Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014: The year that was

All things considered, as an opening year, for me I count both Blaster's Projects and Blaster's Reviews a success. At time of writing, Blaster's Projects is approaching 1300 pageviews and Blaster's Reviews just broke 4000 so thank you to all who do read my content. This post isn't going to be much, its just me providing a bit of back story to some of the content that was published in the last 10 months, as we leave 2014 behind us.

I'm going to skip over the early stuff as there isn't that much to talk about, most of them were written either to or from University (one might have been written during a class... I finished early and it was the touch ups (for the curious, it was Case 1: Turnabout defense. A review of the Ace Attorney main series)), where the traffic started picking up was around the time of the Transformers Marathon and E3... which was poorly planned on my part. At the time, I thought I could handle doing both at the same time, but trust me when I say that was draining, I even cut the Transformers marathon by one review just because I was mentally exhausted. The final review of the marathon was going to be Transformers Prime as a insult to the Bayformers films, but I couldn't bring myself to finishing it, so I dropped it and pushed it back to when I do the next Transformers Marathon. One of the odder things I see from it is just how little you guys cared about the original series (or didn't click the link and looked at it from the home page, this was before I put in the page breaks), but loved the movie reviews, especially Dark of the Moon... what is it about internet culture and loving people suffer?

E3 and the Impressions marathon. Looking back at it, I think it could have been handled MUCH better. For what few there were, the impressions took up way to much time ( just under 2 months) to get through and combined with the way E3 itself was handled, there's a lot of improvement to be had. I've got ideas, but I'd rather get feedback from you guys, see what could be done to improve it.

Oh for the love of Arceus and Primus, the last week of August wasn't a good week for me, great for the site though. Up first was the Moms against Gaming rant, the highest viewed post on the site to date and to which I'm still feeling the... "feedback" from to this day. There are people who say they're trolls and to you I agree with (still keeping the post up, unedited) but there are also those who defend them, who have been trying to make my life miserable for months in some way, shape or form. While I've made some great friends out of this, one of which (at time of writing) may be making a appearance on this site next year, there are people out there who hate my guts because I see the potential of the medium, and to them, all I have to say is this. I've seen my fair share of bullies over the years, and if you think hiding behind a keyboard pretending to be tough is going to intimidate me, you've got another thing coming. I stand by what I said, I stand by the medium and no matter what you use to insult me, whether they be true or lies you make up to try and start a hate mob. I can take whatever insults you throw at me, and I will without hesitation, help those who can't. I'll put myself through absolute hell if it means that someone else isn't forced to.

Then of course we have what came out the day after that lovely little rant, Pokemon Zeta and Pokemon Unicron Omnicron Onicron, and ho boy did the fans hate me for that one. One point I should address is the naming of Onicron. Its not just a spelling error, its how I read Onicron's name. Even to this day, others can vouch for this, I call it Omnicron. But, like with the rant, there are things I want to cover about it, going off of this link here with is the comments for the review on the games sub reddit.

By deukhoofd, we have the following (all quoted)

First of all, why Bellsprout, Magby or Horsea? Their useless as starter Pokémon
Are you some kind of noob or something? They are insanely useful.
We have no idea why Gold wants to do this
Please read the plot before complaining about the plot.
they reused the same sprite for the trees
You have no idea how RPGMaker works do you?
the game almost forces you to level grind so that you can still fight the trainers
Seriously, learn to build a team
lack of level grinding potential
This guy hasn't discovered the secret base or something?
Every RPG I've played has had a reason to explore the world. Special monsters, hidden items ect
They are there, you just haven't looked for them...
My final issue with Shadow Pokemon is the fact that there isn't really a good reason to catch Shadow Pokemon
Are you fucking kidding me...
The control scheme for this is horrible
You can rebind controls.
As for the review as a whole, would I recommend it? In it's current state, no. The reviewer doesn't seem to have done his research and makes himself look like an ass because of it.

1. Bellsprout, Magby and Horsea. I stand by my view to this day because A. two of them actually needed to be modified in order to reach full evolution without trading and if you have to do that, you might as well pick two new starters and B. In my game, Horsea was useless. I swapped it with Mudkip (don't you dare mention that meme) when I could, it was my water HM slave until I got the items that meant I didn't need to carry him in my team, in my playthrough, Horsea was useless. Should I have made that clearer, probably, but I stand by what I said.

2. Gold as the villain. I did read the plot, I analyzed the whole game, reading every spec of text there was and, there was no solid reason for Gold to be a villain, especially when you consider the main series and even the Adventures Manga.

3. The same sprites. 1. Great out of context quote. The quote in context was reusing the tree sprites in the hidden grotto as the rest of the forest, leading to a confusion in physical space in the game. 2. If RPG maker is built like any other software development tool, and seeing as they made their own custom sprites for the game itself, I'm willing to bet it would have been pathetically easy to bring in a second, smaller tree sprite (or move the location of the Grotto to an area that makes sense, which was the actual problem).

4. The level grinding. I've spoken with several other people, looked at several lets plays and they all said or shown the same problem, you're forced to level grind, its not a matter of team building, something that's hard to do when you'd need to constantly change teams just to stand a chance against the 16 gyms, Elite 4, Champion, Battle frontier, 2, maybe 4 villain teams without knowing about what lies ahead. I don't look at walkthroughs my first time through a game unless I have to, and unlike most people, I like to make teams of my favorite Pokemon, always have, always will, that's the way I play. But at the end of the day, the level grinding requirement are still a problem, with no way to do with with relative ease, hence why I said put in the Vs Seeker and/ or the EXP all, as at least they'd be an option for people who don't want to level grind every hour.

5. Lack of level grinding. Yes I knew about the secret bases, but unlike some people, I want to move on with the game and not have to go back to my secret base to level up 10 levels when I find a new route or reach a new gym, that's called back tracking and its bad game design if not done well, and this wasn't done well.

6. Lack of reason to search. I divert your attention to the Eternal Forest, first trip and ask you to tell me what reason do I have to search every nook and cranny there. Answer, trainers, trainers, more trainers, the Moss Rock and Pinsirite (if memory serves me correctly)... yeah, lots of reasons for me to explore this "great" dungeon.

7. The Shadow Pokemon. You wanna know why I hate the mechanic so much? The percentage of "Hyper mode" being to common, the weak stats they have (at least the ones I caught) and the first gym leader of the Aroma Region, once again, being a a brutal level for that point of the game and seeing as Shadow Pokemon can't level up until they're purified, which you can't do until you beat him, renders them a waste of time. You can't do a Shadow Pokemon only run of the Aroma Region for that very reason.

8. The horrible controls. Yes you can rebind the inputs, but that doesn't change the problem because even then, pause and cancel will always be mapped to the same button. As a personal one, I'm not a fan of Pokemon games using a keyboard, it feels unnatural, but that wasn't the problem with Zeta, the problem was RPG maker's limitations (something I thought I made clear in the review itself, guess not)

9. The lack of research. All of my reviews are based on those sittings, that 1 or 2 views of the movie, that view of the whole season of a TV show, that playthrough of a game. I did my research and as a Game designer, Zeta wasn't well made as it suffered from loads of problems, most of which could have been easily fixed. I don't care about who your audience is, if you're designing a game for experienced players and punishing them for having that experience, you haven't done your job right, this is what Play testing is for, the golden rule of making any form of program, TEST EVERYTHING!

You can read the other comments yourself, but that was one I wanted to get off my chest. I'm always willing to accept feedback, but there are times where I will defend my views on a particular issue and, spelling errors aside (I've been working on it), I stand by my views on Zeta and my friends, who I interact with constantly will tell you, I had A LOT of hate for Zeta, a lot of it I didn't even cover in the review (let me know if you want to see the notes I had for my playthrough of Zeta, or at least how far I got before I had to go "enough is enough".

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Seasons 1-4, Equestria Girls and its sequel, Rainbow Rocks. While there is a lot to this story, I'll save it for later. But what I will say is that the reviews of S1-4 and EQ were done long before I uploaded them as I was planning on holding them back until later on. I decided to release them because I wanted to get them out to you guys, I'm willing to review what you want me to and I used the series as a way of saying "I'm willing to review content that isn't/ never was meant for my audience at any point in time" (Yes I know of Bronies, remember my opinion piece on them, it doesn't change the fact that the Brony culture wasn't expected, the show is still targeted for young girls). There's not much more to say that isn't a spoiler so...

Age of Extinction... I really didn't want to do this one. As I said in the review, I regret using the movie as a excuse to do the marathon. If you take the review and put it in a word document (or Google Docs), you'll see that it's 51 pages long, including the images (I may want to edit it and add a warning because a lot of people have been having problems loading the page there's that much on it...). When I hate something, I'll rip it to shreds, hence why Zeta and TF4 are two of, if not my two longest reviews (I know TF4 is the longest). I was showing some people scenes from the movie on Youtube and they were all thinking/ saying the same things I said, which were the views in the review. I've ranted enough about it, if you want to see my views on it, read the "thesis" on why not to watch the movie.

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Generation 3 remakes. I'm not kidding when I said I cleared it in a week, which is the second fastest clear time I have for a game (the record being Heart gold at 3 Days to beat Red... with help from my Platinum residents...). Its the fastest I've completed a review and while I did enjoy working on it, I don't think its something I can do often. The sole reason why I could (as I've mentioned at some point... maybe) is because I know Hoenn so well. I know where the good hiding spots are, I know where the secret bases are, who the Gym leaders are and their types, so I could breeze through Hoenn (even if it was easier in ORAS then RSE) no problems. I can't say the same for other games yet, maybe someday I might, but at the moment, I don't think so.

That's pretty much it though for 2014. If there's something you want more info on, just ask. If you'd like to see these kinds of things for specific reviews next year, let me know, I'll be happy to. But until then, enjoy the rest of 2014, what little of it there is and come back next year for even more content. I've got lots of content planned for you guys for both Blaster's Reviews and Blaster's Projects.

For some info on upcoming projects for next year, look here"What does 2015 have in store for Blaster's Reviews and Blaster's Projects" and if you want a trip through memory lane, these galleries here and here show teasers as to some of the content that has been published this year. See you in 2015 with the first review being BIONICLE: Mask of Light

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