capturing and using Mirages as you fight your way through dungeons and boss battles. Lann and Reynn are Mirage Masters, and as such can capture Mirages during battle and then use them to fight. Capturing Mirages is as simple as meeting the requirements to do so. Use your Libra ability to scan the enemy and if you’ve got the skills or battle items on hand you are in business. Sometimes you’ll need to perform the action two or three times, especially later on in the game, but keep at it! You’ll also find yourself running back to previous areas once you have new spells under your belt to add Mirages to your collection.

Combining these Mirages into Stacks with your Jiant (normal) and Lilkin (tiny chibi) versions is how you’ll form powerful teams to get you moving through each new area. In Jiant form you’ll have a Small and a Medium atop your noggin, whereas in Lilkin form you’re the Medium member of the stack, with the ability to put a Small on your head while you ride a Large. There are also XL Mirages that you can call into battle and have special rules of their own. Stacking smart can also increase the power of your elemental attacks, so if you find yourself slogging through a fiery area, doubling up on Water Mirages in Reynn or Lann’s stacks will boost their simple Water attacks to Watera or higher.

 

Mirages power up by unlocking abilities on their grids. Some Mirages can evolve into other variations, so make sure you experiment and regularly yoink and plonk them to and from Seraphie’s case. So long as they are in your party they will gain experience and ability points. As an example, my adorable Cactuar (S) named Pokey can be transformed into a Cactrot (L). Every passive ability (HP+, Agility+, etc) stacks between the transformations, making him stronger and boosting the HP of our stack. Active abilities are locked to whatever form he’s in, so I often find myself switching between his Small and Large forms depending on what I need. Some Mirages will need special mementos in order to transform which can be obtained by fighting special bosses along and off the main story path.

 

Between Mirage hunting and running into familiar faces from throughout the Final Fantasy franchise, I’ve been having a blast with World of Final Fantasy. It might not be quite as in-depth and lacking some of the more mature overtones much of the core series stories contain and that’s okay. You can tell Square Enix is hoping that this adventure will appeal to younger and new fans and bring them into the fold. If you’re big into Pokemon and Yo-kai Watch, think about taking World of Final Fantasy for a spin.

*This post was previously published on The Daily Crate

LEGO Dimensions Year 2 Level Packs

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , , — Yukino @ 7:04 PM

With Christmas right around the corner, some of you are probably trying to decide whether or not the LEGO Dimensions Year 2 offerings are worth putting under the tree. I’ll break it down for you, as I cover the new Level Packs for Sonic the Hedgehog, Adventure Time, and Mission: Impossible that were released in Waves 6 & 7 as attempted in co-op mode.

 

Sonic the Hedgehog

My husband and I have both been gamers for as long as we can remember, and both of us have fond memories of playing Sonic the Hedgehog from way, way back. Sonic needs to keep Dr. Eggman from getting his hands on the Chaos Emeralds, and our quest to do so begins in the iconic Green Hill Zone. This first area of the level pack had us zipping around in loop de loops and I experienced a couple of weird glitches that I thought might be a nod to the past. Correcting the issue was usually accomplished by removing and returning my character to the portal or waiting for my husband to reach the next checkpoint.

And then the level became extremely difficult to play with the split screen.

Every time we reached a battle with Eggman it because impossible to accurately locate and target him with both of us on screen. So I would remove my minifig and let the husband tackle him alone. Another area that reminded me of the Sky Base Zone was okay to play when we were both climbing through the tower together, but “broke” when only one of us hopped in a plane to shoot at Eggman. I stayed in the tower to keep advancing and unlocking puzzles along the way, which was a bad move. The game crashed on us here, and when we reloaded and tried it again Eggman vanished and we were stuck. I checked a walkthrough to see how others had proceeded and then the game crashed again. So I kept myself off the board, the husband got through the area, and I watched while he finished the level and unlocked Super Sonic.

I’m really hoping the Sonic level gets an update to fix the glitches and crashing issues we experienced. While I am disappointed this level didn’t truly support two player mode the way every other one has so far, I will eventually go back and replay it completely on my own later down the road.

 

Adventure Time

Since the Adventure Time Level and Team Packs came out with Wave 6 I have almost exclusively been using Lumpy Space Princess. LSP has the best lines and even though I’ve heard them a thousand times I’m still laughing. Her unique interactions with other characters from outside the Adventure Time universe are also fantastic and I look forward to eventually hearing every single one of them.

The Level Pack is based on Season 1’s fifth episode “The Enchiridion!”, in which Finn and Jake are tasked with finding the legendary book to prove they are righteous heroes. You’ll play through the episode, battling your way past those pesky gnomes, the ogre, and ultimately defeating the evil entity voiced by Mark Hamill. We had zero issues this time around. No weird problems with the boss “disappearing” from the smaller field of vision in splitscreen mode, which was such a relief.

I haven’t fully explored the open World of Ooo, but I did run across Lumpy Space Princess’ camp complete with a can of beans over a firepit. It was slightly disappointing that she had nothing to say when I floated her past it, but hey, you can’t fit in every reference, right? I’m hoping to spot some more fun Easter Eggs when I go back to collect the remaining bricks. Definitely in love with this LEGO add-on.

 

Mission: Impossible

The last of the Level Packs, Mission: Impossible is definitely geared more toward the older gamer but kids should still enjoy this one. Based on the original Tom Cruise movie from 1996, you’ll primarily use Ethan Hunt to create explosions, slip on disguises, and control your drone to progress through the story. The entire level is voiced over using clips from the movie(s) which is OK but at times seem a little muffled or statical. But no one was really expecting Tom Cruise to record a fresh voice over.

The Mission: Impossible level might not stand out as much as I’d hoped but at least it wasn’t plagued with the glitches and crashes we got with the Sonic Level Pack. That alone puts it in second place of my personal ranking this go around. I am looking forward to seeing how and where Ethan Hunt’s particular set of skills pop up throughout new locales in other Year 2 chapters.

Overall, LEGO Dimensions’ Year 2 offerings have been great additions to the line-up, with several of the Year 2 characters making cameos in each of the new Level Packs that we’ve played. I’m super excited to see what new Level Packs are on the horizon (fingers crossed for Teen Titans and Beetlejuice!) and can’t wait to explore more new areas in the Shard. Look for more hands-on reviews as they fall into my… hands.

*This review was previously published on The Daily Crate.

Fallout 4 Contraptions Workshop DLC

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , — Yukino @ 7:00 PM

Remember last week when Bethesda announced at their E3 presser that we were getting new Fallout 4 DLC starting this month with the Contraptions Workshop? They showed us elevators and sorting machinery, and I’m pretty sure there was a version of the classic board game Mousetrap shown off in the preview video.

They had me at weapon and armor displays.

Wasteland Workshop was pretty meh. I didn’t care about catching monsters from the Wasteland and pitting them against one another. I built three cages on Spectacle Island and domesticated one mutant hound (who has since died in a firefight with a band of pesky mutants). But give me the chance to make my own 2mm electromagnetic cartridges for my gauss rifles so I don’t have to visit every shop in the Commonwealth to buy the stuff? YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU! 

 

Since most of my settlements are nearly built out, Spectacle Island was the best place to start my small manufacturing empire as it offers you the largest canvas to work with. I started out by building a warehouse from the Structures option. I gave it glass windows all the way up so the sun could illuminate it whenever I stopped by to fill the machines with supplies. The ammo machine was a no-brainer. But once it was built I discovered I lacked the components needs to create my ammo, so I built a builder machine to make “stuff”. “Stuff” being things like lunch boxes and Giddy Up horseys, things that you can sell for caps if you’re in a tight spot. I loaded it up with a bunch of steel and started pumping out Vault-Tec lunch boxes. Then I went shopping for 2mm EC parts: lead, oil, fertilizer, and copper. Once acquired, it was as simple as loading up the machine and telling the terminal to get cracking.

Now that I had an understanding of how manufacturing worked, it was time to visit Sanctuary Hills, my home base. I destroyed the crudely crafted warehouse I made out of crappy metal walls where I stored my various suits of power armor and rebuilt one using the Warehouse structure options. Using a mix of steel walls and the prefab slanted glass roof options, I created a new space to house my new power armor displays (13 suits and counting!) and my ridiculous accumulation of clothing and weapons. I slowly walked across the street from my house to the warehouse with my pockets at over 6000 carry weight and unloaded everything into two containers to sort through later. Then I thought to myself, “Hey, Annette, why not make some of those display mannequins in here, too?” My Silver Shroud, Mechanist, and Grognak costumes are now available to view. I wish I could charge an entry fee to my growing museum.

 

The weapon racks are cool but a little bit of a let-down, only in so much as I thought I could place multiple weapons on a large rack but only a single weapon type can be placed on each style. But weapon racks are a great way to display the rare items I’ve collected on my travels, and it makes it faster for my storage trunk to load when I’m digging out stuff to give my settlers. Those pipe pistols do nothing against super mutants and robotic assailants, and since I have 70,000 or so caps, I may as well strengthen their defensive positions.

 

After tinkering with my new displays, it was time to complete the last trophy/achievement for the Contraptions Workshop DLC: assigning someone to the pillory. I had spent a few hours running around my settlements, making fixes to the ones that had been attacked. But Warwick Homestead decided it suddenly wasn’t happy and I was itching to make an example of one of my settlements, so some poor unassigned settler got thrown into the first pillory I built. Everyone else had gone to bed so I’m hoping that when I go back to the game he’s either dead or covered in rotten food. Then we’ll see if they decide to be happier.

 

So if you’re into building intricately awesome settlements or just want to create a Fallout-esque Willy Wonka factory, the Contraptions Workshop is where it’s at. At least until the Vault-Tec Workshop comes out and we all start creating elaborate tunnels below the Earth’s crust. Mmmmm, crust.

*This post was previously published on The Daily Crate.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir Review

Filed under: Playstation — Yukino @ 6:54 PM

When I found out that there was a remake for Odin Sphere coming out, I was overjoyed. I missed out on the original when it came out in 2007. So when Atlus announced Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, I ran out and plopped down enough to secure myself the Storybook edition. And I am so very glad that I did.

Maybe it was a blessing that the first time I got to experience your well-woven story was almost a decade later. Your vibrant world, bright and colourful, had me from the moment I walked into the attic and picked up Socrates. Maybe it was my ravenous love of books; Alice’s enthusiasm to read each book as they appeared reminded me of the nights I would lay on my bedroom floor well past my bedtime reading with the crack of light coming through my slightly open door. Ahh, the memories.

For those of you unfamiliar with Odin Sphere, it is the story of Erion, a world on the brink of destruction with heroes trying to thwart a future foretold. You play through the books of five characters, with paths crossing at various points in the storyline. Each of these books focuses on a single character, beginning with Gwendolyn, Valkyrie and daughter of King Odin. As you play through Velvet, Mercedes, Cornelius, and Oswald’s tales, the entire tale unfolds and you see everything come to a head. After completing the first five books, it’s time to delve into the various ways Odin Sphere’s story can end.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a 2D action RPG with increasingly larger area maps to explore. Several of these areas contain enemies which must be cleared before you can progress, some with mini-bosses, leading up to a chapter ending boss. One of the unique aspects of Odin Sphere is the way each battle stage is circular, meaning there are no walls to get stuck against when you’re facing an onslaught.

Fighting in Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a combination of weapon attacks and special skills. Each character possesses a unique weapon known as a Psypher, special crystals created in the Underworld from expired life forces (called phozons). You can button mash your basic attack in combination with directional input to attack ground and airborne attackers, but the real power comes with using your special moves and chaining attacks. These active and passive skills are learned by locating Prisms, some which are automatically given from clearing an area while others are in hidden rooms. Skills and attacks can be buffered with various area of effect potions, such as fire, wind, and poison bottles that definitely come in handy during a boss fight.

Alchemy and cooking are other important aspects of the game. Let’s start with alchemy. By mixing items with potion bottles, you can create potions that heal, hurt, and enhance. Some potions such as Cyclone and Blaze can also open up new pathways, so be on the look out for suspicious looking walls. Keep an ear open for squeaks in the floor as you run through each area as root vegetables are the backbone of alchemy in this game.

 

Scattered about Erion are a wide variety of recipes that you can present to Maury, the traveling pooka chef. Just hand over the required ingredients and you can have Maury make delicious food for you. Ordering from Maury gives you experience, increases your HP, and recovers any HP that you may have lost. This is the best way to level up your characters and earn points to unlock Abilities. The first three times you enjoy a dish will give you small decreasing EXP bonuses.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir has several endings but only one “true” ending. However, you must experience every possible outcome and finish Book 6 by fighting each boss with the hero as foretold in the prophecy. I’m just about to finish up with the alternate endings so that I can watch the true ending scene. This will get me my second ever Platinum Trophy. Since I’m not one to trophy hunt, I think that should just go to show how much I am enjoying Erion’s story.

 

If you love quality Japanese games as much as I do, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a 20-25 hour adventure available right now for the Playstation 4 and PS Vita. I love the writing, I love the graphics… Hell, I just love this game and I think that everyone should take it for a spin.

*This post was previously published on The Daily Crate.

Fallout 4 Vault-Tec Workshop DLC

Filed under: Playstation — Yukino @ 6:44 PM

With the Vault-Tec Workshop’s recent release, we’re nearing the end of Fallout 4’s adventure. I knew it wouldn’t last forever, that eventually I would complete absolutely everything there was for me to experience in the Commonwealth. But it’s not time to say goodbye just yet, especially not when I have all sorts of new things I can build.

Tune your Pipboy to the Vault 88 broadcast to start the quest which unlocks vault building. When you arrive, odds are the main vault door is under attack by raiders, should you enter this way. There are two other points of entry, but the quarry entrance was how I approached. After dispatching them, the Overseer grants you access and asks you to run a couple of errands before sending you to activate the remaining workshop benches in other areas of the large vault caverns. Be warned! Removing some of the larger walls of rubble or limestone will most likely reveal deathclaws and irradiated enemies that will require fire power. Make sure you venture down those tunnels prepared.

While you are spelunking, the Overseer’s waiting for some recruits to answer the vault beacon. Whenever you choose, you can help her screen the three potential vault dwellers to see which best fits her plans for testing the various prototypes she’s blueprinted over the years. The affable and incredibly naive Clem is the man for the job, and the next bit of “questing” requires you build her machines and decide how to torture the poor boy. But this is a Fallout game, so you can always take the nice guy route instead. With the exception of the mistake I made with the first machine, I chose to make my remaining prototypes boring Happiness producers for the Vault and my other settlements.

 

I did a little bit of building in the beginning, making a utility room for the Overseer’s prototypes. Once I finished up with all of that, it was time to roll up my sleeves and build to my heart’s content. I started with some living quarters and nursery rooms, then built a room to fit my closest reactor. After that it was another utility room that I would use as an indoor garden before creating my cafeteria. Even with supply lines from several of my settlements, I ran out of steel and have been buying up as much as I can to finish creating the main building and string power throughout. Right now it’s a three story maze in the main area with guard stations all around my perimeter.

 

Some of the cool stuff you get with the Vault-Tec Workshop to boost morale at all settlements include the pommel horse and weight bench (above). You can find these in Furniture > Misc. I’ve been running around to my settlements adding both of these when I swing by to help put down Super Mutant and Raider attacks. Both of these, as well as the prototype machines, will grant you a temporary skill boost based on each one (slot machine=luck, weights=strength, etc). There’s also new Vault posters, counters, and lots of undamaged furniture to play with. One thing I wish was here was a better shop system for inside the vault. So far I’ve have to build a larger atrium to accommodate my six shops and it feels kind of clunky. It would have been nice to create shop counters like most every other operational vault offers.

 

But the piece de resistance is the Population Management System. Tucked away under Power > Misc, a few options down from your settlement beacon, this beauty tracks your settlers, lets you see who needs a task and assign one if available, can control any turrets connected to it via power cables, and will show you where in the Commonwealth your companions are. I’m hoping I can locate Strong this time around as he apparently got “lost” when I asked him to go to Sanctuary after I found him the first time and trips back to Trinity Tower have proven fruitless. Each settlement will need its own terminal, so I suggest starting with the ones more heavily populated.

With all sorts of new and cleaner options available, I know I’ll be spending far too many hours between now and Nuka-World updating and rebuilding older settlements to make my people happier. And it doesn’t hurt to make sure they can handle an attack or two on their own if I’m needed at three settlements at the same time. Vaults for everyone!

*This review was previously published on The Daily Crate.

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