So Pokemon and Dark Souls Walked into a Bar…

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Kii got her hands on the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate demo. Here’s what she thought!

Once upon a time, (On the 14th of January) I sat down and watched Nintendo Direct where I saw the Nintendo President Mr Iwata happily stand there and tell us all what Nintendo are up to for the next few months. This Nintendo Direct was about the 3DS and Wii-U releases for the upcoming year, and whilst I was enraptured by many of the titles on offer, one obviously grabbed my attention. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

As I’m sure many of you remember from my previous articles, I friggin love Monster Hunter and I’ve been excited for the western release of MH 4 Ultimate since I got my little mits on it at EGX. The biggest piece of news about my beloved franchise in the Nintendo Direct was that there would be a demo available at the end of the showing, however, this demo was by invite email only. The emails were being sent out when show was finished. And we got an email! Woohoo! So now, let me tell you about the demo.

01PictureFirstly, there are two new weapons the Insect Glaive and the Charge Blade. The Charge Blade I personally don’t find too much of a difference between that and that Charge Axe, however it’s nice to have more choice for flexible options if that’s the kind of weapon you like to play with. With the Insect Glaive you get a little insect buddy who you can send out to hit the Monster and bring back a buff for you so now he’s my best friend.

The demo on ‘Experienced’ or ‘I know how to play’ mode gives you three options to hunt. The Great Jaggi (Which is like the Rattata of the larger monsters), the Tetsucabra (Giant armoured frog thing) and the Gore Magala (Minor death dragon of doom). Myself, my partner and our housemate worked our way through them all (via Demo access to the Local Multiplayer) trying out the different weapons and admiring the armour that the game decided to put us in. As you can imagine, the monsters increase in difficultly and it was nice to have a really challenging hunt in the demo version, even if it did royally kick our asses, as well as the more chilled out kind of hunts that you would expect in the early game of the full version.

One of the new features that has made the biggest difference was the climbing and ledge jumping mechanic. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to make that big of an impact but being able to climb up cliff faces has really opened up the map areas and made them feel a lot bigger. Because of this extra vastness, the monster battles are much more mobile and it feels much less ‘stand in one place and hit the thing’. In particular, the frog-like Tetsucabra would jump further up the mountain to get away from us and we would scramble after it hoping that it didn’t get a chance for a breather.

02Tesucabra

Ledge jumping also adds something fresh to the combat as you can now jump on the back of the monster and cling for dear life whilst stabbing it between the shoulder blades. I was pleasantly surprised by how this tested your teamwork since it was pretty ease to smack your friend in the face and throw them off whilst trying to blindly hit your foe.

Something that this demo provided that the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo did not, was a Beginner mode. This makes the game far more accessible to those who have never played it before. MH3U was my first game of the franchise and my partner suggested that it would be a game we could enjoy together so I gave it a go and I was immediately lost. It resulted in him sitting at my shoulder and telling me what to do until I got the hang of it. Thankfully, for people that position in this game, you can boot the demo up in beginner with multiplayer and you’re set.

During Beginner mode the helpful Guild Clerk tells you some bit about the game, explains that she’s marked the monster that you’re hunting on the map and she also pauses the combat to explain what the monster is trying to do (whilst this sounds annoying, it only occurs about twice). Beginner also does not allow you access to the Gore Magala because why would you? He’d burn you to a blackened crisp and send you home in a match box and you’d never buy the game. My main gripe with beginner mode is that the Weapon tutorials are a bit too much info at once and could do with being staggered. Even for someone who knows the game, I found the info dump a little overwhelming. If I were to nit-pick, I’d also say that in Beginner, you don’t really get hurt and your stamina doesn’t deplete. Whilst I understand that it’s to up the enjoyment for new people, I feel it will be a bit jarring for people to start the lower levels of the actual game and find their stamina gone and their arse being handed to them.

All in all, I feel that the demo is great. I had fun playing it, I like the new weapons and the armour that they showed off was ornate and cool looking to the point I want to find what monster it came from. I’m not going to lie, I was going to buy the game anyway. But the demo has secured in my mind that it will be a worth-while purchase as although the formula for the game is unchanged, kill something then wear it, there are enough new things to keep it fresh and interesting.

One day we will meet again Gore Magala and on that day I will wear you as a fine hat.

03Gore Magala

~ Kii

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The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 23 – The Case of ‘The Mountain’

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we had a special guest in the form of Kii Smith, our games contributor and resident Nintendian. We all chat about Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, casting news from the Agent Carter series and Tarantino having entertaining hissy fits, while Adam realises he may be deeply attracted to Jon Hamm, Kii hasn’t had a day off since London was invented, and for once Gary is the one who tries to start a feud with a celebrity, only this time it is a celebrated children’s author

Gary in 60 seconds this week was the Sci-Fi classic ‘Wing Commander’, starring Freddie Prince Jr.

The main talking point this week was the EGX video games expo that took place in London last weekend, that Adam and Kii were lucky enough to get press passes to attend on the Friday and had the chance to check out a load of upcoming games. They chat about their experience of the expo and their favourite games  they tried out.

If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.


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KiiGX: Part One

Adam and Kii went to EGX in London on Friday. Here is Kii’s coverage.

So Adam and I were cheeky enough to request press passes from EGX (Formerly known as Euro Gamer Expo) and they were silly enough to give us entry for the Friday!

My overall impression of the event was jeez, it was big. EGX ran from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th and it filled Earl’s Court One. I was expecting the Friday to be lighter on people since generally attendees would be in work or school but no! For Kii forgot that this was London and what passes for busy in the frozen north of her homeland is nothing to London! Honestly though, it was nice to see a gaming event get such good attention, there was a massive industry showing with ‘The Big Three’ each having an area to show off their goods and numerous indie teams in the Rezzed section. The main show floor was open to everyone whilst there was an over 18s area upstairs with demos for games like The Evil Within and unrestricted demos of games like Mortal Kombat X which had toned down versions at the console booths. We ran around and queued with the best of them and hopefully I can put into words the awesome and exhaustion that we experienced.

Bayonetta 2
I am currently lording it over Adam by being the only Lighthouse Keeper (That’s what we’re called now, I’ve decided) who actually owns a Wii-U. This means that I get to own Bayonetta 2! Which we managed to get our hands on at the Nintendo stand and I’m super glad that I’ve already preordered it. It is everything that Bayonetta is meant to be, flashy and accessible game play with over the top tongue in cheek humour. As someone who has already ordered it, I won’t go too far into a description as I’m likely to do a full game review but it looks pretty and is so enjoyable to play.

Alien Isolation
I played this for you guys. That’s how much I love you. I don’t do survival horror, I just don’t enjoy being scared witless and losing years from my life. At EGX I lost years from my life for the sake of journalism. I haven’t played any previous Alien games but I know that a lot of people were disappointed by Colonial Marines for going too Call of Duty with the Alien franchise. Isolation has distanced itself so much from its predecessor that Colonial Marines has filed a missing person’s report. Needless to say I was fucking terrified, you have a real sense of being prey and I would suggest playing with headphones or surround sound if you wish to genuinely shit yourself.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
After going through a series of scary and gory games I ran back to the joyous colour of the Nintendo area where I got my grubby little hands on Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. As you may have noticed from my previous articles, I really love Monster Hunter so I was pretty damn excited. You played the demo on an individual 3DS as part of a four person team. You could select between all of the available weapons with preset armour and had your hunters pouch stuffed full of useful goodies. Whilst I did want to try out the new insect staff, I went back to my trusty dual blades to make sure I wouldn’t embarrass myself in front of the Nintendo gods. Prepared, we set out to fight the challenge monster that was a cross between a giant lizard and a water balloon which showed off Monster Hunter’s odd ability to make ridiculous creatures somehow plausible.

After running around the new desert map we took down the tits-hard WaterLizardBalloonBomb in a time that won every member of my team a T-shirt! My impressions of the game play were that it wasn’t dissimilar from Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, however, changing how you play has never seemed of importance in previous games. The key changes to the new incarnations tend to be in the weapons, armour and monsters because if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it! There is a new climbing mechanic but the monster that we fought didn’t lend itself for that mechanic to be shown off. In conclusion, I’m looking forward to seeing what other varieties of monsters that my team and I can set forth and destroy for its pretty headgear! Sadly, we have to wait until early 2015 to get hold of a European copy whereas the Japanese get to play in October this year. Whilst I’m upset that I have to wait, this is no where near as disjointed a release as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and thus I have more hope for the franchise gaining strength in the west.

Poncho

Poncho
I would have loved the extra time and energy to really explore the indie area a lot more but I did come across Poncho. It’s beautiful and if you love 8-bit style games like Fez then this is the perfect game for you! The utterly charming platform exploration game begins as an adorable robot in a dystopian/post- apocalyptic future who needs to gather things his creator has left for him so he can save humanity. I immediately fell in love with this game and got to chat to one of the developers, this is where I found out that the game was only in Alpha and the full game development was still being funded via Kickstarter. A Kickstarter which runs out shockingly soon! So here’s the plug, please visit HERE and pledge anything. Not only because it’s an awesome game but I really really want to play the full thing and I am not above using my power here for my own means. Go forth and stick it to the man by funding a nice indie game! (Note, funding may not actually stick it to the man).

Kii