One Pic is not enough: Naked in Salma District

Players all around Tyria are taking beautiful screenshots with the new camera options. I am doing this.

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Aster plays Code Name S.T.E.A.M.

Last year at E3, Nintendo revealed a new title behind closed doors called Code Name S.T.E.A.M. At that moment I didn’t really care about it since all I wanted was more Super Smash Bros information. In fact, the only good thing that was revelead behind those doors (as I saw it back then) was the Pac Man reveal trailer for SSB.

I remembered seeing a bit of it in later Directs, and at the very least, I found interesting that playable characters were taken from literary works like Peter Pan, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Wizard of Oz, The Red Badge of Courage and folk heroes like John Henry. (To be honest, I had to search who Henry Fleming and John Henry were, after seeing Tiger Lily, Lion and Tom Sawyer in the game)

Fast forward several months, and I found out there was a downloadable demo.  It proved enough for me to want to buy it. Now, I’m not an expert or very knowledgeable about the genre, so this is a look at the game from the perspective of a nooby newbie.

To begin with: This is what you hear when you start up the game, this will either scare you away or sell you in right awat. It did the latter for me.

As you can see from the video, (if you weren’t too distracted by trying to sing along the code name T.H.E.M.E.) the game has a Steampunk setting and pits S.T.E.A.M members against a mysterious alien race that suddenly attacked London. Lucky for the good Queen Victoria, Abe Lincoln was kind of ready for it and in the area, and you begin shooting alien scum in the face.

S.T.E.A.M, (called Lincoln vs aliens in Japan) is a turn based strategy games with 3rd person shooting elements, kind of like Valkyria Chronicles. (Note to self: Play that game. At least the ones with SKies od Arcadia cameos. That game rules.)

You control up to 4 characters each equipped with their respective main weapons, a sub weapon and a boiler. Boilers provide the character with steam so they can move and attack. If you run out of steam (if if you don’t have enough) you won’t be able to keep moving or attacking. You can’t see the map from overhead, so you must rely on each of your characters’ field of vision. Since you can’t see every enemy (nor a list of enemies) it’s not a wise idea to let a character go too far away from the team.

Ending a turn with some reserve steam will allow you to start the next turn with even more steam. If you have enough steam to attack, you’ll enter overwatch mode, where your character will quickly attack any enemy that gets close enough during the enemy turn. This will prove to be a valuable strategy to defend yourself since sometimes you can stun enemies and therefore cancelling their attacks.

You can collect medals (coins) that will unlock more sub weapons to choose from. Coins also are used at save points. There are several save stations across the maps that you can use only once. A nice feature of these save points is that you can either just save, restore health ans steam of the character using the save point or restore (and revive) every character to full health ans steam. The cost for restoring a character starts at 10×1 coins, while the group restoring option starts at 100×1. Using either function again in another option will raise the cost to 10×2 and 100×2 and so on. This adds an extra layer of strategy since you can only use coins collected at that map, and you must decide when it is the right time to save the game, or to simply save the save point for later.

I can’t speak for the multiplayer yet, since I haven’t ventured into the world of PvP yet. (I usually stay away from PvP) At least the Campaign mode seem to be longish enough if they’ll stick to the “get a new character per mission.” pattern. When replaying campaign missions you’ll have the option to the standard version, Blind Eye (no health or steam containers in map), No return (steam usually refills if you backtrack… not in this mode!) and Merciless (stronger enemies). You’ll get more coins as reward depending on which mode you choose, so there’s something for those seeking challenges.

I almost forgot another feature: This game is compatible with the Fire Emblem amiibos, unlocking them as characters for this game. A catch to use them is that if they managed to get defeated, you’ll need to rescan them to add them back to your roster. I was lucky enough to get the Ike amiibo, and I was very excited to try him out. Unfortunately, I didn’t find him too useful since all he has in melee attacks. Hopefully one of the other 3 will be more useful, or I will change my mind as I get more familiar with the game.

The story seem to be simple with not much character development, focusing on action to move on from mission to mission. And that’s fine for a game like this, I think. Some of the voices get annoying after a while, and some quicker than others (I’m looking at you Tom Sawyer!) The art style and the cut scenes are awesome, and feel very action packed to me. I don’t know if it’s the New 3DS at work, but I also like how the 3D effects look on this title.

So far, I’m enjoying the music too. It has an eerie, sci fi feeling with a touch dub step and techno. I might be confusing or missing genres, all I know is that the music fits the game well in my opinion and I’m the sort of people that rarely pays attention to how good  or bad music is in games.

Curious about the game? Give the demo a try! I believe, in my not so expert opinion, that this game should be getting more attention that it got.

Liebster award thingy!

So, I was recently nominated by The Traveller of Tyria and a while ago by Valourbörn. It was something that caught my attention, and I told myself “Hey, I should give it a try!” I can’t even remember why I never got around them, but with my recent nomination, I decided to dig in a little bit and answer both set of questions!

If you had to start the last article you wrote over, what would you do differently?

I believe that one of my biggest issues is that I don’t reread my blog posts enough to make sure my thoughts actually make sense in written form. I tend to just type everything that comes to my mind, post it in excitement and wonder if I’m actually making the point I want to make across. Last article is no exception.

What is your favorite MMO? Why?

I don’t even need to think this. Guild Wars 2 is definitely my favorite one. I haven’t really played a large variety of MMOs, but I like how GW2 doesn’t feel like a classic one. I love how easily I can exchange stuff among my characters and how guilds aren’t restricted per character. As an chronic altoholic (Looooove my alts) this is a plus because I’m not feeling a guild with my million characters.

Also, while playing with friends is fun, I like how I can just chill and do plenty of stuff by myself, or at the very least, helping at bosses and events without feeling pressured to be in a group if I want to be credited.

Do you feel the need to role-play your character when playing MMORPGs? Explain.

This is an interesting question. I have never role-played seriously but if I happen to find myself talking to a role-player, I’ll try my best to play along while I’m around. When I create a character, I Ddotend to create a whole background story for them. This is very important to me to be motivated to play and level them. I love sharing these background stories too.

What so you consider to be the biggest challenge when writing?

When it comes to blogs, sometimes I just can’t find the right words to express myself. With enough time, I can write something well thought, but sometimes I feel I can be somewhat limited merely because English is not my main language.

What do you use as your source of inspiration when you write?

I can’t really tell. There are simply times where I feel extremely motivated and inspired, and I try to make the most of those moments. I’m sure there are some tangible source of inspiration, like maybe video games, life events, or just random strings of thoughts that cross my overly active imagination.. yes, let’s go with that.

If you could be any character in a story, who would you be and why?

I don’t think there’s a character that makes me think “I want to be THAT guy.” I tend to empathize with the underdogs in stories. I can relate to most of them. I’d love to be a wizard of sorts if I were to be part of a story, though.

What is your favorite book of all time?

Favorite BOOK? You mean, like chosing only ONE? I don’t think I can do that! Here’s the sad part: My memory is horrible. I can read a full series and tell you I loved it, but I won’t be able to give you full details of the series. My favorite series are A Song of Ice and Wheel of Time. I love books with a lot of different characters’  point of views, and these series do just that.

Name one goal you hope to achieve this year.

Last year, my goal was to post 365 Guild Wars 2 screenshots for the GW2 365 project. This year I’d love to give my blog a more personal touch, and post maybe once a week about whatever happens between me and the gaming world. Sometimes I feel like blogging about personal(ish) stuff, thinking that it might help some people that could have passed through the same events I did, but that would require me to put more effort on my thoughts than what I’ve been doing lately.

Also, I love to write and make up stories, so I am hoping I could focus enough to finish one and maybe complete an RPG Maker game I started creating long ago.

Hey! Since this blog post is all about moi, why not talk about that?

This is the intro I made for it back when I started using Playstation 1’s RPG Maker. It had a lot of annoying rext sounds and spelling mistakes (I blame English not being my native language. Shhhh.)

This is the improved version on PC’s RPG Maker XP

And here is a demo playthrough run by the cool fellows from RPGM Magazine

Taking a glimpse at those videos motivate me to work on it, so if you get to see them and like them, let me know to feel more motivated!

What do others say is your best quality? Do you agree?

Many people say they admire my patience. And I can be very patient. But most of the time I’m just taking my time to process things, giving the impression I’m calmed when my mind is going out of control.

What inspired your online name?

My name has quite a bit of history. The Guarionex part is actually a not very common name used in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and I REALLY like it. It’s the name of  tainan chief (tribe that lived in the Caribbean before it was “discovered” by Europeans). I started using it for many games, it was unlikely I’d find many people using it.

Unfortunately, since there ARE people in the Caribbean named Guarionex, I couldn’t use it in games where you can’t repeat names. I refused to add spaces to my name, or extra characters so I opted to try Asterix (I assure I wasn’t aware of the comic book character of the same name). In the end, Asterix was taken so I ended up naming my character Asterixion.

A rule I noticed about MMOs, is that you can have the best name ever, but people will still call you by the first 3 or 4 letters. I was lucky people started calling me Aster instead of Ast. (Seriously, I had a character named Bazooka jess, and people called her Baz for short instead of Jess)  I started to get used to the name Aster, and decided to add Guarionex because I still freaking love that name. The end.

Do you feel your writing inspires your readers?

I don’t think my writing inspires since I know I can be a bit deeper when I type my thoughts into a blog post.  At the very least I hope I can be slightly entertaining.

Ok, now to the non gaming questions!

If you could star in any commercial you wanted, what product would you want to advertise?

I think I’d be too embarrassed to appear into any kind of commercial! But for some reasons, potato chips come to my mind.

Grossest food in the whole world?

I’m a very picky eater, so I find almost everything gross. Still, as long as it’snot any kind of bean, I could be willing to give it a try. Beans.. ugh.

Your favourite kind of flooring?

Any kind that would allow me to safely slide across it if it was slippery. I haven’t done that since I was a kid… now I want to do it again!

If you could live in any building in the world (or even from a fictional world), what would it be?

I would definitely live in my Animal Crossing house. If only arranging furniture were as easy!

Would you rather lose sight, smell, taste, touch, or hearing?

Smell maybe? I’m the last person to detect strange/unpleasant smells already.

If you had enough money to make a world-record sized collection of something, what would you collect?

Nail clippers. I just want people to scratch their heads and wonder “Why…?”

What’s your state’s/province’s/country’s national food? Do you even like it?

Probably rice and pigeon peas or beans and pork? Remove the beans and I’ll eat it. I’ll probably remove the peas too.

The worst nightmare you can remember?

Oh, nothing traumatizing enough. Just  a bunch of starving people on top of a giant pillar. Every second, more people were dumped at the top of the pillar so at one point people began falling to  the dark, bottomless abyss while groaning weakly from hunger. I’m just glad I barely remember my dreams sometime.

If you could get a life-size portrait painted of anyone to put in your bedroom, who would it be?

That would be a bit weird! But if I happen to find one of Chris Hemsworth in my bedroom, I wouldn’t exactly take it out to wherever it came from.

Do you prefer to wash the dishes or dry them?

Wash, wash, wash! I just love playing with water. I always volunteered to do the dishes when I worked at a fast food restaurant. I always ended up soaked.

Would you rather lose your leg or force a family member to leave the country?

I’ll be a horrible person and banish a family member out the country. It’ll be for the greater good. But seriously, I have family members that don’t see me anymore as family so it’s not a hard decision.

Would you rather have a stranger do CPR on you or get third-degree burns?

Burns hurt. I choose you CPR stranger!

If you could have tea with any god or deity, who would it be?

Morgan Freeman.

The most annoying children’s song/movie that would make you want to die if you heard/saw it now?

Having a 4 year old niece, I think I’m already immune to annoying children songs and movies. I learned to let it go-OH GODS NO!

Would you rather be an identical twin with similar names (e.g. Tim and Kim) or have an unpronounceable name?

Well, I have a younger brother that looks nothing like me with a very different name from mine, and people still confuse us. Also, my last name is easy to pronounce, but looks like a very common last name. People assume I misspelled my last name so they spell it like the common version It’s annoying!. I almost got both!

Do you believe in ghosts or spirits? Do they scare you?

I come from a family who believes supernatural forces. In fact, I was told there was a buried urn in the backyard and there was a spirit or ghost guarding it. I was deathly afraid of looking out the window at night because of that. Nowdays, I don’t dismiss anything related to the supernatural, but I guess I won’t be scared of them unless I actually see one. Life will go on normally meanwhile.

Flip phone, slide phone, or touch phone?

I liked the flip phone because I tended to open it in peculiar way that confused everyone. (“Why do you open it like that?”) And while touch phones are awesome, I always dread of the possibility the screen breaks. With a flip phone I can at least still make calls like that.

Thanks to Traveler of Tyria and Alex for nominating at some point or another. I haven’t been active in blog post reading, so I don’t dare nominating anyone at the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading the rather long string of questions, even if it was just a little bit!

Along came Zevran: LGBT characters in modern video games

When the topic of LGBT characters in modern video games pops up, it is not uncommon to hear issues players find in them…

  • They are a minority in real life; therefore, the LGBT representation should stay at an equal ratio. We don’t need every game to have gay characters
  • I can’t relate to a gay character, so why would I play one?
  • Why must their sexuality be shouted to the four winds? You are just pandering to the LGBT community.
  • You don’t need to be straight to identify with your straight character anyway. That’s the idea of a role playing game: You are PLAYING A ROLE!

And I’m sure if I think hard enough, I can come up with a lot more, but these reasons will do for now. Of the four points I mentioned, I suppose I can totally agree with number 4. The beauty of many games is that you get to see how characters develop through the story or as they interact with other characters. You get to love them or hate them, based on their personalities and you get to understand them as you know more of their background story. Just like a book.

The way I see it, that is the point: to understand the character despite their origins, actions, or sexuality. Then, why is it so important to people like me to see more LGBT characters in game? The reason didn’t hit me until I began playing Dragon Age: Origins.

Typically, when I had the chance to create my own character, I made a female character. My Dreamcast memory cards were full of Phantasy Star Online female characters with monosyllabic names like Jay, Jo, Jess and Jinx. I couldn’t relate to them, but it didn’t matter at the time. I just wanted to live the game’s story through my avatar. Some of these characters became favorites that I tried to recreate in every other game.

Fast forward several console generations, I found myself trying Dragon Age: Inquisition. Jess, my lovable chubby mage was going to make the jump from Pioneer 2 to Thedas, and I was ready to make her a kick ass Grey Warden, and romance Alistair and all that jazz. That was until I learned there was an elf named Zevran that could be romanced by any gender. That was an option I never had in a video game, and I got curious.  Jess got shelved, and a male elven mage named Guarionex took her place. For the first time, I could identify with a character I created, and it felt nice. I wasn’t aware I wanted that; it just happened. Dragon Age is the kind of game that gives you the liberty to do what you want, and it’s these kinds of games that benefit from having more diversity for the players.

It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant that part of the population seems to the majority, the feeling of inclusion is awesome. It’s not a matter of pandering a sector of society, but of including them. My character creation process PDA (Post Dragon Age) now consist of mainly male characters, because  now I can imagine some part of myself in them.

Also, if we can just play along the role of a straight main character, we could do just the same for an LGBT one, no?

 

Video Sunday: Random Encounters

Video games are awesome. And so are musicals. If you put them together, then you are probably going to pull me in and never let me go. Random Encounters did just that since I discovered them nearly 3 years ago. Choosing just a single video I like from them is nearly impossible. Choosing only 6 was just as excruciating too! They have a lot of musicals, featuring Sonic, Pikachu, Pikmin, Pac Man, Angry Birds, Tetris blocks, Minesweeper (YES! MINESWEEPER!) Ganondorf, Captain Falcon, Meta Knight, that dude from Dead Space, that chick from Portal  and more, so I suggest you check their youtube channel if you like what you see from the following videos!

 

The Best we can be, featuring Angi Viper

The Makigarp song

The Eevee song: Featuring Dodger

Arkham Origins Rock Opera

Hyrule Warrior’s Heart

One Winged Office

4 years and a half ago, I wanted to start a weekly post called Video Sunday, in which I’d post a video about something that really caught my attention. I only did it once though, so would be the second since 2010. Hopefully the third one will be before 2020!

 

A sylvari journey: Southern Caledon Forest

After feeding Arhterox some experience scrolls, he was able to get the silvary tier 1 cultural armor. The colors will be varying a little bit as I find the right combination, though.

Artherox received a latter from Caithe, telling him another syvari was poisoned and she urged me to find an antidote for him. But what’s the rush? He’ll be fine while Artherox explore Caledon Forest a little bit more, right? Continue reading A sylvari journey: Southern Caledon Forest

A sylvari journey: Awakening

The final episode of Season 2’s Living Story in Guild Wars 2 is already here! The ending cut scene really hyped me for whatever is coming up (We will find out on January 24, which is around the corner!)

Now, I don’t really need much of an excuse to create a new character, but the story is going to a point were using a sylvari character will probably be a bit more interesting. Previous events already make people think less well of this plant like beings, and I’ve been wanting to make one since then.

I will be using several items which will net me at least half of the possible levels, but what I’m really looking for in with this new character is to know more about sylvari and their history.

What’s that? Check the wiki instead of living it myself? Get outta here!

Continue reading A sylvari journey: Awakening

One Mii is not enough 2: Mii Fighters

I know I have posted about Mii Fighters before, but that was the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros! This is HD Mii Fighters now, baby!

I once again turn my beloved Guild Wars 2 characters and turn them into a different kind of fighters. Why? Not only was I bored enough to do this, but I was also wondering which of my characters would win in an all out fight. The only logical way to find out was to pit them out in a 8-players match in Super Smash Bros as Mii Fighters. Never mind the fact that their Mii skills are NOTHING like their GW2 skills, That’s a minor inconvenient.

So this:

guild wars gangBecame this:

Yes, that guy with the lion helmet is suposed to be my Charr Ifreet. Shut up. I needed 8 Miis. I tried making the fight as fair as possible so I let items on. Shut up.

Let the fight begin!

 

Continue reading One Mii is not enough 2: Mii Fighters

One Mii is not enough 1: Tomodachi Life

Warning: The following blog posts are completely pointless and are just a mean for me to stop being bored for a while.

This is my Guild Wars 2 Gang

cropped-guild-wars-gang.pngI am very fond of them, so it’s natural for me to try to replicate them in other games. Like in Tomodachi Life.

 

Here is the gang in Mii form. Sadly, asura and charr are not that easy to make in a game like this. (From left to right: Kiram, Aster, Xendell, Aedan, Simael, Layla (Peach) and Deon.

But if I am going to do a Mii photo shoot, I am going all out!

Pop Wars 2

Beach Wars 2

A Viking, a Pharaoh, a Peasant, a Satyr, a Nobleman, a Pirate and a Cowboy went into a bar…

 

Deon-tron and his multicolored ninjas.

 

When animals attack.

And finally, the “2 people of the same gender can’t get married in this game but they can pretend in the photo section” picture.