AI: Somnium Files Review

I enjoyed AI: Somnium Files developed and published by Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd. It’s a visual novel with a strong detective murder mystery with some science fiction elements. Yes, like any typical game, there is a lot of saving to do because young girls do need help even when they are bratty and acting all tough! After all, being killed by a sadistic rapist is the worst nightmare that can happen to any girl! You can’t expect a psychopath to have empathy? Do you?

Misuki praying
Poor Mizuki who is only 12, tried so hard to be strong when she is actually mourning for the loss of her mother.

Story

First off, I want to warn readers that I don’t recommend this game to those who don’t have a healthy sense of humor and who are quick to slap anything that has to do with sexuality as misogyny. Quite the contrary, the game is not even misogynistic. The sexual jokes are mild compared to what I see on Twitter and from the former U.S. president. Despite my defense for this game, it doesn’t mean I accept locker room talk. But the jokes are there to poke fun at the protagonist’s singleness. After all, you are playing as the nice, perverted guy who is possibly bi-sexual.

Date looks like a girl
C’mon, look at Date’s face (the protagonist). He can pass off as a pretty woman.

I think that is why I could laugh at the part where Date hit on the 36-year-old receptionist who looks like an idol but is too old to be one. I say as long you can afford anti-aging creams and live comfortably then you are set for life. The average women care more about their appearance and health than they actually would admit as the motivating factor to why they work on top of the fact no one wants to end up homeless. But of course, there are exceptions. So more power to the receptionist for learning how to enjoy life in the moment (as long as you live responsibly that is). It takes a lot of soul searching to find contentment.

I used to work with an older woman who said if she had big boobs she’d flaunt it off. Not to attract men, but for her own liveliness. She was drunk when she said it though.

But I do see how someone would call this game misogynist. I suppose when you analyze a piece of creative work, you got to learn how to put things into context. So don’t dismiss this game because of its humor. On a serious note, there are a lot of heavy subjects around the concept of dream, reality, and AIs and whole bunch other stuff. And what I noticed is that there is a sense of optimistic, progressive thinking about the future of society, or a sense of acceptance on the writer’s part. It’s not just the topic of AIs I am talking about, but also the LGBT community in general.This game is a product of its time.

Aiba looking content
Aiba, the AI who is Date’s detective partner, agrees that human intuition is good from time to time, which is something rational, logical AIs lack.
Mizuki at Marble Bar
Mizuki is accepting of the LGBT community but still shows a sign of uncomfortableness.

I think the balance between seriousness and humor in the game is well done, and that is what I look for when I rate a good game. Even when I completed the game (there are multiple endings) there are still many mysteries to solve and once you solve the remaining mysteries of the story, everything just blows up in your face like fireworks. Overall, the pacing of the story is nice just as much as the colorful cast. Great game for mystery fans.

Gameplay

I played the demo on PS4 so I knew what to expect when I bought the game for PC. There are some differences in terms of user experience obviously. I played with mouse and keyboard but you can also play with a controller. I just stick with mouse and keyboard. I also noticed the game on the PC tends to glitch out occasionally, but it doesn’t happen frequently when I changed the graphic setting. I don’t know what it’s like for PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

While solving a case…this happened. It’s kind of artistic!

Gameplay wise, it did great at creating urgency but can get annoying because it does not reward you based on your skills to solve a case in 6 minutes. It did however, reward you on basic arithmetic skills! You have to select Timie to save seconds from being used on the top left side of the screen. Failure to select Timie correctly and the correct choices will penalize you for using seconds in real time and some of them take big chunks!

I had crossed eyes or something when I was playing the game because I mistook TIMIE for TIME. For awhile I kept proceeding without selecting the TIMIE on top center of the screen.

I found myself several times retrying and restarting the case due to running out of time. Some cases can get pretty tough especially if you are trying to solve it within 1 second remaining to obtain one of the trophies. If that sounds complicated. Do not fret. It will take trials and errors to get it right. Getting all the trophies was worth it.

I pride myself on my determination. I did it!

Overall, I thought the mix of shooting, investigating and solving puzzles were interesting. Not one moment was I bored. The concept of pyscning into someone’s dream to uncover hidden clues seems pretty high tech and futuristic. Is it ethical? Not really! I already feel invaded by tech companies collecting my data. It’s like exposing your underwear for strangers to see. Ugh…

mercenaries hovering over to look at bra

Sound

I realized I don’t write much about sound production and voice acting. But they do make a difference in the quality of any video game. At the beginning of the game, I kept switching from English to Japanese language to see which voice cast I prefer to listen to. Eventually I stick with the Japanese voice cast because I prefer Aiba’s Japanese voice over the English voice because ironically she sounds more natural. Believe it or not Aiba is an evolved AI who has a personality of her own and who has the free agency to think for herself. It makes sense to personify her a bit even though she lives inside the protoganist’s eye and she is just an AI. She is also Date’s alter ego. But I won’t go into detail behind my reasoning. That will be another post for a different time if I decide to write about the eye metaphor.

Lastly, the soundtrack composed by Keisuke Ito is decent and the sound effects are seamless enough that I don’t even recognized the music sometimes. It’s great because I felt immersed in the game, but I can’t say I am all that into idol pop culture music though. So the soundtrack didn’t stood out to me as much as other quality story-driven games. However, I do enjoy the Ikume Shrine theme because I just like all things zen.

Conclusion

This game is far from boring and simplistic. It has good soundtrack, good story, fun gameplay and good humor. Who doesn’t enjoy laughing? It’s a great way to release stress. Time is well spent when you are doing something you enjoy especially if it is also thought-provoking.

P.S.

I was having a hard time writing a review for this game and learned that I can use some sort of structure to make my writing process easier. I don’t know if I will stick to this format though, but I did enjoy putting it together.

The Evil Within 2: Not My Cup of Tea

The spooky month is here. The world is ending. Just kidding! Looking through my blog, I thought why not revive an old blog post? I remember I was so excited to play this game that I published a review without finishing it. To my disappointment, I spoke too soon. So I revised the entire blog post a couple of times and re-published it. The game has potential, but unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. 

I am a stickler when it comes to survival horror games since it is my favorite video game genre. I believe the concept more than the scare factor plays the most important role in developing an engaging horror game. For instance, Silent Hill 2 will always be my favorite survival horror game because the developers know exactly how to define horror and create a game that still haunts me to this day. When I see fog, I think of Silent Hill. The game is that memorable. All thanks to the game’s art direction and the superb original soundtrack (The people behind the game are quite talented). There are so many juicy symbolisms I got to get my hands on. But this post is not going to be about me ranting and analyzing the Silent Hill franchise and what makes it great. I’ve seen a couple of those insightful articles and videos about the game, so I don’t need to provide further input, or should I? This is about The Evil Within 2 and my thoughts about it. Please keep in my mind, I am not a fan of cinematic games (oddly most games are inspired by movies). So, of course, there are going to be some biases.

With any artistic medium (I think some video games are a form of art), it’s wise not to imitate even if you are under the spell of nostalgia. I am not a fan of imitation, but I am okay with inspiration. You can admire a classic game that haunts people after they are done with the game, but reinventing the same thing doesn’t frighten people or set the game apart. Why? Because the player already walked the same path before.

“If there is no suspense, there’s no horror.”

I quote myself, Halsdoll, a survival horror junkie

The Evil Within 2 feels like a confused horror, amusement park. It cannot decide whether it wanted to be an action or horror game. What disappointed me about the game was its strong opening. The game introduction was atmospherically scary. Yes, there was a little chase here and there. Fun for a bit, but then it got sloppy as soon as all the suspense got dispersed, and the story reached its climax. From there on, I found myself playing a cheap thrill. If the gameplay is lacking then I expect a decent story, but this game has neither of them. The Evil Within 2 felt like someone was forced to make a horror game. He knows all the ingredients for making a horror game but doesn’t know how to improvise it to make it uniquely his signature dish. Why recycle boss enemies once it has been defeated? Why do I need to level up my skill trees to make the game a bit more fluid? What purpose does it serve? Why is the black man evil? Oh no, I hope this game is not racist. I started asking myself, “Why am I playing this game? Let’s just hold our breath and just beat the game already.”

I would have enjoyed the game more if Juli Kidman was the protagonist but then the game would not appeal to gamers who are dads themselves or to the large gaming male demographic.

Juli Kidman, posing in white blouse
Juli Kidman-pic source

The story about trying to save the daughter is a classic tale. But I wonder, aren’t there enough survival horror games with a similar plot? Why didn’t they just make a movie instead of making a game? I would have enjoyed it as a movie. Well, at least the trailer is enjoyable to watch:

White Knight Chronicles (PS3) Review

I still remember back in 2010, I know nothing about this game. I was at the gaming department of the store and I thought the cover looked cool and I am going to have fun with it. So, I bought the game on a whim. Subconsciously, I already know that it’s a high-quality game. After all, if you are a fan of Rogue Galaxy developed by Level-5 and Japan Studio, it has that same adventurous charm. I didn’t play the game as soon as I bought it. At the time, I was a college student who was overwhelmed with intense writing courses (whoever said writing is easy should think twice). I waited until summer break to the play game. As I mentioned before in my previous blog post: Fashionable JRPG Video Games (PS3), the game has a high learning curve, and I didn’t feel like sitting hours learning the gaming mechanics when my time was occupied with school work. This is not the game you can play with a breeze if you want to enjoy the game to its max, especially for someone as thorough as me. It is a hit-or-miss game to some folks.

Initially, I thought the story of this game is generic. To some extent, yes, but I didn’t mind it so much playing the second time around. The male protagonist, Leonard is a shiny white-knight armor who has come to rescue a princess named Cisna who happens to be a reincarnation of a queen from an ancient civilization. He later learns that he is one of the 5 knights who was chosen during infancy for an ancient war that never did get resolved. I think I said more than I should about the plot but the game only takes about 30 hours to complete if you just focus on the story. It’s not so long for a JRPG and this is where it might turn off some JRPG fans who emphasize the story. Keep in mind though, there are three parts to this series: White Knight Chronicles II and White Knight Chronicles Origins (available only on the PSP). However, unlike Tales of Arise, which I thought has a mediocre story, the game has so much to offer in terms of gameplay and stage designs, which often go unnoticed by video game reviewers because most people review games from a player and not from a creative perspective. Some of the stages reminded me of going through a maze. It’s pretty massive for those who love to explore. It’s a puzzle in itself. Its biggest selling point, however, is the ability to create your hometown and upload its online server for other players to visit, join and create quests. For someone who doesn’t play MMORPG, it was exciting. I get to meet other random players.

I have never played Monster Hunter, but it is sort of similar to that. You grind to get rare drops to enhance your armor or weapon, and oh boy when you do finally get the rare drop from so many attempts, you get that adrenaline rush. I wonder is that the same feeling that gamblers experience? Anyway, you can see how addictive the game is. Sometimes not for the better. I had to say NO to online games because of this game, which apparently, I didn’t play many of them beforehand, but it only takes one to let me know if it’s the type of game I want to invest my time in. Also, the social part of the game can be quite entertaining because we all know that players are more unpredictable than playing with an AI. The downside is that time is precious and I got other games to complete, which is why I tend to stick with single-player games.

For some JRPG fans, this is a terrible game, but for a few of us–this game is really fun. It’s a hybrid game: half single-player game and half-multiplayer game. It’s an interesting concept for the Playstation3 that offers a seamless, relaxing game experience. The combos and moves are pretty fun to execute. It also has an excellent soundtrack. On top of that, the cutscenes are far more charming and impressive than in Tales of Arise. I hope someday, this franchise would return. It has a lot of potential and it’s a work of art.

Spirit Hunter: Death Mark Review (PS4)

I finished playing Death Mark (PS4 version), a visual novel game. I was pleasantly surprised by the game because I didn’t expect what I was expecting. No, this game did not give me the chills, did not mess with my mind, or give me a cheap haunted house thrill. Instead, the game left me pondering about Japan’s society as a whole. There were many mature themes posed in the game. It’s not a bad thing because it made me think.

There are 6 chapters total in the PS4 version (I don’t know about the vita version). The content of the game is decently proportioned (not a fan of playing long games due to having adult life’s responsibilities). The story flows well into each chapter. One thing I enjoyed about the game is the characters’ illustrations. All of them are interesting, including the monster designs. And of course, the sound production most often goes unnoticed but it matters a lot in horror games. In the game, people just keep popping up in the mansion at night. The mansion resembled the mansion in Resident Evil. Unexpected visitors arrived at the mansion after obtaining a mysterious mark. To get rid of the mark they must defeat the spirit that gave it to them in the first place. Time is ticking. So there is some urgency in the game; your life and those around you are on the line.

Oddly, the gameplay reminded me of a guessing game. You have to read between the lines to answer the questions correctly. You can see honne tataemae taking effect in the game. If you don’t know what honne tataemae is, it means knowing how to read air. For instance, in Chapter 2, we find a suicidal man in the woods, on the verge of killing himself. The player is given a selection of choices to answer his questions. Given the situation, you don’t necessarily speak what you think, which is very Japanese, although I heard that the idea of honne tataemae originated from China, but don’t quote me on that. Basically, you don’t speak your true thoughts around strangers. In this section of the game, I suppose lying to him is the better route–just so we can keep that harmony because the average American person would have responded in this way: “Yeah you got it rough. Your life sucks, man. You should chase after your dreams and not live for someone else, especially for a h0e.” And the suicidal man would reply: “Thanks man, for making me feel better. Now I want to go kill myself even more.” You get my point, I hope.

Due to the cultural context, I have found some of the choices sorts of irrelevant from time to time and wouldn’t say the gameplay is its biggest strength. After all, this is a visual novel (don’t worry visual novel fans, I am not discrediting it as a game). The game, however, is engaging enough to keep me “flipping the pages”. The player must read the text in each chapter carefully. Reading the text in each chapter closely provides clues on how to defeat the boss. The gameplay style is not for the adrenaline junkies who are used to relying on their reflexes to push buttons to get by. Instead, the game leans toward using detective skills, which oddly makes it a relaxing horror game to play. This is the type of game that would be fun to play with a group of female friends or with your significant other, or alone in the dark is okay too.

Overall, I enjoyed the game. My only gripe about this game is the portrayal of women. Then I can’t complain too much because the story is told from a male perspective and is intended for the male demographic. Patriarchal society likes to think frail women are not just physically weak, but also in mind and soul. So, there’s a little bit of a sexism undertone–a mistrust toward women in the game. But that’s okay. I’ll just sit still like the evil doll I am and watch Satoru Mashita go through all the trouble for laughs and giggles. After all, this is Japan we are talking about. Nonetheless, it’s a good horror game.

 Note: Originally posted in 2019. Revised 4/11/2022.

Halsdoll’s Progress Report Card (Video Game & Book Backlogs)

Well, I finally got Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin out of my system. I beat it. It was fun exploring each stage and now I’m all shackled up and become one with the dark. I feel so accomplished–not really because I enjoyed the fairy-tale world atmosphere to part with it. It’s been a great companion for so long. On the bright side, I can start jumping into new games without feeling as if I have forgotten to do something important.

I beat DS2
I finally sit on a throne. It’s not all that comfortable….apparently.
I beat Ds2!!
Hurray!! I am the queen of darkness!

I’m also proud to say I finished Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. I felt as if I ran a Harry Potter Marathon. Two more books to go until I finish the main series. I tell myself I need a bit of a break from the series to process everything I read but found myself starting on the 6th book after just taking one day from reading. Surely, I will write down my thoughts in the upcoming future on the Order of Phoenix. So expect that. Just in case, new folks happen to land on my blog and who is also Harry Potter fan (hi, hello nice to meet you!), please check out my previous Harry Potter posts:

As for video game backlogs, I really am trying to give Sakura Wars a chance even though typically I am not into dating games. I am now on Chapter 3. Checking Howlongtobeat.com website helped me prioritize what games I want to tackle first even though I did say I tried not to make a list. And yet, with Elden Ring lurking around the corner (I’m writing this on the 24th, it comes out on the 25th), I feel as if a chunk of my time for games will be focused on Elden Ring. This means I will drop Sakura Wars for the time being. Yes, if there is such thing as game-hopping like bar-hopping, (not much of a drinker or a socializer unless it’s about video games) I’m trying to find my new favorite drink (I mean game) because I am going to need a lot of booze to escape from current events which it doesn’t seem to get any better by the day.

Playing Sakura Wars
Photoshoot with the girls from Sakura Wars
Playing Sakura Wars
I told you he is like a rooster….

Well, that is it for this weekly post. So important that I had to share when there are far more serious things out there. I know, but this blog helps me stay sane. Until next time. See you!

P.S.

I know I spend a lot of time with games and speed is not my biggest strength. Why do some games grade me on my performance? Ah…..I play to escape. Making adjustments to my report on Sakura Wars made me feel better. 

Playing Sakura Wars

What I Learned from Playing Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

Originally posted on Aug. 24, 2017; Revised Dec. 12, 2021

Perhaps, I am a child at heart but I really prefer the simplistic gameplay approach, especially when the story is the focal point.  The content of this game is quite mature but with light gameplay, which is both suitable for adults and children. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, an action-adventure RPG, developed by Namco and Tri-Crescendo, is about a boy’s journey toward finding warmth in the post-apocalyptic world. It has a typical story but it took advantage of the video game medium to produce a unique experience.

What I enjoyed about the game is that it’s beautiful and atmospheric.  According to the trailer, it is supposed to have horror elements, which ironically, it’s far from scary, but more so cute like Casper the ghost, but a little lonely.  The player plays the protagonist, a young man named Seto who is on the search for human civilization.

Throughout the game, Seto is accompanied by caring loving companions who are not humans.  The most memorable companion to me is Crow, who appears to be a big tea drinker like myself based on his clothes. His encounter with the robot is my favorite part of the game.

It was fun chasing and hunting down Crow because it reminded me of playing hide and seek and playing tag. For a moment, I didn’t mind taking a break from trying to find the silver hair girl.

That section of the game illustrates an important point made by one of the characters, Chiyo:

“It’s the sunbeams, the wind rolling over grass and the idle chit chat with friends [are] the gems of life.”

The moment where Seto chased Crow to get his locket back is special and left a huge impression on me. It made realized how we must not forget during our journey in life to enjoy the present moments. That is called living. However, the game also wanted to make another important point: Crow is a robot. Even if we find happiness in the substitution of artificial life, including digital ones–it does not replace real-life human interaction.  Thus, it’s the silver hair girl that can offer Seto a real authentic relationship even if it involves conflict and misunderstanding between both people. Lastly, Sai, one of the main supporting characters, helped me understand that words may not always be the best form of expression, but it’s not entirely useless. Words fill in the part where visual cue fails to communicate simple things such as Seto wanting Ren, the silver hair girl, to be his companion. He wants his memories to live on by sharing them with someone.

Overall, the game provided a philosophical explanation for the continuation of existence, despite the dark side of humanity where most people would want to withdraw and disconnect from all forms of human interaction. The world would be a pretty lonely place when we only answer to ourselves. I thought the game successfully illustrated these points through gameplay and atmosphere. If you haven’t played this game already, check it out. And if you have played it, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear them.

Credits: Picture sources found at fragiledreams.fandom.com/wiki

My Video Game Shopping List: More JRPG Games

Looking back this year, all I played are RPG games, and going forward I will continue to play lengthy games that require big-time investment. There’s something addictive about it, especially when you started learning and appreciating the battle system of the game on top of great storytelling.

So far, I have put in 49 plus hours in Tales of Xillia. And just finished the game as Mila Maxwell. I have yet to play Jude Mathius’ route. Yes, you can select either one to complete the story. The replay value is great for gamers who want to get the most out of their money. I remember I only spent 20 dollars on the limited edition which came with an artbook and a soundtrack which is so cool because these days we don’t get an artbook or a video game instruction pamphlet anymore.

Like books, I do feel accomplished for beating a great game. And will probably look into other Tales games afterward. Its cinematic cut scenes are high quality and refreshing. I found myself sometimes just watching the opening trailer over and over before hitting the Continue button. Games like this reminded me of why I started hunting for quality games in the first place. Will give Tales of Xillia a proper review at a later time.

So here are three games in my shopping cart:

1) Sakura Wars

Videogame shopping list

Out of pure curiosity, I want to see what the hype is all about. A few random gamers on Twitter kept praising the game saying how it missed the radar. You know how fanatic gamers can get defensive about their games. It’s like religion. So, being the skeptic that I am, I want to play the game for myself. Then I can make the decision and write it on my blog because I’m a passionate gamer and I don’t have anything else better to do such as wasting time on social media! Oh wait, I think I am a hypocrite. I did hear about the game on Twitter where busy adult gamers randomly tweet video game stuff.

2) Neo: The World Ends With You

video game shopping list

My brother told me about this game and anything brother likes is most likely good. In fact, I used to go to him for video game recommendations and it never fails. So, this one is going on my backlog once I purchase it! Plus, according to an article, I read recently, it didn’t sell well. I’m all for advocating for niche games so they are definitely getting my business.

3) Tales of Arise

Well…no mystery here. I actually enjoy the Tales series and appreciate quality games so I know the chance of being disappointed is slim. Unless, the series becomes like Dynasty Warrior games, then I might get tired eventually. Right now, a good story and some pretty visual gameplay that are manageable are what I’m looking for. Games like Elder Ring can wait. I’m just not in the mood for another soul-like game. All thanks to the git gud fan base. I still have not completed Dark Souls II DLCs. It is a shame because I love Fromsoftware as a game developer. They produce some high-quality games for sure. But like any business, you got to cater to your customers to keep them coming back, and sometimes that’s not always good for developers and gaming enthusiasts.

Yes, I know it’s all PS4. I am not in rush to buy PS5 and I am a PlayStation fan. It’s really all about the innovation and the story for me more than the competitive play. It just happens that the PlayStation console wins my time.

Well, that’s it for now. I know I am a little late, and a little tardy as I normally post on Mondays. I am only human. Hope you found something interesting on this list!

3 Admirable Female Video Game Characters (My List)

People admire the strength and expect to see it in video games but strength is typically associated with men. Well, we all know that women are great. It’s 2021, right? Then why are we still debating about gender roles? I don’t know, but I see a more and more strong female lead like Aloy from Horizon (2017) developed by Guerrilla Games in the media. She looks realistically fit for the role. She looks strong. Hurray, for female representation and to all the feminists!

Seriously though what is strength? Strong will? Defiance? Bold? Does inner strength count? I believe so. So, if you don’t have prominent features, that’s okay. Strength comes in different shapes and sizes.

Generally, I like female characters. A lot of them. Given the chance, I rather play as a female than a male because I think women are cool. The following characters I am about to list have more masculine traits than feminine but that’s because princesses don’t take action in video games, but princesses are cool too if they are given a voice (Sorry otome games don’t count because it’s not my cup of tea).

Here is my 3-list of cool girls!

Aya Brea from Parasite EVE

Aya Brea

One of my favorite female characters that many female gamers will mostly find agreeable is Aya Brea. Her fashion sense is quite simple: plain white t-shirt, leather jacket (she wears a jacket in the game) and jeans. There is an air of coolness to her. She holds a gun and she is not afraid to face danger. That’s how the game started when her date didn’t turn out well at the Opera show. It’s fun to explore and play a detective who doesn’t have a sport-illustrated body like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. When I was a teen, I looked up to Aya Brea, thinking that’s the type of woman I want to be, the one who takes action and makes things happen. It gave a puny stick-figure teenage girl like myself a chance to daydream of becoming strong once upon a time. But definitely not with a gun–with a pen or a keyboard. That’s how I get my point across.

#2 Lucatiel of Mirrah from DARK SOULS II

Lucatiel of Mirrah

What’s so admirable about her? She is a very skilled fighter who eventually lost sight of why she wielded the sword. She came from an unprivileged social status and had to carve her way to make a name for herself just like all the nameless heroes (Dark Souls players) that walk into the fog in search of an answer. She is often seen alone. Well, most NPCs are alone in the Dark Souls universe and perhaps that’s why I like her. I can’t give enough respect to women who pick themselves up from the bottom and make a name for themselves. On top of that, I like loners because some of us just work better alone.

Last but not least!!!

#1 Xiuying Hong from SHENMUE II also known as Lishao Tao

Xiuying Hong

What do I like about her? A woman of few words who gets her point across through actions. She is not only strong physically but mentally. At age 26, (she reminds me more of a 40-year-old), she is in charge of the Man Mo Temple in Scarlet Hills. In the game, she serves as a guardian to Ryo Hazuki, the main character who is bent on avenging his father’s death. She taught him to slow down by making him catch leaves and carry books. The purpose is to distract him from thinking about his bloodthirsty revenge that would only turn him into a murderer himself which is to find Lan Di and kill him. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of thinking, which makes her the most admirable female video game character in my book.

Wise words from Shenmue II

Since I’m currently playing Tales of Xilla and I have been enjoying it, I would like to throw in an honorable mention: Milla Maxwell is now one of my admirable video game female characters.

Why do I like her? Not only is she beautiful, she firmly believes in protecting humans and spirits. Plus, she spends all her time studying humans and the world in her shrine so she can protect them. Now, that is a goddess and a character I admire. I love her godly determination.

Well, that pretty much sums up my 3-list post for the week. Until next time, I hope you enjoy this list.

Some Halloween Posts for you Festive Folks

There are times when I feel motivated to write and then there are times when I feel uninspired to write especially around the holiday. I am not all that festive but I tried to be because a holiday is a great reminder that we should celebrate and have fun. Today, I am taking the easy route by recycling some older posts I have written.

It may seem as if I would never run out of things to talk about for Halloween because horror is my favorite genre, but in the past two years since Covid-19 happened, I am just not in the mood for horror and dark. I think we have seen enough of it in the media when people start dropping like flies or at least I have seen enough in my life. There is time to grieve and there is time to celebrate. These days, I want to celebrate life without ignoring that we are living in scary times. For mental health’s sake, I find myself attracted to games like Tales of Xilia on the PS3, which I bought about 7 years ago! The game is about a goddess saving infants from playing with dangerous toys. Okay being sarcastic. I borrowed the words from the game! So far from what I am gathering, the female lead, Milla Maxwell is trying to protect the world from a mass destructive weapon. How does this game fit into celebrating life? Well, it’s about protecting the world and living in harmony with nature. What did you think? Did I make a great saleswoman?

Enough ranting, here are some horror-related posts you might have missed if you are new to my blog:

We got so many options these days to be entertained but too many options sort of discouraging me from binging shows on Netflix. I have seen a few decent films but not enough to write about it:

  • Level 16 directed by Danishka Esterhazy (on Netflix)
  • Fear Street Part One: 1994 directed by Leigh Janiak (on Netflix)
  • The Thing (2011) directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (on Prime Video)

As for T.V shows, I finally finished Twin Peaks seasons 1 and 2, and Death Note the anime. So, stay tuned for Death Note review but I haven’t decided to write up on Twin Peaks. It’s a great show. Most people know that by now. If there’s a show you think I might like, please leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Until next time, Happy Halloween. Can’t wait to buy discount Halloween candy!

Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin Rant: Crown of the Sunken King (Part II)

The boss fight in this DLC is shit. I said it and I’m not polite about it. In fact, the DLC is not mage friendly. I had to reallocate my stats to equip the right weapon to defeat Elana the Squalid Queen. Finally beat her after pulling a few hair strands from my head (don’t worry it will grow back. I hope!).

What was my tactic? Well, I farmed at Lair of the Imperfect bonfire for Petrified Dragon Bone to upgrade the Drakeblood Greatsword to +5. The beasts down there drop about 1700 souls. However, equipping Covetous Silver Serpent Ring will yield more souls. I used the extra souls to level up STR (strength) and DEX (dexterity). Summoned 2 NPCs for the boss fight. One died in the name of being a tank. Equipped gear with high dark magic defense. Regardless, no easy battle, and we did it! I mean me and my imaginary friends. But I sure feel like a noob in this area.

Was Squalid a fair fight? Can't Say
We did it!

My character is currently level 157. Yes, way too high (haven’t beat the game yet). Got side tracked tinkering things around. Then I realized I’m not making progress. I learned it’s not so much about strategy or timing at this level. The enemies just have high defense. There is a mob of them purposely gaining up on you and mind you better have high resistance to poison. This DLC is purposely hard for hard sake and I don’t really like it.

Trying to get to the Cave of the Dead Bosses Fight
Trying to get down to the boss fight

If you have played Dark Souls II on PS3 and did not purchase the DLC, I would just leave it as it is when the credits start rolling unless you are into the lore and playing for difficulty’s sake. I like to make progress and not get stalled and mainly play this game for artistic exploration. You know like opening an adventure book and reading it except my imagination is limited so I need real visuals to appreciate the fantasy. Dark Souls franchise hit the spot for me. Sadly, I am going to put this game aside even though I have two more DLCs to clear. But then…the ice levels are always my favorite in video games. I can’t just move on. Just look how cool it is. My inner child is beckoning me to come to play with her. So, I just can’t say GOODBYE!!!