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Another year means another series of high level play and huge upsets. Damn, this year's EVO was really hype, boasting the biggest turn out they've ever had! Not to mention some of the most diverse top 8's I've seen in certain games in a long time in terms of player's nationality and character selection. Though, that stuff you can find out about later, let's get down to the nitty gritty with this year's summary of Evolution Championship Series.
Ultra Street Fighter IV The series 7th year at EVO
1st. EG I Momochi, who played as Elena, Evil Ryu, and Ken, from Japan.
2nd. AVM I GamerBee, who played as Adon and Elena, from Taiwan.
3rd. Infiltration, who played as Abel, Akuma, Chun-Li, Decapre, Elena, Evil Ryu, Juri, and Ryu, from South Korea.
Losers finals for me was the highlight of the entire tournament, spanning almost 40 minutes of pure chaos and top level play between two of my favorite players, Infiltration and GamerBee. And while I normally would only post a video of the Grand Finals, I'm just gonna go ahead an leave the entire top 8!
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 The series 5th year at EVO
1st. BE I KaneBlueRiver, who played as Hulk/Sentinel/Haggar, from Chile.
2nd. RayRay, who played as Magneto/Doctor Doom/Sentinel, from the USA.
3rd. ApologyMan, who played as Firebrand/Doctor Doom/Super-Skrull, from the USA.
Now, as some of you may already know, I'm not the biggest Mahvel fan out there. Though, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a spectacle to see someone win EVO with a big body team, and using Hulk on point as well! In a game I've expected to always be dominated by top tiers, it was so refreshing to not see a single Vergil or even Zero in the top 3's teams.
Super Smash Bros Melee The series 3rd year at EVO
1st. A I Armada, who played as Fox, and Peach, from Sweden.
2nd. TL I HungryBox, who played as Jigglypuff, from the USA.
3rd. EG I PPMD, who played as Falco, and Marth, from the USA.
Speaking of top tiers, I feel like this is one of the few games that will never be able to break away from its current mold. While fun to watch, Melee is still one of the most cruel and unforgiving games to play on a higher level for simple mess ups. With Smash Wii U surpassing entry numbers, could this be the last year we see Melee as a main stage event?
Mortal Kombat X The series 1st year at EVO
1st. cR I SonicFox, who played as Erron Black (Outlaw), and Kitana (Royal Storm), from the USA.
2nd. PND I A F0xy Grampa, who played as Kung Lao (Buzz Saw, and Tempest), from the UK.
3rd. cR I HoneyBee, who played as D'Vorah (Swarm Queen), from Canada.
While I initially thought MKX might be the game to finally dethrone Street Fighter for hype and entrants, it just didn't live up to the rest of the year. Not to say that these matches weren't hype, but, c'mon. It's SonicFox, this guy is freaking amazing. First he won the ESL Pro League and now he's won EVO.
Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- The series 1st year at EVO.
1st. Ogawa, who used Zato-1, from Japan.
2nd. ODG I Nage, who used Faust, from Japan.
3rd. Woshige, who used Millia, from Japan.
Guilty Gear Xrd is a fun, pretty game to watch with incredibly hype and tense moments. Looking past a few...minor mistakes from the top 8, I'd say it went pretty successfully for the game's first year. Though, moving forward, it's kinda hard to imagine what will be around for next EVO. It seems like every year Arc System Works and Aksys put out a new fighter that takes over the main stage! Let's hope Guilty Gear is here to stay for a bit.
Killer Instinct The series 2nd year at EVO
1st. Rico Suave, who played as Fulgore, Glacius, Omen, Spinal, and Thunder, from the USA.
2nd. Gutter Magic, who played as Thunder, from the USA.
3rd. SleepNS, who played as Kan-Ra, from the USA.
Now, another year has passed and my knowledge of Killer Instinct has remained exactly the same, but that's okay. This years grand finals, and even top 8 in general was incredibly entertaining to watch, especially with the fantastic commentary that made me feel like I knew exactly what was happening at each and every moment.
Tekken 7 The series 1st year at EVO
1st. ORZ I Nobi, who played as Dragunov, from Japan.
2nd. BE I Ao, who played as Alisa, from Japan.
3rd. NJF I Saint, who played as Shaheen, from South Korea.
I'm the biggest Tekken expert around, I do love me some Tekken 3 though... However, when a game hasn't even had a retail release yet and you can pull together a massive tournament like this, I can't help but clap and watch in surprise to the level of play these competitors show. God this game is pretty...
Super Smash Bros Wii U The series 1st year at EVO
1st. ZeRo, who played as Diddy Kong, and Shiek, from Chile.
2nd. LLL I Mr. R, who played as Shiek, from the Netherlands.
3rd. Nairo, who played as Zero Suit Samus, from the USA.
I must say, looking over the top 8, I was quite surprised to see that only half of it contained players from the USA. Glad to see some other countries taking a liking to this game on a competitive level. Though, I'm a little sad to see Shiek and Diddy Kong in grand finals. Melee was already a tiers dominated game that it's kinda disappointing to see it's farther sequel follow in suit. Though, outside of grand finals, there was a good amount of variety.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax The series 1st year at EVO
1st. KSB I Superboy, who played as Ken Amada w/ Koromaru, from Japan.
2nd. NB I Tahichi, who played as Margaret, and Yukari Takeba, from Japan.
3rd. Hagiwara, who played as Teddie, from Japan.
Before EVO even started this year, I was pretty surprised that Ultimax even took a spot on main stage, and not to be rude, I still am. I figured the game scene was pretty lax and dead ever since Guilty Gear had come out, but watching the grand finals match of a Ken player destroying a Margaret-- Ooh! Man that was hype.
Well there we have it, another year of fighting games and another one to come. Street Fighter V is just on the horizon, a new BlazBlue already fresh with footage, Tekken 7's new retail release, and now a rumored new DLC pack for Mortal Kombat X! Phew, I wonder where we'll be next year, but it'll definitely be bigger than this year.
In case anyone is curious as just to how many people signed up for each tournament, well you can see that here!
- Ultra Street Fighter IV – 2227
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U – 1926
- Super Smash Bros. Melee – 1869
- Mortal Kombat X – 1162
- Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- – 968
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – 816
- Tekken 7 – 458
- Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – 437
- Killer Instinct – 397
Now, the last thing I'd like to do would be show a video from Maximilian, one of the FGC's most active supporter and contributor. Every year for EVO, he puts together a top 5 moments video, and here is this year's!
Alrighty, that's all! Hope everyone enjoyed EVO this year. Can't wait to see it again~
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™¥
For those of you that don't know, or haven't had the luxury of having me explain it to them, MAG Fest stands for Music and Gaming Festival. Furthermore, the basic premise of it is that a bunch of volunteers, no official group like Comic Con, get together and have a giant convention for nerds. People register their arcade cabinets, game systems, and anything else related to that sort of thing. In terms of what it's like, if you've ever been to a comic con or something like that, imagine it on a smaller scale, but open all the time with tons of stuff to do. As a side note, it's MAG Fest 12 because it's the 12th one, not for the year.
Since MAG Fest is both gaming and music related, you can expect to find a lot of unknown or not well known artists. Specifically, you can find something know as chip tunes. Basically people put like older gaming sound effects to songs and the like. This, combined with concert halls devoted to cover bands of famous gaming sound tracks makes a great nerd experience.
In the gaming sense, it was like I died and went to heaven. Since the convention or festival rather, takes place in a hotel, the majority of guests and attendees of the festival could just walk upstairs to their rooms. My hotel was directly across the street, resulting in a 2-4 minute walk every time I wanted to go to bed. If I ever really wanted to go that is. Since the convention was open all hours of the day, morning, and night, I found myself not leaving until like 4-5 AM every day and then returning around 10 AM the same day. My friend put it so eloquently that MAG Fest is essentially video game summer camp.
Now that I've caught everyone up one what to expect, I'm gonna go through each of the days and what I did for those days, trying to include some pictures as well.
Day 1 - The Journey and Arrival
Around, I wanna say 11 AM or so, my friend, whom I will refer to as Scoot for now, and I left for MAG Fest from south New Jersey. MAG Fest is located in National Harbor, MD so we had a bit of a trek ahead of us, approximately two and a half to three hours of driving. Sadly, it wasn't the most direct route. After about five minutes worth of driving, we get a call from one of our other friends, whom I will refer to a TNT Hawk, called us and claimed they forgot to purchase bread for our large supply of cold cuts. We thought it would be a cheaper solution than eating at the convention or the restaurants surrounding it.
Delay one: Scoot and I GPS a Shop Rite on the way and stop in for 2 loaves of bread. Mm, honey wheat, the best wheat. With the bread out of the way, our back seats packed with clothes, food, water, and soda we were set to go...or so I thought.
Dealy two: This was more my idea than anything. It just so happened that in the same shopping center as the Shop Rite, there was a retro selling video game store, Game Alley. So, both of us being active collector's, we stopped in to see what we could find. I picked up Xenosaga I, Xenosaga II, and Castlevania Lament of Innocence.
Finally, we hit the road by around 12:30 PM or so, enough wasted time. The road and journey was long, we saw many-a-road kill and flipped many radio stations. It wasn't terrible, and we finally arrived by around...I wanna say like 3 PM or so. It took another half an hour for us to find and deal with parking, 15 minutes to check in and lug our stuff upstairs, another 20 minutes to go back to the car, grab the food supplies, and take 'em over to TNT Hawk's room. That's where our base of operations was going to be, at least for eating and drinking. Then, *drum roll* the line for waiting for our pre-registered passes!
Side Note - Colossus Roar
Something else worth noting that I learned at MAG Fest was the Colossus roar. For those of us that have played the original X-Men arcade game, the multiplayer one, you should get this right away. Whenever he used his super special awesome move, he'd shout, incredibly loudly. Apparently at MAG Fest, this was something everyone did, and it had a sort of ripple effect. Anytime you'd hear someone scream or roar like Colossus you were supposed to do the same and make it echo throughout the convention. It was even recognized by the hotel as they put up signs asking guests not to *picture of Colossus roaring from the game* beyond this point. Classic.
And then the first good cosplayer!
Hah, lots of waiting, but the line was kind of fun. Saw a bunch of cool people, nice volunteers, lots of 3DS players, and no jerks really. As we were in line, Scoot and I decided that we didn't really have the same interests in panels or events. He was more interested in the music, I wanted to play games. SO we parted ways, not like we weren't gonna see each other again. We split up, he headed for what I assumed was the concert hall (which I never set foot in,) while I ran to what was called 'The Dungeon.'
It was here that all the gaming took place, the consoles, the arcade cabinets, the vendors and where I would spend 90% of my time.
The last big thing I did for the night was attend a panel titled Shoryu-can! The Road to EVO. And for those of you that know me, you should know I had to check it out. Much to my surprise it was a joke panel, they simply made fun of the majority of pro players in good humor and the community in general. It was actually a lot of fun. Afterwards they took us down into the The Dungeon and we played Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition V. 2012 (Street Fighter).
That about covers the end of day one! I didn't really do much in terms of panels except go to this Metroid Database type thing, but they wouldn't let us take pictures sadly. After getting my fill, we went back to TNT Hawk's room and feasted on delicious cold cuts, then Scoot and I returned to our hotel and rested until morning, or later in the morning by that time.
Day 2 - Street Fighter and Johann Sebastian Joust
I only got to bed around 3-4 AM and awoke about 9:30 AM. The big reason for waking up early is because our hotel offered a continental breakfast from 6:30 AM - 10:00 AM. I kinda felt the desire for some waffles. Not only that, but I figured getting a bit of practice in couldn't hurt. Later that day was going to be my debut in fighting game tournaments.
Long story short, I spent the majority of my spare time, until about 3 PM walking around the floor, looking at new vendors that may have set up and practiced my Street Fighter. TNT Hawk and myself had entered the tournament and as names that weren't ours were continuously called, we grew more and more nervous. Since the tournament was single elimination, meaning you lose your set you're out, we would hate to knock each other out. There wouldn't be any fun in it, we'd played so much together. Luckily I was called first and cinched my set, thus advancing into the second wave of the tournament. TNT Hawk advanced as well and boy we were pretty pumped and dancing...or we just really had to pee.
After about a half an hour of waiting, my hands going cold some, I was finally called for my second match, was was TNT Hawk, so we couldn't watch each other play and offer tips this time. I could have used them. I was eliminated from the tournament, cut down after a bad counter pick on my part. Oh well, learning experience and being in the top 32 from a group of 64 was still quite the accomplishment to me.
Feeling the need for a bit of cheering up, TNT Hawk and I scoured the floors, looking for good deals on them here vidgyas. Somehow, he recognized one of the vendors and snagged us both a pretty good deal. He got the first Clock Tower game, CIB, while I purchase La Pucelle Tactics, Gundam Battle Assault 2, and Suikoden III. Then up to his room for some chippy chips and snacks. Shortly after we returned to the Dungeon from whence we came.
Found some people playing through Megaman games, they had already gotten up to the Battle Networks by the time I took pictures, whoops.
Oh and hey, a Gran Turismo 6 set up.
Then suddenly, I experienced possibly the most nerdy game I have ever played in my life. It's called Johann Sebastian Joust. The premise of the game is actually quite simple. Up to six players hold a PS Wand, keeping it in an upright, or just stable position. Players then move around in a slow paced manner, trying to keep tempo with classical music. As the rhythm of the music increases, the threshold as to which the move wand can move is increased, meaning players can move faster or even run. The point of the game is physically strike or hit another player's wand from their hands, to be the last one standing. I apologize for the quality of pictures, people were moving and it was incredibly dark so people could see the glow of the wants better.
This shows which colors / players are still alive.
That wraps up my second day, more cold cuts, some fruit so I could pretend that I wasn't being incredibly unhealthy, and at least four bottles of water. Finally more sleep around 4 AM.
Day 3 - BlazBlu'in it up and Matthew Mercer
I hate to say it, but day 3 was pretty uneventful until later in the afternoon. To start off in the morning I simply played some Street Fighter, still a bit salty from my own stupidity the day before. After maybe like 20 or so minutes, I gave up on it, switching to a game I hadn't played since I was in Japan, BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma. Oh god I loved it, and although my main character, Ragna, feels the weakest he's ever been, I very much enjoy the changes they made and most of the new characters. For the most part I went back and forth, then one person talked themselves up and I went 40 and 0 against him. He never won a single match. Feeling rather proud of myself, I backed away, happy to have a smile again from playing a game.
A quick look at the time and I realized it was time to meet the big person I was excited for, Matthew Mercer. Firstly, he and a few other big names, John St. John and Ellen McLain to name a few were hosting a panel talking about their experiences in voice acting. It was pretty damn cool actually, but I left about a half an hour to go wait in line for autographs from them. I figured something like this would get full really fast and I was right.
After about 20 minutes of waiting, which was nothing, I finally got to meet him, he even signed my copy of Akira 25th Aniversarry on BD and Tales of Xillia. If you don't know who he is by now, Crom-Fire Emblem, Alvin-Tales of Xillia, Leon-Resident Evil 6.
And for the rest of that day I did absolutely nothing. I played a bit more fighting games, mostly in the cabinets, a few rhythm games like Pop'n, but I kinda didn't feel well. A bit of a head ache and my throat was incredibly sore from all of the Colossus roars so I thought it would be best to turn in early. Like 11:30 PM early.
Day 4 - Buy all the things and the trip home
There's a severe lack of pictures for today and that's mainly because of all the stuff we had to do on the last day. I woke up early to grab a bite to eat, might as well right? When I returned to the room to pack, Scoot was doing the same. After a bit of smooshing and squishing, we gathered up all of our things and went for the front desk to pay. And then to the car to drop off our things. After debating it, we decided to return to the Dungeon one last time, take a quick peak and see if there were any Sunday specials. Got some art work, got a few games, Street Fighter EX 3, King of Fighters '98, King of Fighters 2006, Dark Cloud. Not the most impressive thing, but I talked the guy down from what he was asking so I felt accomplished.
This is the only picture I can show due to the other two having...questionable content. *Ahem*
Scoot and I left from National Harbor, MD and arrived back in southern NJ around 2:30 PM or so. After piling my stuff in my own car, I left, headed for my own home and arrived home by quarter after three. Home sweet home.
All in all the trip was an immensely fun time, if I could do something differently, it would probably be bring meds with me. Some sort of Vitamin C booster just to avoid getting sick or feeling like crap. Other than that, I can't wait til next year! Hopefully some of you guys make it out next time too~!
So, after playing around 15 hours of Tales of Xillia, I feel there has been enough time to write a first impression. Now, if you know me, you know I love the Tales of series, favorite being Symphonia. It seems rather inevitable at this point, but I have a feeling that I will not be able to keep myself from relating this to other games in the series. I guess you“ll see that momentarily though!
When it comes to a Tales of game, it always feels impossible not to relate characters, story, combat even, to its predecessors. Sadly, I can“t help feeling that“s the vast majority of the time that I“ve been playing Xillia, I“ve been comparing it to others.
Now luckily, this doesn“t mean that I don“t like the game. No, far from it. I rather enjoy it, but for a large chunk of the 15 hours that I“ve played I can“t help but feeling I“ve seen it all before. But then again, this the Tales of series 15th anniversary game. There has to be some similarities right?
Let“s talk combat first, one of the things I love about Xillia. It“s fluid, there are simple tutorials, it feels like I can really mix and match whatever I want and not just a set combo, and most importantly, I don“t, or at least haven“t dreaded going into random encounters yet. I remember with Legendia, by the 15 hour mark I was already starting to run from every other fight! But no, Xillia combines an interesting link system with a multitude of different partners, adding tons of combinations of link artes and then chain artes to follow.
Something else worth noting is the level up system. A grid based almost skill tree set up showing prerequisite orbs and nodes needed to learn new abilities. It reminds me of the crystarium system for Final Fantasy XIII. God, I love these. Being able to choose how my character levels up in a JRPG is such a nice feeling. I mean sure, in the back of my head I know that all the characters are going to get all the nodes eventually, but just the feeling of choosing certain ones first feels...empowering? Sadly, this is also where I have a problem with the game.
Being able to choose how my characters level up, combined with constant combination of artes and link abilities tend to make battles a bit easy. I mean, I“m only playing on Normal, but I still expect some sort of challenge, like there was in Symphonia and Vesperia. Now, when I say easy, I mean I“m 15 hours into the game and have yet to lose a single character in battle. No one has died, I haven“t received a game over, I haven“t felt the need to grind. However, I might just up the difficulty to adjust for this feeling.
Just for the sake of mentioning them, the graphics are nice, cell shaded looks gorgeous as well as the animated style cut scenes. Not to mention the battles, skills and artes look great. The music as well, it sounds incredible, the transition from field to battle is just pleasant. Compared to other games like Symphonia and Vesperia, the music is a tad of a let down, but still pleasant.
In terms of story and characters, I feel like Xillia undercuts rather harshly. From the beginning of the game I couldn“t help but feel rather lost. There was no world exposition, no explanation, no time lapse given and after 15 hours of playing, I can still say the world is rather...aloof to me. Meaning that this deep back story that characters refer to rather often has yet to be fully explained. At least that“s the feeling I“m getting. The story reminds me heavily of Symphonia, but that“s not good. And the fact that you can choose to play as either Jude or Milla feels completely pointless and merely a way to get people play through the game twice. Jude is much more interesting anyway.
When I say not good, I mean more disappointing than anything. Characters as well, with the exception of a few. Milla is a boring Collette Brunel, Jude is a less serious Senel Coolidge, and the list can go on. Oddly enough, I rather enjoy Alvin as he reminds me heavily of Zelos Wilder and Yuri Lowell. This combined with the overarching feeling of...“why the hell am I going here, when the main objective is over there“ syndrome. Not to mention all of the port towns look exactly the same, and the lack of an actual overworld is incredibly disturbing.
Now like I mentioned before, I“m not having a bad experience with this game. I“m rather enjoying it, but I feel as though I“m starting to recognize a pattern with the Tales of series, a lack of originality. If this is the future of the series, I“m a bit nervous.
Current Score: 7 / 10
I look forward to finishing Xillia, I just hope Milla develops more into the main female character I“ve come to expect from the Tales of series.
So, seeing that my partner in crime, Ludono, has already posted his swag collection, I figured I should finally get off my lazy butt and take a few pictures of my own. Now, I'm a little different from him, being primarily a gamer first, and then an anime lover. My purchases clearly reflected this, as you will see, but that's not to say you won't see some anime. But I guess I'll just show you then!
So, yeah. I got like 30 games, and I believe only about 19 of them or so are for me. I'll note which ones I'm keeping and which are gifts or give away type shtuff for the time to come.
PSP Games (L to R)
- .dotHack//Link - Semi-Limited Edition (There was a DVD and BD version, I got the DVD one)
- Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave - Limited Edition
- Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere - Limited Edition
- Sword Art Online - Limited Edition
- Tales of VS
- Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave (Have both LE and Standard, the latter of which will most likely be given away!)
- Tales of the World Radiant Mythology 2
- Tales of the World Radiant Mythology 3
- Nise no Chigiri Omoide no Saki e (Visual novel thing? No idea, gonna be awesome though!)
- Jikandia: The Timeless Land
- Ragnarok Tactics
- Mana Khemia: Student Alliance
Oh hey, did I ever mention that I'm a big Tales of Series fan? No? Well, now I have almost all of them! Well, all of the PSP ones now at least. Anyway, on to...
PS3 Games (L to R)
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Japanese Collector's Edition (A gift for a friend)
- .dotHack//Versus (Also with the movie, luckily on the same disc!)
- Tales of Xillia 2 (A gift for a friend)
- Dragon's Crown with Art Book (Kinda cheating, but it was there when I got home!)
- Tales of Xillia - Collector's Edition (Same as Dragon's Crown)
Just started playing Xillia yesterday too, luckily I have a few days off so I can sink a ton of time into it, as well as anime and catching myself up on GP life!
Wii / PS2 / X360 Games (L to R)
- Little King's Story
- Namco X Capcom
- Capcom Fighting Jam (Came with some sort of DVD, a gift for a friend)
- Secret of Evangelion (Um...give away game?)
- The Last Remnant
I didn't feel like I got enough of any of these games to warrant their own section so I just combined them. PSP really seemed to dominate my purchases. Oddly enough all these next ones are gifts, I have a lot of older friends and co-workers that'd really like this stuff haha.
Super Famicom Games (L to R)
- Chrono Trigger (A gift for a friend)
- Final Fantasy V (A gift for a friend)
- Final Fantasy VI (A gift for a friend)
- Fire Emblem (A gift for a friend)
- Super Mario RPG (A gift for a friend)
- Street Fighter 2 (IN BOX, a gift for a friend)
Surprisingly, none of these games are particularly rare over in Japan, making them good 'collector's' items instead of just something to play. Or at least that's what I was going for. Luckily at least one of these next ones are actually mine!
NDS / PS1 Games (U to D, L to R, sorry weird picture)
- Fire Emblem: Shin Monsho no Nazo ~ Hikario to Kage no Eiyu
- Spectral Force Genesis
- Brave Fencer Musashiden (A gift for a friend)
- Soul Edge (A gift for a friend)
Alright so maybe most of those were friends too, but hey, they got me Christmas presents, only fair to return some sort of favor right? And these last ones are the anime related things I got, models to be specific. I was never too fond of figure collecting, but something about building a model seemed rather cool to me, especially when they're from anime I loved or greatly enjoyed.
Models (L to R)
- Valvrave Unit 1: Hito / Red
- Valvrave Unit 3: Hikaminari / Yellow (Only two released at the time or would have gotten Blue and Purple, maybe just Green as well to complete the set!)
- Shining Gundam
I plan on building those sometime in the near future as well. And that's pretty much it, so what do you think? Good or bad haul, did I waste my money or take advantage of my time over seas?
So, after one failed attempt at making this compilation, I“m going to try again! Basically, after watching EVO this year, I was super hyped, to the point where I got into the kick of dropping tons of my other games and just focusing on the fighters. Now I know not everyone loves fighters that much, or even enjoys them, but for those who do, this will be the place to go to find the some of the big happenings. In this list I will try to include the top 3 players of the big 9 games shown this year, as well as who they used and what country they were from or represented. And if I can find them, the grand finals match! Without further ado, here it is, my summary of Evolution 2013!
Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition ver.2012
1st. Xian who played as Gen, from Singapore.
2nd. Tokido who played as Akuma, from Japan.
3rd. Infiltration (Last year“s 1st place) who played as Akuma, Hakan, and Ryu, from South Korea.
Grand Finals Match: Tokido vs Xian
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
1st. Flocker who played as Zero/Vergil/Hawkeye, from the USA.
2nd. Justin Wong who played as Wolverine/Storm/Akuma, Wolverine/Spencer/Frank West, from the USA.
3rd. Angelic who played as Wolverine/Dormammu/Shuma-Gorath, from USA.
Grand Finals Match: Justin Wong vs Flocker
Injustice: Gods Among Us
1st. KDZ who played as Superman, from the USA.
2. DJT 88 who played as Doomsday and Green Lantern, from the USA.
3. NY Chris G who played as Black Adam and Green Arrow, from the USA.
Grand Finals Match: DJT 88 vs KDZ
Super Smash Bros Melee
1st. Mango who played as Falco and Fox, from the USA.
2nd. Wobbles who played as Ice Climbers, from the USA.
3rd. Hungrybox who played as Jigglypuff, from Argentina.
Grand Finals Match: Mango vs Wobbles
The King of Fighters XIII
1st. Reynald who played as Ex Kyo/Benimaru/Chin, Ex Kyo/Benimaru/Kim, Kim/Benimaru/Chin, and Benimaru/Takuma/Chin, from the USA.
2nd. Woo who played as Ryo/Kim/Mai and Ryo/Takuma/Kim, from Japan.
3rd. Mad KoF (Last year's first place) who played as King/Shen/Kim, Duo Lon/King/Kim, and Duo Lon/Kim/Shen, from South Korea.
Grand Finals Match: Woo vs Reynald
Street Fighter X Tekken ver.2013
1st. Infiltration (Last year“s first place in teams w/ Laugh.) who played as Jin/Alisa, from South Korea.
2nd Justin Wong who played as Hwoarang/Chun-Li, from the USA.
3rd. MOV who played as Law/Cammy and Law/Nina, from Japan.
Grand Finals Match: Justin Wong vs Infiltration
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
1st. CafeID Knee who played as Devil Jin/Bruce, Dragunov/Marduk, and Heihachi/Lars, from South Korea.
2nd. Eightarc Bronston who played as Ogre/Jinpachi, from the USA.
3rd. StringBean who played as Bob/Alisa, from the USA.
Grand Finals Match: CafeID Knee vs Eightarc Bronston
Mortal Kombat (2011)
1st. DJT 88 who played as Cyrax, from the USA.
2nd. REO who played as Kabal, from the USA.
3rd. My God 88 who played as Liu Kang and Sonya, from the USA.
Grand Finals Match: DJT 88 vs REO
Persona 4 Arena
1st. Yume who played as Aigis, from Japan.
2nd. Lord Knight who played as Mitsuru, from the USA.
3rd. BananaKen who played as Shadow Labrys, from the USA.
Grand Finals Match: Yume vs Lord Knight
Now that may have covered all of the matches, but there“s a few things left I“d like to say. Despite me only picking the top 3 to show to you guys, every player deserves recognition. They are the best at what they do and win or not, they are top players and competitors.
This last video is by a man named Maximillian, an avid fighting game fan, player, and video maker. He shows matches, tips, tricks, and basics for people just trying to get into the fighting gamne community. He was also at EVO this year and has been the past several years, being one of the first to play the new Killer Instinct. His channel can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Miles923?feature=watch
This video contains the top 5 hype moments of EVO and I have to say I agree with the majority of them, as I did for his 2012 top 5 as well.
Alright you guys, that“s it. Glad I actually got to finish this recap this time and I hope you enjoyed, or at least found it semi-interesting!
No, I did not play Devil Survivor, nor do I really plan to, unless I find the 3DS version for super cheap. From what I've heard, read, and even seen, there is little to relation between the first two games. Now the reason behind playing Devil Survivor 2, is largely due to the anime that just finished airing. I remember playing this game close to when it first came out, loving the premise, the difficulty, the battles, but for some reason I fell off of it. That being said, I hope to keep the two separate from each other. Now let's dive in.
The game opened up around how I expected it to, Main Character (MC,) is named, event happens, exposition and game starts. Something I didn't expect was to see first hand how everything just went to hell. The destruction, the mayhem, the death and violence that all lead up into this over arching calamity neatly presents itself between conversations and even a few cutscenes. Cutscenes...on the NDS? That's kinda impressive.
Right off the bat, the game, or at least to me is off to a great start. Even the characters that they introduce, the few that seem important, seem fleshed out, like they have more to tell or some extensive background just waiting to be explored. Combat also presented itself in an easy to learn fashion, combining turn based grid style tactics play with the abilities and enemies you'd come to expect from and Shin Megami Tensei game.
The music impresses me a great deal as well, sound effects, all incredible for the NDS. Something else I find rather important, especially when discussing NDS games is the utility of both screens. Of course, for a JRPG you can pretty much imagine what they'd be used for, top being stats and information, bottom being the plane of battle and movement.
Sadly, there are a few things that I found myself asking, 'why?' Why isn't the game fully voice acted, why aren't the graphics up to par with games like The World Ends With You. Not to mention the game feels at times rather incredibly punishing. This game is a challenge, at least on the first playthrough.
Similar to the Persona series, Devil Survivor 2 builds relationships with other characters. That is, by spending time in between battles with allies you can actually grow closer to them based on dialogue choices. As relationships grow stronger, characters will gain additional powers and even resistances to attacks and elements.
I personally love this, or at least I appreciate things like this that make me want to spend time with my team, to get to know their back stories because, guess what? They're actually interesting!
At this point I feel like I'm rambling, but bring it all to a close, I will continue to play this, definitely. I love the game, almost more so than the anime, but the random cut scenes feel almost like a tease of what the rest of the game could have been.
Current Score: 8 / 10
It may be a while before I finish Devil Survivor 2, but I look forward to bringing MC to his final destination.
Now as many of you know, I've decided to participate in the summer gaming challenge. That is, compile a list of games that other people constantly tell me I need to play and actually sit down and play them. Now I figured that since I haven't written a review in a while and the past 3 I wanted to do I waited too long to write one, I'll just do something else. This is that something.
After playing each game for a short undefined while, I'll write a quick synopsis of what I think about the game. Basically I'll be writing my first impressions of each game on my summer gaming list and then later write about how my opinion changed, how it stayed the same, or in extreme cases, couldn't even bring myself to the game. Here is my first impression.
Now I'll warn you, these things are going to have lots of personal pronouns and such since they are all my feelings and opinions. Obviously, very little planning or formatting will be followed with these.
Now, I was a little hesitant to even put Xenoblade Chronicles in my summer gaming list, but the sheer amount of people that have claimed this game to be the saving grace for the Wii. That's funny, last time I checked the Wii sold the most in the last generation compared to other consoles. Well anyway, first impressions are kind of like first dates, you need to have some good part without giving too much away, but also captivate the other into wanting to continue seeing you or playing the game in this instance.
Sadly, I felt neither of these within the first two and a half hours of playing Xenoblade Chronicles. In fact I'm actually pretty turned off by it. The introduction to the game, the intro cut scenes that is, left me feeling a bit confused and wishing someone would go into more detail about it. Then suddenly I'm thrown into battle with very little exposition except for the fact that humans are fighting these machine things called Mechons.
Alright so, in the time that I've spent playing, I'm already drastically confused, then thrown into a battle with a race of sentient machines that want to kill me, oh, and I'm not playing as the main character. For some reason this really bothers me, I mean, with the extremely short amount of time I spent playing as this weird guy that reminds me of Kaim from Lost Odyssey it could have just as easily been done in a cut scene, and then explain how to actually play later. Then again, I think I'm just nit picking there.
Then luckily I calmed down a bit, taking control of Shulk. The fact that I could honestly free roam, go where ever I wanted and possibly even ignore the main objective was like a breath of fresh air, and oh god did I take a lot of deep breaths. By the time I got to the main town I had already leveled up several times! The combat honestly didn't do much for me, or rather, not yet at least. I don't feel it's right to bash something I only have half of, but for right now it seems pretty simple. Press a to auto attack, press right to do cool special, press left to do other special, resume auto attacking until cool down is done, rinse and repeat. It's not bad, but it feels incredibly like an MMO to me, one of the reasons I wasn't too fond of Final Fantasy XII or Ni No Kuni's battle system.
Furthermore, after finishing the fights I have to stop to pick up all the treasure chests, which is taxing and rather annoying. Why not just give me the items in the results screen with the EXP and AP and SP? Would it have been that much harder?
Honestly, the story is doing absolutely nothing for me either, mainly because it feels like it hasn't even started yet. Even the characters are a little...bland? I don't know if that's the right word, but the fact that there's heart to heart conversations in which they refer to each other's past and expect me to be able to guess after spending less than 20 minutes with the character is infuriating. How the hell was I supposed to know that Shulk and Reyn got into a big fight when they were younger, or that Fiora ran out of her house or whatever?!
Something positive though since it feels like I've been ripping this game apart, I actually enjoy the art style and graphics. While this game is no Ni No Kuni in terms of visuals, it has its own charm and the fact that I didn't have to wait for a huge amount of landscape, water, town, beach etc. to render was incredible. Even the characters are interesting aesthetically, the faces and eyes remind me of an older style, but the ways their mouths move and even facial features seems like something I'd see in a more high end JRPG. Color me impressed for the most part.
After all of this though I can still say I want to continue playing, or rather, it would only be fair to continue playing. Characters might develop more, the story will definitely flush out, and the combat is bound to get better considering I still have quite the large chunk of grayed out options, not to mention I don't really understand breaking and toppling.
Current Score: 6.5 / 10
I look forward to continuing my journey in the Xenoblade Chronicles world, but as for right now, I'm nowhere near impressed.
Platform(s): PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Note: This review is based on the Playstation 3 version of the game, with some of the 3DS version played as well.
After spending around 25 hours on the game, I think I finally feel confident enough to write a full fledged review. That being said, I'd like to get something out of the way before I do so. I played very little of the 3DS version, cleared up to around episode 4, and thus I will make some comparisons when I deem fit, but the majority of the review will be about this 'HD' version.
Diving right in I'd like to say how good the animated cut scenes look in the game, definitely polished up from the 3DS counter-part. Sadly that's about all I can say in that regard. The game looked like it was still being played on a 3DS, textures were rough, character models were somewhat undefined, rough really, but the feeling lasted only for about the first 30 minutes or so of game play. Graphics aren't always a defining point of a game, but sometimes they help.
In terms of game play however, it's solid. It feels like I'm playing Resident Evil 5 again with the positioning of the camera, the shooting mechanic and statistics of the weapons, even the graphics remind me of it, and it's all glorious. While people might complain about the co-op survival horror experience, I have yet to hear anyone complain about the gameplay or controls.
Sadly, two of the big things I happened to notice right away is that there is name laser sight assisted aiming, purely reticle that slightly differs with different weapon types. While this is a little disappointing, you can quickly get used to it with enough play, luckily. The second remains the lack of co-op, despite the majority of the game being accompanied by an AI partner. In a series that has adopted co-op so hard it was a bit disappointing to not have it this time around.
Something else worth noting is the awkward use and almost requirement of the dodge mechanic, seemingly resurrected from Resident Evil 3. During almost the entirety of the game, it could be easily ignored and almost completely forgotten, except during the harder difficulties and even later in the game! Herbs become increasingly difficult to find and the enemies become much larger in numbers, making damage almost unavoidable. That's where the dodge comes in handy, the awkward, hard to time, terribly difficult to execute, life saving dodge.
Moving on from controls to environment, and even story, the game shines. I haven't been genuinely scared or even slightly afraid of a Resident Evil title in a long time. Revelations changed that though, with its tight corridors, creepy creaking ship, disgustingly disturbing monsters and diary entries, it was hard to not get in the mood.
While I believe the games have far deviated from their original story line, it's nice to see that game is tying some missing points together. Yes I was curious as to where the BSAA came from, yes I did want to know what happened between Resident Evil 4 and 5, and yes I did want to play as Jill again. However, in terms of other characters, not including Chris, I couldn't help but feel a bit underwhelmed by the new cast.
With the BSAA Director O'Brian being rather 1 dimensional and a bit hard to believe, the big and seemingly useless Parker, and the fashion confused Jessica, the future of the horror survival series seems a little weird. In every situation where the game has the player side by side with Jessica, it's hard not to comment on how half of her outfit is missing or how her hair could not possibly get in her way. Oh wait...there was a girl named Rachael with crazy hair too...
The story, as mentioned before ties in well with the exploration of the decrepit cruise ship. Players will be allowed to explore a very small area at first, teased with locked rooms and safes, similar to their counter-parts. And of course, as they progress, the player is rewarded with keys, new areas to explore, new weapons, and even new baddies to battle. This is the type of progression I have missed, as I'm sure many have, from the zombie slaying series. The slow, limited progression through an open ship/mansion/police station ties in so well that even after beating it, I was drawn to play again!
The feeling of dispair, the nightmare of finding an enemy when low on ammo, the flashing red screen of the player's death imminent and feeling of helplessness as there was no way to fix it; this is what defined the older games, and this is what easily defines Revelations to be great.
All that good and Raid Mode hasn't even been mentioned yet. Resident Evil Revelations decided to try something new, as opposed to the wildly popular Mercenaries Mode. Raid Mode consists of short sessions of the game, replaying through a few scenarios. In a similar fashion to how Borderlands handled their combat, when players shoot zombie-oozes, numbers, showing how much damage dealt, will bounce out. As the player increases their level they are able to purchase new weaponry to deal even more damage and have even more effects via mods.
Even enemies display levels, showing the player whether fight or flight is the best option in each scenario, and with three different difficulties to go through 20 different levels, there's hours upon hours to be had of fun and actual co-operative play!
+Amazing single-player experience
+Actually scary environment and disturbing scenarios
+Tons of Raid Mode to be played
-Lack of Campaign Co-op
-Easy to tell that it's a port of the 3DS version
-Uninteresting new cast
Overall: 8.5 / 10
Even after complaining about the lack of Co-op and unappealing new cast, Resident Evil Revelations is easily one of my new favorite zombie-ooze slaying games.
Now before I get into actually listing and explaining my choices, there are a few ground rules I'd like to set. Firstly, these are my choices of JRPG's and thus will not include games I haven't played, obviously. Secondly, there will only be one entry for series, so there will not be a ton of Final Fantasy entries on here! Lastly, since the term generation tends to be a little broad I'm going to define it here. Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, DS, and Sony PS3, PSP. So here we are.
5. The World Ends With You
2008 - Nintendo DS (Later ported to IOS)
Looking back at all of the JRPG's I've played in the past several years, I feel there's no way I can't mention this one. I still remember the first time I played this game and having absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I loved it. I loved the fact that I didn't know what to do, how to play, how to do well. I had become so used to the basic style of turned based combat that it baffled me to have to watch two screens at once. And to top it all off, it actually utilized a lot of what the Nintendo DS was actually made for! Top that off with a solid art style, absolutely incredible sound track, and I was hooked.
4. Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier
2009 - Nintendo DS
Ever wondered what would happen if you took Namco X Capcom and...Wait, what do you mean you've never heard of it? Alright then, how about you take the over world of Final Fantasy combined with turned based combat that has the timing and execution of a fighting game? Put that with Atlus, one of the best game companies of the generation and you have a crazy hell of a good time. As long as you don't mind ridiculous 'physics' and a bit of fan service that is. I remember how excited I was the first time I played this game, that every attack, every input was precise and needed to be practiced. That, along with a lot of other JRPG commons like a decent plot, towns with new equipment, and even a practice mode, made this one of my favorite games from the past gens and makes me even more excited to actually get Project X Zone.
3. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
2013 - PS3
Those of you who know me, know that I love anime, specifically Studio Ghibli. This game, this artistic masterpiece was a no brainer for my list, but other things really did make me wonder. While the art and even the music, performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Symphony, are absolutely incredible, the game did feel a little slow at times. Despite the pacing, the story, combat system, and amount of side content can keep you busy and entertained for a long time. As soon as the player gets into the other world they are greeted by a beautiful cell shaded over world, something that seems to be missing from a lot of JRPG's now a days. In the end it felt right to leave this game in the middle, for even after all the time I spent on the story, doing side quests, beating monsters, and even finishing the main game I never felt the urge or desire to go back and do any of the post game content. And of course now that I say that, I want to go back and play...
2. Star Ocean: The Last Hope
2009 - Xbox 360 (Later ported to PS3 as International version)
I'm going to ignore any hate I immediately get for choosing this and just explain why. For anyone that played Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, you should understand. This game has a lot of good points to start. A great battle system, good music, good story, good character development, and tons and tons of end game content! To be fair, I don't really consider the below par English voice acting a problem, considering the International version included the option for Japanese voices. Never have I had so much fun playing a game that people told me was bad, just to spin around and tell them that they were completely wrong.
1. Tales of Vesperia
2008 - Xbox 360 (Later ported to PS3 in Japan only)
Yeah, I love Tales of games and seeing as I haven't finished Tales of Graces F and Tales of Xilla isn't out yet I went with this one. That being said though, this game deserved to be ranked at #1, for me at least. A 4 player co-op, real time battle system with self taught combos, great story, character development, music, voice acting, end game content, and an over world. I can honestly say I enjoyed playing this game so much that even after earning all the achievements in the Xbox 360 version, I'm still tempted to buy it on PS3 just for the extra characters and quests. Hopefully the recent rumors of the Tales of Symphonia HD collection are true and release soon!
Honorable Mentions: Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 The Golden, Dokapon Kingdom, Lost Odyssey.
Now it's your turn! What games did you guys really enjoy from this generation? Leave a comment below with your answer~!
If you'd like to see a trailer for each game, follow the link below~
If you haven't already, please head over tohttp://afgg.wordpress.com/ for more gaming reviews and related things. Or if you're in the mood for anime, head on over to http://monthlyanimer....wordpress.com/
Thanks for reading!
Developer: Slant Six Games / Capcom
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Windows PC, Xbox 360
Release Dates: March 20th, 2012 for Consoles, May 18th, 2012 for PC
Note: This review is based on the Playstation 3 version of the game.
Alright, let's stop for a second a breath. No this isn't going to be an attack, no it's not going to be a complete bash, and with Resident Evil Revelations HD right around the corner it felt relevant. That being said, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (ORC) is by no means a great game, but not necessarily a terrible one either.
Fans of the series will no doubt be rather turned off by the third-person, cover based shooter, as opposed to the traditional tank controlled horror survival of the classic Resident Evil entrants. As I mentioned in my Resident Evil 6 review, different isn't always bad, maybe not great, but certainly not bad. Capcom needs to make fresh with the zombie slaying franchise, especially after 8 main entries (yes, Zero and Code Veronica count), a ton of spin offs, and even rail shooters.
Right off the bat, the game takes place during one of the most popular times in the Resident Evil universe, around the second and third entries. Kudos for at least understanding that a lot of fans wanted to return to this time. Even characters like Leon S. Kennedy, Jill Valentine, Claire Redfiled, and Carlos Oliviera make appearances, although unsure whether all their appearances were considered canon or not, are least nice to see.
Something important to remember about the game as well is that the squad the player belongs to are not survivors. They weren't stranded in Raccoon City, they weren't infected are trying to find a cure, they are a highly trained, armed to the teeth rag tag group of soldiers trained to deal with this kind of situation. The game never felt like it wasn't either, at least it had some continuity to how the game feels!
Campaign missions for Umbrella's personal clean up squad, the Wolfpack, prove to be quite challenging at times and rather entertaining, as well as lengthy. Chapters can take upwards of 45 minutes, and as fast as 20, sometimes less depending on skill. Add in another equally long campaign through DLC and you've sunk at least 20 hours on a coherent, co-op ride.
Something else worth noting is the level of customization. Each campaign has six characters to choose from, of which only four will follow into the fight. The six classes those characters represent are the tank like soldier, the Bio-Organic Weapon (B.O.W.) controlling field scientist, the infection curing medic, the stealthy cloaking recon, the enemy spotting surveillance, and the explosives expert demolitions. Each class has 1 of 3 powers to choose from, as well as a huge array of primary weapons and secondary hand guns. On a related note, the AI actually prove to be extremely helpful, especially during the professional runs of each chapter.
Even the online multiplayer seems fun, containing four different modes ranging from a death matches, to capture the flag, to surviving until a rescue helicopter arrives, and heroes mode, where characters will duke it out with their favorite heroes and villains from the series. Unfortunately, as experienced recently, the game does suffer from some...odd net code design, making it hard for people to join other's games. Even the lobby's, private and public alike, have an extremely small timing window for other players to join!
Sadly, the negatives don't end there either. While sometimes the AI act like you want, you'll find a lot of times where they walk in front of your shots, grenades, or refuse to heal you despite being on your last bit of health. This is further worsened by the fact that there is no way to instruct them or command them to do actions, which the game claims there is. After nearly 30 hours of campaign play and trying these commands, Ludono and I can assure the others that it is impossible unfortunately.
With a game like this, that's trying to branch out and break away from the norm set by the series, it's crucial that all the game plays right. That there are no bugs, that things work the way they were designed to work, and that the game is fun. With Operation Raccoon City you'll be lucky to get two of them from time to time.
While the hate of this game from the fans of this series feels a little unwarranted, there have definitely been moments where the game has made me stop, almost unsure if I wanted to continue. I can say now, after playing such a long amount of it that I'm glad I did not stop, that I continued to play. Despite having some easily noticeable flaws, Operation Raccoon City still has a certain charm to it, that continues to pull back to it from time to time.
+Tons of playtime to be sunk into campaign as well as a relatively fun multiplayer
+Great Co-Op experience
+Incredible amount of unlockables and customization with six different classes to play as
-Easily noticeable flaws with AI and lack of control
-Feels buggy at times especially when zombies can attack you during cut scenes
-Rather annoying squad system to invite friends to play any game type
Operation Raccon City may not be the Resident Evil game we all wanted, but it's still quite enjoyable, especially with a partner.
Thanks for reading!
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Windows PC, Xbox 360
Release Dates: October 2nd, 2012 for consoles, March 22nd 2013 for PC
Note: This review is based on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game.
Capcom's beloved 'survival-horror' franchise makes its new entry with Resident Evil 6. After the controversy and mixed opinions on Resident Evil 5, Capcom continues to try and evolve the series pasts its origins. Sadly this desire for the new leaves a lot to be desired.
Anyone ever gone to start a game and instantly been thrown into it, no menu, no choices? As soon as the player starts the game they are forced to play through a single player tutorial, somewhere much later in one of the main protagonist's, Leon Kennedy, campaign. This forced learning proves to be a little awkward, as the pacing for it doesn't seem to make much sense. One minute the main characters are limping, barely able to fight with no ammo in their handguns, the next they are completely fine, every weapon in the game at your ready to fight a random zombie horde. What a strange and awkward transition, not to mention that the majority of those weapons won't be at your disposal until much much later, it just feels like a big tease.
Then when the player finally completes it and they are able to navigate a main menu, a sigh of relief can almost be heard. Never had I been so happy to see a main menu, letting me actually decide what I want to play, and wow, there is a lot to play.
The game offers three different main campaigns that albeit a weird and complicated story, are fairly entertaining, long, and fun to play, especially with a partner. A fourth campaign can even be unlocked by completing the other three, which actually fills in a lot of the gaps of story quite nicely. Mercenaries mode also makes a comeback, with three different maps to play from as well as additional ones which can be purchased for as low as a dollar a piece.
Even after completing mercenaries with every character, as well as every campaign, my co-op partner, Ludono and I had sunk around 35-40 hours in, but we had barely scratched the surface it seems. With Resident Evil 6, there are a few downloadable modes that incorporate online cooperative and competitive play.
These modes range from a competitive version of mercenaries called Onslaught a kind of prey versus predator mode aptly named Predator, a competitive versus mode called Survivors, and an escort type mission called Siege. The maps earned and bought for mercenaries mode will also be used for these, really stretching that dollar bill of the player. Despite multiple frustrations, Ludono and myself continue to play, well into the 50-60 hours range. Guess Capcom found a way to keep players playing!
Unfortunately, tons of play time doesn't completely make up for the hiccups the game seems to suffer so badly from. Gone are the merchants from Resident Evil 4 and 5 so upgrading, or even purchasing weapons is impossible. If the player misses it in the completely linear campaign levels, they'll have to replay the entire thing. The upgrade system is instead replaced with a skill system, and with the exception of a few skills, seem to do just about nothing. These skills can be purchased after or before every mission, points being found from killing enemies or breaking jars, pots, barrels, etc.
Capcom even removed the shared inventory system and seemed to pollute the area with herbs and ammo, making it nearly impossible to ever really run out. I recall one time, only one time in the entire time Ludono and I played through our 35-40 hour campaigns, on both PS3 and X360, where either of us complained that we didn't have ammo or healing. As much hate as Resident Evil 5 receives, at least the shared inventory and partner system seemed relevant, it proved to be rather difficult to solo the game, at least the first time around.
Resident Evil 5 was actually a pretty well constructed game, at least when I played with Ludono. Bosses were difficult, or had a certain trick to beating them, the story made sense, weapons could be purchased and upgraded and even shared! Even if the horror element was taken out of the game with the addition of co-op, it still added the constant dread of hearing your partner go down or run out of ammo completely. Hell, even BSAA emblems were more fun to find than Serpent emblems. I would actually even give it game of the year when compared with Resident Evil 6.
In a long running game franchise like Resident Evil it's important to add diversity, to change the game a bit. Resident Evil 4 did and it turned out to be a huge success. People today still claim it as their favorite. This always struck me as odd, mainly because people complain about how bad the fifth and sixth games are automatically for adding co-op.
Co-op doesn't make a bad game, it doesn't make a good game, but it is something I value. Honestly if Ludono wasn't my partner through Resident Evil 6, I doubt I would have been able to stomach it, but since I played a co-op developed game with a co-op partner, it was fun and at least somewhat enjoyable to say the least. It's not fair to the company or the game to write it off because it's changing things, at least try before you criticize.
+Enjoyable co-op experience
+Hours upon hours of content, even without DLC
+DLC is actually fun and worth the few dollars!
-Uninteresting, linear, and confusing story and campaign
-Forced tutorial at start is annoying
-Too many healing items and ammo around
-Lack of upgrading weapons and sharing inventories makes diversity between players difficult
Despite Resident Evil 6's obvious flaws, it still proves to be fun and definitely worth the time and extra money as long as you have a partner to play with.
Developer: Sanzaru Games
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Playstation Vita
Release Date: Feubary 5th, 2013
ESRB: E 10+
Note: This review is based on both versions, played simultaneously.
After years of anticipation, fans can finally bring Sly Cooper and the gang home again. It has been almost 11 whole years since the last! Luckily, Sanzaru Games brings back the joy of quasi stealth platforming with some extremely interesting cross playing features with their systems.
Players may notice Sly's brand new look, although noticeably weaker on Vita, still shows a fresh take on older hero. Despite the fact that a brand new company has taken the thieving raccoon's reigns, it feels like Sucker Punch is still there in heart. A funny, interactive, and charming universe awaits anyone willing to give it a try.
Game play returns as solid as ever and veterans of the series will have little to no trouble readjusting. The combination of stealth, combat, and platforming proves to be a fresh and invigorating sensation. Sadly the game seemed to 'baby' the player maybe a little too much.
Whenever gamers encounter something new, the game forces an awkward cut scene in which one of the Sly gang will explain to another the proper way of doing things. Now that might not seem like a huge problem at first, and certainly didn't to me, but as the game stretches on, new gadgets and items are purchased, or new characters are used, it definitely gets a bit annoying being told that X is used to jump.
That being said though, it doesn't make any of the game's core mechanics any less appealing, or the hub worlds. Before starting any story related mission, the player is first thrown into a world that accurately portrays the different time line they might be visiting. This sense of freedom is almost overwhelming at first.
The over worlds are expansive, detailed, riddled with items, clues and various secrets that when obtained open different unlockables for players to obtain. This alone made replaying levels and the game a must and a rather enjoyable sequence. Furthermore, when searching for these items, the cross play between the PS3 and Vita really shines.
The PS3 version of the game actually has a feature in which the player can prop up their Vita (Which if the PS3 copy was purchased they'll have both anyway,) and use it as a sort of item detector. The hub worlds can be seen in an almost infrared vision, causing items to stand out more and make it easy to find them. Not bad for a free eh?
It actually gets better! Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time has an incredible cloud upload and download feature, making the transition between the two effortless. Furthermore, for all the trophy hunters out there, both versions have separate trophy lists that will unlock at the same time upon downloading their file from the cloud. Nice to see someone actually supporting cross play effectively between the PS3 and Vita.
The last thing worth mentioning has to be the story. Veterans of Sly 3 will instantly recognize where the story takes place...directly after the ending to the previous one to be exact! After 11 years players can finally learn what happened to Sly, how he lost his memories and how it all plays out when Carmelita realizes he's up to his thieving tricks again.
The characters, the plot, the random movie references and pokes at humor are all like a breath of fresh air. It has been a long time since a game has felt this easy going, this easy to sit down and enjoy with out getting overly frustrated r worried about deep and convoluted plots. Not to mention it's nice to have almost all the same voice actors from the original Sly games from 11 years ago!
+Engaging and easy to follow story
+Open world and tons of freedom as well as replayable missions
+Well crafted cross play and cross buy
-Sometimes holds your hand too much
-Noticeable graphic difference between PS3 and Vita
-Too many Sanzaru Games logos everywhere!
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a welcome entry to the long thought dead series, showing to everyone that platformers, especially one's with thieving raccoons are most certainly not dead.
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Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s): Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: April 16th, 2013
(Note: This review is based on the Playstation 3 version of the game.)
So after several hours of pummeling superheroes and super villains the time feels right to construct a review. NetherRealm Studios newest project, Injustice: Gods Among Us, a brutal fighting game containing heroes and villains from the DC universe and boy does it pack a wallop.
Right off the bat, the entire concept of this game made tremendous amounts of sense. Seeing as DC has recently rebooted their entire comic universe with The New 52, a fighting game containing some of the canon material of this new series ties in incredibly well. Because of this, characters and even stages are easily recognizable because of this, revisiting locations like Metropolis, The Bat Cave, and even Arkham Asylum!
Firstly, the game mechanics themselves should feel quite familiar to anyone who has played the newest Mortal Kombat, and this proves to be a great thing. Combat is simple for newcomers to understand as well as having a certain level of complexity for the more hardcore. Frame advantages, recovery frames, active frames, and even damage can all be found from the incredibly easy to maneuver moves list.
Characters feel and play almost exactly how they would be expected to play. Batman uses a bunch of nifty gadgets, Nightwing has his staff and electric sticks, Bane punches harder than the steel of a tank, and Green Arrow shoots...arrows. However, the roster did feel a little underwhelming after finally getting one's hands on the full game. Characters like Black Adam and Killer Frost may elude some players, while others like Martian Man Hunter and even Hawkman seem to be missing in action.
In terms of content however, Injustice delivers big. The single player story mode takes between 5-6 hours to complete, and also follows the example of its predecessor in which gamers can sample different heroes the game has to offer. Albeit, it was a tad disappointing to play as Batman for two and a fourth chapters of which there are only a total of 12. It would have been nice to been able to play as a few others, or even involve them in the story a tad more. Sadly, by the end of story I felt a little confused as to why certain characters were even present.
That being said though, the story wasn't bad by any means, nor are any of the single player experiences. Injustice allows players to first play through story, an arcade mode similar to that of other fighters, a mission mode where the player must complete certain tasks or win fights under certain criteria, tutorials, and of course practice mode, which is a highlight of itself! The amount of options the player can use in training mode is staggering, allowing them to see exactly where certain attacks connect, how much damage they do relative in a combo and so on. Oh, and there's also an online practice mode in which you can practice with a friend.
Online mode feels about as good as anyone would expect. There aren't any crazy modes, no resoundingly incredible lobby features, just the standards, but that's good. It's a good thing to see a game not try and go too crazy, to polish the basics and do well on them, rather than have tons of extra sub par content. King of the Hill and Survivor work as they need to, but aren't overly impressive.
What is overly impressive however was the fights themselves or rather the connection of them. Out of the 50 or so matches played online, only one, just a single match had button and input delay. That and after playing against what felt like the entire cast, it's hard to find one or two characters that can be defined as 'broken.' Sure there are things players do that make the character seem cheap, but it felt like no matter whom I was personally fighting, there was always a reason as to why I was defeated, mainly due to my lack of skill or misreading or misjudging moves.
As players continue to trek through the different modes and challenges of the game they are rewarded with XP. Once a receives enough and levels up they are then given various in game items or keys that can be used to unlock extra costumes, concept art, and even music from the game. Players can also unlock extra emblems, character images and backgrounds for their player cards, just in case you didn't look cool enough beating Superman with Harley Quinn.
All in all, Injustice: Gods Among Us may have played it a little too safe. The game plays well, works just how you'd expect it to, and feels well polished, but I can't help but feel it could have pushed some boundaries a little further. Perhaps this will change with the expansion of the roster of fighters as there are four character planned to still join the Injustice ranks.
+Copious amounts of modes and game types to play
+Accurate portrayal of characters and universe
+Very few technical hiccups or flaws with game play
-Played it a bit too safe, really lacks the wow factor
-Relatively short story that relies heavily on the player having knowledge of the DC Universe
-No Marc Hamill as the Joker!
Injustice Gods Among Us may not be winning any game of the year awards anytime soon, but it is definitely one of the most solid built games I've seen in a while.
Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher(s): Aksys Games
Platform(s): Playstation Network Digital Download, Xbox 360
Release Date: April 27th, 2010
(So, I recently made an extremely long reply to a news article pertaining to this game possibly being added to Steam. After conversing with a few friends and reviewing the post I decided to make the post into an actual review. It is my first of hopefully many for the site and I haven't really written one in a while, so if you believe I can do better, please message or speak with me detailing how I can be a better reviewer.)
Record of Agarest War can be easily described to those whom haven't played it before. Imagine Disgaea was combined with the most simple aspects of a dating simulator. Throw in a few light side/ dark side decisions as well as some risque static pictures of girls scantily dressed just for some flavor too. The end result is a game that can be equal amounts of pain as it can be pleasure.
Pain feels like it sticks out a bit more obviously in the beginning, middle, and end of the game, however one cannot exist with out the other, or at least in this game they cannot. The intro to the game provides an interesting and fresh idea unheard of in the JRPG universe, in terms story that is. A general in an army decides to break orders to try and save a young elvish girl and is thrust into a destiny that forces him and his next four generations of children to fight an unknown evil. The story actually proves to be one of the most enticing things about the game.
That being said though, combat is where the game starts feeling a little bland, and in a Tactical JRPG, a bland combat system can doom it from the start. The grid based system should be all too familiar to people whom have played games like Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics, but the newer things, AP costs, SP, combined attacks, EX fields, feel a bit overwhelming and unmanageable until much later into the game.
Sadly, combat also fails to be much of an eye catcher as the beautifully rendered character models. Instead of hi-resolution models the characters and enemies look like PS2 era pixelated sprites, similar to the early Atelier games.
This aspect is relatively disappointing because when in town or conversing with party members involving the main story or just even purchasing things at the shop, they are represented by attractive character models. That being said though, after playing the game for long enough, the story and music and even the level of customization outweighs the sub-par graphic level.
Customization can even be seen as one of the highest and best parts of the game. Throughout the entirety of each of the five generations, the main hero, you, make choices that will result in different battles, different character relations, dialogue, and can even impact the next hero! For example, at the end of generation one, based on whom you decide to wed, if you can even, will result in a different character model, weapon types, and even skill affinity for the hero of the next generation. And luckily, this feature is apparent up until the very last generation.
An even further level of customization permits pertains to party members. Not only does each generation yield multiple heroes and heroines of different shapes, sizes, colors, and skill sets, but also monsters. Record of Agarest War has a unique monster capturing system introduced later on in which you actually use monsters in battle or in exchange for useful items and equipment.
Unfortunately, being that there are five different generations, as well as a secret true ending generation, the game can start to feel like a massive time sink at times. Completion of generation one typically takes between 15-20 hours, and by the end of generation five, players are more than likely to be in the hundreds of hours. That doesn't even cover the end game content which can then stretch on even longer! Furthermore, plenty of the fights in the game can feel like they drag on, especially towards the end. Especially if the party you're using is under-leveled.
Generation five for example, can have multiple boss fights, single bouts, that lead into hour long wars, maybe even two depending on what the party's level is. Even random encounters in dungeons can lead into the half an hour region if you're not careful, and might not even yield even one level for any party member. Not to mention the game fails to explain what each level stat does or how each one works in sync with each character. If you're not careful, you could accidently turn a tank character into a glass water gun, instead of a rough power house.
Sadly, messing up character's stats early on in the game can almost make them useless for later on. In the end game especially, if any boss senses a weak character, they're usually the first target. Record of Agarest War can definitely be classified as a hard core JRPG in that sense, and very similar to Disgaea even as the game goes on, enemies stats, as well as damage output becomes so ridiculously high that in the end, the player will only be able to measure it as 'a lot,' or 'not enough.'
This aspect though made the last hundred or so hours more enjoyable, and even the start of the second play through. New Game Plus mode does exist for the game and it is glorious, almost enticing players to try again. If players choose to play on the same difficulty they will receive pretty much everything they had in the last play through, minus levels. If they choose to go up a difficulty tier then they will be able to retain money, extra skills, and upgrade points for characters and equipment. The player can also complete a certain in game tasks that will net them extra equipment, money, skills, and even upgrade points. What's really great about those is, all the rewards reset after a new game plus, but are still technically completed and just need you to claim the reward back at town.
All in all, Record of Agarest War had the potential to be something incredibly, truly redefining for the JRPG genre with it's intricate story and bride customization, but ultimately lacks the proper base components to make it amazing.
+Intricate and original story
+ Expansive customization
+Large array of party members and monster system
+Beautifully done voice acting and background music
-PS2 Era graphics while in battle
-A huge time sink
-Not for casual JRPG Gamers
Record of Agarest War proves to be an okay JRPG with a ton content that will definitely soak up large sums of time. However, due to flaws with combat and non-newbie friendly battle systems, the game seems as though it can only really appeal to the hardcore Tactic style gamers.