Friday, January 31, 2014

SENGOKU BASARA 4

I have to take a break first from "travelling", because I want to make a game review!
Just got my own copy a couple of days ago and finally I can play the game!
Today, I'm going to review THIS game!
 
SENGOKU BASARA 4

I've tried this game when I went to Tokyo Game Show 2013 and been waiting for this game release ever since!
Sengoku Basara 3 is good, but Sengoku Basara 4 is even better.
Capcom did try their best to fix things, and they've done quite well, IMHO.
There are still some things that needs to be fixed, but no game is perfect in my opinion.

STORY :
There are 3 route in total, Conqueror Route, Dramatic Route and Anime Route.
Conqueror Route can be accessed by all playable character, and usually nothing special about it.
Anime Route can only be accessed by new character, which is Sakon, Shibata and Yamanaka only.
Drama Route only available to some characters, not all.
Like before, once you finish one character's story, you open another playable character.
In total, there are 32 playable characters!

MUSIC :
The opening song is Count Zero from T.M Revolution and the ending song is Runner's High from Scandal.
Unfortunately, the character's theme song still the same from Sengoku Basara 3, which is kind of let down for me.
I like Date Masamune's theme from Sengoku Basara 2 instead of Sengoku Basara 3....
Other than that, there are some new stage music and some are quite catchy. ^-^

GAMEPLAY :
One big impression... Tadakatsu Honda is (still) a j**k at any stage that's related to Ieyasu Tokugawa!
He still hit as hard, scary as hell and all I can do every time I met him is... RUN LIKE CRAZY!
Battle has improved, while it's still hack and slash, the enemy's AI is getting better.
Sometimes, they actually stopped attacking others and head straight at you.
They also smart enough to re-take their base, which often makes me run back and forth to re-take the base.
Some traps also shows up in the stage, sometimes undetected.
Boss battle also good, a lot of times you have to fight 2 boss at the same time!
Ashikaga Yoshiteru is also an annoying boss with his teleportation skill, and I'm still on NORMAL!
 

The stages is full of outrageous things and I LOVE IT!
From silly soldiers spinning around to make a typhoon or soldiers making a circle then roll with bombs!
I keep on trying new stages and explore it as much as I can just for the fun of it. ^0^
 
Partner is also more active, just by pushing L2, you can told them to attack enemies, base or treasure chest.
Once their Basara gauge full, push L2 + O to unleash the Giga Basara, which not only cause a lot of damage, but also looks extra cool with the background of black and white.
 
You can only bring limited number of weapons (about 20 - 22, I forgot) and they can be gain in the battle or from the shop.
However, you can upgrade your weapon any way you like. 
You can change the attribute or upgrade the status using items that you buy from store or getting it from the battle, quite fun actually.... Assuming you can READ Japanese well enough.
Once finished with one route, you can get the alternate costume. Some are nice, some is just... weird. ^^;
The joke weapon is still available and Kojuro got his leek back instead of that stupid flute in SB3. Yaay!
I didn't know if it is intentional or not... But after a couple of hits, the leek will break in two. XDD

Overall, I have fun with Sengoku Basara 4.
I got Masamune's hakama and Yukimura's Azure Dragon for free DLC.
I also bough Dante skin for Masamune and Masamune's avatar too.
 
I do wish they have new character's theme song though.
And maybe a new attack for old characters... 
Don't get me wrong, I loves Masamune's Crazy Storm + War Dance... 
But I wish he get a new attack, just one!
The new characters are okay, nice stories.
But why are there only 3 Anime Route for 3 characters, and new too!
Why don't they give Anime Route for Masamune, Yukimura, Saika or hell... Mori?

I'd give Sengoku Basara 4 : 8,5 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

EXPLORING JAPAN WITH FRIENDS (PART 1)

I got many question about Japan's travelling, and there are some asking about travelling with friends.
It doesn't really matter to me whether you travel alone or with friends, those have positive and negative things.
Travelling with friends can saves money for accommodation.
There are some places that gives you discount when you travel with more than 4 people.
Let me share my itinerary when I travel with my friends to Japan on 2012.

DAY 1 JAKARTA - OSAKA
We met up at Terminal 3 Soekarno - Hatta in the afternoon to take flight to Kuala Lumpur.
Yes, we've taken Air Asia, we got a very nice price for it.
We arrived at Kuala Lumpur around 6 - 7, kind of forget.
Wait for about 2 hours before taking the next flight to Osaka, we spend a night at the plane.
Since no blanket is given (you have to rent it if you want a blanket), I just wrapped myself with my jacket.

We arrived in the morning at KIX, and the line to the immigration is looong.
However, me and my friends wait patiently and really impressed by how hard the staff is working.
They run here and there, opening new booth and trying to make the line moves faster as fast as they can.
The most amusing one is when one of the staff approach us..
He is quite old (I'd presume around 50 - 60), but he still moves actively and fast.
He looks at the line then giving sign to us to wait then said,"Chotto wait! Chotto wait!"
My friends and I looking at each other before smiling and nods back.

Welcome to Kansai Airport Station!

After asking the Osaka Tourist Center located not far from the Arrival door, we decided to buy ICOCA Card.
With help from one of the officers there, we got our ICOCA and take the train to Osakajo-koen Station.
Yes, our first destination is the famous Osaka Castle!

 

After putting our baggage to the coin locker (where there are some mishaps...), we follow a road that takes us to Osaka Castle.
Osaka Castle is built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and really impressive looking.
On the outside of the castle, you can sit down and relax, buying food that's being sold all around.
If you want to get in, you have to pay 600 Yen (around IDR 72,000).
It's worth it to get inside, since there's museum and souvenir shop.
If you go to the top, you can get outside and got a very nice view of Osaka.
  

After finished looking around Osaka Castle, we head back to the station.
There's a long line of people when we get back, apparently there's going to Ayumi Hamasaki's show at night.
From Osaka Castle, we head to the hotel to clean up.
In the afternoon, we met up with a friend of mine from Osaka, and she took us around.
Of course she brought me to Animate where I bought Sengoku Basara HD Collection.. 
That's how I met her anyway, we're both a fans of Date Masamune.
After that, we split up and me with my friends head to Dotonbori, the famous place of Osaka!
  

We see quite a lot of interesting things there, including giant POCKY!
Before resting up for the night, we head to the Convenience Store not far from the hotel.
Speaking about hotel, I spend a night with my two friends.
The room have 1 bed and 3 futon, naturally me and one of my friend took the futon because we want to know how it feels like sleeping on the futon.
Most of the bathroom in Japan are small, so if you have big body... You might have to squeeze a little. ^^a

Friday, January 24, 2014

FOOD FROM TRAVELLING

Ah yes... Saturday!
Even though I am supposed to be relaxing, I can't.
I have too much to do and I'd prefer to do a little first before I get overwhelmed by my works. ^-^

I feels like talking about travelling again. ^^
When I said I like travelling, most of the people that I know will make a fun of me, saying that it's a waste of money and time or I should safe the travelling for later on when I'm old and have enough money.
Some of it might be true, but I'd prefer to think it this way...
When I am old, I can't take such a long walk and might bother someone during my travel.
I will be less aware of my surrounding and might have slower reaction if something happened.
And I can't taste all the delicious food when I travel. <3

I am a bit picky about food and considering that I am a moslem, I can't eat pork.
But I like good and tasty food, however I don't really like it if the spices is too much.
So let me show you some food that I already ate during my travelling...
 
TIRAMISU - ITALY

Delicious, soft and practically melting in my mouth

POCKY PANDA - TOKYO
It is not Panda flavor... It's Cookies and Cream flavor 

TAKOYAKI - TOKYO
I try this one at Tokyo, with egg salad as topping

SALAD - TOKYO
I am not really sure what the name of the food, but it's just a salad with some dressing

 
SASHIMI - TOKYO
Sashimi with mayonnaise topping, delicious!


 
CUSTARD PUDDING - TOKYO
Delicious custard pudding which melts in your mouth
HOT CAKE - OSAKA
I don't know why they call it Hot Cake on the menu, I'd call it Pancake.... ^^
CURRY UDON - KYOTO
Delicious curry udon... Great portion too!

BEEF BOWL YOSHINOYA - TOKYO
It have bigger portion than in Indonesia, taste more delicious too.

 
SOUP - REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
I don't really know the name, but it has fish on it and some potatoes

VEGETABLE STEW - REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
I like the soup, but the vegetables is a bit too soft for my taste

FRAGRANCE RICE WITH FISH - REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
Taste like Nasi Uduk, the fish have a lot of bones inside... Kind of a hassle to eat.

RICE PUDDING - REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
Too sweet for my taste, even though I like sweets...

OKAMI

OK, a bit out of date...
But let's talk about one of my favorite game in PS2... Which is also show up on Wii and PS3.
 
OKAMI

I love Okami and IMO, it's one of the best PS2 games I've ever play!
First released on 1996, I was reluctant to try it because I was shocked by the noises they make every time they speaks.
There's no words, just some nonsense noises that makes me laugh.
It takes a while, but I finally getting used to it and enjoyed the game.

STORY:
You will play as Amaterasu, or Ami as Isshun calls her, a white wolf with the power of Japanese God.
You lost your Celestial Brush, which is the weapon that Amaterasu need to beat the evil spirit.
So you went on the journey to find all of the brushes, beat the evil spirit and safe Nippon.
Like  most RPG, Amaterasu met a lot of people along the road.
The most memorable one is definitely Waka, he's one of the comic relief on the game.
 

I laugh, cried and really having fun playing the game.
The story is one of the strong aspect of the game, IMO.

ART:
The Okami's art is BEAUTIFUL!!
The whole environment is colorful, it looks like it's hand-drawn!
I can spend hours not doing anything, so Amaterasu will yawn and lay down to rest.
So pretty..

GAMEPLAY :
Using brush, Amaterasu can manipulate elements, like water or wind, and she can use it to beat enemies.
She can freeze them, strike them with lightning, throwing fire at them and many other things.
But beside those brushes, Amaterasu also have three type of weapons, which is Reflector, Rosaries and Glaive.
Some enemies (excluding boss) can't be beaten by brute force and needs Amaterasu's brushes to beat.
For example, a demon crane with a sword and an umbrella.
He always block Amaterasu's attack with his umbrella then counter attack with his sword.
To beat him, you have to make a wind to blow his umbrella and while he's busy holding his umbrella, you can strike him easily.

Brushes can also be use to make Cherry Tree blossom, travel across the water and so on.
When you used the brushes, the screen turns into kind of black and white where you can draw something.
You only have limited time to use it and better do it fast or your ink will run out.
This can be quite troublesome, especially when you are facing bosses.

MUSIC :
Another beautiful aspect of Okami is the music.
It's beautiful and suit with every aspect of the game.
The winning theme and the world map music is just... takes my breathe away.

OVERALL:
Okami is a masterpiece!
True that there are some people who just can't stand the noise or might said that the game is too shallow or so on...
But I LOVES this game, from the story to the music... Very addicting.
IMO, Okami is lot better than the sekuel, Okamiden...

Okamiden might have a cuter main character, but the battle is a bit more troublesome with controlling other character aside Chibiterasu.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

TRAVELLING

I love travelling!
However, I am not a pure backpacker.
You can say that I am semi-backpacker... Since I still prefer being comfortable and not really a fan of carrying huge bag.
However, the only time I travel semi-backpacker is when I go to Japan.
Why? Well, Japan is one of the safest place to travel for single girl.
And it is quite closed to Indonesia...

Other country that I have visited this far are Singapore, Republic of Turkey, Bangkok, Japan, Italy and small part of Europe.
I've also visited Korea, many years ago when I was only in Senior High School.
No digital picture at that time yet....
I have no desire to visit Korea again at this moment.
When I went to Republic of Turkey and Italy, I used a travel agent.
And that's when I notice something that is a bit sad for (some) Indonesian.

When I went out of country, I always enjoy looking at old buildings, listening to their history and stuff.
Exploring the city and maybe have a few chat with the locals.
However, what I noticed from Indonesian tourist (at least when I travel using travel agent), not many of them have any interest in historic building or museums.
When I went to Republic of Turkey, one of the participant said,"Why do you take us to this place? There's nothing but stones here. Nothing to see!"
When I ask about a package to Europe at travel agent, most of them just passing by Louvre or Versailles, in other words they are not going in and we just see it from the outside.
When I ask why, their answer is simple,"Most of the people who follow the tour have no interest visiting museums or old building. They just want to go shopping."

Yes, apparently (some) Indonesian tourist are more interested in going shopping instead of visiting unique and interesting places.
They can spend hours in shopping center, bargaining and sightseeing every single merchandise...
I'd  rather spend hours at the old building, museums and things alike instead of shopping.
 
Goddess of Victory, Nike, at Ephesus.

But of course, that's just me...
Because of that, I didn't use travel agency when I went to Japan.
Since most of the plan they offer always the same, Disneyland, Disney Sea, Fuji Mountain, Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree.
I want to see a lot more than that, that's why I'd prefer to make my own itinerary (or with friends if we travel together).
Thankfully, we have internet now, so finding information on places is easier now.

When I went to Republic of Turkey, my gamer instinct just went wild.
Why? Because Assassin's Creed II: Revelations, that's why.
Ezio was travelling around Constantine and Cappadocia, and I visit those places too.
My imagination just picturing Ezio running here and there, from one roof to another.
See, you can learn a lot from games! ^-^



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DEAD RISING 3

Got sick because drenched wet yesterday...
Right then, for now I am going to switch back to game.
Now I'm going to make a review for...
 
DEAD RISING 3

This game is exclusively for Xbox One and one of my friend just happened to buy one.
We haven't download the latest update... 
13 GB is quite big and considering the condition of Jakarta right now, where the internet connection is not stabilized, I don't think we can download it anytime soon.
On with the review!

STORY
Like the previous Dead Rising, you play as a survivor from zombie attack at a city called Los Perdidos.
The survivor name is Nick Ramos and he have a tattoo of '12' on his neck, which will become clearer as the game progress.
Storywise, nothing really new about the plot, almost the same like before, but with different character.
You got limited time to find a way out of Los Perdidos and along the way, you meet enemy and ally.
The game also have multiple ending, depends on couple of things.
I don't really have any complain about the story, but I have no compliment about it, either.



GAMEPLAY
The point of the game is to survive, with anything that you can find.
A lot of things is available for you to pick up and some of those can be combined into a new and more powerful weapon.
However, they have limit in usage and will be destroyed once you reach a certain amount of use.
The neat thing is you don't even need a work bench to combine weapons, you can do it anytime and anywhere... Even in the middle of boss battle.
You can use the voice activation to do some action, like dropping items or attracting zombies.
But I'd prefer using the controller, less hassle....

Along the main story, there are some quest that you can do.
But like always, the streets and buildings are infested with zombies, so either you kill them or outrun them.
You can also meet some people that you can save, they also will give you EXP, so try to save as much as possible.
Oh yeah, the AI is better than the previous one and the people that you saved won't die easily.
They can be taken to the boss fight, and can survive quite a long time. 
Once you saved them, they will find a way to safety by themselves so you don't have to escort them to the safety zone anymore.

 

Like before, once you level up, you gain Attribute Point which you can use to upgrade your status.
You can upgrade Life, Inventory, Melee, Ranged, Mechanic and other things.
The problem that I encounter is grabbing item, especially if they are clustered too closed to each other.
I intend to grab the health recovery item, but instead I grab another weapon.
Can be quite annoying, especially if I really need to heal myself...

You can ride a lot of vehicles, from car to cool motorcycle.
Ride 'em then use them to hit the zombies on the road, quite fun for a while.
Some boss battle can be dull, but there are some that's quite challenging.
Killing zombies can be fun, but judging that they never end, I get bored in the end.

OVERALL:
Dead Rising 3 actually don't really impressed me much, it's almost the same as Dead Rising 2 with some improvement in gameplay.
The graphic is actually not THAT great... Which is kind of a let down, considering this is the new generation of game console.
However, if you do enjoy Dead Rising series, I am sure you will have a blast with Dead Rising 3.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

TOKYO GAME SHOW

If you are a gamer, there are 2 events that I am sure you would like to come.
The first one is E3 in Los Angeles, which is hard to reach for us, Indonesian.
Applying visa for US is HARD for us, and more expensive too...
So, the next option is Tokyo Game Show.
Which is a bit easier to reach than Los Angeles. ^^a
These are the pictures from TGS 2011, the first one that I've attended.

  

Here are some tips if you ever decided to go to TGS in the upcoming years!
Oh yeah, do remember that TGS usually being held in 2 session.
* The Media session, which is closed for public and can only be attended by media or those who works in Gaming Industry. Usually, there's no cosplay during these session.
* The Public session, which is open for public. Lots of cosplayer comes in these session, more people comes and a hell lot crowded than the media session.
Both of this session usually being held for two days each, so in total TGS runs for 4 days.
Starts at 10.00 and ends at 5.00.

1. HOW DO I GET THERE?
Depends on where your accommodation is located, it can take about 30 minutes from Tokyo Station.
The station you are looking for is Kaihimmakuhari, take Departure Track No.2 to get there.
The train usually crowded when it's leaving from Tokyo Station, but don't worry.
That's because a lot of the passengers will left when the train reach Maihama, where Disneyland is located. 
Once the train has arrived at Kaihimmakuhari, leave the station, take the left exit and follow the road.
Usually there are people who's holding TGS signs, directing your way to Makuhari Messe, where TGS is being held.
There are some coin locker in station and if you arrived early in the morning with a lot of luggage, I suggest you try to find an empty locker and use it.
The Makuhari Messe also have coin locker, but usually it's filled up quite fast.
They also sell food, but not far from Makuhari Messe, you can find a small mall where you can buy burger or Yoshinoya.
There are also vending machine inside, it's usually located not far from toilet.

2. BE PATIENT!
Did you come to the AFA ID in Jakarta last year?
If you did, then you have a brief glance of what to expected in Tokyo Game Show
Waiting in line is common in Japan and you have to deal with it, their queue is neat and straight.
Gates opens at 10 o'clock SHARP, but if the lines is getting too crowded, they might open it sooner.
People usually already lining up since EARLY in the morning, a friend told me that they already waiting in line since 5 - 6 o'clock in the morning.
So you can imagine how long the line will be around 9 - 10 o'clock.
If it's too full inside, you might have to wait outside for about 30 minutes - 1 hour, so be patient.

And if you think you have finished queue, you are wrong.
Once you manage to get inside, the developer's booth have a lot of games that you can try.
From console to mobile games, they have a lot of variety of games.
If you have finished playing, usually you will get a wonderful merchandise from the developer.
However, before playing, you need to queue first.
Depends on the game, the waiting time can start from 30 minutes - 2 hours. ^^;
You can try the game for around 10 minutes, maybe more, depends on the game.

 
When you want to buy TGS merchandise, you can find them in the booth like this.
They can be easily found outside or inside the hall, and they sell unique TGS merchandises, like T-shirt, bag and even manju.
Word of caution, take care of your wallet when entering the Merchandise Area.
Usually they sell a lot of stuff that you might be hard to find in Tokyo, choose carefully.
There might be a bit of price difference, but not much.
The Merchandise Area sells a lot of things, from key chain to Music CD.

Other than that... Enjoy! ^-^

Friday, January 17, 2014

JAPAN - ON THE SPOT

It's still raining in Jakarta and there are some flooding.
For those who get stuck in this situation, don't give up!
Hopefully it'll get over soon!

Right.. Let's talk about Japan itself and let me tell you SOME things that you might encounter there.

1. AIRPORT
I haven't been to Narita since Air Asia will stop at Haneda Airport, and it's usually quite late at night.
You have a choice here, it USUALLY didn't take too long at the immigration.
I usually only takes about 15 minutes before I passed the immigration.
If your accommodation is located near the Airport, then you can head there.
The last train will leave from airport around midnight, so if you hurry, you might catch it.
I don't really recommended Taxi if your accommodation located not around the Airport, since at night Taxi will get more expensive. Please do not compare OUR Taxi with theirs....
You can spend a night at the airport, they have long seats that is quite comfortable to sleep and it is safe.
However, there's quite a lot other people doing the same thing, so you have to share.
You can only use the Arrival lounge, and there's a Family Mart that opens 24 Hours if you want some snacks.

Kansai Airport at Osaka is located further from town and it might takes about 45 - 65 minutes before you reach town.
When I went to Osaka the first time, thankfully it was morning, so I have no trouble getting to Osaka.
If you arrived late, I don't really know, but from what I read Kansai Airport have rented blanket if you decided to spend a night there.
They also have WiFi router rental, if you need.

2. TRAVEL AROUND
When you travel around Japan, you can use the Pre-paid Card or IC Card.
Of course you can also use Japan Railway Pass, but it is just a bother for me since I don't travel THAT long, plus I like collecting the IC Card.
When I am in Tokyo, I use my SUICA card.
And when I am in Osaka or Kyoto, I use my ICOCA card.
These cards can also be use in some convenience store, vending machine and coin lockers. Really useful!
They're still can be used out of Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo, you can find out by asking the Tourist Information Center.
 

If you are not sure where to go, go drop by at the Tourist Information Center.
They will help you deciding which place to go and you can also ask for railway map from them.
When you ask for map, ask for the English version so you can read the name of each station.
It will make things easier when travel...
Avoid the rush hours if you can, rush hour in Tokyo can be pretty annoying, but you are welcome to try.
Most of the places will open around 10 - 11 and closed around 5 - 6.
If you head to Sendai, then I really recommend the Loople Sendai, a tourist bus. 
 

3. LANGUAGE
Here is one topic that I've heard the most...
"I can't speak Japanese, so I can't go to Japan."
Well, guess what... I can't speak Japanese fluently either, but I managed just fine there.
From what I noticed this far, the Japanese will feel intimidated if you ask in English.
However, if you ask politely, they will help you anyway they can.
So, watch your tone, bow a little and start with "sumimasen..." then ask what do you want to ask.
Don't speak in full English sentences, most of them can't understand that, but there are some that will.
If they just shake their head, ask one more with shorter sentences and combine it with some japanese.
For example,"Animate... doko?" 
If they still can't help you, try to find a local Policeman. They're usually not too hard to find.

I mostly being mistaken as Chinese, Korean or even Japanese.
So more often than not, I have people asking me using those language.
If you are still so afraid, make good use of your android / iphone and use the online dictionary there.

4. FOOD
Food in Japan is quite expensive and I don't really recommended going to a restaurant.
I limit my budget 1500 Yen daily for breakfast - lunch - dinner.
Most of the time I skip lunch because I always gets excited over something and I forget to eat.
But if I do eat, I usually eat sandwich or onigiri.
There's a LOT of convenience store that you can buy food for and they offer a lot of variety for food.
Try their Oden, it's delicious and they also offer discount for food when it's around 7.30 at night.
Good way to saved some money...
You can also find Yoshinoya there, good value of money, delicious and big portion too.
 
These are the food that I bough for breakfast and snack.
Fruits in Japan are expensive though....
If you are afraid about eating pork, you can always ask for English Menu or just ask for seafood.

For safety, you can also try to look for Indian food, like curry, or buy some fast food, like MacDonald.
Osaka is a good city to try Japanese food, like takoyaki or okonomiyaki.
Most of Okonomiyaki used pork, but you can also ask for vegetables only.
I tried the Cheese + Tomato and it still taste delicious!


I guess that's all the basic that I can tell you.
If you have any question or want to share your experience, do tell me.
I only cover a small cities of Japan, so I am not sure if this covers all Japan.
But hopefully it can help.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

JAPAN TRIP - PREPARATION

So you have bough the flight ticket, already booked accommodation and maybe already booking bus ticket to travel to other city.
Congratulations!
Now, let's talk about the preparations!

1. VISA
Before entering Japan, you need a Visa from Japan Embassy.
It's located near Plaza Indonesia, hard to miss.
Keep in mind that the Visa Apply in Japan Embassy is separated into 2 type.
If you want to apply for visa, only from 8.30 - 12.00.
After you apply the visa, you can get the visa from 13.30 - 15.00.
The cost for making the visa is IDR 350.000.
There might be some interview if your application is not completed enough, but I never experienced this.
Just make sure your application is clear enough and you have already fulfilled all of the documents that they've asked.

2. LUGGAGE
You already got the ticket and the visa?
Great! Now, let's talk about the luggage that you want to bring to Japan.
If you are taking Air Asia, the limit weight is 7 kg, so I usually take this kind of bag..
 
I don't bring additional bag, I usually reserved that for the flight back.
I also bring foldable luggage where I put my dirty clothes and unimportant things when I get back.
Brings bags with wheel or sling, why?
You will do a LOT of walking in Japan, and even though you can find coin lockers at most station in Japan, the big ones usually filled up quickly.
Also most of the station are still using stairs and dragging heavy luggage is not exactly what I call holiday....
Make sure also you bring padlock and as always, DON'T put important things into your luggage.

3. WHAT TO BRING?
For clothes, of course it will depends on what season you are going to Japan.
You can find the temperature at Japan easily using internet, so you can think which clothes the best for you.
I always travel on September, because TGS are being held during that month.
September usually quite hot and dry, occasionally they have rain though...
I don't really recommended going on winter, while it's true that most of the flight and accommodation are cheap, the risk of blizzard or road closed is possible... And also because I hate cold.
Whether you are male or female, I highly recommended you to bring Anti UV Lotion (or buy one when you are in Japan). 
No need to bring soap or shampoo, since accommodation prepares that for you.
 
Also bring lip balm if you want, I never brings one because I have no problems with my lips.
For towel, usually most accommodations prepares that too, sometimes they rent it. 
All of those can be read when you booked your accommodations.
Wear comfortable foot wear, bring spare if you are worried.

Other things to brings are of course the essential, money and pasport.
Later on, I will tell you about how to experience Japan once you got there. ^-^

TRAVEL TO JAPAN PROLOGUE

Hi, guys!
Let's take a break about games for a while and let's talk about other things.
I am a fans of Japanese games, especially their RPG.
I've always wanted to go to Japan, but I am only able to done it recently.
Been to Japan in 2011, 2012 and 2013...
And thank the lord above, I managed to come to Tokyo Game Show in all those years.
Now, let me rephrase most of the things that you heard about Japan...

1. Japan is EXPENSIVE
The answer is depend on you, are you a budget traveler or someone who want luxurious travel?
With some adjustment, you can travel cheap in Japan.
I will tell you the detail later.

2. Japanese people is DIFFICULT TO COMMUNICATE
Not true!
My Japanese is pretty basic and I can only talk broken Japanese and during those times, I speak mostly in
English, but I have little problem communicating with Japanese people.
I will tell also give you hints about this later.

Now, for Indonesian who want to go to Japan, I will give you some guide about how to go to Japan.
For starter...

1. RESEARCH
That's right, do research first if you want to go to Japan.
Japan is quite big and quite impossible to explore all in such a short times, so pick your city.
If you are *cough* Otaku *cough* then you should go to Tokyo, where you can head to Akihabara (mostly for guys) or Ikebukuro (for girls). Words of advice though, most things in Tokyo ARE quite expensive, so shops wisely.
If you like culture and sightseeing, my recommendation is Osaka. From there, you can take the train to Kyoto (only 45 minutes) or Kobe.
If you like Sengoku Basara or just Date Masamune, head to Sendai. This not-too-small town is a wonderful place for sightseeing and just enjoying the view, the people are very friendly and I love the town since it's filled with trees. *sighs*

2. CHOOSING THE TRANSPORTATION
Once you decide where to go, time to pick your flight.
There are quite a lot of flight heading to Japan, but most of them are expensive.
I don't recommended those unless you really want comfort in the travel.
From 2011 - 2013, I always use Air Asia and I booked the flight, at least 10 months ahead.
Usually they have promo offer, which is a lot cheaper than the usual.
If you think 10 months is too long, you can wait until it's at least 3 - 4 months ahead.
Jetstar also offer flight to Osaka, however I haven't got a chance to try them, because I'd prefer Air Asia.
But please keep in mind that Air Asia have luggage weight limitation, so pack wisely if you want to avoid additional cost.
Of course Air Asia will not give you food or blanket during flight, so prepare ahead.
Order food at the same moment you order your ticket, it's a LOT cheaper than buying the food during the flight.

Once you have decided the flight, time for the next option, do you intend to travel to other town when you are in Japan?
If you want to experience Shinkansen, I need to remind you that Shinkansen are NOT cheap.
Make good use of Hyperdia.com if you want to know how much it will cost from one town to another.
For example, I took Shinkansen from Sendai - Tokyo and it cost me about  10,590 Yen (about IDR 1,280,000). 0_o
 
However, a day before that, I took the bus from Tokyo to Sendai and it only cost me about 3,750 Yen (about IDR 450,000). BIG differences!
The only reason why I took the Shinkansen from Sendai to Tokyo is because I need to catch a bus from Tokyo to Osaka, so time is an essence here.
Keep this in mind for those of you who like to be late, bus and train on Japan DID NOT wait for you!
They are ON TIME and WILL leave whether you make it or not, so better arrived early than late.
There's no such things as "better late than never" in Japan....

Back to the topic...
If you decided to moves from one town to other, my advice is use the bus!
Willer Express is the bus service in Japan that I always use, because their site are in English.
You can also saves budget accommodation when you take the night bus, since you will spend a night at the bus and arrived at the destination in the morning.
The bus in Willer Express are varied, the more comfortable it gets, the more expensive it become.
The Beauty type seat is reaaaally comfortable... ^-^
 

And don't worry, they stop every 3 hours at the rest area, even at  night.
They will let you know when they stop and give you a number so they know if you decided to leave the bus.
You can head to the toilet or buy something at the convenience store.
Oh yeah, all of the seat type also have an electric outlet, so you can re-charge your mobile (or my 3DS for my case).
However, the size of the chair is a bit small, so might be a problem for those of you who have big stature.
I recommended booking for single seat, so you don't take other passenger's space.

3. PICKING YOUR HOTEL
Again, this is depends on your preferences.
If you want to saves money, then I recommend you to take the Hostel or Dormitory.
It's a LOT cheaper than hotel and you can meet a lot of other traveler from around the world.
If you prefer Hotel, you can take some friends and book a room that's enough for 2 - 3 then share the fee.
Of course there are some plus and minus about these two types.
Hostel or Dormitory are cheaper than Hotel, but they don't have private bathroom and more often you have to share with others. If you don't mind about this, go ahead!
If you want some privacy, Hotel is your best bet since they have private bathroom (mostly), however if you travel alone, this can be a bit pricey.
I usually order Hotel from Hotels.com or Agoda since I'd appreciate my privacy.
Oh yeah, if you are interest in ryokan, I haven't found the "cheap" type. Most of them are expensive, but since it covers a lot of things, if you want to experience traditional Japan and have spare money, then go ahead. ^-^

If you go to Tokyo, you can try Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro, which is a bit more expensive.
However, their staff are VERY friendly and always willing to lend a hand if you have any question about Tokyo. This always a plus point for me, so I already stay there twice.
And they also have traditional Japanese room, bring your friends to share the fee if you want to sleep here.
They also have some promo, which offer a great price cut for rooms.
Keep in mind that if the accommodation located near the station, they can be a bit pricey.
Try to compare prices from other sites to find the best deal before deciding where to stay.


Once you decided where to go, you can book your flight then the bus (if you decided to travel to other city) and the accommodation last.
I will tell you about the travel itself later on. :)
It's late and I need my beauty sleep for work tomorrow. ^-^

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

GENSO SUIKODEN (GAME)

Been busy yesterday, so I can't update the blog...
So, as I promised, let's talk about each Suikoden series.


The first Suikoden is on Playstation (1995, Japan), but the English version shows up a year later.
The story of the first Suikoden is a memorable one, especially about the MC, Tir McDohl.
I loves the Map Battle, since it's simple enough (and those noises they make during the map battle are just adorable).
However, you can loose one of the 108 Stars of Destiny permanently in Map Battle.
The one on one also nice, and the recruitment of the 108 Stars of Destiny is simple enough.
The only complain I have about this game is you CAN'T run!
You need Stallion if you want to run, otherwise you can only walk and quite stressing if you are inside a dungeon and want to get out FAST!
Oh, and also the limit item you can bring within the party is quite small.
Successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny will revive Gremio and you can get Good Ending.
 

Suikoden II have quite a lot improvement from Suikoden, graphics is better, of course.
The story is a bit better, still memorable and most of the character are really amusing.
Nanami's greeting to the MC at the beginning of the game still makes me laugh every time.
The map battle is a bit complicated, since you have to move your unit closer to enemy unit before you can strike.
You can also lost a character permanently, though I haven't experienced it every time I play.
Thankfully, we can run freely now, making exploring faster and I need to be fast, especially if I want to finish Clive's sub quest.
Successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny will get you a Good Ending, where Jowy and Nanami are saved.
The only character that I (used to) miss to recruit is Gilbert....

 
The thing that I hate the most from Suikoden III is definitely the battle system.
You can bring 6 people to  battle, and they stand in "pair", front and back row.
However, only one character per pair can use an item or rune. 
The other one will either attack or defend, depending on their battle "type".
For example, if you pair up Hugo and Sgt Joe, Hugo will attack if Joe uses an item or rune. Joe will attack if Hugo uses an item, but defend if he casts a spell. 
Some people like this system, but I don't. Because I'd prefer to control each character indivually, but that's just me.
The map battle... not too good, one on one is okay.
And you can't explore freely in World Map, it is one point to the other... 
Successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny will only open a story mode for the antagonis, so you are stuck with 1 ending.

  

Suikogaiden is not like your usual Suikoden.
This is more like visual novel, where you gather "energy" (by selecting the right choice) and used it at the right moment.
If you use the energy, you can get a pretty nice CG Art of the event.
Since this is only appear on Japanese, and my Japanese is not that good, I did A LOT of trial and error when playing it.
All I do in this game is collecting CG Art and learn Nash's history.

 
Suikoden IV have an interesting story and the cutest MC, IMO.
However, this game is sadly, too short and leave some question for me.
I hate the world map encounter which is too often and the map battle of Suikoden IV is my least favorite of map battle.
You can only bring 4 character for battle. One on one is nice, though.
The 108 Stars of Destiny, however, is a bit let down compare to the previous one.
Too many characters doesn't leave a good impressions, they're just THERE to fulfilled the spot.
However, the Rune of Punishment is got to be my favorite Rune of all time.
Successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny will save the MC's life at the end of the game.

 
Suikoden Tactics (or Rhapsodia in Japanese) is different too, because it's a strategy and elements plays heavy role in the battle.
If you have Clear Data of Suikoden IV, you can recruit Lazlo (Suikoden IV's MC) into your party.
The story is usual, no drama that makes me shed tears.
The thing that I hate the most in this game is Kyril's voice which is kind of annoying, I play it mostly on mute.
No Stars of Destiny needs to be recruited in this game, only have 1 ending.

 

Suikoden V's story is almost as interesting as Suikoden I and II.
It brings me to tears, making me laugh and I sympathized with the Prince.
The map battle is real time though, so I have to think and act quickly.
Love the character design and the one on one battle is quite enjoyable.
The battle is the same as Suikoden I, II and IV, so I really enjoy it.
Successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny will saves the Prince's guardian (and love interest). ^-^

 
Suikoden Tierkreis is for NDS and the character's appearance turn into chibi mode.
Just like Suikoden IV, you can only bring 4 character (+1 support) into battle.
Since it's not related to the previous one, there's no True Rune.
The story is still enjoyable, the battle is okay, however there is no one on one or map battle.
I miss that...
Successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny will give you optional option to save your friends.
One changes  that I really like is how time moves on as you travel on world map, stronger enemies will shows up in different season.
The voice acting is... improving, but I wish the MC will speak a bit slower. He sounds like a rapper...

 
The latest one, Suikoden Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki, is all about time travelling.
The battle is almost the same as Suikoden I, II, IV and V.
However, you can learn new skill from other character, but this is depends on the character too.
There's combination attack, but no map battle.
Just like Suikoden III and Suikoden Tierkres, there's no world map exploration.
What I hate the most from this tittle, no more HQ exploring.
I want the HQ exploring back...
Also like Tierkreis, this title have no relation with True Rune.
Recruiting 108 Stars of Destiny is rather simple and you can come back anytime you like to recruit them.
But there are some SoD that's needs a bit of effort to be recruited... like always.

So, to sum it all, these are my list of favorite Suikoden series:
1. Suikoden 
2. Suikoden 2
3. Suikoden 5
4. Suikoden 4
5. Suikoden Tierkreis
6. Suikoden tsumugareshi hyakunen no toki
7. Suikogaiden Vol.1 & Vol.2
8. Suikoden 3

What is your favorite Suikoden series? Just asking... ^-^