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Hi and welcome to yet another new blog series I've decided to start up. Inside The Box will focus on packaging and extras that come with various "editions" of games, though I won't limit myself to just games. Anything nerdy is fair game on this blog!
The inaugural post features one of the most highly anticipated games of this year, The Last of Us, specifically the Survival Edition of the game.
**Note: This is NOT a review of the game, only the packaging**
The Last of Us - Survival Edition
Release Date - June 14, 2013
Developer - Naughty Dog
Platform(s) - PS3
Price - $79.99
Price Paid - $79.99 (Amazon)
Retailer Exclusive - No
I decided to make an unboxing video for this!
To summarize the above video:
- Collectors box/packaging
- Steelbook case featuring Ellie/Joel
- Sounds and Sights DLC
- PSN Avatars and Theme
- 170 Page Hardcover Artbook
- Issue #1 of The Last of Us comic
The Last of Us Survival Edition is one of two different special editions, the other being the Gamestop exclusive Post-Pandemic Edition which substituted a 12 inch statue in place of the Artbook included with the Survival Edition.
This edition is available for $20 more than the standard edition, which seems fair for what you get with it. The box is much larger than I expected it to be, below is a comparison picture with a standard PS3 game.
The box everything comes in is large and looks like one of those promotional display boxes you'd see at Gamestop. That said, the artwork for the game is nice and I know I won't mind putting this box up for display on a shelf somewhere. However, a box this size might be the bane of those more space-conscious that myself.
The steelbook is simple yet elegant, with the added bonus of having artwork on the inside as well. The Artbook is definitely a premium book, more along the lines of the Uncharted 2 or Mass Effect artbooks rather than a small pack-in artbook most games get.
The DLC and PSN Avatars/Theme are a nice bonus, but definitely not worth any amount of money. Finally, the comic seems to be the afterthought of this edition, being more of a teaser than anything else, likely in the hopes of getting you to buy more issues of the comic as it comes out.
Overall you get your extra $20 worth out of this edition, though not much more than that.
Presentation - 9/10
Price/Value - 8/10
Extras - 7/10
Score - 8.0 / 10
Edit: The art book is available separately, albeit as a preorder (July 2) and at $40 MSRP (
$27 on Amazon)
What did you think of this type of review? More videos or more pictures in upcoming ones? What would you like to see next?
This started out as a couple of dumb one-off jokes I made earlier today, but then I realized...why not go further with it? Why not make it a number of dumb jokes?
Why not indeed.
So, in today's post, I'll be talking about some upcoming video games that are taking way too long to come out. But not just that - I'll also be revising their names to more accurately portray their current state and poking a little fun at them along the way. I've got my poking stick set to "stun" and my jokes set to "kill," so let's get this thing on the road!
Revised name: Undercover Agent
This is literally the game's entire existence.
Do you remember Agent? No? No one does, so if you said yes, go sit in time out, Mr. or Ms. Pants on Fire. It was announced in 2009 or so, and since then there's been nothing - total radio silence. Suffice it to say, it appears Agent has gone deep undercover, so until Rockstar pulls him from active duty, he won't be seen in the public eye unless he's in disguise. Let's just hope Momma Agent doesn't get a letter saying he was KIA.
Final Fantasy XV
Revised name: Final Fantasy 2015, At the Earliest
Revised revised name: Pretty Boys with Sharpened Toys
At first they were going to call it Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which is a heck of a mouthful. Makes sense to shorten the title a bit, especially after it's completely failed to show up on store shelves since its announcement in 2006, right? But Squenix wasn't just shortening the name, they were telling us something. Something to do with 15...what does it mean? Well, I've deduced that it means 2015 is the absolute earliest we'll see this game on store shelves. So if they rename it to FFXVI, be prepared to wait another couple of years, at least.
The Last Guardian
revised name: The Last Guardian of the PS3's Legacy
"Woof! I mean...meow! I mean...hold on, let me think about this."
Let's pretend for a moment that The Last Guardian is still coming to PS3, because that may be the only way for some of you to hold back the tears. Got rid of the sniffles yet? Good, let's move on. The Last Guardian has been "in development" for a while, being announced in 2009, and has always been slated to come out on PS3. Since it looks like the PS3's lifetime will expire before this game ever comes out, I've taken the liberty of crowning it the Guardian of the PS3's Legacy. Once every PS3 game that will ever be released has come out, ol' Trico will finally spread his wings and soar onto the system to secure the console's legacy with one final, amazing game. Unless it turns out to be terrible, like most games that stew in development hell for years, but let's just do what it takes to keep from crying and hope for the best.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Revised name: Beyond Good Graphics and Evil Executives 2
BG&E was a fan favorite and a critical success, but it didn't really do well commercially, so fans were ecstatic when it was announced the game was getting a sequel in 2008. And yet now they've been waiting...and waiting...and waiting. At this point, I'd like to think that by the time the game finally does come out it will have amazingly advanced graphics, probably powered by the Playstation 5, Xbox Two, and Wii U Me, and the developers will have finally found a way to convince the publishing bosses that the game will turn a profit.
Revised name: A Longer Development Cycle than Prey, 2
Now with twice the prey!
Prey 2 was announced in 2011 or so, but they've been pretty quiet since Bethesda told everyone that it was being polished up to their standards. What standards those are, exactly, we'll never know, but it probably involves releasing it with a host of hilarious glitches. In any case, the original Prey took around 12 years to finally see the light of day, and while Prey 2 has only gotten a few years in, the complete lack of any new info points to the developers trying to match or exceed that cycle. I'm pretty sure at that point it stops being "development hell" and turns into "development hell frozen over."
Kingdom Hearts 3
Revised name: We Ran Out of Kingdom Hearts Spinoffs 3
I'm confused about those 3 things behind the logo too, Sora.
It finally happened. After so many long years, we finally have confirmation. It's what we all expected, all hoped, all secretly knew. And our waiting has paid off as Square Enix has revealed...that it has finally run out of Kingdom Hearts spinoffs.
Revised name: No-Life 3
While you wait, enjoy this mockup that took someone literally seconds to make.
Because people who are still going around looking for clues of this game's existence have no life. That, and the game itself doesn't have a life, since it doesn't exist. It's a double whammy of painful realization!
Revised name: Starcraft: Ghost
I don't know if this is an actual screenshot. No one remembers what the game looks like.
Some of you may be saying that these are the same games I featured in a past article (welcome back, SeÃ±or or SeÃ±ora Pantalones de Fuego) but I talked about them differently this time, so it makes it new. So nyah.
So what do you think? Did I hit the nail on the head with my revised names? Do you have a better name for any of these? Or do you not care either way and just want to sound off in the comments about something else? Whatever the case, head on down there and speak your mind!
Alright kiddies, strap yourself in. The Angry Leprechaun has been dormant for too long, here is another attack at your eye balls, I suppose if you read this this out loud it's an attack on your ear holes as well, but that's not the point.
The console war, a vicious cycle. New consoles come out, people argue over which is better and cite various statistics, lather, rinse, repeat. I won't lie, I have been involved in the past of "Console War" hoopla and who won, lost, is in a rubber room in a straight jacket wearing a tin foil hat to keep the enemies from seeing his thoughts and simultaneously cooking his brain like a baked potato. Can be good fun and is ultimately futile. So why rant if ultimately I'm OK with it, you ask? Well first off, thank you for being polite and asking a good question, second don't interrupt me while I'm typing, it's rude, just let me get to the point on my own you impatient little... moving on.
Every single day, in various news outlets/sites/forums, I can't help but see a "Console X" has already won the "Console War". (Yeah, I like that, I'm putting quotes around that for the rest of the rant, because of how stupid it is. In fact, imagine me doing air quotes whenever you read it too. For fun you can do the air quotes yourself if you'd like. Go ahead, no one is watching you. Anyway...) Whenever I see this, I am overcome with a multitude of emotions, well maybe not a multitude, it's mostly just overbearing annoyance and rage.
Let's start with the fact that the 2 latest consoles have been out for just over 6 months. Their previous iterations have been around for over 7 years. You mean to tell me from 6 months of sales data, you are predicting that the white flag is waving? The fat lady is singing? Let's face it, you're an idiot. If I recall, the PS3 was off to a rocky start with it's high price tag. So you want to try telling me again that 6 months of sales figures declares a winner? Go jump off a cliff. The "Console War" isn't won with the console itself, it takes games too.
Bringing me to my next point, neither the Xbox One or PS4 is worth purchasing currently. I'm sure many are going to disagree with me here and frankly, I don't care. I have played the PS4 and I own an Xbox One currently and that is only because I won it in a costume contest on Amazon. The honest truth is neither console has games for it to be a fully justified purchase yet. I'm not saying there aren't fun games out there, there are, but not yet are there any that make me want to run out and spend a couple hundred dollars. This is why out of current gen consoles, I probably enjoy my Wii U the most, while the library is small, the quality of that library is excellent. (And I'm drooling thinking about X releasing, oooooooo yeah). They will be worth it, games will come, I will buy a PS4, but until they have some console sellers, the "Console War" is still going to be at a stalemate in my mind.
OoLaLa Retired Robin, Would you look at dem gams?
Another thing I can't wrap my head around is, why is everyone so quick to decide a clear winner? This is one of the very few instances where I can say without a doubt, winning is a BAD thing. If there is a clear winner declared, sure be happy your console of choice is the "winner". Here's the thing, what if that "win" actually knocks the other console of of contention completely? Competition is the reason why I own a PS3, 360, Wii, WiiU, Xbox One (well technically Amazon is the reason for this). Competition is what drives innovation, what creates amazing games, what pushes these companies to be better than the other in an attempt to "win". As a gamer, you shouldn't want someone to win, you should want them to fight and win battles instead of the war. While the companies battle, we reap the benefits. The argument could be made that a single console means that all effort would be put into that console, I doubt it though.
In summation, stop declaring a winner. It makes you look like a moron and I hate you.
I didn't think it would be possible to follow last years hype, last years upsets, and last years incredible matches. Well, I was wrong. I bring you again, the summary of Evolution Championship Series. Now if you're unfamiliar with what EVO is, basically the Olympics of fighting games. There's a medley of fighting games to be played ranging from Street Fighter to Super Smash Bros Melee. However, the roster is ever changing. Almost each year, the main 8 games played change up, allowing newer and fresher games to be showcased. And this year was definitely a crazy ride. Without much more intro, let's dive right in.
Ultra Street Fighter IV The series 6th year at EVO
1st. MD â”‚ Louffy, who played as Rose, from France.
2nd. Bonchan, who played Sagat, from Japan.
3rd. RZR â”‚ Fuudo (Winner of EVO 2011,) who played Fei Long, from Japan.
In quite possibly one of the biggest upsets of an entire generation, a huge portion of the favorites to win the tournament were eliminated before even the Semi-finals. It just goes to show you that even the changes they made for Ultra can really impact the level of competition.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 The series 4th year at EVO
1st. EG â”‚ Justin Wong, who played using the team Wolverine/Storm/Akuma, from the USA.
2nd. GG â”‚ NYChrisG, who played using the teams Morrigan/Doctor Doom/Vergil, Magneto/Morrigan/Doctor Doom, from the USA.
3rd. RG â”‚ Fillipino Champ, who played using the teams Magneto/Dormammu/Doctor Doom, Magneto/Doctor Doom/Phoenix, Morrigan/Magneto/Doctor Doom, from the USA.
Finally, it happened again. Justin Wong returned as the Marvel champion. It's been too long since we've heard the crowds of viewers cheering his name and he definitely deserved this.
Super Smash Bros Melee The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. C9 â”‚ Mang0 (Won EVO 2013), who played as Falco, Fox, from the USA.
2nd. CRS â”‚ Hungrybox, who played as Jigglypuff, from the USA.
3rd. P4K.EMP â”‚ Armada who played as Peach, Young Link, from Sweden.
Quite possibly one of the coolest things to see this year, not only because of the competition, but because of Nintendo's support. Before the finals began, it was nice to see Reggie on screen thank the players and such. At least after last years almost nightmare, it's nice to see the turn around. Smash is not done.
Killer Instinct The series 1st year at EVO
1st. KN.RM â”‚ CDjr who played as Sadira, Jago, from the USA.
2nd. RG â”‚ Rico Suave who played as Thunder, Fulgore, Glacius, Jago, Sabrewulf, from the USA.
3rd. EG â”‚ Justin Wong who played as Sabrewulf, from the USA.
Straight up, I'm not a KI fan in the least bit. But watching the grand finals was pretty intense. Higher level play of most games can still almost always give you that tight feeling in your chest of, 'oh, that was freaking cool.'
Blazblue Chrono Phantasma The series 1st year at EVO.
1st. Garireo, who played as Litchi Faye-Ling, from Japan.
2nd. Dogura, who played as Azrael, from Japan.
3rd. BE.TSB â”‚ Dora_Bang, whoa played as Bang, from Japan.
Quite possibly the most hype matches I've ever seen for this game. The commentators were fantastic, the players were outstanding and my heart was racing every single second.
King of Fighters XIII The series 3rd year at EVO
1st. Qanba â”‚ Xiao Hai, who played as EX Iori/Mr Karate/Kim, from China.
2nd MCZ â”‚ Tokido, who played as EX Iori/Mr Karate/Chin, from Japan.
3rd. LDA â”‚ ET, who played as Clark/Mr. Karate/EX Iori, EX Iori/Mr. Karate/Kim, from Taiwan.
It's sad to see the hype for King of Fighters XIII dying off so early. It feels like it could still have a lot of life left in it, but with the past EVO champion, Reynald, unable to participate as well, some are skeptical to the future. Even the commentators felt weaker compared to last year. KoF XIV might be in the near future, but these players show case a series of beautifully executed combos and game knowledge.
Injustice: Gods Among Us The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. RG â”‚ SonicFox, who played as Batgirl, from the USA.
2nd. AK â”‚ Pig of the Hut, who played as Zod, from the USA.
3rd. IC â”‚ Mit 88, who played as Deathstroke, Aquaman, from the USA.
Having the second fewest signups this year tells a great deal for the future of the game. I'm fairly certain that most people are getting excited for Mortal Kombat X at this point, but still. It's fun to see Batgirl deliver some butt whooping.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. Twitch â”‚ JDCR, who played as Heihachi/Armour King, from South Korea.
2nd. Twitch.MCP â”‚ Gen, who played as Bob/Leo, from Japan.
3rd. BE â”‚ Ao, who played as Alisa/Miguel, from Japan.
Sadly, Tekken seems to be dying off a tad at EVO this year, seeing the fewest entries compared to the other games. However, in contrast to this, series director Katsushiro Harada displayed a new teaser trailer for Tekken 7. The Devil is returning, we just have to be patient. In the mean time, we can enjoy and get hype over one of the best Tekken games since the original Tekken Tag.
That concludes this years Evolution Championship Series main events. While this does not cover every single tournament that was played at EVO 2014, it does cover the top 8 most signed up for. Something else worth note, I felt that EVO seemed a lot more main stream this year. It makes me happy and sad at the same time. On the upside, sites like IGN and Kotaku posted coverage on it the entire weekend. it made following the events I missed a lot more convenient, not to mention archives of the grand finals matches. It was a tad sad however, to see so much advertising for things like Mountain Dew. I can understand them being a sponsor, but this is the sort of thing gamers made fun of Microsoft and Activision for with the whole Doritos and Mountain Dew giveaways. I just hope it doesn't evolve into something out of control for the future. Regardless, it was definitely one of the most hype years yet and I can't wait for next year. With games like Persona 4 Ultimax, Mortal Kombat X, Tekken 7, and possibly a new patch for Ultra Street Fighter 4 to be out in time for EVO, there's gonna be a ton of new stuff to watch.
Hope you guys enjoyed my quick coverage of the event! If you enjoyed a particular video or game, leave a comment below. Same goes for disliking. Let's spread the love of the Fighting Game Community~â™¥
While I do enjoy playing Magic The Gathering on my iPad and PS3, it seems good sportsmanship exhibited by other players rarely exists. I'd estimate that in 80-90% of the multiplayer games I'm in where it's obvious I will win the match, the other player will exit the game which causes a slow down waiting for the computer to take over for them.
I'm not sure where the lack of sportsmanship comes from. Anytime I know I'm going to lose, I give my opponent the satisfaction of finishing me off and completing the game. It's a real shame the game doesn't punish those who quit out.
Even worse than people who "quit out" is people who will take the maximum time for every move they make likely in an attempt to get you to quit once you lose patience. Magic 2015 definitely gives players way too much time to make moves.
Perhaps the anonymous nature of online interaction encourages rudeness...who knows...
Borderlands 2 is a crazy, over-the-top, hilarious, violent, gun-filled good time. But, Borderlands 2 (and the original) is also a picture of a really, really sucky future of uncontrolled arms companies doing whatever they want.
That may not be obvious at first, but let's take a look at the antagonists of the game, the Hyperion Corporation. Sure, they build guns, but they're also in the process of a violent, indiscriminate take-over of an entire world. Emphasis on the indiscriminate part. Towns of ordinary innocents (or as ordinary as you can get on Pandora) are often destroyed and the populations executed. There's a Hyperion facility that is officially titled "The Wildlife Exploitation Preserve." And they don't just run unethical elemental experiments on the local wildlife there either. They capture ordinary people, supplied by bandits (The same bunch they're supposedly on Pandora to get rid of, by the way) and run experiments on them. And don't even get me started on the laws of the Hyperion city Opportunity. Littering is punishable by death, and complaining about existing laws is considered verbal littering. Jack also admits over ECHO many times to public participation in previously mentioned executions and torturing. Also, let's not forget, that aim-stabilizing technology in Hyperion guns? For those of you who have the Borderlands 2 strategy guide, and have read the thing cover-to-cover (or maybe for those of you who don't/haven't) there's a section on each weapon manufacturer. In Hyperion's it features a few choice quotes from Jack that seem, in context, like they're used in a public, or at least inter-corporate, capacity. Said quote involves Jack admitting he stole said aim-stabilizing technology and had the original creator murdered, while he (Jack) took all the credit for the design. The man openly admits he stole intellectual property and had it's creator killed. And he's walking, no, STRUTTING around free as a bird. Probably freer, actually. Birds can't teleport or got to their private moon-station-ships shaped like their company logo that can launch mortars and deathbots on command.
Now, Hyperion is obviously the antagonistic corporation, so they may seem like a bit of an extreme case to use as evidence. Fine. Let's take a look at the Dahl Corporation. Years ago, they set up mining operations on Pandora, searching for crystals. Their unaffiliated, third-party miners discovered the Crystalisks, semi-docile alien life forms that ate and grew crystals. When the third-party miners refused orders to murder the innocent alien life forms to facilitate the process of crystal-harvesting, despite the fact that there were other areas in the planet that naturally produced crystals that could be mined, the Dahl representative in charge had them all killed. She then attempted to murder the Crystalisks, and was killed by the creatures in turn. This debacle, along with competitor Atlas muscling in, led Dahl cut it losses and leave thousands of employees and workers stranded on Pandora, including character-NPC Patricia Tannis.
Taking all this into account, I'd say a reasonable conclusion about the future the Borderlands series is depicting can be made: it's a future where corporations are apparently not regulated nor bound by laws in any fashion. They can murder and steal and go imperial and god knows what else, and no-one seems to care. Everyone knows what these corporations do since, in one of Gaige's pre-DLC-release ECHO logs, she notes that Hyperion's occupation of Pandora is apparently a subject of discussion in many news outlets. The whole galaxy somewhat knows what these corporations get up to, what they get up to being war crimes/crimes against humanity/environmental crimes/violation of workers' rights. And not one is called to account in an official capacity. The only punishment that is suffered is through their own losses of resources and the occasional death-by-angry-Vault-Hunters. These are inter-planetary arms companies. The fact that they are inter-planetary would suggest some form of inter-planetary law or government. Unfortunately, it is also apparently one that does not care what crimes it's gunsmiths commit.
In recent years, we've been witnessing myriad distribution means and financial models for getting games into gamer's hands. We've seen at least:
Good old fashion physical distribution of an entire game
Pure digital distribution of an entire game (w/ or w/out DRM)
Physical/Digital distribution of a game with DLC
Initial game sale and subsequent subscription based gaming
Subscription only gaming
Microtransaction/free to play
Physical v. Digital
Personally, I've been reflecting on this as we approach a new console generation. I've always liked the idea of physical media because you can sell/trade it (i.e. you actually own something) but also, I didn't have to worry about account issues and it feels like I can keep them around and always go back and play them. Hell, I still have an NES and SNES in the attic that I tell myself will work when I go to pick it up. Or even with the rise of emulators if felt like I could always just pop an old PlayStation game into a PC and play using an emulator because, "It's my disc, damn it!".
Now, having witnessed a few console transitions, I've seen both the positive side of digital games where a game you buy on your psp digitally is honored on your vita or from your Wii to your Wii-u, but I suspect the negative side such transfers won't happen due to backwards compatibility issues is going to happen as wel.. Digital appears to give distributors the freedom to let us carry our purchased software onto new hardware, but we're subject to the decisions of the suits.
On the flip side, I'm realizing that I'm not likely to see emulation of my 360 or PS3 so my games have as much life in them as my console itself does (or as long as replacement consoles are still available).
There's also the more palpable issue of costs. We know digital distributions saves publishers/distributors lots of money which theoretically can provide more money to the games development or potentially savings pass to us, the consumer. Look no further than for steam sales to see how great it is to impulse by something for 75% off what you might see in a local store. However, we also see the flip side of this where retailers need to clear shelf space and will sell games at a deep discount while the same game remains stubbornly expensive from a digital store front because it's just some space occupied on a server somewhere and imparts no burden to the distributor.
Fixed cost v. free to play or subscriptions
The old gold standard model of gaming was always a fixed price for a fixed game. This is always attractive because you have a easy to digest contract where you pay for a game. Here, for those of us who can wait for reviews to post, or even for a sale once it's not the newest item on the shelf. You can make an informed decision and be almost certain a game is going to be worth your hard earned cash. And, with prices that generally will decrease over time, if it's not a $60 value to you, you can wait until it hits your threshold, however much that is for. Much DLC is really a fixed cost transaction as well. Presuming you're buying an individual DLC expansion rather than a season pass where the individual entries are yet to be announced. You still can read about the DLC, weigh what you're getting for how much and just make a decision.
Free to play obviously has the advantage of "try before you buy". This is great, but at least currently, lends itself to good integration with limited genres. It also carries with it the risk of being hit over the head with the opportunity to spend money everywhere in the game. This falls short of advertising being in the corner whenever you play. But, while we all recognized they have to make money somewhere for future games to be possible, I personally, don't want to be constantly removed from the experience when I sense an obvious money grab.
Lastly, subscriptions also serve an important role in ensuring businesses have the capital they need to maintain the infrastructural necessary to provide a peak gaming experience. For many games where multi-player is key, these funds allow for frequent updates, lag free servers, and even a paywall to separate gamers casually approaching a game from those who want their multi-player experience to be more intense level. On another level, from the developer's perspective, it's a concrete way to measure user involvement in your game. If user subscriptions drop, you know that user has decided what they're getting isn't worth the money anymore. It's one more way to vote with your dollars.
Pros and cons... good and bad... no winner, right? Wrong. I think, for now, the consumer is the clear winner. We all have different priorities when we game or when we spend our money and as publishers are exploring different models to engage their customers, we have the power to navigate these options and vote with our dollars. For me, it's important to be able to hold that physical collector's edition to a franchise I adore, be able to get an expansion DLC when a game has lived up to my expectations and I want more, but it's equally important for me to be able to find those great digital deals or free to play games that let me try a game I may not have tried otherwise.
That being said, I'm sure there will be some winning and loosing strategies from the eyes of the publishers or distributors. We'll likely see less physical and more digital and less fixed cost and more a la carte, but for now, I enjoy being able to engage in some pretty diverse economic models and utilize them for their respective strengths.
After months and YEARS of people yelling at me to play Persona 4, I have decided the time is ripe. I've gotten ahold of a Playstation Vita and Persona 4 the Golden (The supposed definitive version) and will play through the game for the first time!
Alright, game started up, snazzy intro tune. Gotta love it.
This "architect" dude with the big nose is funny.
Naming my character, apparently my last name is too long. Weird we still have text limits in this day an age.
Really digging these anime cutscenes, maybe I should just go watch the anime instead?
Okay, so I'm one of those "named yet unnamed" protaganists. Awesome.
This backstory thing with the reporter or murder thing is kinda interesting. I'm guessing that come into play soon...?
I like this Dojima fellow, and of course the imouto~
Unfriendly girl? Well she DEFINITELY won't be coming into play later....
Thanks for letting me explore the town but not really.....
Think my characters on drugs or something...wtf is up with this dream?
I can see imouto getting annoying quite quickly...why is there no Japanese audio option?!
Okay....a bunch of short cutscenes for little reason....
YEAH SENSEI I JUST TALKED BACK TO YOU WHAT NOW?
Anddddd random girls hitting on MC-kun already.
Creepy guy, totally not foreshadowing....
*At this point I stopped playing for the day.*
Total playtime: 25 minutes
In-Game Days passed: 1
Hopefully this diary type thing will help motivate me to keep going!
Ai Yori Aoshi
Lets start this entry off with a quaint little romance anime that aired 10 years ago, in 2002. A second season was also created after the first season proved popular, clocking in at a total on 37 episodes including the specials. It was originally based off a seinen manga by Kou Fumizuki that ran from 1998 to 2005. It also has several visual novel that were released on various platforms including PS2 and Windows 98.
Fantastic OP (1:07 for the iconic theme)
The story is basically a love story between two people who have come together after not seeing each other for many years. The entire series centers around their love story and unlike a lot of romance anime ACTUALLY HAS A CONCLUSIVE ENDING.
This alone makes it a great show. Having watched both the anime, and having read the manga (I own all 17 volumes of the Tokyopop version) I really appreciate the differences between the two. Both manga and anime are fantastic!
Oh dear....THIS show. I watched this when it came out in October of 2009 thinking it was pretty cool. Soon, however, I realize it was actually quite terrible.
I did not know at the time but it was actually based off a visual novel that was originally released in 2008 with an Xbox 360 port in 2009.
The story reminded me of Silent Hill in a way, the main characters sister has been dead for several years when suddenly one day the sky darkens and the "Red Night" begins. Monsters and other creatures appear and the main character and his friends must survive until the Red Night ends. But soon after it starts again and the nightmare repeats itself. Terrible plot, absolutely unlikable characters, just an overall pretty bad package. The opening was pretty cool though!
I wish that fish would just eat eye-patch-kuns stupid face off.
As you all know, the Wii U came out recently. The successor to the casual gaming hit Wii, a lot of questions linger in the gamers' minds... Is the GamePad useful in the games? Will third parties support it? Will lightning strike twice?
...I don't really have the answers to those questions, but I can tell you one thing: The hardware sure is fun to play with.
Getting the system set up is pretty easily. All of the wires and pieces are either clearly labeled or clearly explained in the instructions. In fact, all of the instructions are easy to follow, making it easy for those that don't have much experience setting consoles up to be able to put together.
All the accessories that come with the Wii U are nice, too. The holder/charger is my favorite piece: If you want to set it up, you can charge the GamePad and keep it upright at the same time. You don't need to use it, either, and can just use the regular stand and plug the wire at the top for the GamePad to charge.
Speaking of the GamePad, it's remarkably light. I have small hands, and I find it easy to hold and control the action on the pad's screen, although sometimes I lose my grip a little and I can't hold it straight. Also of note is that the GamePad needs to be charged via AC; unlike the 360 and PS3, you can't plug it into the system. This can be either great or terrible, depending on if you have outlets available, but it didn't affect me in any way.
After getting it set up, I finally get to turn on the system. The console slowly takes you through the steps of setting up the system, setting the GamePad to be used as an alternate remote control, and after the infamously long update, make a Nintendo Network ID. The process is simple: You create a Mii (or import one from the 3DS or a QR Code), input some information, and NIntendo sends you a confirmation code via e-mail that you input later. You can create multiple accounts, which helps to keep settings and save files separate. Although I can't test it myself yet, it's assumed that all accounts can access any downloadable game on the console.
Okay, now to the real fun. We have the console updated, and an ID created, and now we can actually play on the Wii U. The first thing you'll notice is the Miis swarming your screen. The Miis say things, or show off pictures... and this is the Miiverse at work, which I'll get to in a bit.
On the GamePad screen are the various functions, apps, and downloadable games, styled similar to the 3DS. You can click on the icon to start the application, or hold on it for a second or two to be able to organize them. It's simple enough. At the very bottom, outside of the boxes are the functions that Nintendo deemed most important for the system, including Notifications, TVii, and more... and this includes Miiverse.
Miiverse is a truly wondrous thing. People can post short comments, screenshots, or hand-drawn pictures on various little 'communities' (there's a community for each game and app). These Twitter-like posts can be seen by the world, and you can 'Yeah!' them (Miiverse's equivalent to liking). You can follow people whose posts you like, as well as easily see your friends' posts. It's remarkably easy to waste a lot of time in Miiverse, looking at peoples masterpieces and comments, checking in on what your friends think of the games they're playing, and posting your own comments. A lot of people are constantly posting, too, so Miiverse isn't likely to become stagnant in a while.
The best thing about Miiverse is that you can post things while you're actually in a game. Unlike the 3DS, which can't multitask, you can stop in the middle of a Wii U game and post about it in the Miiverse right then and there. This usually gets it tagged with the area/level you're in, and you can even post a screenshot with your comment. Making the application so accessible makes it worthwhile to actually use for your little gaming quips.
Another application that was important to me was the Wii Channel. You can't simply put in a Wii game and start playing from there; you have to launch the Wii Channel first. The Wii Channel is basically a Wii emulator. When you launch it, you're taken to a Wii menu, complete with some basic channels and the data transfer channel, so you can transfer all your Wii data up. From here, you can launch any Wii games, in addition to any Virtual Console and WiiWare games. It's important to note that the Wii Shop is not integrated into the Wii U's eShop, so if you want a VC or WiiWare game on the system (that you're not transferring), not only will you have to go into the Wii Channel to get it, but you'll need Wii Points to buy it. This is a little annoying, considering that the eShop simply uses money for their transactions. You also can't make it so that the WiiWare and VC games able to launch from the Wii U menu, so that's an added annoyance. However, it could be far worse, and there could always be updates in the future to make the Wii Channel more streamlined.
As for the eShop itself, it's really easy to navigate. Anyone that has tried to find stuff in any of Nintendo's past stores will know that it's a massive pain to navigate, but this one is different. The eShop separates full and indie games clearly, as well as easily providing information about the games at hand. I haven't quite figured out how to add a game to my wishlist, though...
So, to put it bluntly, the Wii U's pretty awesome. I wasn't able to check out all the functions (I don't have any TV/movie watching services at the moment, and I've yet to play an actual game), but it seems Nintendo really stepped up their game. The interface is easy and fun to use, there's no more tedious Friend Codes to remember, and it's easy to hold the seemingly over-sized GamePad in your hand. Of course, great hardware has to be backed up by great software in order to really succeed, and that's something Nintendo will have to show in the coming months in order for the Wii U to flourish. The Wii U does have a solid grounding in its hardware, however, so here's to hoping that the system has the chance to succeed.
What do you think of the Wii U thus far, from your own experiences or others' opinions? Awesome? A failure to be? Only caring about how the games themselves play? Let me know in the comments!
Metal Gear Solid is considered a classic. The game, the way it was presented, and its cinematic approach came together to create an experience unseen in the gaming world at the time. The 1998 game was met with fantastic reviews and cemented Hideo Kojima as a name many gamers will remember.
Fans waited three years for a sequel. The original version of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was for the PlayStation 2, and took advantage of the new consoles increased capabilities to take the series to the next level. However, over ten years later, does MGS2 stand the test of time?
Let's be honest, the hit that it was, the original MGS has not aged too gracefully. Sure, the story still stands well, but the gameplay can be stiff and the graphics are far from pretty. While the Gamecube remake The Twin Snakes exists, the mechanics can sometimes feel a bit dated.
Thankfully, Metal Gear Solid 2 does not suffer the same problem. The transition to the PlayStation 2 gave the game a huge advantage over the original, and while it's an earlier PS2 game, it still looks smooth and plays well on the original hardware. While I was playing the Substance version, I don't believe it has anything significant in terms of of the core gameplay.
Moving along, though, Metal Gear Solid 2 is much like the original in that it provides a cinematic experience. In fact, you'll likely spend more time in cutscenes and codec conversations than playing the game itself. Even so, it weaves an interesting, albeit complicated, story. The choice to use Raiden, as opposed Snake, was mostly met with outcry by fans. It's understandable, since Raiden is far from the man that Solid Snake is, but it fits well in a narrative standpoint.
The problem is with the story is that there is a bit too much of it. Even I, an avid RPG fan, got sick of all the expositions and just wanted to play the game. It gets especially bad near the end of the game, but overall it's more of a minor issue, as it seems all the explanations were needed to wrap one's head around what's going on.
Mechanically, the game plays well. It took me a while to get used to the controls, but after fiddling around and playing the Tanker mission, it became second nature. The game honestly doesn't explain the more advanced moves, but the controls menu in the main menu helps to explain everything else. MGS2 also makes little tweaks, like not having to have the key cards equipped to open doors, that help make the game easier to play.
The core game of Metal Gear Solid 2 lasts about ten to twelve hours for one playthrough, but the Substance version adds tons of goodies to play afterwards, including a ton of VR Missions, the 'Snake Tales' mode that has you playing as Solid Snake during points in the story, and even a skateboarding game. If you want to play one version of this game, you'll want to play the Substance version (which is usually the one re-released and ported).
So, Metal Gear Solid 2 stands the test of time. It improves a bit on the original Metal Gear Solid, even if it can get a bit too wordy and ambitious with the story. Many people complain about Raiden, but just think about how awesome he becomes in MGS4 and it makes the sting go away. MGS2 has a nice mix of everything you want in a Kojima game, and while it's not my favorite of the series, it's still a great game.
[i played, or rather replayed Metal Gear Solid 2 as The Backloggery Game Club game for November. You can check out stuff about the game club here. Also, for the club I wrote a very lengthy post detailing my adventures through Big Shell, which you can check out here. Careful, there's spoilers.]
Let's get one thing out the way first: Assassin's Creed 3 is a astounding game, and easily the best entry in the series. It's brought back the Templars-as-extra-anti-anti-heroes dynamic, and has the most interactive gameplay of the series, among other things. But, while running around about a week ago, I realized something. A logic/plot hole of near unparalleled proportions.
Said plot/logic hole is the fact that the Assassins of the 18th century are using mass-produced flintlock firearms. That might make sense at first; they've got Templars to kill, so they just go for a quick and readily available choice of ranged weapon. It's not the fact that they use guns that gets me. It's the fact that they aren't using their own vastly superior super-guns that ought to exist, but don't.
To understand what I just said, some context will be required:
In Assassin's Creed 2, we got the Hidden Gun attachment. It was a single-shot gun mounted in the hidden blade. We kept it for the rest of the Ezio trilogy, and in AC Revelations, we saw it's first use: Altiar using it to kill Abbas.
It's that first use that is the source of the logic/plot hole. The Hidden Gun, throughout all its uses in the Ezio trilogy, functioned in a manner superior to that of the flintlock firearms in AC3. I don't know exactly how it was reloaded, but I do know that it seemed to be much faster and a much less contrived process compared to reloading a flintlock. I'm not asking why don't the Assassins in AC3 use the hidden gun, I'm asking why on earth doesn't the Assassin Order have the best, most advanced firearms on the planet by the time the Revolutionary War rolls around?
The first use of the Hidden Gun by Altiar was in 1247. The first actual recorded use of a firearm anywhere in the world wasn't until 1390 in Vietnam, even if Russia whipped out some primitive form of hand-held gun in 1382. The point I'm trying to make is this: the Assassins invented the firearm, in the form of the Hidden Gun, over 100 years before anyone else in the world. By rights, they should have taken the base technology of the Hidden Gun and expanded upon it, creating hand-held versions that weren't bound to the Hidden Blade vambraces. The fact that the Assassins of Italy didn't already have at the very least quick-loading pistols by the time Ezio joined in 1476, 229 years later, makes no sense. They had the ultimate head-start on what would become one of the deadliest weapons in history, and they didn't take advantage of it. In Brotherhood, when the man who helped install Monteriggioni's cannons tells Ezio about rumors of "hand cannons" Ezio should have replied with "Oh yeah, we've had those for years." The Assassins should have firearms built by the Order that are far beyond anything else in the world, because the Assassins made the firearm 134 years before anyone else would. Connor shouldn't be walking around with flintlock pistols imported from Britain; he should be walking around with Assassin-made pistols akin to the clip-upgraded ones in Dishonored (it's like a revolver, but with more wood). By the time Connor joins the Assassins, they've had almost 530 years to build off of the Hidden Gun. That's more time than modern weapons development took to go from wooden flintlocks with ball-bullets to metal automatics and semi-automatics with conical bullets.
The fact that the Assassins didn't jump on this gun head-start of epic proportions and that they don't have their own ultra-advanced firearms is nothing short of astounding.
Code of Princess is an action RPG for the 3DS system developed by Agatsuma Entertainment and published by Atlus, and is considered a spiritual successor to the Sega Saturn game Guardian Heroes. I received the game today and played it for a while, and here's what I think so far.
The story starts out pretty standard RPG fare - men and monsters have lived separately in peace and never really bothered each other, until one day for some (as yet unexplained) reason the monsters decide to wage war against the humans. Cities are in panic, armies are falling, etc. etc...you've heard it all before. As monsters are attacking the kingdom of Deluxia, the king commands his daugher, the Princess Solange Blanchfluer De Lux, to take the legendary sword Deluxcalibur and escape the castle. As it turns out, monsters aren't the only problem - a group known as the Distron Army is out to find Deluxcalibur for their own purposes. Being an Atlus RPG, the story is told through still-portrait dialogue and text, most of which is voiced, but not all. The writing is good so far, and has the usual dash of humor you'd expect from an Atlus translation, like two characters named Emble and Semble who can't remember which one of them is which.The characters all have different personalities, and they're all fairly likeable, from the Princess herself to her first companion, a female thief named Ali, to the gloomy necromancer/zombie Zozo, who, despite being made of "spare" body parts, claims she is not a zombie.
All the characters you meet in the first hour or so, hero or villain, all have some defining feature that sets them apart from each other, and in some cases, sets them apart from most other typical RPG characters. As for the overall look and feel of the game, the graphics are nice, with large, detailed sprites and nicely drawn character portraits. The character designs so far are pretty typical of RPGs, but they're still nice to look at. The sound, meanwhile, took a backseat to the action most of the time. The voice-over work is done well for the most part, and the sound effects do their job, but the music doesn't really stand out. During dialogue and menus was the only time I really heard the music, in battles it may as well have not been there because it was subdued by my concentration on what was happening on screen.
So how does the game actually play? Well, at it's core, the game is a 2D beat 'em up with RPG elements. You choose your character, choose some equipment that affects your stats, and jump into arena-style battles against several opponents. I say arena style, but some of the levels are fairly open, but it's not the same type of beat 'em up as say, Final Fight where you travel through long levels. You perform attacks with A and B and can mix them up for combos, and L or R block incoming attacks. Pressing the Y button performs an attack that, if it connects, will lock you on to that opponent, and opponents you're locked on to take extra damage. Pressing X puts you in Burst mode, which is standard "overdrive" mode where your attacks do more damage, and sometimes your equipment gives Burst mode other effects such as healing.
Each stage has three "planes" that you can jump between, meaning you can jump to the foreground or background of the stage, or in the middle. The only real advantage to this is escaping enemy attacks, since enemies sometimes take a second to follow you, which gives a bit of breathing room, because there will often be a large number of enemies.
Sometimes this many, sometimes more than this many.
Which brings me to my one gripe about this game so far - the more action happening on the screen, the slower the game moves. There are framerate troubles abound, which really takes away from what would have benefited from being fast-paced experience. It's worse with the 3D slider turned up, but, fortunately, the 3D effect doesn't really add anything to the game, so you'd do better to play with the slider as low as possible. It's not enough to break the deal, mind, but it definitely hinders the overall experience somewhat.
Getting back to the topic at hand though, once you finish a brawl, your selected character is awarded XP points, and leveling up allows you to boost your characters stats - the usual stuff, HP, MP (used for special attacks, which are done via fighting game-style button combinations) defense and so on. You're also awarded new equipment, which changes your stats in various ways, or simply provides extra benefits like defense against fire or added effects to your Burst mode. If you spend a lot of time with one character and level him or her up constantly, then decide to switch, you may find your new chosen character isn't strong enough, and that's where free play mode comes in. It's pretty much what it sounds like - play any level you've already cleared, with any character. There are also multiplayer modes, versus and co-op, neither of which I've tried or probably will try.
All in all, Code of Princess is a fun game so far, one only hindered by some framerate issues that don't ruin the game, but certainly detract from it. But I've had a lot of fun with it so far, and I can see myself spending some quality time with it. If you've been on the fence about buying this game, I hope my impressions will help you reach a conclusion.
So barrel sorta got me thinking about doing something like this, and I though it'd be fun so why not?
Basically, I'm a digital hoarder. I have 6TB worth of storage, not counting the drive I boot off of. The large majority of the these drives are full, or almost full. I am what some may call, a digital hoarder.
Basically just summarizing some stuff I come across, what I thought of it when I originally watched it (if I DID watch it) and what score I originally gave it.
First we'll start with _Summer, or Underbar Summer as it's sometimes called. This 2 episode OVA (with 2 short specials) is one of the many OVA's based off a Visual Novel. The original PC VN was released in 2005, but proved popular enough to warrant a PS2 port in the summer of 2006. The first of the two OVA episodes released in October of 2006, with an updated version of the VN (Vista compatible!) releasing two months later. The final OVA episode came out the following year, in January of 2007. That was the last anyone has ever heard of _Summer.
Enter: me, fresh onto an anime binge and willing to watch just about anything. Two OVA episodes later, I sat scratching my head, wondering what exactly the point of _Summer was. So I checked out the VN. Turns out, the OVA actually encompasses the VN fairly well. The story is about a boy who makes it his goal to find love in his last year of high school. It's not well written, and it's fairly forgettable. But somehow it has a slight charm to it that I still can't shake.
Abashiri Ikka - The Abashiri Family
A 4 episode OVA based off a Go Nagai manga series that ran in Weekly Shonen Champion in the 80's. It was adapted in 1991 and later released in the US by ADV Films. The story centers around the Abashiri family, a group of hardcore criminals who are feared by all. The series leans more toward violent gag comedy, though it leans slightly toward erotic comedy at times as well.
I originally remember watching this on VHS at a friends house many years ago, and finally rediscovered it a few years ago. Rewatching it, it holds up fairly well. A short but enjoyable little film (the ADV VHS merged the 4 episodes into one "movie"). It's humour is still comes across, and I laughed a few times.
Hope this proved enjoyable, or at least semi-informative. Maybe you'll be tempted to watch some stuff you've never heard of before. Leave a comment letting me know!
Take Custom Robo, mix it with a 2D action platformer, and take a pinch of Super Smash Bros., and you have Megabyte Punch. It creates for a fun experience, and one that has the potential to be something great.
Let me start by saying that this game's still in Alpha; in other words, it's not complete and won't be until 2013. However, the playable build that I tried was very well crafted. I only ran into one noticeable bug (using a certain uppercut move in the wrong places could get items stuck in the wall), and the game played like it was a final release. There isn't full enemy variety yet, and I don't believe all the levels are completed, but it's very much playable and worth checking out. You would have to pre-order to get access to the builds, however.
Anyway, the story revolves around this small technological world. As a Megac, you're going to join the Tournament, who pits the strongest against each other to see who's the strongest of them all. And... that's it. The story's not why you're going to play this game.
Megabyte's strength lies in its simple, yet deep and fun gameplay mechanics. The game is a 2DE action platformer, and you beat enemies up in order to progress. When you beat these enemies, you get two things: Bits (which give you more lives, but nothing else until a future build) and parts. Parts are what make this game a blast: You can customize your Megac in a number of ways, building a speedy melee guy or a tanky defensive man, or anywhere in between. Some parts also give you special abilities, which are mapped to to the control pad (or arrow buttons) and are executed Super Smash Bros. style. The parts are what make a decent game a lot more fun; you'll spend a lot of time experimenting with new parts and combinations, figuring out what's right for you.
The game consists of several stages, with a hub town to explore and switch your parts freely in. Each stages is further broken down into levels, which are pretty large and reward exploration with hard-to-find enemies to beat up and new colors (which I'm not sure if you can use yet). After you gets through the levels, you fight a boss at the end, and every changes up. Boss battles play out just like a fight in Super Smash Bros.: You and the boss are on a stage, and you want to knock the opponent out of the stage until he runs out of lives. I feel this part of the game need a little tweaking... the bosses tends to have powerful special moves, and since you can change parts on the fly in a stage, you probably won't have the right parts to combat the boss. When you lose all your lives, you have to go through all the levels again too, so it's a bit annoying when you get trounced by a boss.
All and all, this is a game to keep on the radar. It's a lot of fun, and bar a few annoying aspects, plays really well. I can't really tell anyone to go out and pre-order it just to play the alpha, but it's really shaping up to be something great. From how polished it looks and plays already, the developers really know what they're doing, and the final product will be worth the asking price. So keep on the lookout for Megabyte Punch!
So Windows 8, Microsoft's attempt at breathing new life into their traditional OS, to put it bluntly; SUCKS.
Now, I'm not one to be against change, quite the opposite rather, I welcome it, embrace it, give it ...well anyway I think change is good. Change keeps the ball rolling, helps things improve upon previous mistakes and all that fun stuff. So I decided to give Windows 8 a fair chance.
The Boot Up Time
Never before has an operating system started so quickly and so seamlessly. From the moment I press the power button to the moment I am on the "desktop", it takes under 15 seconds. Now, I upgraded to Windows 8 in conjunction with installing an SSD into my system, which likely also helped the boot time, but I am told the Win 8 boots fast no matter if its an SSD or HDD.
The OS itself...
So much wasted space
Now to the real meat and potatoes of Windows 8. The UI. The Metro UI. Probably the most controversial change Microsoft has made to their tried and true Windows platform.
Lets take the standard Windows interface, the desktop with icons and a taskbar at the bottom. To the left of the taskbar you have the start button, a nifty button that lets you access a menu to get to other regions of your PC. The right has a clock with the date, as well as icons for programs you use. Simple, effective, easy to use and understand.
Now lets take away that pesky Start Menu (You didn't really need that did you?). Lets get rid of the standard desktop as your starting point and replace it with a bunch of tiles of various shapes and sizes for different programs and apps. Lets take that useful little desktop and turn it into an app to be run alongside other apps.
How do I switch between programs if I don't have a task bar you might ask, well Microsoft has replaced the oh so annoying taskbar with a much simpler option. To see which programs you have running (because apps are fullscreen and can't be put into windowed mode) simple move your mouse to the top left of the screen, then swipe down. Voila all your open apps appear down the left hand side! Ingenious!
What about shutting your system down? The Metro UI main interface has no power off button anywhere. Or does it? Simply move your mouse to the top right of the screen, swipe down and voila there are those essential Windows functions you've been looking for! Search, Start, Options, and whats this? A Power button! Simple click that, which brings you to another menu, then click "Shut Down". So much simpler right?
Notice the third party start menu, the odd shape/spacing of the taskbar
Back to the desktop, which functions as an app, meaning every program you run in the desktop (Non-Win 8 native programs) will essentially be a program running within an app! Appception am I right? Not to mention the lack of a start button which means find programs, or anything really is incredibly out of your way as the "Search" function in the left side menu (known as the Charms menu) only searches your apps, if you want to find a program to run on your desktop app, you'll need to search within the desktop app itself (an advanced search if you will).
The taskbar it gives you is about 50% thicker than the Win 8 default taskbar, and the icons on it are about 50% larger as well making everything seem like you're running at a lower resolution than you actually are. And did I mention, you can't customize or change any of that (Well, you can...by installing 3rd party software)? Fun stuff eh?
Now the apps themselves. The new start menu has a bunch of default apps already on it, such essentials such as mail or messaging or games...etc. It's safe to say all are generally terrible. All have terrible UI's and almost every app with prompt you to "log in using your Microsoft account". The Games app for example, looks and acts very much like the Xbox 360 dashboard, complete with advertisements! Because we all want advertisements in our Minesweeper right?
The only, slightly, positive...actually I won't even say positive but amusing thing I discovered was that these Windows games have achievements. Which amused me for a good 5 minutes trying to get an achievement in Minesweeper. Other than that. Garbage, the whole lot of apps.
I'll specifically throw Skype under the bus here. Skype (being Microsoft owned) has a Win 8 app, which WON'T LET YOU LOG IN WITH YOUR EXISTING SKYPE ACCOUNT, that is unless your existing Skype account is your Microsoft account. So I ended up having to install the Windows 7 version of Skype, on the desktop app, to be able to sign in with my Skype account and have Skype windowed while I worked on a Google Doc with someone, something the app would not let me do.
Sure, the Metro UI looks nice....at first, sure the boot time improvement is nice as well. The search (when it worked) was also seemingly a bit faster (though once again that may have been the SSD not the OS) but other than that, Windows 8 seems not like a step backward but rather a step out of the world of Desktop OS's into the world of Tablet and Mobile Phone OS's where the Metro UI actually works WELL. WITH A TOUCHSCREEN. ON A DEVICE NOT MEANT FOR EXTREME MULTITASKING. Imagine that.
I feel slightly obligated to give this a score now because I did put review in the title of this post, so I'll give Windows 8....
How about you guys? Anyone made the leap yet? Anyone planning to? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below !
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR ASSASSIN'S CREED, ASSASSIN'S CREED 2, ASSASSIN'S CREED BROTHERHOOD, ASSASSIN'S CREED REVELATIONS, AND EARLY STORY POINTS OF ASSASSIN'S CREED 3. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE EXPOSED TO SPOILERS, DO NOT READ ON.
Assassin's Creed. It's a series that has come quite far since its love-it-or-hate-it debut back in 2007. Nowadays, it's up in the ranks of the most revered and most profitable series in the industry. But, I feel the need to discuss something particular about the direction the series took after the original, and something the most recent entry is now guiding it back to. The portrayal of the Templars.
The original Assassin's Creed pulled off one of the most difficult and daring story choices: it dared to ask who in the game had the moral high ground. It tossed players into a world of absolutely zero black -and-white morality, and nowhere was this more evident than with the 9 targets players killed. Now, granted, these 9 men were all terrible people in their own right, but at the same time, the game gave them righteousness and altered the perspective on their actions in their final moments, where their true reasons and motivations were revealed.
It was this that made the Templars in Assassin's Creed such great villains: the fact that almost all of them had some moral authority or redeeming factor to their seemingly terrible crimes. Talal ran a slave-trading operation, snatching people off the streets and putting them to work for the Templar order. But at the same time, he was grabbing beggars, *****s, addicts, the people in society who had nothing. He was taking the downtrodden bottom of the social ladder and giving them a purpose, along with likely some basic housing and food.
Garnier de Naplouse ran an hospital like a laboratory, conducting painful experiments. In his introduction, he orders his guards to break both legs of a escaping patient. There's no doubt that this is a man who needs to get a retractable blade shoved between his ribs. But after the deed is done, his explanation of his experiments throws every previously conceived notion out the window. He pulled his subjects from brothels, prisons, sewers. He took the criminals, the homeless, the destitute. As he puts it when Altiar says that the patients will be free to return to their homes, the places they have to go back to are scarcely any better than the hospital. He goes on to say that not only did these people have nothing physically, they were suffering mentally, and he hoped to help them by whatever means possible. He even notes his guards, calling them madmen before he did his work on them. He ends by saying he knows beyond a doubt he helped many of his patients. Whether or not the benefits of his experiments outweigh the costs is a question never answered.
Another Templar, Jubair, burned books and upstart apprentices. His reasoning was that not all knowledge was beneficial. Some knowledge was just plain wrong, some knowledge could lead people to do terrible things. He cites the Crusades as a prime example, then asks the big question: how is Altiar killing him any different from him burning books? William of Monferrat took food from the people of Acre, ran a brutal ship where crime was concerned, and conscripted citizens. He took food so that it could be rationed equally among people in times of famine, ran the brutal ship to eradicate crime (which he totally did, by the way), and conscripted people to teach them about order and discipline. The Templars in Assassin's Creed were the greatest of villains because they weren't truly evil: they were doing the wrong things for the right reasons.
This aspect to the Templars, of having a pure motive, committing an heinous act for the betterment of others, was something the following sequels apparently forgot to include. The Templars in Assassin's Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations were evil power-hungry dicks because... they were evil power-hungry dicks. There were absolutely zero redeeming qualities to most of the Templars of those three games. Marcus Barbarigo is a guy who tried to kill his best friend to get said friend's wife, and got said friend's wife anyways due to the friend's brain damage from the failed assassination attempt. Later, he steps into power as the Doge of Venice (he helped poison his predecesor, by the way), and when he's finally killed, all he has to say for himself is that he's not ready to die yet. In fact, lines like that were pretty much all any of the targets said for the rest of the Ezio trilogy, save the few times when they admitted something that advanced the plot, or made poor attempts at justifying their dickishness, like Juan Borgia's explanation of his orgy-parties as "giving the people what they wanted" and noting that he did not regret anything, or Octavian de Valois claiming that all he wanted was respect after he held a man's wife at gunpoint. The only Templar of the Ezio trilogy that even comes close to the moral-gray-area wrong-for-the-right of the first game was Vali cel Tradat, a former Assassin who betrayed the Brotherhood because the Assassin's sided with the Ottoman's against his home nation of Wallachia. His reasoning was that if the Creed couldn't let him protect his homeland and family, what good could it possibly do for the world?
So, for those keeping track, over three entire games, there was one character who only slightly evoked the moral reasoning the original nine gave. But Assassin's Creed 3 gets back to what made the Templars so compelling. It gives them back that doing-the-wrong-thing-for-the-right-reasons aspect that they've lacked in the last three titles. William Johnson tries to take the land of the natives because he knows full well that no-one, not the colonists in the cities nor the leaders in Britain care anything for their wellbeing, and he sought to protect them from threats yet but sure to come. John Pitcairn wanted to set up talks with the Patriots so that they could try and end the war through peace talks. Sure, he might've been consolidating Templar power, but he was also trying to keep a lid on a war.
Assassin's Creed 3 is almost a re-invention of the series: it stars a new protagonist, has a revamped control system, alters the in-game economy and assassin recruit system, and lets you sail a ship. But it's drawing of the thing that made the first game so compelling, and what the rest of the games in the series somehow left behind: that fact that the Templars weren't just another bunch of generic evil villains but people who want so badly to do the right thing that they're willing to commit atrocities to do so, and the idea that there's very fine line between whether the Templars of Assassins are the ones with the moral high ground, make it the best in terms of story since the original. And why the Templars in Assassin's Creed 3 are the best Templars since the original.
The Nintendo Wii launched on November 19, 2006. Six years later, the quality of the game library is still heavily debated by gamers. In my opinion, the Wii turned out to be a fantastic system with plenty of good games. In some ways, it proved that you don't need HD graphics for a quality modern game experience. Some hard-core gamers talk entirely too much smack about the Wii and dismiss it as a system for casual gamers. While it certainly has a library full of shovelware and casual games, I can name many games that were actually good or even excellent. While I certainly enjoyed my time with the Wii, it's time to move on. I have done everything with the system that I wanted to and will definitely have quite a few fond gaming memories from the system.
Without any further delay, here is my definitive Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games list. Feel free to debate the list in the comments section.
#10 Super Smash Brothers Brawl
While it's not a personal favorite of mine, there's no denying the fact that this is considered one of the top Wii games by many people. I can fully respect the competitive nature of the game and have enjoyed watching many people play it. Despite what the "hard-core" gamers might say, this is definitely a hard-core competitive game that requires skill.
#09 Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong Country Returns is actually more difficult than the original game, which was a nice touch. The level design was top notch and I can see this being considered a true "classic" in the future. The first hour of the game might have seemed a little slow, but things quickly pick up as the challenge increases. The game was certainly no "cakewalk" and deserves respect for quality level design and challenge that takes us back to the SNES days when games were hard.
#08 Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
As a longtime Resident Evil fanatic, I can't say I like the direction this game took the series in, but I can't deny that it was an awesome action game. Although the game originally came out on GCN and PS2, the Wii version immerses you in the action with motion controls at a level not seen before. I haven't played the HD version on PS3 and I probably never will considering I was satisfied with the Wii version. You can also pick up this game for $10 new on Amazon.
#07 Rock Band 2
In many ways, I feel like Rock Band and Rock Band 2 completely shattered what you get with Guitar Hero. It seems rhythm games are on the decline these days, but I had plenty of fun with Rock Band 2 when it came out. 2008 was a rather boring year for the Wii, but Rock Band 2 definitely helped the library out.
#06 No More Heroes
No More Heroes is a rather strange game that you either love or hate. I happened to love the unique title within an hour of getting it. Suda 51 games can be an acquired taste, but once you experience them, you'll be constantly trying to find out about their next games. No More Heroes had plenty of action, interesting visuals and a sense of fun with everything you do. The controls were a little funky at times, but I didn't let that deter from my experience.
#05 Super Mario Galaxy
If you consdier yourself a gamer, you absolutely need to play this game. I really don't know what to say about it other than that. There have been so many great Mario games during my lifetime, and this one destroys most of them.
Okami was originally a PS2 game, but motion controls for the game on the Wii blow the original experience out of the water. I'm not even the biggest fan of motion controls, but when they work, they definitely shine. The visual style is my favorite on the Wii and the gameplay is top notch. I will never understand why Okami didn't sell too many copies. I guess it wasn't "Call of Duty" enough for the modern gamers. I would certainly classify Okami as a masterpiece.
#03 Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenoblade Chronicles wasn't the greatest visually, but it has the best gameplay on the Wii in my opinion. We live in a day and age where quality RPGs just don't happen that often. If you like JRPGs, you owe it to yourself to experience this game, especially considering the fact that we almost never got the game here in North America. For me, Xenoblade Chronicles was the swan song for the system. Some may mention The Last Story, but I was not a fan of that game.
#02 Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2 took everything that worked with SMG and came out with an even better game. I played through the game 3 different times and felt the same level of enjoyment each time. There's really not much I can say about the game. If you haven't played it, you are in the wrong.
#01 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
It's a pretty safe bet that any Zelda game (made for Nintendo consoles) is a winner, but Twilight Princess was a special game that offers challenge combined with a rich experience. I would definitely consider it the greatest Zelda game ever made and I have played them all.
In the end, I don't see the logic in people who trash the Wii for "not having any good games". I'm pretty rigid and highly critical of games I don't like and could name off around 50 games on the Wii that I really enjoyed. Any console that has 50 games I like is a winner in my book. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Wii U. Nintendo is trying to focus harder on the core gamer this time around, so in time the Wii U might be a good buy.
Oddly enough, the GameFAQs poll of the day for October 29th was the question, â€œwhat type of enemy do you find to be the most frightening?â€ Answers consisted of humans, zombies, vampires, and demons. Humans had the highest percentage, while demons came in second. Humans and demons come in all shapes and sizes, but demons vary in a much greater degree. Some demons have different eye colors that aren“t considered normal for humans, others have different skin color, and some others will have features such as claws, wings, or three or four fingers and toes. It“s much easier to make a demon more visually scary than a human at first. It“s also easier to see them as enemies, considering such a creature an outsider, not one of you. That“s what makes it so much easier to defeat such an enemy; you don“t see demons or ghosts as one of your own kind. I have to agree with the poll“s results; Humans tend to be the most frightening. Two villains (from my favorite two RPGs!) exemplify how frightening humans can be: Kefka, from Final Fantasy VI, and Luca Blight, from Suikoden II.
WARNING! BOTH OF THESE GAMES ARE OLD, BUT THIS ENTRY INCLUDES MAJOR PLOT AND STORYLINE SPOILERS. I HAVE MENTIONED THE TWO CHARACTERS EARLY FOR THIS PURPOSE. I DO NOT INTEND TO SCARE ANYONE BY TALKING ABOUT THE TWO CHARACTERS, BUT THEY DO SOME EVIL ACTS. CONTINUE READING AT YOUR OWN RISK.
KEFKA PALAZZO (FINAL FANTASY VI)
Actually, I met Kefka back when it was still called Final Fantasy III. I“m sure many of you know that Kefka is the court mage for the Emperor in the game. The Empire experimented on him in order to infuse him with magic, but the process shattered his sanity. This loss of sanity is not only what makes the character so memorable, but it“s also what makes him one of the most scary villains I“ve ever encountered. Kefka openly states that he enjoys the suffering of others, and gleefully kills people, one of which is a morally good enemy character, General Leo. It“s a storyline event, but Kefka laughs after killing the guy.
One of his most atrocious acts is
(Go to the 6 minute mark). This crazy act leaves the entire kingdom dead, except for party member Cyan, and Kefka clearly had no problem with the poison plan, as not only was he the one that made the plan, but he actually dumped the poison into the river. Oh, and he makes a comment about how much he“ll enjoy hearing deaths before dumping the poison. But what supplanted Kefka in evilness is one thing that many villains don“t get to claim: He actually succeeds in his plan to take over the world! Actually, it“s more than that, not only does Kefka take over, he becomes God of the new world, and rules with an iron fist like no other. The world is torn asunder, and is aptly called â€œthe world of Ruinâ€.
The fact that Kefka actually manages to do what many villains do not get to, is what really made him stick out to me at that early age. At that point, I thought something like, â€œwow, Kefka won.â€ He started out as a regular human being, and then ascended into GODHOOD.
A God stands among you
He wasn“t a super solider, didn“t have a legendary weapon, nor was he a genius of any kind. His dark humor (which I probably didn“t understand at the time), his laugh, and theme song all contribute to what makes him a great character, but that one act of destroying the world just made him stand out.
Due to my age however, another villain trumps him in impactâ€¦
LUCA BLIGHT (SUIKODEN II)
Luca Blight, the â€œMad Princeâ€. Luca lives for battle, and his cruelty, bloodlust and reverence for power knows no bounds. He had a stronger impact on me, simply because of age. As I was a bit older (around 12-13 or so), I could understand things a bit more.
Luca is downright crazy. The moment that I won“t forget is a survivor is brought to him after he razes a village. He tells the survivor to get on her legs and squeal like the pig she is. He laughs; enjoying his moment of power, and then quickly kills her. Ever since that moment, every time Luca even showed up in a talking scene, I thought something scary would happen. (and yes, some scary stuff certainly happens) Anyone that has played a Suikoden game knows that the game has giant war battles, (Each game does contain a war after all) When Luca shows up in the giant war battles, you can actually fight him. Good luck with that, as his stats are insanely high, and he has no problem coming up to you. Running in fear is basically the only optionâ€¦
Until he finally brings the fight to you. The final battle with Luca is not you going into his stronghold like in many other RPGs. He decides to take the chance to destroy the rebellious army has caused him so much trouble. Unfortunately, this memorable battle is his last, but that doesn“t mean he“s not going down without a tough fight. This time, you get to fight him with your regular 6 man party, but Luca gets 3 turns, and has 3 methods of attacking 2 of which hit multiple party members, and the single attack hits one person 3 times. He“s one of the toughest fights in the game.
Even his mother couldn't love this smile
What makes Luca so scary is that he is just a normal man. There are no demons or magic that make him stronger than anyone else, no scientific experimentation, and no superpowers. He“s just a normal man. â€œI am the true face of evil!â€ I don“t doubt that proclamation at all.
Happy Halloween everyone!
A while back, Marcus brought the Indie Game Stand to our attention. The site has a neat little concept, after all: Every 96 hours, an indie game comes up, and you can pay what you want for it during that time period. Instead of have to buy bundles or pay more than Unfortunately, most of the games that have gone up on the service have been pretty... lackluster. Sure, a few of the titles might interest some, but for the most part there's nothing to write home about.
Megabyte Punch, however, is the first game that has interested me since the service went live. Megabyte Punch is a nice little 2D platformer/action game that has you customizing your Megac to try to win the Grand Tournament. The story is far from the most original, but the customization is in-depth and provides a lot of options for you to play with. The combat also feels fluid and works well on the 2D field, so the gameplay makes it a lot of fun. If you're a fan of action or beat 'em ups, you'll probably get a kick out of this game. There's also co-op and versus modes (local only, though), so you can get your friends in on the customizing action, too.
The game's currently in the alpha stage, but Reptile Games is releasing updates for the game at a regular basis, so you won't be paying for a game that's never finished. You can pay what you want on the Indie Game Stand for the next day or so (at least $1 if you want a Desura code), and you can try the demo out here if you're not quite sold on the idea. I just bought it myself... stay tuned for my thoughts pretty soon!
Many of us have strong views on many different things and while many of us carry these views with us throughout our lives, there is one place where these morals can get murky: video games. There are plenty of obvious things we leave at the door when we play games; not too many gamers would say that mass murder is a good way to solve problems, but most of us have probably taken out the population of a country by now. So what morals do we take with us and why?
The first thing is that games require you to do things to progress; most games require at least a little killing to complete and we just go along with it to continue the story. Sure not every game out there requires you to kill people, but the vast majority do. Most of the time these victims to your blood-lust are painted as generic bad guys who seem to spawn out of nowhere. You are not supposed to feel sorry for them since they only exist to provide a challenge for you to overcome.
In some games however you are supposed to feel empathy for those you are killing. Sometimes the game will give you alternatives to killing these people you are supposed to care about, but sometimes you have to kill them anyway and live with the guilt for the rest of your life.
In how many games have you robbed someone just to get an item you need or maybe just an item you want? Sure you need those items more than the NPC whose life consists of standing around and giving you quests, but you wouldn't rob someone in real life, would you? I“m going to assume that all of you said no and the reason you wouldn't rob a real person is because stealing from other people would negatively affect them and that is wrong and in my experience most people don“t like doing things that are considered wrong.
What would a doctor need medical supplies for anyway?
In a game it is different since you are the main character, the world revolves around your actions and you are stealing something to help make completing all those quests a little easier. In the real world however we are all main characters who are just trying to live the best life we can.
Now there are other things that would offend us even in a digital world, stuff like killing children and rape aren't usually things that you get to do in a game. This is because these kinds of things are so inherently wrong that putting them in a game would cause a major backlash for the developer and would also make most players feel uncomfortable. Don“t get me wrong, I think gaming can tackle dark themes and some games already have done so. The problem is if a game gave you the ability to do such dark things and didn't have repercussions or even glorified it then most players would be more than a little put off.
In Skyrim I killed off everyone in a town except the children (because I couldn't) and it made what I had done infinitely worse because that town now consisted of only three children walking around looking lost. Sure there is a mod that allows you to kill children, but there is a reason Bethesda didn't allow you to kill them in the first place. That reason being that killing children isn't part of the story nor would it give you anything (children aren't known for their great loot drops) so there is no reason in including something so morally wrong if it doesn't serve a point.
Hey kid, no lollygagging
Now there are plenty of things people don“t like, but the majority doesn't seem to mind. Some people are very religious and take offense when someone attacks their religion. We can see an example of this with the Anti-Islam video causing mass outrage in the Middle-East (because things have been so calm over there until now). Some of us would object to certain things that others would probably just shrug at.
Let“s pretend for arguments sake that I am vegan, so I don“t eat or wear animal products in real life. Now let“s say that in a game I came across some fur armor and that armor gave me +10 to my defense stat, I would make my character wear it. My real world values don“t matter when it comes to keeping my character alive with that superior armor, because it wasn't made with real fur.
The thing is that I could probably play an open world game and have my character be vegan, but what“s the point? My character can“t go out and save these digital animals from factory farming nor can he go buy some soy milk or chickpeas instead of meat. The way most games are balanced is for your character to not be vegan.
In most games food regenerates health and as in real life, meat is considered food. So sure I could go rob a farmer and carry around 50 potatoes with me, but if some meat regenerates my health more than those 50 potatoes than in my mouth it goes. I am not saving nor harming any animals by playing games a certain way.
Now sometimes there are options, like in Sims 3 you can be a vegetarian so that“s what I did (I also made my sim routinely set his house on fire) and if I recall correctly being vegetarian made your sim live longer (although his life was tragically cut short due to the constant house fires).
Maybe if you collected your newspaper I wouldn't have had to burn your house down
If given the choice I usually make my characters similar to me, but playing as a mirror of myself would be rather boring and would defeat the purpose of playing games. I don“t care if my character in a game eats meat and I don“t, it just means any barbecues we go to might be rather awkward.
The big thing to remember is that our actions only have consequences outside of gaming. You don“t need to worry about if you should attend the funeral of that guy you killed or if the NPC you robbed has property insurance. Ideally you should strive to be a pillar of justice in everything you do, but considering the earth shaking revelation that video games aren't real you can let yourself off the hook and indulge in some evil. At least that is how I justify the fact that I skinned hundreds of animals in Red Dead Redemption.
Day 3 - Sunday
Here it is, the final day. Two of my friends had to leave at 7am since they messed up on their bus tickets and there was no other time/way for them to get home. So it was just 3 of us now, so we headed to the convention center (after checking out of the hotel) and the first thing I noticed when I stood in line to get in was the extreme amount of young children.
Apparently Sunday, kids get in for free. I don't know about you, but bringing your small children to a massive convention thats jam-packed with people isn't the best idea in my opinion. Needless to say, I saw several staff members running around with signs looking for lost children. ANYWAYS.
We ran around buying a few things (Such as my figures) until it was time for the Namco Bandai panel.
Namco Bandai Panel
We mainly went to this panel because my friend wanted to hear about the new Tales of Xillia game. They only talked about Naruto Ninja Storm 3 and Tales of Xillia. They had the directors of both game series there. However the panel was structured as Q&A but from "pre-selected" questions. That was probably the worst part about the panel. However, the two Japanese guests were awesome, especially the Naruto director who was cosplaying and making spazzy motions the whole time.
We then headed right over to the NISA panel after the Namco Bandai panel. The line was pretty long but not terrible. NISA mainly talked about their anime releases, though they did mention some of their games such as Witch and 99 Knights and Mugen Souls. They went through their releases, and talked abit about the localization questions and then revealed their December release for the first time, Umineko no naku koro ni, When the Seagulls Cry. They also gave out some freebies via lottery and my friend actually one an Anohana blanket from them!
After the NISA panel we went over to the Persona booth and tried to win a Teddy standee, which we didn't, but we saw some cool Persona cosplay. After that we were pooped so we left and chilled at a restaurant until our bus showed up. Was quite a long exhausting weekend but I had a blast!
Day 2 - Saturday
Saturday is always the most crowded day, so despite getting up bright and early and arriving outside the convention center before it opened the crowds were already out in force.
Me and one of my friends had already decided that the first order of business would be making a beeline to the Capcom booth. My other three friends (including to the one who missed most of Friday) just wandered about the convention making more purchases.
At the Capcom booth we first jumped on the Marvel vs Capcom HD remake (I think? My friend kind of dragged me to this one) and I proceeded to get my a$$ kicked, since I have no strategy when it comes to fighting games. We did get a sweet poster out of it though. I also tried a bit of the Okami HD demo booth, and that game looks GORGEOUS, despite owning a physical copy I'm very tempted to get this version as well.
We then swung around to the Devil May Cry reboot demo booth, in a line that lasted almost an hour and a half. The game itself looks pretty good, and despite not really being a DMC fan I feel as if I'll be picking this up eventually.
We then jumped over to the Monster Hunter booths, and we tried our hand at both the 3DS and WiiU versions. The WiiU, despite not impressing me on a graphical level, really got me interested with the creative use of the tablet controller. We also played a bit with the WiiU at the Nintendo booth, though we didn't spend too much time there since it was crowded as HELL. Sony also had a booth for God of War Ascension and some other first party titles that were equally as crowded.
We also jumped in the line for Lost Planet 3 since it was pretty short, and that game, while I'm still not the biggest fan, is looking better than Lost Planet 2 at least.
Finally we hopped into a round of Darkstalkers (once again, I lost) which, to my knowledge, is barely even an HD remake more of just a re-release on XBL and PSN.
We then checked out the artist alley, which was overall pretty bad this year even though it was much larger. We met up with the other half of our group and went back to the hotel to take a break. After a quick pit stop we walked over to the Kinokuniya import bookstore, which is one of my favorite places to go in NYC. I bought some import magazines, as did my friend.
Then we went back to the convention and went to the Yen Press panel, which due to some GENIUS planning on the convention's part was located on a stage in the middle of the bottom floor showroom, next to the Autograph Booth, the Quidditch Pitch and Performing stage.
Needless to say it was very loud and hard to hear anything the poor Yen Press guy was saying. He announced a few new series, and a continuation of some of their most popular titles such as Highschool of the Dead (Now in full-colored collectors editions) and K-ON. The panel was supposed to last 45 minutes but after 15 minutes they gave up and handed out a volume of either their Durarara or Black Butler manga. What was funny was that during the panel there were maybe 2 dozen people in attendence but the moment they started handing out manga crowds starting swarming over. I hope this disaster of a panel doesn't scare off Yen Press for next year...
We left the convention, picked up some Chinese food and watched anime and played the anime quiz game I made.
Day 3 next...
So instead of making a forum thread or something about my trip I decided to throw it all together in a blog, so lets see how this works out, I'll be making a post for each day and then a swag post at the end.
*I'm going to post all the pictures at the end of the article to make it easier on the eyes.*
So as many of you might know, I currently live in the wonderful state of Ohio. Ohio as many of you hopefuly know, is quite a ways away from New York, let alone Manhatten. As it were, I ended up making the 6 hour drive to my old town in New Jersey, where I met up with friends who were attending the con with me. We then hopped on a bus for a 2 hour ride to the city. Total travel time so far, a little over 8 hours. Not too shabby.
We arrived in the city at 11 in the morning, about an hour after the con had opened. We headed over to the hotel first to drop off our bags. Thankfully the bus stop, hotel and convention were all within a 6 block radius of each other. The hotel was great, but more on that later.
The convention center seemed a bit less crowded than last year, owing to the fact that it was Friday rather than a weekend day. We meandered about the show floor for a while before going to out first panel, the Sunrise Panel.
The panel itself was more or less an array of Sunrise's executives and studio heads announcing new titles to be released soon. However they were very charismatic and interesting to listen to, even though most of them had a translator.
The titles they announced:
Phi Brain season 3 (2013)
Daily Lives of Highschool Boys (already released)
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere season 2 (recently ended)
Binbougami ga! (recently ended)
Battle Spirits another season (I know nothing about this show)
Gintama (going to continue until further notice)
Love Live! (2013)
Accelworld (Already released)
Gundam Seed Remake (2013)
Gundam Unicorn final episodes coming 2013
The creators of these various shows were all there and talked about their shows. The highlight would have to be the creator/director of Binbougami ga / Daily Lives of Highschool Boys , who cosplayed as a "highschool boy" and wore a "binbougami" hat (Binbougami means God of Poverty in Japanese).
After the Sunrise panel we strolled around the convention some more, and my friends all bought stuff. One bought Disgaea DS, two dot.hack games and a Megaman game for PS2. The other two friends bought assorted wallscrolls, a Yoko Dakimakura, among other things. We then headed for our last event of the day, the Robot Chicken panel.
Probably the biggest panel on Friday, it was set in the IGN theatre and unfortunately no recording or photography was allowed so I have no pictures of it. However the panel was fantastic, and I'm not even a huge Robot Chicken fan! Seth Green was there, along with various other people associated with the show and guest panelist Macaulay Culkin. They showed off some clips of the upcoming season of Robot Chicken and then launched right into Q&A. Most of the question were meant to be humourous rather than serious, and I felt it worked better that way for this panel. A good majority of the questions were, of course, sexual.
After the panel we stumbled across Mo Chocolate, who, if you don't know, was a contestant of Sony's PSN reality show The Tester. We met up with a friend who was unfortunately not able to make it to NYC until around 6pm because of an exam he had that day. We were pretty beat after that long day so we just headed back to the hotel.
The hotel itself was great, we stayed at the Staybridge Suites, but we ran into a bit of a snag when I realized that although I had made and paid for the reservation, to be able to check in you need to be at least 21 years old. That little technicality cost us about an hour of time but due to some quick thinking we were eventually able to check in. The room was fantastic, a two double bed room with a kitchen, which was just the right size for our group of five. Two of my friends had brought a suitcase full of rice, jerky, seaweed, ramen, kimchi, and various other foodstuffs. Yeah, don't ask. I just grabbed two slices of delicious NYC pizza for $2 earlier.
Day 2 to follow....
Yoichi Fujita wearing a binbougami hat
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: 505 Games
Release Date: October 10, 2012
Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise is the tale of a bear. He was previously made fun of by the other bears in his prior debut, Naughty Bear (of course), and well he got mad. He did some things. Some things his psychiatrist would probably disapprove of. This is a tale of what happened after he did those things. That same mean crowd of bears not only hate him now, but they went on a vacation and didn't invite him to join them (of course)! How cruel of those bears. Now Naughty is angry once more, and this time he has a lot of new fun ways to.......deal with his enemies.
I'll admit- I haven't played the first game. I had actually been very interested in it for a while, but after seeing the very negative reviews, I lost interest. With the new game, I feared more of the same, but it seems that Behaviour Interactive has crafted a better, possibly even meatier (as a downloadable title at that), game than the previous one.
The gameplay of Panic in Paradise centers around you, Naughty Bear, traveling around a large map of one of the many locations on "Paradise Island", and well, being naughty towards other bears. This is shown through either scaring or killing the other bears in that map. There are many, MANY, different ways to kill the bears, but unfortunately the only way you can scare the bears is to do a creepy shout of sorts. I do wish there was another way to scare bears, as it is necessary if you want to get the highest score possible.
Speaking of that, there is a nice little score system in place in this game. Leaderboards and "Naughty Cups" encourage you to try and get the highest score that you can. You can gain far more score from what I like to call "psychological bear torture" instead of just stabbing every bear you see with an umbrella. You also gain a small amount of score from destroying the objects sitting around the island.
There are four objectives on each mission; kill each target bear in a specified way, and complete three optional secondary objectives. On very few missions in the game was I able to complete all four of these objectives, so luckily you only need to do the first one (which isn't TOO hard as is). There are 36 missions in the game through 11 different locations, so the game isn't low on content at all. You also may want to go back through some missions like I did to try and improve your score, which adds a bit of fun and replayability to the game.
One other fantastic aspect of this game that really adds to the replayability and fun is the unique item customization and leveling system. By stealing the costumes of bears, you can then purchase them in the store for coins, which you get for doing pretty much anything in this game. To be able to purchase weapons, you have to find them in the missions and gain an "ultra-kill" (a kill while a bear is distracted) with it.
Each piece of clothing and each weapon gives you different stats that can affect your playstyle in different ways. For example, if you wear gladiator armor, you can't sprint at all but you will be so heavily armored it will take the enemy bears a long time to get your health down halfway, let alone even kill you. By wearing new clothing and a weapon, you can level each one up individually until it is maxed out. This gives XP towards your total XP level for Naughty Bear himself. Personally I love this system of not only customization but also the leveling mechanic. It just adds a whole lot of originality to a game genre that could be very dull.
The first Naughty Bear game didn't have incredibly impressive graphics, and neither does this game, but at least it does improve upon the original's. Good lighting and semi-detailed environments make the game look very nice on the eyes. However, one major gripe I had with the graphics was that the dark levels were VERY dark. There is lighting on every level of course, but some levels had dark corners of the map (on levels that take place at night this was very prevalent) where items or destroyable objects may have been, but I couldn't see much at all in those dark places so I couldn't do anything with those items or objects. It was frustrating, but thankfully it was only really bad on one location: Greasy's Garage.
Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise is a fun game that has a few weak points but overall nothing major that breaks the game like the last one had (I heard the camera was atrocious, and in PiP it's fine). For $15, there's a lot of content and fun to be had if you can mind the somewhat repetitiveness of the game and its dark humor. It's not a game for everyone, but the newest Naughty Bear installment is a good one
I give this game a score of: 7.25/10
+Lots of customization.
+The ability to scare or kill bears however you like- it's your choice!
+36 missions, all of which take a good amount of time to complete.
+A very neat leveling system.
-The game can get repetitive after a while.
-Lighting makes it hard to see in some areas, one in particular.
-Only one way to scare bears while there is plenty of ways to kill them.
-No multiplayer, even though the first game had it, which is odd.
But wait, there's more!
That's right! As you can see from the title, I'm giving a XBLA copy of the game away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is comment below telling me the naughtiest way you would deal with Naughty Bear himself....without getting caught by him of course!
The winner will be randomly selected on Friday, October 19. I should close the entries sometime late at night PDT, and then draw a winner shortly after.
Good luck, and have fun!
Ah, Halloween--a wonderful time filled with costumes, candy, and stomachaches. To others, it's also a prime time for horror... Halloween also tends to bring out people's need for a good scare or two.
However... that's not for everyone. Frights and scares? I'm not a fan. I've never really gotten in the horror genre, be it video games, movies, or even television. That must mean Halloween's a terrible holiday for me, right? Oh, no, I still have a ton of fun! If you're like me, and not a horror fan, then try out these games... they're still quite in the spirit of the frightful holiday, but without terrible creatures chasing you with pointy objects.
Okay, so Luigi's Mansion is about navigating a ghost infested abode, which is a not uncommon horror setting. However, it's far from scary. In the game, you suck ghosts up with a vacuum cleaner, of sorts. It's more about exploring and finding stuff that it is about the scares, and that's what makes makes it a fun Halloween game. It's pretty cute, even, with Luigi and has general lack of courage exploring a place filled with ghosts. With a Luigi's Mansion themed mini-game in Nintendo Land and a sequel coming to the 3DS, you can find even more faux, Nintendo brand horror for next year.
What's Halloween without trick or treating? Nothing, of course, and that's what Costume Quest is about! Well, that and kids being kidnapped by monsters, but it's far from scary, I swear. In it, you play as a kid whose brother or sister got kidnapped by a sweets-loving monster, and you have to save them. To do so, you have to get more costumes and candy, and enlist the help of the neighborhood children. Interestingly enough, this is an RPG, and whenever you get into a battle, the children transform into awesome versions of their costumes. Who knew running around town begging for candy could be so much fun?
Gotham City Impostors
Batman's Gotham City isn't exactly the most cheerful place. So many baddies, and everything's so dark... kind of a spooky atmosphere, you could say! And what better way to celebrate that than by dressing up as your favorite dark hero (or jester villain) and beat the crap out of each other? That's a good bit of the Halloween spirit right there (and a bit of a comic convention's spirit, too)! Gotham City Impostors is a multiplayer shooter, not unlike Team Fortress 2, with different classes to try out and objectives to complete. The best part is, is recently became free to play on Steam, so there's no reason not to download it and give it a whirl.
Darkstalkers is like Capcom's forgotten little fighting series. Well, maybe not quite... I'm sure everyone knows who Morrigan is by now, even if they don't know where she's from. Anyway, it's a 2D fighter based on having the typical horrors fight each other. You got vampires, succubi, werewolves, ghosts, and even Little Red Riding Hood duking it out for... well, whatever reason, it's an early fighting game. Instead of spooky, though, the games come off as typical fighter fare, with some crazy looking characters and locales. Sometimes it's even more humorous than it would be scary. The series gameplay still holds up pretty well, too.
Decap Attack Starring Chuck D. Head
This one's sort of in the middle with it comes to scary games... while its 16-bit, generally colorful graphics and atmosphere doesn't relay a spooky mood, some of the stuff in this game is just plain weird... which, who knows, might be a little startling. Decap Attack is a platformer, with an odd premise: When your odd mummy creature attacks, he throws his head. Don't worry, there's a face on his torso, so he can see just fine if he loses it, but it's odd nevertheless. The game has some slippery controls, but is nice to boot up for a few minutes to see if it's worth the time. The Genesis game found its way on a few collections, too, so it's not too hard to find.
These games should keep the faint of heart occupied for the scariest night of the year, without any screaming or fainting! Got more games to recommend? Think I'm a pansy because I can't even play Silent Hill during the day? Let me know below!
I apologize for the late entry, as life as been a bit more crazy than usual. You will get two entries this October. So without further adoâ€¦
Contra, Battletoads & Double Dragon, Sonic the Hedgehog, and a bunch of other games from the past had lots of people try something: Cheat codes. Cheat codes are not as widely used anymore. Games used to be filled with those kinds of things. Now these are either given to you as: unlockable cheats, (which is fine), a glitch (which isn“t really a cheat code), or through a cheat device (which is something else entirely). When I talk about a cheat code, I mean inputting a sequence at the title screen, an options screen, or when you pause the game.
The greatest code of all time.
So why is it that cheat codes aren“t used anymore? Many cheats are now unlockable, so you earn the cheats from doing some kind of in game task. You may have to do some ridiculous side quest, but it“s not something completely hidden from you. You know the cheat exist. There“s also the side effect of the age of online gaming. I understand that with playing online, using cheat codes could mean playing against someone with unlimited health, maximum power-ups, or unlimited ammo. Being able to use those codes whenever you please could certainly make the online gameplay ridiculously cheap. We also have to deal with the advent of achievements and trophies. People cheating in order to "earn" achievements and trophies would mean that you end up playing the game in the way that companies don't want you to play the game. The last game I played that used cheat codes to some high degree was Scott Pilgrim. In that game, you actually unlocked new games modes by inputting a sequence at the title screen. However, I also have to give Scott Pilgrim a pass, because it harkens back to the 8 and 16 bit days of gaming, when those button sequence cheats were popular. In today's way of gaming, cheats could open the floodgates for not playing the game in a way the companies would like the game to be played. But this is in regards to console gaming. There's a different scene when it comes to the PC market.
The PC market has had mods grow in number. People get into the game“s code and modify the game itself for their own needs. That dark and gritty game can be brought to life with bright pastels while you gun down your enemies. Or maybe you just want to give your favorite character a
He joined Street Fighter?
It turns out that cheat codes have gone away due to the evolution of coding. Coding has become more complex, and with those complexities, means less room for messy code. Reddit user ZorbaTHut commented on a different story:
â€œCheats were originally introduced as a debugging mechanism. You used them to test the game. Removing them was potentially a bit difficult - old games had a lot of interconnections, and removing the cheats could actually introduce bugs - as well as irrelevant. But the games back then were simple enough that you only needed half a dozen simple cheats in order to test everything, so this worked out great.â€¦Adding a "skip this level" cheat could be equivalent to adding a "make the game unplayable" cheat.â€
Even though cheat codes are around, they don“t give off the same feeling as before. That password just means you don“t spend money on a power up now, or you get an item you just didn“t feel like searching for. The closest thing we have to traditional cheat codes now are glitches, and while those are fun, but they run the risk of messing up your game. Those fun cheats where you
You can read the rest of the Reddit conversation here.