Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Should be a great Christmas this year. Got my family at home some nice gifts this year, as well as gifts for myself (due to excellent Black Friday/Seasonal deals).

First thing first, the Google Nexus 7. What an excellent device! Last year I chose the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, but quickly regretted it due to the amount of proprietary software and lack of storage space (8 GB which was really about 4.5GB…not nearly enough for a power user like me). Picked up the 32GB model this year for the same price. It has excellent technical specs, great storage space, and the new Kit-Kat OS update which is pretty spiffy.

I’ve been importing a lot of Japanese games lately. Call me impatient, but when I see a game out in Japan for months already, with no word on a US localization (or the word is usually “Q4 2014”) or with content that is too risque for American audiences, I have no choice but to import. Fortunately Sony allows region-free gameplay, and I’ve already discovered many excellent gems.

First off, we have God Eater 2, excellent graphics, fantastic gameplay…essentially Monster Hunter with a story. I posted a review up on Play-Asia, http://www.play-asia.com/god-eater-2-paOS-13-49-en-70-63p5.html#reviews just look up “GreatScott84”.

Why is this not out in America yet!?

I’ve also been playing an updated version of Dynasty Warriors 8, called “Shin Sangoku Musou 7 with Moushouden”, it’s been out in Japan for a few weeks now, but unlikely to see a Western release anytime soon, if at all. It helps to have played the previous translated games to learn the names, motives, etc if you don’t understand Japanese; but not necessary.

Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme, now on Vita!

I admit import gaming does help with learning Japanese, seeing Kanji/grammer on paper is one thing, but hearing it and reading the subtitles on-screen is another. It’s like listening to tapes, instead it’s all interactive. For example (and this is a very basic example of some more complex stuff I encounter) I’ll see something that says スタートゲーム. I start pronouncing the letters “SU-TA-TO-GE-EE-MU”. I read and repeat several times over in the correct Japanese pronouncination “Suh-tah-t-gaem”…”Staat-Gaem”…Oh “Start Game”! I’ll see it over and over to the point were I don’t even have to pronounce it and my mind simply just understands the word visually. When I encounter more complex things, such as Kanji, I can understand just a few things so far; such as 行く meaning “Iku” or “To Go, 見る “Miru” or “To see”, or 私 meaning “Watashi” or “I, myself”, and seeing the Kanji being spoken in different ways and with different conjugations depending on context is something that no textbook can really explain.

The huge downside with importing is the lack of access to the Japanese Playstation store. It’s quite easy to swap on the PS3, but on the Vita it’s quite a hassle…and I refuse to make a specific Japan-only account using a fake address and purchasing foreign Playstation cards to purchase DLC just on principle. Plus not having my trophies all in one central account is a bummer.

Also picked up Gran Turismo 6. I’ve been a huge Forza fan since Forza 2…but after last year’s disapointment with Forza Horizons and their DLC schemes, plus this years controversy over vehicles too expensive to purchase in-game without purchasing credits via microtransactions…it pretty much left a sour taste in my mouth. GT6 is pretty much a cleaned up version of GT5, with a better direction. It’s amazing it looks just as good as the next gen Forza, but on 7 year old hardware.

Also did a bit of train simming. Met some cool people on engine-driver.com who also plays Train Sim and Farming Sim. I’ll have to pick up the new Titanium edition of Farming Simulator during the next Steam sale, which hopefully should be soon!

Next stop, Mulkiteo!

I started playing the visual novel Steins; Gate…which is fantastic! About ten years ago on some BBS boards, I recall a guy online named John Titor who claimed to be a time traveller from the future. Hoax…obviously, but the game asks the question, “What if John Titor was real?”. The game is also hilarious and has many subtle references to general geekdom. I’ve been playing the visual novel on PC, but the anime follows the story pretty well.

Lastly, I want to touch on the PS4. I picked it up last month and really enjoying it…somewhat. It’s a great system but unfortunatly the good titles for it won’t be out until at least February. Still, I’m really enjoying Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, the Twitch integration, the media features, and playing a round or two of FIFA :). Can’t wait to see what the next year has to offer!

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