Review: Chronicles of Vampires: Origins

Don't look at her tits, don't look at her tits...

There were two great mysteries in my life as a child, what jerk of a mother allowed their off spring to circle all of the items in the image find in Highlights in the doctor’s office, and why wasn’t that magazine offered to normal people who weren’t under an oath more awesome and legally binding than the Green Lanterns.  At some point during my search for answers the image find section seemed to have found a life of its own, because I guess saying “I have lost my shoe in this room full of fish,” and then gauging other person’s response is no longer how you decide if someone is sane enough to stand trial.

Aside from handsome

The game is held together, loosely, by a series of in game dialogs that are supposed to explain why I am trying to find one non-descript purse in an apartment just full of purse like objects.  These rooms, of course, come with a list of objects that you are supposed to be looking for—while ignoring the more troubling signs of both neglect and possible mental health issues of whatever environment that they are in (who even uses CDs anymore and why is every TV just left on “static” by default). The game calmly asks me to get the character ready for her investigation while asking for things like a laptop and then a towel, I don’t know many people that need a towel when they are about to go gallivanting around the world chasing international museum thieves, but I am pretty sure the list was written by Douglas Adams.

1star alone
Insert random grumble here

It isn’t that everything in the game is bad, it was interesting to see load times in a downloadable game with simple graphics and almost no sound, and the way that the main character constantly looks surprised by everything that is happening at any given moment in the game is—not charming—depressingly amusing.  There is hope, though, as a direct story based sequel to this game has been released to the same e-shop—possibly of hopes of fixing all of the short falls of this title.  There may be hope at the end of the road, fans of this odd genre.

The New Wife Agro System

Some of you will notice that of late we have a new grading system on the site.  I like to call it the “Wife agro system”.  For me this basically describes how angry my significant other got while I was playing/reviewing something.  I implemented it so that my feelings on things would be easy to read and well know, but also so that when I am eventually murder by my wife you know exactly the series of game choices that led to it.  Hopefully this can at the very least save some people out there from video game related slaughters by loved ones.

1. 1star alone

The image of a happy woman.  For the pure sake of argument I should probably point out that Veronica (the woman I married) is never this happy about anything that I do.  Ever.  Based on the joy in her eyes I would go so far as to say this resembles someone else’s wife and not the one that I know and love.  I guess the argument could be made that a game that was given this ranking was so bad I became a better husband because it made me never want to play games ever again and thus the adoring female.

2.When she thinks you are using your cellphone to prove her wrong

In my mind I refer to this one as, “are you trying to prove me wrong on Wikipedia” grade.  This is when one really isn’t that highly involved enough in a game to draw the full aggression, but has just enough that they have noticed us constantly being on a phone or computer. Most of the time cellphone games rank in this area resulting in me not actively taking part in whatever adventure she thinks is happening and she is aware of that, but unsure why.  The above comment about Wikipedia was from one such advent where I simply agreed and allowed things to drop instead of letting on that I wasn’t even listening in the first place.

3.3star alone

This is where I think my wife is most of her life, why she continues to love me is anyone’s guess (I like to believe that she constantly uses the wrong dosage on the poison and I have simply built up a resistance.).  With my buying and playing habits of games it is enough that it annoys her that I am using the TV instead of letting her watch Downton Abbey or something equally not video games.  Generally I get this face a ton with the “just a couple more minutes” line while attempting to blow her off and play a game instead of paying attention.  Please notice the hint of sadness in her eyes as she has realized that, on some level, this is a little her fault too.

4.4star alone

This is the kind or reaction that a game should get from my wife.  See the seething rage?  See how she is about to start bringing up my short comings and stupid things that I did just weeks after we met?  This is the game that completely reducing my marriage to my wife being infuriated at me for completely avoiding basic attempts at human contact.  This isn’t a divorce or attempted murder, because I think that she still thinks there is hopes of “fixing” things.  This is the moment that she has decided to stop being nice, but also knows that she can still break the game disc if needed.

5.5star alone

The things that were said about number 4 no longer apply.  I am either going to be murdered in my sleep or very publicly as she calls her friends over to watch the terrible and horrible things that she does to my once life filled body.  It doesn’t matter, a game that ranks at level five means that I won’t even leave the front of the television during the assault.  When the police come to question her she will get off on the technicality that the jails have become over run with women who did the same thing and they simply can’t be bothered with it anymore.

Review: Ultra Core 3 Mouse

Behold past me! The future!

At my desk at home I have an old Logitech gaming mouse that has been my primary device for years.  It is so sensitive that passing cars will occasionally awake my computer.  I am able to adjust the weight of it to the half-ounce and have a sense that the thing has slowly become an extension of my hand.  I also paid around 100 dollars for the thing and thought very hard about just how insane it sounded to be spending that much money on something that normally comes free with the purchase of anything.

The problem has been that there have only ever really been two camps when it came to buying a mouse, those that are purely functional and forgettable and those that are highly crafted precision devices that people from the 80’s would have based science-fiction on.  There has been plenty of room for the middle ground to be filled with function and awesome gaming mice, but it seems to have been largely ignored. That is until Ultra Core 3 came out with one of the first affordable mice that can be replaced when a random beverage gets dropped on it.

Behind it is my awesome bar

Stop playing games, damnit!
It will only get her this mad because I won’t stop using it for “testing reasons” during my review time

The Gun 3 does some really interesting things right out of the box, namely having a rapid fire mode that is fancy enough to change the color of the mouse wheel.  There is also software included in the box that brags that it can reduce weapon recoil and correct all kinds of odd mouse related issues within a game.  While that is all really cool, and the rapid fire mouse clicking is something that would be neat for some games, I am pretty sure that these are exactly the type of things that most servers look for in the way of cheating software and would probably quickly end in a ban from playing there again.

What Ultra Core 3 has managed to hit on is making a really solid inexpensive product that feels pretty good in ones’ hand.   The cord of the mouse is a decent length as well, which is also something that you don’t normally see in a mouse under 60 dollars.  The beauty of this device is that it feels like something that would normally cost more, but it comes in at an economic price.  At the time of this writing the suggested price of the mouse is 30 dollars, but considering the way that computer hardware fluctuates from site to site it can easily be purchased for almost half of that.

The only real problem with the Gun 3 is that it isn’t a more expensive product, which is pretty much an unfair comparison.  For all intents and purposes this mouse is costs the same as almost any terrible and forgettable attachment that comes free with a computer,  and yet the only fair way to talk about it is by bringing up things that cost far more.  Sure, the software that comes with it is probably going to get you banned from a server if you attempt to use it, and calibrating it is probably more difficult than just getting better at the game, but for the price you really can just have two of these laying around on the off chance that that ultra-expensive Logitech mouse dies.

Review: Code of Princess

The 3DS has been out for a while now, but it is still hard to pick up a game that has any form of staying power.  Sure there are the odd titles, normally directly from Nintendo, that manage to entertain for a while—none of them have that must buy feeling.  That was, of course, until Code of Princess came out.

The gameplay is simple enough, 2D beat ‘em up with basic RPG elements, but the nuances that really make the difference.  It might be easy enough to mash the B button and power through the larger chunk of the story missions, but it is when playing through the challenges that the game really starts to require the player to learn the depth of the controls.  Hidden underneath is something akin to fighting game controls, from each character knowing a slew of different combos and special attacks to balancing the right time to use the characters magic to do double damage.  It might not seem like much at first but the deeper into the game one delves the easier it is to see just how much fun it really can be.

Also, as an interesting note, the game allows the players to unlock almost every single sprite that is used in the game as a playable character in the bonus modes.  Playing through the game with the main character that is clearly destined to save the world is all well and good, but beating the last boss on the hardest difficulty with an eight year-old girl is nothing short of designed bragging rights.  What ends up coming out is hidden depths of the game that seem to be willing to reward the player the more that they want to invest in it.

On a side note it should be pointed out that the music in the game is oddly addictive, and one of the only true complaints is that the soundtrack that comes with the game simply isn’t full enough.  It is an odd experience when I had to bring my 3DS over to a friend’s apartment simply to play the shop music so he could fully understand why I couldn’t get it out of my brain.  While that might be the most catchy tune it does set the rest of the soundtrack up, and is helped along the way by a fully voice acted story.

Sometimes there is exactly the right game at exactly the right time, for me that was Code of Princess.  While on the surface it might look like a standard 2D beat ‘em up that takes heavy influence from Guardian Heroes it ends up feeling like so much more.  For a system that was starving for something that fitted the format almost perfectly, Code of Princess is closer to a saving grace than most people will give it credit for.  Sadly it seems to be such an obscure genre and contain such a niche appeal it might be looked over by most people.