To Hunt Many Monsters

How else would I make equipment from their remains if I don’t hunt them?

It would seem that some of them would like nothing more than to live in peace, though. They’re quite happy eating at their patch of grass until I come along with a sword and take their body parts. Maybe I’m the real monster. Maybe that’s why they keep sending me out on these quests. I don’t really know. All I do know is that I have a pretty cool sword carved from monster bones, armour crafted from scales and fur, and I’ve finally bought something new-ish for my PS Vita. Well, it’s new to me. I’ve not played Monster Hunter before.

But I might be playing Monster Hunter World as a result.

The Monster Hunter series brings together an interesting albeit clunky set of mechanics. I’m not sure how much Monster Hunter Freedom differs from the original, but I believe it’s a PSP remake of Monster Hunter G. I have no idea what has changed (if anything) and how much it has changed. It’s surprisingly content dense, though. Which is always a good thing for portable titles.

Not that I’ve tried yet but I’m assuming that online functionality will mostly be non-existent now. I don’t know if that changes anything. I get the feeling that the introductory tutorials implied that taking on the toughest monsters is something best done with friends. Then again, it’s not like I’d listen to that advice as I’d still try to fight them. It’s part of the fun. I’d be slightly disappointed to find out that it is literally impossible to fight certain monsters alone. But I guess I’ll find out when I get there. I don’t think it would make too much of a difference, either. Besides missing out on a potentially epic fight or losing the ability to craft certain armour. Or certain weapons. Which may not be that valuable outside of certain encounters anyway.

Monster Hunter Freedom continues the older video game design trend of not really telling you too much about anything. I have several statistics on weapons or armour sets that I don’t fully understand the importance of. If there even is any. I don’t even know what my defensive statistics mean. I’m just assuming that higher numbers are better. But whether those numbers represent a damage reduction percentage, a flat number that translates into a percentage at different Hunter Ranks, or a flat reduction of incoming damage is anyone’s guess

Which is a shame as I love statistics.

I just wish I knew what these ones meant. It is an interesting series, though. I do enjoy how each weapon or armour set has a particular strength and weakness, and how wielding each weapon class feels different to emphasise different ways to approach the same problem. Preparing for hunts is also a vital step in taking down certain monsters. Which is a nice touch.

You really do feel like a monster hunter. You study the monsters, learn their weaknesses, prepare potions and tonics, and can even use that knowledge to capture the monster rather than slay it. There is a certain amount of repetition as you’ll need to grind with certain quests to be able to fully craft armour sets. Or buy a Whetstone for the thousandth time. But, again, these are older video game design trends. I don’t really have a point with this post, either. I just wanted to talk about a rather interesting time I’ve had recently looking at a series I’ve not played before. I’m quite excited for Monster Hunter World but I’m still deciding whether it’s really for me. It does look like it brings together these clunky mechanics in a more cohesive fashion. Which would be great.

Have a nice weekend, all!



January to March 2016

The most literal of post titles.

I thought it would be nice to look back at some of the highlights of what ended up being a very creative start to the year. I realise it’s not the end of March just yet and we may have another post before April, but, I doubt anything major is going to happen in said post, or if said post is even going to happen at all. As always, I have dozens of projects that I’m either planning out or planning to start. So, hopefully, the content won’t dry up any time soon.

Initially we had some early hints of new traditional art in Graphite Haze. These bled over to New Approaches which focused on the updates to the collection of sites, older content here on WordPress, launching the Google+ page, and even bringing the pieces on the site to much higher quality standards.

In doing all of the above I was able to resurrect (and bring to the site) He Who Brought Life.

Following this was the deliciously humorous Not Mushroom Inside and even a work in progress post in the form of Traditionally Painting Digital Trees. The latter being a rather odd inclusion, as I haven’t really focused on digital art that much in recent months. Following that was How You’ve Grown which was the final version of that digital piece. This has certainly made for a diverse set of posts focused on various materials- both traditional and digital- which has really helped Moggie @ WordPress develop more content. That said, there is a stronger focus for traditional art in the coming months with some of the projects I have in mind at the moment.

There’s been a fair bit of gaming, too. Kicking the New Year gaming off talking about my Rocket League experiences in Fun With Balls, and exploring some of the recent changes in Diablo III through both Return to Torment and Anomaly Monk. I followed that up with the first review in a while for Killer is Dead. Then I got into some Early Access shenanigans with the incredibly enjoyable First Impressions of… Portal Knights post.

I’ve also invested a fair bit of time into the classic ARPG goodness that is Grim Dawn. With my release post Darkest Before Dawn, and then the full review in the form of Aetherial Possession, both of which have been a long time coming as I’ve really been interested in this title for a while. As you’ll well know if you’ve followed me for any period of time between March 2015 to March 2016.

I also slipped into a little nostalgic PS Vita action over in the Old Man Gaming post.

This pretty much concludes the activity over the last few months. There are a few stray posts that I’ve not mentioned here, which you can find over on the Art and Gaming pages (respectively) if you’re interested in seeing what those were about. As mentioned previously, I would love to be able to add more content for the site(s) on my PS Vita adventures and I’m currently looking to see if there’s a way to easily do so. However, even if I can’t, there should be some mention of gaming regardless in the coming months. I’m likely to even get a little further in Guild Wars 2 whenever I can find the time to squeeze it into my posting schedule. Can’t promise it, though. I’m known for being unable to play MMOs consistently month in month out.

Have a nice week, all!


Old Man Gaming

“Back in my day, video games were released on multiple discs.” -Moggie

It’s one of the things from those days that I don’t actually miss. That said, the last physical video game I bought was Fallout 4 and prior to that was BioShock Infinite. So I don’t buy too many. But, when I do, I prefer that they’re not multiple discs as those multiple disc installations can get confusing. I still remember the first time I had a PC with enough resources (and HDD space) to do the fabled full installation of Diablo II. No disc switching to see those cinematics for me!

Earlier this month I realised that I hadn’t really played my new PS Vita very much.

There are different reasons for this, including, but not limited to: I’m an idiot, the full of release of Darkest Dungeon came along, the full release of Grim Dawn came along, I forgot my PlayStation Store password for a whole hour, I like spending money on things I don’t use, and I’ve been busy with all kinds of projects in the last few months. That said, recently I decided to complete my Final Fantasy collection (which I mentioned here). It’s not entirely complete as I intend to get a physical copy of the Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster. However, that is actually part of the broader point I am making here- it’s amazing that I can play PS1/PS2 titles on something this small.

I know I’ve been able to play SNES titles on the Gameboy Advance for a while. I also know (as I owned one) that the PSP could play some PS1 titles. But it boggles my mind to think that one of the first consoles I’d ever played on, which required multiple discs to store the data, and required Memory Cards to work, is now playable through a handheld system.

Especially when you look at something like Final Fantasy IX which was a pretty powerful title for its time. Likewise for Final Fantasy X, which was a pretty powerful title even for the hardware available in the PS2. It’s ridiculous how small they are, too. Final Fantasy VII comes in at 1.2gb. That’s nothing these days. I’ve got a great appreciation for this sort of thing as I remember, years ago, before the internet even, being excited to get home and play these titles on consoles.

Now I can just download them and play them whenever with my PS Vita.

I’ve only really got one regret about this and it’s that, as far as I know, there’s no way to get screenshots/video of these titles in action. I know I can take screenshots with the inbuilt PS Vita screenshot function, but that doesn’t work with certain apps (notably the PSOne Classic titles). Which is a shame as I’d love to do some content here on WordPress relating to them. I’ll continue looking around to see if there’s any way to stream my PS Vita to my PC. But I think that’s through Remote Play(?), which is only for streaming PS4 titles to your PS Vita. Still, if I can work something out- I’ll post some particular content about them here.

I actually (unintentionally) started Final Fantasy VII and it’s really great playing through it again. I don’t know, at some point you just start to feel old. Especially when I consider that Final Fantasy VII originally released in 1997 and I played it when it first came out. Nearly twenty years ago. Probably played it two-three times, too.

Have a nice week, all!


Where It All Began

There are some things you can never get back, right?

I’ve been looking at the purchase of a PS Vita recently. It seems like an odd move as the last console I owned was the Nintendo DS Lite (I think it was) which I bought about seven years ago. It could be more, it could be less- but I know I had it when I got Chrono Trigger for the DS and that came out in 2009 (if I recall correctly). It also seems like an odd move because since the PS2 I’ve not really been much of a console gamer. That said, I’ve played on systems from the SNES to the PS1 to the Dreamcast to the Gamecube.

I did play on the XBox 360, too.

I don’t really reference that one much, though. Mostly because it was probably in the region of less than five titles and most of what you’ll find on my profile comes from the Games for Windows Live functionality of several PC games. I guess it was then when I really decided that consoles didn’t really offer me too much any more. However, there were plenty of things on older systems that I still liked and/or wanted to play. Being in the UK there were certain titles you could get (like Suikoden) and there were ones you couldn’t (like Suikoden II). It’s always been annoying that I could never get a PAL copy of Suikoden II or that Chrono Cross never actually released over here.

That said, for whatever reason, on the PlayStation Store you can get an EU copy of Suikoden II. Which is where the PS Vita comes in. Yet, again, for whatever reason, you can’t get an EU copy of Chrono Trigger despite it recently being ported to the Nintendo DS (making it available in Europe). It was also on PS1 and is on the US store under the PSOne Classics.

One my save files from the PSP version of Final Fantasy.

One my save files from the PSP version of Final Fantasy.

Chrono Cross is still just out of reach, too. US only.

So, yeah, the two titles I’d gladly spend cash on are still just out of reach. But, the others- like Suikoden and Suikoden II- are on there. They’re not too expensive, either. With most of the classic Final Fantasy titles going for £7.99 opposed to the £10.99 of the Steam PC ports. Which is really what started this whole exploration back into consoles.

Being someone that played Final Fantasy IV to VI on the SNES it has always annoyed me that every re-release since feels the need to change something. Besides the ones on the PS1 (Final Fantasy Anthology and Final Fantasy VI). Even the Gameboy Advance re-releases (that I own) added updated features which add nothing (in my opinion) to the original titles. Of course, you’d be hard pressed to get an original unaltered NES Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy III set. But I can live with the alterations there. If for no reason other than I can play them on modern systems. There’s also Final Fantasy VII to IX on the EU store under the PSOne Classics.

It might seem silly to a lot of people (even to myself) but it seems like a worthwhile purchase to get a PS Vita just to be able to get a mostly unaltered complete set of classic RPGs. I know some (mostly Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy IV) have been altered slightly- but it still seems worth it. Finally being able to play Suikoden II would be pretty neat, too. It’s one of those purchases I won’t really know the value of for some time. Still, the sixteen titles I’m looking at seem to make it worth it just by themselves.

Have a nice week, all!