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Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part VII: Once More, With Feeling September 30, 2009

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I started up my New Game+ last night. I once again was stuck with the same initial four as the first time, but that wasn’t terribly unexpected. Boy, are the enemies tougher now! Not “tougher” as in more difficult, but in that they do way more damage and have way more health. I got through the entirety of Latveria only quitting and restarting once (I wanted credit towards the no revival/map reload trophy), and that was on the last map. The bosses so far haven’t been too bad; it’s been the mobs of enemies that are the real killer. I used the Femme Fatales to clear the final Latveria map, and I can safely say I won’t be doing that again. Only clearing fusions, mediocre damage, and limited survivability are not a good combination on Legendary. The Tinkerer bot fight pretty much was reduced to standing back and zapping the legs, popping a clearing fusion every so often to clear out the little enemies and get a health token, and repeating ad infinitum.

Other than that, I played with the New Avengers on a rerun of the first level to pick up the dossier that I apparently kept managing to miss somehow. Luke Cage does not take much damage. At all. And he has a nice Targeted fusion with Spider-Man. Cool. I haven’t messed around with the other “teams” yet, but I have reached the conclusion that any team with Thor, a targeted fusion, and a clearing fusion is made of awesome and win. And really, the two fusions are optional. I know I said before that I didn’t really get what was so awesome about the guy, but man, does he ever shine on Legendary. His X power torpedoes him through mobs of enemies, pretty much flattening anything in his way. His hammer smash is solid damage with a small aoe. And his circle power is pretty sweet, as well. I haven’t had much use for his triangle power, though.

So, my team. Thor is definitely in. The AI tends to use both Storm and Invisible Woman effectively, though Storm moreso. So Storm is in, too. Her ridiculous damage immunities also help. I’m thinking of taking Hulk for a big, nigh invulnerable bruiser, and I never really gave him much play my first time through. Plus he needs to take down a couple of bosses later in the game anyway. I’m still leaning towards Songbird as my fourth, partly because she has some great potential, and partly because I already used Jean a ton my first time through. Of course, things may change when I see what I have for fusion types with this roster. The AI also seemed to do pretty well with Nick Fury.

I’ve gotten all the pickups from Latveria now, and it’s pretty cool how the bosses drop new boosts on Legendary. I haven’t gone back through any of the simulator challenge missions yet, and I’ll probably wait on that until I’ve gotten farther through the game and leveled up more, anyway. I’ve been racking up the Diplomatic responses, and I’ll probably get those boosts unlocked around Act II. Then it’s just on to Defensive. Which I *might* be able to do this time through as well. Maybe. It will probably be pretty tight. I’ll have to make sure I get the special conversations, too. Oh, and I need to knock out the Act I trivia game yet, too. I’ll probably use a second controller and cheat the fusion bonuses on it this time.

I finally got around to ordering a wireless earpiece/microphone from Amazon, and it arrived yesterday. I charged it up, so I’ll have to see about taking MUA2 (and other games…like Gundam 0081…) online at some point. I’m actually strangely excited at being able to play PS3 games online now (my internet connection is *much* more reliable at my new place than it was at my old one) and being able to communicate with the people I’m playing with. Should make for some fun times.

Star Ocean: First Departure – Part II: Through Purgatory September 29, 2009

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And so it continues. I played some more Star Ocean last night. I finished the stuff in Astral. I REALLY like Phia. She’s rather okay in combat, but her personality amuses me. Not nearly as much as Ilia amuses me, though. That woman is hilarious. Especially her comment about Roddick being whipped. Wow.

Anyway, I undertook the (optional?) quest to go retrieve an item from Purgatorium. You know, that place I ground waaay too many levels out at earlier. Of course, I wasn’t using this mysterious super-secret-entrance thing, so I had to stumble around a bit until I found it. I was expecting a cave-like thing on the world map, but there wasn’t any indicator of where it might be. I just zoned into the secret entrance area when I got close enough. Interesting.

I met up with Ioshua (awesome name, by the way) and ran through the dungeon with him. The teleporting colored blobs were cool, and the hints were suitably mysterious, yet easily decipherable and helpful! Though, the big multi-tiered room was really, really annoying. I kept accidentally running into the wrong color of puyo and getting sent where I didn’t want to go. I came out a couple hundred skill points ahead thanks to random pickups in bundles of 50 SP.

The phantom hounds at toward the end weren’t very difficult, and now I’m really starting to regret having taken the time to play around with the crafting. I am so overleveled (my main three are around level 30+ now), and Roddick is so insanely powerful the game has no challenge. I assume things will even out eventually, but for the moment it’s all pretty meh. Everyone has Determination maxed, Ilia maxed Appraisal, and Roddick is working on finishing up Crafting. I don’t remember if I maxed that with him or not.

Ioshua has Trance (or whatever skill it is that reduces lag time between spell casts) up to level…9…I believe, and is proving to be mostly useless. I just don’t get hurt enough to make him need to heal, and I’m still leery of allowing the AI to spam skills/spells all the time, as they invariably burn everything on random encounters as soon as humanly possible. I really wish there was some middle ground between “kill the crap out of everything” and “don’t use anything shiny.” The “spread out and attack” tactic is okay, but meh.

The conversation at the end of Purgatorium was pretty amusing, as was the cutscene back in Astral. I loved the personalities of the Three Graces, and Phia is developing well also. The plot is certainly thickening. I did end up requesting Ioshua to join me. It’s another party member, and he might actually be useful later. Maybe. Or something. Now it’s onward to Silvalant, with possibly even more skills. And stuff. Next time through I’m definitely going to hold off on the power leveling crafting thing. I didn’t realize that I could abuse item creation to get THIS overpowered so early in the game.

I finally feel like I’m getting used to the battle system. I’ve played a decent amount of Tales games, which have a similar yet different system (and one that I still like better), but even so it still took me a bit to wrap my head around this one. I think my initial issue was that I was using Semi-Auto instead of Auto, which required more menu management and made targeting clunky in comparison to the combat system as a whole. Auto is definitely the way to go with this one.

Star Ocean: First Departure – Part I: Behold the Power of Art! September 28, 2009

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Star Ocean is another one of those games I started a while back and never really played too far into. Yes, yet another victim of gaming ADD. This weekend I sat down to watch a football game, as I usually do on weekends during this sports season, and plugged in Dissidia. Which was cool. But then I got Dissidia’d out, so I had to find something else to play. It’s a curse—I apparently can’t sit down to watch a sporting event on TV without having something else to do as well. I was contemplating the new Persona, which is sitting next to my chair, but instead opted to rescue the PSP version of the first Star Ocean from the bowels of my backlog.

I started where I had left off, which was apparently in the middle of a pirate hideout. I vaguely remembered some instruction or other along the lines of “kill the pirates, get the boat” so, being all about wooden floaty things, I proceeded to massacre every last pirate I could find. I know I skipped some branching paths in the place, but I was running so low on resources that I really didn’t care. Unfortunately, it seems that I can’t go back anymore to retrieve what I missed. Oh, well. Also, I have Cyuss.

After beating up the big, burly men, looting their loot, and rescuing some mysterious girl, I returned to port. The girl ran off without even giving her name (typical) and dropped her ocarina, which I picked up. I smell sidequest later. Possibly even a recruitable character. I poked my head around town, but didn’t find her, so I apparently can’t get her now. Oh, well. I’ll just hang onto that ocarina for a while.

I took my free ride by boat to the kingdom of Astral, and wandered around the continent, occasionally getting lost by not following the road, and eventually ended up in Tatroi. I wandered around town for a bit and found the ferry to take to the city of Astral, though I decided to wait on that. Instead I left town and poked around the rest of the continent. I found another city, Tropp, but there wasn’t much of interest there. I also found a cave that led to a place called Purgatorium, and I ended up doing some serious leveling there. 400-800 exp per person per battle was amazing for me at that point in the game.

Everyone in my party (that’d be Roddick, Ilia, and Cyuss) gained a massive number of levels, and with them SP. I had already started Cyuss on the path of the Chef earlier, so I finished him out on that. Dang, level 10 Knife is expensive! After that I started popping points into Determination.

Roddick spent his time working on Determination, Godspeed, and whatever else I felt like. At the moment he has 8 levels of Crafting, but other than that it’s a pretty schizophrenic skill build.

And then there was Ilia. I had her working on Art, and was able to max that out for her. This being a Tri-Ace game, I periodically take breaks to see what kinds of cool stuff my folks can make. I’ll usually save the game, but a bunch of ingredients and go craft. If I don’t like what I see, I’ll reload and craft again. This way I get a feel for what each character is liable to make me with the skills they have and with the levels they are at. I figured that with Art I’d be able make some cool stuff that would be a little ahead of where I was at at the time, but I was rather unprepared for what I actually got.

At first, I popped a couple of Jack-in-the-Boxes. Generally those resulted in junk, or a random battle that killed me quickly and messily. I kept reloading and retrying, and then I got a Goody Box. Oh, dear. I saved and opened that a few times, and ended up with a Sword of Marvels. Helllloooooo, overpowered Roddick! Coupled with the Ring of Might and Berserker ring he made from crafting random crap I had lying around, he now hits for 3500-4000 when everyone else is hitting for 200-ish. And heaven forbid he gets a Power Surge. I ran him through the Rank C arena fights and got the Omega SFT skill, which I promptly maxed with him. And in my next battle I promptly learned Omega Double Slash. That one hits for 7000-8000 per hit. Yowza! I didn’t bother going any further in the arena, or working on breaking things with any of the other characters because I’d been at it for a while and, well, one broken character really is enough for me right now. Though I did get an Arbalest out of one of my last jack-in-the-Boxes and am now awaiting someone who can actually use it.

I went back to Tatroi and took the ferry to Astral city. Phia appears to be rather amusing. When she’s not killing people. And sometimes even when she is. Oh, wait, it’s not really Phia. It’s really some spider demon chick things. Ewwww. Must squash like bug! Or arachnid! *puts on J. Jonah Jameson mustache*

I followed the demonic spider lady into the cave between Astral and Tatroi, and went pretty much all the way through it. I found the boss fight before I had finished exploring the cave so I reloaded to the save point right before her. I finished exploring, and ended up finding the way back to the beginning of the tunnel. The game was over at that point, so I healed up at the statue, saved at the save point right there, and quit for the night. I’ll run back through the tunnel and squash spider chick later. Possibly tonight.

And yes, I’ll likely be getting back to the Legendary run-through of MUA2 later this week. When football’s not on.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part VI: The Highest Platform of the Tallest Spire September 25, 2009

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Well, I beat MUA2 on Heroic. I was moderately surprised that the last Act was one big stream of maps; there was no brief intermission back at the HQ. I was around level 31, and finished with a team of Storm, Jean, Gambit, and Wolverine. The FBS was doing ~1800-ish to bosses. Sweet. The final boss has a few tricks, though the game tells you, rather insistently, how to get around them, so that’s not a big deal. He does toss out a lot of difficult to avoid damage, though. There were plenty of healing tokens around, though, and Phoenix had a couple of timely resurrections on the way to him, though. I wonder if a Phoenix revival via her ability constitutes a revival for the purposes of the trophy. Hmm. Not that it really matters since I’ll likely not be using her this playthrough.

I did run through a couple of previous maps to try and get the “Lead team xxx for a whole map” heroic deeds, but it didn’t work for either Luke Cage or Captain America. Which is weird because I DID get it last night for Reed and the Fantastic Four. No idea what’s going on there. I’ll just pick it up on Legendary, I guess.

The ending was short and sweet. I was expecting something a bit more, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what. The conversation during the credits was hilarious.

I saved my game and went to the next mission console to start a new game + on Legendary. I was hoping I would be able to swap characters around from the get-go this time, but I’m still locked into a preset team initially like a normal new game. I did notice, however, that the Anti-Reg abilities are still unlocked. I’ll have to see if they stay that way after I choose a side, but I suspect they will. Which means that on this palythrough everyone will have access to all their abilities, and not just their faction-specific and universal ones.

So far the big difference is that things have a lot more health, and hit harder. So pretty much just as expected. I saved right at the beginning of the map so I can cheat the system if I end up in a revival position. I can just quit and reload my save without it counting as a reload of the map. Yay. Since there’s very little leeway if one wants the 25 maps with no revival or reload trophy, and the rumor is circulating that I won’t be able to retry a level via the simulator if I need to and have it count for the trophy, I figure this is a decent way to go about it. Though I suspect that I’ll be replaying levels as much as I need to get all the pickups before moving on to the next one. That should also help boost my levels, as I anticipate the bosses being a pain.

I’m not sure who I’m going to focus on as my main team this time around. I’m leaning towards Nick Fury, Thor, and Songbird, but I don’t have a definite plan for the final spot. There will likely be some switching so I can get some stats stuff out of the way, but I want to have a solid core again.

Anyway, that’s enough MUA for now. Time to watch some football and catch up on the month or so of comics I’ve been behind since I moved.

Marvel Utimate Alliance 2 – Part V: The Daily Grind September 24, 2009

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I didn’t get much done tonight. All I did was go into the Basic Training sim and work on unlocking costumes and boosts. All of the Anti-Reg specific requirements are done now, so I can either play through Act 4 and just try to pick them up in Legendary, or get everything out of the way I can right now. There are a couple of things I want to figure out as far as how things count, so I’ll probably run back through a couple of missions with some specific teams and see what happens. Other than that, though, I don’t think I want to grind any further. I’ll have plenty to do on Legendary regardless.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part IV: Resistance is Futile September 24, 2009

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Warning: Here there be SPOILERS. Highlight the blank sections to see them if you so choose.

I hit Act 4 last night. Act 3 seemed pretty short, at least compared to Acts 1 and 2. I suppose the game wanted to get past the part where you don’t have access to everyone fairly quickly. Even so, the Civil War arc was very well done, and segued nicely into Act 4. Maybe my memory’s a bit foggy, but MUA2 seems to have a much tighter, better-flowing story than the first game.

The run through Prison 42 was fun. Lots of mayhem and bad guys to destroy. Also, there was a fair amount of environment-induced damage, like electrified floor panels. And wall panels. These annoying things don’t just hurt you when you run over them. They stun you and zap you for a few seconds before you can move again. Getting knocked into the middle of one or more of these sucks hard. It’s a good thing the bad guys are usually also affected by them.

Speaking of bad guys, there were actually a fair number of not robots! And just when I was thinking I could finally tag Iceman back in for a map, robots showed up! Well played, game, well played. Instead I looked at the stats pages for my individual characters, and decided to bring in Storm and Wolverine to run with Gambit and Jean. This got me the X-Men team bonus and let me work on knocking out some Heroic Deeds. I was thinking that when the game mentions performing 10 Fastball Specials with Wolverine, I’d need to team him up with Hulk or something. Not so—Jean works just fine as a partner.  So I was able to knock out Jean’s 5 Fusions with Wolverine deed as well as Wolvie’s 10 Fastball Specials deed. I had to be controlling the character I wanted it to count for, though. As a side note, I’m consistently hitting 1400+ damage with a Wolvie/Jean Fusion right now on bosses. It’s pretty awesome.

I also finally unlocked Thor, who was the last of the token collection characters I needed. I know everyone is raving about him being ridiculously overpowered online, but I haven’t figured him out yet. I’ll have to spend more time with him, I guess. I’m going to be revisiting lots of levels for pick-ups, so I’ll probably toy around with him and all the other characters I haven’t really been using when I start hitting the simulator. My side goal there is to work on the Heroic Deeds for all the Anti-Reg heroes, too.

The game is starting to throw more multi-character boss battles at me. The last solo boss I had to fight was somewhere along the halfway point in 42. Pretty much every boss battle since has included at least two bosses and a horde of enemies. The Fastball Special makes taking down the bosses easy enough, when one doesn’t go invulnerable and switch the other one in for a time, at least.

The last boss fight before unlocking Black Panther’s palace as an HQ took me a bit to figure out how to actually beat it. Venom kept randomly popping in from above, and I was generally fighting around the perimeter of the room, so I didn’t see him hanging onto a pillar. Once I finally noticed that, I was able to knock him down and proceed to stomp his symbiotic arse. He did go back to the pillars a couple more times, but once I knew what to do the battle as a whole was fairly simple.

I’ll probably hit up the trivia game and finish up the available past levels in the simulator before continuing the story. I want to try out some other characters, and finish out the rest of the pick-ups. I assume that I’ll be back in the HQ at least once before finishing the game, but I don’t want to take too many chances. Of course, I’d also expect that the game will pop me back here after the final mission to mess around and start my New Game Plus. Hmm. Maybe I’ll just cruise through the rest of the game and worry about the rest later. I need to run a bunch of stuff on Legendary anyway to get the rest of the unlocks.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part III: Holy Crap, a Lighted Environment! September 22, 2009

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More MUA 2 goodness. I finished out Act 2 today. This post (and likely subsequent posts) contain spoilers up to the point of the game I am at. That was one hell of a ride. I love how the game takes the Civil War story and twist it around to serve the game’s own devices. it’s also worth noting that the environments I played through tonight actually had decent lighting! Woo!

My party was Jean Grey, Ms. Marvel, Gambit, and Captain America. After Cap got yanked for story reasons, I popped Deadpool in there. I don’t really do much with him other than let him run around slashing, shooting, and exploding things. It seems to make him happy. Gambit tosses cards everywhere and generally wreaks havoc. And gives me a chance at more orbs. Go Cajun.

Jean is developing into quite the force to be reckoned with. Cranking up her cone flame wave and TK pull attacks (square and X respectively) is proving to be pips well spent. TK is doing some decent single-target boss damage, and flame wave is rocking crowds of enemies. Stunning with her aoe Circle power and then unleashing a series of flame waves clears out just about anything–either by outright destroying it or knocking it off a ledge. Consequently, her Fusion with Gambit is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. It absolutely destroys any large mobs of enemies, destructible environments, and bosses. That it does multiple hits and has a decently long duration is awesome enough, but the bloody thing can be MOVED like a targettable Fusion! Oh, and it also sucks in normal enemies. Kinetic tornado FTW!

Gambit did gets some hands-on use during a rather tense battle with Yellowjacket. His quick tap card toss power was good at attacking the hands after dodging the initial strike. As the battle wound down I switched over to Jean and finished up with some flame waving and kinetic tornadoing. After that battle I’m pretty much locked into Jean–and the Jean/Gambit combo on bosses.

Other than that battle, the rest of Act 2 was basically me running around and beating the crap out of everything in site. The other bosses fell to either kinetic tornado spam or just me standing back with Jean and firing away with her TK beam or her flame wave. Even the last fight of the act wasn’t much of an issue.

Now I’m in the Act 3 HQ. I’ve picked up all the pickups in the place, and I’ll probably do the trivia questions for the act before starting on the missions. I’ve been doing pretty well with character unlock pickups throughout the game, but I’m still one Asgardian rune short of a thunder god. I suspect that one I get him, assuming everything I’ve heard about his abilities is true, he’ll have a permanent spot in my lineup. Songbird is unlocked, but unavauilable at the moment. I’m also looking forward to taking her for a spin. I’ll probably wait to go back through previous missions for unlocks until after my next time through the game (taking the other path). Unless I just can’t manage to get Thor unlocked through the course of normal play. In that case, I’ll go back for the runes.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part II: O Captain! My Captain! September 20, 2009

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So I progressed to the point where I could choose my side. The choice scene is handled really well. It could have just been a menu, but it’s not. It’s a bit more interactive than that. So after going Anti-Reg, several characters got locked out for story reasons, which makes sense, and several characters were made available. Awesome.

I played a bit more, and started switching up my team. I ran with Deadpool for a bit, but that was yet another clearing fusion with Ms. Marvel. He was amusing (hey, it’s Deadpool–of course he’s amusing!), but I eventually swapped him out for Iron Fist. Who was okay, I guess, but kept whining about being low on health. Pansy.

I unlocked Jean Grey a short while later, so Iron Fist quickly got the boot. Jean is…interesting. She has a really fun power set, and can do a ton of damage when used properly. She also has an awesome clearing fusion with Gambit. I quickly got the requisite 50 kills to unlock her alternate costume, and was a bit surprised. I was expecting Dark Phoenix, or maybe one of her more recent costumes, but her alternate is very reminiscent of the 60’s. Cool.

I started putting more points into Ms. Marvel’s defensive abilities, and her life expectancy is increasing exponentially. She’s really able to get in there and mix it up in addition to standing mostly at range and blasting in, which was how I was using her before. Her Triangle power (I’m playing the PS3 version) helped immensely, especially when powered up to the first added effect. Her fusion with Captain America is still an incredibly potent boss killer.

I did spend some time going back through previous missions for pickups because I wanted to make sure I was keeping up with the M’Kraan fragments so I could unlock Phoenix ASAP. It’s a great feature, and the simulator lists how many pickups of each type you’ve managed in each level, as well as how many you have left to get. It doesn’t spell out specifically which boosts, dossiers, character fragments, etc are in there, but it’s enough to know that there are still things to get.

So far, MUA2 is much more fast-paced and not nearly as tedious as the first game. I’m loving it so far! The story is solid, and appears to have threads of the original draft of the Civil War comic. It’s certainly changed around a bit from what actually got published, which is cool. The more streamlined character upgrade system is a good thing, and allows for a good amount of customization while not taking up an inordinate amount of time. And I still love the ability to freely redistribute points at any time.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 – Part I: Whose Side Are You On? September 19, 2009

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It was with much glee and anticipation that I went to my local Best Buy to hunt down a copy of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Unfortunately, this means that I did not pre-order it from Gamestop, so I don’t get Juggernaut. Which is crappy and really kind of pisses me off. Characters should not be exclusive pre-order content from one overpowered retail chain. Ah, well. I still hold out hope that Juggy will be DLC for everyone in a month or so.

So I plug the disc in, and (after the automatic install) I start a new game on the normal difficulty level. I notice a few things right off. First, the FMVs are pretty. Also, the voice acting is very spotty. Some characters are decent, others are kinda crappy. The realtime graphics aren’t much of an improvement over the first game at all, but the framerate is a hell of a lot better.

Like the first game, you’re given an initial team for the first mission. This time it’s Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man. I immediately go into the menu to take a look at the power selection, and do a double take at how things have been tweaked since the first MUA. Everyone only has four attack powers, pre-mapped to each of the face buttons. These are bought with power points earned at level-up. The rest of the abilities are all passive-types like increased energy regeneration or more attack power, and are bought with what would have been credits from the last game. What’s more, it looks like each character has certain powers that will become available if they go Pro-Registration, and others if they go Anti-Registration. That’s a nice wrinkle. It seems to be two and two for most characters, in addition to the two passives that are not tied to a particular faction. I also noticed later that Luke Cage’s passives are entirely Anti-Reg.

The first couple of levels are really, really dark. As in, so dark that I have to fire off powers just to see my surroundings. The characters are all well-lit, but the area around them is not. Just because the initial levels involve a power outage and a cave complex doesn’t mean that they have to be THAT dark. And yes, I cranked my gamma up, too.

The game let me change my team up partway through the first level. The party status screen is more clunky than in the past, but that’s in part due to the fact that it has more functionality. For starters, you can swap out characters in the middle of levels. This is a pretty sweet function in and of itself. Additionally, autospend is NOT on by default this time around, which is awesome. Points can also be reallocated at any time–even if they’ve already been spent, or are the first point put into a particular power. The credits used to buy points of passive powers are not pulled from a common pool–instead, each character always has access to the entirety of them. So if you have earned 5000 credits up to a particular point, every character has 5000 to spend. In keeping with the free respeccing, any point removed from a passive refunds the entirety of the cost to buy it. So there is absolutely no worry of building characters up the wrong way.

As far as powers go, the attack set are unlocked at certain levels, like before. So no character has all their powers available from level 1. It’s interesting to see how characters develop differently, even with some similarities in power sets. The limited power selection does cut down on the amount of clone character builds, though–it’s nice to see more unique characters this time around.

The uniqueness of the characters plays into the new Fusion attacks a bit, too. Instead of manually combining specials as before for some extra damage and experience, MUA2 has actual combination attacks. Each character can combine with each other character, and the Fusion attacks are all unique. Sort of. It seems like each character’s Fusion attacks of the same type are animated in a very similar way. My favorite thus far is Ms. Marvel teaming up with Iceman. Iceman creates a giant ice spike on himself, which Ms. Marvel then uses as a prism to reflect her energy beam around a huge area.

As for my progress thus far, I’ve gotten through the first two missions. The final boss of the second mission was an interesting multi-stage fight, and I can already see a couple of ways I can improve upon it. There are a couple of gimmicks in it, and it’s a multi-stage fight. It kind of reminds me of a raid boss in World of Warcraft, actually. I am finding that I do consistently better with characters with ranged attacks, like Iceman, Gambit, and Ms. Marvel. I actually really like what they’ve done to Carol in this game. She’s much more fun to play than in the previous game. Iceman is likewise well improved, and Gambit is just fun. Unfortunately, with my team of those three plus Luke Cage I lack a particular type of Fusion attack, (the controllable one), which is really useful on bosses, so I’ll be changing things up. I’m just not sure who I want to sub in yet. Maybe Captain America. I’d plug in Iron Fist, but I don’t have him unlocked yet.

The trivia game is much improved as well. Not only is it multiplayer now, with the possibility of xp bonuses if both players choose the correct answer, but you can continue to retry questions untl you get the full points for them, which rectifies something that was rather annoying in all the previous games in the metaseries.

The game also has online multiplayer, but I haven’t tried it out yet. I should probably get a microhphone/earpiece thing before I try to actually coordinate with another human being. There are some online stats and trophies to work on, so I’ll work on that at some point. Besides, MUA is like a thousand times more awesome when played with other people.

I think that’s about it for this post. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a bunch of things, which I will hopefully remember and slide into future posts on the game. So far MUA2 is not much different than its predecessor in style, but everything has been tweaked to the point of the whole being more than the sum of its parts.

Metal Gear Solid – Part I: Snake? Snaaaaaake? September 10, 2009

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So my Metal Gear Solid collection finally came, which means I had to plug in the first game to see just how much I still suck at it. As it turns out, I can in fact make it to the elevator now. Go me!Of course, the fact that I’m actually celebrating getting out of the first room is really pretty pathetic, but hey. I traditionally suck at MGS games. Mostly because last time I played one I had no idea just what the heck a stealth game was. The whole punch a guy in the head and then suck a fully-automatic hail of hot lead to the face thing was a little confusing.

But I have learned. Sort of. Still working on that whole strangling thing. At the moment I’ve cleared all the VR missions and unlocked the time trial mode, but haven’t done anything with it yet. I’ve also gone through the main game up through the explosive encounter with Revolver Ocelot. There sure are lots of weird things going on in this base. I did have one interesting moment when I went to grab some weapons from a room in B2 after the Ocelot fight and tripped a hidden alarm. Afterwards I got the warning about not grabbing what I don’t need right at the moment. Thanks, game. Love you, too. Luckily a little punching, a dash of kicking, and a liberal amount of hiding took care of that.

The story thus far is excellent, as is its presentation. Even early on I have the sense that the plot is so much bigger than what I’ve already been told. There’s something sinister going on here, and I’m going to badass my way to the bottom of it. I’m really getting a solid feel for these characters, and I haven’t been playing for all that long. The voice acting is superb, as is the back and forth banter between Snake and, well, anyone he’s talking to over the codec.

I really should get back to Valkyria Chronicles since that game’s not mine, but I might have to keep going with MGS. It’s awesome. My only gripe is how blasted dark it is in ventilation ducts. Hmm. Maybe I should just light a cigarette next time. That might work.