Click on water to feed fish

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sen no Kiseki II -- Continues...

Having run out of games to play (decided not to start the new Digimon title yet) I've returned to Sen no Kiseki II, which I stopped playing a year ago (needed a break from the series after spending hours on Part I) when I got stuck with those Phantom Beasts. The whole Sen no series - Legends of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - has now been localised and will be released in the West this month so I thought I'd get back into it. It's surprising to see (looking at the way I customised/set up my team) how bad I was at this game!! Like, what was I doing? I barely used buffing skills (which is a must in this game) and didn't use the recipes to cook up buff/ debuff items. No wonder I got stuck...

Well, one year and many other (J)RPG titles later, I think I've become a lot better with these games (the way I played Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core all those years ago was shocking, I didn't even know how to use items!) so when I attempted those Phantom Beast battles again, I managed to beat them all and got myself some nice "arts quartz" (which unlock some really useful special skills). So I'm now cruising along with the saga (this game is SO LONG compared with, like, Hyperdimension)... and am currently tackling the elemental caves/ dungeons, which is quite challenging (since I am on "hard" mode... I think "nightmare" is for die-hard fans only). But at least I now have characters that can evade and dodge, which makes some battle so much more manageable...

In the meantime, I'll probably get back to Persona 4 Dancing All Night later (this game is not as great as Persona 4 the Golden) and start the Digimon game (which has been getting some raving reviews) when I am done with Sen no Kiseki II (it is another turn-based JRPG)... there are just not that many good titles out there. Corpse Party: Blood Drive was fun (and the special edition is now available in my local store, which is too late!) but Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (which I downloaded using my UK PSN account and received so many rave reviews) was disappointing. 

2016 doesn't look too promising either, with only Danganronpa 3 worth the anticipation. I doubt it will be localised next year though. 

Meanwhile, the BlackBerry Priv received a firmware upgrade yesterday so I, well, upgraded my Priv (which I LOVE!) but the irony was that when I switched it off and turned it on again later, I ran into an boot up error!!! No idea what that was ... luckily I got it to work again so no big drama. Still, am a little weary of these upgrades!! With the Priv, I have stopped carrying so many phones ... eventually I really should just using the BlackBerry. Since there isn't much re-sell value for Aka/ Z/ Nokia 8310 and the JPhone, I might as well just store them away. Of the three sim cards, I use one for Priv/ Aka and then the "free" one for my PS Vita. 

I also recently bought the Gotway MCM4 ... which is SO HARD to ride!!! Must keep practising until I can balance on the one wheel. Then I can join the circus ... LOL...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

An Unusual Kinda Party

I stumbled across this curious title - Corpse Party - when looking at forum threads on good VN (visual novel) hybrid games on the PS Vita people are playing out there at the moment. This popped up but I couldn't find it on PSN/Asia (or in local stores). It turns out the localised version of this game is only released in the US/ Europe so it's with a stroke of luck that I should have a PSN/ Europe account too. So I switched my Vita over and downloaded Corpse Party - Blood Drive (the latest and last in what is known as the "Heavenly Host Elementary" series in the franchise) meaning I am now not able to play all my games downloaded from the Asian account (Persona 4 Dancing All Night turns out to be not that addictive, Uncharted Fight for Fortune is great but I need a break from it, and am now waiting for the third instalment of Dangan Ronpa). 

Anyway, back to Corpse Party BD, which despite its name, is actually quite an engaging game. And I have not regretted switching my Vita over to the UK account for it. It's primarily a VN, i.e. lots and lots of dialogue, with quite a bit of "dungeon crawling". When I say dungeon crawling, it's not like in RPGs where you have to kill monsters and stuff. Rather, you are confined in this alternative dimension - this haunted Heavenly Host Elementary School, the playground of serial killings - and you have to look for various items while running away from evil spirits (this part of the game I find a bit dull). Unlike in Dangan Ronpa, which kinda guides you around while keeping things interesting, in BD you can running the place (and it's not small) endlessly and aimlessly, in the dark, without knowing exactly where you are supposed to go next. I know this is probably the point but it's just not what I would consider good gameplay. So thank goodness for YouTube walkthroughs, which I think you need for various chapters.

But the story sure is interesting and engaging. This family (bloodline) of psychics having the ability to seek out a powerful magic item (Book of Shadows) that was created by ancient witches. Falls in the wrong hands and it's, well, the end of the world. I know, bit cliche and predictable but the story is laced with some fun characters and humour, and has enough twists and turns that keeps players interested. Oh, and I actually love the cute Chibi-style presentation in a horror tale! I'm now in Chapter 9 nearing the end but will play those extra chapters first (back stories) before progressing in the main story. Will see if there are other Europe/US-exclusive titles worth downloading too...

Meanwhile I have managed to get my hands on the Blackberry Priv. Not as flashy as, say, the Samsung Edge but with my brief hands-on experience using it, what a powerful workhorse! Will sure be upgrading to it (the Classic is driving me crazy!!!)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Blackberry Priv

(I quite like that music...)

Oh yes, I have been drooling over this for more than a week now. But when oh when oh when will it be released here in Hong Kong? As a long-time BB user, I was terribly let down by its "Classic", the user interface (and everything else) is SO counter-intuitive that, seriously, I almost threw it out of the window a couple of months ago. The only reason why I stopped was cos I feared it might hit someone on the head on the street. 

I missed the "Bold" terribly. It has to be one of their best model, ever. There was a time when placing a call (oh yes, as simple as that) meant thumbing the numbers in and press the call button. Now I have to actually get to the dialing screen first (how utterly stupid is this) before I can thumb in the number ... of course, by which time I just want to thumb the bloody phone to death. While I am at it, I used to be able to set the phone to sleep (10pm) and wake up with an alarm (6.10am) automatically. Can't do that now. I have to turn the stupid phone to "Bedside Mode" the night before first so the alarm will go off automatically the following morning. Not only do I find saying "Bedside Mode" every time before I go to bed extremely stupid (Blackberry, I hope you are listening since I Hate You So Much Right Now), when plugged into a power source, it just doesn't work. "Bedside Mode", I command, and the phone will SEARCH the term on the Internet. Oh, you f***ing idiotic phone!!! I don't want you to search it online, just f***ing go to Bedside f***ing Mode already. Yes, that was when I almost threw the phone out of the window, with the charger in tow. 

Need to calm self down with a quick yoga practice...

Sadly, because of this lingering swelling in my right knee, I have been off the mat lately. But today I will take too simple classes so to ease me back to my regular practice. Will hope to get back to teaching next week ... but I have a feeling I won't be going back to the theatre studio ... it is so hard to teach a bunch who is so diverse in experience and level. We'll see...

Game-wise, have started playing Persona 4 Dancing All Night, which is a little underwhelming. It's a rhythm game but I don't think the gameplay is very rhythmic. Have also re-discovered Uncharted: Fight For Fortune, a fantastic card game that I didn't quite get the first time round but am having some success this time around. There was only one boss that was close to impossible but was still able to beat him. Hurrah! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Danganronpa 1: Trigger Happy Havoc *spoiler alert*

Yes, I'm working myself backwards with this game series. Strangely enough, I really didn't enjoy the first instalment when I downloaded it off PSN awhile ago. The (school) environment is a bit blend (despite use of psychedelic colours); the characters do not immediately leap out (especially when compared with those in the sequel); and the first mystery was also a dead giveaway. So, I thought it a bit dull. However, having already played Goodbye Despair, the gameplay itself is a lot easier (NO Logic Dive! NO "improved" Hangman's Gambit!) and the logic seems to make a bit more sense. Though I still choose the easiest level simply to gameplay less fiddly (white noises...) Also the class trials don't last as long as those in the sequel (which can take at least two hours...)

The Original DGR cast

Also, the characters, though not immediately appealing, tend to stick more. They grow on you over time. While the cast of Goodbye Despair is a lot more fun and wacky from the word go -- and frankly have a much more interesting backstory (they are Ultimate Despairs on a reform programme went wrong) -- they are not as memorable (?) They tend to get lost in all the many, many twists and turns of the narrative itself. Of course, they also choose to kill the game's fav Chiaki, which is such a big no-no!!  

In the first game, the characters tend to be more sedated, on the surface anyway, but there is so much simmering underneath. The dark side of the Ultimate Pop Sensation, the Bromance between Mondo and Taka, the secret of the Ultimate Programmer, the mysterious Kyoko (a more stroppy Chiaki) and, of course, the unlikely couple Toko/ Genocide Jill and Byakuya. I think they are more fleshed out though the "Ultimates" in DGR2 are more relevant to the plot/story ... like, I have no idea why we have Hina, the Ultimate Swimming Pro while I can see the importance of having the Ultimate Mechanic Kazuichi. But at least Hina is cute.

I've just started Case 4 and I know what's ahead (like, I am totally spoiled with the plot) but other than "who", I find the "how" and "why" equally interesting. Persona Dancing All Night will have to wait a little longer still... 

Discovered below video... which is cool but why have Celeste instead of Sayaka the Ultimate Pop Sensation, which would make more sense thematically??

Friday, October 2, 2015

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

More (photos) on this game... just completed Chapter 3 (god, these "class trials" are SO LONG and those mini games such a chore...) and the storytelling is pretty gripping. Heard chapters 4, 5 and 6 are excellent so looking forward to advancing the game. But agree Chapter 3 is pretty weak and needs to take a break from that lengthy trial...

Happy Days

Kazuichi Soda has all the fun lines...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Games and Some...

Finally! Persona Dancing All Night is here!!!  Bought the limited edition that came with lots of goodies (including two CDs!!) so am quite pleased. However, after all that wait I won't be playing it any time soon because I am in the middle of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.  

Moment of hilarity ...
Oops ***spoiler***
Now, here is a weird game. I first played a Danganronpa title many, many months ago (in Chinese) and decided I hated it. I love murder mysteries (and solving them) but this game is a little sick (I rechristened it the Sicko Game). It is about 16 students trapped on an island and the only way out is for them to kill one another. Ahem. So Japanese. Conceptually it's totally violent ... well, so is some of its presentation, really. The gameplay I found really hard to grasp as I didn't quite understand the Chinese instructions so I played it for a few hours and gave up. 

However, I did find the characters memorable. So when I saw the English release, I decided to give it another go. Only to read that in order to fully enjoy/ make sense of the sequel I'd need to play Danganronpa 1: Trigger Happy Havoc first. So I got the English release for that and played the first chapter. The pace was just too slow so I decided to just watch the walkthrough on YouTube and jump to the sequel. *LOL* 

So, am now in Chapter 3 of DGR2 and totally into it. I think, overall, characters from the sequel are better as they are more wacky and funny than those from the first game (which in general is much darker in tune and very claustrophobic). End of Chapter 2 was so heart-breaking it brought a tear to my eye ... something I totally did NOT expect!

Persona DAN will just have to wait.  

Meanwhile, I've started to teach yoga (charging $) and it's been both fun and challenging. There was this issue of insecurity at the beginning (like, omg, the students are better than me!) but one of my instructors told me that, once I step on that mat as an instructor, it doesn't matter who's better than who doing what ... it's my duty and responsibility to lead and teach my students the best I can!!! And that's what I've been doing and it really is a rewarding experience ~ :-)  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hyperdimension Neptunia re;birth 1 (Part 2)

Compa (far left) is so kawaii

MiGod, this game is addictive!! After my first playthrough I really didn't expect to go all the way with the level grinding in the second run ... but it was actually less gruelling that it initially looked. The only part that I didn't enjoy as much was farming certain items (flamin wings and the autosave chip ... yikes!) and levelling up the Lily ranks (yikes x 2). Anyway, I think I have now got my definitive team (this is normally my favourite part of any RPG games like Persona 4 and Sen no Kiseki 1&2) and ready for the mega boss dungeons. Below is what I posted on a vid game forum:

32 minutes ago#43
Final leg of levelling (to lvl 999 for all) and limit break plan now activated. Here is my (almost) final pairing (everyone in the front has ignore enemy traits, shortens wait and nulls all ailments):

Noire + CC2 (Noire can fill the Exe gauge fast-ish)
Vert + Nep-Nep (I swap between the two; Gardevoir, I follow your Nep-Nep setup :-) )
Rom + Broccoli (Rom is my healer + powerhouse)

Both Nep-Nep and Rom have the drill chip; Noire has gradual hp recovery lvl 5. Hopefully this is a strong enough team... I love the fact I can adjust the game's difficulty at any time :-)
YuGiOh/ FF VII: CC/ Dissidia/ TO/ Disgaea3/ P4G/ FF Type0/ One Piece2/ FF X-2/ Natural Doctrine/ SnK I & II/ Nobunaga/ MM/ SAO/ HNR1/ SRWZ3/ DGR1&2
  1. Boards
  2. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1
  3. Thematic partnering
Have to recharge my PS Vita now before unlocking Nep-Nep's ultimate gears. Getting Rom's stuff was the hardest ... her armour just refused to drop, but had much better luck with Vert's and Noire's. Hope Neptune's also easy cos I really, really hate grinding for gears too. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hyperdimension Neptunia re;birth 1

Now, here is a surprise. I didn't expect to get into this game but, well, I did -- and totally addicted to it lately. The first time I came across this "Neptune" character was when I was playing the Monster Monpiece card game (released by the same game company, Compile Heart) and I thought the anime art was pretty cool (well, yes!) Then I saw some reviews of this game (turn-based JRPG) and thought I'd give it a go. This is nothing like the Sen No Kiseki I & II series (which is v dark and serious). Quite the contrary, HNRB1 is totally goofy/hilarious and doesn't take itself too seriously. 

The gameplay, though, is kinda hard to get into. At first it was a little tedious to be honest... there was the usual levelling (started with just one character, then, two, then three), unlocking new skills, finding new weapons and accessories etc. There were also all sorts of monster drops that unlock new dungeons, enemies, items and special bonuses that make the game harder/easier... I, of course, made the game easier! Then I realised there were DLCs so I bought one character (Plutia), which really helped me get through some of the tougher battles.

So you can see the more things you unlock, the higher level the characters are and the more abilities unfold, things to get interesting and... addictive. By the time when I have more than half a dozen characters to play around with, there was no stopping there....

So basically the story revolves around four "game goddesses" - Neptune, Noire, Vert and Blanc - who are at loggerheads in this "console war" (well, each goddess supposed to represent a game console...) and when the other three decide to gang against Neptune, the "Purple Heart Goddess" loses and falls onto Earth as a result, losing all her memory. Here she meets Compa a young nurse and an intelligence agent (?) called IF. They soon become BFFs and their mission, of course, is to re-discover Nep-Nep's memory. Lurking in the background are some evil forces who want to destroy all the four goddesses...

To cut a long story short and fast forward to Chapter 8 (where I am at now), I have unlocked half a dozen supporting characters and one part of this game that I find most fun is to pair them up for battles. Six characters can take part in them, but only three actually do the fighting at any given time. So, logically (and being anally thematic), I have all four protagonists in the team and to leverage on the bonuses, here is my pairing: Neptune + (sister) Nepgear; Blanc + (sister) Rom; Vert + Noire. Just for fun, other pairings include Compa + IF and magic combo Plutia + MAGES. 

I don't think I will finish the game -- even I'm totally over-levelled now for the final boss (a bit like my Final Fantasy X2 game, which I stopped playing in the final chapter) -- cos I don't want to do NG+ (gawd, farming items - which is such a grind - can be v tedious) so will see how far I will go with the Colosseum (which has enemies up to level 999... at the moment my team is only level 70+ so you can imagine there is still a Long way to go).

In the meantime, I really love this battle music (esp the violin part):

And this:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

So Much Going On...

Phew! Having got my PS Vita back from repairs (Sim card slot no longer worked and time for a new battery); and Sony actually gave me a new replacement (wow!) though keeping my limited-edition Hatsune Miku casing; I've been busy checking out some new games. 

Nobunaga Reboot edition
These include F2P Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Fortress, which looks interesting but it's an online game; Danganronpa: Another Episode, which also looks interesting but a first-person shooter; as well as Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence Power-up Kit, which I bought since it's an upgrade/reboot of an older game of the same title (minus the "power-up") that I enjoyed playing but have yet to fully explore. Have also dug up Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;birth 1, a colourful and fun game but gameplay a bit grind-y. But the big one that I'm waiting for, Persona 4 Dancing All Night, is not out until September, even though the Japanese "Disco" edition is out already. Since the wait is killing me I've been playing Persona 4 the Golden, grinding levels and ultimate weapons in three dungeons before taking on the final two bosses (if I'm ever gonna do that, since that'd start a fourth playthrough, which I rather not do). 

Meanwhile, amid all this gaming, I took a private yoga class last week to focus on my handstand practice. It was tough. Partly because my arms are yet not strong enough to support the body as I press up, and partly because hips/ hamstrings are not flexible enough to align and stablise arms and lowerback/hips while pressing up. It really is a lot harder than thought. And I think I will have to keep practising before I take the next class. Need to learn to at least stablise the legs off ground position before lifting legs up to the full pose. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Short Post

Here is what I just posted on the game forum re my Persona 4 the Golden playthrough #stillintoit:

 I finally customised my (four) personas that I think work very well with the rest of my team: Yukiko (fire/ heal, though I missed her bike rides so no Mind Charge); Naoto (almighty/ dark/ light/ ice spells); and Kanji (physical/ knocked down). I prefer Kanji + Naoto over Chie, Yosuke and Teddie.

Since this is my third playthru, I don't have the usual suspects: Alice, Yoshitsune, Kaguya, Black Frost etc. The personas I have are: Tam Lin (tri-auto/ debilitate/ primal force); Magatsu-Izanagi (physical + magic/ dark spell), Izanami-no-Okami (wind/ lightning/ victory cry) and, yes, Narcissus for some fun buffing. (All weaknesses covered).

This set up is mainly for fun (InO is really quite mehh) and haven't tested it out on the final two bosses yet but I think I should be fine, esp I rather use my entire team than solo-ing...

Any other alternative setups out there?
YuGiOh/ FF VII: CC/ Dissidia/ TO/ Disgaea3/ P4G/ FF Type0/ FF IV & TAY/ One Piece2/ FF X-2/ Natural Doctrine/ SnK I & II/ Nobunaga: Souzou/ SAO/ SRWZ3

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Simple Act of Breathing

Just came back from a vinyasa (flow) class and one thing that helped carry me through the strong practice was my breathing. It's true. No breathing, no strength. No breathing with the movement, no yoga. And I used to wonder how breathing could help. The thing is, I used to have this shallow breathing (still do, but am more conscious in trying to lengthen each inhale and exhale) and that doesn't do much. However, when the breath is long and deep, it's very powerful. It becomes a source of energy that both empowers and relaxes the body and mind. It IS the source of life itself.

Headstand in front of the Sky Tower
near the Niagara Falls
In my practice, breathing is like pumping air into the body so it doesn't get deflated. That becomes quite apparent especially when I'm upside down. I was doing headstand once and after about a minute my mind began to drift and wander, and I let go of the conscious breathing ... sure enough, like a deflated float, my body started to collapse (fall down) so, snapping out of my reverie, I quickly started to consciously breathe again, pumping air and energy inside the body. And I went straight up again. And this breathing has to be present throughout. After holding the headstand for about 10 minutes, I definitely have to keep pumping air in or else the core will just give up.

Talk about the core, I will need to train it more because, while my headstand is pretty solid now, I still cannot do pincha mayurasana or handstand away from the wall. I'm hoping to take some private classes with a friend to work on building up core and arm strength. Stamina is something that I truly lack when it comes to my yoga practice, so it's something that I will continue to work on as well as learning how to do those bandha locks ... am hoping to be able to do handstand by end of 2015 ...     

An Awesome Trailer...


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Magatsu Izanagi & Izanagi no okami

Just came back from a trip to Toronto and am glad I brought my PSVita along ... the flights there and back are quite long (around 15 hours each way) so perfect opportunity for endless hours of mindless grinding LOL. I've finally unlocked Magatsu Izanagi in Persona 4 Golden and about to unlock Izanagi no okami too. Since I'm now near the end of my third playthrough, I'll use these two versions of Izanagi to fight the final two bosses, which I look forward to. Though I don't have the "perfect" setups for my team (that's kinda arbitrary anyway), I think I will manage...

I know Yukiko can have Mind Charge (magic boosting) but I missed those bike rides so I cannot max her fire magic damages but close. My Kanji and Naoto should be close to perfect (if not perfect); Kanji's ability to confuse is great for farming those Golden Hands, and Naoto has Hamaon and Mudoon spells as well as Megidolaon. I don't use Yosuke/Chie/Teddy after first playthrough cos I really like Kanji and Naoto more. And I think Yukiko is a better offensive + healer than Teddy. 

Which leaves Yu, the protagonist. In order to clear all the persona slots to create Izanagi no okami, I have "deleted" Helel (since Magatsu Izanagi is now the Golden Hand killer); Ishtar (well, I don't need a healer with Hamaon/Mudoon spells); Black Frost (end game I can just buy items for elementary damages and to escape dungeon); Kaguya (again, no need for Hamaon/Mudoon spells); and Narcissus (for buffing/ debuffing). I might just keep the very last persona just for fun. The question is how to build the two Izanagis? At the moment, my Magatzu Izanagi deals both physical and almighty damages (have decided not to make it physical only) and I'm likely to use Izanagi no okami as magic damage dealer + healer. I'm looking forward to setting these two up...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Lull in Games-land

Though Persona Dancing All Night (a rhythm game for P4G fans like me) was released last week, it's in Japanese and it looks like the gameplay is not much fun without understanding the story; so I'll probably have to wait until the English version, which won't be released until September/October. 

Kanji Forever!!!

In the meantime, there isn't much out there that really interests me right now. Have played Sword Art Online Lost Song a bit more but all this hacking and slashing is getting a bit tedious. Super Robot Wars Z would have been lots of fun ~ if only I could understand Japanese and all the conditions that I'd need to meet in order to win SPs ... It'd also be great to understand all the special moves, skills and abilities of the myriads of robots... that really doesn't leave me much of a choice but to ... go back to my Yu-gi-oh game on my GameBoy Advanced *LOL* Yes, have revived my old handheld (bought a new battery for it) so will pick up where I left off with this game, like, 10 years ago?!? 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sword Art Online: Lost Song

Having played Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment, which I never quite got into (not yet), I bought Lost Song anyway because I really like the anime-style graphics this series presents. It's your classical hack & slash game (which, again, not really my thing) but the gameplay is simple enough it's quite a good time killer. The music is pretty good too. Surprisingly, I'm enjoying Lost Song a lot more (despite it being a smaller game with less content I am told) than Hollow Fragment because 1) we can fly around, over the vast map and 2) I can use magic!!! The combat/ battle system is quite complicated and not so easy to grasp at the beginning but once that is mastered, the gameplay really is a lot of fun. Here are a couple of screen caps (not sure about those elf ears...): 

Family album: Asuna, Yui and Kirito
Sinon, Kirito and Asuna
This is my fav track from Hollow Fragment:

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nobunaga's Ambition: Creation

Here is an interesting game that I've been playing for awhile lately. In fact, I downloaded it way back (2014) but wasn't able to get into it straightaway. It's one of those strategy war games in which you have to spend absolutely ages to build up your own city before you start conquering neighbouring territories; the whole process, needless to day, can be v v v time consuming. Anyway, I got my hands on a Chinese edition (previously played something called the Romance of the Three Kingdoms 12, and though I kinda got the gist of the gameplay I never advanced much with the game since it is all in Japanese) and it still took me some time just to understand the basic gameplay (even with a tutorial). But after having put it down a few months, I decided to make another crack at it and it has been quite a rewarding experience.

To begin with, there are just many, many ways to play this game. You can just pick and choose a particular (seminal) battle and play either as Nobunaga or one of his allies/enemies. I decided to go for the "canon" historical account first. So before progressing I'd need to meet certain conditions first, which can be challenging. For instance, if you fail to conquer a city by a certain year, then it's, like, game over. Well, you just cannot proceed with the (real) story. I've done pretty well and am about to conquer the northwest territories. And because I'm totally anal, I've stashed up lots of cash in the treasury, as well as food for my forever expanding armies, and horses and weapons. There is so much micro management going on, which I kinda enjoy. Which is weird. Cos in real life I totally don't micro manage but I love that in my games. But I think I've built up such an empire now that unifying Japan is probably just a few more gameplay hours away. I might just pause here. 

Then I am really running out of games to play. All those Hyperdimension titles, pretty that they look, lack substance (hmm, I think that's the whole point of the series). I LOVE Super Robot Wars but it's in Japanese so I'm going to be stuck with the game soon cos of language barrier. Actually, finding a online walkthrough might help. Will have to wait until autumn before the English version of Persona 4 Dancing All Night is released.   

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Persona 4 Golden Revisited

While waiting for the release of Dancing All Night (Persona 4 crew returns for a rhythm game, yeah!) in June (Japanese version), I recently picked up P4G again (after maybe a year?) and continued with my third playthrough. Interesting that, previously, I focused too much on the protagonist (his build and those of his personas) I neglected the other supporting team members (now I realise their builds aren't that great). Luckily I'm still in that part of the game where I can make changes so while Yu has some of the best personas available (and I'm on course to unlock Magatsu Izanagi - yeah! - since this is the whole point of my third playthrough), 

This is one phallic looking persona...

I have now given Yukiko, Kanji and Naoto a much better setup. I've bumped up Yukiko's fire attacks even though I missed the chance to get her the Mind Charge bike skill (boo-hoo). But since I use her mainly to heal it's not too bad. She is still a decent fire attacker. Kanji I've dropped his electricity skills and made him a solely physical attacker (Power Charge, yeah!). I love the way his attacks come with the "faint" buff. While Naoto I've now given her ice attack on top of her ohko skills, which will come in handy during boss fights. The others -- Yosuke, Chie and Kuma -- I haven't used much in this playthrough so far but will probably level them up towards endgame. I'm at the point now where I'm about to enter the forest dungeon, in search for Marie. Though it's actually skippable but I might as well have some fun with that. I think I've done everything I wanted before the unlocking of Magatsu Izanagi. I'm also on course to unlock ultimate boss Elizabeth, and for the Golden true ending, I maxed all of the social links that matter. This will be my last playthrough of the game. I really cannot wait the release of Dancing All Night!

Elsewhere, on tech-land, I've been using the new LG Aka phone (the one with eyes!) which is okay. Needless to say, it's a toy phone so it's fun to have something that looks a bit different (mine is in yellow for a start!) Sony Xperia Z is still the best though, in terms of camera image quality. I'm keeping it as a spare (and for when it rains, since it's water proof).

Yoga practice still fun. But I think my instructor (whose teacher training programme I took) was suggesting that I should go to his tougher classes more so I won't "get crushed" ... for some reason my legs were really tired when I took his morning class (7am!) last Wednesday and I got, well, crushed. But getting up so early for a class is not something that I'd like to do on a regular basis ... what to do?!?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

An Update

Just realised I haven't blogged for awhile, and since the last entry I have ... yes, gone back playing Dissidia 012: Duodecim, which I bought in 2011. The first Dissidia game I really enjoyed and I remember I only stopped when I could no longer grind for one v rare item/ accessory (was it "side by side"?)

Dark Kain vs Kain

012 is, I think, an even better game. Some of the more OP characters in the original (strangely, a sequel) have been nerfed (hello Terra) though the new additions, notably, Lightning, Yuna, Firion, Vaan are pretty powerful. Back then, I max levelled Lightning, Vaan, Yuna, Kain and Terra ... probably cos they are the most easy to learn and have spammable skills *lol* Recently, I went back to level up Warrior of Light and Cecil (latter from Final Fantasy IV, which I'm still playing, on and off) as well as Firion, Onion Knight, Gilgamesh (yes!) and Prishe. WoL and Cecil are now Level 100. But the real "breakthrough" is that, after a long impasse (I was stuck with some really crap weapons), I went into one of the gates (in Scenario 000) and grind the hell out to get enough "KPs" (Kupo points!) to buy the Heike set (Ex Mode 100% but -50 duration); and with that better set I was able to get more KPs and now got the legendary "Iai build" Mwahahaha! Yes, I can use a Level 1 character to beat a Level 120+ enemy. Which makes playing 012 more fun ... i.e. I don't lose all the time. Now I can really play the FF characters I like and have fun with that.

Currently, my favourites are Cecil and Kain (yes, have become a FF IV fanboy!) followed by Lightning (I like her Paradigm shift) and maybe Vaan (haven't played him for awhile). WoL is good for grinding, thanks to White Fang (lightning) + Heike set. Think am giving mages Yuna and Terra (spamming) a rest, while Tifa is not as good a puncher as Prishe. Like Firion, Gilgamesh is okay to play but will max level them later. Hmm, that's about it. I quite like Onion Knight but, again, not as fun as  Cecil and Kain.

But will probably put this down for awhile (next mission, maybe, is to go through the highly challenging Labyrinth) cos I REALLY should start working on my yoga sequencing. I find students get bored if it's the same sequence week after week...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Final Fantasy IV

Clockwise from bottom: Cecil, Yang, Cid, (Elder), Edward, Palom
and Porom in the centre 
Well, it has taken me a good 47 hours just to reach this point in the game when I can swap party members ... in Final Fantasy IV players are forced to go through the storyline with a rotation of setups (otherwise there will be no coherent narrative)... which is both good and bad. Good because that forces players to strategise -- though inevitably you always end up having a hitter, black mage, white mage/healer and a quirky character fighting along side the protagonist (Cecil). Bad because I like to stick with certain characters and it's a pain to have to keep switching them in and out...

Anyway, am now able to party-switch because the rest of this game is pretty much just taking different party setups to farm items and exclusive equipment, which I hope isn't gonnabe too tedious. So far my favourite characters are: Cecil (no choice here, but as a Paladin, at least he is interesting and has high stats); Rosa, cos she is Cecil's love interest and a fantastic white mage, with range attack capability; Rydia is fantastic, not only cos she is lovely looking and she is also a powerful summoner (Bahamut, come on down!). The other two favourites (to make up the team of five) will either be Edward (just cos he's different, having a harp for a weapon!) and maybe Edge (the ninja) or Yang (the fist fighting monk who has a wife!). Kain, though a main character, somehow is a bit lacking in this game (keeps dying on me), and neither Cid nor the Porom and Palom twins are that impressive (when compared with the others). 

So my next destination is Mount Ordeals ... think will take that on next week... 

Meanwhile, I can do drop-backs against the wall now, which is Brilliant!!! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Sore Lower Back

So I was having teacher training withdrawal syndrome *LOL* and got up at 5am yesterday morning for a voluntary morning intensive practice, which wasn't too hard. Instructor Patrick took us through the universal principles of alignments (mostly muscular energy and organic energy) using the basic sequence, which I enjoyed since there is no pressure now that I'm a teacher :-) I have grown to really like doing parsvakonasana and trikonasana (so opening) but less so with virabhadrasana II ... but what really got me feeling sore was the series of 10 urdhva dhanurasana ... we kept going up and down into the wheel pose ... followed by drop back, which is super intense. I'll be taking hatha 2 this afternoon just to work on the sore ... definitely need to do quite a bit of stretching through out the week if I am to keep my body supple. 

I just LOVE this love theme for final fantasy IV

Meanwhile, as I type I'm farming "sirens" in Final Fantasy IV (the complete collection) on auto ... this item is supposed to be very useful later on in the game. The question is, do I really wanna continue with this game... It was first released back in 1991 and has remained a solid RPG game (the music is just brilliant) but without a walkthrough you wouldn't know what to do. And I'm getting a bit tired reading walkthrough ... I'd also unlocked the rarest item in Final Fantasy X-2 last week. The amount of grinding (on auto or not) can get kinda tedious. So, am contemplating what to do next with these games. I don't particularly have an urgent to finish X-2 or IV, so maybe I'll just leave those as is. I wanted to unlock a rare persona in Persona 4 the Golden but the amount of work involved I don't think I'm ready to tackle at the moment. There are at least four more games on my PS Vita but none of them I wanna play right now (maybe Dissidia 12, which I still play occasionally). So this calls for maybe another visit down the game store ... maybe there's something there that's worth getting (hopefully a game that doesn't rely too much on following a walkthrough!)

Tech-wise nothing much is happening on that front. The Blackberry Classic I bought is okay ... it's a necessary upgrade but I really miss the Bold 9900, which is smaller and more simple to use (and it was white!). Nevermind. I am (surprisingly perhaps) still using Sony Xperia Z, which is great for photos and social media (WeChat, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Facebook/ Messenger, Line etc). Battery remains a minor issue (it's on since around 6am and lasts until 8pm-ish if on heavy use) but other than that I still really like its colour and functionality. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Yoga Teacher Certificate

YEAH!! I've completed my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and am now a certified yoga teacher!! On the last day of the course I held a headstand, away from the wall, for five minutes!! That was quite a thrilling experience ...

Now I will have to find a mentor and keep practising and keep practising and keep practising ...Abhyasa !!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New (Year) Entry

Happy New Year!!! I often wonder if people still blog! Just noticed my last entry was back in November ... and part two of my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training is already fast approaching (mid-January). At least I've done my written homework this time: 1) a presentation on our understanding of a Yoga Sutra verse, and 2) answers to nine questions related to The Bhagavad Gita. However, I've been less successful with the daily meditation (oh, don't ask) and the weekly 30-minute practice (don't ask either). Needless to say, I cannot hold my headstand for more than a couple of minutes, let alone five! Though I have been teaching the one-hour sequence once a week. 

It's hard to tell whether I'll be certified as an instructor (not dead!) after the training but at least I've put some effort into it. What's more, it's really, really been great to meet fellow yogis from all walks of life, some of whom have become good friends. And it's great to be able to put aside BS in our professional lives (mine has been one roller coaster ride in 2014) to concentrate on something we all like and enjoy. 

Yesterday we went outside and practised under the sun -- it was a glorious experience. The sheer joy we shared is hard to express in words but suffice to say we had a bloody jolly good time. Then the champagne was popped and we laughed, we chanted and, well, drank until we got kicked out by another party *lol* (It was kinda embarrassing cos I was still semi-sober). This coming Saturday we'll meet again for another practice session - ahead of our teacher training - so hope the weather stays nice and brilliant. 

I'll post more images here ... but after five years of (occasional) blogging, I think I will slowly wind this blog down (I notice my cousin Grace, who inspired me to start this blog in the first place, is doing the same)... it's like, with other mediums like Line, WeChat, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitters, Google+ and, of course, Facebook, it's easier to record and share moments/ memories with others more immediately, and readily. Blogging appears to be something of the last decade. Anyway, will go with the flow and if I do come across anything that worth writing about, will continue to post here. 

Elsewhere on Tech-land and Game-land, I've bought the new Blackberry Classic to replace my old, faithful and reliable Bold 9900 (actually, I wish I didn't upgrade it but I guess we have to move with times...); and while having dabbled with a host of Vita games, I'm returning to play Final Fantasy IV - The Complete Collection. Bought the latest Gundam game (Breaker 2) but hack and slash is so NOT my thing!