Thursday, December 18, 2014

Creative Nation is launching a new YouTube Network for gamers that gives you 100% revenue share!

"We're launching a gamers+ network option very soon which I think you will be interested. We can offer you 100% of your revenue." 

are the words that echoed from a new upcoming YouTube Network for gamers called Gamers+, which is scheduled to be up and running in approximately 30 days.

Here is a screenshot of what the network offers and its incredibly hefty requirements:


Yes, I said hefty requirements, especially the view count. After my departure from Maker Gen today, I'm trying to join a different network. I may qualify for Gamers+, but I'm not going to jump on board just yet. It's generally wise to wait until a few reviews rolls around and see if this magical network lives up to its claim. We do know that Creative Nation has been around for awhile and the reviews for them has been generally positive (but not nearly as favorable as Curse). Creative Nation also grants a 90/10 revenue split like Curse for their regular network, and now they additionally offer a no-lock in contract too (which is quite important).

So if you happen to not qualify for Gamers+, you may still join their regular network. Since both Creative Nation and Curse offers no-lock in, you can't go wrong with either. And if your channel isn't 80% gaming related, Creative Nation would then be your only choice (if you desire the 90/10 revenue split, that is).

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires - Some Original CAWs Using New Parts and My Initial Thoughts on the Game

I've been having some fun with character creation in Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires lately, so much that I've neglected playing the actual game.

Although I have to say that I was rather disappointed that the actual playable character editing portion remained identical to the 7th Empires. All those cool new features from Samurai Warriors 4's character creation, specifically uploading custom photos for your character's portrait and design on your clothing were missing. Rather, custom photos is only exclusively available for flag customization, which is a shame. Also, there weren't even any new hairstyles besides like two, not including certain head pieces that force their own hairstyle upon you.

I do like some of the new costumes. These are some designs I came up with using them:


Regarding the game itself, it has been mostly positive, although I do miss certain things from Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires, including the aesthetic flair when your character executes stratagems and the many more unlockable events.

I liked that they dealt away with the displeasing fame leveling system, which causes your character's stats to be determined by your fame's fluctuating levels. Now it's back to plain old fixed character levels, which makes the leveling process significantly less annoying. Please KOEI, don't you dare ever go back to that fame leveling system again, ya hear?!

Being able to build facilities in your provinces to increase gold, troops and develop more advanced weapons, items and stratagems is a nice touch that helps strengthens the strategic element of the game. No longer can you just gather a mountain of gold, run into the shops and buy the best of everything.

The marriage system allows you and your spouse to have a child that can later partake in battle. It's an interesting feature, but you're going to unfortunately generate a lot of child monstrosities, even if you and your spouse are the most beautiful beings in the universe. Not just the face will be bad, but the clothing too. The last child I had, his clothes were all different colors and none of it matched. He also had a frightening man's body yet a face of a boy. You are damn right I was ashamed of releasing him from the womb.

The one feature I definitely appreciated the most in the game is free mode. It's like a God sent gift for me in an Empires game, because it allows me to play around with movesets and study them for efficiency without going through the lengthily scenarios. Speaking of movesets, out of all the new movesets introduced, I'm liking Wang Yi's the most. That weapon and moveset, aside from a few lousy charges, is AMAZING.

Of course, the biggest downside to this iteration of Empires is the total lack of New Game+, excluding what you can carry over in free mode. Hopefully, KOEI learns of this horrific mistake and adds at least weapon transfer in a future patch.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bruteforce Save Data Frequently Asked Questions


Having woes with Bruteforce Save Data? Here I will answer some of the most common questions I receive about using the software. Hopefully this will help resolve most of your issues.

Whenever I launch Bruteforce Save Data, I receive an error message saying msvbvm50.dll is missing?


You will need to install Visual Basic Runtime 5. The software will not run without it.

Loaded game saves, but they are labeled as UNREADABLE and I cannot do anything with them.


This is either a permissions issue or can occur if you haven't installed Microsoft Visual Basic C++ 2010 (x86). Make sure you install the x86 version, not the x64. If you installed it and are still receiving UNREADABLE, make sure you are logged into an account with administrator privileges and are not storing your game saves on a write protected directory.

Cheats Repository will not download and/or fail to update.


Update to the latest version of Bruteforce Save Data, run the software as an administrator (right click on the exe file and select "Run as Administrator") and try the update again. You can also download the latest cheats repository manually by visiting the Bruteforce Save Data forums. Simply replace the existing game.conf and add the cheat files with the ones included in the download.

I receive [BLANK] as profile ID when setting up or resigning game saves.


This can occur if your PS3 user account does not have an attached PSN account and you are not logged into it while creating your game saves or saving over them in-game. Please read this post for more information.

BLANK ID will work on games that do not specifically require a unique ID on their game saves. You will have to test the game save after resigning it with a blank ID first.

When I do the rebuild process, the profile name and ID on the game save does not change.


Ensure you are running the software as an administrator. Right click the Bruteforce Save Data exe file and select "Run as Administrator". Then try to rebuild again.

How do I obtain a missing key for a game?


Select the game save and hit F6 (Bruteforce), then select the game's EBOOT.ELF file. EBOOT.ELF file is only available on the game data itself, not the game save. You will need to find someway to transfer the game's data from disc or hard drive to your PC.

I receive corruption message after rebuilding/encrypting a game save and using it on my PS3.


First off, check to see that the game save is actually properly encrypted. The rebuild process should automatically decrypt and encrypt the game save in the process. Always use the "Verify PFD" button to verify that the game save has been correctly encrypted and normal (you should see no red messages). Attempting to run a game save in a decrypted state will always result in a corruption message. Again, you should try to run the software as an administrator to counter this.

Secondly, corruption can also occur due to the following reasons:
1.) Multilayer encryption - Certain games, most notably newer games, will use multilayer encryption. Without a tool to specifically decrypt beyond the first layer, the game save cannot be modified and used without corruption. A fix is to wait until a tool is available, or you can use devices such as Game Genie, which allows you to decrypt all the layers of certain multilayer encrypted game saves. A list of such known current games that uses multilayer encryption can be found on Bruteforce Save Data forums.
2.) Bad/incorrect data - This can occur if you are transferring from one region to another. The differences in offset between the two regions in the game's save data can be different enough that the game will mess up reading it, causing corruption. And yes, this means that not all games can be transferred to one region to another. This can of course occur if you mess with the game save's data too much without knowledge on how to change values.
3.) Wrong region title/ID - If you use the wrong region title/ID, you will receive corruption.
4.) Wrong key - If you use the wrong key for your game save, you will also receive corruption. This can accidentally happen if your game is in multiple regions. Use the specific key for your region only.

If you confirm you did everything correctly and are still receiving corruption message, the problem may be the above four.

After resigning my game save, it still states the save belongs to another user.


Something failed during the rebuilding process or you are using a blank ID on a game that doesn't support it. You must ensure that after rebuilding, your exact PS3 user account profile name and ID appears on the game save. Running as an administrator will solve most of these problems.

How do I apply cheats?


After decrypting the game save, the cheats button should be available. Click it and you can add your cheats. After adding cheats, you need to encrypt the game save to avoid corruption. If you are running an older version, you may need to right click the game save and select "Apply Cheats" instead.

How do I edit data directly with a hex editor?


After decrypting the game save, you can open up the BIN file directly with a hex editor and make changes. Of course, you have to make sure you know what you're doing. The search function is probably the most useful tool to find existing values and change them. Encrypt the game save after to avoid corruption.


If you have any other questions and concerns not detailed in this post, feel free to jot me an e-mail and I will try to answer you promptly. Just do not ask me to simply resign a game save for you.

Important Announcement Regarding Sending Me Your PS3 Game Saves to Resign


Please do not send me your game saves on PS3 and request me to resign them. I am very sorry to say, but I will no longer accept requests of such. The same applies to region transferring or even on Xbox 360.

I just do not have the time to do them and do not feel honored after doing them. I'm also on a Mac 99% of the time, so it's rather inconvenient of me to change operating system just to resign a save for someone, especially given how easy it is to do it on their own.

Don't get me wrong, I will certainly help you through problem solving and attempting my utter best to get things working for you, but you will need to tell me exactly what problems you are having. That means being very specific, including explaining all the steps you did and what error messages you are receiving (if any). Too many are being completely vague and saying things like "it will not resign I get errors". The only reason I created tutorials was I want this to be a learning experience for everyone, so if you learn how to do it yourself right, you can always do it on your own and troubleshoot your own problems. If I simply resigned game saves for everyone, then I'm doing free favors for everyone and no one will learn anything.

Also note that before you attempt resigning a game save, ensure your game can be fully decrypted in Bruteforce Save Data first. Many people are attempting to resign the latest and newest games, failing and this is because a lot of newer games use multilayer encryption including having unknown checksums, which cannot be decrypted using Bruteforce Save Data. Game Genie can counter this, but that doesn't support all games. Tools are also available for specific games to decrypt all the layers. If you repeatedly receive corruption and did everything right, the game is likely not compatible.

If you are 100% sure you followed all steps completely in the tutorials, I can assure you I will not be doing a better job than you are.

I recommend everyone who seeks help to visit the official Bruteforce Save Data forums. There are people who have more knowledge than myself, including the creator of the software himself, and will be happy to assist you with all problems. And it's free!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Officially Freed from Maker Gen YouTube Network in 21 Days! Time to Spill the Beans on My Earnings!



In only what would seem like a devilishly long 21 days, I will be officially freed from the locked-in grasp of Maker Gen/RPM Networks. I like to briefly share with you my experience with this network, having been part of it for almost two years, and why I now no longer encourage anyone who is serious about earning money on YouTube to join.

Maker Gen as you know, is one of the many YouTube Networks available for channels to partner with, allowing channel owners to earn money from the advertising displayed on their videos. The Network splits the earnings with the channel owners, usually a specific set ratio, and the earnings will vary depending on how much the CPM (Cost-per-thousand-impressions) of the ads are.

When I initially joined Maker Gen, known back then as RPM Networks before they decided to change their name a thousand times, I was happy and satisfied. Mostly because I was finally a YouTube partner and could earn some dollars making videos. That also helped offset the cost of expensive equipment and the purchase of imported games, often costing up to hundreds of dollars.

Fast forward a year later, I was beginning to get dreary of this network. I discovered I wasn't earning as much as I could had I partnered with other networks. Their support initially was atrocious, repeatedly not responding to customer tickets and e-mails for weeks. It was bad enough that it made them notorious for being the epitome of worst support of all networks. My e-mails were ignored for weeks until they decided it was finally time to respond. Now that they supposedly revamped their support system and team, it has been better, but still not perfect.

Near the end of last November, I made the biggest mistake by accidentally deciding to continue with them for another year. You see, by the time I learned of much better networks, it was already too late to disband. This was due to their undesirable locked-in contract which forces you to stay with them for one or two years, with no way out unless you purposely commit a felony on YouTube. Their contract terms allows them to automatically renew all of their partners every year without your consignment. The only way to stop this madness was to alert them 30 days prior to the end of the contract. Good luck with that, as even after you accomplish such, they will still make you stay with them until the actual end of the contract date.

And so I sucked it up and the contract renewed for another year. Although I did positively went from a measly 60/40 revenue split to 70/30.

One of many reasons why Maker Gen isn't a good network is their less than favorable revenue split. A lot of networks nowadays offer up to 90/10, and simply getting 60 or 70 won't cut it, considering how bad their support is and the locked-in nature of their contract. You could argue that their supposedly higher CPM will offset the low ratio, but I haven't seen much confirmation that they have a higher CPM then other networks that offer higher splits.

So this November, I made the best decision to alert them 30 days prior to the end of my contract with them, and they have finally agreed to let my channel go on December 17th. Elation ensues!

So what network am I going to join now and what do I suggest people join?
I'm definitely joining Curse, Union for Gamers and so should anyone that has a channel composed of 80% or more of gaming material. The simple reason is that they offer three things that makes a great network: no lock-in (free to leave anytime), 90/10 revenue split (one of the highest ever) and great support.

If your channel isn't dominantly gaming related, I highly suggest you must go with a network that doesn't have lock-in, so you can leave anytime you please if the network does not live up to your expectations. Again, do not join Maker Gen unless you wish to feel depressed of all the money they've stolen from you for a year. This goes for Social Blade too, as joining Social Blade is the same thing as joining Maker Gen (Social Blade is just a recruiter)!

Finally, I spill the beans about my total earnings from Maker Gen! Also, some words of encouragement!
Although the contract states that I'm not allowed to publicly show my earnings, I'm going to say screw that and show you guys anyway. If they ban me from their network attempting this, I'll actually be more happy as I can leave their network even earlier.

I was with Maker Gen for approximately two years, from January 18th, 2013 to November 26th as of today. This is a screenshot of my Earnings for that date range (minus a few days) directly from YouTube: 


As you can see, it's definitely possible to earn a decent amount of money from YouTube if one is committed to it and creates daily, consistent and quality videos. For me it's even more of a surprise as I basically trapped my channel in a niche category—KOEI and hack and slash games, and still earned $13k in two years. Had I expanded to more territories, I could have earned a lot more, but I personally chose to not alienate my fanbase.

It's definitely not easy earning the amount of money shown, especially if you are just starting out. But remember that it took me a lot of hard work and I had to initially develop my channel for four years before joining a network. My channel actually started in 2008 and I grew it with quality videos until 2013, where I finally was popular enough to be noticed by a network. After joining however I was only achieving a lousy $1-$3 a day. It was only until a couple months later that after more hard work that I was finally getting out of that pathetic range, getting up to $30 a day in earnings.

Whatever you do though, do not follow in my footsteps of what I've been doing for the last couple of months—not making any videos or very few in-between.

So what gives about the lack of videos recently on my channel?
Could I be slouching? The answer is no, I've been so busy lately that I haven't found much free time to create videos, as lame as an excuse as that may be. Starting July, I ventured into a new job where I would work for myself to earn money, buying and reselling goods, doing this for nearly eight hours every day and that includes lots of traveling. By the time I come home I am already extremely exhausted and just feel like going directly to sleep after, until the next day where I have to work again. I know, sounds sad, but I'm definitely satisfied with it. I bought a new house a couple months ago and I need all the money I can make to pay mortgage on it, not even including necessities to feed and keep my family healthy. YouTube earnings alone aren't just going to cut it, especially when Maker Gen steals 30% of it every month.

However, I have decided to recently cut back on my job, spending about only four hours instead of eight, and not working every day. This should allow me to get back to making YouTube videos more often. I already have purchased the Japanese version of Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires and I may consider uploading videos of that game. It will just depend on how things go.

Anyway, that was the story I like to tell for the day. I hope it wasn't a boring read, especially to those who aren't YouTube content creators. I'll likely have some more interesting posts in the upcoming weeks. :D

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Samurai Warriors 4 Weapon Modding Now Possible on PS3!


All you modders can happily rejoice, as Samurai Warriors 4's game save can now be successfully decrypted with Bruteforce Save Data without corruption, thanks to chaoszage's Samurai Warriors 4 Checksum Fixer Tool. If you are unfamiliar with what decrypting a game save does, it essentially destroys the encryption and allows editing of its data. This makes it possible to make all sorts of changes to your game save's data, including of course the modification of weapons.

This is pure software without the need of devices such as Game Genie or Cyber Save Editor.

So here's basically how you do it:

First, you need to have the latest version of Bruteforce Save Data installed. If not, you should at least have updated your cheats repository to the latest database.

Second, you'll need chaoszage's Samurai Warriors 4 Checksum Fixer Tool. Without this tool, you will end up with corruption after decrypting and encrypting. You can download it here.

Open your Samurai Warriors 4's game save using Bruteforce Save Data, decrypt it, edit the data as you would normally (or apply cheats), run the Checksum Fixer Tool on the game save, then encrypt it with Bruteforce Save Data.

Transfer the game save to your PS3 and you should be good to go!

Weapon Modification Codes and Skill Values:

All 1st Weapon Skills Mod
42003884 05050505
403c0110 00000000
42003888 05050505
403c0110 00000000
4200388c aabbccdd
403c0110 00000000
42003890 eeffgghh
403c0110 00000000
42003894 05050505
403c0110 00000000
42003898 05050505
403c0110 00000000
4200389c 02020202
403c0110 00000000
420038A0 02020202
403c0110 00000000

http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps3/730732-samurai-warriors-4/faqs/69237
Use link above to refer the skills effects


Fill aa,bb,cc,dd,ee,ff,gg,hh with value below:

00   Potency
01   Range
02   Counrage
03   Impact
04   Fury
05   Underdog
06   Momentum
07   Clarity
08   Verity
09   Concentration
0A   Fortitude
0B   Stability
0C   Elasticity
0D   Bravery
0E   Determination
0F   Resolve
10   Nullification
11   Zeal
12   Conviction
13   Resurrection
14   Alacrity
15   Blaze
16   Shock
17   Frost
18   Wind
19   Diamond
1A   Reaper
1B   Rampage
1C   Impulse
1D   Awakening
1E   Cavalry
1F   Equestrian
20   Connoisseur
21   Collector
22   Hoarder
23   Constitution
24   Expert
25   Endurance
26   Paladin
27   Stimulus


Modding weapons directly with a hex editor:

You could theoretically mod the weapons without using the code above directly via a hex editor, if you require only specific weapons be altered. Again, this process should be identical to Dynasty Warriors 8. Write down your weapon's skills in hex as it appears in order, then use the search function in a hex editor to replace skills. This process has not yet been tested, so there is no guarantee yet of it working.

Some other fun codes if you're THAT lazy:

Max Gold
20007842 000F423F


Max Kills

2000784A 05F5E0ff


All Gems Max
200078BC 63636363
200078C0 63636363


All Chars Proficiency Max

42000C44 14141414
403C0044 00000000


All 1st Weapon Becomes Rare

40003883 00000000
403c0110 00000002


Notice: This is all specifically for the US/EU versions of Samurai Warriors 4. If you need codes and values for the Japanese version, visit savedata.jp.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Just Got My Largest Check Yet from SurveySavvy!


Here is proof that yes, you can indeed make a decent amount of money online filling out surveys and that not every one of them are scams. This check was from SurveySavvy, one of my favorite paid consumer survey/research sites that I detailed in this earlier post and currently the only one I'm engaged to.

In fact, more than $200 of this money was from essentially not doing anything but filling out a few five minute surveys and installing some software (that you can leave alone once installed) on a computer, tablet and smartphone. The software is called SavvyConnect and it basically just monitors what websites you visit (using it for research purposes obviously). They pay heavily for using this software. I get offers from $50-$200 in projects that involve using SavvyConnect. Like I said, the best part is not having to do anything but leave the software installed and take a few short surveys from time to time.

I have another $225 check coming shortly from SurveySavvy. Booyah!

So if you are interested, definitely consider joining SurveySavvy, check out their SavvyConnect software (install it) and start earning some extra cash very easily.

But wait, you will want to use my referral link to sign up: https://www.surveysavvy.com/?m=233689

That way, you and I can both earn a extra percentage of each other's earnings.  Don't worry, we won't lose any of our earnings. Hence, there's nothing to lose for both of us!

P.S: In no way am I being paid by SurveySavvy to post this. These are all my honest words and experience and I'm simply providing information on how to earn some money online easily.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tool to Decrypt Second Layer of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Available



I should have posted this bit of news earlier, but thanks to chaoszage, you can successfully decrypt the second layer of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends with a free Windows program that requires no  hardware or devices.

As you may have recalled, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends (along with all newly released KOEI games) has incorporated double layer encryption security for save files. Up until now, the only method of fully decrypting the game saves required usage of paid devices, such as Game Genie and PS3 Cyber Save Editor.

Why would you need to decrypt the game save? Plenty of scenarios—if you want to resign it to another user's profile/PS3, mod your save data, transfer regions, etc.

The guide for usage is included in the download. Remember that you need to pair the decrypter with Bruteforce Save Data. First layer of decryption is done via Brutefroce and the second layer is with this tool.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE TOOL

Have fun, and don't spoil yourself!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

GameFAQs Now Allowing Video Links with Commentary and Non-Game Music



This may be old news to some, but to me it is something new as I only stumbled upon it recently while attempting to submit my own YouTube videos to GameFAQs.

GameFAQs are now allowing commentary and non-game music in all user submitted videos. Previously, videos with commentary and non-game music were disallowed and if submitted would be rejected. This also means game reviews and let's play from YouTube can be shared across to GameFAQs now. Videos involving cheats and exploits are still banned, however.

Why is this such a deal you ask? If you have read my post "6 Ways to Promote Your YouTube Videos" I detailed one of the ways were to submit your YouTube videos to GameFAQs to gain a larger audience. With this bit of change, it is now possible to pretty much successfully submit all of your gaming related YouTube videos to GameFAQs, with the exception of cheats/exploits videos.

Just remember to of course submit quality content only, please!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

DAISO JAPAN - Cool, Useful, Cheap, Cute and Weird All at the Same Time


If you are fortunate enough to live in Washington or California (myself residing in Washington), you need to go to your nearest DAISO JAPAN store now!

Why? This place just rocks. Not only is everything at $1.50, but the products they sell are so Japan it's crazy. Just look at some of these photos I took on my recent trip just yesterday:


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sengoku Musou 4 100% Platinum Game Save


Anyone looking for a 100% complete and platinum trophy status game save for Sengoku Musou 4 (Samurai Warriors 4) is in luck, as I have that very such thing here for free download.

Benefits of this game save:
  • 100% Story Mode and Chronicle Mode completion
  • All characters unlocked
  • All CAW parts unlocked
  • Level 50 + max proficiency and stats for every character
  • Treasure weapons obtained for all characters
  • Max gold and gems
  • All trophies unlocked
  • And more!

This game save does not need to be resigned, as anyone can freely save over it without issues. The only part that is disallowed is gaining any sort of trophy with it. Since every new KOEI TECMO game now uses double layer encryption for game saves, you must use a third party device such as Game Genie or PS3 Cyber Save Editor to resign.

Again, use only as necessary.

DOWNLOAD SENGOKU MUSOU 4 GAME SAVE


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Samurai Warriors 4 (Sengoku Musou 4) In-Depth Review


Note: This review is based upon the Japanese version of the game (Sengoku Musou 4) and uses translated names. English names of certain things may be different in the English release.

INTRODUCTION


KOEI TECMO's Samurai Warriors series has occasionally been undermined as the unexplored sister series to the more widely popular Dynasty Warriors series. That to which is a shame, as Samurai Warriors at certain times in its history are eminently less rehashed and more developed in comparison to its Dynasty Warriors counterparts.

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Samurai Warriors, with the initial Samurai Warriors dating back to 2004 on the Playstation 2. In its celebration, KOEI TECMO has decided to unleash the long awaited next installment to Samurai Warriors—Samurai Warriors 4, which has been in secret production for at least a year or more. Samurai Warriors carries on the same iconic game formula of Dynasty Warriors: a simplified hack and slasher that couples mindless army killing with unparalleled character roster. The only difference being that one takes place in Japan and the other in China. Can you guess which one is which?

When Samurai Warriors 3 debuted on Wii, players were confused and indignant to the abrupt dominant Sony platform switch to Nintendo. There's not a lick to worry here however, as Samurai Warriors 4 has sailed back to its roots as a Playstation 3 and later Playstation 4 title.

GAME MODES


Samurai Warriors 4 is divided into three main game modes, edit mode, gallery, encyclopedia and of course compulsory game options. For the sake of not detailing the unnecessary, I'm only going to focus on the main game modes as well as touch briefly on edit mode.

STORY MODE: The predominant Story Mode in Warriors games is like a child that can't make up its mind. One day it is character based, where stories are all divided up individually to every playable character. The other day it is region/clan based, where stories are bunched together as larger regions/clans. Samurai Warriors 4 goes back to being the less vast latter. This negatively cuts the longevity of Story Mode to a great deal in comparison to Samurai Warriors 3, which was thoroughly character based.

There are a few pros to being region/clan based, regardless. You have the freedom to swap out your characters prior to playing each stage, rather than be permanently affixed to one person the entire way through. If you're interested in playing this game for its historical retelling, I guess playing as regions/clans will offer you a much quicker knowledge and experience of the story, as opposed to playing individual character stories on at a time.

Story mode scenario selection
The implementation of Samurai Warriors 4's Story Mode is quite remarkably similar to that of Dynasty Warriors 8. Scenarios of specific regions/clans can be chosen, thereafter will be several episodes (stages) to clear from within. If enough scenarios are cleared, then additional ones are unlocked. A direct deposit from Dynasty Warriors 8 are also branching paths that are injected usually near the final bits of a story, usually swapping sides of the army you are playing for and against. Being in close proximity to the end means that separate branches are only up to two stages in size and moreover there are no three branch setups of any kind, shamefully. Additionally, once you travel up the to branch point, you can select which branch to play right off the bat without restriction. In other words, there are no requirements to unlock the top or bottom one as opposed to Dynasty Warriors 8. Gaiden episodes also makes a return in Samurai Warriors 4, filling in some extra bits for several scenarios.

Another problem of Story Mode lies within the amount of length and its annoying inconsistencies. The majority of scenarios are constructed of only three or four mere total episodes, dismissing Gaiden episodes. A few sprinkle of scenarios may establish more, but the lengthiest are only around eight episodes long. Coupled with the rather low amount of scenarios to chose from and unlock, don't be utmost surprised if you end up finishing the game's Story Mode swifter than prior Warriors games.

The game has a new conversation feature where certain characters will be interacting with one another face to face almost constantly throughout Story Mode. These bits aren't too terribly interesting, as characters are placed motionless on a blurry backdrop, talking to each other non-stop, while you have to listen or read and press a bunch of text dialogue boxes. Moreover, these "cutscenes" aren't exactly beneficial as you are never allowed to make choices during all the talking. That is a definite heavy blow to something that can be made substantial, as allowing the player to make choices that can effect the storyline and its consequent branches would be glorious. Too bad they skimped over that.

The conversations aren't actually detrimental to the game, as they help aid the storyline in places where battles aren't erupting and characters just simply need to talk with one another. The earlier games didn't have these drawn out bits nevertheless and the storyline experience fared about the same. The less time spent out of battle the better. No one wants to always sit around idle while there is another enormous battlefield to slay thousands upon!

Talk is cheap, just bring it!
Speaking of cutscenes, I regret to say that Samurai Warriors 4 has just about the least amount of CGI cutscenes in comparison to any current Warriors game. In the past, all endings were done in dazzling CGI, whereas in this game only a hand selected few endings are actually honored with that prize; the rest dumped with in-game rendering.

All in all, while Story Mode gets the job adequately done, I'm not ecstatic to reach a conclusion that this game's Story Mode is quite an inferiority compared to Dynasty Warriors 8's. Then again, Dynasty Warriors 8 has one of the best story modes in any Warriors game for a long time, so it will be a challenge to match it. Still, I expect KOEI TECMO to at least carry on a great establishment, rather than taking lots of step backwards for their next game.

FREE MODE: There isn't much I need to say much about this mode, really. If you played the many multitude of Warriors games, you'll realize that Free Mode is simply a mode where you are essentially freed from your chains and shackles of restriction in other modes such as Story Mode. In other words, you are free to select any character and play in any stage without restrictions. Capeesh?

CHRONICLE MODE: Chronicle Mode is designed specifically for CAW, or Create-a-Warrior, which is what we like to call the custom characters we design in Warriors games.

It basically tries to reenact Mercenary Mode seen in other Warriors games, borrowing traits from Samurai Warriors Chronicles' main story mode.

After selecting your CAW, you start off as a mercenary and are given the choice to start under several factions that are mentioned in story mode. After pledging your allegiance, you can then travel through different provinces of Japan's Warring States in order to complete various requests given to you by the main cast.

Map of the Warring States of Japan in Chronicle Mode
Characters from the main cast are scattered throughout specific points on the map, giving you options of befriending or alienating them through personal conversations, fighting them in battle or traveling with them. Personal conversations that are engaged carry the same setup as ones that occur in story mode. The only notable difference here is that your character can actually make a two choice statement or decision during the chit-chat, with one raising your affinity with a character and the other lowering it. By raising your affinity high enough with a certain character, his or her conversation will change during battle. By raising it to max, you can then unlock that character's moveset/weapon to use within character creation. A secondary character can also accompany you through your travels depending on your relationship with them, fighting alongside you on the battlefield.

There's a lot of choice making in Chronicle Mode, LOTS...
A nice feature of this mode is the ability to swap in and out characters as you please, even edit your CAWs during play. Hence, you are not locked to one character the entire time, which is a definite necessity as Chronicle Mode takes an enormously long time to finish.

EDIT MODE: If you sadly recalled the character creation from Samurai Warriors 3, you'll be laughing at yourself like a hyena if you consider calling it anything other than a giant pile of excrement. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. In fact, the sheer memory of editing any kind of "custom" character in Samurai Warriors 3 gives me brain cancer, from just even thinking of its limitation and very little actual customizing.

Well, I'd say if you yell at a company enough and lend them a chance, they can likely improve. Elation ensues, and I have to say KOEI TECMO delivered well in the character creation department of Samurai Warriors 4, offering the best yet editor in any of their Warriors games. Regardless, I will shudder and call inappropriate names at anyone even attempting to label this mode as new, as aside from a few minor features and new parts thrown in, it's an exact replica from Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires. But hey, why fix what's not broken right?

So if you happen to be joyful of the character creation in Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires, then be grateful that there's not much that's going to disappoint, with the exception of the obvious lack of Chinese clothing in exchange for Japanese (although some of these clothing may just scream "Chinapan!").

Looks familiar? You're not alone...
Okay, I will have to stop and briefly mention one of the more unique features that have been added in character creation in Samurai Warriors 4, which is the ability to upload custom photos from your Playstation 3's hard drive and display them in-game on a variety of decorations for your character. These can include your character's portrait, musou finisher symbol and even crest on your clothing. I bet in no time there's going to be a slew of inappropriate usages of this feature online, so much that KOEI TECMO may be needing to hire special personnel to monitor everyone's custom photos.

GAMEPLAY AND CHARACTERS


If there's one thing that rival game developers envy any Warriors game on, it would have to be the ridiculous amount of unique, playable characters that keeps piling up after every new trillionth release. Why am I not rolling my eyes that Samurai Warriors 4 continues that tradition by expanding that table of characters further?

So there it be—nine wholly new Japanese characters are introduced, including such names as Nobuyuki Sanada, Yoshitsugu Ōtani, Hisahide Matsunaga, Koshōshō‎‎, Lady Hayakawa, Kojūrō Katakura and others. Now is that a mouthful of foreign names or what? That's not all, adding further from Samurai Warriors 3's roster are returning new characters from Samurai Warriors Chronicles 2nd, including Takatora Tōdō (Ice Man), Naotora li (Japan's biggest stereotypical woman) and Munenori Yagyū (Japan's answer to Zhou Tai).

New cast of characters. Lots to like, some to despise... maybe.
A fellow viewer did brought up a valid complaint regarding the new characters, which was basically—"RECYCLED WEAPONS, RECYCLED WEAPONS AND RECYCLED WEAPONS!!!". True, some of the weapons these new characters wield look as if they blatantly stole them from existing Dynasty Warriors characters and re-equip them with new movesets (those cheeky bastards!), but come on... How many types of weaponry exist on Earth that are actually unique to one another? After a few hundred movesets, there's no doubt that some weapons start appearing scarily similar to one another. In fact, a better statement would have simply been—"Thanks Japan for not going too crazy ape sh*t with us on the weapons, as if they are not already unrealistic enough!".

What KOEI TECMO did go a little overboard on however was rather character design. Take Koshōshō‎‎ for example, which is just about the most unconvincing Japanese person one can imagine, feudal wise. She's a love woman alright and surely an undeniable great sex demon, but why does her shockingly realistic orange pink hair resembles an afro?!

A long time ago in Japan, once lived this very woman...
Jokes aside, the majority of new characters are actually great and uniquely done from their attires, personalities and weapons/movesets. The only other character I tend to cringe at is Hisahide Matsunaga, which is like KOEI TECMO attempting to craft their own Spider Man, ugh...

Gameplay wise, you won't find it a surprise of the century that Samurai Warriors 4 behaves largely identical to Samurai Warriors 3 in the gameplay department. Of course, that foundation is both improved and dug upon with the implementation of the new and scrapping of the old.

Let's take a step back and reminiscent a bit for unfamiliar folks who have never touched a Warriors game, and lightly skim over the basics of gameplay:

In any Warriors game, after you selected your killing machine of choice, you are placed upon an usually overly large battlefield that are comprised of minions of your own army as well as the enemy's. You are free to roam around the battlefield, either by traveling via foot or more fortunate methods such as horses and bears, slaying army peon fodder and occasionally higher class officers as you please. Completing a stage requires you to complete one or more missions, that will usually guide you step by step through the stage from point A to point B. The final mission will predominately involve killing off a boss NPC or reaching an escape point.

But the point of these games are not strictly about a one man/woman army massacring everything, as you are also required to feed attention and focus to your own army, including assuring important officers are kept alive, escorting them or defending crucial areas of the map such as your main camp from enemy attacks. This is also where your morale bar comes into play, as ensuring it is kept high through killing and successful missions will more guarantee you success of your army being victorious.

If you like this screenshot, this game may be for you.
The combat system in Warriors games are comprised of two primary types of attacks—normal and strong (sometimes also referred to as charge attacks). Normal attacks are regular attacks executed using the square button (up to 8 consecutive times), but can be immediately followed up with a strong attack by pressing the triangle button after a certain amount of normal attacks are executed, which will vary dependent on character. Thus, a variety of combos can be developed using these attacks. Also in your combat arsenal is Musou, or a more powerful attack that will require your Musou bar to be filled by at least one bar (raised by killing enemies, using items or collecting pickups). In Samurai Warriors 3, Ultimate Musou was additionally added that was unleashed when the newly introduced spirit bar was fully maxed and a Musou was performed.

In your defense arsenal, you have the ability to guard and side step. In Samurai Warriors 3, you also had a roll, which allowed you to evade farther than a side step. This roll has been removed from Samurai Warriors 4, which is completely silly, as both the side step and roll serves different purposes and should not really be interchangeable.

In Samurai Warriors 4, an entirely new attack string was added aside from normal and strong, called "Hyper Attack" or "Shinsoku Action", initiated using solely the triangle button. Therefore, this also entirely eliminates the C1 (first strong attack) of every character. This is a faster type of attack that continuously rushes the enemy at swift speeds and allows easier group damage; however, are completely ineffective against officers. Hyper Attack works similarly to normal attacks in which a new attack can be executed following every successful one. Finally, different attacks can be carried out by using the square button instead of triangle after every Hyper Attack (e.g. triangle, triangle, square), much like how normal and strong works.


Confused or think the above is all a bunch of mumbo jumbo? Why don't you take a look at the video above, which exemplifies both normal and strong attacks as well as Hyper Attack in the first few minutes of gameplay.

Hyper Attack does add a bit of intricacy and benefit in the combat system that helps elevate Samurai Warriors 4's combat system further away from dullness. I'm sure players will appreciate another welcomed ability to not only kill groups of enemies faster without any sacrifice (because what is a thousand enemies if you can't kill them screamingly fast?), but also help plow through the battlefield without the constant need to hop on and off a horse all the time.

Hyper attacks are a completely new set of attacks with lots of possibilities.
Samurai Warriors 4's Musou takes on several unexpected twists. The most noteworthy is that all characters are now blessed with an elaborate finisher that is injected at the end of their regular Musous, adding on further possible damage from the set in stone original Musou attacks, which has not surprisingly been altered. A few unwanted negatives have reared their ugly heads up because of this. First of which is that Musous can no longer be manually and tightly controlled like in previous Samurai Warriors. What do I mean by that exactly? In previous Samurai Warriors, one could press the Musou button, release it, still be in their invulnerable Musou state and carry out regular normal and strong attacks, even travel until their Musou bar was depleted. They could also return to their Musou attack animation by pressing and holding the Musou button again during the Musou. This has been entirely thrown out the window in Samurai Warriors 4 for no particular reason, and one of the first reasons of why I consider the combat system being simplified in the depth department. Another minor gripe is that all Musou finishers contains several seconds of stylish, close-up shots of the character posing before the actual attack that you are required to always watch. Sure, it looks pretty sweet and awesome the first time you see it, but after being forced to watch it every time you pull off your Musou, it almost urges you to not wish to execute your Musou anymore. Simply being able to skip such useless interruption would be a welcomed addition.

Musou finisher close-ups: Awesome and annoying at the same time.
A feature called "Rage" has returned from Dynasty Warriors 8 and works how you expect it to. When you max out your spirit gauge, you can use it to instantly dive into rage mode, temporarily increasing your overall stats such as attack power, attack speed and defense. May you imagine what on Earth happens when you perform a Musou in this rage state? Yup, you perform your Ultimate Musou, which has not been tampered with from Samurai Warriors 3. Because of rage implementation, you can no longer execute your Ultimate Musou simply by maxing your spirit gauge. You now have to enter rage mode and only then can you unleash your ultimate attack of death and destruction you so love.

Say, have you ever desired to instant kill an enemy, especially when their health is so low they should be considered graveyard material already? Well rejoice, as you now can with a new ability called "Mighty Strike", which is just that—instant kill an enemy (officer only) when their health is low. Triggering Mighty Strike requires you to just wail on your poor victim until their health becomes low enough to pop up the an alert icon above their heads, and then executing them in devilish ways with the triangle button. Mighty Strikes can also be manually triggered all the time by side stepping into their attacks. If you time it just right, you can immediately break their guards and perform a Mighty Strike that way. Of course, instant killing with Mighty Strike is only available if the officer's health is low, so performing a Mighty Strike anytime else and the officer will very likely still be well breathing afterwards. Nevertheless, Mighty Strikes that doesn't instant kill can be beneficial to help open up for your initial attacks on officers (so long as you aren't actually pressing triangle to perform them).

Mighty Strike is not perfectly well implemented. For instance, there should definitely more open time and less punishment to execute them. Often times, you're so busy wailing on an officer that you don't even realize the opportunity for Mighty Strike pops up until it's too late. If you simply do a consecutive attack during the trigger time and hit the officer, the option for performing Mighty Strike will go away instantly. It will not return either until you manually trigger it with side step or attempt to wail on them again until it pops up. Sometimes the latter fails to work; so you're back to square one killing the officer the long way.

Mighty Strike is also a potential to lower the overall difficulty of the game, as it becomes easier to kill officers quickly and triggering it with side step is undeniably easy to perform. If you master the art of Mighty Strike with side step, officers will not even have a chance to attack you.

Something a lot more interesting than Mighty Strike is the game implementing straight out character switching in midst of battle. No, this isn't your expected Musou Orochi style character switching where all characters are meshed up together in one being all the time like some mutant bizarre freak, but works more in the lines of Samurai Warriors Chronicles. Two characters are always needed to be selected prior to entering the battlefield, but they remain completely independent beings from one another, traveling and fighting on the battlefield separately. Switching between another character is instant without any delays, and you can easily monitor your secondary character's location and stats including health and defense all the time. While you control one character, the other character will be controlled by the AI. This artificial controlling can pose a problem on higher difficulties, where the AI of your other character will sometimes not act the way you want them to. In the worst case scenario they can get themselves killed, ending your game abruptly.

Two characters are allowed for selection, allowing instant switching during gameplay.
Proficiency levels are now present in this game, but affixed to character attacks categorized in—normal attack, strong attack, special skill, and hyper attack. Wait, you have to level up certain types of attack for each character?! Yes, that does seem a bit weird to you, correct? Well, in a game sense it's sensible as players can build up stronger attacks in which they frequently use the most. Regrettably, leveling any category to the max 20 is definitely no walk in the park and requires much dedicated effort. Therefore, if you hated the grinding in previous games, the grinding here with these proficiency levels will make you hate them more... Oh so much more.

Consumable items gets a bit of an overhaul in Samurai Warriors 4, but not to an enormous extent. The most significant change is that you can now freely choose and customize each item you want to take with you on the battlefield. Yeah, I ain't dreaming a good dream here, but there is absolutely no more of that ludicrous three items presets for each stage from the third game. An abundance of new items are also introduced, but more particular noteworthy are that each item has three sets of levels, increasing in their efficiency the higher the level. Individual special items cast into character's faces are available to equip, and these all do various different effects, but most are derived from an attack or special ability of that particular character.

The weapons system keeps it traditional by reusing the weapon system introduced in the third game, adding and subtracting a couple minor features, leaving it largely stagnant and rather displeasing. Any kind of tailored weapon customization is incredibly difficult and inane to even think about, as attributes are set in stone on every weapon purchased or picked up. Attack power can moreover only be increased with a certain type of attribute, which isn't guaranteed to be a selection for every weapon. Samurai Warriors 4 has additionally eliminated the three class weapon system from the third game; that is speed, normal and power. This class elimination can be considered a sin to some and a blessing for others. Players who appreciated a bit more depth and variability in the weapon system will likely be disappointed that their weapon choices are now more limited. Others will be glad that they no longer have to worry about weapon classes weighing them down, as all regular weapons are now created equal.

Developing weapon attributes to higher levels are done by utilizing gems collected or purchased. A big pro of the new weapon system are the ability to donate any weapon from any character to one another; however, all leveled attributes on that weapon will be lost during the transfer. A second pro is that any weapons picked up during gameplay will belong to the character who picked it up only, so it helps shed down the enormous randomness of weapon collecting in the past.

I honestly think having gone through so many iterations of Warriors games, including giving players much more freedom in customizing their weapons in newer Warriors games, KOEI TECMO has decided to stick with its annoying restricted weapon system that's antiquated and five years old. Why, why and why is the only thing I can say.

Finally, do you remember armor and boots that can be equipped in Samurai Warriors 3? Of course you do. Well, they are gone in Samurai Warriors 4. Just trashed, wiped off the face of the planet. If you have a fond memory, you'll recall that both armor and boots can add a significant amount of various attributes to your character when equipped, usually non-offensive related. The attributes range from increasing your spirit charge distance, allowing you to spirit charge without depleting your spirit gauge, increase invulnerability from side stepping/rolling and others. Now that both of these are annihilated, every attribute, even if they are not offensive related, have to be jammed into your weapons, creating sometimes a bloody mess. The worst part about all of this is that lots of beneficial attributes from Samurai Warriors 3 were lost because of the axe, including most of the ones I mentioned above. Moreover, you have less total attributes to develop your character, as again every attribute are derived from your weapons only.

AI AND DIFFICULTY


Samurai Warriors 4's difficulty is definitely more challenging than Dynasty Warriors 8 and about equally challenging as Dynasty Warriors 8: XL, but regrettably lags behind in the AI department of literally almost any current Warriors release.

The game has four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard and Hell. The jump from one difficulty to another is sometimes abrupt and not as smooth as it should be. For instance, normal to hard has a more lenient difficulty increase that's somewhat discernible. From hard to hell however the jump in difficulty is much wider, as hell is almost literally twice as difficult as hard was.

There's always two primary ways to increase difficulty in most games—one is to increase the AI and have the player work harder to be successful, the other is to just ramp up enemy defense and damage. The best difficulty implementations in games are to have a perfect balance of the two.

Unfortunately, Samurai Warriors 4 does much more of the latter than the former, throwing on as much damage and defense amplification to the enemies as possible on Hell difficulty while neglecting the actual AI. Who would have guessed, right? It's apparent that AI seems to be a particular problematic point for Warriors games since literally forever. On the other hand, this also makes me a bit frustrated and sad, because KOEI TECMO has almost perfected, or rather produced really great human-like AI in Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate, but only in Unlimited Mode. So why do they keep bringing in low quality AI that tarnishes the difficulty of their games?

The enemy AI, even on Hell difficulty, do not pose too much of a threat so long as you are avoiding their few attacks they throw from time to them. Officers almost never execute their musous, do long combos or dodge attacks. Be forewarned that some of them will love hyper attacking you to death, however. I dare to say that the most harsh part is actually avoiding being ganged up upon, as that usually causes instant death.

Officers also now have their usual ability to recover by somersaulting when they hit the ground or in the air during certain player attacks, rendering juggles much less efficient then previously. In Samurai Warriors 3, juggling officers could become infinite so long as you had enough spirit gauge and continuously abuse the spirit charge, because officers back then had literally zero recovery. The recovery speed for officers in this game is perhaps one of the fastest in any Warriors game. Hence, if you plan on pulling off combos via juggles, expect it to be prominently more difficult than ever.

Going back to character switching, you'll remember what I said earlier that this feature can impact difficulty in a great way. Basically, you now have to not only worry about your controlled character's well-being, but your partner's as well. Since your partner is automatically controlled by the AI when you aren't controlling them, and pairing that with not a game's greatest AI, you'll find common instances where they can just rush into a group of enemies and kill themselves. Thus, this game absolutely requires you to constantly switch back and forth characters all the time on higher difficulties to ensure you won't be suddenly greeted with the game over screen.

With the implementation of Hyper Attack, Rage, easily abused Mighty Strike and such broken weapon attributes as 克己 (self-control), a player can breeze through a max star stage in Hell difficulty without a weighty amount of sweat loss, not even mentioning all the items they can additionally bring along to help amplify their ownage.

Nevertheless, I'm not saying that Samurai Warriors 4 is an easy game. It is easy if you purposely make yourself broken and be abusing the combat system. That in itself is not easy due to the game's lottery styled weapon system and requirement of heavy grinding. If you go in unprepared or normally prepared, you can easily expect some of the best challenge you will experience in a Warriors game in awhile. Again, just don't expect miracles in the enemy AI.

GRAPHICS


Who actually talks about graphics in Warriors games should be ashamed of themselves, as these types of games are always focused on filling the screen with as much junk as possible without degrading frame rate. That of course comes at a cost of reducing overall graphics quality. Compared to other games where things are less hectic and much less has to get rendered, overall graphics will suffer in Warriors games in comparison simply because of its nature.

Still, KOEI TECMO seem to be always be hopping through hoops attempting to improve their graphics in Warriors games further and further. With the now next-gen Playstation 4 and Xbox One available, graphics for these games are better than they have ever been.

The PS3 version of Samurai Warriors 4 graphically is about what you'd expect for this type of game—not great and not terrible. Sure, it looks dated by at least one console generation in comparison to other games, but at least it's still a remarkable step up from the previous Samurai Warriors. I actually went and played Samurai Warriors 3 again for the first time in years on the Wii, and that game seriously made Samurai Warriors 4 look like a game that belonged on a future console, like a PS5!

Graphics aren't winning any awards, but still manages to please the eye.
The most important bit regarding graphics is at utmost the frame rate, which is surprisingly very solid. There is almost literally no hints of slow down regardless of how much stuff flies on the screen, and trust me, stuff are flying everywhere literally every second.

AUDIO AND MUSIC


Rock tunes mixed with oriental instruments fill the speakers in Dynasty Warriors games, but Samurai Warriors takes a different approach and shifts its music more towards club, dance and techno. Both genres are of course pumped and energetic enough to get most players excited towards ravaging the battlefields. A blend of Japanese instruments in conjunction with more mellow tracks makes the soundtrack to Samurai Warriors 4 very nice and diverse. You'll also be treated with the obligatory and popular remix tracks of Honda Tadakatsu's theme, Anegawa and others.

Japanese voice overs are unstained and phenomenal for the most part, with voice actors rarely ever changing their roles for returning characters unlike the sloppy mess that's embarrassingly evident in English localizations. Voice overs for the new characters fits their personality well, even if I have to admit some of them can be overly grating to the ears.

REPLAYABILITY


There is no denying the potential for virtually unlimited gameplay length given how much underlying stuff there is to accomplish and unlock in Samurai Warriors or virtually any other Warriors games. That is of course only if you are committed to and thoroughly enjoy the game in the first place.

Still, this isn't a type of game that is meant to be played hours on end without break. Literally any type of hack and slash game will wear out your fingers and thumbs and turn very monotonous and repetitive after a few hours, the exact same can be said to Samurai Warriors 4.

CONCLUSION


While Samurai Warriors 4 is a good Warriors game on its own, it doesn't necessarily exceed in rivaling its current Dynasty Warriors counterparts nor greatly improve upon Samurai Warriors 3 as one would have hoped. There's not a whole lot of new that's refreshing, and several areas of refreshment in the third game has been wholly scrapped in 4. The results is that Samurai Warriors 4 is simply just a sufficient step upwards from 3, while a step backwards in a few cases. Another unmentioned area is combat depth, where Samurai Warriors 4 is shamefully lacking, as the combat system hasn't been nearly evolved or contain as much intricacy as either Dynasty Warriors 7 or 8. In both Dynasty Warriors 7 and 8, many Earth shattering advanced combat techniques can be done because of the game's diverse weapon swapping system coupled with better character classes and types. The same cannot be said to Samurai Warriors 4's more back to roots, simplified combat style.

One thing can certainly be said however—never has a Warriors game been so stylish looking with so much on-screen flash. Samurai Warriors 4 is the utmost king of that at current for sure; the amount of bright lights and flashes this game throws at a mortal can render them blind, literally. But without a lot of depth tacked on the actual combat, that becomes less relevant as more advanced players will be more dreary of its not particularly deep combat system. There is no fighting game equivalent combat system to see here, basically.

Nevertheless, the majority of players who play any Warriors game usually don't play it to experience deep combat, do they? Of course not. They simply wish to just delve in, release tension and slay thousands of army fodders to satisfy their inner evilness. If that's your type of thing, then rest assured Samurai Warriors 4 will definitely make you a happy person. For the rest, I'm sure you'll find yourself more at home with Dynasty Warriors 7, 8, Musou Orochi or even the Sengoku Basara series.

OVERALL RATING: 7.0/10

 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Access Forbidden Japanese Pages on SAVEDATA.JP and Other Sites

There has been a bit of an online thing in Japan recently, where websites are cracking down on who actually gets to view their content—preferably only their own species. Why is that, you ask? Well, imagine you created a website in English for English speaking audiences, then along comes a bunch of foreigners from another country who generate content on your site in a different language you and your audience doesn't understand. You wouldn't like that too much, right?

So hence, if you try to visit a few Japanese sites/pages recently and discovered you are unable to access them due to errors (e.g. Forbidden Access), then you are most likely purposely locked out due to your location not being in Japan.

The most recent example of this is on SAVEDATA.JP. I already detailed what this site is about and why it is useful here. However, they have begun to make all their save codes (セーブエディット) section available only to people living in Japan. So if you try to access these pages outside of Japan, you'll be now greeted to the following:

Red text translate to: You do not have permission to access.
Here is an easy way to get around this, and no, you do not have to move to Japan or any other country.

All you really have to do is to switch to use a proxy address. Proxies not only help you retain anonymity over the internet, but it additionally solves the issue of blocked/forbidden websites and pages, even ones set up by the server/network you are currently using.

But the above page will not just work with any proxy. You specifically need to use a proxy that is located in Japan. By doing such, you are basically masking yourself to the internet as coming directly from Japan instead of where you are currently.

So where do you get a Japanese proxy address? That's easy, just Google "Japan proxy" and you'll get sites offering free Japanese proxies. Here is one that I've actually used myself. Here is another one.


Most proxy lists should indicate the proxy IP (proxy address), port, speed, level of anonymity and country it comes from.

In order to browse the internet with at least decent speeds, you should select a proxy that has the highest speed. Not all proxy addresses also work, so you may have to end up trying multiple ones until you come upon one that does the trick.

So looking at the above proxy list, I would first select 179.60.241.173, copy it to the clipboard and keep the 8080 port number in mind (as I'll be needing to input it later onwards).

Do not simply copy and use this proxy address I'm using or refer to the screenshot I posted for addresses. Proxies change all the time, so you most likely won't be able to continuously use the same ones for an infinite amount of time.

Let's briefly go over how to actually switch to a proxy address in your internet browser settings. All browsers will be different, but in general they should all give you adjustable proxy settings.

In Firefox, proxy options are located under browser options/preferences in Advanced -> Network -> Connection -> Settings.


After clicking "Manual proxy configuration", you need to enter the proxy address you copied previously and paste it into the "HTTP Proxy" number field. Additionally, input the port number tied to that proxy address into the "Port" field. Leave everything else unchanged and save the changes.


In Chrome, proxy settings can be changed by going to Settings -> Show Advanced Settings -> Network -> Change Proxy Settings. The steps should then be the same as Firefox above.

After changing the proxy, you can then test the page that you couldn't access earlier by simply reloading or going to the address again. If you cannot get the page to load or you are still getting error messages, you should go on to try the next proxy address.

So after doing that, I was able to access SAVEDATA.JP's save codes pages again!


Now that you know how proxies work, you can use it to your advantage in other ways, and I do mean not strictly for Japanese web content exclusively.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Game Genie with Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends


You may have remembered I posted a guide on this blog on how to mod your weapons in Dynasty Warriors 8 via Windows software Bruteforce Save Data.

Mod?! What a crime, you say! But nah, this came into existence dominantly because the majority of people, including myself, absolutely dreaded the awful weapon tempering system in the game originally. Modding weapons was therefore a way to relieve yourself (your temper, not your pants) of this agony and have some actual fun with the game once again. It was also useful for test purposes, e.g. testing out different element builds.

Albeit the weapon tempering has gotten much better and almost perfected in Xtreme Legends, people who have used it have been kind of spoiled, apparently. They desired to mod their weapons (and other bits) in Xtreme Legends as well, even though the only thing that urges any modding now is the endless grinding and farming the game requires.

I have to maybe pause and say that some things are better left in secret. KOEI has caught onto our shameful tactics and in defense have double layer encrypted their game saves starting from DW8:XL and onwards. This means that Bruteforce Save Data can no longer be used to decrypt the game saves in order to modify their data. Even worse, the developer of Bruteforce Save Data has withdrawn development of the software entirely and pulled it off from his own website. Oddly, I still can't find reasoning of the sudden departure, but this may potentially mean the road will look very bleak for support of newer games, even for mere profile resigning.

Nevertheless, double layer encryption is not foul proof. It can still be destroyed via third party devices such as Game Genie (English) and Cyber Save Editor (Japanese). Yes, Game Genie still exists and not a mere distant memory from the 90s. I know for a fact that Cyber Save Editor has added support for the latest KOEI games such as DW8:XL and SW4 (as documented at savedata.jp). These are of course the Japanese versions. There is still uncertainty that English versions of these games are supported in Cyber Save Editor (Japanese do play our games too, ya know?!)

Anyway, onto the most important part—viewer T Blipz has written the following message to me through e-mail and declares I should let everyone know of this. Hence, I shall not let him down.

He states that basically Game Genie can now decrypt DW8:XL and allow hex editing:


Therefore, if you want to continue to mod stuff in DW8:XL, then Game Genie (English games) or Cyber Save Editor (Japanese games) will be your only bets. The best thing is that Game Genie is a mere 30 bucks, compared to $50-$100 for Cyber Save Editor.

Now stop asking me how to mod stuff in DW8:XL. :) And I have no experience in either of these and never used them, so please don't ask me how to use them. Besides, I believe there are already a few guides on the internet for both.

Finally, I wonder what KOEI will do now knowing of this evil I just unleashed through the bag... *Gulp*

tl&dr: DW8:XL cannot be used with Bruteforce Save Data; however, you can now overcome that with Game Genie.