Monday, December 30, 2013

Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate - English Release Date and Weapon Attributes English Translations

I didn't really meant to make this an actual blog post, but I've been getting two particular questions regarding Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate from viewers continously. Hence, I might as well make a big public post about it for everyone.

When will Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate be released in English for North America and Europe?
At this moment I'm typing, neither KOEI TECMO Japan or NA/EU has made a public announcement regarding whether the game will be localized to English, that includes specific dates. However, one of the company's officials (鯉沼P - Koinuma) has tweeted they might release an English version in summer of 2014. Here is the link to the tweet.

Can you supply a translation guide for weapon attributes in English?
I would translate them, but a kind soul has already compiled a list of weapon attributes in both Musou Orochi 2 and Ultimate, plus provided English translations for them. You can find the list here.

If you need other bits of the game translated, feel free to send me an e-mail. I could also work on a thorough translation guide for this game if you guys want, since this game doesn't look like it's going to localized any time soon. If so, let me know your thoughts and I may look into it.

I might as well add another question I was asked just recently on a different game...

How come I can't decrypt the game save of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends with Bruteforce Save Data?
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, like a lot of newer games, uses double layer encryption for their game saves. Hence, you won't be able to decrypt it via software as of yet. The only way to do so is to use a third party Game Genie device. PS3 CYBER Save Editor (Japan only) has added support for Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends. I have no familiarity with this item, but I know it lets you modify game save code. I'm not sure if it will allow you to resign your game saves like Bruteforce Save Data. Remember: Don't mod/cheat unless absolutely necessary; try to stay legit!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

YouTube: Freedom MCN + Why Being Managed Equates to Huge Risks!

Earlier this December, a new YouTube MCN (network) popped up offering some rather drooltastic benefits that may rival that of Curse Union for Gamers.

Founded by George from TGN, Freedom network is designed to be a network for anyone in any category, that emphasizes in freedom from YouTube and other networks' limitations. It offers the following:
  • No lock-in forever
  • Managed status instead of affiliate for every channel
  • No minimum payout (if you earn $1, they'll pay you $1)
  • 60% revenue share, growing up to 110%
  • Transparency (view all your earnings direct on YouTube)

You may recalled I praised Curse Union for Gamers for potentially moving the majority of their channels to managed status, and moving newly partnered channels to managed within a few weeks of non-copyright issues. Well, they apparently took back their words. Yep, they recently released a statement that they will only be putting trusted channels as managed now. 

Why is it that networks have such a sudden fear for putting their channels as managed?

Being managed status turns out not to be all sweet and sugar like it's made to be. It turns out that networks do take a huge risk in managed channels, and that managed channels themselves are also at risk. This is because the network shares responsibilities for each managed channel, and all managed channels share responsibilities for another's actions.

In other words, if a managed channel receives a copyright strike, then YouTube will consider that as a copyright strike against the entire network. Rack up enough copyright strikes and the network will lose features such as custom thumbnails, modifying channel art and using annotations for every one of their channels. If the network receives 20 copyright strikes from managed channels total, the network will be terminated and the channels may not be able to upload any new videos.

Affiliates channels don't have this issue. Their behavior are similar to ones today, in that they are responsible for their own actions, and if they receive a strike it count against them and not the entire network. Hence, affiliate channels are much safer from all standpoints compared to managed channels. Nevertheless, affiliate channels will not be granted instant monetization and be subjected to YouTube monetization review.

So the question is: 
Would you rather be managed and receive instant monetization, but take huge risks in your own channel because of the actions of other managed channels? Or would you receive no instant monetization, but be more safe, responsible for your own actions and not have it affect the entire network?

Even if you're an affiliate, you shouldn't worry too much about YouTube's monetization review. We don't know how it works yet, but should you be able to continuously keep getting accepted every review, it'll be enough for YouTube to give you instant monetization again (due to their trust algorithm). This in the end will be better than being as managed. Nevertheless, I still believe it will difficult to monetize gameplay videos as an affiliate channel, commentary or not.

Want to be managed? Join Freedom.
Prefer to be affiliate and a gamer? Join Curse Union for Gamers.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Review (Xtremely Long Version)

Note: This review is based upon the Japanese version of the game (Shin Sangoku Musou 7: Moushouden) and uses translated names. English names of certain things may be different in the English release.


Dynasty Warriors marks its 8th iteration almost one year ago and certainly, it's no astonishment that this upcoming year marks another Xtreme Legends expansion for the game.

The Xtreme Legends series have always been considered the true expansions to the original games, whereas the Empires series are deemed more as spin-offs. Therefore, if you have arrived expecting more of the same, then there's not a whole lick that's going to disappoint.

Please remember my fellow readers—this is a review for Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends and its new contents and gameplay differences alone, not factoring in the original. Like my Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate review, since I'm essentially reviewing an expansion pack, I will have the predetermined mind set that you have already played or at least know details about the original game, plus Dynasty Warriors in general. If I were to go all out to please even the newbies, this review wouldn't be called xtremely long version, it would be called xtremely unreadable version due to its length.

With that boring guff out of the way, let's get into the good stuff then!


Customary to any Xtreme Legends, new game modes and features to existing ones are obligatory. It's also no surprise that KOEI TECMO went again with their safe, perpetual formula to include more story mode content, a challenge mode and a few features to ambition and free mode. So how good are they, exactly?

STORY MODE has been expanded upon from the original, including a brand new story of the Lü Kingdom (Lü Bu's forces) and supplementary hypothetical scenarios for Wei, Shu, Wu and Jin. Lü Bu's story mode follows the vein of the original four kingdom story modes, featuring full length historical and hypothetical paths. Wei, Shu, Wu and Jin on the other hand receives short, segmented stories that are usually one to two stages long, encompassing various playable characters.

I'm sure many fans were storming KOEI TECMO's headquarters in hopes that their favorite character finally gets sufficient share time and love in one of the games. I mean, this is Lü Bu we're talking about after all—the only character in Dynasty Warriors to have a diminutive chance in winning a video game character popularity poll. Fear not fellow Lü Bu fans, as Lü Bu is indeed the protagonist here in his dominant story mode, and it follows him all the way soundly, grunt to grunt, until his untimely end. That is, unless you choose to cheat history and potentially destroy China, of course.

Yes, this is a real screenshot. Lü Bu actually has his own, full length story mode!
I do have to say playing through the historical path of Lü Bu's story mode is rather disheartening and awkward, especially near the end. To prevent my head from being severed due to reader backlash, I'll just describe the feeling in a non-explicit way that opens up for interpretation (until you play the game). But imagine playing a battle, ridding the entire field of enemies, dominating against every enemy tactic, having the morale of Superman's friendly onlookers, then finally being crushed having to endure drawn out, dreadful deaths of people you've been attached with for a long time. History is history, right? If you can't handle history, you shouldn't be playing Dynasty Warriors to begin with.

The most touching part of Lü Bu's story mode. When you see it, you'll know why.
One of the most noteworthy positive experiences to the new story modes are the multitude of new and redesigned stages. The final battle of Xiapi is now a giant single land with a colossal castle in the center that has walkable walls. That entire stage just screamed epic!

Overall, if you're expecting more story mode content, you'll be getting quite a good amount of it here that will last you anywhere from five to ten hours. Then again, this is something we were already expecting in a Xtreme Legends, so I can't be exactly too glee about it.

CHALLENGE MODE is a new, recurring mode added in many past Xtreme Legends games that pits and hones your gaming skills to a variety of objective based challenges, focusing on obtaining the highest score both offline and online. Five total challenges await you in this mode. Prior to entering into a challenge, you are allowed complete freedom to select any characters and customize their weapons to your heart's content. To ensure overall equality and balance, character levels are capped at level 30, and skills cannot be equipped.

What will you find in these five challenges?

Storm transports you inside a small, enclosed arena with thousands of enemies, tasking you as the player to rack up as many K.Os as possible in a given time limit. When a certain amount of time and army fodder are annihilated, the beast known as Lü Bu emerges, hoping to both put a halt to your insane killing spree and dwindling down your inner morale. Get used to him appearing abruptly by the way; he's going to be there in most challenges to put your efforts to ruins. After he's taken care of, more army fodder pops up. The process is then repeated until the timer runs out.

Comet puts you on top of a series of connected narrow platforms with peon swarms, ballistas and occasionally enemy officers. Enemies are invulnerable to damage, so your goal here isn't to rack up direct kills, but K.Os that involves shoving them off the platforms. Yes, enemies will meet their demise apparently when they fall into the abyss below. Not only can you die due to regular damage, but falling off yourself results in the same fate. Comet isn't so much skill and luck based, but more about weapon and moveset choice that works best to shove enemies off.

Thunderclap is like running the Chinese Olympics solo in hell. There is one long, twisting path chocked full of the absolute worst possible living and non-living things you can face in the game—tigers, ballistas, flame throwers, sorcerers, horsemen, tanks, spiked walls, giant wind blowing fans, the list goes on. Even Lü Bu starts chasing you like an insane psychopath from Clock Tower. The goal here is as you guessed, to get to the end of the path in one piece in the fastest time possible. Regrettably, this challenge is about as annoying to play as it is to enjoy, as you're likely going to get constantly knocked around by all the junk on the screen.

Leave me the #*@$ alone!
Hundred Flowers isn't about picking a hundred flowers in an oriental garden, although that would provide immense relaxation from all the crazy adrenaline inducing challenges before it. It's about killing all playable officers in the game sequentially in an arena with no other enemies. Yeah, go figure right? This challenge just screams nostalgia because it looks and works virtually the same as the arena battles in Dynasty Warriors 7. Arena battles were indeed fun in the past, but here it's forgettable at best due to how the combat has changed for the worst. The equal character levels and starting weapons limitation does make Hundred Flowers more challenging, nevertheless.

Inferno is like storm mixed with thunderclap. You are inside this weird maze littered with enemies, strange obstacles you have to destroy to open up paths, and platforms you have to jump over. The objective here is to eliminate all enemies in the map before the timer runs out, ingenious eh? Be prepared to be very annoyed if you missed even a sole peon, as if you did, you'll be likely having to backtrack across the empty map devoid of enemies to get to that pesky little rodent.

It's nice to know that in this iteration of Xtreme Legends, playing and winning challenges aren't all about showing off coupled with smack talk. Successfully completing each challenge will award you with a random weapon prize, regardless of how well you did in the challenge. A new weapon element is also incorporated for each challenge, resulting in five new weapon elements total that are exclusively obtainable in this mode.

Winning 6th place yet receiving a level four weapon. Looks like I other things to brag about!
Albeit fun and a good distraction from the prolonged mayhem in story, free and ambition mode; the main problem in challenge mode lies in its originality. That is, none of the challenges here are new and original, save for the slightly disappointing Inferno. Four of the challenges are rehashed copy pasted from Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends with minor alterations. If you factor in the ugliness that most of the weapons and movesets from Dynasty Warriors 7 are additionally rehashed in 8, you'll find little redeeming value to go through the same challenges again, other than obtaining some beneficial weapon prizes that you can use in other modes. Tsk, tsk, tsk... KOEI TECMO, you once again chose the lazy way out in hopes that either your audience won't mind or won't notice. You sly fox you...

AMBITION MODE receives a new game feature/mode in itself called "Territory Suppression", additional to the primary one where you are charged with construction of the Tongquetai Palace. This one takes place after all that home improvement jazz, and this time it's actually serious, because these Chinese men and women now directs your action to unite Han China as something troubling is brewing.

So here's the synopsis in territory suppression: You are to recruit officers, build your relations with them and conquer five territories of Han China through repeated battles, then finally defeat the emperor (who is a naughty, fake one) in the final sixth territory. The unification occurs when all regions have been conquered, obviously. But there's an enormous catch though—friendly officers defeated by the enemy during battles will depart your forces and return to the other side, as somehow seemingly provoked by the fake emperor.

The first thing right off the bat that will likely induce angst and rage is the actual starting process of territory suppression. You can only initiate by talking to an individual in ambition mode after your task of construction of the Tongquetai Palace in is complete. But once so, close your eyes and take a deep breath, as all your current recruited officers (aside from a few characters that are in close relationship to your controlled character) will vanish back to enemy forces. To make matters more insulting, the effect is universal in ambition mode and hence applied to even the original survival battles. You would have at least thought KOEI TECMO showed some decency and courtesy, respected your immense time in obtaining all your officers and simply allowed the game to continue on the way you left it, but nah... they mocked your efforts and forced you to unlock every playable character for this mode over again. *Claps* Bravo!

There's no going back after talking to this special guy.
This is becoming a trend actually, and a bad one. Putting in a new mode separate from others that erases all character unlock status, forcefully requiring their unlocking again. It's idiotic and annoying KOEI TECMO. May I at least kindly suggest simply putting this new feature into its own mode, separate from the original ambition mode, whilst also separating the unlock status of characters on both?

The actual gameplay portion of territory suppression resembles sort of a bastardized and miniaturization of Empires, and an extreme one at that.

You start off with being able to select one territory and one battlefield within. To wholly conquer a territory requires you to conquer 100% of each of its four battlefields. How so? The percentage increases after a successful battle in each battlefield. Subsequent battlefields are then unlocked when the percentage of the prior battlefield are raised high enough, and raising percentage of battlefields will raise the overall percentage of the specific territory. Additional territories are unlocked when the overall percentages are high enough. Don't worry if all that percentage talk above is the cause to your sudden headache—the concept is pretty much straightforward and simple, I promise! The most important thing you should need to know is: expect to play through the same battlefields a heck lot of times!

That's a whole lot of percentages!
A nice, savory bit is that prior to riding into the battlefield, you are allowed freedom to construct your own forces of up to 32 officers, with each officer playing a different role in their battle tactics. Gaining more officers to shove in the excitement requires defeating them in battle and recruiting them into your forces, similarly to the past. Three officers you recruited can also be selected to serve as your bodyguards during battle. We'll dive a bit more in-depth about bodyguards later onwards in the gameplay and characters section.

Constructing your own forces of officers.
All battlefields, with exception of the final one in the final territory, consists of the player aiming to defeat a set amount of enemies (including enemy bases) and afterwards a boss officer to be victorious. Bases are marked by flags (blue for the player's army and red for the enemy's) and can be captured by defeating guard captains surrounding them. Remembered where I mentioned Empires? This is where the subtle similarities of Empires ties in, as taking over bases is virtually identical here, just without the whole colored and connectivity element.

Flags, enemy bases and officers are the meat of territory suppression.
After all five territories are adequately conquered, a sixth territory opens up consisting of a single battlefield, giving you chance to finally crack down and go toe to toe with the fake emperor. This one's an outcast from the rest of the battles, as the battle itself resembles more of something constructed and pulled from challenge mode. There's no base taking here, just lots of enemies to defeat and siege weaponry to avoid. I gotta do say that this battle is probably the most memorable moment in the entire game, as it features one of the most absurd and ridiculous fights in Dynasty Warriors history leading up to the boss fight. Words will not be able to express the true extremity of it, so I'll gladly leave that up to you to find out!

Alright, with details of territory suppression aside, let's talk about two of its primary flaws.

First, there's nothing terribly enticing or innovative about the entirety of the gameplay. Like I stated earlier, it feels like a kindergarten version of Empires—conquering territories, recruiting and losing officers, formation of your own forces, taking over bases, etc. all without the fundamental strategic components that makes Empires special and fun. I was also borderline bored going through the same battlefields multiple times to raise the percentage enough to unlock additional battlefields and territories. A little more variety and choice would be a welcomed addition.

Second, the whole aspect of friendly officers returning back to enemy forces after being defeated makes the experience unnecessarily frustrating. This is especially valid as the only way to play playable characters is through recruiting them to your forces. While your controlled character can never be seized away, the opportunity to utilize and better develop other playable characters (notably through ambition mode exclusive facilities) becomes restricted once they've been captured. Playing thoughtfully and well will prevent your officers from getting defeated, but you aren't always going to be able to keep them all safe every time. Attempting to re-recruit lost ones over and over again becomes an inconvenient and senseless task, heightened by the fact officers are seemingly randomly placed on battlefields. The only way to truly avoid losing playable characters is to keep them out of your forces entirely, i.e. only bringing generics to the battlefield. But that's not any fun, now is it?

Territory suppression is marginally fun and a nice change of pace from regular ambition mode survival battles, but it's certainly not going to get anyone steamy over its inclusion.

Ambition mode also introduces a new weapon tempering feature for the blacksmith. This one's entirely separate from the original and thankfully works identical to Warriors Orochi, allowing you to swap in elements, increase attack power and change affinity from two weapons with ease. Good luck being able to use this feature often though, as it requires much grinding for gems in territory suppression.

FREE MODE in Xtreme Legends has also been revamped with a new interface and enhanced with supplementary features. You now get a lot of options and features right at your fingertips in the menus, including entire access to the blacksmith, equipping bodyguards and more. All other existing options have been completely streamlined, making free mode now incredibly easy to jump in and get going.

The newly revamped free mode interface. Sure beats the old one!
Granted are also optional missions in each stage, which are loosely based upon those found in story mode.

Finally, the game incorporates a ranking system that ranks your gameplay efforts with a alphabetical grading scale after each stage. Earning higher ranks, as you might have guessed, rewards you with higher experience points. Now I'm uncertain how the ranking system works and could care less, but if you play like a madman like I do, you'll be gifted with an S or A rank in no time!

GAME OPTIONS has been sprinkled here and there with some new options. The most remarkable being the ability to set storm rush to activate manually using the square and triangle buttons simultaneously. Remembered how I complained about the automatic activation of storm rush and wished for manual activation in my Dynasty Warriors 8 review? Perhaps KOEI TECMO does listen to their fans after all. Kudos, kudos!

You'll also discover MixJoy in any Xtreme Legends, allowing you to "remix" the game by inserting your original Dynasty Warriors 8 game disc to "load its contents", then reinserting back your Xtreme Legends game disc. This allows the game to be unlocked with all the original content in addition to the new content. Of course, everybody and their grandmas should know that nothing is really being loaded when you insert either game disc. All that happens is a system check is made to verify if the discs are valid and are of the correct games. Every single spec of data of the original game is already in the Xtreme Legends disc. Hence, this is just a pure folly way for KOEI TECMO to force you to own the original game alongside Xtreme Legends.

Xtreme Legends does have other version variants, including a PS4 version that has contents of both games included. Again, the Xtreme Legends with Dynasty Warriors 8 and Xtreme Legends solo are likely the same damn thing, just with some changes to the code that allows the player to have all content non-hidden from the start.


It isn't Xtreme Legends without a couple new faces to the existing mammoth cast of characters. This time, the spotlight gets shined on notable officers of Lü Bu's forces, including his wicked strategist Chen Gong and his own daughter Lü Lingqi (who's own name KOEI TECMO has fancied up). Contrary to what Chinese historians say, where Lü Lingqi was essentially a poor soul that was pushed around by her father for forced marriage, she's certainly no pushover here. In fact, she's just as bit as tough and diabolic as her father, even going as far as completely stealing his cross halberds (remember those?) and using it to show amazingly utter badassery.

Who said a woman has to be weak?!
Lü's kingdom isn't the sole one to receive the new characters treatment; as Wei, Shu and Wu are all granted a new playable character to their forces each. Within the mix you have Yu Jin—Cao Cao's fierce general who's blessed with a trident encompassing all of Earth's elements, Fa Zheng—Liu Bei's adviser who has a knack for magic carpetry, and Zhu Ran—a pretty boy from Wu that isn't shy to show off his archery skills.

"Would you like a ride on my magic carpet?"
The new characters' weapons and movesets are fortunately not a disappointment due to their very varied, unique and interesting attacks. Fa Zheng's floating carpets are a bit out of the world, even for Dynasty Warriors; but Yu Jin's trident that allows the player to switch and build from ice element to slash element is probably the most fascinating weapon I've seen yet from KOEI TECMO. Nevertheless, it's not all safe heaven for the weapons, as a few do lack proper polish and control. Zhu Ran's bow and arrows in particular controls like a mess unless standing completely stationary.

One of the minor issues with new characters are the designs themselves. Now, I typically adore KOEI TECMO's character designs, but some of these poor souls just screamed a style that's both lazy and generic. Both Chen Gong and Yu Jin looked more like generics than actual playable characters, only colored and facially detailed in a way that remotely makes them unique.

New characters aside, Xtreme Legends adds and changes a significant amount to the gameplay. So let's spent some quality time with each of the new and different.

Accompanying the original EX attacks of each character and their primary weapon, a second EX is added to every standard character and weapon combo. This new implementation almost makes equipping and using non-primary weapons personally degrading, as there's a huge increase in the amount of strength and diversity in primary weapons now. While not all second EX are equal in performance and aesthetics, it's nice to know that KOEI TECMO is indirectly encouraging the usage of primary weapons (at least for one of the two weapons). I don't know about you, but I'm tired of being disgusted by seeing players running around as Da Qiao with Twin Axes or some other variant, which often just looks awfully wrong.

Character stats and levels have been raised from their previous maximum limits. Character levels are now capped at 150 and stats for attack and defense are increased to 1,500. Although this overall raise is mandatory for the intention of the new Nightmare difficulty, it just simply means a whole hell lot more grinding for your finger and thumb thwacking pleasure if you wish to get there.

A new, harder difficulty has been added called "Nightmare". If I were to describe this difficulty, I would label it Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legend's nightmare difficulty minus both the extreme enemy aggressiveness and player life absorption ability. Enemy officers in particular have the ability to boost their attack plus defense, and their damage output is crazy high even if you have max defense. I congratulate KOEI TECMO for finally delivering a difficulty that actually feels challenging and worthy of its name, unlike the tired and failed nightmare and chaos difficulties of the past. Nevertheless, it's still another Warriors Orochi type of high difficulty, where the challenge lies in both the player and enemy capable of tremendous damage output. Some of this is actually due to the game failing to fix blatant broken aspects in the original like they did with the 7th version of Xtreme Legends. The enemy AI is still a soft spot, unfortunately. We'll talk more about the AI in the AI and difficulty section.
Personal bodyguards makes a welcome return, allowing you to tag along three bodyguards and boss them around in the havoc. Unlike bodyguard systems of the past, where your selection was limited to pretty much a bunch of faceless and boring nobodys, the new one in Xtreme Legends allows freedom to select all three as any character in the game, non-generics included. Being able to fully utilize the bodyguard system (such as equipping more than one bodyguard and equipping non-generic characters as bodyguards), requires you to build up your leadership level in ambition mode under territory suppression. Bodyguards' actions can be controlled on the battlefield by either manually selecting the actions in the pause menu or use shortcuts via the directional pad on the controller. The actions range from following you closely to defending a specific base. Leveling bodyguards can also be achieved by simply having them continuously fight alongside you, or exchange existing recruited officers in ambition mode for an exchange in their increased experience. Overall, this is a good addition.

My very own team of bodyguards... Aww...
I bet you didn't see second treasure weapons coming, did you? Yep, KOEI TECMO has added yet another treasure weapon for every character that's even more powerful than the first. The unlocking method remains unaltered, requiring you to go through a specific battle with a specific character completing specific tasks. Sadly, even these weapons are once again mostly tailored for aesthetics rather than actual usage. They still don't hold a candle to an appropriately decked out level four weapon. The dominant reason holding these treasure weapons back are the inability to customize any of their elements, which KOEI TECMO unfortunately did not want to remove.

Speaking of weapons, Xtreme Legends adds a hefty ten new weapon elements that can attached to your weapons. Five of the new elements are exclusive to the challenge mode mentioned earlier, and the rest of the five are exclusive to ambition mode under territory suppression (where the emperor grants you a gold weapon with a new element each time you thoroughly conquered a territory). The bulk of the new weapon elements are not terribly beneficial to your arsenal; however, thunderclap is one element which should have been in the game in the beginning. It essentially gifts you the ability to avoid getting staggered by enemies, similarly to how the combat resistance weapon seal worked in Dynasty Warriors 7.

While most weapon elements and their effects are untouched in Xtreme Legends, several do get whacked with the change stick. Most of the changes are incredibly minor and therefore negligible, but one in particular really switches things up in the gameplay—Cyclone. Cyclone has a bit of  controversy in the original, as it was a weapon element that hugely broke the difficulty balance of the game (going as crazy as to kill Hu Lao Gate's Lü Bu under chaos in one hit). It's standard tradition that with any new Dynasty Warriors game, KOEI TECMO squeezes in something that purposely or accidentally breaks the game, then swiftly patches it up in the expansions. In Dynasty Warriors 7, it was wind element coupled with multi-elemental hits, which was mostly patched in Xtreme Legends to reduce the insane damage. Did KOEI TECMO execute the same plan for cyclone in this Xtreme Legends? Not quite...

In fact, they completely transformed cyclone into something else that works similarly to the Blast Orb of Dynasty Warriors 4. Cyclone now only activates and deals its percentage damage on blocking enemies. In addition, it can no longer break an enemy's guard, period. Call me crazy, but I think it's utterly confusing to abruptly change an element's effects to behave drastically different. Cyclone equates to wind, and wind should remain in its current form in the recent games—an element that breaks an enemy's guard (along with dealing additional damage). KOEI TECMO furthermore didn't bother reducing the percentage damage on cyclone, so what's the point? The game is still broken because of it, as you can still run rampant on nightmare throwing cyclone knives at blocking enemies and instant killing them in one hit. If anything, it chiefly reduces the amount of freedom and style in combat when utilizing it, as you're obviously going to want to use it on blocking enemies only. How boring...


If you were judging this game based upon graphics alone, then it'll be sucky. But that's ignorant. You have to take in consideration how taxing it is for console hardware to implement and render a game such as Dynasty Warriors, where players are predominately placed on giant, free roaming battlefields with hundreds of enemies at once. For this type of game, the graphics are more than beyond good, especially considering how much the graphics from the series has evolved throughout the years.

This is about the only time you'll be drooling at the in-game graphics.
Now if you're expecting improved graphics from the original, then sorry, that isn't evident here. This is just an expansion pack, after all. Nevertheless, I'd expect the PS4 version of the game to have some minor boost in graphics including cleaner and higher resolution textures, more enemies on the screen at once and higher frame rates. Still, graphics in these games are mostly a non-issue.


The AI, particularly the enemy's, has been vastly improved from the original. In fact, the AI and combat mechanics have been so greatly adjusted, it's pretty much no longer a BSing game—you either play to win or not play at all. In other words, forget messing around like the original and attempt to pull off crazy, stylish combos for fun. That's just going to wind up as a personal embarrassment here.

Why so?

Lots of small tweaks have been developed to put a stronger halt to player's ability to juggle enemy officers than before. One of the major ones involves massively ramping up their ability to switch affinity both on ground and in the air, regardless if they are under attack. If you recalled in the original, enemy officers rarely ever bothered to switch affinity, even though the feature was clearly available. Heck, I even yelled out it happened only twice during one hundred hours of play. So the supposed outcome was to stop juggles by having the enemy officer switch to a different affinity (usually superior to yours) during the juggle, rendering them then futile. This of course will also increase difficulty, as you're gonna be seeing that warning sign more often than anything else now. There's somewhat of a problem though, dear KOEI TECMO... Why does the affinity switching take them so bloody long to execute? By the time you realized they are attempting to switch affinity, you can easily knock them out of it completely with a simple weapon switch (they can't be staggered by most other attacks while affinity switching), rendering them inane. Yes, it does greatly kill combos via juggling, but for increasing difficulty alone it's poorly implemented.

Storm rush is now seemingly much more difficulty to activate, as destroying an enemy officer's affinity shield requires twice or three times the normal effort. This is more notable on higher difficulties than lower, as in the lower difficulties storm rush comes out just as fast as usual. I have no complaints about this change, as this is something welcomed to help fix storm rush being vastly overpowered in the original.

The incorporation of nightmare difficulty gives a strong boost to better difficulty varieties—ranging from being so easy you could play with your toes and win, to being actually sweaty and anxious trying to stay alive. Nevertheless, nightmare can still be a complete pushover if you're utilizing good weapons, have high to max stats and learn to avoid taking damage. The sheer, continued brokenness of cyclone doesn't help matters, either.


For the most part, audio and music remains stable in its high quality form. The new music introduced are quite unremarkable and immediately forgettable, which is a repeated act of shame as the majority of music from the original game suffered the same mediocrity. Then again, all ears are not created equal, so I'm sure a few people may actually dig the new music.

For individuals that wants some more of that nostalgia factor, KOEI TECMO does tack in a lot more music derived from earlier Dynasty Warriors games. From within you'll now find classics such as "In Full Bloom" and "Ultimate Pressure".

Voice acting are great and clearly continue to be unmarred. The Japanese here surely have raised the bar high and no one else is going to touch them in this department. Even unwarranted death does not shake them up one bit, as the new voice of Sima Yi is just as lunatic and awesome as the former.


Short answer: You'll be playing this game more than once, even if you finished the game multiple times. That's because there's still additional paths (such as hypothetical paths) to embark on in story mode, a never ending ambition mode and challenge mode. Let's not forget the over 80 plus individually unique characters that you can play as and develop alongside hundreds of weapons to collect.

By no means can this game or any Dynasty Warriors become an addiction like an MMO, it just means you're never going to run out of things to do.


I believe it has arrived to an unsettling point where the Xtreme Legends games no longer feel special and wholly worthwhile to play. KOEI TECMO has proven their desires in continuing to go down the same old road of stagnant, tired and industry safe game formulation. Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends shamefully contains nothing exciting or creative, shoving back in content that's been rehashed from their earlier games of the same category.

The combat has additionally devolved a further notch, offering much less possible variety, style and fun factor in exchange for increased challenge and difficulty that could be worked in other, better ways.

The saving grace of it all merely lies in its expanded story mode, where much of the actual effort and talent of the game developers lies. If you enjoyed playing through story mode whilst learning about Chinese history at the same time in the original, then that same amount of joy can be found in a sparing amount here.

It's also good to note that Xtreme Legends does greatly enhance certain experiences that are missing from the original, such as more streamlined menus, additional features such as bodyguards, easier weapon tempering and secondary EX attacks.

Still, the combat and lack of originality dilutes the pros of the what's offered. In the end, the game become something of a mixed bag that can be described as mediocrity.



Wipe that stupid smirk off your face.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Curse Union for Gamers - May Be the Best Gaming YouTube Network 2014 and Beyond

I know I've talked about YouTube's upcoming monetization change regarding YouTube networks for the past few days and you all are probably sick of it, but this may be the last you'll hear from me until it actually goes into effect.

I was reading around on YouTube community forums and stumbled upon a network I've never heard about and desperately wished I had from the start—Curse Union for Gamers.

Just simply clicking on the link above and going to their website will amaze anyone with what they're offering to their partners if you join their network, including:
  • Custom-designed tools to help you manage your video content     
  • A comprehensive dashboard to display analytics and keep you informed     
  • Ability to promote across multiple Curse platforms     
  • 90% revenue share, no lock-in, and complete branding control
The 90% revenue share is probably the highest percentage I've seen offered from a network. With the added bonus of no lock-in (meaning you aren't bond tied to them for a specific amount of time via contract), I think this is some serious stuff to beat!

But the most beneficial bit of it all, which is actually somewhat obscured, is that they are planning on making 95% of their partners as managed instead of affiliates. The other 5% will be for newly joined partners, but soon will be also shifted to managed after a few weeks of no copyright issues. At least this is what they issued publicly, although things like these can always be subjected to alterations.

Now, if you read my previous post, you know how crucial it is to become managed instead of affiliate to retain instant monetization and avoid YouTube review. Becoming managed on other networks will be a demanding task, as they are likely to put only their owners and very large channels in this category.

Curse Union for Gamers do have a requirement to join, but these are very lenient. They are: 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 views in the last month or 8,000 views in the last month + 80% videos are gaming related.

I really think if you want to survive and thrive in 2014 and beyond with a gaming channel, you're going to want to join something like Curse Union for Gamers. I for one will be immediately disbanding my ties with RPM Networks and joining them as soon as my contract expires. Not that I hate RPM Networks, but I feel Curse Union for Gamers offers so much more. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for 2015 for that to happen, as I found out I am already too late to cancel the second year auto renewal. That's a hint to you also—always thoroughly read the contract, know the details and what you're getting into before signing and remember cancellation deadlines if you plan on leaving!

You can join Curse Union for Gamers by applying here.

YouTube January Monetization Changes - What's Actually Going to Happen

Two days ago, I wrote a post detailing a very significant YouTube change starting January that may cause a negative effect for channels that upload gameplay footage.

I would like to just clear up some misinformation on that post, as I researched a bit more on the subject. I do apologize if I sounded like I didn't know what I was talking about, as the information I brought up then was derived by merely one YouTube video and an e-mail from my network.

So here is basically what's going to happen:

For those who are not aware of the few changes to MCNs (Multi-Channel Networks) and its partners here's some highlights to what's going on:

  1. MCN partners are being divided into two separate groups called an 'affiliate' or 'managed'. Larger channels will generally be put on managed and the smaller ones won't, unfortunately but solely depends on the network.

    MCNs will now be liable for all of their managed partners.
  2. Instant monetization goes bye-bye for affiliate partners. Managed and those with YouTube directly are unaffected by this change.

    Videos will go under review much like the process AdSense partners go through, generally taking around 24 hours for approval or denial.
  3. Affiliate partners are guaranteed YouTube Analytics' revenue access and the possibility of unlinking from your network from your Features page. Note however, the network can simply reject your request in a click of a button, or release.

Okay, so MCN partners—which are YouTube partners in a network (RPM, Fullscreen, TGN, etc.)—will be now grouped into "affiliate" or "managed". Unless your channel has multimillion views and subscribers, it will most likely fall into affiliate.

Affiliate partners now no longer receive instant monetization. Instant monetization meaning if the videos are free from copyright issues with the copyright holder. All your newly uploaded videos will now have to go through YouTube's review process to enable monetization, which can take between a few hours to a few days. How YouTube does their review nobody knows.

If you are partnered through YouTube directly with Google Adsense, or monetize videos individually as a non-partner, then this news means nothing for you. YouTube will still be doing their monetization review I mentioned above that takes hours to days for approval, unless I guess you are well established and have a track record of uploading original, approved content.

Managed partners retain their ability to instantly monetize videos after upload. I'm thinking channels such as PewDiePie will fall into managed.

Even after all this, what I said in my previous post could still be valid. That gameplay footage may no longer be able to be monetized, or that you have to work much harder for them to get monetized by incorporating things such as prolong commentaries (to get them to fall in "fair use" terms) and providing proof of commercial usage rights from the video game companies.

It's all very scary. This definitely could cause an end or at least a massive reduction in gameplay videos on YouTube, as a lot of people don't like creating content that isn't getting them paid. Most gaming channels are part of a network, as well.

I for one have already stated I will continue to upload gaming videos regardless of what happens. It's just the fact that potentially losing a source of income that helps fund creation of the videos is sad. I don't wish to greatly alter my content to counter this either.

Come January, we'll see what really happens. I'm anxious and scared at the same time!

Friday, December 6, 2013

January YouTube Partner Monetization Changes May Equal DOOM For Us!

I recently received a very upsetting e-mail from my YouTube partner network RPM Networks. If you read the message in this e-mail, it will be very clear why this change may mean the demise of a lot of channels on YouTube who are under a network. Take in particular the text colored red.

Hello, Makers! YouTube is in the process of rolling out some updates to the partnership program. Since you’re part of the RPM Network family, we want to make sure you’re equipped to go full-speed on day one! We’ve prepared a summary of upcoming changes, plus a list of instructions on how to thrive in the updated ecosystem. Lastly, we’ll give you a sneak peek into how we’ll help you grow through the end of 2013. Let’s get right to it:  

First, your channel is still a member of RPM Network. This means that you will continue to receive the full spectrum of benefits associated with Maker’s partner program. This includes access to Maker Max, one-on-one channel development, and your dedicated support team.  

Beginning in early January, newly-uploaded videos will occasionally go through a process called monetization review. This review is performed by YouTube, and will determine if your content is in compliance with YouTube’s current terms of use and copyright standards. Once your content has been submitted, the approval process usually takes between a few hours to a few days. This system will be based on trust-algorithm, so the more often you’re approved, the less often you will be reviewed. We’ve included a how-to at the end of this email, which includes our suggested practices. Simply follow the guide, and you should not see any interruption in your earnings. We’re also extremely happy to hear that YouTube is making earnings transparency mandatory across all networks. As the first network to offer this information to all of its creators, we’ll continue to provide access to both your YouTube estimated earnings and income earned through participation in other Maker initiatives.  

Your Contract with Maker: YouTube is introducing a module which lets you send us feedback regarding the status of your partnership. Some people are calling this the "unpartner button”. Maker does not use this feature for communication about its contracts and this button is not a legal notice. If you have questions about your contractual relationship with us, please continue to contact us as you usually do.  

As always, it’s your responsibility to only upload content that you own 100% of the rights to. Do not use footage from other sources including TV, movies, trailers, music videos, etc.  

Being partnered with Maker as an Affiliate channel doesn’t change how we work with you in any way. We will still provide you with support, help increase viewership, and find ways to grow your brand and revenue. We know there can be confusion and sometimes frustration when new features and platform changes roll out, but we’re here to help, answer any questions you might have, and figure out how to make these changes work to your advantage. Things like monetization review are designed to prevent your channel from getting arbitrary content and community strikes; the feedback module is designed to help YouTube channels who are working with unresponsive and non-transparent networks. None of the features are designed to hurt your channel or your content, and Maker is excited to work with all of our partners on each new development as they roll out.  

Guides How-to: Monetization: 
1. Begin the upload process a few days before the scheduled release 
2. Before the upload process is complete, set the video to UNLISTED 
3. You may apply for monetization through your video manager, on a per-upload basis. First, refer to YouTube’s policy on what is and is not monetizable: 
If you are confident that your video is eligible for monetization, you may follow the below instructions on how to submit your content for monetization review: 
4. Once monetization is approved, release your video on-schedule 
NOTE: Setting a public video back to unlisted or private will cause the video to disappear from subscriber feeds permanently, so be careful!

If you haven't gotten the clue yet, it's the way YouTube will be forcing some sort of manual review on all newly uploaded videos to confirm their eligibility for monetization. Right now the process they use is instant if you're under a network. The exception is when the actual copyright holder comes after your videos—they will place a Content ID claim and/or copyright strike and the videos will not able to earn any money through ads.

Of course, YouTube now wants to push this review to occur on all channels, including channels that are part of a network.  

What appears to be human review of videos likely means 100% more strict policies. We all know that YouTube doesn't really like gameplay videos and especially ones with no commentary. Right now as network partners, we can post gameplay without commentary, have it instantly monetized and it will fly pass the radar no problem, unless the video game company comes after us.

Even for the people who incorporates commentaries in their gameplay videos, YouTube can very likely disable monetization as well, deeming them "not original enough". In fact, it clearly states in their support guide that "Videos simply showing game play for extended periods of time may not be accepted for monetization.". Commentary or not.

In the worst case scenario, YouTube will begin to review all these gameplay videos and punish them with the inability for monetization. That means, absolutely no earnings for the content creator. With no earnings, the content creator will have less of an incentive to create content. Also, a lot of people (including myself) depend on the earnings from our videos to fund the games and capture equipment we showcase on our channel. This may then eventually lead to an utter death and withdrawal from YouTube completely.

This is bad. I don't know what to feel right now, but I will be quite sad if I lose my ability to monetize my videos. I can't say what is going to happen, but regardless of the consequences, I will try my best to continue to upload videos for you guys, so long as they don't get Content ID match and copyright strikes all over. I've been uploading videos without monetization for years until now, after all. However, the amount of videos will be definitely be cut back by a lot.

If YouTube forces us to incorporate commentaries into our gameplay videos for monetization (and not just saying stuff at the beginning and turning off the mic), I think I'll pass. I'm sure you guys don't want me spewing my mouth nonstop on every video. That's just not me and the channel you know.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends - List of What's New + Changes

I've been observing a lot of interesting things that are different or new while playing, so I decided to develop this unofficial list to help others learn more about this game. These are likely not all of everything, but almost all of them I have confirmed myself.


‣ New characters are added: Yu Jin, Zhu Ran, Fa Zheng, Chen Gong and Lu Lingqi.
‣ Lu Kingdom is now available through Story Mode and follows the story of Lu Bu and his army. The story is full length with an IF branch and cutscenes.
‣ A supplementary IF story scenario is available for the kingdoms of Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin. Features short, segmented stories following various events and characters.
‣ A challenge mode has been added with challenges very similar to the ones in Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends. Completing each challenge mode will grant you a weapon with a unique weapon element every time.
‣ A new, harder difficulty called "Ultimate" is added, likely to be translated to Nightmare in English localization. Difficulty is similar to the one in Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends, including enemy officers having the ability to boost their attack and defense. Enemies can deal significantly more damage compared to Chaos, even at max defense. Enemy aggressiveness is not as harsh however.
‣ Bodyguards can now be equipped in Free Mode and Ambition Mode. It allows up to three bodyguards simultaneously on the field with options to control their actions. Bodyguards can leveled up and be both generics and unique officers.
‣ Free Mode has been revamped with an improved interface with many more options. For one, you can now have a lot of the features of Ambition Mode in Free Mode, including entire access to the blacksmith, equipping bodyguards and others. There are additionally new optional missions that you can complete, loosely based upon ones found in the game's original Story Mode. You are also ranked (e.g. A) after completion of a stage, gaining bonus experience points for higher ranks.
‣ Ambition Mode has a whole new quasi-war simulation feature after completion of the original goal of constructing the Tongquetai Palace. The goal is unite Han China by building relations with the characters they have earned in their ranks and claiming five enemy territories. A large bulk of the gameplay style is very similar to Empires, with being able to capture flags by defeating enemies around it.
‣ A second EX attack is added to every character. 
‣ Second treasure weapons are added for every character. These weapons are symbolized with 6 gold stars.
‣ 10 new weapon elements have been added. These can be obtained by winning in the challenge mode and in the new Ambition Mode. The most remarkable being "Thunderclap", which allows you to essentially have the Combat Resistance weapon seal of Dynasty Warriors 7.
‣ An additional weapon temper option has been added that works virtually identical to Warriors Orochi. It however uses newly introduced gems instead of weapon materials.  


‣ Maximum character level is raised from 99 to 150. It is NOT 999 like everyone is suggesting!
‣ Maximum attack and defense stats are raised from 1,000 to 1,500. Additionally equipping level 20 attack and defense boost skills raises this to 1,800. Health remains capped at 1,000.
‣ The limit of weapons you can carry has been raised from 1,000 to 1,200. Current number of weapons you posses and limit are now conveniently shown in menus. 


‣ Cyclone now deals proportional damage only on block (chip). It also can no longer break an enemy's guard.
‣ Morass element will now cause enemies to glow blue when its in effect.
‣ Enemy officers' frequency of affinity switching both on ground and in the air when attacked has been increased significantly. 
‣ Breaking an enemy officer's affinity shield for Storm Rush is seemingly much harder—more notable on higher difficulties.
‣ Attacks can no longer spin the enemy upwards (e.g. C5 of Double Edge Trident, switch attack of Boomerang). Hence, enemy officers recover more quickly from such attacks, rendering certain combos significantly more difficult.
‣ There is now a slight delay after landing with a jump before any movement. This causes double jumping with a speed weapon for faster movement a lot less effective. This can also make combos that rely on jumping/landing less practical.
‣ Unit Commanders now have the same recovery percentage as named officers, or nearly 100% all the time.
‣ Unit Commanders affinity is now displayed as gray instead of colored.
‣ It is now possible to jump cancel a variable switch counter with a speed character.
‣ Horse animations have been improved. When you turn your horse in the right or left direction, the horse will subtly lean in that direction. This is purely aesthetic.
‣ Equipping and changing support animals during battle is now possible.
‣ Loading times between events have been reduced.
‣ Resetting the stage is now possible during play—it will bring you back to the beginning of the stage without having to go back through the main menu again.


‣ Storm Rush can be assigned to be manually activated with the □ + △ buttons. This allows freedom for instance to start the Storm Rush only after a full charge attack.
‣ Events can be set to not occur in Free Mode.
‣ BGM can be automatically set to play a random song every battle, disregarding default BGM.
‣ Display brightness can be individually set.
‣ Health bars can be set to show only enemy officers exclusively.

If you have seen something different or new about this game that hasn't been listed above, please let me and everybody know!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dragon's Crown Super Sexy, True to Game Amazon and Sorceress Figurines

Let us have a moment to enjoy the brilliance of these Japanese sculpted Dragon's Crown figurines of the Amazon and Sorceress!

You can buy these off eBay if you're rich and desperate enough. Here are purchase links to the Amazon and the Sorceress.