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Stebloke

Greetings. I am Stebloke, and I am a bit strange. This website contains my blog, where you can read about the things I create, the games I play, and any other things I get involved in. I make this blog mostly because I like to look back on the things I do and feel nostalgic, but also because it really does help motivate me to keep doing things.

If you want to read about a specific subject, click the "Filters & Pages" button in the top right.

Stebloke's Website ©2008-2022

26th April 2022: 7R + 2

So I've taken some time out of my big OG FF7 replay in order to go through the remake again, as I'd got some unfinished business with it. I also thought I could hit the exact day that I originally completed it two years ago, which I've (kind-of) managed to do.

My original idea was to replay it on normal difficulty again to do all the little side things I didn't do before. I figured this would be good so that I could remember how to play it, while also fully levelling the characters and materia, setting myself up as best as possible for a hard mode attempt in which I would just skip all the side missions and stuff.

However, a lot of the things I was worried about two years ago have proven to be true, culminating in the sad fact that this game is just not very fun to replay. The many, many, very slow parts drag on even more, and I got very annoyed every time the game made my character slow to a walk, or take control of the camera away from me for some time-dragging and arbitrary reason.
So I quickly started to get bored with it, and by half way through I wasn't really fancying another play through.

Instead, I just did everything I could possibly do on this normal replay, and have laid the game to rest.

Admittedly, it's been 21 years since I last played through the original, compared to this one's two years, but I'm having a lot more fun with the old game, which I didn't think would be the case.

Why can't I just use a cure spell?

Why can't I just use a cure spell?

Still haven't patched these textures, I see

Still haven't patched these textures, I see

That simultaneous walk<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

That simultaneous walk
(webm video)

Swatting some bugs

Swatting some bugs

Ghostly Aerith. Oh, the foreshadowing.<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Ghostly Aerith. Oh, the foreshadowing.
(webm video)

So what was my experience like doing all of the extra things that I skipped passed before?

Well, ultimately, because I was overlevelled compared to when I should have done them, I found most of these extra things quite easy and probably not as rewarding as they might have been.

In fact, all the way through this playthrough, there were only three fights that I failed to beat first time and with very little difficulty. Up first was the Fat Chocobo battle, because I rushed straight into it with only Cloud in the party, and before I had fully remembered how to play. Secondly, in one of Aerith's simulator fights I came across the phantom who put reflect on itself, making it immune to all of Aerith's attacks. And finally was the battle against Bahamut, who put me on the defensive straight away and made it very difficult for me to hit back.

In all of these cases I won the fight at the second attempt, either with different party members, different materia, or different tactics. The Bahamut fight in particular felt the best to beat, even though I had to leave my fave girl Tifa on the sidelines. But with the extra ranged attacks provided by Aerith, I was able to answer Bahamut's aggression with my own aggression, and wore him down.

I do wish, however, that I had not missed the chance to do Aerith's colosseum fights, because this meant having to replay part of chapter 9 to get back there and tick those off the list.

Some of the other little side mini-games were more challenging. It took three or four attempts to get the top score in Whack-A-Box, and probably 8-10 attempts for me to finally beat Jules in the pull-ups. I just kept pressing the button too early right at the start of round 2. Took me a while to remember to slow it back down. But getting it done was a relief. Also, whoever it was who recommended turning the sound down for this challenge was a genius. Thanks, internet.

Though the slow moments dragged down the experience, there are still plenty of things to enjoy in this game.

It simply can't be overstated how much I appreciate the re-casting of the English voice cast. Tifa's and Aerith's actresses in particular are way better than their previous English actresses. If you hear how they sounded in something like Advent Children for example, the actresses in that seem like they just don't care. Whereas here, they simply knock it out of the park. How neither of them even god a nod at that year's game awards still boggles my brain.

Aerith doesn't like Hedgehog Pie. Don't tell a man called Martin.

Aerith doesn't like Hedgehog Pie. Don't tell a man called Martin.

Who put all these boxes in my way?

Who put all these boxes in my way?

Nailed it<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Nailed it
(webm video)

Barret wailing on a bad doggo

Barret wailing on a bad doggo

Tifa wailing on everybody

Tifa wailing on everybody

And while that, yes, I was overlevelled and combat was much easier, it was still fun using certain tactics and mechanics that I never used in my first playthrough, after reading about them on the internet. Using lots of Cloud's punisher mode and counter attacks was something I only really did in certain boss fights in my first run, but here I was always looking to use it as it really does make you feel like a boss.

Using Barret was also much more agreeable, as I brought in more of his defensive, tanky skills, and also optimised his overcharge a lot better, making him kick out a lot more damage.

But it was with Tifa I had the most fun. She is simply a joy to play, and to watch. That is, if your eyes can keep up with her. It was made all the better because in this playthrough I finally used the L1 shortcuts during combat, so I was jumping around all over the place having a grand old time. It's going to be so much fun seeing her and Yuffie in the same party in future games. The screen is going to be a whirlwind of mayhem.

Two years ago, in the end fight, I got Tifa then Barret to help me out. In this playthrough, I thought I would get the same, as I didn't feel like I'd used Aerith enough to warrant her inclusion. But I was wrong, and it was Tifa and Aerith that rocked up to help me smack Sephiroth down. Though how annoying is it that we still can't screengrab the last chapter, as there are so many cool screenshots I would like.

When it comes to the story, I am still concerned about that ending, and where the story might be going. I'm never a fan of time travel, multiple timelines, or any of that baloney, as 9 times out of 10 things end up with huge plotholes or simply not making any sense. In addition, this is modern day Square Enix after all, so I have a right to be worried. Good old Squaresoft this is not.

However, if they nail it, it will probably elevate the FF7 story to even greater heights in my mind. So I will continue to hope.

Ultimately though, when part 2 comes out, I think I will end up just watching someone else play it, rather than worry about it myself. For a start I don't have a PS5, and don't really want one just for FF7. I already did that by buying my PS4 essentially just for this game. The way it's going, it might still be hard to get hold of a PS5 anyway, even when the next part comes out.
I guess there's always an outside chance I could get it on PC in the very distant future, but that seems unlikely. Square, like many Japanese developers, seem to be madly in love with DRM these days. Such a shame.

Tifa is the pull-up champ<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Tifa is the pull-up champ
(webm video)

That's an ouchie right there

That's an ouchie right there

Hot damn, I love going mental with Tifa<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Hot damn, I love going mental with Tifa
(webm video)

Get that hentai shit outta here

Get that hentai shit outta here

Red comes diving in

Red comes diving in


Scoob and I recently had a little go on two RTS games, just testing to see if we want to get back into that genre.

Up first was Command & Conquer: Red Alert, using OpenRA. I don't remember playing this all that much back in the day, as I only really got into the series for Red Alert 2. But it's a game I own that deserves some gameplay, and hopefully, a completion.

We just played a few short skirmishes against the AI for a bit of fun and as a refresher. I couldn't get into it as much as I hoped I would, and Scoob really didn't seem into it that much at all. But I'm leaving it installed as I really want to play all the campaign levels so I can say I've completed it at last. Maybe this will be the game I play alongside FF7 going into the future?

My dudes try not to get their eyebrows singed

My dudes try not to get their eyebrows singed

My blues and Scoob's reds move in on the yellows

My blues and Scoob's reds move in on the yellows

The pinks having a mammoth problem

The pinks having a mammoth problem


Total War: Warhammer was recently made available for free on Epic Games, so Scoob and I quickly swiped it with our grubby paws. This was a game we had long wanted to try, but didn't really want to use any launchers or DRM bollocks.

But for free, could we really grumble?

After trying a few skirmishes against the AI, I can definitely say that the tactics the computer employs are far better than in the only other Total War game I have played, which was Rome. In that other game, smacking the AI all over the place was no challenge whatsoever, but here, even on easy, we were only winning about 50% of our battles. True, we've only just started to play it, but it definitely seems like it's going to be much harder.

Scoob has started his own single player campaign, but I've not played it since we played these games a couple of weeks back. It's our intention to do a multiplayer campaign, but whether we will ever find the time, who knows.

My Wolf Riders charging into battle

My Wolf Riders charging into battle

Our Ladz look down the valley at the 'Oomies

Our Ladz look down the valley at the 'Oomies

Big spooder, little spooder

Big spooder, little spooder

Engaging an enormous Undead horde. Things do not go well.

Engaging an enormous Undead horde. Things do not go well.

22nd April 2022: Protracted Painting Progress

I finally gave up trying to fully strip the Ork Battle Fortresses, and got them as good as I could. However, there was a problem when I came to re-assemble the Gibletgrindas. I never really caught on when I first glued them together back in the 90s, that the top tower doesn't fit anywhere near correctly into the base. I ended up taking them to work to use a little grinder to take some bits off, and have used to milliput to fill in the gaps.

And now they're good.

Some Orky fillerin' required

Some Orky fillerin' required

Put an order in recently for some more paint, and I've spread my wings a little in order to try some other manufacturers. I still got some GW base paints in order to mix them in with some old paints I have that are very thin and watery. They've worked for the most part, so that's pretty good.

However, as two of my current gold-ish colours are also very thin and near useless, and my old silver dried up, I bought some P3 metallics. Very disappointed is all I can say. The silver is just about usable, but the gold is just as thin and weak as my others. Shouldn't have bothered. The red however is very good, but that is also a base paint so should have heavy pigment. Really like the Vallejo paint so far, but ording over the internet has left me with a dark green colour that I didn't really want. I was hoping it would be more of a military green, but whatever. I can deal.

I've also picked up plenty of paint tubes for the imminent terrain slopping and drybrushing fest that I'm going to have. Got plenty of terrainy things just sitting there waiting for it.

As I've been doing a lot of painting recently, I've been trying to use a wet palette for the 2nd time. When I tried a few years ago, I though it was a waste of time and quickly dismissed it. When I came back to it and looked into it more, I think it was because the paper I bought wasn't really proper wet palette paper. So instead, after having a bit of a light bulb moment when getting very messy eating some Greggs pizza, I thought I'd try to use a Greggs food bag. And holy shit it works a treat. I've been using this for most of my recent Ork and Tyranid efforts. I just cut out little squares as and when I need them.

Just gotta be sure to use clean bags though. Don't think the models would appreciate being slathered in Greggs pizza grease.

Stocking up on supplies

Stocking up on supplies

Greggs wet palette

Greggs wet palette

And in good news, it's been a long time coming, but I've finally finished painting another army in the form of my Epic Tyranids. Took a while to flock their bases, as I think the PVA glue I've got is shite, so I had to do them twice. But they're all done and varnished and ready for action.

The last 4 Tyranid models before and after painting

The last 4 Tyranid models before and after painting

Flocking hell

Flocking hell


For some weird reason I thought it was two winters ago when I started my big push to finish my Epic Tyranids. But as I look back I see it was actually three, just after I finished my 40K Nidz. What the hell? Has it taken me more than two whole years to paint probably my smallest Epic scale army (not counting the unofficial Androids?).

I seriously doubt I'm going to be anywhere near my 4 army target. I just paint too slow, and don't have enough time. Still, I've been pushing pretty strong these last few months, and will continue to.

So at last, a full Epic army is complete, and like their 40K counterparts before them, it is the Nidz who take the honour.

At least the other armies shouldn't be as hard to paint as this one.

Well, maybe the Orks.

And Chaos.

And probably Guard.

Sigh.

All 6mm scale Hive Fleet Odium Tyranids

All 6mm scale Hive Fleet Odium Tyranids

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Hive Tyrants

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Hive Tyrants

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Creatures

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Creatures

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Combat Spawn

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Combat Spawn

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Lictors & Genestealers

6mm Hive Fleet Odium Lictors & Genestealers

Not wanting to let the Tyranids have all the fun, I've also been doing a lot of work on my 6mm Ork collection. The Evil Sunz and Bad Moonz are part way through, but I've fully finished my own clan, Gwapstik's Boyz. These ladz will be waiting to put the boot in on the Nidz or any other enemy that crosses their path in the future.

6mm Gwapstik's Boyz Ork Clan

6mm Gwapstik's Boyz Ork Clan

28th March 2022: Monster Mission

Just got done playing another game with the Scoobster that we started over the Christmas holiday. This one being Titan Quest.

Now I can't say that ARPG style games have ever been my fave genre, but I've enjoyed them here and there. A few years back, a faulty graphics card stopped us playing through our last attempt at Diablo II, and by the time I got it replaced and thought about that game again Blizzard had started to act like absolute dickwads, so I decided never to play their games again.
Shame, as D2 had been on the list of games I had wanted to complete for many years. I'd also started to play Starcraft after learning that was free, but that attempted completion also went out of the window. Thanks, Blizzard scum.

Nevertheless, we fancied a bit of ARPG action, with Scoob even dipping his toes back into Path Of Exile. I however wanted to finish one of the games I owned, so it was down to either this game or Grim Dawn. As I'd owned this a lot longer, and it was a lot older, we went with this.

But don't worry Grim Dawn. Your time will come. At some point. Probably.

After installing this on my two machines, it immediately looked like it was going to be buggy as hell. I went for a little test run, and the first quest would not even complete. It certainly got the alarm bells ringing.
But luckily, once Scoob joined me and we played the game proper this problem did not occur and we were able to continue.

However, while we had no problems completing quests from then on, the game still proved itself to be buggy as hell. Just some fun examples:

Surrounded by beastmen

Surrounded by beastmen

Run away!

Run away!

She really doesn't want us getting into her box. Or she really <i>does</i> want us to get into her box. Hard to tell.

She really doesn't want us getting into her box. Or she really does want us to get into her box. Hard to tell.

Floating ratman graphical bug gives a good opportunity for a Twonk! image

Floating ratman graphical bug gives a good opportunity for a Twonk! image

But despite these issues it was a fun enough game, though one we started to get a little tired of by the end. It's definitely given me my fill of ARPG action for the time being. This version of the game also includes the Immortal Throne expansion, but after playing this for 3 months we've had enough for now.

The story was a fairly standard affair for these kinds of games. Three beings known as "Telkines" want to free an imprisoned Titan, who himself wants to go and fight the Gods for imprisoning him. And the players have to stop them. Simple as that.

Who knows what we will play next, but we've just found out that Total War: Warhammer is free in a few days over on Epic Games. Now that's a game we've really wanted to play for a while. And I won't really be able to whine about the DRM if it's free now will I?

Well maybe just a little.

So much loot in this game. And 99.9% of it useless.

So much loot in this game. And 99.9% of it useless.

We hit this yeti so hard it went through the floor

We hit this yeti so hard it went through the floor

Letting the final Telkine have it

Letting the final Telkine have it

The end boss Typhon spits at me while Scoob dishes the plinnage

The end boss Typhon spits at me while Scoob dishes the plinnage

I've now been completing games on this blog now for just over 10 years, and have managed 85 games in that time. I don't know if that's good or bad. I also don't know why I mentioned it. I just seem to be on this anniversary kick at the minute. First there was Resident Evil, and Lord Of The Rings, and now this. And I've also got a big FF7 anniversary playthrough on the go right now.

Maybe I'm just getting old and nostalgic.

What am I talking about? I am old and nostalgic.

But mainly old.

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