Bloodborne, Bane of My Souls

I’m a Dark Souls fan. I own all the games in the franchise including Demon’s Souls. So of course I purchased Bloodborne. There was never an option to not purchase that game. Same genre. Same developer. Of course I bought it. Now I didn’t buy it at release because I didn’t have time to play it then. I purchased it new as a physical copy for $20. Of course before I actually opened the game but after the return date passed, they put it on sale on PSN with all the DLC included for the same price in a flash sale. I was disappointed but not at all angry. I honestly have no interest in the DLC. I’ve purchased the vanilla version of every game in the franchise and I’ve never purchased any of the DLC. I just want to beat the final boss, see one of the endings and move on with my life. That’s actually how I play most games and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s my money and my time. I purchased the game new, thus supported the developer. I purchased the physical copy of the game, thus supporting physical businesses and not allowing SONY to believe that it’s acceptable to charge the same price for a digital copy of a game as a physical, because it’s not. I just wanted the base game and that’s what I purchased. Honestly Bloodborne is an amazing game. I won’t say it’s better than Dark Souls but I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it. It’s just too bad I’ll probably never get to finish it because technology and bad coding practices screwed me over.

Souls series

One of the biggest selling points of PlayStation Plus has always been “the cloud”. You are promised the ability to save your files online and then the ability to access them anywhere in the world. I never really liked the cloud. I keep saves of games I’ve beaten on there but I never really used it for anything important before Bloodborne. I’m an American with an American PSN account, but I don’t live in the United States. Now the first problem that new technologies have created for me is of course region locks. This most disagreeable, fascist, and just plain terrible practice has cost me so much money that I shouldn’t have had to spend. Every time I want to buy a physical copy of a game I have to import it from the US. That means that whatever you pay for a game, I have to pay plus the cost of shipping overseas. The reason for this is quite stupid. They always sell these new consoles/games today as being region free but that’s a half truth. The DLC is still region locked even if the discs aren’t. That means that because I have an American account, if I purchase an Asian copy of a game I will never be able to use the DLC on my main account because you can’t change account regions or have multiple regions tied to a single account. Now usually this doesn’t actually end up mattering because most games today get an English translation sold here in Asia and rarely do I buy DLC. But I still don’t tend to buy games here in Asia and instead import them because now every game ends up having some form of DLC one way or another and because of the region locks on DLC I’m required to have an American copy or run two separate accounts which I just won’t do because it’s a multiplayer nightmare to try to get all your friends worldwide to add and keep track of two different accounts for the same person. Especially when meeting randoms online. Also trophies.

the cloud

Region locked DLC is the reason I don’t own Nioh yet. I want a physical copy and I got all the alpha and beta free DLC. But the only way I can access that DLC is buy having an American copy. Yes I could purchase a digital version of the game, but I don’t like digital copies. Nor will I over pay for my games. When it comes to release day games, which I rarely buy, it’s no problem to go digital because the price will be the same. Of course assuming I don’t want the special edition physical swag. Looking at you Horizon: Zero Dawn. But when I don’t care about getting a game on release it really comes down to price. 100% of the time the physical price of games is lower than the digital price after the initial release window. And if you have an Amazon prime account the physical price is lower at release as well. In less than six months Nioh will have dropped to $30 for a physical copy. Other than in a possible flash sale, which may never come, the PSN store price will still be at $59.99. I will not pay $60 for a game I can get for $30 as a physical copy. Now of course I have to take shipping overseas into account, but all that means is that I have to wait till a bunch of games I want are all on sale at the same time so I can bulk ship them and try to recoup/justify the cost of shipping overseas. That’s the reason I end up buying so many games on Black Friday. It justifies the cost of shipping. Now if SONY would just choose to sell digital games at fair market value, I wouldn’t have this problem outside of special edition physical swag scenarios. But they just won’t price software fairly. So here we are. But I have digressed quite a bit so let’s get back to Bloodborne.

The reason me not living in the United States is important is because I recently went to visit my family in the US. While I was there I decided to play Bloodborne on my cousin’s PS4. This was the worst gaming mistake I’ve made this gen. My cousin has a digital copy of Bloodborne and told me that I could play while I was visiting. I did everything correctly so that I could reap the benefits of the promised new conveniences of new gen gaming technology. I saved my Bloodborne file on the cloud. Now I can’t actually tell you how many hours I had put into the game at this point because save files showing you that information seems to no longer be a default standard in game production. Some games will still tell you in game but many won’t. All I can tell you is that I was above level sixty and that I had defeated Shadow of Yharnam and was near the boss door for Rom the Vacuous Spider. I went to my cousin’s PS4 and logged into my account. I downloaded my save file from the cloud, which I’m allowed to do because I’m a PlayStation Plus subscriber. I played my Bloodborne save file on my account with my cousin’s digital copy of the game because you are able to play games owned by other accounts on the same console. By the end of my visit I had beaten Rom and gotten all the way to Yahar’gul Chapel. I saved my file back to the cloud. Here’s where I first started to notice things were fishy but I didn’t go with my gut for some reason and trusted a combination of SONY’s new saving system and what used to be considered common sense.

Rom

On the PS3 when you save anything to either the cloud or the console you can create multiple save files and copies of any one save file for any game. I used to do this all the time with RPGs. I would create multiple saves at various points and keep all of them. We have lost this luxury with the PS4. In order to save my file from my cousin’s PS4 I was forced to overwrite the file I already had saved in the cloud. I don’t know why this is now the case, but on the PS3 I could have kept both files simultaneously. I reluctantly accepted the overwrite because I had made so much progress during my trip. When I got home, I went to pull the save off my cloud storage and again I was forced to overwrite my console save instead of having both at the same time. I don’t know why I didn’t back up the original on a usb drive. I don’t know why I trusted SONY or any company for that matter to not screw me over because empirical evidence and statistics shows that they always will. But I agreed to the overwrite anyway believing that things would work the way they’re supposed to in a sensible gaming scenario. Boy was I wrong.

I was ready for my next Bloodborne session and had gotten a friend to agree to login in order to help me with the next area. I was met with a rude awakening. I could not load my save. Instead I was given a message saying that I couldn’t use my save until I downloaded the Old Hunter’s DLC. I didn’t know why at the time. I didn’t have the DLC and I had no interest in buying it. What I found out later was that my cousin had/has the DLC on his console and his PS4 laced my save file as a DLC version even though I hadn’t actually accessed any DLC content while I was playing on his console. Due to lazy coding on the part for From Software, the game would not load up without the DLC being present on the console once a trace of the DLC’s presence had added itself to my save. Not using the DLC was irrelevant to the situation. Essentially my save acquired a hidden virus that can’t be cured. And to top it all off, because of SONY’s decision to no longer allow multiple saves I didn’t even have my old save from before I went to visit my cousin.

Can't Load Save

More than 70 levels of gameplay trapped behind a pay wall that costs as much as I paid for the vanilla game. If you read my blog regularly then you know I don’t do paid DLC except in very rare and very specific situations. You also probably know that the only thing I’m less willing to compromise than my beliefs about how gaming should work is my price points. I paid $20 for Bloodborne because that’s the price I chose to pay long before I bought it. The DLC costs $20. There is no way that I will pay literally a 100% markup just to finish the base game I already paid for. And even if I did purchase the DLC, I honestly wouldn’t play it. I’m not interested in playing it. I just want to finish the base game as I have with all the Souls games (excluding DS3 which I own but haven’t played yet). It goes against just about everything I stand for to pay $20 for this DLC.

I’ve tried multiple fixes. I uninstalled and reinstalled the licenses multiple times. I disconnected my internet and tried to play offline. Nothing works. The one thing I tried that seemed to work was logging into my cousin’s account on my console and downloading the game and DLC. I believed this would solve the problem because I had played the game on my account on his console just a week prior. I’ve also played numerous games owned by other accounts than the currently logged in one on various PS4s. But when I tried to run the digital copy of Bloodborne from my cousin’s library on my account the content was locked. I’ve literally never seen that happen before. But what did work was when I put my physical copy in the console and ran it. It used the permissions from my copy to run the game and still made use of the DLC from my cousin’s account. Together I was able to play my save file. This was a grand day. I was extremely happy. I thought everything was back to normal. And I still had no plans to play the DLC even with access to it. I just wanted to finish the game. I played a bit and then inevitably had to stop because life is a thing. I went on to play other games both physical and digital over the days following. Then when I went back to play Bloodborne, once again with the same friend coming in to help me, the save wouldn’t load again. I cannot think of any reason why it just stopped working. But I didn’t lose faith. I deleted all the content from my console again and re-downloaded the game from my cousin’s account believing I would get the same results. This time it didn’t work and I can’t even begin to explain why.

bloodborne dlc

This whole situation really hurts me. I’m a loyal gamer. I’ve never purchased a single used game for my PS4 or really any console except for one time when Gamestop conned me into purchasing a used copy of Mirror’s Edge on XBOX 360. I’ve never hacked any of the many consoles I’ve owned over the years or pirated a single game for any of them. I do my best to support the industry even though I often don’t agree with a lot of the decisions made by companies today. But there’s just no way that I can be ok with this outcome. I am not going to pay $20 to finish a game that I purchased new and have already put probably more than 50 hours into. I shouldn’t have to do that. I’m not gonna start over either because that’s no less of an unacceptable concession that I shouldn’t have to make. I haven’t done anything wrong. I purchased a game and I just want to finish that game. I feel that I’m not over-asking by making that request. I’ve tried to contact From Software (developer), Japan Studio (publisher), and SONY (console distributor) multiple times through multiple platforms, but all three companies have ignored me. From Software and Japan Studio don’t even have a means to contact them on their respective websites. They literally link you to SONY’s support page which is no more helpful. They don’t even take emails anymore, which is really odd in my opinion. I finally was able to get a response from @AskPlayStation on Twitter and all they told me was use the live chat. I had to work around the time change between USA and Asia to try to contact the live chat support. Then when I finally managed to do that they have the nerve to tell me the live chat is region locked. What the hell is that!? Why would you region lock customer support? While I’m logged in with a USA account no less. Then when I explained that the live chat wouldn’t work for me because of my location to @AskPlayStation they had the nerve to tell me to call them. Because I’m going to place an international call to a company that clearly doesn’t handle customer service well that will end up costing me more than the DLC. The whole situation stinks.

Ask PlayStation

I don’t have some grand argument here or opinion on some important current event. This is just a plain despicable situation brought on by modern DRM practices and bad coding. From Software and Studio Japan are both companies that I have always respected up until now, but if I can’t finish this game with this save file for a total of less than five additional dollars (the largest concession/compromise I’d be willing to make) then I think I might just be done with both companies. That’s not something I want to do. But I believe in the rights of consumers and this is blatantly wrong.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.
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Mass Effect: Andromeda Review – 8/10

As promised, I purchased and reviewed Mass Effect: Andromeda. I have given this game as thorough a review as I could having only gotten to put in just over 30 hours since it released last week. I have been as fair as possible, considering I haven’t finished the game yet. I published this review on Brash Games but here is the introduction:

MEA Mountains

10 years ago, Bioware released the first Mass Effect. While this was not a perfect game, it in many ways revolutionized both the sci-fi and open world exploration genres of video games. Last week, Bioware released the latest game in the Mass Effect franchise. Like with the original Mass Effect, this is not a perfect game by any means but once again it revolutionizes the way we travel through space, meet alien races, and ultimately save the galaxy. Or at the very least a galaxy in the case of this game, because you’re no longer in the Milky Way. Let me start by saying that I have not yet finished the game. I’ve played every day since its release and have amassed more than 30 hours of playtime counting multiplayer. Since I did not receive an advanced copy, it would have been impossible for me to have completed the campaign of a game this size within the opening release window.

You can read the rest of the review here. For this and other reviews by me on Brash Games you can also check out my Author’s Archive page.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey Review – 8/10

It has been a busy few weeks with Mass Effect: Andromeda among other games, but I wanted to make sure to take the time to post about this particular game review. I had the pleasure of reviewing a turn based, open world JRPG from Koei Tecmo called Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey. This game hadn’t even crossed my radar, but I was asked to review it and I’m so glad I did. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a casual level JRPG. I published this review on Brash Games, but here’s the introduction:

Atelier Firis

Tackling an RPG is always a daunting task. And other than in the case of games like Dark Souls, the JRPG is always the most intimidating of the genre. The highest levels of concentration, character development, patience, and ultimately time are required to best these beastly games. As a person who has played and reviewed my fair share of Koei Tecmo titles, I went into the recently released (3/7/17) Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey expecting a harsh uphill battle. While this is still a JRPG, I was surprised to discover that this is much different from just about every other game I’ve played in the genre.

You can read the rest of the review here. For this and other reviews by me on Brash Games you can also check out my Author’s Archive page.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

My Gaming Goals 2017

It’s already a month into 2017, but I thought this post was important to publish late than not at all. Last week, I published an article about my thoughts on gaming in 2016. Several weeks before that, I published an article about my experience last year completing The 52 Challenge. To complete the transition into 2017, I thought it was important and necessary to write a post about my gaming goals for this year.

I believe in the power of writing things down. I believe that when you take the time to put something to paper that gives it power and motivates you to stick with your goals. That’s how I got through two years of saving to build a high end gaming PC. I finally got the money together and have already purchased most of the parts. That goal will be completed by the end of February. A lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions but most people don’t stick with them. Writing them down is the first step to getting them done. So here’s what I’m committed to accomplishing in 2017.

2017-gaming-calendar

 

  1. Finish Toukiden Kiwami (PS4)
    1. This is an action RPG from Koei Tecmo. It was released for the PS4 as an enhanced version of the original PSP game from 2013. This is an excellent game that I purchased in a flash sale and started some time last year. Because of a number of different factors I got really far into it but then ended up not finishing it. That changes this year. I’m finally beating this game.
  2. Final Fantasy 7 (PS4)

    1. Full disclosure: I’ve never played FF7. My first and still favorite Final Fantasy is FFX and I’ve beaten every one released since then, but I’ve never played FF7. Yes I realize this is a criminal offense and I mean to pay for my crime this year.
  3. Infamous Second Son and First Light (PS4)

    1. I bought Second Son for $20 back in 2015 when I first got my PS4. Still haven’t had time to play it. Then I got First Light several months later from PS+. This year I’m gonna put the time aside to finish both back to back.
  4. Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

    1. I’ve never played any of the Xeno games, but my friend couldn’t stop talking about how good Xenoblade Chronicles X was. I got it on Black Friday back in 2015 and still haven’t tried it. I’m just tired of looking at it unplayed on my shelf so this year I’ll have to get to it.
  5. Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

    1. I bought SMM back in 2015 because everyone did. I honestly loved the concept but had little actual interest in a Mario game where I had to build my own levels or trust other people who aren’t professionals to make them for me. I don’t consider myself creative enough to be a great level builder. The only reason I bought this game was because I’m an avid Mario supporter and I buy all the console release games in the franchise. Just want to get to it this year so I can cross it off the list.
  6. Yoshi’s Wooly World (Wii U)

    1. I bought Wooly World back in 2015 and even sprung for the Yoshi amiibo. I hate amiibo and I never buy them. To this day it’s the only one I own. I only bought it because my girlfriend wanted it with the game. I would have bought the game either way because I like the yarn games from Nintendo. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was tons of fun. Still haven’t gotten to this one because I wanted to co-op it with my girlfriend but I’m tired of waiting so I’m just gonna solo it and make use of that amiibo I paid way too much money for.
  7. Bloodborne (PS4)

    1. I’m an avid souls fan going all the way back to Demon’s Souls. I was never not going to buy Bloodborne. I just hadn’t had time to play it before this year. I actually already started it like the first week of January and I’m steadily making my way through it. I’ve loved it every step of the way and I’m glad I finally got to it.
  8. Dark Souls III (PS4)

    1. Pretty obvious that I was gonna buy this if you read #7. Once I finish Bloodborne I’ll take a break with some other genres and then jump into this one.
  9. Platinum Ratchet and Clank (PS4)

    1. Every year I make sure to get at least one platinum trophy and have since I first got my PS3. Along with that tradition I have always made it a point to platinum all the Ratchet & Clank games. If you look at my PSN profile you will see that I’ve platinumed all the trophy generation games in the franchise except All4One because it’s a shameful excuse for a R&C and I refused to buy it after playing the demo. I actually tried it again today on a friend’s console and it’s just as bad as I remember. The newest R&C came out last year and I decided to make it this year’s platinum. I’ve already started it and have been streaming it on my Twitch channel. You can check it out here.
  10. Build a PC
    1. I first decided to build a PC in 2014. Before that I had wanted to do it but was always afraid to. Many of my friends had told me to do it, but I didn’t really see the need as a predominantly console gamer. What finally motivated me to make the decision was when I tried to play The Witcher 2 on my laptop. My laptop is a piece of junk Sony Vaio from 2010. A friend recommended The Witcher 1 & 2 during a sale on GOG. I reluctantly bought them and played 1. One of the best gaming decisions I’ve ever made. Tried to play 2 but my craptop wouldn’t run it. That was the exact moment I decided to build a PC. I’ve been saving for more than two years but I finally have the money and I’ll be building it soon. Hopefully I’ll have it done before March.
  11. The Witcher 2 (PC)

    1. See #10.
  12. Finish The Last Guardian (PS4) with my Girlfriend
    1. I have waited 10 years for The Last Guardian to be released. Finally they got it out in 2016, two generations later than they should have. My girlfriend got me the collector’s edition and we’ve been playing it together. Not sure how much longer it is but I’m glad I’m finally getting to play it.

challenge-accepted

If I can get all of this done I’ll consider it a good year. It’s a lot of RPGs and open worlds and I’m a busy man. But I beat 52 games last year so I’m confident that I can get it done. Some of these games have already been started as well. If by some miracle I can get all this done there’s a few extras I’d love to get to this year as well. Probably won’t make it to these but one can dream.

Bonus Goals

  1. Uncharted 4
  2. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  3. Magrunner
  4. Finish the Talos Principle
  5. Mighty No. 9
  6. FFXV

What are your gaming goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.

Asdivine Hearts Review – 8/10

This week I reviewed an excellent turn based indie RPG called Asdivine Hearts. It was originally built for mobile but was recently ported to PS4 among other PlayStation platforms. I published this review on Brash Games, but here is the introduction:

asdivine-hearts

JRPGs are a difficult problem as a busy gamer who is constantly backlogged. It’s one of my favorite genres and I am not alone in that opinion. It’s one of the only remaining types of games you can buy where story is as if not more important than gameplay. It’s the best genre when it comes to getting a fully developed and detailed story with multiple characters and interweaving story lines. They’re the type of games that inspired studios like Bioware to make games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age that blur the line between Western style action games and Eastern style plot focused fairy tale adventures. The problem with playing them is that they’re very long. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. Their characteristically long length is not a flaw on their part but an issue on that of players for not having the time to always be able to commit to hundred or more hour long adventures. But life has to come first so it’s no body’s fault.

You can read the rest of the review here. For this and other reviews by me on Brash Games you can also check out my Author’s Archive page.

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As always, thanks for reading. Please take the time to follow my blog, leave a comment, and check out some of my other channels if you enjoyed what you read.