Friday, March 27, 2020

The Hardest Part of VR: Forgetting Game Logic

If you've been following this blog at all over the last few years, then you'd know that I'm a pretty big fan of VR games. I got my PSVR the day it came out, and have kept up with pretty much all VR related news ever since. The whole thing was just so exciting for me, and it still continues to blow me away with each new game. Sure eventually there's a point where "virtual reality" blends in with "reality" and you start to forget just how different of an experience it really is, but at the same time there's some things you never forget. The fact that you're playing a game and specific rules apply. The thing is, these so called "rules" don't always work out the way you'd expect. And that is the hardest thing to get used to.

The thing about video games is that you pretty much always know how things work. You typically move using an analog stick or keys on your keyboard, you have your right analog stick or mouse to look around, and specific buttons are assigned to do specific things. Maybe X is to jump, or square is to reload your gun. Maybe triangle or Y is to bring up your menu, and you have some sorta cancel button to back up if you've clicked on the wrong thing. This is just how games work and it's something all gamers are used to. Even when games use unique controls it doesn't take long for us to figure them out and adapt. This is just how games work and we are all used to it. But what about when this is all stripped away? It varies from game to game, but you see VR doesn't have to abide by these standards. In fact most games in VR are anything BUT standard. What you expect from a video game gets thrown out the window, and you find yourself facing a new reality. One that is very much closer to our own.

Now I've played most major VR titles released up to this point, and throughout them I've had to learn to adapt to different styles of play constantly. Some games use a normal controller and play exactly the same as most of us are already used to. These games still pull you in thanks to the VR perspective, but it's not anything too out of the ordinary. Heck even when alternate control schemes are brought in such as using the Move Controllers in Skyrim VR, the game of Skyrim itself doesn't actually change. Yes you have the freedom to wave your arm around and slash with a sword, but this isn't anything we haven't seen before with the Wii. Motion control back then helped us accept this type of control scheme, and mechanic wise the game is still reading these actions basically the same as it always did. Weapon hits enemy, enemy takes damage, and then eventually enemy dies. The control method might be different, but the game is not. This is the major difference between games updated for VR support and those that were made with it in mind. While Skyrim continues to use the same world we are already familiar with, games like Blood and Truth are different. These games are tailored to VR, and the things they do are unlike anything we've experienced before in a game. What do I mean by this? Well let's look at a more recent example. Or rather, a brand new release.

Earlier this week Half Life Alyx finally released. Going into it I knew that it was supposed to be a game that took full advantage of VR, but I guess I didn't understand what that meant. I expected to jump into this world with my knowledge of Half Life there to guide me through it, but instead I was met with constant amazement. And horror.

(I'm sure we've all seen this screenshot by now, but trust me, it's different when you're "in" there.)
Remember what I said about buttons and things just working in games? Yeah, all of that gets thrown out the window, and that's what is so hard to get used to. Imagine this: you're in a dark subway car and a zombie is breaking through the window and climbing through it. What do you do? Taking out your gun and shooting it is the obvious answer, but those of you with zero gun experience in real life -- have you ever actually thought about what goes into that? I mean you just point and click right? Right!? Yeaaaah, no. In a normal game in this situation all you have to do is aim and pull the trigger. Shoot the thing till it is dead, and then hit R or square (or whatever your controller's default is) and you can now reload to continue firing. All there is too it. In VR though? Not that simple! In Half Life taking out a gun is pretty simple however. Unlike in Blood and Truth which has you holster your weapons, here all you need to do is hold in the right analog stick and flick your wrist up to whichever weapon you want to use. That part really hasn't changed much from your standard pressing 1, 2, 3, 4, keys, but that's the only similarity here.

Now keep in mind that the zombie is getting closer to you and it's in front of your eyes in it's pure VR glory! So what next? Point and pull the trigger? Well first of all you have to aim the gun, and you have to keep the way your weapon is facing in mind. Line up the shot using the sight, and make sure you don't twist your wrist by mistake -- you'll end up missing. Once you've got things ready though all you do is pull the trigger and... Click. Click, click, click. You've got to load the thing. Hurry up and grab a full mag from your backpack (behind your head), and insert it and get ready to fire! So by now the zombie is right on you but it's okay because you can now fight back! So once again you aim and pull the trigger and... Click. Click click click click click. What's wrong? The thing is right in front of your face now and you have no time to move. This is it, either shoot now or die! So what's wrong? Simple. You didn't load the bullet into the chamber or eject the current empty shell. Yep, just like a real gun you've gotta pull it back and get things ready. NOW you can shoot the thing to death and hopefully not die yourself!

It's cases like these where you realize just how much you take basic things like the reload button for granted. Half Life Alyx isn't afraid to put you in high stress situations such as these, and you have to think quick but remain calm as you get things in order just to protect yourself. Every single weapon has a different method to reloading, and they all function differently as well. You can't just run and gun and reload every chance you get -- these magazines are actual magazines now. If you eject the cartage after only using a couple of shots, you're ejecting your mostly full mag and using another from your reserves. At the same time however you have to consider just how many shots are left with your current weapon, and how many it's going to take to kill your next target. Will you have time to unload the remainder and pull out a new one? Or is it worth just giving up those last few shots? You have to consider this -- something pretty much no other normal game makes you do. It's something you have to remember, and sometimes it can be hard to. Especially after spending years pressing reload without thinking twice. Use a few shots? Instantly reload to keep it full! That's just burned into our brains at this point and it's hard to let go. However this isn't the only thing that can really throw you off. In fact the the entire world's rules have changed.

Having free movement with nearly your entire body presents a much wider verity of opportunities for game developers to include features in their games. In physics games such as Half Life this means they can incorporate even more real world physics into their world. Want to pick up something heavy? You'll need to use two hands to haul it where it needs to go. Want to open a door? You have to physically turn that knob and pull or push the door open. This includes using the back of your hand to continue to slide it open, or even slap it away. These are things that are natural to us in real life, but in a game you don't exactly know how objects will react. One example happened to me today while streaming HLA to another writer here at NGR. I wanted to close a gate so that nothing could enter in behind me, so I simply pushed it "closed" expecting it to go back into it's original position. Yeah, no. It doesn't work that way in real life, nor does it in HLA. That gate swung as fast as I pushed it, and continued past the door way and slammed up against the wall on the other side. I honestly didn't expect that to happen for some reason, it really caught me off guard. I mean, doors in games usually are either open or closed, since when do they have a full range of motion? It's little things like these that just feel weird despite being so natural. And it doesn't stop there.

Another part of the game had me scaring myself for a very stupid reason. I was alone in a dark room knowing that monsters weren't too far from me, but I wanted to search for ammo. I was picking things up and seeing what I could interact with, but when I came across a case I couldn't open I just tossed it aside. Didn't think much of this but a few seconds later I hear the sound of glass exploding by my head, and I couldn't help but jump and twist my body around in the real world to see what kind of horrors awaited me. Yeah, turns out the case I threw had crashed into the window and shattered it. Again, why wouldn't this happen? I just threw something without even looking. If it hit a window of course it would break! But why would I expect that from a game? Sure we've all shot windows in games before, but things like this? Tossing a useless item aside? It's weird, but at the same time it's not.

Although you eventually do immerse yourself in these virtual worlds, it does take some time and a lot of experimentation to actually understand what you can or cannot do. Yes they try to simulate the real world as much as possible, but as games there are always limits. Even heavily physics based games like HLA can only do so much, but what it does do takes time to get used to. Games like Pavlov VR have a large verity of weapons which you must reload and use in a realistic manor, but even then it's mechanics may not always apply to other VR shooting games. So getting used to using weapons in one game may not always carry over to another, and even if they do it doesn't mean it will always feel the same. Or maybe the game will handle it's world differently in general? It's really hard to know until you've started experimenting with the worlds for yourself. This is the reality of VR, and one thing that makes it so much fun. You never know what type of world you're going to jump into, and when you get there it becomes your new reality. You have to play by it's book, and sometimes it can be pretty shocking.
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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Xenoblade Chronicles DE - Trailer

Today, as part of the Nintendo Direct, a new trailer for Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition was released. This time around we got to see multiple key scenes from throughout the game, as well as the new character models for party members such as Sharla and Meila. We also got to see the return of the equipment system which was removed from Xenoblade 2. Of course this was a main feature in the original Xenoblade, so it's not too shocking to see it return. It means you can now customize the outfits your characters wear based on the equipment and weapons you give them.

Besides all of the returning old features in the game, the trailer also gives us a sneak peak at the "Future" episode. This is a post game epilogue story which shows Shulk and Meila traveling to the unused area from the original game. We also get to see a glimpse of "something" in the sky, which may or may not be something us long time fans are already familiar with. Of course I can't say anymore on the matter, but hopefully this means we'll get some of our questions answered.

And finally we get a release date which as Nintendo noted, is subject to change. This isn't too shocking considering the state of the world at the moment, but if all things go according to plan, then the game will release on 5/29/2020 -- almost exactly two months from now. The game will also have a collectors edition which includes an art book, which is similar to what Xenoblade 2 received as well.

For more information check out the trailer below:

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bell Trick - Let's Force Some Tarantula!

In Animal Crossing New Horizons Nook offers a service where you can go to a mystery island to gather resources. Sometimes when you arrive at these islands they won't be anything too special, maybe some bugs, fish, and flowers to pick up, but that's about it. However if you are lucky you can land at one of the unique islands in the game which force special conditions. Islands filled with rocks that drop nothing but Bells, rare fish islands, and even an island filled with Tarantula. These are all great ways to make money in the game, but again it's pretty random. But what if I told you it doesn't have to be? Or rather, what if I told you that you could force some things? Well today I'm going to share a tip with you that's similar to the "Bug Island" of Animal Crossing New Leaf, but this time with Tarantula. It's a tip that's been going around online for awhile now, but I figured I'd share it with you guys just in case you haven't heard.

So to do this trick you need a few things. You need to bring some bug nets (or be able to buy nets at the island), you need a REAL axe, and you need some shovels. Also the most important step of all, it needs to be night. Tarantulas only spawn after the sun sets, so no use going in before then. Now once this is taken care of, empty your pockets of everything non essential, and head off to that mystery island.

  • Shovels
  • Axe (to cut down trees)
  • Bug Nets
  • Must be night
The Process:

Step 1 Remove the Trees -

First thing you should do is get to work cutting down all the trees and removing the stumps. This will prevent bugs from spawning in the trees, and keep them from appearing on the stumps after. This is actually what was used in ACNL to cause the beetles to appear, but this time we don't care about that. Get rid of all stumps and then move on.

Step 2 Pick the Flowers -

For this step you don't need to actually get rid of the flowers (they take up a lot of inventory space), but instead just pick the buds off of them. As long as the flowers aren't in bloom they won't attract other bugs to them. This is key as we want to eliminate as many spawn points as possible while using the least amount of inventory space.

Step 3 Dump the Trash -

Once you have picked your island clean of trees, flowers, weeds, whatever, go dump everything somewhere out of the way. You don't need any of this stuff taking up room in your inventory so where you drop it really doesn't matter. Just get rid of it. Personally I drop my trash around the edges of the beach to help prevent Hermit Crabs from spawning. They aren't that big of a deal though -- just chase them off too.

Step 4 Look for Tarantulas -

And that's about it! With tree and flower spawns removed the only thing left to find will be ground bugs. This can include other creatures as well, but simply running by them will scare them off and cause something else to spawn in it's place. Keep scaring off the random bugs, and go catch the tarantulas.

(They start spawning at 7, but you can always be ready for them.)
Step 5 Make Money -

Once you have a full inventory of tarantulas it's finally time to go home. Sold normally they go for 8,000 Bells each, but you can sell them to the bug guy Flick if he's at your island for 50% more. Sadly you can't sell bugs to him if he's at a friend's island instead, so no asking others for help on this one.

And that's about it! It's actually a lot of work to get this set up and is something you need to do each time (as islands reset once you leave them), but the pay off is well worth it. Assuming you can fill 39 slots of your inventory with these things you can actually come back home to 312,000 Bells. Minus possibly a few thousand for the things you need for set up, and you should still get at least 300k in profits. Well worth the time an effort if you ask me.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Animal Crossing New Horizons - All Ground Types

One new feature that was advertised early on for ACNH was the ability to change your ground and create paths; however this feature actually isn't unlocked until later in the game. It's not until after you've finished the Island Milestones that this feature is available to you so it makes it hard to plan out your island before then. Well for those of you who are wondering exactly what these paths look like, well then this is the place for you! Below is an image of each type in the game. Of course it's mostly ground tiles from past AC games, but there are a few new ones here.

Also keep in mind that while the first two (Grass and Dirt) are in fact free, all of the others cost 2,000 Nook Miles to unlock.

Dirt Path

Stone Path

Brick Path

 Dark Dirt Path

Arched Tile Path

Sand Path

Terra-Cotta Tiles

Wooden Path

And finally is the custom tile option. This is the same as opening up your patterns and laying them out by hand, but by using the tool you don't have to open your menu each time to place a new tile. Simply set the custom pattern you want to use, and then walk around with the paint brush to slap it on the ground. This doesn't do anything special for them however, so you can still erase them by pressing Y if you're not careful (meanwhile this is not the case for other placed paths thankfully).

Well that covers it for now! Hopefully more options get added in the future, but even if they don't the custom patterns offer nearly unlimited possibilities to make your island your own. Still nice to have official paths though.
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Animal Crossing New Horizons - All Island Milestones

Animal Crossing New Horizons is very similar to New Leaf in many ways. You begin with a small town with not too much going on, and as the days roll out you get to see it slowly be upgraded with new things becoming unlocked each day. However unlike New Leaf this time you have to build nearly everything, and you start with even less. So if you're one of the people who would like to know what actually lies ahead, I've put together a small guide just for you. If you want to keep the game a secret however, and would like to discover things for yourself -- THEN STOP HERE! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

That being said, these dates may not line up perfectly with your game, as everyone will complete things in different orders. This is just a basic outline of what is to come, so don't expect it to be 100% accurate to your town.

Day 1: Moving In

The first day in ACNH has you moving to your island and getting basic things setup. There's not too much you can actually do on this day other than place your tent and move in your first two villagers, but that's fine. AC games are known for starting slow, and this day is nothing but the basics of the basics. Get to learn the controls, and then go to sleep and wait for the next day. Just make sure you donate enough bugs and fish to Nook so that you can trigger the Museum on day 2.

Day 2: Air Port and Museum Start and Nooks

On the second day you gain access to the Air Port and the beginning of the Museum. The Air Port lets you travel to friend's islands, or let others come to you. As for the museum? This is where you can donate Bugs, Fish, and fossils to build up your collection. You need to donate 15 items on this day if you want to start the actual Museum construction. You also get the pole on this day so you can finally cross your rivers, and possibly find a place to build the store Nook's Cranny.

Day 3: Mostly Construction

This is mainly a waiting day. Need to get your stuff built up from the previous day so no Museum or Shop access for now.

Day 4: Things are Built, Time to Expand (Bridges and Neighbors)

On this day everything will be open and you'll have the ability to build a bridge so that you can have more villagers come to your town. Nook will ask you to pick the space for said bridge and for your neighbor's houses as well. The first three neighbors will be those you talked to at the random islands (assuming you've done so), but before they can actually start to move in you'll need to meet their housing requirements. Once the plots are picked out you can check the signs out front to see which furniture is required for them to move in. This is where many people may see a difference in the days as finding the material for every item can be tricky and will depend on what resources you can gather at the islands. On another note by now your first two villagers should be living in houses as well rather than tents, and you should be able to buy clothes at Able Sister's stall in your town square.

Day 5: Moving Part 1 and Able

Assuming you built all three houses and have villagers lined up to move in, then this is the first day someone will show up. Your bridge should also be complete, so travel will be much easier now. By now you should also have the ability to place fences, so you can begin customizing your town a bit more. Make sure you talk to Able again today. You need to speak to her three times to get her to move into the town for good.

Day 6: Moving Part 2 and Able Sisters

Not much happening this day, but your first neighbor will now be finished unpacking and will walk around the village. Meanwhile your second villager will now be in the unpacking process, but they won't be doing much else until they finish. This day is also when Able told me about wanting to build an actual shop in my town, so you may set this up today as well. If not expect to do this on day 7. It really depends if she spawns for you or not. In reality it could take a few more days -- completely depends on your luck and who is or isn't visiting your town today.

Day 7: Moving Part 3 (and possibly Able Sisters)

Finally this will be the last day before something major happens. You get your 5th villager, but other than that it's a slow day. If you didn't get Able Sisters the day before though, she could have the stall setup today. If you did get her the previous day however, her shop should be under construction today. But again, it depends on the spawns -- keep that in mind moving forward from here.

Day 8: Town Hall

Now that your island is more like a town, it's time to finally get a proper Town Hall. Nook will start the process and introduce you to Isabelle, then let you know that they will be closed tomorrow for construction.

Day 9: Construction of Town Hall

Not much you can do here besides wait. Sorry guys.

Day 10: Town Hall Complete and Projects Unlocked

On day 10 a lot will change. Town Hall becomes unlocked, a lot of new furniture and recipes become unlocked in the Nook Mile exchange store, and you can even expand your inventory! On top of this you're now allowed to build more bridges, slopes/steps up to higher ground, and you can start customizing your town a bit more by moving projects. It's expensive to do any of this of course, but at least the options are there. Before you get too crazy though, Nook has plans for the island. He wants more people to come to it, so you'll need to set up a camp site for visitors to come and stay.

Day 11: Camp is now Open

The 11th day will see the camp site being opened to the public, but no one will visit on this day. If you want people to actually come and live however you'll need to have land ready for them also. This is when Nook will sell plots of land for 10k Bells each, and you can go out and place them wherever you like. You can only have 10 plots of land in total though, so keep that in mind as you plan out your island.

Day 12: Someone is Here

On day 12 you should get your first visitor to your camp. It's up to you if you want to ask them to move in or not, but you might want to consider it so you can get things moving along. Again this is another spot where days may vary between players. In the mean time you could build more bridges in town, or use those Nook miles to buy some cool new things, but I recommend saving at least 14,000 for the coming days.

Day 13: They've Moved In

Day 13 is move in day for your camper and that's about it. Continue saving those Nook Miles, or starting other town projects. Up to you really.

Day 14: Possibly Another Villager (Let's get KK!)

If you have lots built you could get another person on this day, but that might not always be the case. Nook will continue to talk about wanting to expand the town though so that they can attract the attention of KK, and Isabelle will tell you what you need to do to make this happen. At this stage in the game she should be telling you to get more villagers, but make sure you place furniture around your island as well. You need to fill up your island if you want him to come. (Kinda similar to the whole "Perfect Town" thing from past AC games.

Day 15: Another Villager

By this point you should have 8 villagers, and that should be enough to get a letter from KK saying that he likes the place. If not then keep placing furniture and keep waiting until you have all 10 plots filled. This can take days so this is really hard to call when it'll actually happen. Assuming 8 is all you needed though...

Day 16: KK Arrives and Island Creator

If KK was invited to your island yesterday, then today is the day he'll play. He'll sing his new song for ACNH, and then the credits will roll. Congrats! You've "beaten" Animal Crossing--yeah, not really. KK will now play a song every Saturday night just like he did in past games, and Nook will give you the Island Creator. You'll need to buy the land development and water tools using Nook Miles (each are 6,000 points), but they'll start you off with a basic path. You can also buy new patterns for your paths by using points as well, or even use your own designs.

Day X: One Month Later

Roughly one month or so after starting the game, and after using Nook's Cranny quite a bit, the store should receive an upgrade to a much larger version of Nook's Cranny. At the current time this seems to be the maximum upgrade for Nook's, with future upgrades being saved for DLC. Of course this has not been 100% confirmed by me so I'll update this article as I learn more about the situation. As mentioned in my previous post however this first store upgrade is how you get the new Colorful Tools, so at least we get something out of Nook's Cranny "2."

And that about covers it! Of course as things change I'll come back and update this guide to include any new content that is added, or if anything new is discovered. If you personally find anything you would like me to add to this guide, or if you've discovered anything that isn't working correctly for you -- please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Animal Crossing New Horizons - Colorful Tools

Made another discovery today. When visiting another friend's town I discovered he had unlocked the upgraded Nook's Cranny. This store has slots for multiple large items to be sold and bought, but it also has an expanded cabinet as well. This is where I discovered the brand new "Colorful Tool" line.

These new tools are around 2,000 Bells (price varies between each one), and are both durable and unique looking compared to the standard upgraded tools. And of course they can be customized as well!

Sadly it seems like they can't be crafted (even after buying the new crafting packs), but it's always possible this is something unlocked later on. If that's the case I'll make sure to update this article to let you guys know.

As for how my friend unlocked the upgraded Nook Store? He time skipped a month ahead to unlock bed head, and when he came back to normal time it was there. So maybe the passage of time has something to do with it? Hard to tell at this point.

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Anime Monday - Utawarerumono

Utawarerumono. Man I can't tell you how long it took me to learn how to spell that! This is a series I came across quite a few years ago without knowing much about it. Heck I didn't even know there was an anime adaptation of it, but here it is! So to explain exactly what Utaware is, let's go into a little bit of background info before we move on with looking into the anime.

Utaware was originally an 18+ visual novel created by the Japanese company "Leaf." Known for their series such as To Heart, White Album, and later Tears to Tiara (yes, many of their series have been adapted into anime form), Utawarerumono was one of their earlier releases that came out back in 2002. While the game was in fact a visual novel, it blended the visual novel genre with that of a tactical role playing game. Instead of simply reading the entire time, these sections of the game would focus on you commanding your army, which was made up of key characters you met during the VN section, as you attempt to protect your country and expand it's reach across the world. Of course there was adult content as well, which was common for many early lesser known visual novels, but later releases completely removed such scenes. At the time of this writing the visual novel is not out in the US, but it is scheduled for release this May with it's remake titled "Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen." That being said, the anime adaptation is a pretty faithful retelling of this original story, with one notable change. Due to the removal of the adult content in the anime version as well, this means one key character from Mask of Deception is not born. Putting that aside though, it's easy to understand this change when moving forward with the series (be that in anime or visual novel form).

Anyway, I first found out about the series when Mask of Deception released in the US. I randomly downloaded it on Memorial Day when I was looking for something to do to kill time, and I ended up loving it. So that of course made me go back to the original story, which at the time was the anime adaptation. Honestly I don't think I would've watched the series otherwise, but now days I'm glad I did. It's an interesting tale, and it's one that took a pretty shocking turn. It's no wonder the remake is titled "Prelude to the Fallen."

The Story of Hakuoro:

When Utaware first opens we are greeted by some strange imagery, followed by our main character being discovered by a young girl. The man has no name, he can't remember who he is or where he's from, and for some strange reason an odd mask is attached to his face. This mask cannot be removed, and no one can figure out the reason why. This isn't the only odd thing about him however -- he doesn't have a tail and his ears are "different."

It doesn't take long for the man to notice the difference between him and the woman who had found him alone in the woods. Or rather, her and her entire family. Her, her younger sister, and grandma, all have funny ears compared to him, and they all in do in fact have tails. As for him? He appears to be completely human by our standards (putting the mask aside). While this doesn't bother the man it does make him stand out from the others, and the fact that he can't remember a thing doesn't help his case. The girl still trusts him though, and happily introduces herself as Eruruu, with her younger sister being named Aruruu. Along with their grandmother Tusukuru, the three agree to let the man continue living with them, and they give him the name Hakuoro.

After that day Hakuoro builds a new life for himself in the small town he's now found himself in. He quickly becomes friends with the villagers, and does whatever he can to help those around him. People of the village come to respect Hakuoro, and things can't possibly be going any better for him. However despite how things may first seem, this world is not at peace. When Tusukuru is killed, tensions between the villagers and a local lord named Sasante start to rise, and with Hakuoro leading the charge they find themselves going to battle with the neighboring city. This single incident is what sparks Hakuoro's "rebellion" and the start of a new nation named in Tusukuru's honor.

From this point on the series focuses on the country of Tsukuru, and the different people Hakuoro and Eruruu cross paths with. They find themselves in battle against multiple other nations, but they form just as many allies as enemies. It's a story of their struggle to protect everything they care about, but in reality this is only scratching the surface.

The Truth:

Obviously I can't go into this, but I can state what is obvious. Hakuoro is not normal. His past and everything about him is a mystery. The mask on his face is odd, but the world he finds himself in is even stranger. Just what is this world of Utawarerumono, and how does Hakuoro fit into it? There are many legends told throughout the series, and by listening to them you can start to piece parts of it together yourself.

It's pretty obvious that Hakuoro is "human," but if that's the case then why is the world different? Or do humans even exist in this world to begin with? Then again, is he human? Just because he looks like "us," does it mean he's the same? These questions only get more confusing as you learn more about the other characters and their pasts as well. This is a part of what makes the series so fun though -- trying to figure out the unknown. While you do care about the characters and the trials they have to overcome, it's the mystery surrounding the world that really drives all of this home. This is something that carries over into the sequel as well, but in a completely different way than one might expect. Yes you do find your answers here so thankfully nothing is left unsaid, but in some ways it's more like opening Pandora's Box. This is only the beginning of the story, and learning the truth of this world is just the first step to the insane reality that awaits our so called heroes.

Should You Watch It:

Yes and no. You should really only start this series if you are planning to stick with it. And not just by watching the follow up anime, but by actually sitting down and playing the games. There's a LOT to this story to cover, and while the original game is pretty short in general, the second part of the story is anything but. This is a series you need to invest possibly a couple hundred or so hours into, and even then it's not actually over. Now days the series is in the middle of it's own revival with multiple game projects being announced at a time, and a re-release of the original on it's way. It's a massive series, and this anime adaptation is only a small fraction of what's to come.

That being said, yes its' well worth getting into. While the animation may seem a little dated by today's standards, overall the series is still pretty well done. The English dub comes off as an older dub of course, but the Japanese sub is pretty spot on. Sadly they chose to completely remove all adult content from the story instead of having it happen off screen (considering it's key to the main plot), but just knowing this content is missing is enough to keep anyone from getting confused. These scenes only play a key role during the series ending, so it's not too big of a deal. Putting that aside, the characters are still great, and so is the story. It's filled with mystery, drama, and romance, and is perfect for those who love "other world" type stories. Just keep in mind that this is an older one, and that it's only the intro to the full story. So yeah, watch it if you understand what you're getting into.
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All Housing Upgrades of Animal Crossing New Horizons

So wondering how the new housing system works in Animal Crossing New Horizons? Well it's pretty similar to past games, but with some added changes.

Tent (5,000 Nook Miles) -

When you first move in you're limited to a tent, and are charged 5,000 Nook Miles. These are points you earn by doing different things in your island, and are accumulated pretty quickly. This upgrade is not an issue at all to pay off. As for it's size? It's basically the same as the original small default house from past games.

House ( 93,000 Bells)-

This is the first home upgrade, and is the same size as the past. It's slightly bigger than the tent, with an extra row of tiles being added around the outside. (Keep in mind the door location does not move, only the East, North, and West walls will be expanded.) This is also the first house upgrade that actually requires Bells to pay off. Thankfully this can be done a little at a time, but you should be able to pay it off in no time just by selling fish and bugs.

House Upgrade ( 193,000 Bells)-

This is the second upgrade, but the first upgrade to your house. Once again it adds extra tiles around the outside of your house, and is the final upgrade for the main room of your home. This is the original max size that's been used since the days of the original Animal Crossing. As you can see the tiles are roughly 8x8. (I say roughly because we can now move furniture at halves, and push things closer together.)

Back Room (348,000 Bells) -

The next upgrade is to your back room. This does not change the look of your house, but gives you an additional room to place furniture in. The size of this room is the same as the "normal" house upgrade, and cannot be expanded anymore than this. This size is 6x6.

West Room (548,000 Bells) -

Once you have a Back Room, the next upgrade is to add a room to the West. Once again this is the same size as the Back Room (6x6), but it does make your house look wider in general. The shrubs that used to be outside your home will now be replaced with a wall, but thankfully this does not take up anymore space outside. It is purely cosmetic.

East Room (758,000 Bells) -

Same as the West Room, except to the East (6x6). This completes the bottom story look for your house.

Upstairs (1,248,000 Bells) -

The next big upgrade to your house is the upstairs. Unlike past games however, this time things are quite a bit different. Previously the upstairs was the same size as the North/West/East rooms, but now it is much wider. The actual size is 6x10. Yeah, this one is also crazy expensive.

Basement (2,498,000 Bells) -

The Basement has also received the Upstairs treatment. Rather than being similar to your main room, it is now an extra wide area of the same size as the upstairs (6x10). This is the "Final" home upgrade, but things don't actually stop there. On another note, at this point you'll have a maximum storage of 1,600.

External Customization (Free After Pay Off) -

Once you have upgraded most of your house, you gain the option to customize the outside of your house. This means you can change your roof, your door, and even the siding and mailbox. This does cost of course, but once you pay off your Basement that fee goes away. A fully paid off house can use this service anytime, and it comes completely free! Of course that Basement fee is pretty expensive, so it evens out in the end...

And that's it for the housing upgrades! Again it's pretty similar to past games, but two of the rooms have been altered, and the external customization has been changed. Pretty nice additions overall, but it also means you won't be able to recreate your old houses anymore. But isn't the point of starting a new Animal Crossing to change things up anyway?
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NGR Two Week Plan

So over the last few days I've been pretty inactive. This is mainly due to Animal Crossing, but there are other reasons as well -- reasons I'm pretty sure most of you are aware of. So after stocking up on supplies and getting things ready for the week, I finally have time to sit down and go over what my plans for this blog are.

First of all, since little to no gaming news will be coming in for quite awhile, I'm going to put more of a focus on Animal Crossing. I did this back when New Leaf came out, and it actually went over pretty well. So for awhile I'll be sharing tips and tricks over the game, and maybe go over some of the "secrets" I've come across. We'll see. Second of all, everything else here will remain the same. I plan on releasing an Anime Monday post later today, but this week's chosen series will be a bit different from the past ones.

As for me? As you might know, I live in Illinois and we're currently under a "Shelter in Place" order. This means I'm not allowed to really go anywhere (including work) unless it's necessary. It's pretty much going to be a forced vacation at home, so I'll have plenty of time to work on things here. I hate to have to be on a vacation at this time of year with not much else going on, but it is what it is. This is something beyond our control, and we just have to deal with it.

Anyway, hope you look forward to what I have to share! See you all soon.
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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Animal Crossing New Horizons - Out Tomorrow!

It's finally here everyone! After nearly a 7 year wait the next mainline Animal Crossing game is releasing tomorrow. It's hard to believe that New Leaf was so long ago, but I guess looking back a lot has happened. When New Leaf first released it was during the early days of the "new" Netto's Game Room. A lot of my earlier posts were focused completely on New Leaf, and still to this day some of those old posts continue to bring in the views (shockingly). I had a lot of fun with the game back then, and I spent nearly the entire Summer playing it. Whenever I had free time, New Leaf was my go to game. But then things changed. I got my first full time job that September, and ever since then my life has been pretty crazy. And that's what brings us up to today.

Although the world might be a bit crazy at the moment, it's nice knowing that Animal Crossing is just a day away. It's something that can help us keep our minds off of the current situation, and above all, it's something we can use to spend time with our friends. With this whole "social distancing" thing going on in the real world, the virtual world is now there waiting for us. It really is a "New Horizon."

On the down side some of us will have to wait longer due to shipping delays (it's understandable), but for those going digitally (or those who were lucky enough to get their copy shipped already) we're only hours away from the start of our new adventure in our virtual life.
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