Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dragon Ball Xenoverse Character Profiles Round 3

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den! And it's round 3 of the DBXV characters!

Name: Limax
Age: 20
Gender:None (Appears Male)
Species: Dark Namekian (In the backstory of DBO, Mira destroys New Namek in age 853, 3 years after the events in DBXV.  Limax was one of the Namekians who settled near Demon King Piccolo's throne, and were corrupted by its influence)
Home Planet: Earth

Personality: Limax is reserved, constantly looking around, constantly observing those around him.  The other Time Patrollers see him as "strange but harmless", not realizing the true threat he represents. That said, he avoids Trunks, the Future Warrior and the Kaioshin of Time, to avoid being discovered.

Special: Limax is actually a Time Breaker spy, working for Towa after the Future Warrior defeated Mira and Demigra, observing the operations of the Time Patrol and reporting to her when he has anything good. That said, he maintains his cover and performs "Parallel Quests", which are distortions in the timeline that the Time Patrol need to correct, but nothing that would inhibit the mission of the Time Breakers.

Name Pun: Limax is a type of Slug, as conforms to the Namekian naming convention.

Name: Bazinga
Age: 16
Gender: Female
Species: Majin
Home Planet: Earth

Personality: Silly to the extreme, Bazinga is the type of person that is hard to hate.   She's kind to everyone she meets, almost to the point of naivety, though she's aware of the deception of others, almost to a supernatural extent. She uses her power as a Majin to bring joy into the lives around her, and fights to protect the history that created her.

 Name Pun: Bazinga is a reference to the one television show that I can actually get through, "Big Bang Theory", and is an utterance from Sheldon.  In fact, she is the exact opposite of that character.

After this, I don't have any other characters, but I'll create more characters in time.  For now, stay beautiful freaks!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dragon Ball Xenoverse Character Profiles Round 2

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

Now, this round, I'm not going to a full profile like I did for my Majin, Ancient Saiyan and Human.  Those three are my "Future Warrior" that ran through the game's story.  These next ones are just background characters.  If any tie into a specific universe, I'll mention it, otherwise they're just other Time Patrollers running around TokiToki City that those three may or may not meet.  I'm also removing the point in time they come from since that doesn't matter either.

Age: 40
Gender: Unknown, appears male
Species: Frieza's race
Home Planet: Unknown

Personality: Clown.  IIsu is a a clown, both on the battlefield and off.  Doing dances and poses that would make the Ginyu Force jealous, intentionally mispronouncing attack names, and constantly spouting pop culture references wherever he goes, he's constantly making sure nobody takes him seriously.

But it's all deliberate.  He knows he'll be judged for what Frieza, his father and brother did, and works hard to be the antithesis of this perception.  He makes benign jokes and pop culture references around other Time Patrollers so they let their guard down and be more willing to work with him, and he does a more malignant version of this with his enemies to either make them underestimate him or enrage them.  As for his pop culture references, he has taken the time and effort to learn of the pop culture of those he deals with and the time periods they come from in order to make those references.  Fortunately for IIsu, he takes fighting as seriously as he does comedy, making him a very dangerous and deadly foe.

Special: The entire concept for IIsu's personality comes from the fact that, after recreating him after deleting him, I used Male Voice 8, who was voiced by Curtis "Takahata101" Arnott, co-founder of the Team Four Star voice actor group, who are best known for their Dragon Ball Z Abridged comedy dub.  Arnott did his Nappa voice, which became really famous on youtube.  Even the staff at Funimation knew of DBZA, and brought in Arnott to do a voice, and even allowed Team Four Star to rewrite the dialogue Arnott did, and only rejected the lines there were too pop culture fulled.

Name Pun: Like all known members of Frieza's race, his name is based on cold temperature. In this case, "ice".

Age: 22
Gender: Female
Species: Saiyan-Human hybrid
Home Planet: Earth

Personality: Charri is dedicated, both to her friends and her training.  She wishes to live up to the legacy of her ancestor, Son Goku, but with Son Gohan's level of intelligence.  This has made Charri a very serious, very studious person.  She dove into martial arts as well as scholarly pursuits, and does what she can to live up to the legacy of the ancients.

Special: Charri only exists in Peparia's "universe", and she worked hard to befriend her.  Charri works hard to emulate what Peparia represents to her, and what Peparia feels the Saiyans should have become.  She has also put in the effort to become a Super Saiyan, something few of her generation accomplish due to their human genetics overpowering their dwindling Saiyan instincts.

Name Pun: Cherry.

I've got another Majin and a Namekian that I've got got no real personality for.  I've got an idea for the exact opposite of Alaka in the terms of personality for the Majin, but not much for the Namekian, since Warrior type Namekians are just that; their fighting force. And the most interesting Warrior type is technically Piccolo, and he's technically Dragon Clan like Kami.

Anyway, that's all for now, look forward to more personalities and pictures, and stay beautiful freaks!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dragon Ball Xenoverse Character Profiles Round 1

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

Yeah, I'm doing this for my DBXV characters too. But come on, whenever I'm given a blank slate, I'm going do up a character profile, even if the profile doesn't matter beyond what goes on inside my own head.

Now, there's a few things I want clarify a few things; I prefer the Japanese names for the god characters, like "kaioshin" over "supreme kai", because it sounds right in my brain for some reason. As do the attacks like the Makankōsappō over the "Special Beam Cannon" (since it's more of a drill instead of an outright cannon) or the Kikoho over the "Tri-Beam", (since it's not a beam attack).  And even though I'm more of a fan of GT than Super, Super has answered certain questions about the universe that I didn't have, so I incorporated those things into my "head canon".

Also, I've got pictures of my characters so far, but they're low quality due to being taken from my phone from my tv.  I'll get the pictures of my current Frieza Race character if I get favorable comments about the ones I've got now.

Name: Peparia
Full name/Full Title: Lady Peparia of House Dakkon
Age: 50
Gender: Female
Species: Saiyan
Age they came from: 549
Home Planet: Sadala (Original homeworld of the Saiyans)
History: As one of the members of House Dakkon, it was her job to train other Saiyans in how to control the Oozaru form, but she was lax in her duty, preferring the perks of nobility instead of responsibility.  This changed on that fateful night of the full moon, when an Oozaru she was supposed to have trained killed her 4-year-old daughter in a rampage.  She subdued the Oozaru, but it was too late; her daughter was dead.  Filled with guilt over her inaction, rage at her foolishness, and her overwhelming grief over losing one of her children, she transformed into a Super Saiyan.  From this point, she rededicated her efforts at training Saiyans to control the Oozaru form so this would never happen again.

She continued these efforts until the cataclysm that destroyed Sadala came around, and aided in the evacuation of the Saiyans they could get onto starships, including her own son.  She watched the destruction of her people, content to know that the Saiyans would survive, when time froze, and she heard a voice offering her a way to survive. The voice was Shenron, the Eternal Dragon of the Dragon Balls, telling her that someone from a faraway land had called her, and to come forth.

Personality: Taciturn, aloof and arrogant to her belief that Saiyans make the best warriors due to their unique biology, she maintains a sense of nobility and duty to those around her.  That said, she cares deeply about the fate of her race, which is why she looks down on Vegeta for “being the product of the bastardization of her culture”, as well as being her descendant and not living up to the legacy of the ancients; not channeling their tendencies for war into something productive.  She only changes her opinion of him after the Buu saga, when he finally sees why Goku is better than him.  However, she praises Goku, whom she uses his birth name of Kakarot as a sign of respect for what he represents to her, for being a hero, fighting to test himself, not looking for a fight, but accepting one when it comes along, perfectly content to train forever, and protect those he loves.

Special: Super Saiyan 2.  The loss of her daughter due to her own foolishness caused her to transform into a Super Saiyan, and she trained herself to be able to transform into Super Saiyan 2 on her own. (This is represented by the Super Vegeta 2 transformation in game.)

Name Pun: As with all pureblood Saiyans, her name is based on vegetables; in her case, Pepper for her first name and the Daikon radish for her house.

Name: Alaka
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Species: Majin
Age they came from: 800
Home Planet: Earth
History: The people of Earth may have treated her race cordially, but Alaka has not forgotten what their progenitor had done in the past.  She had not forgotten the rampages and hibernation of Majin Buu across the galaxy until he absorbed the Grand Kaioshin, and his continued rampages under the direction of Bibidi and Babidi, Super Buu and again in his original form before finally being stopped entirely.  To Alaka, the Majin race had a LOT to make up for, so she trained herself to fight, use ki and her people’s innate magical ability to protect and heal those around her.  And when Shenron, the Eternal Dragon of the Dragon Balls, telling her that someone from a faraway land had called her, and to come forth, she happily accepted the offer, knowing that she could do more to help wherever she was going instead of her small town on Earth.

Personality: Taciturn yet compassionate, Alaka always found words to be cheap and that only actions truly mattered.  And her actions are those are of someone who wants to make the universe a better place; healing those who are sick or injured, creating food for those who are hungry, and acting as a bulwark between those who are weak and those who are evil. However, she does have a jovial side, playing pranks on Trunks and doing everything she can to make him laugh.

Special: Unlocked Potential.  Due to the ritual performed on her by the Elder Kaoishin, she is able to draw on a portion of the power of the original Mr. Buu, before it being divided into the Majin race.  (Alaka was my first character, so she’s the only one to make it to 93.  I don’t use the ability, but I like the idea of having her potential unlocked anyway due to the effort it took to get it!)

Name Pun: Bibidi. Babidi. Buu.  Sounds like magic words, don’t they? As such, Alaka’s name comes from the magic word “Alakazam.”

Name: Rayne
Age: 22
Gender: Female
Species: Human
Age they came from: 818
Home Planet: Earth
History: Trained in the style of the Turtle School by her grandfather Krillin from a young age, Rayne knew that she was outclassed by the alien fighters she grew up around.  And she refuses to undergo the extensive cybernetics that her grandmother went through in order to get a power boost.  To make up for these power based shortcomings, she researched different ways to manipulate ki; to poison, burn or freeze superior foes to give her a more even playing field.  And when Shenron, the Eternal Dragon of the Dragon Balls, told her that someone from a faraway land had called her, and to come forth, she happily accepted the offer, eager to see if her techniques could be integrated into Turtle School teachings for humans.

Personality: Outwardly, she appears to take nothing seriously, always having a joke or a quip or a bit of sarcasm to offer at any moment to brighten the mood or demoralize an opponent.  Truthfully, this is a combination of battlefield calculation and outright fear of her situation; she knows she has to unbalance her foes, but she’s terrified of the power these aliens put out.  However, she will not give up, and she’ll fight with everything she has and more to protect the flow of time.

Special: Kaioken and the Spirit Bomb. As part of her efforts, she received the honor of traveling Snake Way to train under King Kai while still alive, and mastered his techniques.

Name Pun: Rain. As in “water that falls form the sky.”  While she does not conform to the familial “named after chestnuts” thing, I figure her father has a weather type name, and the name came from there.

Like I said, pretty low quality, but you get the basic gist of the color scheme and look of the characters.

I'm still hammering out the personality of my Frieza Race guy, but I won't be making a Namekian, due to me not liking the fighting animations.  I don't know why, but I just don't.  

Anyway, let me know if you want to see more, but for now, stay beautiful freaks!

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Beginner's Guide to Dragon Ball Xenoverse

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

Now, at this point, I know there's tons of guides on leveling and grinding and the like, but most of them are from the perspective of the second character.  The first time through is a bit more difficult, since you don't have all the parallel quests and storyline quests to go through.  So here's my tips on getting through your first character as painlessly as possible.

  • Just because the game says you should tend toward a certain build based on racial choice doesn't mean you have to.  Just because a male Majin has the highest health and a boost to defense at max stamina doesn't mean you can't build them as a ki blaster.  Some races will be more difficult to break their "established roles" at the start, but I encourage you to experiment and have fun.
  • Train with as many mentors as possible.  Mentors give you skills you don't get via the RNG.  You can build their relationships the fastest by using their skills in battle and bringing them along for Parallel quests.  A couple of them require you to bring them items that you get either from stores, crafting, or certain parallel quests, to get past a certain point in their training, but the majority of them only require you to do use their skills and bring them along.  However, don't feel that you need to load up on their skills specifically to raise their approval; you can use Vegeta's Gallick Gun as the only skill you get from him in order to raise his approval just fine. 
  •  Gather the Dragon Balls.  The Dragon Balls give you some awesome stuff after gathering them; Supers, Ultimates, money, costumes, and levels.  And searching for them is a great way to get xp.  You need to defeat Time Patrollers in parallel quests in order to get a chance at getting a Dragon Ball.  And there are three really easy quests in order to get a Time Patroller to spawn; Prepare for the Attack of the Saiyans, which is available at the start, The Explosion of Namek, which isn't available until you've gotten through the Namek Saga, and Great Ape Festival, which is one of the last ones you can get.  There's other ones where Time Patrollers spawn too, but these are the ones I've found most reliable when it comes to getting them to spawn. Be warned though, the latter two can be tough if you're not at the proper level for them.
  • Don't worry about building for PVP your first time through.  Get through the story first before thinking about how to plan for fighting others.  There's a LOT of skills and costumes that you won't have access to until late game that you'll want when fighting people, so you NEED to survive the story mode to get them.  And to get through story mode, since you lack a taunt ability, you need to build toward DPS.
  • Learn to throw and vanish dodge.  These two abilities saved my ass several times over the course of the story, and not knowing how to do them early on is why my ranks were initially so low.  Throws are the only real reliable way to get through someone's guard (I don't care what the game says about Guard Crush, I can't really get it to work with any real frequency, due to enemy tendency to Vanish), and Vanish is the only way to survive getting hit from behind.
  • Don't play a Saiyan as your first character.  I know it's tempting, but don't. You're going to want to go Super Saiyan, and the only way to get it before the end of the Android Saga is to complete a quest with very specific conditions in order to unlock it, and those conditions can be easily missed.  Extremely easy to miss, in fact.  Save yourself some frustration and play a Human, Namekian, Frieza Race or Majin your first time through.  They're all equally good, despite lacking the Super Saiyan transformation.
  • Have fun.  If you're not having at least a little bit of fun from the game, it's not worth your time.  And even when it gets frustrating, there's stuff worth looking forward to.  For example, even though the quest where you had to play as Ginyu pissed me off, I knew there was more to the game than that.  And once I got control over the character I'd been building, I was having fun again.

These are tips based on what I learned on my first character through.  I'm currently working on getting all the master skills (almost finished with that), and I've created and kept a female Saiyan and Human after testing out a few other builds and seeing how I like to play.  But these tips that I learned via my own trial and error have benefited me throughout the game.  For now, have fun, and stay beautiful freaks!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Assassin's Den Reviews: Dragon Ball Xenoverse

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!

Dragon Ball is one of the best known animated series in the world.  It has been dubbed into English several times over, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and several others that I know exist but can't find a record for from the original Japanese.  It mixes science fiction and magic to create a world that is unique, yet familiar to the audience.  And it presents a very positive message; that hard work and dedication can get you far, that never giving up on your friends means they'll give you the same courtesy, and that even your worst enemy can be your friend if you give them a reason to. And at this point, even if you're not a fan, you've at least heard of it, and been exposed to some of the terminology; Super Saiyan, for example.

And it also made its creator, Akira Toriyama, a very wealthy man; as of 2015, he has a net worth of $45 million.  And at 61 years old, he likely only works because he still likes to draw, write and create.

Which brings me to the subject of review today; Dragon Ball Xenoverse.  Released in 2015 for Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One and PS4, is was developed by Dimps, known for the Budokai DBZ fighting games and the hand held Sonic games, it follows the storyline created for the beta of the Dragon Ball beta, Dragon Ball Online, though set 150 years earlier.  You take on the role of what fans and media have coined the "Future Warrior", and defend history from distortions in the timeline.

Now, the Future Warrior is able to be one of five races; Human, Namekian, Majin, Saiyan and Frieza Clan.  Now, I'm not going to bother explaining the races, since there are resources all over the internet, so I'll explain the differences.  Humans are well rounded, having the best ki and stamina regeneration, and have slight differences between between genders (as do the Saiyans and Majins, as those are the three races that have males and females. Namekians and Frieza clan are genderless, but appear male.)  Saiyans have the lowest base health, but the highest base attack, which raises when their health gets below 25%.   Furthermore, they get another stat boost after being revived by a teamate in non-storymode battles. Also, they can transform into Super Saiyans, giving them another attack boost so long as they have ki, which is drained in the state, but also allows unlimited Super Attacks and Ultimate Attacks so long as this state lasts.  Frieza Race has the highest speed, but lowest attack, their speed gets higher at lower health, and their standard ki blasts stun your foes. Namekians have lower attack but higher health, which begins to regenerate below 70%.  They also have the fastest stamina regeneration.  And finally Majins have the highest defense, but slowest stamina recovery.  And when their stamina is maxed out, the get another defense boost.  All races have access to the kaio-ken and unlock potential transformations, though the unlock potential is only available if you have the Resurrection of F DLC pack.

Anyway, the Future Warrior fights through the Dragon Ball Z saga, correcting changes to the timeline made by what DBO called "the Time Breakers", Towa and Mira.  You're fighting alongside the main heroes and helping them defeat the powered up villains of each saga until you take on the final boss, Demon God Demigra.  (Demigra has no connection to the Time Breakers, but used them for his own devices.)  Once beating Demigra, you take on a post credits mission where you find out Demigra planned for his defeat, creating wormholes to destroy the timeline anyway.  And that's where the GT DLC packs take place; their timeline is being screwed with via Demigra's wormholes.

The gameplay is best described as a 3d fighting game with rpg elements.  All the canon fighters have preset moves and stats, but the Future Warrior can be built any way you want.  You can built around ki supers (ranged), strike supers (melee), or something in between.  You gain experience points from storyline quests and side quests, which this game calls "Parallel Quests", which allow you to level up and put points into the stats to suite your play style.  You also gain skills from completing the storyline quests and parallel quests, as well as costumes, items, crafting materials and to create new Z-souls (things you equip to boost stats and, depending on which one abilities from mentors.)  And finally, you have mentors, who teach you unique skills.

Character creation is both extensive, but also simplistic.  You're working within the confines of Toriyama's art style, so facial shaping is limited.  However, you've got a huge number of potential skin tones, hairstyles for Humans and Saiyans, "hairstyles" for Majins, and head configurations for Namekians and Frieza clan.  You've got a LOT of clothing, some of it race specific, and some of it can have the colors changed.  Combine that with a LOT of accessories and you've got a pretty dynamic creation tool that makes you unique among your peers.

As for the fighting system, it is appropriate for a Dragon Ball game.  You can go left and right, forward and back, and up and down.  There's a light attack, a heavy attack, a ki attack, and a "jump" button to let you go upward.  You can block, you can vanish dodge, you can fly all over the arena, and you can use your special moves that you equipped previously, use your transformations (if you equipped any), and you can use your ultimate attacks.  It's a good system, though not as intuitive as, say, Street Fighter, but 3d fighting systems are always hit and miss.  But once you know the system, it becomes second nature.

Honestly, Dragon Ball Xenoverse is fun.  First time through makes you do a LOT of grinding though, because some of the storyline quests require you to keep companions alive, and that is NOT easy if you're underleveled.  Secondly, if you try to fight someone like, say, Beerus and Whis, at too low a level will get you stomped into the ground.  So you NEED to do parallel quests, or redo story missions, if you want to survive later.  However, since you keep everything you unlocked on your account globally, the grind for new characters can be MUCH quicker if you do a few specific parallel quests; PQ 53 is a fan favorite, as you are gathering 3 Dragon Balls in a small arena, and the only obstacle is Broly.  This would be a problem, if you couldn't take 2 companions with you, and if Videl didn't fly almost immediately after Broly spawns in.  So you can have essentially 3 meat shields while you gather the Dragon Balls in peace.  Doing that once gets you a B rank, and gets you enough xp for 15 levels.  Do that for half an hour, and you're at 31 levels.  And at that point, you can actually fight Broly and survive.

Why do this, besides getting the chance to redo the story mode (which you can do at will at this point; everything remains unlocked once you unlock it)?  Well, this game has a very active PVP community.  And while I'm not one for PVP myself (as many other SWTOR players can attest), you can test your skills against other players in one on one or team battles, as well as the World Tournament.  However, if you're playing on a 360 or PS3, I wouldn't suggest it, since the servers for those consoles seem to be...iffy.  First three days I owned the game, the servers were down. And today, I've kept getting kicked from the single player lobby due to the servers having connection issues.  And I know it's not my ISP, because I've had NO issues with ME3 or SWTOR or Youtube or anything else that requires a constant connection.

This game won't win over non-fans of Dragon Ball.  It's got a bit of a learning curve and doesn't explain everything. I had to look up how to throw, since the game doesn't tell you, and I had to look up how to please mentors faster in order to learn later skills.  And if you don't know the series, you won't know who certain characters are and their importance to the series.  For example, I haven't seen Battle of Gods or Resurrection of F, so if I hadn't looked it up previously, I would have NO idea who Beerus or Whis are, nor would I have known why Frieza now has a golden form, or what a Super Saiyan God is. I'd also be wondering why GT is considered an alternate timeline now, because I'm one of those weirdos who actually LIKES GT.

Honestly though, this game feels like a love letter to fans. where YOU get to be the hero of Dragon Ball, where YOU get to shine instead of Goku and Vegeta and the rest of the Saiyan cast.  And you can do it as a Human if you want, the species that got overshadowed VERY early in DBZ, due to just how powerful the Saiyans and Namekian cast got, and how powerful the threats they fought became.

That said, it does have its downsides.  Since this is a Japanese game made by Japanese developers, it needed a full translation of both text and a dubbing into other languages.  And the English translation is poor at times.  I'm talking NES era poor.  I've seen quite a few times where sentences had me trying to figure out what was actually meant when talking to certain NPCs.  Secondly and surprisingly, there's a number of mistakes in the dubbing.   I mean, Christopher Sabat, the English Voice of Vegeta and Piccolo among others, is a native English speaker, so he'd understand English vocal inflection.  The only explanation I can think of is that the lines were recorded without context based on a badly translated scripts, and someone who didn't know English fluently was the one to choose which takes to choose.

All in all, I highly recommend this game, but only if you're a fan of Dragon Ball.  If you're not, but are a fan of 3d fighting games, I'd download a demo to see if you'll like it.  I got my copy for 25 dollars at my local Gamestop used, and downloading it costs 40 dollars on Xbox 360 live, and I assume it's the same for the PSN and Xbox One marketplace as well.  Each DLC content pack was 10 dollars each.  I found it worth it, and if you're a fan, you should find it worth it too.

But for now, stay beautiful freaks!