Posts Categorised: Games

Final Fantasy XV – Platinum Demo – Playthrough Thoughts

Hands On - First Impressions

Yesterday (30th March) the second playable demo for Final Fantasy XV dropped, as well as a release date for  the full game on September 30th. I’ve played through the demo and written up my experiences below, because my thoughts are that important and everyone should read them.

Opening Cinematic

So the opening cinematic has these two angry looking but handsome guys fight each other with swords that are also guns. One of them has a leather jacket on and dark hair, the other has a big grey trenchcoat and blonde hair. They both look legit.

There’s also some other shots interspersed into the fight, one of a mysterious lass in a blue dress, and another, older, mysterious lass in purple and some kind of crown. There’s other stuff going on as well, but the fight between the two angry, handsome guys is the main thing.

Anyway, the cinematic ends when the leather jacket angry handsome man getting cut in the head.

Story

So it turns out, the player IS the angry, handsome guy with dark hair and a leather jacket and sword that is also a gun. How cool is that? And it looks like we’re in a hospital, bit of an MGSV rip off if you ask me. There’s a brief, cryptic conversation with a mysterious lass in a blue dress, but not the same one from the opening cinematic. Then the angry, handsome guy falls asleep again.

When the angry, handsome man wakes up. The third mysterious lass has disappeared. In her place there’s this doctor. She doesn’t know anything about the mysterious lass! What a game.

Anyway, she asks you your name, and get this, you get to pick your own name. It suggests Squall, but who in the world would want to be called Squall? I was tempted to for DingusBellsprout, or Shitewank, but I settled on Jack because I wanted to get invested in the character.

So after more conversation with the Doctor, where you got to pick your own conversation choices. I wonder how much that will affect the game later, we’ll never know. A fourth mysterious lass comes in, but this one has ginger hair, and wears an orange dress. She is my favourite of the mysterious lasses thus far, but apparently her name is Quistis. Those guys at SquareEnix are crazy.

It turns out we’re at a school, but it’s a school for  super cool mercenaries. Which is the school we all wanted to go to really, isn’t it? So anyway, Jack the super cool teenage mercenary-in-training with a sword that’s also a gun, is a student at this school, and Quistis is his teacher. But she also fancies him. Best game ever.

You run around the school for a bit, having conversations with people, and there’s a cool card game you can play with theme music that’s really catchy that goes:

Duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-DUH-DUH DUH!

It’s really catchy.

Quistis takes Jack to this weird cave where you fight the first boss, who’s this massive fire demon called Ifrit. He looks really cool as well. When you beat Ifrit, which is easy to do because you have a summon that’s a sexy blue ice lady called Shiva, he joins your team. The demo ends here, but I’m definitely sold on the game story wise, can’t wait to see where it goes next in September.

Gameplay

The gameplay is really good! A lot of the time you’re running around, but then at other times you’re in a battle. When you’re running around everything happens in real time, and your 3D character runs around on a pre-rendered background. The art on these backgrounds is GORGEOUS though. In a battle it’s kind-of-turn based, but looks like it isn’t because the characters have a time that fills up. This gives the battles a real sense of urgency, but also rewards planning ahead. Definitely looking forward to diving into this system more deeply when the full game is released.

Speaking of cool systems, there’s also really unique stats system called Junctioning. I literally didn’t understand any of it, but it was really cool.

Overall Thoughts

I’m really looking forward to Final Fantasy XV coming out.

Subterfuge – Live Blog

Hello there, welcome to the Subterfuge live blog. Please make yourself comfortable, this could be a long one.

Subterfuge is a game of strategy, diplomacy and war that takes place over a week or so. I’m going to try and keep this updated over that time.

I’m keeping this post private while the game is in play to stop anyone scouting me, but once the game is over, I’ll release the beast to the world…

Enjoy!

Fri Oct 30th - 14:52:36

Okay, after a prolonged period of waiting for people to join the game. I have pressed start about an hour ago. Because we didn’t have a full map, we’ve been re-spawned on a seven person field, and given an eight hour delay before subs launch to give everyone a chance to “ship” some orders.

Name Colour Notes
Jack / TheGreatJM Light Blue This is me, I am going win. I am going to trick people with words
Sam / Oden636 Dark blue This is my friend Sam. We have a kind of alliance, I’m letting him get the the one generator directly between us.
Craven / Old Shrimp Eyes Purple Craven is a long way from me on the map with lots of neutral outposts to expand to between us, I am not too worried about him. Yet.
Peel / Thatspeel Red Peel is apparently going to be a peaceful sub. Who will sail the high seas and make friends. We have been left very precariously close to each other though. This might take some very delicate diplomacy.
Dom / Darcblayde Snot Green Dom is on the wrong side of a large gulf to me. Which is going to make any attacks coming from that side severely delayed an easy to react to. But worth keeping an eye on.
 James / JCWamma Turquoise James is directly to my east, and also my west. I’ve made a play for a factory that he is closer to. Diplomacy can do one, I’m having a war with Wamma.
Rheece/Shifty McNinja Pink Rheece is to my south. He’s also to Sam’s north, Sam is more concerned about him than I am. I’m also not really pushing for any of the outposts between us. That should keep things sweet.

Right, here are some pictures to to demonstrate what’s going on.

IMG_4223[1]

Here’s the overall map, everyone is surrounded by everyone and it is glorious.

Here’s my current empire with the planned expansions.

This is going to be my mine (it's mine!). It's right in the centre of my empire and currently not even visible to the other players. Right next to it is the Queen, who'll hire my first specialist. I'm fairly sure that's going to be an intel officer so I can keep track of what's going on with the other guys and make people fight each other.

This is going to be my mine (it’s mine!). It’s right in the centre of my empire and currently not even visible to the other players. Right next to it is the Queen, who’ll hire my first specialist. I’m fairly sure that’s going to be an intel officer so I can keep track of what’s going on with the other guys and make people fight each other.

Here is the problem area with Peel, which I haven't quite worked out what to do with. So have just been greedy and hoped that will scare Peel off.

Here is the problem area with Peel, which I haven’t quite worked out what to do with. So have just been greedy and hoped that will scare Peel off.

IMG_4227[1]

And here’s my cheeky factory grab attempt from Wamma. I’m hoping he sees that I’m sending 5 ships, and goes in stronger than that, so I cancel my launch and send a more powerful force.

Mon Nov 2nd - 13:31:20

Subterfuge has happened! I am (currently) winning.

I didn’t really get chance to do an update over the weekend because of two Thrones tournaments, and a lot of drinking. But I’ll try and bring us up to speed.

I built a mine early, right in the centre of my Empire. I also hired an intel officer to see what everyone else was up to. My early alliances, all are currently still in place, were with Sam, Craven, and Peel. This meant that I had Rheece, Dom and James to war with.

Here’s what’s going on with each player.

James

IMG_4229[1]James did not log in after the game started. Which meant that after forty eight hours of inactivity he was booted from the game. This has left a lot of space to move into, but it’s also quite well defended by drillers at the factories. This suits me though, as I have way too many drillers in stupid places, and throwing wave after wave of ships in a pointless war of attrition against nobody frees up space for ships in other places.

It also means that one of my major borders doesn’t have to be defended that strongly, for the time being and providing that this territory becomes mine eventually. Speaking of mines, I’m gunning for my second, which is going to cost a lot of drillers.

Sam

IMG_4230[1]One of my main allies, but is looking quite weak. He was the last person to get a mine of his own, and I’m funding him to keep him sweet and keep my north border strong. If he does turn on me, I’ll drop his funding and destroy him. I’ve put a Martyr up in the north as deterrent to him, Rheece and Dom.

Sam has generators, and I have factories. I need generators and he needs drillers, I’m wondering if we can do a trade, but I doubt he’ll be into that.

Sam has also launched an attack on Dom because Dom left a factory undefended, If this leads to some form of retaliation from Dom, or a completely separate attack from Rheece, I’m storming in for a fight back.

Peel

IMG_4233[1]Peel has a large military presence, and a lot of generators to balance it up. We allied early on, and I managed to grab a nice row of factories on his border. As part of the alliance, I thought I might have to give one of them up, but Peel seemed happy enough for us just not to attack each other.

I’m not sure what Peel’s game plan is, but at one point this weekend we all agreed to attack Rheece and/or Dom. So that will be a fun dogpile to get involved in.

 

Rheece

IMG_4231[1]Sam and Rheece had a bit of skirmish earlier on, which Rheece has come out on top of. His first mine is looking really easy to take though, or just to send a Martyr at for bit of wanton destruction. If he launches an attack on Sam, I’m going for that mine.

Look at that tasty mine, and the 39 ships going away from it. Tasty.

Dom

IMG_4232[1]Dom and I both went for a factory, I got there first, but he sent more boats to it. I abandoned the factory for one next door, and held a grudge.

I spent most of Saturday talking everyone into attacking Dom, which sort of materialised. Noses were bloodied, but no one got into a proper war.

Dom also sensed weakness when James got booted, but I’ve sent more ships in and should come out on top of that encounter.

Craven

IMG_4234[1]Craven was the only other player sensible enough to build a mine early, I respect that. We’re in a non-aggression pact currently, but I think he will be the first player to turn on me, as he’s currently in second place and will be looking for the win.

 

 

Mon Nov 2nd - 17:27:08

Things have happened.

As semi-seriously discussed yesterday, Peel has moved a huge 119 ships against Rheece. Rheece has called him out for it in the public chat. The rest of the world waits.

I have 50 ships poised at a factory 19 hours away from Rheece’s undefended mine. Is that being too much of an opportunistic bastard? If I launch, by the end of tomorrow I could have three mines. That would put a huge target on my head.

Dom and I are both piling in on Poseidon. He will take it, thanks to an admiral. I will take it from him through waves of ships. Dom has moved ships next to my factory. Is he gearing up for an attack or shoring up defences?

My Martyr will arrive at the same factory soon. If he attacks we both lose a lot. Or I send the Martyr to his mine, which also has a queen and two specialists in it. Mutually assured destruction.

Mon Nov 2nd - 19:25:56

It’s all kicking off.

On the drive home from work Craven got a second mine. Then he launched an attack on Rheece, claiming he smelt weakness coming from the public chat.

Then Dom got a second mine, which mean both are now producing more Neptunium than me. Craven’s name is at the top of the screen, I am narrowly holding onto first place. My mine won’t be ready for another 22 hours.

I was going to launch on Rheece’s mine, but then it turned out Sam had the same idea. In the interest of peace, I’m taking the factory next to the mine. The border with Sam is my weakest one, and I could do with keeping him sweet.

The game is about to get nastier. A three way battle between Craven, Dom and myself is on the cards. It will probably come down to who can keep Sam and Peel on side.

Tue Nov 3rd - 9:01:50

News in from overnight. Dom launched on Rheece.

This made me feel bad about attacking Rheece, as that would mean everyone had attacked him in the same day. Instead I waited for Dom’s ships to go for Rheece’s mine (that Sam would soon to be taking and defending), and launched a reasonable force against Hagai (my factory from Saturday).

I didn’t quite wait long enough though, and Dom logged back in and sent 6 more subs into Hagai to defend it. I’ve lost Poseidon, and have sent a swarm at the bottom of Dom’s three factories. This should be enough to take it before the end of the day, and then I can swarm the next one along as well. And then finally I’ll reclaim Hagai.

I’ve compounded the pressure by launching my Martyr at Dom’s mine, which also contains his specialists and his queen. If he doesn’t move them, or blow up the Martyr in open water, that’s him out of the game.

One problem with playing so far into the future, is that you end up solving the problems from Sunday (not enough electricity to support the sub production) on Tuesday (hiring a tinkerer and then a Minister of Energy), when it’s less of an issue.

Craven is still on course to win and will over take me in the rankings in the next day. I need my second mine, as soon as possible, but it’s still 16.5 hours away. Rheece is on the back foot. I’m hoping my alliances stay strong while I continue to apply pressure onto Dom.

Tue Nov 3rd - 14:03:18

It is lunchtime. The game trundles on.

Dom reached out to me, mainly to give me a dressing down about sending a suicide bomber at his queen. That was a cheap shot. He’s still in third place, and will briefly be in the lead.

He’s agreed to surrender Poseidon to me, which Peel has also made a move on. Then he wants a ceasefire so he can try and recover some ground. I haven’t called off the swarm on one of his factories. Over the next 24 hours I send 5 ships from each of my 3 factories every couple of hours. It will be mine.

But then what, I need Dom to hold off Craven. If either of us get Dom’s one of Dom’s mines, the game is all but over. I’m not well placed enough to take the one nearest me, and Craven doesn’t have anyway near my ships or industry.

After the pile on against Rheece, I’ve started funding him. Hopefully he will remember who didn’t attack him yesterday.

Eyes then turn towards Peel. He has left his border to me quite poorly defended. I could send the swarm his way. Steal a few outposts and a maybe a mine. I would also be breaking an alliance. This game makes you such a bastard.

Or I can fund Peel, and see if I everyone will turn on Craven. If that happens, I might win. Or they all might turn on me and I’d make Icarus look reserved and unambitious.

So we wait.

Thu Nov 5th - 11:10:50

Subterfuge has ruined me.

Guilt stopped me launching the swarm onto Dom. Then I launched half the swarm when I was drunk on Tuesday, but didn’t follow it up with more attacks on Wednesday.

Instead I waited. And then Peel and Craven launched on Dom. He’s looking ropey and Craven has a third mine. In three days, he will win.

There’s little value in me attacking Dom now. And Peel’s border is so open to attack. His mine just had the basic 10 strength shield on it. One of his generators has 3 drillers at it. I could feasibly swarm all of it, regain first place and then see the next few days out for the win. Sam and Craven don’t have the military might to stop it.

But I can’t. My ships will arrive at Peel’s mine in twenty hours time. That’s twenty hours of slow betrayal I’ve scheduled the launches, and then cancelled them three times now. I’d rather lose in an alliance, than win by breaking one. I am weak, and this game has broken me.

Mon Nov 9th - 17:05:57

The game is over. I have won. At the same time, I feel like I’ve lost.

It’s nice to not be thinking about submarines, or mines, or betraying my friends.

The victory feels hollow. No one turned on me, in the entire week the only time people contested outposts with me was when I took theirs first. Or it was an outpost that was fair game between two or three players. I made alliances, and stuck with them. And then I won, and it victory tastes disappointing.

There were a few twists halfway through the week, but looking back on the timeline, I took the lead early and more or less stayed there throughout.

I’d like another game, in a few weeks. Just when I’ve stopped waking up in the middle of the night to schedule orders or hire a new specialist. To see if this game was a fluke.

Why did no one even try and stop me? Why was everyone nice? Am I dying and everyone else knows, but I don’t?

The video of what happened is here:

Note: Yes I’m using the native WordPress video player, because I am a monster.

 

A Funny Version of the Big Bang Theory? AH HA HA HA HA!

As is my want on a Tuesday lunch time, I was doing some reading online about the realistic portrayal of nerds on television (I’m still reeling from a colleague comparing me to a Big Bang Theory ‘character’ last week). A while ago I found a blog post that said Parks and Rec’s Ben Wyatt (played by Adam Scott) is the most realistic nerd on TV, and I’m inclined to agree. Ben has nerdy interests, even fairly mainstream ones like Batman or Game of Thrones, but isn’t defined by them.  The geeky aspects of his personality, are natural and loving touches (his ebay username is TallTyrionLannister for example) as opposed to Big Bang’s cardboard cut out let’s laugh at these guys nerds.

Anyway, I found the above video, which takes the abominable laugh track removed video of BBT and intersperses it with the similarly awful Tidus’ laugh from FFX. The result is, unsurprisingly, deeply unsettling, but also raises a chuckle, making it infinitely funnier than any episode of BBT.

A Few Thoughts On Lego Marvel Superheroes

So Lego Marvel Superheroes looks pretty great! And I’m self hosted now, welcome to JackMach.in!

First of all, it’s good to see there’s a wide range of characters that a playable. That’s to be expected with TT Lego games, but sometimes the characters you unlocked would all basically be the same grunts with a slightly different outfit. The Marvel heroes/villains look to be pretty well represented and will hopefully have enough unique abilities to keep the game interesting.

On this note, you can’t help but feel that a lot of mechanics are going to be the same thing we’ve seen before, but this time Marvel! Hulk will obviously have the super strength that a lot of the villians in Lego Batman had and you wouldn’t be at all surprised if Loki has the power to temporarily take over a NPC to open a door.

The prominence of Spiderman/Iron Man/Magneto makes me curious about flying characters. Will they replace the (usually tedious) vehicle levels in the game? Or will they be able to swing/ fly/hover round the same environments ground based minifigs are running around? Because that would be awesome.

Disappointingly it looks like there aren’t that many women in the game. I spotted Black Widow, and that was just a token shot. I know they want to attract as much of the MCU/X-MEN audience in as possible so only really want to show more recognisable characters, but that doesn’t mean excluding the women. Where was Rogue, she’s surely worth building a new gameplay mechanic around where she can temporarily take another characters power? How come we saw all of the Fantastic Four except Sue Richards?

And the talking! The charm of the early Lego games came from the gestures, facial expressions and grunts of the minifigs. They told the story perfectly fine without having to go all Hollywood, which was ironic because they were taking from blockbuster IPs. I’ll still play the game, obviously, but the fact the characters couldn’t speak, wasn’t a problem that needed to be fixed.

3 minutes of lunch left, one last thing. Lego Deadpool, never not awesome.

*EDIT – I watched the video again and counted six female characters (Black Widow, Storm, Sue Richards, Jane Grey, Mystique and an unfortunate woman getting slashed by Deadpool for a split second at 1.21. Anyone got an idea who she is?

But none of them get to speak, I think only Storm and Black Widow are allowed to get involved with any action. Sort it out TT and Lego.