September 2018 Free Time: Games, Films and Anime

Currently I’m getting stuff sorted for my wedding, so I’ve been busy most of this month but I had this past week off and so I’ve done my fair share of gaming and catching up on films and shows. Here are a few highlights of my month.

Games

Yakuza 0 Cover

Yakuza 0 is still eating away at my time. I just got to the final chapter last night and so no I have every intention of slamming on the breaks and doing a bunch of side content. I’ve completed Majima’s cabaret scene and my focus now is Kiryu’s property management. Still, a great game and currently at 60 hours, the £10 I bought it for was definitely worth it.

Ni No Kuni 2 Throne

Ni No Kuni 2 has entered my life this month but with wedding stuff I haven’t got far with it. I also want to finish Yakuza 0 before I get majorly into this game. So far though it looks great and I’m enjoying the combat. I’m finding it a bit too easy though even on hard mode. Not trying to brag, having looked online it seems that is an issue with this game either being too easy or too many one hit kills on the higher setting. Other than that though I’ve enjoyed the first 10 hours. I’ve also written about another issue I had with the game here: A Game Sin That Needs To Die: Small Text

thumper

I’ve barely put time into Thumper but it has its hooks in me already. The dread, the rhythm, the simple but increasingly complex gameplay has that quick play itch scratched. Sometimes it’s nice to play a game with no story and barely any tutorials. Just jump and feel awesome. The music and sound is second to none. I can’t rate it high enough. It’s currently on sale for just over £6 on the Switch and I highly recommend it.

Films, Shows And Anime

I had a hankering for some South Korean films lately and I had 2 that I wanted to watch for a while. Train to Busan and The Handmaiden.

Train To Busan

Train to Busan is an incredible zombie film. We had a major over saturation a few years back with zombie films but Busan puts a fresh enough spin on it to relieve the tedium. The most intense parts of zombie films is when a main character is trapped in close proximity to a zombie. The premise is that a father and daughter get on a train to go see the daughters mum who is also the father’s ex. A simplistic setup, a zombie outbreak happens at the exact same time and as the train is leaving, zombies are taking over the country and the infection is spreading on the train too. What follows mostly takes place on the train with a wide variety of characters over several train cars dealing with being locked in with an outbreak. Fantastic characters and great set pieces. I was on edge for a large portion of this film and then also chuckling at some of the light hearted dialogue. Violent, emotional and a satisfying watch. Highly recommend.

The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden I saw a year ago. I really enjoyed it and was amazed by its story telling complexity. I wanted my partner to see it and so our week off work was the perfect opportunity. The Handmaiden is a difficult film to explain without spoiling. On my first watch I remember liking the film but not seeing the surrounding hype, not until a certain point in the film. The basic premise is that in the 1930’s a young woman is requested to be the handmaiden to a rich woman. I don’t want to give more than that away as the story developments hold a big part of this film. Even things that occur early on change the initial synopsis in meaningful ways. So, I’m going to make the choice of being a poor reviewer here. It’s one of those films where the least you know about it, the better. Just know that I’ve watched it twice now and want to watch it again in the near future. Probably don’t watch this with family though. Some graphic sex scenes are featured. Highly recommend.

FMA

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime that I’ve been watching on and off for a long time. I watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist to completion years ago and I have every intention of finishing Brotherhood. It’s one of those shows that I jump in and out of a lot. It’s a great show and some days I’ll watch 6 episodes and then I won’t watch an episode for weeks. But this week I’ve put in a lot of time. I completed the back end of Part 3 and I’m near the end of Part 4 now. There are a lot of narrative threads happening at the moment which makes me realise that my long stints between episodes is dampening my experience. Too many times I’ve not understood why a character is in a location because I’d forgotten what put them there in the first place. So, this is my commitment right here. I’m putting Brotherhood on this list as my promise to myself to finish it for next months round up. It’s a great anime, funny, full of drama and action. I just need to commit to it rather than starting new shows all the time. Unfinished: Great so far.

Random Recommendation

This could be anything, book, show, experience etc but today I’m going to recommend a podcast. We Hate Movies.

We Hate Movies

We Hate Movies is a film podcast hosted by Andrew, Eric, Steven and Chris who choose a film to talk about each week for about 1 and a half to 2 hours. As their title suggests, they talk about the dredges of film entertainment. From films you have never heard of to recent failures, they cover all bases. Some films you may disagree with like their Mrs. Doubtfire episode but if you listen to it, even if you don’t agree with them they make some good points and are constantly hilarious.

They do impressions a lot and by impressions I mean shockingly bad caricatures of people. I think they are genuinely funny. Their intrinsic film knowledge also means I’m constantly learning new trivia whilst trying to hold back laughter in work. With over 300 episodes on their base subscription and extra content on their Patreon, they have hundreds of hours of entertainment. I’ve listened to each episode at least twice and if you fancy trying them, pick a film you have knowledge of and give them a go. I also will highly recommend their Bee Movie episode and their disturbing Blame it on Rio episode. You’ve been warned though, Rio will put Micheal Caine in a new light for you.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment if you’d like or suggestions for games, films, shows or anime for me to try. Cheers.

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.