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Tales of Symphonia 2nd seal
21 May 2015
Posted in PlayStation

I haven't played Tales of Symphonia for a while thanks to that boss of the 2nd seal (which is labeled as very hard by most players) and because I was playing Star Ocean: The Last Hope when I was playing on the PlayStation 3. Today I picked up Tales of Symphonia again because I so desperately wanted to get past that boss. While fighting I decided to record the battle so I could show how I did it.

Before I laid Tales of Symphonia aside I already tried to beat this boss for a dozen times at least and obviously without any success. This was a month ago for sure. When I picked it up again today I tried with my original party to no avail. The walk trough suggests to take Lloyd, Colette, Kratos and Genis and leave Raine out of the party (though she's an excellent healer). It also tells me to get enough apple and orange gels with me (30% HP and MP regen) and I also had 5 life bottles (resurrection) with me. In all fights I ran out of life bottles and apple gels, which kinda made it a party wipe in the end. I also tried a lot of parties including Kratos, but somehow he's a lasy ass that sticks to healing (even if Raine is set to healing amd Kratos to damage) and that didn't work either. Not to mention, his healing powers totally suck compared to Raine

In the end I gave a party of Lloyd, Colette (as the walkthough stated no choice for her ), Raine and Genis a try. I set Lloyd's EX skills to taunt and tough, basically making him the tank of the party, while Collette and Genis were set to do burst skill usage and Raine set to pure healing. This party setup really paid off, with only Collette to die once because of that massive water AoE that this boss does. I did use a lot of gels though to keep Raine alive (somehow she forgets to heal herself most of the time) and keep the MP of both Raine and Genis up so they could keep using their skills.

I know I said I decided to record the battle, and after half a dozen tries I finally had that lucky 7th battle that succeeded with the above party. Sadly though I totally forgot to record this battle and I don't have the footage to show you

Now that I've defeated this boss and have released the 2nd seal I'll be playing Tales of Symphonia a bit more again. Not alone because I want to play through the game itself, but also because from this game on I have all other games in the Tales series and I want to play them in order. Okay, I gotta admit that Tales of Rebiirth and Tales of the Abyss are not completely legal (ISOs for the emulator), but I will try to get them for PSP and PS2 legally as well...

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Star Ocean 5 announced!
26 April 2015
Posted in PlayStation

I think Star Ocean is an IP that's grown better than that Final Fantasy has done over the last few years. That is from the RPGs made by Square Enix of course There are a lot of better RPGs (for consoles) out there (Tales series comes to mind...)

Anyhow, on I read an article linked to PCGamer where Square Enix would be announcing 3 new games on the upcoming E3. I figured that it could not be a new game in the Final Fantasy series since 15 is around the corner and the Type-0 has just had a remake for the PS4. Therefor I wasn't very interested in this anouncement until last week when I read an update on (once again linked to PCGamer) that the newly announced game would be Star Ocean Integrity and Faithlessness.

Now this is awesome news! Right now I'm playing Star Ocean: The Last Hope on my PS3 and am enjoying the game a lot - even more than I enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII-1! The Last Hope offers a pretty open world and has a number of pretty challenging boss battles. Not to mention, there's crafting and the characters have a pretty deep (and sometimes silly) background. I can only hope that Integrity and Faithlessness will be as good as The Last Hope!

An other interesting thing is that Integrity and Faithlessness is announced for PlayStation 3 and 4 only. Both the fact that it'll be a PlayStation-only title AND that it'll be released on the by now pretty old PlayStation 3 console are pretty interesting and shows once again that PlayStation is THE console to own if you love RPG games.

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Elgato rocks for streaming
13 April 2015
Posted in PlayStation

Like I said yesterday, I decided to give the Elgato Game Capture HD a try and I bought it last weekend. Well, I gotta say that from the moment I installed it I was sold by the thing. Let me make a comparison with the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro from my PlayStation 3 experience (can't really comment on other consoles since I only own a PS2 and PS3 )

First the price of the two. The Elgato is 20 more than the Roxio, but it comes with a PlayStation 3 cable, which the Roxio lacks. That means that for PlayStation 3 owners the price of the two is roughly the same, but for other console owners the Elgato is a bit more expensive. But I think in general that extra 20 for the other console owners is really worth it (read on).

The installation of the Elgato is as simple as that of the Roxio. Just plug it in, install the drivers and software. The Elgato does not come with a CD so you should download the latest version from their site, while Roxio comes with a CD and has a key linked to it (I feel sorry for the person who buys my returned device, though after all this time the thing is still available in the store - I did ask Roxio to remove my key and make it available, but so far it's still linked to my account ).

One of the main reasons I returned the Roxio was the shadows it created on my screen. The Elgato doesn't create such shadows and has a 100% stable pass through of the signal through the device. And speaking about the pass through of the signal... The Roxio had problems switching from 1080p to 720p, forcing me to have my PC on to make the switch, while the Elgato switches resolution without any problem when my PC is turned off. An other important feature is that the Elgato by default supports the 1080p signal when the PC is turned on, while the Roxio needed a software upgrade of the PC drivers to reach 1080p (it only supported 1080i when the PC was turned on).

Then the software supplied by the 2 manufacturers... They both have the same functionality in general, but the Elgato goes a lot further where the Roxio stops. For instance, the Elgato allows you to set your maximum bitrate for streaming and thus the quality of the signal. This while the Roxio uses the maximum bitrate available for the resolution you want to stream on. This means that the Elgato can stream on 720p with as low as 1.6Kbps while Roxio uses the default 2.5Kbps for 720p (and thus isn't optimized for slower upload rates).
An other good feature the Elgato software has and the Roxio software lacks is the ability to stream and capture the feed locally. Though it does seem like a feature one would not use a lot, video editors (like myself) certainly will use it. And to make things even better, the Elgato allows you to separate the actual gameplay feed from anything you add on the PC (pictures, webcam and even commentary!)
Last but not least, the Elgato software has a higher quality in general, making the software respond a lot faster than the Roxio software does...

Streaming with both the Elgato and Roxio software also shows some differences. Both support twitch and Yahoo (for obvious reasons), but adding a custom site (like DailyMotion for me) is a lot easier with the Elgato software. Sadly though, the Elgato software only stores 1 streamkey and uses it for all settings, where the Roxio stores the key per streaming site.
Of course, you're not forced to stick with the supplied software. You can use XSplit or Open Broadcaster Software. I'm using the latter for the Eegato (didn't use it with the Roxio so I can't comment on that part) and this speeds up the throughput from the PlayStation 3 to the PC and streaming to the site a lot - especially from the PS3 to the PC. Don't ask me where that extra speed comes from, but I think it has something to do with the Elgato software allowing you to replay while streaming (didn't figure out how that works because I won't use that while playing games).

Though I am very positive about the Elgato, there is one negative to the drivers and/or software. Whenever I start to stream, the PS3's screen blanks for half a second. This happens in both the Elgato software and the OBS software (so it must be the drivers I think). That means that when I want to stream, I have to be in the main menu of the game and not be playing already just to make sure I won't die in the game when that blank screen shows. But aside from that, I think that the Elgato is a much better streaming device than the Roxio is...

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Star Ocean is back!
27 March 2015
Posted in PlayStation

I got a call earlier today that the 'new' 2nd hand Star Ocean game has arrived. I immediately (*AHUM* as fast as I could ) to pick it up. Good thing that the guys in the store already checked the disc for scratches - there were none.

Back at home I immediately started to play, ran from the save point to the beach and ran into the 1st monster I could find to trigger the combat scene there (thats where the game hung itself last week). Sadly, the game hung itself again and I was quite disappointed. Of course I called the store and he told me that I should delete the pre-installed date (not the saved game of course ) and start the disc again.

That I did. Sadly though, that mere 2Gb that the PS3 needs to copy from the disc to the harddive takes 'a bit longer' than such a copy instruction would take on the PC. So about 10 minutes later I was once again ready to start running from that save point to the beach. And guess what? I was in combat

Now I wonder why that previous (defective) disc I had copied data from the disc to the harddrive without CHECKING the data that's copied. If I copy data from a disc to a harddrive and the disc is damaged, I'll get a notification that it can't read the data. Why on earth does the PS3 not have such a simple failsave build in? And if it's not a PS3 'responsibility' to check copied data, then why didn't the game's installer make the check? Things like this make me really wonder about the quality of a product...

But for now, lets not be bothered about that faulty disc anymore and enjoy the game again!

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Destiny - pleasantly surprised
24 March 2015
Posted in PlayStation

You might know I'm not really the shooter-type of guy. Actually, I suck big-time when it comes to shooter games, mostly because these games are aimed at speed and not tactics. With that negative feeling in mind, I downloaded the Destiny demo for the PS3 and started to play it a bit. Man, was I surprised by the game and it's mechanics!

When starting Desitny I had the choice of 3 classes to play. Obviously I picked the Warlock one, adding some 'magic' to the game. Not to forget, this class seems to be a bit more powerful when it comes to close combat with the 'shield bump' skill that it gives which pushes (and damages) multiple close enemies. Damage that can be quite lethal actually. Some monsters that I push away are killed instantly, while others (higher level ones) drop down to half their health. So when I've pushed them away, I only have to shoot once or twice and they're dead

Then the on-line world... Destiny claims to have one, but so far it looks much more like a HUB (the Tower city) than an actual on-line world. But hey, what to expect from a console based game (*AHUM* Final Fantasy XIV and a couple of other full blown MMORPGs are available for the PS3 ). The Tower city is buzzing with life (players) running around, but sadly no chat (the game doesn't seem to have text-chat, it does however have voice-chat). I'm not sure if there's a limit to the number of players in Tower city, but I guess it'll be 64 or so (regular player limit number for most console games).

Entering a mission there are more hard limits to the number of players that can enter. So far I've done only one and that was with 3 players maximum. And while I didn't open a channel for the mission (or join one), there were 2 other players there doing their thing (it looked like a XP farm). I went on the mission I was given (get the warpdrive for that broken ship I found in the introduction) and played through it. And while regular shooters have pretty tiny maps, this map was HUGE (for shooter standards ).
For me that mission ended in a battle with some boss which I managed to take down after 2 deaths. One death was just some unknowingly thing that I could not get too close to that boss (insta-kill ) when I tried to use that 'shield bump' skill on him. The other death was just bad luck with 4 or 5 NPCs up my ass at the spot where I was shooting from

Last but not least, the thing that really took me in: character progression. Yes, that's something that Bungie really thought about. Not only can you upgrade your weapons and armor, but also your skills. And those skills are bound to the keys of the gamepad and I guess when I grow in level that at one point I can't use them all any more but instead have to take a pick of what I want to use. Skill progression also seems to be linked to the XP gain, because I'm level 2 now and have 2 skills unlocked. Oddly enough, from the looks of it the maximum level is 20 (not sure though), and there are way more skills available...

Will I buy Destiny? Not sure, but certainly not at it's current price of 70 And that 70 is only the base game. Expansions are on it's way at 20 each, or buy the expansion pass for 35. I mean 105 to play a console on-line only game? That's a lot of cash and knowing how the on-line community easily hops from one game to the other it could mean that after a couple of months Destiny is a ghost town like so many other on-line games...

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Star Ocean hanging
21 March 2015
Posted in PlayStation

I remember having played Star Ocean on one of my PlayStation 2's that I used to have in the past. Though I didn't really get far in the game (consoles was not really my thing back then AND I could only play on the TV and not on a monitor like now with the PlayStation 3) the game did leave me a very good impression. And thus I decided to grab Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2nd hand) for the PS3 and play through it.

The start of the game was very slow with about half an hour or movies and cutscenes before I could actually start to play (as with most jRPGs), but that didn't really bother me. For jRPGs this first introduction is really necessary to get the feel of the setting and how things have developed in the current episode of the game. It also allows you to meet various characters in the game that you can play with or which you really need.

After having finally crashed on planet Aeos (somewhat the new Earth) and having 'saved' a couple of NPCs from the local wild life (which would not be there according to the surveys ) I finally got to go out there on my own. The first two 'zones' were pretty easy to go through, each introducing a couple of new monsters (which are obviously a bit harder than the ones I met before). The 3rd zone (where the last crashed ships probably is) already felt more 'open world' and gave me a 'point of no return' at which I jumped down from, ending up on the beach in the movie below.

There on the beach I saw a NPC I had to talk with (prolly the ship I'm looking for, or at least a survivor). Though not really on my way to that NPC directly (not being able to climb up where I just jumped from I guess I do have to go his way) I decided to explore a bit and see what goodies and resources were hidden there.
Untill I accidentally was attacked by a crab on that beach. The battle sequence started, I heard the battle music (the movie below is silent because I was using headphones), the screen goes white to load the battle and...stayed white...

Okay, perhaps that was just a glitch. Quit the game (the PS3 was not hanging, this is clearly a software oading problem), and I gave it a new try. Walk through the zone (Star Ocean isn't very giving on save points - which I like ) and get to an other crab on that beach - a white screen again Third try to get to the beach and attack anything else but a crab and once more a white screen (that's the above movie).

Man, I was sad and frustrated there. Finally I got to play a game I was looking for, enjoying it and this happens When I took out the disc and looked at it, I saw that it had 2 very light scratches, the ones that every CD or DVD would simply ignore. And having bought this game only a couple of days ago, I decided to go back to the store. They indeed confirmed that this problem might be caused by those light scratches (hurray for Blue-Ray ) and I got my money back since they had to order this game from an other store. When they looked at the stock of other stores they saw that there were a couple more available and promised me to order one the next day (I was there Thursday evening) and would have it next week's Saturday - it the transfer went quick.

I'm kinda sad now because I can't play Star Ocean for at least a week. I really enjoyed the approximate 3 hours I played it. I also hope that this white screen indeed is caused by that light scratch and not something caused by the game itself (should I jump down there already is what I've been wondering).

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WATCH_DOGS, or is it GTA?
10 March 2015
Posted in PlayStation

So I bought WATCH_DOGS las Sunday (apolagees for the typo I made with the game's name last time ), but so far it doesn't really feel like a role-playing game that it should be. Instead it feels much more like a Grant Theft Auto clone to me, which is really a bad thing because I hate that game (yes I bough them in a cheap Steam bundle a long time ago).

Why the GTA feeling..? The start mission to get to know the game was just awesome. You've found the guy who killed your little niece and you want to hear his employer. This all happens at the last inning of the baseball game in basements of the Chicago stadium. You gotta get out of there unnoticed and a friend of yours came up with the brilliant idea (*NOT*) to stage a gang scene and call the cops.

So far so good. But with all the cops around you gotta egt out of there and your friend has arranged a car for you. I get in an... Bingo - 2 cops up my tail trying to get me for the scene in the stadion (how did they know it was me in the first place..?). Next up is a race, race and more racing to ditch those 2 cops (yes, very much GTA).

Next I continue on the campaign story (I always want to play those before I really get into open-world content), and my sister calls me for her son's b-day. That same friend of mine again was nice enough to arrange a car for me and I get coordinates on where to pick it up. I knew the car was stolen, but not a single cop around searching for the car, but the moment I step behind the wheel, there are 3 cops alarmed and... Yes, once again I need to ditch them (and there comes GTA once again). IT TOOK ME FUCKING A DOZEN TIMES TO GET THROUGH IT!!! Oh, did I mention I suck at driving cars in games..? You really don't want to see what the car (a muscle car BTW) looked like each and every time I failed (or that one time I made it ) - I guess that $200K car was worth only $2 in the end

Then the b-day at my sister's place. She got a call which I 'overheard' (read: hacked into) and she's threatened with her and her son's life (has something to do with my character...). I leave her house, spot the person threatening her and he takes of IN A CAR and my mission updates that I can't let him escape >:( (here we go again GTA..).

At this point I shut it down because I had to go to the company doctor (see my other post today). I really want to play through this game's campaign. I've heard real good stories about it, but if I have to keep racing cars, I'd much rather grab a Need for Speed alike game and race there. WATCH_DOGS is about hacking and so far I'm not really hacking my way through, other than hacking cars into scrap. IMO they should have left out those racing scenes OR give the player the option to pursue in a different way. Oh well, lets see how far this game brings me, or rather how many cars I crash before deleting it...

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Think I'll grab Watch Dogs
08 March 2015
Posted in PlayStation

I always thought Watch Dogs was a game like the GTA series is. An open world game with lots of fighting and a forced gameplay (which is not really my thing). I much rather play in an open-world and just do my thing, but well, Watch Dogs being pretty recently released and way too expensive for my taste, I never really took a good look at what the game is like...

That was until this week. Right now, the Digital Deluxe edition is on sale in the PlayStation Store with a massive 75% discount. 20 (for the PS3 version) is something I might pay for a ;game that might appeal to me. But still not knowing what the game is like, I decided to first look at some gameplay videos on YouTube...

When watching the above the one thing that really struck my eyes (or rather ears) was the developers comment on 2:35: "One thing that was really important to us when we designed Watch Dogs was to fully support different player styles. Every situation in the game can be tackle the way the player seems fit.". The moment I heard this I was like "OMG I gota have this game!". I mean, an open-world game allowing me to play the game I want? Though it's not a real RPG game, it surely gives me that feeling

There is only one problem witgh purchasing this game. As I've already mentioned before, I have way too many games I still have to play for the PS3, and adding a game like this would only add to this problem...

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FF13 no longer about skills or fun
27 February 2015
Posted in PlayStation
I've has quite a fun ride with Final Fantasy XIII. That was until chapter 9 and I encountered the fal'Cie Barthandelus. He totally dropped out the fun of the game. The problem with this boss is something I already found with other (smaller) bosses earlier in the game - one-hit kills.

Got Barthandelus things get a bit worse than the other bosses though. I'm fighting this dude for about 10 minutes (okay, perhaps I should use buff potions when I encounter him ) and have his 4 faces down. Then he's on to get a lot of damage, but the problem is that I can't do him enough damage in a short time - he does more damage to me than I can heal without synergist (tank).

Okay, I survive and then he gets to his dooms-day skill (I still have over 75% to go ) and here things go wrong. Each and every time - NO MATTER WHAT I DO DURING THIS SKILL - I'm instantly killed I have tried this boss by now for a dozen times with different parties, but it all ends up in the same result - instant kill.

This makes me wonder what happened to the old bosses from earlier Final Fantasy games. Those took quite a time to take down, but at least you had a chance and there was no thing as an instant kill skill they have. Those were the fun Final Fantasy games, but this one (FF13) is just no fun with instant-kill skills.

By now I have googled how to get past this one and I think I might have an idea on how to do it. But when I look a bit further, there's more of these kind of bosses peeking around the corner that give a hard time and can instantly kill you. I am even wondering if I should continue to play this game or just move on to the next one (and I don't mean Final Fantasy XIII-2...)

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Wishlist growing - too little time to play
24 February 2015
Posted in PlayStation
I think buying that 2nd hand PlayStation 3 last month was about the best thing I could have done for my gaming experience. It really fills my 'playing needs' for jRPGs and I've bought a couple of them as well already. With the start of my PlayStation 3 times, I also brought live back to my PSP, bought a PSVita and a 2nd hand PlayStation 2 as well (though the latter I can't play in my PC room and I'm using a PS2 emulator instead).

It's that jRPG 'addiction' that's playing up right now. I have almost the complete series of Final Fantasy boxed here, and am only missing Final Fantasy III and IX. Though I'm still busy on the 1st part of Final Fantasy XIII, I want to play through the whole series from the 1st one.

I've also found the 'Tales' series. I have already started with Tales of Xillia, but I also have Tales of Xillia 2 and Tales of Graces ? lying here to play. And that's only 3 of the series and I really do want the other parts for the PlayStation consoles as well. Sadly though, the first one (Tales of Phantasia) has never been released in Europe, but I'm glad to have a (pirated and translated) version for the PSP which I'm playing already. And I gotta say, this one feels a lot better than the first editions of the Final Fantasy series...

Then there are a couple of other series that have peeked my interest as well. One of them is the 'Atelier series'. Though I have not yet bought any of them (I did download the 3 Atelier Iris games of the PS2 though), I think they are very good after having watched some gameplay videos on YouTube.

Last but not least a couple of games I used to have on my old PlayStation 2 which I want to buy again as well. These are the Phantasy Star series and the Star Ocean series. Sadly the Phantasy Star series don't have any PS3 releases (yet?), but they have a couple of PSP and PS2 releases.
The Star Ocean series has only 4 releases (2 for the PSP, 1 for PS2 and one for PS3) and I really want to play that one as well. I have already downloaded the ones for PSP and PS2 and they look awesome for the short period of time I've played them so far.

Sadly though, even with me being at home not so much, I lack time and money. Time to play them all. Since last month I've played Final Fantasy XIII for around 25 hours already and am only at chapter 8 (how many chapters are there in the game anyway?). Tales of Xillia I have only played for a couple of hours but I really want to continue on that one (after having finished FF13 most likely). Ni-No Kune (which I started to play first) is a different story I do like the game, but I think both FF13 and Tales of XIllia are better at most points. I have put that one back on the shelf to pickup later on when I'm done with the Tales games that I already own.

I'm talking about pirated games here. Where possible I will buy them on their original media when I really start to play them (meaning I like them and keep playing them). Sadly (as sad before) Tales of Phantasia is not available for Europe at all (not even in the PSN Store ) and I will see if I can grab an US PS1 copy to compensate for the breach of copyright. Same goes for other games which I might find and like but have never been released for Europe.

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