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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Samsung Note Edge

It's funny how I just woke up one morning and decided it was time to get rid of some of my old phones and buy something new. For the past six months or so I've been cluttering my cupboard with the purple Sony Xperia Z (bought in April 2013), yellow LG AKA (March 15) and a bling-bling J-Phone (which I bought on eBay). They are all pretty decent phones (especially the Z) but ever since I got the BlackBerry Priv several months ago, I haven't been using any of them at all. Priv, which runs on Android, basically meets all my daily needs and there is no need for a second phone, really. So yesterday I decided to sell those three phones, bar the ancient Nokia 8310, which will not worth a single penny now (but check this ad out, so cool still!)


Another reason why I sold these old phones was that I saw a "Made in Korea" Samsung Note Edge selling for just under HK$4,000 (used to be over HK$6,000). It is, apparently, the Japanese edition (and it's white) so I decided to get that, knowing that I won't be using it that much ... but what am I to do with two SIM cards? Also, who can resist those colourful bling, bling Edge "sidebar" notification lights?!?


Now I have one black and one white phone, which is great. Plus the 8310 for, err, emergency. The thing was when I took the Xperia Z to the shop, I forgot to save photos stored on that phone so all my old photos and videos (esp those taken during my yoga teacher training) are all gone. Oh well. Never mind. I never looked at them much anyway... but I will miss them at some point I am sure (the phones and the photos).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ao no Kiseki (Part 1)

Not understanding a word of Japanese has never stopped me from playing any games in that language: Final Fantasy Type 0 and X2 immediately comes to mind, oh, I think Natural Doctrine too. There are just so many resources online these days I can always follow walkthroughs on YouTube or Google Translate ones in Japanese (but only when needed). 


So having got a little stuck in/at the beginning ... those side quests are very difficult to do if you didn't know where to go and who to speak to (that's why I'd put it down for more than a year) I've returned to Ao no Kiseki (Trails of Azure), the Evolution edition, and now TOTALLY into it. And that is despite the fact I'm kinda playing this series backwards. Ao came before Sen no Kiseki, though story-wise, the timelines of the two arcs are more or less the same. So you have characters appearing in both that are connected and spoilers everywhere (cos I already played the sequel in practice). But I don't really mind. With so much information on the Internet, I get spoiled left, right and centre anyway.

Ao is quite challenging in that it has a battle system that is slightly different from Sen and I don't get to buff/debuff as much (maybe I am still too early in the game). Have just unlocked a dungeon, which looks more difficult than all the ones before ... the fact I need to protect a NPC all the while makes it even more challenging. And that's what makes this game so gripping...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Games that didn't Make the Cut

Boo-hoo to these titles I bought but weren't that great: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, Civilization Revolution 2, and  Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (which I surmise is for teenagers). One good thing about buying the physical copy is that I can always resell it so it's not a 100% loss (except for Virtue's Last Reward, which I downloaded digitally).


So onward and forward with Ao no Kiseki, which I shall trudge through slowly. Here is another track that I love... honestly sooooooo 1970s!


The Legend of Heroes Series

So I'm getting myself re-addicted to this series >.<! 

Having (almost) finished Sen no Kiseki II (am going through the very last dungeon before the game pushes me into second playthru) I decided to pick up where I left off with Ao no Kiseki, another "arc" of the LoH series. Apparently all these different arcs intertwine with one another as each takes place in a different country/city, but within the same region... so:

Kingdom of Liberl (setting for the first arc)
Crossbell State (setting for the second arc)
Empire of Erebonia (setting for the third arc)
Republic of Calvard (setting for the upcoming fourth arc)
Principality of Remiferia (also in western Zemuria, beautiful scenery and the leaders in medical research and technology)
North Ambria (aka, that place with all the salt)
Ored (don't forget us!)
Leman State (central Zemuria, home of the Bracers Guild and the Epstein Foundation)
Holy Nation of Arterla (central Zemuria, headquarters of the Septian Church)

(sources: Guruda in the gamefaqs Trails of Cold Steel forum) 

The story so far... 


So Ao and SnK overlap one another because they are set within more or less the same timeline. In fact, after the main game of SnKII, there is a "side chapter" in which Lloyd (from Zero and Ao, the Crossbell arc) literally crosses paths with Rean (from SnK, the Erebonia arc). Ao does take the whole story/narrative further as by the end of that arc, Crossbell regains its independence (SnK ends with the Empire of Erebonia forcibly taking over Crossbell). It is a bit confusing only because Zero and Ao were released BEFORE SnK as games ... so the latest releases actually go backward in time (if you see what I mean). Perhaps the Calvard arc will now move the story forward again (i.e. starting from end of Ao, not SnK, timeline wise)...


Another fav track... 70s groove!

    

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sen no Kiseki II ... End Credit




I know it's only a game but the (sad) ending of SnK II - The Legend of Heroes - Trails of Cold Steel as it is now officially called after its English release - got me a bit teary. This is the credit roll after the main game and before two post-game chapters, and the song kinda suits the mood. I'm actually amazed I managed to beat the game on "hard mode". The final battle - made up of three fights - was pretty epic. The first one was a little bit of an anti-climax though, cos my heavy-hitting unit, Milliam, practically OHKO the boss' first form (I was, like, What?!) The following fight was brilliant as it took a lot of strategising - buffing and debuffing - before I beat its second form. The third fight I kinda cheated as I checked out a guide LOL ...

I wish this game doesn't drag on though ... the third instalment is now in the making and the Japanese (and hopefully the Chinese) version will probably be released in a year's time. It has one of the most sprawling story/ plot lines, revolving around the politics of various kingdoms/ regions as well as rivalries between gods and secret societies. And SnK II feels like just the beginning of a very, very long saga. It fact, SnK II's story actually crosses over with Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki Evolution , the latter I started awhile ago but got stuck in the middle because it's in Japanese. Which is a shame cos I've heard it is a very good game too. More challenging apparently. And I'm actually playing the post-game chapter now that is linked to its protagonist Lloyd Bannings. I might give it another go, if I haven't deleted the game already ...