Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reviews? I guess so!

So, I tried out my new shampoo.
I like it so far! One thing I noticed that was really different was the lack of itching. Both Suave and Herbal Essence irritate my scalp. I stopped using Suave because while it made my hair very shiny, it caused way too many fly-aways (when your hair is so dry it becomes statically charged). I went to Herbal Essence after that (Hello Hydration shampoo and Long Term Relationship conditioner), and while it hydrated my hair a ton and got rid of frizziness and fly-aways, it made my scalp itchy and caused a lot of dandruff....

Right now, the flakes have greatly reduced, and like I said, no itching! I may even get to bump up my shampooing to once a week, if it continues like this. Oh, and it smells great, like apples~ Looks-wise, my hair looks just like it always does after washing and straightening, and the hair itself feels the same, so the only difference is my scalp. No more irritation, yay~!

I'll have to see how well it does over the next couple of weeks, so I can see how it does against the winter dryness, but so far, I like it more than I like the Herbal Essence shampoo. I'm still using the conditioner, since I wanted to just test the shampoo first, but I think I'll move to the Garnier one, to see how it stacks up combined.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I've been using a new lotion from Suave for the past few weeks.
Well, I've never seen them before, so I think they're new at least. Anyway, I got the one scented like 'Wild Cherry Blossom'. For someone whose skin gets very dry, it certainly does the job and sticks around for a long time, but I would say Oil of Olay's Quench line is a bit better, if only for that deep penetrating hydration. In fact, the only reason I went to Suave was because they didn't have any Quench lotion. If you wash your hands a lot like I do (especially during this season when there's lots of sickness around), it will wash out, so you will need to reapply. I do love the scent a ton more (slightly sweet, slightly floral, very Hime~), and I also like that it doesn't have mica flakes like the Quench does, so I can use it on my face without fear of breaking out due to clogging (and I won't sparkle like a "vampire," lol).

I've been playing Mana Khemia 2 lately.

I've owned it for a year now, but I've only just now started playing it.
The second one adds a lot to the first one, like item qualities which adds different effects to the items, and the ability to sell your creations, and if they're popular enough, they could even be sold in stores for you to buy. Flay, Tony, and Zeppel are the only ones to come back. I was excited to see them, but I was really wishing to see Pamela floating around in the Library. They turned Flay into a blood-lusting warrior teacher, and Zeppel became like the principal in the first game, really weak and wussy.... I think Tony, one of the villains from the first game, was the only one to come out rather normal, though I haven't played the other character's side yet, and she's the one who encounters Tony more.

As for the heroes themselves, I'm still on Raze's story. He's a really apathetic character who always gets dragged into things by his "master", a rich girl named Lily who's "secretly" in love with Raze, her water mana maid named Whim who has a huge chest and is so naive, she often says the wrong thing without meaning to, and Et, Raze's classmate who just likes doing anything to the point of overdoing it and probably destroying something in the process. There's also Yun, the hired fire mana who seems just as apathetic as Raze is, and Puniyo, a human raised by Punis and who only speaks in the Puni language.

Oh yeah, speaking of Punis, they're the staple enemy of all of the other alchemy games (the Atelier Iris series as well as Mana Khemia 1) but in this game, they've gotten a boost in strength and rarity. What used to be a level 2 enemy has moved up to level 15, and they now take as many hits as a Puni Knight!

Anyway, so far, I like it, though it gets really easy if you synthesize a lot and accumulate a ton of AP, and the way you enter battles and gather are a little annoying. In the first game, basically, there were little blobs running around that were one of four types: the weak blue ones, the evenly matched white ones, the strong red ones, and the large, powerful ones and in order to engage them in battle, you would either slash at them, giving you the advantage, or they would run into you giving it to them. Now they come in red or blue, and when you come into contact with them, a button will appear, and you have to quickly press it. If they're red, you'll have the advantage if you make it, and you won't if you don't. If they're blue, you'll instantly destroy them if you make it, and have the advantage if you don't. I guess it's more fair this way, but sometimes when you're in the middle of a quick time event with one enemy, another will come your way and end up on top of you. In other words, you'll leave one battle only to suddenly be in another with no way to escape.

As for gathering, it's now action based. I especially hate what they've done with mining, where you have to memorize a series of buttons, but then you have a time limit in which to press these buttons. At the same time, it's not a set time limit. You have until the timer reaches wherever you are on the line, so if you're on the third one, you have until the timer reaches the third button press before you run out of time.... I'm absolutely crap at memorization, and even with the item that allows me to mess up twice, I still end up ending at like the 5th or 6th one, unless it was a really easy one like 4 circles or something. For other gathering points, regular gathering has turned into a roulette wheel where if you match them all, you'll get an extra rare item, and fishing is much like it's predecessor but instead of getting it in the middle of the red section once, you have to weaken the fish by doing it repeatedly. It's the easiest of all the mining points.

Another thing of note is the lack of mana creatures. There's four in all, and you won't see many of the manas you were used to. I think I saw one blue Uru mana, but he disappeared moments later. I mean, I really like Yun, and I think the new earth mana type they got is hilarious, but it was fun going "Oh, it's Diemia!" and so on. Then again, this is part of the story too, so I guess I understand.

On the subject, the story is really spaced out, a little too much so. It never really feels like I'm progressing too much.... It took 2 in game terms to find the plot point to the game, and now I'm on chapter 6, and we *just* discovered something was wrong. There's not much serious conflict, it's all just... school. We were basically told at the beginning that the planet is losing mana, and that's it. No one to blame, and the one guy who's suspicious has only appeared twice, once to give Raze a ring, and once to reveal that he seems to know something about Raze himself. Hopefully it picks up, or maybe that's what the final playthrough will explain. I wish it wasn't taking so long to get to the point!

I like the music though. The song Roar of Delirium is one of the most exciting boss battle songs. I really feel charged up when I hear it, like I'm ready to take on whatever creature is trying to take down~ If you go to extras and listen to the music, you'll find a little surprise for those who played the first game, that is, if you remember those four.

Ack, this turned into a review without me trying to, I'm sorry!
I still like the game, but I'm an NIS fan anyway. I like putting my alchemy items in stock for me to buy when I'm synthesizing, and I like the characters, but the story could do with some better pacing, and gathering is a little annoying. I'm still right in the middle of it, so maybe things will change.

Can you believe how close Christmas is now? I mean, it feels like just yesterday, it was a whole week away, and the day before, it felt like it was 2 weeks! Where did the time go?

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