A Foul Play From Foul Play’s Developers

Look at that word play! I’m proud of that one. Self-praise over. Foul Play is a game that recently came out on PS Plus for free for subscribers. I’ve never heard of this game but I thought a free game to play is always welcome. Especially since it seemed to be a co-op beat’em up, which I thought would great to play with my partner. So, we loaded the game and went to the character select screen and clicked start game. Now usually a game would then load and a fun time would be had by all. Bizarrely we were met with an error message. The message states ‘Your connection to the other player was dropped’. OK, no issue, maybe a controller was low on battery or resetting the game would fix it. No and nope. So I went sleuthing online! Much to my joy I found threads with my very issue. To my dismay though, they are unresolved. The kicker though is that these threads are from 2016!

Foul Play_20180906155541

Yup, 2 years old and still a problem. Apparently it’s an issue with the EU/UK versions of the game but couch co-op play or online play are unplayable in a co-op brawler. Now, single player still works apparently but a brawler is not very fun in single player in my opinion. Most games are more fun with friends but side scrolling beat’em ups especially. Think of the glory days of Streets of Rage and Golden Axe. Or the classic arcade cabinets of The Simpsons and X-Men. Always better with friends. So I found it shocking that this issue has A. NOT been resolved in 2 years and B. Has been released on PS Plus as a broken game. I wanted to see what has been done to fix this and a post on the Playstation Trophies board. All credit goes to this user for doing the leg work so here is his post:

Originally Posted by mikieboy147

The co-op is still broken. I have been in contact with Playstation and they will not do anything unless I get Devolver to admit the game doesn’t work. After an initial “We’ve passed the note onto the developer Mediatonic to see if they have any updates coming on their end. Thanks for reaching out!” from Devolver over 3 months ago they now ignore my emails when asking for an update.

So, not only has the developer not fixed the game, but according to this user, the publisher has flat out stopped replying to the inquest. And I usually like Devolver as a publisher and the kind of games they go for but this is a shoddy move and someone should be accountable. If you release a game you are responsible for keeping that game working at least for several years after release. Fair play to No Man’s Sky’s developer Hello Games, on release they were bombarded with hate but they’ve made big changes to the game recently apparently. Whereas Batman Arkham Origins developer WB Games Montreal, refused to fix game breaking bugs and gameplay issues and instead focused on future DLC. Perhaps Mediatonic has no plans to return to Foul Play but if that’s the case, don’t allow your game to be released on PS Plus. Not only do you cheat people out of a game but you make yourselves look bad to people who had no knowledge of this issue. Myself included, Foul Play wasn’t even on my radar but now I know the name of a developer to be wary of in the future. Surely they must have been alerted that their game would be on PS Plus and an error message stopping co-op play surely can’t be that hard to fix? But maybe they are too busy or just don’t care. A shame but that game won’t be played until fixed in many people’s homes.

Why am I writing this? You never know, if people complain enough about this issue maybe it might get fixed. If not, it’s nice to express my dismay in the situation. If you have had similar issues in the past or want to share your view on this matter, feel free to comment. Thank you for reading.

Yakuza 0’s Cabaret Is Taking Over My Life

What’s more fun, being a rugged ex-Yakuza brutally beatings thugs on a quest to solve a mystery…..or dressing up women and saddling them with rich men for an hour? A few days ago I would have said being a roguish gangster but Yakuza 0 has proven me very wrong. In Yakuza 0 you play as 2 characters. Stoic Kiryu and the dangerous Majima. I’ll probably review the game one day so I won’t get into too depth of a description. Once this blasted mini game releases me from its sweet, alluring embrace I’ll get round to finishing it. After you do a certain story mission you switch to the other character and you begin a new chapter. I’ve been playing on chapter 8 with Majima for over a dozen hours. I’ve nearly forgotten how Kiryu’s distinct fighting styles play. At a certain point in the game Majima inherits a cabaret club. Now for the uninitiated, a cabaret club in this universe, revolves around men paying for the pleasure to have a woman sit and chat to them for a bit.

As Majima your job is to recruit the girls around your district and utilise their natural charms to appease the local male clientele. Each lady has stats. HP, Talk, Love, Party, Skill are what govern each individual girl. Every time you open your cabaret doors to customers, you choose a team of 8 women. As you progress through the game you will unlock new clientele targets, which will have certain tastes and will prefer particular stats over the other ones. There are different kinds of customers too; Poor, Average, Wealthy and Mega-Rich. Obviously the aim of the game is to appease the wealthiest and rinse their pockets of their money. Whenever you put a certain girl into the roster for the night, she will level up when the shift is done. When this happens, her stats will increase. The max level is 30 and once there, the stats won’t increase. Level 40 is the max level for platinum girls. Platinum girls you ask? Yes, all the women are ranked. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Platinum girls are very special and there are only 8 in the game. These girls are special and have side story content and dialogue attached to them. Platinum girls are also the only girls that you can dress up and customise. You buy them clothes and accessories so they can earn you more money. You gotta spend money to make money in this business.  With Platinum girls you also get the opportunity to train them in their banter with customers or even take them on faux dates to boost their confidence. But be a perfect gentleman! If you don’t banter well enough with the wonderful ladies, they won’t level up as much as they could. Just like real life.

Mana

You still reading? Good. I think I’ve got the basics covered. Now onto business. Before you open the cabaret doors, you need to select a team of 8 gals. It’s kind of like Pokemon. You want the heavy hitters in your team but you also want the less experienced ones to be there to gain experience and evolve. That metaphor went a lot better than I anticipated. But don’t push the lovely ladies too far! You over work them and they may become sick and absent. Not only that but if you overwork them their mood will go down which in turn will affect the customer’s mood and your wallet will grow less than The Grinch’s heart that fateful Christmas. Once, the doors open the customers will come in. They’ll stream in at an even pace which is nice. You have 6 booths and they will fill up steadily. When a customer sits down you will be given a brief criteria and also his financial status. He may be seeking a laugh for the night and therefore he’d like a girl to talk too and he may want a longer than normal session. If he’s Mega-Rich he may ask for a certain girl so as you can tell, the more you play the tougher it gets. Difficulty increases based on the customers finances. That’s why levelling up your gal pals is important. When, a customer is seated a little timer will appear at their table. During that time your cabaret worker may call you over for assistance. The lady will then prompt you with a hand gesture and you have to decode the gesture and select the correct option out of 4. There are a rotation of answers but some include a menu and a refill of ice. Doing the correct action will allow your worker to recover some of her health as working causes that to drain. It will also make the customer happy or yield a bit of extra yen. When the timer is up, the customer will want the check. You will have a choice of options here. You may be given the option to offer the guest an extension with his hostess. Maybe, you could give him a gift so that he spreads the good word of your workplace, providing more customers. Praising your worker is an option so she recovers health. And other choices. If you guest isn’t with a lady he likes though he may kick off and you will have to try to appease the guest and situation so choose who you sit your guests next to wisely.

Hostess-Stats

There’s a lot to go over with this mode so I’m going to skip some details but you get the idea.  There is also a spending spree party mode juice that you accumulate over time. When you have enough, you can use the juice to send several random customers into a spending frenzy. Timing is important with this as there are tiers of party mode juice. Level 1 will put 2 random people into Mister Spendalot’s. Level 2 will do the same for 4 and level 3 will put all tables into a merry time. This is key to making the most money as not only does it let you increase your cash flow for a brief time, it also raises the guests moods and recovers HP for your seated workers. I’ve not even got started on the competition! You aren’t the only cabaret club in town. There are several districts which each have the top dog cabaret club of that area. As you earn more fans from those areas you will be challenged to a cabaret club-off where you will compete with your current rival. If you win you will gain their best worker and they will be gone from the story, which in turn will progress the cabaret club side mission which is consuming my life. To defeat these might cavaliers of the adult industry you must recruit the help of local businesses. By investing money into a business you can team up and they will help spread the word of your club, garnering more fans and more customers. This cycle of earning money from the cabaret club, spending money to raise awareness of your club and repeating creates a very satisfying loop. It’s immensely fun earning millions of yen in one Yakuza 0 evening whereas 10 hours before that 1 million yen seemed like a fortune.

All of this combined has created an endorphins drip into my brain. The numbers go up, wallet gets big, I raise awareness, number go up more, wallet gets fat and repeat till satisfied. I’m currently on the last cabaret club so I believe my side mission is coming to an end. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop playing the cabaret club scene! Not only is it incredibly satisfying, it rakes in big quick money and it’s just fun to play. If Yakuza 0 had a 50 hour cabaret club DLC, I would be a very happy chappy. Until then though, all I can do is sing its praises and if you have Yakuza 0 and you have the cabaret club a miss, I highly recommend it. It’s similar to The Witcher 3’s Gwent in addictiveness so be careful with that. Anyway, thanks for reading and if you’ve got anything to add feel free to sound off in the comments. Cheers.

Rare Items In JRPG’s Dilemma

We’ve all done it. 80 hours into a JRPG and we have 8 Max Potions and 5 Max Ethers. Too rare to spend on a run of the mill enemy or boss encounter. No no no no, these are only fit for end game conflicts. That’s when the real challenge begins. Oh wait, there’s the credits? Oh……OK.

Like greedy squirrels we hoard our saving graces for THOSE fights. Usually at the end of the game or a steep difficulty boss encounter that separates the boys from the men. But how do you know when it’s the end of the game? A lot of the time I find the final boss creeps up quicker than previously perceived. You go through 77 hours of gameplay and then the last 3 hours are the boss build up. But in that build up there will be only several real challenges. Not only that, but there’s always that doubt in the back of the mind. You know the one. ‘What if the alleged final boss, isn’t the final boss? What if there’s something else pulling the strings and there’s another 20 hours left?’. I’ve had that happen in Person 4, to get the true ending it adds another 10 or so hours to the game. That seed of doubt is planted and forever remains.

So how would you feel about a cheeky heads up? Maybe not mandatory. However, what if at the start of the game you get the option to enable a notification of item usage? Perhaps a notification equal to the elite recovery item of the game. In FFX for example, the big restorative item is the Megaelixir. This wonderful item fully restores all the parties HP and MP. It’s a very rare item. On my first playthrough I finished with 4 leftover. Which is a shame because I scraped by on a few fights and 1 of those would have given easy victory. The Witcher 3 has a moment where you get a pop up telling you that you are entering the final stretch of the game. Which is very handy but The Witcher 3 doesn’t have super rare one use items like the Megaelixir, as far as I can recall, so that’s why I’m using JRPG’s as the focus. If you could enable a prompt that would alert you to the upcoming final uses for THE restorative item, would you use it? Say it informed you based on double the amount of THAT one item. You have 3 Megaelixir’s so you get notified before the final 6 boss fights. Then you have ample opportunity to use it if you so wish.

max elixir
Finding one of these is like that moment when you put on an old jacket and find £5 in the pocket.

Obviously the pros are that you get a heads up so you can go hog wild on your best items. The downside is more immersion based. Not only does a prompt take you out of the game world, but also it informs you of how much of the game you have left. As I said earlier, sometimes there is a big bad behind the big bad. That is a nice surprise when it happens. However, if you’ve just used all your items on the fake big bad, it could be infuriating for some. Or when you beat a boss and after a cutscene it evolves into a harder opponent. There’re ups and downs to this idea but a choice is always welcome. The thrill of using that item you got dozens of hours ago to take down that final boss is a very satisfying feeling. But when a game suddenly end, those items are a lost opportunity. Yes, you beat the game without them but THAT item yield’s so much power and gravitas that it’s a waste when they’re not used.

Anyway, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments or regale me with super item woes. Thanks for reading.