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Monday, September 29, 2008

Games Played 09/28/2008

Aegis Wing - X-Box 360
Bomberman Live - X-Box 360
Boom Boom Rocket - X-Box 360
Gears of War - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Mass Effect - X-Box 360*
Neo Contra - PlayStation 2
Ninja Gaiden II - X-box 360

*I finally purchased the Bring Down the Sky expansion pack - it is currently 100 Microsoft Points cheaper. I will be replaying the game using my level 49 Ingrid Shepard. Hopefully I'll get to see level 60 during this play-through.


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Sonic Riders (2006)
Developer: Sonic Team
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Purchase Date: 03/03/2006


It wouldn't have been a fair race if it was based on who could run the fastest.

Though average as a whole, Sonic Riders is more fun than all of Sonic's recent 3D adventure games combined. The graphics are beautiful and I find the track designs imaginative. The new characters fit the Sonic universe quite well even though Jet the Hawk looks more like Jet the Parrot! If you can ignore the terrible storyline, there is much to enjoy here.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Games Played 09/27/2008

Aegis Wing - X-Box 360
Grand Theft Auto IV - X-Box 360
Growlanser: Generations Deluxe - PlayStation 2
Ninja Gaiden II - X-Box 360
Triggerheart Exelica - X-Box 360
Rez HD - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Neo Contra (2004)
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 2004


Destroying enemies while running on top of spinning chopper-blades... Exciting?

KCET revived the Contra series with their excellent Contra: Shattered Soldier for the Playstation 2. This follow up deviated from the uber-2D side scroller and became a full top down shooter with the freedom to shoot at a 360 degree angle. Even though this design is a throwback to some of the stages in the Contra games of the past, making the whole game designed as such lead to an uneven and unpolished experience. There are also some of the lamest boss fights in the history of Contra to be found within this game. Let's hope that KCET have learned their lesson from this misguided project.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Games Played 09/26/2008

Aegis Wing - X-Box 360
Feeding Frenzy - X-Box 360
Grand Theft Auto IV - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Luxor 2 - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360
The Witcher - PC*
Yaris - X-Box 360

*The enchanced edition of the game was released several days ago and those who have purchased the game in the past like I did can upgrade their games by downloading a big patch from the game website. I started playing the game again from the beginning but I haven't gotten far enough into it to notice any big differences. I am mainly looking forward to the reduction of the frequent and agonizingly slow load time if it's truly included in this patch.


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Growlanser: Generations Deluxe (2004)
Developer: Atlus
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 2004


Yes... He's as androgynous as they come.

I can't help but love the way Working Design packaged their role playing releases - this one is even bundled with a special wristwatch (that I have never used of course). There are two Growlanser games included here and I have only played halfway through the first disc. The battle system is interesting and has that real-time strategy feel to it. Writing about this game reminds me that I still haven't picked up Growlanser: Heritage of War yet that was released late last year. That game is still on my list of games to buy.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Games Played 09/25/2008

Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Giga Wing - Dreamcast
Gunbird 2 - Dreamcast
Rock Band 2 - X-Box 360
Virtua Fighter 5 - X-Box 360
WipEout HD - PlayStation 3
1942: Joint Strike - X-Box 360

Friday, September 26, 2008

Games Played 09/24/2008

Battle Fantasia - X-Box 360
Dead or Alive 4 - X-Box 360
Giga Wing - Dreamcast
Giga Wing 2 - Dreamcast
Gitaroo Man - PlayStation 2
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Infinite Undiscovery - X-Box 360
Lumines Live! - X-Box 360
Triggerheart Exelica - X-Box 360

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Games Played 09/23/2008

Giga Wing 2 - Dreamcast
Too Human - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Gitaroo Man (2002)
Developer: Koei Co., Ltd.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 03/02/2002


Rock it on top of a UFO...

Before Guitar Hero's time, there existed a cool guitar-inspired rhythm game by the name of Gitaroo Man. The gameplay is more irritating-stick than anything else as you move your analogue stick around to match the incoming phrase bars but the game is very entertaining and musically engrossing. The very Japanese presentation gives the game a strong personality and the cross-genre soundtracks ensure that anyone can find something to like about the game.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Games Played 09/22/2008

Spore - PC
Sky Odyssey - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Giga Wing 2 (2001)
Developer: Takumi
Platform: Sega Dreamcast
Purchase Date: 06/23/2001


Up to 4 players can join in on the madness.

2D shooters are cool. I wish that there are more of them on the current generation consoles. Giga Wing 2 is crazy fun. The unique feature of the game is the ship's "Reflect Barrier" system that allows it to offensively deflect enemy fire while being shielded for a short period of time. This allows the ship to survive through inescapable enemy shots and learning the enemy patterns is a must for anyone to be good at the game. I will probably be playing this a bit more now that I am reminded of it.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Review: Too Human


Too Human (2008)
Developer: Silicon Knights
Platform: X-Box 360
Purchase Date: 08/20/2008

-Please read the Preview of the game here before proceeding-


Unfortunately she is only taking you to a respawn point instead of Valhalla.

Too Human is a highly imaginative retelling of the epic Norse Mythology molded into an action role playing game. You play as Baldur, one of the Aesir - or gods - of the new world threatened by a scourge of demonic machines. When the beast Grendl starts to hunt humans for food, Baldur searches for it and the journey begins. Silicon Knights has always been meticulous when it comes to their storytelling and that trait is evident here. The way that they have modernized the mythology into a science-fiction extravaganza is nothing short of awe-aspiring. It is fun to discover how each element of the original tale is translated into the game. The way the storyline unfolds recounts the mesmerizing plot progression of Eternal Darkness on the GameCube. Sadly, since Silicon Knights has been infected by the trilogy bug, we have to wait for the next two games to see the its conclusion. This is made worse by the fact that unlike games like Xenosaga or the more recent Mass Effect, Too Human doesn't feel like a stand alone product and the hypnotic cliffhanger at the end is certain to throw many gamers into a fit of uncontrollable rage.


Ghost ship.

Gameplay wise, the game is a dungeon crawler. The time spent playing the game is focused on running one of the four repeatable dungeons to level up your character and to pick up randomly generated items. The level cap at the moment is 50 and it is slightly disappointing that it doesn't take too long to get there. Perhaps it's better this way though because of the limited amount of dungeons to raid. The 5 classes have the same control layouts but they all have unique strategies to master and feel different from each other. As the character levels up, skill points can be assigned between the class tree and, depending on the player's choice, a "human" or "cybernetic" tree. There are a lot of depths in the variations found within the class builds and they are well balanced as long as the player focuses on a single branch within the tree. The overall control scheme is simple, even though it involves using almost all of the buttons on the controller. Basic melee attacks are executed using the right analogue stick while long range fires use the left and right triggers. The character automatically locks-on to the closest enemy but by cleverly navigating the analogue stick, different targets can be easily acquired. The special moves require only simple tweaking of the analogue sticks and are easy to master. As I mentioned in the preview, this simple control is actually brilliant in a dungeon crawling game, making the repetitive battle constantly effortless and fun as well as highly tolerable - especially the fact that early on, your character will die a lot and each death is punished with armor/weapon damage and a long respawn cinematic. Losing all armor and weapon bonuses can lead to an impossible boss fight.


Poor Freya.

Though the game would definitely benefit more from a 4-player co-op mode on Live, adventuring with just one other Aesir is still effective. The berserker and commando classes seem to be very popular amongst the Too Human community because of the awesome amount of devastation they are capable of. The bio-engineer is often forgotten because it is a healer archetype but having played one, it's definitely the most unique class to play as. The online play is generally lag free and there are different looting system that can be used to ensure proper wealth distribution. Though I have yet played with someone who has the exact same armor set equipped on my character, it would have been nice if a facial customization option was made available so that everyone could create their own vision of Baldur. Since all the cinematics are in real time, this would have been a great feature for the game that should be implemented in the sequel alongside at least a 3-player co-op mode. Too Human's visuals look somewhat dated and some of the ground textures look terrible - the fact that it kept getting pushed to a different console during its production - but the art design is pleasing. The soundtrack is outstanding and is very operatic. Some of the arias found in the first dungeon are quite memorable. There is a balance problem with the sound effects though as the explosions tend to get too loud. This is perhaps the loudest game I have ever played, making it almost impossible to experience the game in full blast for the fear of causing a public disturbance.


Tricky yet deep customization options.

Too Human is close to being a masterpiece. It has the addictive gameplay. It has the intriguing, mature storyline. It's a game that is hard to put down - I have put in 60+ hours into one of my five characters and I am still having a lot of fun playing it. The end game involves hunting down the class elite armor set as well as completing elite "charms" that add special abilities to your character. Some reviewers criticized that the game never gets easier because the enemies scale up with your character thus destroying any sense of progression and accomplishment. These writers apparently have not played the game long enough. There are so many ways to make your character powerful at level 50 that at this time, me and my friend are just ripping through the levels even though the enemies are 10 levels higher than us. Despite these compliments though, the only thing that is holding this game back is Silicon Knights themselves. By cheating us out of the complete game, they have shot themselves in the foot. Just imagine how much better the game would have been if all the dungeons in part II & III are included here, thus giving the players a plethora of things to do. Hopefully, they will come to their senses and do one of the following: a) Release the rest of the game on X-Box Live, or b) Combine part II & III into one game instead of having us wait for the last part when the sequel is released. Because this game is packaged purposely as an incomplete experience, it doesn't deserve a standing ovation even though it certainly doesn't deserve the negative press it's been receiving.

RATING: 3 out of 5

Monday, September 22, 2008

Games Played 09/21/2008

Chessmaster - X-Box 360
Dark Sector - X-Box 360
Rock Band 2 - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360
WarTech: Senko no Ronde - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Sky Odyssey (2001)
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 2001


The environments presented are huge and intimidating.

More than just your average flight simulation, Sky Odyssey serves more as a thrilling adventure game than anything else. There is a variety of flight missions to undertake and they are mostly epic in scope. The graphics still look respectable today, making the game highly playable to new audiences. Those who are tired of war-themed flights like the Ace Combat series should consider this a worthwhile alternative.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Games Played 09/20/2008

Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360
WarTech: Senko no Ronde - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Chessmaster (2004)
Developer: Ubisoft Entertainment
Platform: X-Box
Purchase Date: 2004


It's better than checkers! Learn how to play it.

It's very strange that even though the artificial intelligence behind Chess video games has become much more improved over the years, their visual presentation seems to have reached its limit... In Chessmaster, there are many different boards to choose from, including some animated ones, but they still lack the humor and wild animation sequences found in Battle Chess. There are more things to do in Chessmaster but truth be told, I found myself more rewarded playing the old Battle Chess on the PC.

LIBRARY STATUS: 2 out of 5

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Games Played 09/19/2008

Armored Core: For Answer Demo - X-Box 360
Battle Fantasia - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Rez HD - X-Box 360
Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution - X-Box 360
Soul Calibur IV - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360

Games Played 09/18/2008

Aegis Wing - X-Box 360
Battle Fantasia - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Rez HD - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - X-Box 360

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Games Played 09/17/2008

Chaos Field Expanded - GameCube
Gradius Collection - PSP
Triggerheart Exelica - X-Box 360

*Didn't get to play a lot yesterday. I had to do some inter-city travels and I brought along my PSP with me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Games Played 09/16/2008

Aegis Wing - X-Box 360
Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Galaga Legions - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Poker Smash - X-Box 360
Triggerheart Exelica - X-Box 360*
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - X-Box 360

*I was tinkering with this game a bit. Never really enjoyed it that much until last night. I finally "get" what the game is trying to do after looking at the enemy patterns closely. It's a lot of fun now and I can't wait to move up the game's Leaderboards.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Games Played 09/15/2008



RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Capcom Fighting Evolution (2004)
Developer: Capcom Co., Ltd.
Platform: X-Box
Purchase Date: 06/23/2004


Capcom deserves a serious beating for releasing this mess.

I am pretty sure that when this game was first announced, I was not the only one who thought that it would be the best cross-over fighting game from Capcom. Just having the characters from Red Earth seemed to guarantee a world of butt-kicking fun. Unfortunately, the game ended up being a mockery of Capcom's accomplishments and credibility. The choices of characters are limited and the cast seemed to have been selected randomly without much thought involved. The ugly old sprites are recycled yet again and to make matters worse, they are used on top of delicious high resolution backdrops. And who the heck is Ingrid? Capcom should be ashamed for blatantly copying SNK's Athena Asamiya...

LIBRARY STATUS: 2 out of 5

Games Played 09/14/2008

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Galaga Legions - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - X-Box 360

Monday, September 15, 2008

Preview: Warhammer Online - AOR

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (2008)
Developer: Mythic Entertainment
Platform: Personal Computer
Scheduled Launch Date: 09/18/2008


Apparently the closed beta was only opened to the illiterate.

As much as I hate World of Warcraft - it started out as love until it eventually became disgust - it is overall the most playable and the most polished of all the massively-multiplayer online games I have ever played, which include Everquest II, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, Final Fantasy XI Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, Guild Wars, City of Heroes/Villains, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, and The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. It is with great dismay then that I have to add Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) to that list of inferior MMOs. Still, let it be known that Mythic's attempt to overthrow Blizzard's monster from its throne is much appreciated because they did come up with a game that is highly enjoyable. The biggest problem with WAR is that it is specifically tailored to the lowest common denominator in the most extreme fashion.


A cool summon... Post pwnage.

The amount of classes to choose from is mighty impressive. There are three different races under each of the Order and the Destruction alignment and then there are distinct classes that are unique only to each race. This creates a sense of identity and a clear separation between the races unlike anything I have ever seen in a MMO before. Each of the classes within the races even have their own unique character models and animations to further heighten the distinctions. If you ever played WoW during its earlier days, do you remember how unique the Shaman and the Paladin classes were because only one side of the alignment can play each before Blizzard went nuts and destroyed that illusion? Now imagine that sense of identity on a much larger scale and you get WAR. This grand design would have worked better if Mythic didn't succumb to laziness: some of the classes play alike! For example, the Empire's Bright Wizard and the Dark Elf's Sorceress are carbon copies of each other except for the fact that the former is fire-based and the latter is cold-based. Having played both characters, they get the same kind of spells and strategically play exactly the same. This is utterly disappointing and it defeats the very purpose of having the racial classes setup to begin with.


It's about time that the priest classes get some real action in battle.

Since WAR is Realm vs. Realm focused, even at level 1, those who crave for some bloodletting can queue up to join a battleground against the opposing alignment easily by a simple click of a button wherever he or she may be located at that time. After the battle is over, the player is transported back to the exact spot where the player was before participating. I found this to be very convenient and it became my main source of experience grinding. Those who prefer to progress through a more adventurous mean can complete quests received at the quest hubs. Depending on your commitment to video gaming immersions, you may find the questing dull because there is hardly any feeling of discovery associated in completing them since all the quest goals are specifically highlighted on the map. Then there are the "Public Quests" where a bunch of random people can participate in a repeating scenario for experience and loot. Though fun, support classes will often find themselves shafted from reaching the top contributors list thus having no real opportunity to ever get the sought-after rewards.


Only your character has real time shadow...

Graphically, the game is very disappointing. Though the character models have a mature look to them, the technology that supports the entire game seems to be more ancient that the one found in WoW. After maxing out all the available options, the texture resolutions are still blurry and the view distance is alarmingly short. There also seem to be a shortage of new armor pieces, making the grind towards the next level feels slower than it should be.


Yes, low resolution skies in a 2008 game... Lame.

With the way things are at the moment, I have decided not to pick up the game anytime soon. Perhaps WAR just need a lot more time to get to where it should be. Mythic's battle plan seems to involve making things SIMPLER than how things are in WoW and this translated into a product that will surely attract a large number of people who like to get their rewards quick and easy even if it means that there are nothing meaningful or long lasting about those rewards.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 3 out of 5

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Games Played 09/13/2008

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Galaga Legions - X-Box 360
Gradius Collection - PSP
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - X-Box 360

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Games Played 09/12/2008

Border Down - Dreamcast
Grandia III - PlayStation 2
Ikaruga - Dreamcast/X-Box 360
Under Defeat - Dreamcast
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Open Beta - PC

Back to...

Yesterday, I was faced with a terrible dilemma. Should I move my Sega Dreamcast to my office and hook it up to my rotatable LCD or should I move that screen closer to the console and further clutter my already messy game room. All this came from my absolute craving for Ikaruga a day after my the death of my X-Box 360... I needed to play it bad and playing the YOKO mode on the Dreamcast = horrible graphics. The whole thing was just frustrating to me... Then, an idea: Perhaps I could find someone who would be willing to buy my repaired 360? That way I could just go out and buy a new 360 so I could continue my daily Ikaruga practice. Soon after posting the ad on the internet, I found several people interested in buying it! How about that? By doing this, I would only still lose the $94 needed for the repair because the price of picking up the new Arcade model 360 would be covered by the sale price of the repaired 360. The benefit? I can start playing the 360 again. I am also currently in a bitter battle to get the $94 reimbursed from Microsoft so at the end of this whole thing, I may come up top after all! I am glad I picked up the new console for I have recently purchased several new games for the system and to wait a month to play these games may have resulted in my doom.


My dearest X-Box 360 Elite:
We only said good-bye with flashing lights, you died a hundred times,
you go back to Microsoft and I go back to... White.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Games Played 09/11/2008

Cho Aniki - Wii
Galaga Legions - X-Box 360
Gley Lancer - Wii
Ikaruga - Dreamcast
Castle of Shikigami III - Wii
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Grandia III (2006)
Developer: Game Arts
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 02/16/2006


Miranda cares about her son and her own self.

Just like Namco Bandai's Tales role playing series, each Grandia game spends a lot of its time on character development. Though the main plot - the escorting a holy person to an altar kind - has been done too many times, what makes the game playable are the interesting interactions between the characters. Miranda, the mother to the story's hero, must be one of the most well-realized characters in an RPG ever. She is a very young single mother who actually has an unconventional mind. Her character is so successful, she eclipses all of the other story elements in the game.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Games Played 09/10/2008

Galaga Legions - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Too Human - X-Box 360
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Open Beta - PC

Loner Lonely Without His X

Well, we all know that it is a fact of life that the X-Box 360 console will eventually die... A premature death that is. My X-Box 360 Elite that I picked up in April 2007 died on me today while I was playing Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise with a buddy online. All of a sudden, there were green vertical lines on top of the graphics and when I restarted my console, I got the screen below.


It means "You are screwed" in plain English.

What upsets me the most is that Microsoft would only extend the console's warranty to 3 years if the console receives 3 flashing red rings instead of the one on mine. The different red ring displays would indicate different problems but Microsoft is just splitting hair. After talking to a condescending Microsoft representative who spoke terrible English - I assume from a call center in India - I learned that I have to pay $99 to get the console repaired. I didn't place the order right away with the guy since I threw up in my mouth a little talking to him. I went to the support website and placed the order there instead and got myself a $5 discount for doing so online. Thus, I ended up with a $94 bill and a long waiting time that I am certainly not looking forward to. I used to own a launch console that actually died due to the 3 red rings early in 2007 and got that replaced for free. I then sold it to a friend when I picked up the cooler looking Elite model. It went smoothly last time but it did take about a month for the whole process to see its completion. This means that I will have to get my Ikaruga fix on the Dreamcast even though that may mess up my play-style because of the differences between the two versions. I had planned to review Too Human in the next couple of days but now I have to move that to a later date. If you are wondering about that game, I will say that I really enjoyed it despite its glaring flaws.


The evil Microsoft eye.
Warning: Excessive staring may lead to life failures.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Games Played 09/08/2008

Cho Aniki - Wii
Final Soldier - Wii
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Super Dragon Ball Z - PlayStation 2
My Aquarium - Wii
Too Human - X-Box 360
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Open Beta - PC


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Wario World (2003)
Developer: Treasure
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Purchase Date: 06/24/2003


Leave it to Treasure to create some crazy looking enemies.

With the exception of Sin and Punishment, Treasure's efforts on Nintendo's platforms always ended up being rather mediocre. Their take on the Wario series is true to the spirit of the character and features some quirky gameplay mechanics that they are normally known for but I wonder how much better it could have been if Treasure were to make it a 2D game. Oh well, at least there are some great boss battles in the game.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Censored Statham III: Regression of a Transporter

I stumbled upon the movie poster for Transporter 3 in the theater over the weekend. Since the dashing Jason Statham is the star of the film, as expected, his bald-ing head was ridiculously cropped off again on it. It was just recently that I realize that the movie poster designers like to abuse him, thus I immediately started looking for the posters of the first two movies and here is what I found:


Phase I: Why we do get stuck with a bald-ing guy? Now we can't
make his hair flow dangerously in the wind. Let's crop him here
on the side so that people can see a hint of healthy hair on his head.



Phase II: What? We ran out stock profile photo of Statham? Darn it,
now we have to move his bald-ing head higher and crop it there.



Phase III: Why do they keep hiring this guy? I mean he's bald-ing!
Alright, a little bit higher this time around, the last one
we did for number 2 was not very successful.


And yes, the French have problems with his bald-ing head too...

Apparently, our society's phobia of the smooth looking scalp has gotten worse by the year! But let's end this on a lighter note, shall we?


Looks like you are their latest victim Mr. Cage!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Games Played 09/07/2008

Tales of Vesperia - X-Box 360
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Open Beta - PC


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Super Dragon Ball Z (2006)
Developer: Namco Bandai Games Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 07/24/2006


No split screen this time around.

Though not the best Dragon Ball Z fighting game, Super Dragon Ball Z is still way better than those galaxy-awful 16-bit ones on the Genesis and the Super Nintendo. The problem with this game is that it feels more Street Fighter lite than Dragon Ball and with the Budokai Tenkaichi series perfectly capturing the true essence of the action-packed battles found in the anime, SDZ is a huge step backwards. Having more characters would have helped the game too especially the fact that BT contains quite a huge roster.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Nintendo: Repent Before Repeat?

I was shocked to see that Nintendo released Cho Aniki and Final Soldier, both TurboGrafx-16 classics, on the Virtual Console today. Two great shooters in one day? Can it be true? After looking at numerous videos of the Wii versions and originals, I decided to download both of them and I soon confirmed that these games are safe from the troubling hit-flash-disease that plagued the recent releases of shooters on the console. I think there may be some minute alterations done on the flashes in Final Soldier but since I really can't tell the difference, it's either the changes were very subtle or none were made whatsoever. At least these releases make me feel better about things - perhaps it's a way for Nintendo to say that they are not going to have hit-flashes censored again - but I would like to see them properly re-release the impacted games I mentioned in my previous article to call it even.


There is still no re-release of Star Parodier and Ninja Commando
so the future is still uncertain: Will the next batch of shooters be as lucky?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Games Played 09/06/2008

Warhammer Online: AOR Open Beta Opens!

Today, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has begun its open beta stage. When I played the game during the Preview Weekend a couple of weeks ago, I walked away with mixed feelings. I liked some parts of the game, like the great PvP elements and the public quests but things like the sloppy shortage of mobs during its introduction quests and poor graphics made me stop playing the game after a day. I will write a report on my experience with the open beta before the game is released on 09/16/2008.


Looking forward to a more polished experience...


A screenshot of my character from the Preview Weekend. The graphics couldn't be
maxed out then, so we'll see if the game will look any better during this open beta.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Games Played 09/05/2008

Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Infinite Undiscovery - X-Box 360
Titan Quest - PC
Too Human - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Space Channel 5 (1999)
Developer: Sega
Platform: Sega Dreamcast
Purchase Date: 01/10/2000


The joy of being a space reporter.

This is the first music game made by the now famous Tetsuya Mizuguchi. The game feels more like an experiment and unlike Mizuguchi's eventual musical gaming endeavors like Rez and Lumines, it lacks a certain polish found in those masterpieces. The main character Ulala has to mimic the dance moves of the invading Mororians to uhm, combat them. Space Channel 5 has that retro-futuristic vibe both in its character design and musical influence. It's fun, it's hip, it's cool, and it features Michael Jackson!

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Games Played 09/04/2008

Infinite Undiscovery - X-Box 360
Titan Quest - PC*

*I was finally able to convinced a friend of mine to buy the game and the two of us played all through the evening. He soon disovered and used the cheat mods for the game so I am not sure how long this exciting co-op is going to last.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Games Played 09/03/2008

Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Infinite Undiscovery - X-Box 360
Tales of Vesperia - X-Box 360
Viewtiful Joe - GameCube
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Super Trucks Racing (2003)
Developer: Jester Interactive
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 2004


The trucks are decorated Daytona-style.

Sometimes I do surprise myself with what I buy and there are no clearer example of that than this game. I still haven't figured out what it was exactly - the fact that it was budget title or the hope that it was probably going to be the only "good" truck-based racing game I would ever get to play - but I was just very excited about the whole prospect. I followed my instinct and picked up the game and ended up with a something that is actually halfway decent. I am just glad that it is better than Eighteen Wheeler: American Pro Trucker on the Dreamcast!

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Review: Starship Troopers 3 - Marauder


Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Genre: Action
Format: Blu-ray
Director: Edward Neumeier


Just because it has a new bug doesn't mean that it's a better movie.

Have you ever had your intelligence insulted so badly that you got a terrible headache from it? Well if you haven't and would love to experience exactly that, then this direct to home release is right for you. The original Starship Troopers by Paul Verhoeven is one of my favorite movies of all time and for it to get continually disrespected by shameless sequels is a cinematic crime.


I am still not sure which is stiffer: Jolene Blalock's outfit or her acting?

The screenwriter of the series, Edward Neumeier, is now also at the helm. It is quite hard to believe that the same guy who was responsible for the original has produced something this bad. You get to meet Johnny Rico, the hero from the first movie, who is now stationed at a remote military outpost fighting the good war against the hordes of alien bugs. When the arrival of the popular Federation Sky Marshall resulted in an all out bug war, it seems as if a terrible plot has been put in motion to eliminate both the esteemed visitor and Rico. The writing is weak and the infomercials that segwayed the different scenes are now completely overdone and lost all of their satirical quality. Just like Starship Troopers 2: Heroes of the Federation, the film combines new creature effects (you can tell by how terrible they look) with those found in the original movie. I found this method to be quite lazy especially when the good effects are placed on top of low resolution backgrounds - they look quite disorienting. The one thing that really propels this from bad to a complete waste of time is the extreme religious overtone. It's like Neumeier was recently touched by an angel - most likely by something less desirable. The whole question of god and faith is handled so haphazardly it feels like Neumeier is certainly serious in his message while failing miserably in his attempts to make it look like he's ridiculing the subject: a sneaky approach that is both as preachy as it is repulsive.


Neumeier got religion... And he got it bad.

This is definitely one of the worst movies I have seen in my whole life. If the disc I used was not a rental, I would have destroyed it for I fear that someone else may get a hold of it and be assaulted by viewing it. Yes it is that bad. In the process of analyzing the war on bugs, Neumerier has become one of the bugs himself.

RATING: 1 out of 5