Thursday, 31 December 2009

More stuff.

Videogames awards aside, more stuff.

This is belated, but XED from the K7 SINdicate has opened a new site, Paradise Hotel 51 which will one day be full of cult gaming resources (and is also the current host of the forum). Shameless plugging - I write for the site now. Go and check it out. We're going to build it up to be fantastic.

Anyway, Happy New Year, everyone. It's nice to know that if you are reading this, you are still alive, unless your definition of hell is reading my blog. Please ignore the spam. I'm working on deleting it all.

Happy anniversary, Jordaan.

2nd Annual Misc. Game Awards

Another year gone. Another decade gone! And with another year comes more videogames. But for now, let's roll through this. (Another entry soon about completely unrelated stuff.)

Most bizarre announced movie tie-in
Antichrist was that one movie they showed at the Cannes Film Festival. It's so chock-full of sexual violence and all-round disturbing scenes that a bunch of people fainted. It was a pretty decent (and artsy, if that's your thing) film that was hampered by the fact that you can tell the director is a pompous, arrogant dick. That being said, it's probably one of the better horror movies I've seen in the last year. But to the point: they're making a... game?

Supposedly the game takes place after the movie ends (Willem Dafoe on top of a hill in the woods with a hole drilled through his leg). The only image this conjures up is The Path, which I babble about next.

Most pretentious and artfaggy game that I actually liked
The Path is a horror game unlike any other. Loosely based off Little Red Riding Hood, you take control of several sisters on their way to Grandma's house. Are you supposed to stray from the path. Of course, or else it wouldn't be very interesting. Exploring the woods means that you encounter and experience strange, horrific and wonderful things, learning more about your character and ultimately, how they perish.

Grandma's house is a total acid trip.

Hugest moment of regret
For my birthday, I had my heart set on getting a copy of Ryu ga Gotoku 3/Yakuza 3, because you can never hang out in too many host clubs. Of course, I didn't really think it all the way through, as you do when you have your heart set on things. Three weeks after I got my copy, it was announced that it was being localised. 'Fuck yes!' and 'Oh shit' were the two conflicting thoughts in my mind.

I have to admit that I haven't really been able to play or enjoy the game due to the language barrier either. It's easy enough to import when story isn't important and all, but goddammit. It doesn't help when you only understand maybe 5% of what's going on.

Best bargain
Digital Devil Saga is apparently one of the rarer games for the PS2. I managed to snap up its sequel, the aptly named Digital Devil Saga 2 for $5 at JB HiFi. I know they advertise their prices as being totally nuts and all, but I couldn't believe it at all.

Then a month or so later, I found a copy of DDS on Ebay for $20. Then Chip found a copy of Nocturne for $30, meaning that we got the set for $55. Compare this to the price of $167 for the full set on Ebay, and I'd say we definitely got ourselves a deal.

Most surprisingly decent game
My first reaction when I heard of Henry Hatsworth and The Puzzling Adventure was that it was going to be some Professor Layton ripoff. Admittedly, I had never seen any gameplay or read anything about the developmental stage, so when I heard that it was a platformer, I scoffed a little. And then I played it.

The result was a charming, humourous, yet challenging game. Puzzles? Well, yeah, just not Layton's brand of puzzles. Difficult platforming elements? Very much so. Enjoyable? Most definitely.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, chums and chummettes. I hope you all got what you wanted.

As for me: Uncharted 2 and Demon's Souls, fuck yeah!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Oh Ebay

Yeah, I mean...

Apparently, this is No More Heroes

As is this

I can see why they would be related to NMH, but really, that's kind of inexcusable, especially if you're trying to sell the goddamn games.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

NO MORE EXCLUSIVES!

What

The game is indeed in the latest issue of Famitsu, which reveals that it's due out in Japan on February 25. Some new stuff being added for the platform jump include Japanese voice-acting and a game mode where the ladies aren't wearing too many clothes.

Suda's got his troll face on right now, I'll bet. I think the big question everyone is asking right now is:

UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS says:
how are they going to do the fappin motion recharge

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Hero Worship


This brings the number of posters in my room up to... one.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Everyone's probably blogging about it, but...

I just played some of Chip's copy of Modern Warfare 2. Considering it's not really my kind of game, I'm very, very impressed.

Also, night vision goggles. Playing around with them for a few minutes, I can say that they are totally impractical, but a real treat in a super-special collector's edition.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

E-Penis just grew like four meters.

Today I received a review from la-raton, in which I was informed that fanart had been drawn based on that one fanfic I wrote about Alex and Travis and, um, payment for his truck drive to Shepherd's Glen.

Have a link to the fanart.

I really, really like it, especially since it's not SPARKLY KAWAII MOEMOE ANIMU bullshit.

Again, thank you la-raton!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Is it really my birthday?!

It really is. Today was a fine day.

Totally excellent presents this year!

From J: BLAZBLUE OH GOD YES. It's the Hong Kong version so the back of the cover and the manual basically shouts in Moonspeak, but the actual game itself comes with English audio/subs. And a handy, single-sheet guide as to the basic controls. I kind of wish I could understand everything in the manual, but it's nothing a little bit of googling can't help. It's a good deal of fun so far. All the characters seem to be well balanced and it sure looks pretty.

From parents: Ryu ga Gotoku 3. I bought my copy off Ebay, so it came with the preorder bonus the Japs got - a guidebook detailing the various locations and activities in the areas of the game. Also it has pictures of awful-looking women who were real-life models for the hostesses in the game. Seriously, their hairstyles are like three meters high.

From Chip: A debit card with which I originally planned to buy the original PS2 version of Flower, Sun and Rain with off Ebay, but after seeing that the graphics were really not that much of an improvement from the DS version, I skipped it. So I just downloaded Marvel vs Capcom 2. Oh boy!

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. It sure was nice of you guys!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

SON I AM DISAPPOINT: Arcade Mode

Today, I went to the Gold Coast so that mum could visit a relative. Apparently they were going to spend a good portion of the afternoon cooking at her place or something, so we requested to be left around the Surfers Paradise area. I was totally pumped for this because there is a massive Timezone around there. Huge arcade equals loads of games equals 2D fighters, right?

I lost track of how many times I said to Chip: "SON I AM DISAPPOINT".

Seriously, the Timezone in Surfers is the biggest arcade I've ever been in, complete with dodgem ring, bigass mechanical pony ride (it has a ladder leading up to it) and bowling alley. Lots of arcade shooters - we saw two Silent Hill: The Arcade cabs and about four Blazing Storm cabs. Those one were huge.

BUT NO 2D FIGHTERS OR SHMUPS! The only fighting game we found was Tekken 6, tucked into a corner beside Primeval Hunt and behind a whole row of basketball ticket games.

After leaving and swearing a bit, we walked around some more and found this pathetic, dingy place that was a game room for a backpacker's hostel. It turned out to be the best arcade on the whole damn Coast, based on past experiences with other arcades around the area.

Metal Slug 4! Marvel vs. Capcom! Street Fighter 3: Third Strike! X-Men vs. Street Fighter!

So I played Marvel vs. Capcom and felt slightly better, but still disappointed.

The search for a Guilty Gear cab continues...

Saturday, 26 September 2009

I can't believe it's not Kaz Kiryuu!

This here is the debut trailer for Ryu ga Gotoku 4. Still awaiting more details from TGS.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Your local nice guy ex-member of the Yakuza

Yakuza 3 is totally getting localised!

Now I feel a little silly for having ordered the Japanese edition a couple of weeks ago. I guess at least I still get the snazzy preorder bonus magazine (complete with Japanese women with ridiculous hair and sparkles).

NOW WHERE IS KENZAN?

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Here we go again on the hype train

Finally found out about the new No More Heroes 2 videos. Gave them a watch. So, impressions abound!

Demo video #1 involved Travis running around in a mansion killing henchmen, much like the Townsend mansion in NMH. Battles seem a lot faster now, and enemies are much less predictable. There are enemies of varying sizes, as seen when a huge black guy with an axe started lumbering towards Travis and swinging wildly. Some of the smaller enemies also had firearms (!), weapons only seen in certain levels of NMH. Firearms were always annoying in NMH so maybe they'll add substantial challenge to some of the starting ranks.

Certain objects on the level are now destructible as well, as Travis was seen cutting through various potplants. Which brings me to the really cool bit: DUAL BEAM KATANAS! It was exciting to see them in action. (In a separate video, Suda says that you control the other beam katana with the Nunchuck, like in Oneechanbara. The animation is very fluid, except for when your katanas... fall into your enemies - they kind of just teleport, which looks very silly.

The UI has also changed slightly. The battery meter is now less of a meter and and is a tiny icon below a sad looking worm thing. Enemies also have different health meters, this time represented by several dots forming a circle. The dots start out green but turn red with health loss.

The voice acting also sounds top-notch, such as Travis panting and groaning loudly in a lecherous. Let's just say it's much more audible than it was in NMH.

Demo video #2 began at the beginning of the Rank #51 boss battle, complete with cutscene. Travis slices up the two women that Nathan Copeland (the boss) throws at him. Blood goes everywhere, heads are kicked, it's all very graphic. Travis's hair is also much spikier, much more badass.

Bosses (well, Nathan anyway) seem to be a lot easier to stun and throw.

And what excellent music! If the composer is, indeed, Masafumi Takada, it just shows how far and versatile he has become.

The only thing that I have to nitpick at in the second video is that I don't really like the way the health circle works in terms of boss battles. It certainly looks prettier and more minimalistic, but it's not as precise as a health bar, especially if some of the bosses have as much health as, say, Bad Girl in the original game.

Other things: Helter Skelter could be back, if this art does indeed, depict him. This will be a treat! Also returning is Destroyman in cyborg form! (I just want to say now that I totally called a character from the first game being turned into an android/robot happening in NMH2.) And another thing, the job missions are back, but this time, a lot of them are in 2D! Seen in one of the promotional trailers included a sidescrolling version of the coconut mission and a burger flipping mission.

And here's the new website.

Also, here's 1UP's cover story, to be updated daily until the 23rd!

I totally can't wait.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

THEY CAME FROM THE SEWERS!! A Battlestar Sarcastica Joint

This is what my group (Ruben, Robbie and Harley) and I are currently working on in INB280.

Cover Page

I was so impressed with Harley's art and Robbie's mockup that I just had to share it.

As for what it's about: Sewer Mutants meet Furries with Guns. Nope, I'm definitely not a furry. And to the best of my knowledge, none of my group members are either. We spend too much time paying them out, I think.

Let me know if you'd like to play it, and I might be able to arrange a time for you!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Yeah, we get that Michael Jackson's dead

Found these while reading New National Kid by Suehiro Maruo.

Yeah, I don't quite know either.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Demonophobia is such a bullshit game

I suddenly remembered that I have a game called Demonophobia sitting on my hard drive and decided to give it a spin again.

For those who have not heard of it, Demonophobia is a Japanese survival horror game.I do not know much moonspeak so a quick google indicates that the story is about a girl named Sakuri who tries to summon demons for revenge and ends up being transported to hell/the demonic realm. The game is heavily focused on showing you various and graphic ways of killing your character.

So if you do not like messed-up shit, you probably shouldn't click on any of the image links.

Still here? Cool.

See, I probably wouldn't think that this game was incredibly bullshit if it was actually impossible to complete it and if you had to run around hell forever and get killed a lot. Instead, it's like, "Hey, I'm not doing too badly, maybe I'll actually get to fight the boss!" and then you'll get decapitated by an enemy.

I wonder what happens

As another example, there was one room that I went into, grabbed an emblem or something off the pedestal and tried to exit the room, only for a giant red man teleport in front of me and start punching me in the stomach, then the face, then the face again.

I get it, I'm dead

Due to the controls being clunky, it is hard to maneuver and run away from enemies. Not to mention bosses, who are impossible faggots to beat. Maybe my keyboard is just awful or something, but my character would sometimes stop running for no reason at all despite my insistent hammering of the X key. "RUN, DAMMIT! I'm dead again, thanks a lot!"

I could not run fast enough

Also, when I pressed keys that do things in-game, except I pressed them when I was typing messages on MSN/renaming files/whatever, stuff still happened in game. Resuming when I wanted the game paused. Annoying stuff like that. Not really a big deal, but still requires you to have no friends talking to you while you play it. Or you ignoring your friends.

Most notable on the fucked-up scale is one stage where you seem to be back in your house. Everything looks fine and dandy and you can hear your mother's voice. When you enter the room, it's um...

Goddammit mom

It gets even creepier when suddenly, her moonrunes turn into letters of the alphabet.

I swear this is not my PC acting up

Then you go outside and JESUS CHRIST MY HOUSE

Although is sure is MS Paint around here

Then for some reason somewhere in the middle, I felt like listening to Sexual Healing on loop, probably because the game doesn't have any audio.

GET UP GET UP GET UP GET UP

Seriously, very little health, no audio, shitty controls, shit like walking near a wall killing you AKFDS FUCK, this is a pretty DUDE THIS GAME IS BULLSHIT game.

Whoever made this is probably sitting back in his chair with his best smug internet troll face.

EDIT: I am a retard and cannot screencap for shit, so have a better version of JESUS CHRIST MY HOUSE. The green things actually have two legs now.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Super Impressive Man Antics

YAKUZA/RYU GA GOTOKU 2 SPOILERS.

I was playing Chapter 12 of Yak2 last night and the whole thing was pure manliness from beginning to end. It ran like this:

Kazuma got stabbed with a poisoned knife by a mysterious man. He pulls the dagger out and runs off to his hideout, Aoi. Two groups of three thugs ended up confronting him and he beat them up while slowly bleeding to death.

An hour or so after passing out at Aoi, he has more or less fully recovered from the poison and the wound (when you leave the building, you have a full health bar!) and heads off to find Haruka.

Blah, blah, blah, detective work, find out where she's been taken...

OSAKA CASTLE IS A GIANT GOLDEN PALACE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

He enters the building and is immediately attacked by some guy who summons endless waves of samurai and ninjas. After fighting a bunch of them, making their leader run away like a little girl and dodging spike traps, Kazuma gets to a room with a gatling gun, with which he mows everyone down. Make the leader run away again despite being shot in the face at least four dozen times.

MORE NINJAS, MORE SAMURAI, MORE RETARDED LEADER GUY, THIS TIME WITH A SPEAR. Defeat them all and then...

Kazuma gets to fight two TIGERS. As in, the animals. There's also a sequence where the tiger jumps on him and he kicks it off him (if you do the action sequence correctly).

After beating the shit out of them he rescues Haruka. Only then does his wound reopen.

Yeah, I think he wins some kind of prize.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

PROFESSOR, I'VE SOLVED IT 2 - A Review

Title: Professor Layton and The Diabolical Box
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Level-5 (JP), Nintendo (NA/PAL)
Year: 2007 (JP), 2009 (NA/PAL)

Two years year ago, Professor Layton and The Curious Village was released in Japan to the delight of puzzle-lovers everywhere. A year later it was released in English, allowing a good number more of the gaming population to try their hand at it. Of course, the game's 'TO BE CONTINUED' screen at the end left many eagerly awaiting the sequel, so fast forward a year and a half later...

My excitement for Professor Layton and The Diabolical Box was only heightened by the fact that it feels like we're in the middle of a game drought, combined with the fact that I had been looking forward to playing more games about charming English gentlemen.

And I couldn't wait for more mind-breaking puzzles, of course.

You see, the Professor Layton series is based off the Metal Gymnastics series of puzzle books by Akira Tago, which are reportedly very popular in Japan. Many of the puzzles from the books have been directly transposed into a more interactive form for the DS and as a result, the game is chock-full of logic and lateral thinking puzzles, designed to really make you think.

A puzzle's difficulty is measured in 'picarats', which acts as the player's score throughout the game. The more difficult a puzzle is, the more picarats it is worth. If a puzzle is too difficult, the player has the opportunity to unlock a hint using a hint coin, which are limited in number and found scattered throughout the game world.

Additionally, some of these puzzles are directly related to the plot and require you to solve them in order to progress through the storyline, but a large portion of them are optional. Solving some of these optional puzzles give you items such as camera pieces, a hamster toy, a diary key or a tea ingredient, which are used for the mini-games. Completing these minigames means that the player can unlock bonus puzzles.

I suppose puzzles like the ones presented in The Diabolical Box are either a love-hate affair, but in my case, I thoroughly enjoyed having to think each puzzle through carefully. It's a refreshing change from games in which shooting everything that moves is key. The hints make perfect sense, and the game has the decency to explain the solution to you in greater detail when a puzzle is completed. This is especially useful if you've managed to solve a puzzle by luck.

I only have a slight problem with The Diabolical Box, and that is the slight imbalance in puzzle difficulty. There are quite a few puzzles that seem easier than the number of picarats they are worth and conversely, some supposedly easy puzzles that are challenging. But that could just be me.

As in The Curious Village, Layton is back in The Diabolical Box to solve another mystery, this time concerning a strange artifact called the Elysian Box. After receiving a letter from Layton's mentor telling him he has acquired the Box, Layton and Luke set out to meet him, only to find him dead and the Box missing. The two of them decide to find the Elysian Box as well as solve the mysteries surrounding it.

As you would expect from any good adventure games, there are several plot twists, many of which I didn't see coming at all. The characters are charming and are each distinctive in their own right with their own catchphrases and mannerisms. Professor Layton himself is especially notable, managing to be no less than a total badass who just happens to be polite and likes drinking tea.

Professor Layton and The Diabolical Box is a very special game, one that is sure to appeal to a large audience. With its numerous puzzles, loveable cast and exciting storyline, anyone who is enthusiastic about games that require a bit more brainpower is sure to love it.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Being a dick about Eternal Sonata

After finishing Baten Kaitos and being somewhat reluctant to start Baten Kaitos Origins before finishing Yakuza 2 (or something), I decided to sit down with Chip and play some Eternal Sonata.

Apparently he got some 8 year-old girl with stupid hair and a Southern accent in his party while I was playing other stuff.

It's kind of strange, you know - I don't particularly mind ES, really, but there's something about it that makes me wrinkle my nose. It's more than me just yelling about how much better BK is, despite the voice acting in ES sounding somewhat better and not like they were recorded from inside a telephone booth.

It's such a goddamn pretty game, too. Today I commented with "Holy crap everything in this game is so bright seriously I think we need to take a time out and go back to Gears of War or something." But then Chip said something that I actually agree with: gee, copypasting faces much?

But I feel that the characters are kind of irksome. Everyone just kind of hovers on the same level as each other, in that HEY LET'S ALL HAVE THE EXACT SAME REACTION TO EVERYTHING. There was a cutscene where they escaped prison and made it outside and all just bitched about 'We did nothing wrong man and they just dumped us in prison' - AND I MEAN ALL OF THEM. Everyone used pretty much the exact same words with maybe a couple of them changed.

It's kind of like how BK had one faggot pansy-ass character (read: Lyude), except it's the complete reverse with ES; there's maybe three ok characters so far and everyone else should just quit blinking and moving.

I think we need a drinking game for this too. 'Take a shot every time Polka looks depressed'. You would be dead so fast.

But really, it's an ok game. Will update if shit gets really awful.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Repeat after me: I am Optimus Prime.

More kid's meal fun, this time a toy promoting Transformers 2. I'm sure you will agree with me that this is worse than Bumblebee and Ratchet combined.

WARNING: Camera-phone, ergo, shitty quality.

The vehicle mode is ok, I guess. The cool thing is that it comes with gay-ass flame stickers that you can put on yourself. I haven't put them on yet though.


But yes, that is his head sticking out there.

Oh, something to note is that this came with no instructions whatsoever. I only had a poorly-printed image on the tiny plastic bag the toy game in to refer to when transforming it. So for all I care I could be completely wrong and it's actually an ok toy.

So how do we transform this thing? Well first, we pull his trailer apart like this...

Then we flip the front out like this...

Then we spin the front around so it's facing in the opposite direction...

And then we - WHAT THE HELL IS THIS


LEADER OF THE AUTOBOTS

Prime, what did they do to you? Maybe this is what actually happened when he died.

It should be noted that even though this is a spectacularly horrible toy, the others look equally uninspired. According to the plastic bag, you can also collect a Bumblebee torch (car with blinking light in the middle), a tiny dartboard, dogtags and a 3D puzzle cube (which might be decent).

But I suppose I get some kind of masochistic glee out of buying crappy junk food and playing with the crappy toy. And of course, I like writing about it so that you, dear reader, can laugh too.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Halo: District 9: The Videogame

Saw District 9 last night with J and Andrew. Without spoiling too much: it would make the greatest multi-genre game ever.

All Halo jokes aside, it would run like this:

- Long-ass intro cutscene.
- Diplomatic/social dialogue choices
- Look for the object in this picture, click on object
- 'Interactive cutscenes'
- Stealth section - run the fuck away
- Diplomatic/social dialogue choices x2
- 'Interactive cutscenes'
- Fetchquest/SHOOTAN' TIME - every weapon is the BFG
- CAR CHASE
- Pilot aircraft
- Action sequence
- Hacking minigame
- MECH SIMULATOR FUCK YEAH
- More hacking minigames
- More pilot simulators
- 'Interactive cutscenes'
- Origami minigame

THE END. Expect a fake-FAQ from me when the DVD comes out and costs $12.95.

In all honesty, it's probably the best movie I've seen all year. Highly recommended, if you can handle some splatter.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Review: Lux-Pain

You can't spell Lux-Pain without 'Pain'.

Title: Lux-Pain
Developer: Killaware
Publisher: Marvelous Entertainment (JP), Ignition Entertainment (NA), Rising Star Games (PAL)
Year: 2008 (JP), 2009 (NA/PAL)

Visual novels are proving to be a popular sub-genre of adventure game, and given the nature of the DS, several of them have either made their first appearance to the world or are ports of previous games.

One of these games is Lux-Pain, the story being about a teenager named Atsuki Saijo who is an undercover agent for FORT, a government organisation that works towards eliminating the threat known as 'Silent'. 'Silent', a worm born through hate and sadness, has infected Kisaragi City, where Atsuki is sent to find the root cause and to eliminate it.

To do so, you must use the Lux-Pain, a kind of psychic-scraping device, to read people's minds and thoughts and to eliminate worms that are the result of any negative emotions NPCs might have. However, there is a time limit as well as a sort of health bar for the minds of whoever you decide to scrape - if either of these empty, you ruin the person's mind, and it's game over for you.

It's simple gameplay, but the process of 'Go to area - Find person - Read mind - Erase thoughts - Repeat' gets dull very quickly. It certainly does not help that Lux-Pain has a godawful localisation which can often leave you scratching your head and wonder what the hell is going on.

It's this localisation that hinders the game's messages, such as those of suicide, animal cruelty and dealing with loneliness. Add to the fact that a vast majority of the characters are mind-numbingly boring and/or horribly annoying and you'll find yourself not really caring and wanting to breeze through the game as quickly as possible.

Admittedly there is a lot of cool attention to detail, such as being able to have your fortune told by a whacky Chinese lady or checking a message board that updates according to what you have learned from your conversations with your peers. But again, with every message being chock-full of grammatical errors, it's often hard to decipher what's really going on.

The problem with this game is that in the genre of visual novels, a strong storyline and a cast of characters the player must be able to sympathise with, relate to, or just generally like, is very important. Perhaps Lux-Pain would have been so much more different and enjoyable if a better job had been done with the localisation, but we have to make do with what we're given.

Friday, 7 August 2009

So many reactions, so little time

Two things. One made me laugh hard, the other made me cringe hard.

Saw this month's issue of Hyper at the newsagent yesterday. Jordaan and I laughed and laughed and, um, yep, kept laughing.


The answer is 'King of Technical Fighting Games'.

Then today, I was zooming around eBay looking for a good price on Ryu ga Gotoku 3 when I stumbled across this page. I dig slash and all but OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD WHAT

I certainly didn't expect Ryuga fans to care enough.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Review: Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean‏

Title: Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean
Developer: tri-Crescendo, Monolith Soft
Publisher: Namco
Year: 2003 (JP), 2004 (NA), 2005 (PAL)

My brother bought a copy of Eternal Sonata the other week, so taking advantage of the 'multiplayer' mode, I played it with him. Despite being about Chopin and girls in frilly dresses who are dying and can use magic, I noted that certain aspects of it were similar to another game I had played ages past: Baten Kaitos. So of course, with the memories of the game in my mind, I tracked down a copy and bought it.

There's nothing really special about the story, and indeed, it's typical Japanese RPG fare. Perhaps the point that stands out the most is that you don't play as the main character per se. Instead, you play as a Guardian Spirit assigned to the main character, Kalas, at the beginning of the game. Oh, and you're a Guardian Spirit with amnesia.

So Kalas is on a typical quest for revenge of the deaths of his grandfather and brother when he rescues a girl named Xelha from death by giant monster. As it turns out, Xelha is on a quest to warn the world of an evil scheme to resurrect the evil god who was thought to have made the ocean disappear and they begin tagging along together, meeting interesting folk and whatnot. Did I mention Baten Kaitos takes place in the sky? Personally, I'm a sucker for games/movies/etc. that take place in the sky, so I forgave the plot because of this.

The thing I like the most about Baten Kaitos (and indeed, I think this was the main selling point) is that its combat system features a unique turn-based card battle system. Unlike a fair few Japanese RPGs which involve hammering the confirm button over and over again, the player's success in Baten Kaitos relies heavily on quick thinking, card management and a good amount of luck.

The cards, known as Magnus in the game, come in several different flavours, such as offensive, defensive, equip and quest. The tricky part of this system is that some Magnus will evolve over time. This can either be advantageous or disastrous. For example, while a common item such as a 'Cedar Tree' may be useless for a fair bit, but will eventually turn into 'Cedar Tree Sap', which can heal up to 380HP. On the other hand, several healing items will rot.

Of course, there are several opportunities to gain new Magnus. This applies to all types of Magnus across the board, as having more powerful attacks does not only mean leveling your character. To ensure your success in battle as the game progresses, you must obtain Magnus that have higher offense and defense ratings and can heal more HP.

Moreover, leveling up does not happen automatically. To gain levels, you must access the Church via the blue flowers scattered throughout the game world (which also act as save points). The Church not only allows you to level your character but also allows you to increase your class, should you have the special Magnus required to do so. A character's class is important as it determines how many cards appear in his/her hand at once and how many cards he/she can play in any one round.

Another high point of the game is its stunning graphics. Baten Kaitos was released in 2003 yet playing it now, I'm still awestruck at the quality. Everything looks fresh and clean, with just the right amount of visual effects to wow you, but not causing you to shut your eyes in fears of being blinded. The character portraits are well-drawn and the colour schemes for the various locations in the game are chosen with utmost care to convey the appropriate atmosphere to the player.

The musical score does an equally impressive job of feeding emotion into the game's world. Composed by Motoi Sakuraba (a JRPG soundtrack veteran, considering he also composed the music for Star Ocean, Valkyrie Profile and Eternal Sonata), the tunes are memorable and are likely to stay with you long after your game session has ended. In fact, one of the main reasons I began wanting to play Baten Kaitos again was because the battle theme in Eternal Sonata sounded so similar.

However, I can't say such positive things about the voice acting. It is worth noting that Baten Kaitos contains a rather good plot twist in the middle of the game but unfortunately, this scene is ruined by the worst voice acting I have ever heard. The voice acting in the rest of the game is not as bad, ranging from amusingly corny to slightly cringe-worthy. As a result, it's somewhat embarrassing to play if there are other people in your immediate vicinity.

Despite the laughable voice acting and the somewhat atypical Japanese RPG storyline, there is a lot to love about Baten Kaitos. It must be commended for having unique gameplay, gorgeous graphics and a wonderful score. And while it is not a game that will appeal to the masses, I have no doubt that it will always be remembered by those who played it as one of the most memorable games they have ever experienced.

[8/10]

Sunday, 12 July 2009

SAIYUKI RELOAD IS OVER

Just finished the remainder of Saiyuki Reload. Without any spoilers, I will say that it was pretty anti-climatic.

There are shades of what happened at the end of Gunlock (from the little that I remember of Gunlock anyway) as well as a 'WHAT THE FUCK' moment that I'm pretty sure didn't happen in the anime at all.

No, they haven't reached the West. But they will in the next series!

The end of Reload included a preview of the next series, titled Saiyuki Reload Blast. Oh goodie! Summed up in a picture by Haru:

Getting to the goddamn West already aside, things I want included:
- The inevitable Nataku vs Goku showdown
- More displays of affection between Sanzo and Goku (because I can't kick that habit)
- LESS SHITTY FILLER (in the anime, anyway)
- Kougaiji manning the fuck up and doing something about Gyokumen.
- Zakuro.

Looks like this could be a real 'blast'! Hahahahahahahaha! ... Oh.

Gaiden also finished up, with Kanzeon Bosatsu erasing Goku's memory - except for his name, that is. The series finished off with what could be the scene that has been used the most times - Sanzo reaching out for Goku. Happy tears.

Monday, 29 June 2009

BONUS ROUND

Just created Vioectrolysis, a blog for my writing (mostly fanfiction). So if I ever stop being such a lazy ass and actually decide to continue that damn GI Joe Mary Sue fic, chances are it'll be over there.

WARNING: Blog contains a metric fuckton of slash and will possibly contain porn in the future. Warning for you impressionable folks.

Friday, 26 June 2009

More Linkin Park than you can shake a servo at

Made a trip to the cinema with Chip today to see Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen. Somewhere in the process I accidentally spoiled it for at least half the people sitting in the cinema. I blurted out a spoiler that I didn't know was a spoiler. Which doesn't make sense. But to anyone who knows anything about Transformers, it's a pretty fucking obvious plot twist.

A few of the news publications here have given it 2.5 stars out of 5 (which is a star for every hour!). This score is more or less correct, but you don't watch a movie like ROTF for quality cinema. You go to see robots bashing the fuck out of each other, which is something you get a fair bit of.

The problem is that it is still quite dull; the battles lack the real 'HOLY SHIT OH MY GOD WOW' factor which is what it rests on. And of course, Bidoof and Fox are back with the teenage love story thing thrown into the mix. And I'm still a dick about that, you know? We don't need no humans in our movies about giant robots!

For some reason, there was a LOT of Linkin Park in this movie. Loads. Everytime you hear music that isn't orchestral, that's Linkin Park. However, ROTF also had some of the themes from the first movie, which made me incredibly glad because I fucking loved the score. I also have to admit that there was a point in the film where 'The Touch' by Stan Bush looped in my head, which made it a very snicker-worthy moment.

The new Decepticons and Autobots look all very pretty and shiny, but ROTF made me feel as though they had no purpose. I was looking forward to an epic, huge Devastator battle.

The only characters that were really built upon were Megatron and Starscream. Which makes me wonder why they decided to change Starscream's voice for ROTF - I was actually perfectly happy with it in the first movie and read the sequel comics in his voice. I feel as though the more traditional Starscream voice does not suit him, especially given his stature and appearance. (Incidentally, the scene in which Megatron and Starscream meet again totally reminds me of Power Rangers: The Movie.)

Speaking of pointless, there's also a branch in the movie that is completely pointless and quite frankly, I think it was tacked in there to appeal to the teenage masses. I found the humour to be much too juvenile and tasteless for my liking, but I suppose that's how you target an audience.

What did this movie do for me? It made me respect Bumblebee. It also made me root for the Autobots. Also, ROTF contains the coolest incarnation of Jetfire ever. And All Hail Optimus.

OVERALL: Six out of ten broken Bidoof bones

EDIT: After watching it a second time, I've finally pinpointed the thing that really irked me about ROTF. The events from Reign of Starscream after never actually referenced or mentioned, other than perhaps the alien tattoos Starscream sports. It's like the Decepticons suddenly forgot that Starscream wasn't their leader anymore and just dropped what they were doing before going back to serve Megatron. What the fuck. I feel raped and cheated.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Future ambitions

This is the part where I get really ambitious and perhaps even ahead of myself and think about the time in the future when I become an accomplished videogame designer.

It's a ballsy project, because we all know how hard it is to make a balanced and decent 2D fighter. But I go ahead with anyway, even though I know I will never be able to be good at my own game.

Maybe we decide to throw in all the archetypes - broody Japanese 'main character', MC's rival+fuckbuddy, cute chinese girl, deadly assassin woman, huge muscled guy, robot, animal, sexy skank (or is that all of them? oh, never mind) - and design the stages, which are nice enough, but once again, pretty samey. Nothing you wouldn't expect to miss in a fighting game. Oh, but I want a stage on a crowded subway. That's when I say: "Hey team, I have an idea."

In Japan, subways are hugely crowded, so it's no wonder that groping is an extremely common crime. So I propose: "When a female character is chosen (or hell, even that one really pretty guy, because we're working with archetypes), an event triggers once per female character per battle. Said event involves the female/pretty boy character being stunned for a few seconds due to being groped, leaving her/him, uh, vulnerable to attack by the other player. Unless she/he is stunned as well." Despite the fact that we're not Japanese (and we are hopefully not flaming Japanophiles) we'll throw that in for shits and giggles.

But then there's more: we'll throw in a fat, unattractive female character. She does not get groped at all but instead causes part of the crowd on the subway to run away. This temporarily stuns her as well.

Some media outlet gets a hold of those particular details of our game. We get in trouble, one for portraying women as objects, and two for insulting and degrading fat people (see also Fat Princess). I release a press statement that is rather rude and derogatory.

From then on, I become known as the douchebag of the industry. My game sells millions.

If one of you fancy game designers out there is reading this and decides to use my whole 'subway groping' idea, I can see you.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

OLD, BUT HOLY GOD WOW

FROM KOJIMA'S OWN MOUTH, GUYS

This shit is old and all, but I only just found this link today, my curiousity having been piqued after reading something on TVTropes about Big Boss/Ocelot being totally canon. Nifty little translations of the MGS3 Cinema Commentary here confirm this. Only lucky Japan got it and we didn't. Working chronologically through the game and the respective commentary track:

- Snake's line "You got good senses" is remembered by Ocelot. Tens of years later Ocelot repeats this line to Solid Snake. This is where Ocelot starts to like Snake.

- In this scene, the gun Ocelot is holding is the engraved model. This is the only place it appears. He brought it expecting to be praised by Snake. To Ocelot, he brought a revolver just like Snake said to, but it didn't work, the shock to him is great. Around his neck is the commemorative bullet that jammed before. Ocelot wears it as a pendant.

- Ocelot : "That stance, it's that stance!"
Ocelot seems happy, he's been hoping to see that stance again. He's very happy about meeting Snake.

- Snake : "There is a difference between for-practical-use and for-aesthetic-use."
Ocelot : "Grrr..."
Ocelot is deeply hurt by what Snake just said here.

- Ocelot looks at Snake, his face filled with frustration from his two failures and losses of composure. But he likes Snake even more.

- Snake stops Eva from shooting the running away Ocelot because he is starting to like Ocelot.

- Snake and Ocelot, from the first moment they set eyes upon each other, they both fell into liking with each other. It is a pure love.

- The Boss : "The Fear and The End are defeated."
Ocelot : "He's really something..."
Volgin : "Fallen for him?"
In an off guarded moment, Ocelet accidentally spoke his real mind.
Ocelot has already fallen into a dream state regarding Snake.

- Seeing Snake take Volgin's torture and not give in, this is when Ocelot first awakened to the art of torture interrogation.

- Also, with the SAA Revolver equipped here in first person view, rotate the Right Stick, and Snake will perform gun play. During the second and subsequent playthroughs, in front of Ocelot, if you do this gun play move, he will be extremely overjoyed.

- When Ocelot leaves, without the Colonel seeing, he gives Snake a guts pose, as if saying "Do it."

- In many ways, Ocelot considers Big Boss his teacher. That is why many years later he joined Fox Hound, because he wants to be in the same organization Big Boss was in, even though when he joined, Big Boss was already dead. That is why Ocelot joined in Liquid's unit, even though Liquid did not know this reason.

- Here (when Ocelot pokes Snake in the patched eye), the two of them exchange a look, it's like an inside joke shared between just the two of them.


YEAH, THAT SOUNDS PRETTY FUCKING CANON TO ME

Also, holy shit, this is impressive:

Ocelot's revolver rotating gun-play here, it should be in the Guinness Book of Records. In the scene it is divided by edit cuts, but during motion capture it was filmed all in one take.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Dream #1

Last night, I dreamt that my mother started liking, no, loving Twilight. In said dream, we went to some fancy clothes boutique for some reason, and she started rambling about how it was the finest piece of literature ever to the male shop assistant.

The sad thing is, this is the closest thing to a nightmare I'll ever have.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

April 30 is important after all...


10 years.

JACK

Solidus: Do you know what day it is today?
Raiden: ...April 30th?
Solidus: That's right. George Washington took office as the first president of the United States of America 200 years ago today. And it happened right here. We were going to declare another independence -- the dawn of a new nation -- here. The end of the Patriots' secret rule, liberation of this country -- this was where it was supposed to begin, this is where freedom could have been born.

... Actually, I really wanted to do a full run of MGS2 spanning across yesterday and today. Damn Economics.

JACK

Rose: Have you remembered yet?
Raiden: You mean April 30th? It's your birthday, isn't it.
Rose: Wrong! You're not even warm!
Raiden: What is it then?
Rose: Forget it... it's nothing. Maybe I'm just a little... a little jealous... You'd better get moving. Good luck.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

JACK

JACK, DO YOU KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS TOMORROW?

Saturday, 25 April 2009

What is that rhythm?

I suck with the technicalities of music, what all the beats are called and whatever. But there's something about the rhythm in Masafumi Takada's earlier works that feels really special to me. Something about them that appeals to me a lot.

I have no idea what the term for them, but if you listen to:
- Without Chewing Gum Syrup
- Deep Shot of Midnight Sun (Both from Flower, Sun and Rain)
- The Silver Case (The title theme)

... hear that rhythm? That fast one that you could drum easily with your fingers? That one.

ALSO, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARU.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

What the hell is Lux-Pain?

I had no idea what to expect from Lux-Pain. All I knew was that it was published by Marvelous/Rising Star, which is pretty cool. Summarised from my conversations with the poor souls who I rambled to about this:

NO WAIT OK

a young man gifted with special powers who is very handsome
scans a building and finds the residue of disturbing thoughts
and goes up to investigate

he finds a dead guy who has a box full of dead animals because he tortured them

and then he goes into another room and is about to get attacked or something when his partner shows up and tells him IT'S OK ALSO GET RID OF MORE OF THESE THINGS
that's what happens, i'm serious

like... it's pretty cool, i guess

but at the same time, it's like OK WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO, WHAT DO ALL THESE TERMS MEAN

oh man, and also, you have to like, scan people to see what their bad thoughts are and shit
so when you do that, there's like this bar above their head and a timer and to scan them you have to like, scratch the screen and find the yellow dot that's constantly moving

what i didn't know is that if you scratch too much, the bar depletes really, really quickly

so suddenly this guy pops up and he's like

YOU'RE NOT A TELEPATH

GAME OVER

also i think my teacher in the game is hitting on me

In short, I still have no idea what to expect from Lux-Pain. Nor do I know what the fuck it is about.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Birthday wishes.

Happy Birthday, J. =)

Monday, 13 April 2009

ALSO I FORGOT THIS

I saw a promotional ad for this in one of the chapters. Then I looked it up.

I'm going to be a nitpicking fan and yell: IF THIS IS BASED ON THE ORIGINAL GENSOMADEN SERIES, WHY ARE THEY WEARING THEIR RELOAD OUTFITS? Also, I laughed really hard at Kou and Doku. Also Kanzeon is a man, which is pretty much accurate. ... Man, I'm going to have to download this. And cry.

SAIYUKI BINGE AHOY

Well, this reminds me of the old days!

I forgot I owned a whole bunch of Minekura artbooks until I saw them perched on my shelf behind my Jigglypuff collection. I flicked through them and holy balls, say what you like, but they are nice, nice books. Then I decided, hey, since mum's in Singapore and she'll be buying me Reload #9, I'm in the mood to re-read it all.

And then I realised that I had completely forgotten about Gaiden. Last time I read Gaiden (years ago) there was only one volume which had been incorporated into season 2 of Gensomaden. Everyone knew it wasn't the end, except everyone stayed up to date while I just forgot about it. Until today, when I went and downloaded everything available (chapters 9-33), and found some interesting things...

HUGE SPOILERS IF YOU CARE.

There was something that made me shit a few bricks in chapter 9, which was Li Touten mentioning to Nataku that there was not one, but TWO unclean beings currently residing in heaven. One of them is obviously Goku, and I'm not exactly sure who the other is although I get the feeling Li was just trying to rile Nataku up a little. However, a few pages later, there's a flashback image of a man with his back turned to the viewer. Judging by the cloak though, I'm pretty sure it's Homura. HOLY FUCK, HOMURA! But in the context of the situation, I think they were just explaining what happened to the War Gods and how quickly they were replaced. But in the anime, Homura was widely regarded as a heretic because he had a gold eye. You know what? I'm going to rewatch the anime. I don't remember shit about that guy, except that he made me rage.

ALSO SUDDENLY, SEITEN TAISEI!

Re-reading everything in its entirety made me realise that the Konzen/Goku pairing isn't actually all that credible. Goku's still just a kid. And despite Konzen changing because of Goku suddenly appearing in his life (which would make millions squeal with delight), his attitude still suggests that it's purely platonic. He seems to care a lot more though. And anyway, that's a metric fuckton of homolust 500 years later with him and Sanzo.

But goddamn, chapter 33 is depressing.

Konzen: There’s no guarantee that there’s hope beyond that light we’re heading toward now. You might meet with more suffering there. …But even then, I wanted to put in everything that I have to give, just to tell you - how happy I am to have met you.

While trying to get down to earth (because there's no place in Heaven for them any longer), Konzen and Goku have a showdown with Li Touten. As they're about to make it through the gates, Li starts to close it and Goku, on the opposite side of the gates tries to reach out for Konzen to pull him through. But:
Konzen: ... Go on. Goku. ... You were the one... who reached out to me first.
Goku: Konzen... ?
Konzen: Next time, I promise... I... I'll be the one to reach for you. I'll definitely reach for you. ... Oh... you really are... like the sun."

And the gates slam shut.

... Well, fuck. Cue tears.

Friday, 10 April 2009

An Asian movie we don't get a year after everyone else?!

Saw Shinjuku Incident with J today. It was kind of odd, seeing a movie starring Jackie Chan that was:
A) A serious drama; and
B) Not full of martial arts.

Whenever there was a fight scene, I expected Jackie Chan to grab a pole out of nowhere and kick eight guys in the face. Nothing of the sort, just gritty street fighting. It was a good film; it shows that Jackie Chan could be more than a funny man and it realistically portrays the inner workings of the Yakuza as well as the position of illegal immigrants who make their way to Japan in hopes of a better life.

Pretty marvelous stuff. [9/10]

Monday, 30 March 2009

This is what Persona 4 is really about

Sundance Shot says:
also i think my mum just walked past brosuke and profag lying on the ground beside each other, saw the text '... That sure beat words.' and thought BEV THIS GAME SURE IS GAY
[ruben] --> says:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA
[ruben] --> says:
OH WOW!
Sundance Shot says:
HAHAHAHAHAHA
Sundance Shot says:
OH DEAR GOD
Sundance Shot says:
to make things worse, yosuke just said, complete with voice acting: YOU REALLY ARE SOMETHING
[ruben] --> says:
HAHAHAHHAHAAHHAHAHA
[ruben] --> says:
BROMANCE
Sundance Shot says:
AWESOME

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Review: Nanashi no Game

NOTE: As it turns out, I wrote this review months ago and completely forgot about it until now.

Nanashi no Game: Let’s see how many times I use the word ‘game’ in a single sentence.

Title: Nanashi no Game (aka: Nameless Game)
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Year: 2008 (JP)

When I first heard of Nanashi no Game, my initial reaction was ‘Oh my god. Square Enix? Not doing a RPG?!’ Well this is true for the most part. Nanashi no Game is basically two games in one – part old-school, Dragon Quest-style RPG and part first-person adventure. ‘What gives?’ You may wonder, but it makes sense if you look at the storyline.

Now, I don’t know Japanese, but from what I can gather (along with various previews and translation efforts), they game’s about a cursed RPG that is making rounds and killing people who play it after seven days. If this sounds like a certain J-Horror film, you are totally correct! The whole point of Nanashi no Game is to find out the source of the curse and therefore, break it. Before you dismiss it as being a cheap knockoff though, I’d like to say that Nanashi no Game actually pulls it off quite well in that:

  1. You never see your character, adding a whole personal level to it; and

  2. You do get to play the cursed game – even having to navigate through a DS menu to get into it. [I’ve read from various sources that some creepy, fourth wall-breaking messages pop up (ala Eternal Darkness) so here’s hoping for an English release so we can all actually understand them.

Being a horror game, Nanashi no Game contains its fair share of jump scares, but is also notable for being one that doesn’t rely on them entirely. Every area you visit in the game oozes creepy, and it certainly doesn’t help that they are all completely empty. Maybe they mention why all the buildings are empty somewhere in the game, I don’t know.

There are a considerable amount of ‘Oh, fuck’ moments, especially when you swing round into a corridor and suddenly see a sickly-blue ghost just standing there, like it’s daring you to come closer. The ‘oh, fuck’ turns into ‘FUCK’, especially if you’re trapped in a tiny area (which WILL happen) and the ghost is actively chasing you (the control scheme doesn’t help this either, but more on that later).

Your little forays into the cursed RPG occur at the important points of your adventure. For example, at one point in the game, the main character throws a fit and smashes his DS, along with the cursed game – only to find another DS nearby! (I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by telling you about this because as we all know, you can’t outrun a curse that easily!) The DS makes a little tone when the cursed game is available for play, prompting you to hit ‘SELECT’ and go, go, go.

There’s no dragon-battling in the cursed game, though. It’s more of a story-driven thing in which you basically wander around talking to people until something significant happens. The cursed game, while probably a lot creepier if you know Japanese, is still pretty unsettling to play. It comes complete with haunting melody which distorts at various points. Couple this with graphics that go all glitch whenever you take a step and it makes you wonder if YOU’RE going to die in seven days.

Playing Nanashi no Game requires you to hold your DS like a ‘book’ as is the case with games like Hotel Dusk and Brain Training. Moving is purely touchscreen-based, with the option of using the directional pad in order to make your character move faster. It was certainly kind of them to give you this option because your character is really quite fucking slow. Does he have a broken leg or something? Maybe a sprained ankle? Even with this ‘speed boost’, he’s still terrible. It’s hard to manoeuvre, particularly if you’ve got to do a 180 degree turn. As I mentioned previously, this WILL happen, ESPECIALLY when you’re in a tiny corner.

Nanashi no Game is worth having a shot at if you enjoy survival horror and/or games like Hotel Dusk. Despite its flaws, it’s like The Ring of horror games (disregarding the godawful Dreamcast game) in a literal sense, only not a classic. Perhaps if it was ever translated and released in North America and/or Europe, it will receive, at the very least, the attention it deserves.

[6/10] – Interesting, but not interesting enough. When you get a wishbone, wish for a translation.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Saying goodbye to Paradise

Finished Flower, Sun and Rain. It's a beautiful, albeit confusing game, even if calling it a 'game' would be a bit of a stretch. The story is something to be expected from Suda 51, I suppose. It's quite easy to see how this all fits in with killer7 and even The Silver Case.

I'll admit though, the ending confused me. But I guess that's what all the time in the world is for.

"A paradise is a place separated from the world."

Thursday, 26 March 2009

More videogames, I blame GDC

- What's that? A new Katamari? Well, it's supposedly titled Katamari Damacy Tribute, so maybe not. But seeing as Australia never got the original entry in the Katamari series, this should be worth it. Also, it's in full HD!

- NEW ZELDA OH GOD YES NEW ZELDA. For the DS again, and it's another Toon Link adventure! Also, trains. We're getting closer to our steampunk Zelda game!

- Rumours of a new Mother game! EarthboundCentral is saying that it won't be Mother-related though.

- I finally managed to track down a copy of Sword of Etheria. The guy at Gametraders complimented me on having good taste in games. This made my day.

- I've been saying this for a year now: Where the hell is Silver Case on the DS, Suda? You said there would be Silver Case! It doesn't really make much sense to make Western Kill The Past fans to play through the series backwards, does it?

- MadWorld is probably the most brutal game I've ever played (Demonophobia aside). I threw some guys onto the spikes that covered a moving train. I threw more guys into an airplane turbine. I shot all the flesh off a guy's bones. Cue moral outrage.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

It's a videogame bonanza!

1. Enchanted Folk is fun, but in the way that it literally is Animal Crossing with real quests, more stores, lessons and magic. To be honest, I haven't played it that much, mostly because of Persona 4 eating up my hours like a hungry teenager eats hamburgers. So far though, the game seems a lot deeper. I'm not sure how I feel about the characters though - despite there obviously being more 'personality types' than in AC, the characters in EF seem much more obnoxious. Maybe I'm just getting shit characters.

2. Holy crap, where do I start with Persona 4? I heard about it on a videogame board and when it came out in America, the board was filled with endless threads about it. I have to say, it sounded like a fucking awesome game. So when it was announced for release here, I ran out and bought it ASAP.
I haven't actually played any of the other games in the Persona series, but this is the second Megaten game I've played (the first being the original). I didn't really know what to expect, but boy howdy am I impressed. The game, however, IS a weeaboo festival. Despite being an english translation/dub, they still throw in honourifics like 'Senpai' and 'San', which initially made me cringe, but it's actually adding to the experience. The characters are all likeable. The UI is clean and I have to say that I really dig the whole yellow colour scheme. Marvelous.

3. Resident Evil 5 is basically everything I expected it to be. As Ruben said, it really is just a Resident Evil 4 expansion pack. The gameplay is more or less the same, save for a new inventory system, a partner (which has one of the best AI ever) and WHAT'S THAT? AUTOSAVING? WHY, WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE, WE HAD A LIMITED NUMBER OF SAVES!
But I digress. It literally is RE4. Chainsaw guys? Check. Button mashing sequences? Check. Not that I'm complaining - it only seems logical for Capcom to take an incredibly successful formula and implement it again. But there's not much room for gameplay originality. All the 8/10 reviews are pretty much correct.

4. I have only played twenty minutes of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. I thought it would be terrible. I was wrong. So far it seems like a job well done, but I'll have to play more.

5. I didn't really know much about Henry Hatsworth before it came out. I vaguely remember something about a violent, darkly-humoured puzzle game for the DS (which was completely incorrect). So then I pretty much expected Professor Layton 2.0 (which is also somewhat incorrect). What I got was an action-platformer crossed with a typical MATCH THREE COLOURS TO MAKE THE BLOCKS DISAPPEAR puzzle game. This is most certainly not a bad thing.
I fucking love action platformers. I like Bejeweled. Combine those with a story about a pompous English gentlemen who searches for treasure and finds a mysterious golden hat that makes him younger and look like Indiana Jones and his rival whose name is 'Leopold Charles Anthony Weaselby the Third'. That is an excellent name. That is the kind of name I give to all my ridiculous bullshit characters. When your puzzle super meter is full, you can activate a special power-up that throws you into a giant robot. This is called 'Tea Time'. When you press it, it shows Henry having tea with equally pompous English gentlemen. HOLY CRAP WHAT AN EXCELLENT IDEA! We need more games about pompous English gentlemen. I'll have to upload voice acting samples too. They are hilarious.

MadWorld came out today as well, with the OST because I preordered it. Expect a review sometime. Oh dear, Persona 4 and MadWorld? Competition for my attention, start.

Friday, 20 March 2009

IT'S LIKE I'M REALLY CONTRIBUTING

Downloaded DsDsRevolution, a port of Stepmania for the DS. I was totally getting a 'font not found' error and the internet was totally not helping at all.

So to anyone who gets that error, you need to move the .nds launch file and the folder into the root of your SD card.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Oh dear...

Hayter, Carver form Dark Hero

David, I totally respect you for providing the voice of Solid Snake/Big Boss and maybe a little for starring in Guyver II, regardless of how terrible it was, but, uh, your writing really sucks.

Also, what did you do to your hair?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

This is like, the best week ever

Yesterday or the day before, I don't know anymore because EB keeps breaking street date, Persona 4 came out. Rocking up to the one in the Myer Center yesterday, I managed to grab the last sealed copy of the game, with a bonus soundtrack. I haven't played it yet because I was too busy debating with myself whether I should unwrap it and play it. I've decided I totally will, so after some SFIV, SH4 and Valkyria Chronicles it will be P4 time. Jesus christ why are they all the fourth installaments in the series, save for Valkyria?

Then today, Enchanted Folk and The School of Wizardry came out, at least on ROM sites. I'm not even sure what the full title of the game is anymore. Yesterday it was Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times. The week before it was something else to do with enchantments. And when I had first heard of it, it was Little Magician's Magic Adventure, or something. But I digress.

It was set to be released in Europe tomorrow, so I expected a ROM dump on Saturday. IT'S LIKE CHRISTMAS IS EARLY. So far, it is as I had expected: ANIMAL CROSSING + HOGWARTS + FUCKTONS MORE AWESOME. Ten minutes into the game, some guy starts telling me that if I'm sad, he will come and sing me love songs. That's kinda cool.

And then there is this video, courtesy of BTDO and his Moontube exploration skills, which just turned my day into pure awesome.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Just spreading the word.

:)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

How belated!

I mentioned in this entry from like, two months ago that I had some godawful pictures. Now that I've finally gotten them off my phone, I can share the atrocities with you!

When I chewed out Clone Wars all the way back in August last year, I expected videogames, I expected Lego and I expected piƱatas. However, I did not expect these.

Plush toys. This is Ahsoka.


It's taken me three months to realise that the darker strip across her chest is in fact, her top. And here I just thought she was a slut.

And Anakin...

And Obi.

As you can imagine, I could not stop laughing, crying and raging for, oh, a few days. I swear to God I am not being biased her, but the Clone Trooper is easily the best of the lot.

Related to totally awful products that made me angry, I saw this the other day with J in Borders. Keep in mind that we were in the self-help section when we saw this.

Friday, 27 February 2009

A poem.

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is not rad. I am sad. I had high hopes for it but it is kind of bad. Back to Puzzle Quest because that made me glad. Unlike Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, which is not rad.

Monday, 23 February 2009

YOU SEE, THE SYSTEM...

I wonder if Metal Gear Solid 4 won any Oscars? Oh, apparently not.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Incoming customer complaints, oh baby!

Noby Noby Boy, that one game that no-one had any clue about for like, forever, finally finished downloading this morning. I rather liked what I played of it (half an hour, before I had to go for my Chinese tuition). And after playing it, I'm left with... still left with the little I knew about it before it was released. The press release said things like, "we don't offer refunds for this game", "we will not listen to customer complaints", "we cannot tell you about the nature of the game" and "depending on your mood, you may become addicted". Ominous.

You play as BOY, who kind of looks like the mascot from Taiko no Tatsujin, except he doesn't look too happy. But BOY looks content enough to be stretched to potentially endless lengths by the player, which is done with the left and right analog sticks. There's no real set goal, but by stretching BOY, the omnipresent entity, GIRL, grows. GIRL grows with every player's (everyone in the world playing the game, that is) effort. It's multiplayer, but it's not. According to the in-game manual, the larger GIRL gets, the more planets she can visit, and the more reunited the universe becomes. It's lovely and happy and fluffy. It's Noby Noby Boy.

It's got the same style as Katamari in terms of graphics and, well, identity as a whole. Like, you know, the 'very charming, very quirky, very odd' identity. At the beginning of the game, it told me to guess the controls in the form of a quiz. And then I got a Trophy for it! Hooray. And like Katamari, it's some kind of breeding ground for sadists. Getting rolled up by a Katamari would probably be the worst death ever. You'd be maimed and crushed. In the end, you would either be disintegrated by eye-lasers or turned into a lovely planet. Eventually, you get to ruin whole cities and continents with a giant rolling ball. In Noby Noby Boy, you can eat cats. I totally ruined a small town by knocking the roof off someone's house and pushing the house over the edge. I fucked up a robot. I ate all the flowers. Surely this is criminal. But it's the kind of game you want to come home from work to sit down to and just relax with for an hour or so.

Do you have seven dollars? Do you have a PS3? Surely if you have a PS3, you have seven dollars. GREAT! Now go and buy Noby Noby Boy. I enjoy it very much.

[8/10]

Friday, 20 February 2009

Retail loopholes, oh baby!

Street Fighter IV technically came out today (and I managed to stop myself from buying the Collector's Edition). EB and JB, the only retailers which actually mattered, kinda, both broke street date a few days ago. There may or may not be a pun there. Hahaha.

So after tossing up whether to buy it now or wait until later, I ended up getting linked to an article over at Ecogamer about how much retailers were charging for it, as well as a slew of comments about how much people were paying for it. So Jordaan and I decided to head out today and see what kind of deal we could get.

For reference (Standard Edition):
EB: $119.95
JB: $99

Hmm... not too pretty. JB chopping $30 off EB's price was pretty good, but could we get it for cheaper?

See, JB also had a little 'TRADE IN THREE GAMES AND GET SFIV FREE!' deal, which is what J and I were relying on to help us get a great price. This of course meant that we had to find three reasonably cheap PS3 games, which was probably not going to be easy, given the list of limitations on JB's website. So after checking EB and Target (with potential candidates being $30, and one at $25), we headed over to JB to see if they had any cheap preowned games.

They did. Several. But we ended up finding three copies of a single game, one that I don't think anyone gave a damn about, because they were only $24 each!

J suggested that we exploit this to the point that we should bring the three copies up to the counter as well as a SFIV display box. Eventually I had to persuade him to do all the talking because I was laughing too hard. After confirming the 'purchase' of the games, the clerk sent us back to the games department so that they could complete the trade-in. While we were up there, another guy was attempting to do the same thing and was turned away for having duplicate copies, which made me panic. However, the dude we got was a nice guy and was totally ok with us having three of the same game, which we had just bought. So hooray! SFIV for $72, $18 off the normal JB price and almost $50 off EB's. So, like, to recap, because I am actually really proud of what we managed to do:


Do the math.

Noby Noby Boy also arrived early on the 20th, which was silly of them since it was clearly supposed to be a 19th Feb worldwide simultaneous release. Indeed, I spent the whole of the 19th running outside and checking the Playstation Store. Dicks. So that's here and I'm excited, but I'm currently STILL downloading it because my internet capped. Which means that SFIV doesn't want to download its required system update. Which means I probably won't get to play either game until 12AM. Naptime now then, I suppose.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Puzzle Quest

Puzzle Quest has been fucking my shit up since I started playing it on Sunday. Last night I couldn't get to sleep until 1AM because whenever I closed my eyes, I saw Puzzle Quest. "Oh look, you can get four skulls in a row there! That will show that Giant Rat!"

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix comes out in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

DON'T BE A PUSSY

Found this on BTDO's Livejournal because I haven't visited it since Christmas and I had to go check it because goddamn we need a good translation of Diamond is Unbreakable.

Pick from any of my fandoms and ask me to answer the following:

Favorite character:
Least Favorite Character:
Character with the best hair:
Character with the best eyes:
Character I'd most want to kiss:
Character I'd most likely screw:
Character I'd make lunch:
Character I'd go singing in the rain with:
Character I'd go shopping with:
Character I'd go dancing with:
Character I'd take over the world with:
Character I'd most want to cosplay as:
Favorite Pairing:
Favorite Yaoi pairing:
Favorite Yuri pairing:

ALSO BTDO I'M LINKING YOU NOW BECAUSE I WAS TOO LAZY TO DO IT BEFORE. SORRY BRO.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Dear Sega

Dear Sega,

If you localise Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan and Ryu ga Gotoku 3, I will dump Capcom and take you to the prom instead. I will even buy you a corsage.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Healthy 15 year-olds don't weigh 45 kilograms

Haha, oh god. Finally decided to start watching Bob's Gundam Wing DVDs, which were originally mine, until I sold them to her. WHY DID I EVER PART WITH YOU, GUNDAM WING

Gundam Wing was like, that one anime that got me into anime. I don't even remember how I first stumbled upon it. BUT CUTE BOYS PILOTING GIANT ROBOTS? Fuck yeah, count me in.

But oh man, how much did I miss this series? The last time I sat down and watched it properly must have been in 2004. But now, while I'm waiting for Obama's inauguration to actually begin instead of watching all the political waffle Channel 9 has on, I'll watch a few episodes.

I always regarded Wing as having a totally excellent dub. Like, right up there with Cowboy Bebop! Viewing this now makes me think that I was quite wrong. Typing this reminds me of a theory I see posted on a certain imageboard I frequent, which states that all cartoons are essentially equal in quality, but our positive childhood memories constantly tell us that cartoons from back in the day were better than the tripe we are being fed now. That is, if I had completely ignored Wing when I was a kid and watched it now, I would probably think it is complete and utter shit. Well I mean, that's what we have Seed for, right? But back to the point. Zechs sounds pretty terrible, as does pretty much everyone else, except for maybe Duo, Dr J (I know you're laughing over there, Jordaan, or at least feeling somewhat smug), Dr G, Wufei, Lady Une and Quatre. The Maganac go on my whitelist too, because they were total badasses.

I still really like the opening, despite a still of Treize and Zechs randomly popping up for 'dramatic' effect. I don't know why. The music is still pretty awesome as well.

You know, I really should be mature enough by now, but fuck Relena. Seriously, fuck her. Five years have gone by and she is still the stupid, whiny, shallow bitch. I mean why are those students bowing to her? Are they her harem or something? Just because her father is the ambassador? WELL IT'S A JOLLY GOOD THING HE DIES! Episode one also contains the classic scene where after Relena finds out that Heero has enrolled at her school, she offers her friendship in the form of an invitation to her birthday party. Being the suave gentleman he is, Heero rips it up. FUCK YEAH, AWESOME! Relena begins to cry a little and says "But why?" Heero wipes her tear away and she smiles, thinking that maybe he's not such a bad chap after all, but he then whispers "I'll kill you." Heero is probably my least favourite Gundam pilot alongside Trowa, but that has always warranted applause. He is my least favourite favourite douchebag.

On the opposite end of the scale, there's Duo Maxwell. People who went to school with me remember that I was in love with Duo Maxwell. He is still a terrific character because he is pretty much the only guy in Wing who can actually smile and crack a joke properly. The guy made braids awesome, plus was voiced by Scott McNeil. Also his Gundam was badass. Tell me that a scythe as a weapon is not badass. It also had the best speed which really, was all Duo needed, because he is excellent like that. He still makes me cheer. What a cool dude.

This series actually seems to have aged quite well, considering it's been almost 15 years since it first came out. Bitchface character, emo clowns, unrealistic body measurements and fairly laughable dialogue at some points (almost every Gundam series can be summed up with the line "IT'S A GUNDAM!"), I really do love this series. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and continue wishing for Episode Zero to be turned into an animated series.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Horrortalk #2 - Movies of 2008.

2008 was a pretty mediocre year for horror films. Off the top of my head, I can remember that we poor, overlooked Australians got the following:

[REC]: A pretty clean shot at a horror film, actually. Have the rest of my opinion here.

The Orphanage: Overrated, in my opinion. It was not even really a horror movie, more of a occasionally mildly creepy drama. Although remember when every reviewer said that it was like The Sixth Sense and The Others? They really, really were not joking.

I Am Legend: FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK FRANK

Saw V: Ughhhhh. On a related note, I recall that when it came out, I overheard two guys in my management tutorial saying that the Saw films were the cleverest movies they had ever seen. I was not pleased.

One Missed Call: So... it's a serious remake of a film intended to be a satire. Um, ok. Speaking of remakes...

Shutter, The Eye, Mirrors: REMAKES

There were some other ones that made it over but I haven't seen as of yet. Namely The Happening (lol), The Strangers (which I hear was bad but the Singaporean promo posters were really excellent) and um, Zombie Strippers. Then we have the movies I've been waiting for for like, ages: The Poughkeepsie Tapes, The Midnight Meat Train and Tokyo Gore Police.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes
I realise that The Poughkeepsie Tapes were technically supposed to come out in 2007, but did it actually screen anywhere before last year? Anyway. I first found out about The Poughkeepsie Tapes from a certain paranormal imageboard. There was a video clip of a man in an odd mask crawling up behind a woman. It was odd. Research indicated it was footage from a documentary about a serial killer who terrorised the area of Poughkeepsie. I have to say it was impressive.
It's a movie that actually intends to disturb rather than shock you with cheap scares, which gets instant points from me. If it's traditional holy-shit-what-the-fuck-was-that horror you are going for, the aforementioned crawling scene is about as creepy as it's going to get. But no, the part that really got to me I did not predict at all. It's one of those subtle things that when you notice, really strike a chord in you. A horror movie has not done that to me in a long, long time. That alone gets it a 9.

I wish I could talk about what I didn't like about the movie, but doing so would give it away. Ignorance is bliss, after all, so I'm just going to give it a score and be on my way. [8]

The Midnight Meat Train
Settle down, kids. Quit snickering at the title.

MMT was originally a short story by Clive Barker, the fabulous (really) powerhouse of creativity responsible for, amongst others, The Hellbound Heart, its movie counterpart and the game, um, Jericho.

I like the story quite a bit, which is about a photographer who follows a serial killer roaming the subway at night, but gets more than he bargains for. I won't say more for I might give the story away.

I had really high hopes for this film. First of all, it is directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, aka the guy who directed Versus, aka the film that made me clap at the end. Secondly, it stars Vinnie Motherfucking Jones! So, y'know, fuck yes.

But I was disappointed. Maybe I was still on a high from watching Survive Style 5+ that week or Versus that month, but there was something about the film that made me think it could've been so much better. I understand that you have to change certain things when you are adapting a short story, but the way certain scenes were translated did not sit well with me. For example, the scene with Leon interacting with his girlfriend really irritated me rather than made me feel pity and sadness for them. Or maybe I wanted more Vinnie. The end didn't wrap up as well as I had hoped, either. This review isn't wrapping up as well as I had hoped either, but I have nothing more to say. [6.5]

Tokyo Gore Police
This is the movie I have stalked since the news first broke. If No More Heroes is that game that I would not shut up about, and it was, then this is the film that I would not shut up about. It actually screened last year at the Brisbane International Film Festival, so you can imagine that I was less than pleased when I found out I couldn't go. At the time, the movie had not been released on DVD, not to mention torrents only appeared literally at the end of the year. Oh well, it's here now.

Tokyo Gore Police has a storyline, but with a name like Tokyo Gore Police, who really cares? All you need to know is that there the main character is a sexy lady (played by Eihi Shiina, best known from Audition), amputees with swords where their limbs should be, a guy with cannons for eyes, an erotically grotesque snail-woman hybrid, a lady with an alligator for a vagina and a scene featuring quartering by car. It's a visually stunning film, each scene absolutely saturated in colour, whether it be red, blue, green or pink. It is also probably the most fantastically, over-the-top (in terms of gore) film I have ever seen. I will not lie and say that I never thought 'PHYSICS DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY', but when it's all so darkly humourous, the only thing to do is to laugh and wonder how much all that fake blood cost. I mean, it's a movie where a guy gets his penis bitten off and has it replaced with a large, fleshy, meter-long bazooka. And that's a neat concept.

It's like, if Shintaro Kago and Uziga Waita were to make a film together, this would be it. Every minute is well worth it, but only if you like your gore red hot. [9.5/10]

For me, as long as those films turned out to not be total disappointments, I would be happy. Which means I'm pretty fucking happy.