Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Purchase of 2009

Since today is the final day of Direct2Drive's year end sale, I decided to go ahead and purchase Majesty 2 instead of taking a chance by waiting for it to get a big price drop on Steam. I used my $5.00 credit to assist with the purchase instead of buying one of the $4.95 games that are on sale. It would be funny if Steam is going to be offering the game for less than $3.00 over the next five days but nonetheless, the price was cheap enough. Why can't all games be sold for less than $10? I have been quite spoiled by these digital download purchases. It's going to be hard to get back to paying normal $49.99 - $59.99 price range for just one game.

It looks like that's it for 2009. I am really looking forward to writing the 2009 Yearly Gaming Analysis. Going over a year's worth of my Daily Game Log is going to be very rewarding indeed and this is the first time that I am able to accumulate such data: I started that feature a bit late in 2008.

Happy New Year! I'll be celebrating the countdown with a bottle of champagne and a little bit of romance.

Oh, come on your Majesty. Being last is not that depressing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Steam Achievements: A Step in the Right Direction

As I have mentioned many times before, I don't care much about achievements nor trophies. I don't hunt for them and I certainly hardly ever look at the list even after I completed a game because I like to define my own experience playing a game instead of having a "guide" telling me what I need to do to "complete" a game. I have installed the Steam client on my Personal Computer for a long time and never did I know before that some Steam games actually come with achievements. I just noticed it while I was messing around with Osmos. I am still not going to let these achievements hold my hands and tell me what to do in the game but I do notice that they carry a different meaning here. The achievement doesn't tally up to any score on your player profile even though you can browse the "unlocked" achievements by game. Interestingly, there is a "Global Achievements" page that shows how many people within the Steam community have unlocked each of the listed achievements. All of this is actually a step above both the achievement and trophy systems found on the X-Box 360 and the PlayStation 3. I always thought that the 360's achievement system was horrible so when the PS3's trophy system was first announced, I was thrilled. But after realizing that its "difficulty-based" system was just an illusion (every retail game has a Platinum trophy - it's a matter of playing the "right" game), my interest in it soon faltered. Steam's achievement system is definitely more dignified and classy because:

a) The achievements do not have any accumulative assigned value so they are individually more significant instead of being merely a part of a statistic for some unbalanced equation.

b) It's a more precise leaderboard and can be a valid point for bragging rights, especially if you have unlocked an achievement that most people are unable to unlock! Just imagine, instead of saying "Look! 1000 out of 1000!" or "Oh, I got a Platinum trophy!" after going through a list of dull tasks, now you can say "Wow! I'm one of the 0.1% of all players who have this achievement unlocked!" Aah... It's a better world already!

c) There is no achievement/trophy "whoring" since all the achievements are self-contained within each of the games.

I sure hope Steam is going to let this system stay this way for a long time to come.

Simple yet infinitely more meaningful.

New Game Alert!

Another day, another Steam game. This time, it's Osmos for only $1.99 - to think that I almost purchased this via Direct2Drive for $4.95. Osmos is a puzzle game where you control a sphere that must absorb other spheres around it. Your sphere can be moved by propelling it forward towards other smaller spheres. But with each propulsion, your sphere loses some of its own mass. It's absorb or be absorb and it's one of those more artsy, creative game. One thing for sure, it costs almost nothing and the nicest thing about it is that I have been wanting to get the game for a while now.

In space, no one can see you buying from Steam.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Game Alert!

I was hoping that this would happen: Steam is selling Jade Empire: Special Edition for only $3.75 today. I played this game half-way through on the X-Box and it's a game that I have always wanted to come back and finish. What better way to do that than to play this visually upgraded Personal Computer version, complete with widescreen 1080p support. There were so many people buying this game from Steam today that the server was overloaded - the download speed was terribly slow and it took a while for the download to finish, especially if you tried to do so early this morning.

The details of the embroideries on this character's pants can finally be appreciated.

Home for the Holidays?

While Steam and Direct2Drive are both offering some significant deals on popular games, Scrooge - I mean - Microsoft's attempt at a Christmas/New Year sale on the X-Box 360 have brought nothing but disappointment for me. The little gifts like a poor premium theme and avatar item are cute but the movie show rental as well as community game deals are not. Microsoft still has 3 more days to surprise us with something extraordinary but because of the boring selections being offered thus far, I am not going to expect that to happen. The only good thing I can say about Microsoft's "New Year Countdown" is that at least they are doing something compared to how quiet things are at the PlayStation Store.

Why would anyone want to pay 80 MS Points to rent Batman Returns?
Someone at Microsoft's sales and marketing department needs to get fired.

Fallout 3 add-ons for half the price? Sure, I'll buy a couple of those.
Sadly, the deal didn't extend to the Live-enabled PC version of the game that I own.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Games Played 12/21/2009 - 12/27/2009

- 12/21/2009 -
Divinity II: Ego Draconis Demo - PC*
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Nanostray 2 - NDS
Pac-Pix - NDS
Trine - PC

*A third person action role playing game in the same vein of the Gothic series.
Incredibly lousy performance for a game that is not very pleasing to look at.

- 12/22/2009 -
Klonoa - Wii
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile - PlayStation
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Nanostray 2 - NDS
Peggle Demo - PlayStation 3
Puzzlegedon Demo - PlayStation 3

- 12/23/2009 -
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Nanostray 2 - NDS

- 12/24/2009 -
Dante's Inferno Demo - X-Box 360*
Defense Grid: The Awakening - PC
Divinity II: Ego Draconis Demo - X-Box 360**
Dragon Age: Origins - PC
Lost Odyssey - X-Box 360
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360

*I played the PS3 version a couple of weeks ago:
The verdict - both versions look and perform similarly. Bravo!
**I thought the PC version looks bad. Much worse on the 360.
I know the console can do a lot better than this horrendous port.

- 12/25/2009 -
Dragon Age: Origins - PC
King's Bounty: Armored Princess - PC
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360

- 12/26/2009 -
Audiosurf - PC
Clubhouse Games - NDS
Cooking Mama - NDS
King's Bounty: Armored Princess - PC
Lumines Demo - PC
Nanostray 2 - NDS
Personal Trainer: Cooking - NDS
Red Faction: Guerrilla - PC

- 12/27/2009 -
King's Bounty: Armored Princess - PC
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Red Faction: Guerrilla - PC

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Games Alert!

It looks like these last days leading up to the end of the year are going to be accompanied by a marathon of new PC games, thanks to Steam. Two more great deals that I couldn't pass up: King's Bounty: Armored Princess and Red Faction: Guerrilla for $9.99 each. Armored Princess is a beautiful strategy role playing game about a princess who must save her kingdom from a certain doom and Red Faction: Guerrilla is a third person shooter that takes place on Mars with an incredible physics engine, showcased via its fully destructible architectures. By the way, those who have purchased a game during Direct2Drive's 24 Days of Christmas event are now given a $5.00 credit for use on that site and all of the 24 games, alongside several others, are now being offered up for sale again. I am thinking of purchasing Majesty 2 but I am going to wait to see if Steam is going to be selling it for less anytime soon since I missed out on their cheaper Trine and Torchlight deals.

It's XP 64-bit compatible! King's Bounty: The Legend caused me so much headache.

Those explosions are to die for... The accuracy of the physics is amazing.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nathan Drake's Plastic Surgery

I just received a new marketing email for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and I was horrified by what Nathan Drake has done to himself. I guess he has to keep up with the pressure of generating more sales for Sony and the PlayStation 3, especially after Uncharted 2's "big" win as Game of the Year from Spike's VGA Awards. As if the game needed any more hype than what it has already gotten... They now want to further strengthen Nathan's looks so that more people can associate with him other than just the younger audience. Behold!

I give you... Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones as Nathan Drake?!

Here's how he looks like before. I guess this is not handsome enough.
A successful facial reconstruction surgery makes all the difference in the world.

Christmas Shocker

I am having a family gathering at my house today for Christmas. The dinner was great and all the gifts have been unwrapped. I must say that someone actually managed to surprise me with a set of truly unexpected gifts this year. I really don't expect nor ask for anything for Christmas to begin with. It was an emotional moment for me because these gifts were so very thoughtful. No amount of video games can even come close to the joy I felt when I received them: Stretched canvases of varying sizes, complete with a set of paint brushes and a set of acrylic paints. I haven't painted in more than a decade and it's nice to know that I have someone important in my life who truly understands what I am about.

Thank you for listening to me and reaching out to the loneliest corner of my heart.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Game Alert!

There are so many good deals going on at Steam, it's hard to say no to them. Well, at least to one of them so far. I purchased Defense Grid: The Awakening early this morning for a measly price of $2.49. As the title may suggests, Defense Grid is a tower defense game where you place different kind of mechanical weaponry all across the map to destroy waves upon waves of invading alien creatures. The game runs smoothly and it is fun to play.

The aliens want your energy cores and you must kill all of them!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Steaming Hot Direct Download Sale

From now until January 3rd of 2010, Steam is putting almost all of its library of downloadable Personal Computer games up for their Holiday Sale. In addition to the continuous discounts on these titles until the said date, there will also be some daily specials that will be offered for a period of 24 hours only. This sale is another great opportunity for us to support the direct download distribution of games and though I have not made any decision on purchases yet, Steam really has some exceptional deals here like Audiosurf for only $2.50 - you really can't beat that!

I prefer buying from Direct2Drive but these prices are just incredible!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

PS3 Bayonetta: Of Truth and Ignorance

Reviews of the soon-to-be-released Bayonetta are flooding the Internet. As I have mentioned in the past, I am not big in the whole review-reading thing because more often than not, they contain spoilers no matter how small the scale. Also, I like to form my own opinion of the games I play so outside interference is kept to a minimum. With Bayonetta, I just had to check out these reviews though because I really want to know if the PlayStation 3 version of the game was able to be saved graphically in its final retail form versus that galaxy-awful demo that many PS3-only gamers swear to be the visually-awesome gift from whatever god or ideal they believe in. While there are reviewers who shied away from even mentioning the discrepancies (shame on you), they are also those who are bold enough to state the truth in regards to the matter, (the PS3 version is horrid) thus sealing the deal for me in getting this for the X-Box 360 or maybe the Personal Computer - but I can't wait that long to play this! If I was one of the unfortunate gamers who have only the PS3, I would be very, very upset with Platinum Games and Sega. I would be so upset that I would not even buy the game. This must be one of the worst multi-platform releases that clearly shows utter discrimination against one console while totally favoring the other. The same thing happened to Sonic Unleashed - that game was almost unplayable on the PS3 when I tried out the demo. A sad time in the history of gaming indeed.

First, Platinum Games kicks PS3 owners in the face. Brutal!
Then, Sega follows up with a head-shot using the heel-gun to finish the job. Nasty!

New Game Alert!

It may not be an official selection of Direct2Drive's 24 Days of Christmas sale but Torchlight receives a 50% limited time offer discount today. I have been waiting for the price to drop to pick this up so I did. Torchlight is a dungeon crawler role playing game, a Diablo clone. I would have purchased it as my 2000th game but after I learned about the generic talent progression across the three playable characters, I was a tad disappointed with it. The wait for Diablo III is a long and painful ordeal though so Torchlight should do the trick for me - and for other fans of that series too I am sure.

Update Note: 12:30pm - It looks like Torchlight is going to be offered for tomorrow's featured item for the special Christmas sale. I found out after the item of the day and tomorrow's teaser has been updated. I'm not sure if this "limited time offer" is made available now to avoid people actually missing out on the sale with Christmas being just around the corner but if this game is being sold cheaper than $9.99 tomorrow, I will be asking for a refund.

Update Note: 12/23/2009, 10:10am - Looks like it is being sold for 50% off today as well. So Direct2Drive was just trying to make sure they get to sell the game because of how busy things become the closer we get to Christmas. There is no need to wait anymore - buy the game!

Update Note: 12/26/2009 - The Steam Holiday Sale is currently offering Torchlight for only $4.99! Gosh, that's really cheap! It's a one-day only deal so check it out quickly!

It was already very cheap at $19.99. Now, it's basically a steal. Get it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Review: Avatar

Avatar (2009)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Format: IMAX 3D
Director: James Cameron

When I first saw the trailer for James Cameron's Avatar, I was disappointed. The name Jar Jar Binks came to mind when I see the blue CG people running across the movie screen. Some of the alien scenery that featured millions of pastel colors just looked like a cartoon. For a film that was so expensive to make and also supposedly represented Cameron's return to the realm of cinema after his long hiatus, I thought Avatar had no chance to reclaim the level of success that it was set to accomplish. Then, there was also the whole 3D thing - Cameron wants his audience to watch this in 3D and though the technology looks good, it always cheapen a live action movie. Another sad blow to the movie I thought.

Well, if I followed my initial instinct about the movie and skipped it, I would have missed what I can now describe as the most beautiful 3D movie in history - well, this movie deserves much better than even that. Avatar is the most gorgeous movie ever made. Let me start by saying that the 3D in Avatar is breath-taking and is light years better than any 3D movies that came before it. Here's how Cameron is able to accomplish this extraordinary feat: 3D has to look natural and it can never be forced. For the first time ever, 3D becomes a reality of a film instead of being merely a visual gimmick. The expansive level of depth is unlike anything that I would think is even possible to simulate. There is a scene where you see rows of tables in a canteen and each of the tables has its precise placement in the depth of the 3D vision. It's truly groundbreaking. With Avatar, it's not cheesy to say that you feel like you are actually there with the actors on the screen. When you see how the surroundings move, shift, rotate, twist, as well as zoom in and out as they would in reality while the camera is moving dynamically, you will believe in 3D and you will not accept anything less than how this technology is profusely utilized here.

Just like Cameron's Titanic, the storyline in Avatar may sound ridiculous at first: It's a love story between a soldier, who is driving an "avatar" of a humanoid being of the planet Pandora, and one of the local females. He is connected to the avatar telepathically and is basically living two lives. As a human being, he is tasked to learn more about the alien's culture while carrying a secret mission of learning about the local's "military intelligence". As one of "them", he feels more alive that ever before, especially the fact that he has lost the usage of both of his legs as a human being. All of this just so that humanity can access a wealth of energy resource located at the very heart of the alien civilization. There are those typical themes of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption but everything is heartfelt. Remember when I stated that I thought the blue people looked too CG? Well, I changed my mind while watching the movie. These creatures look strange anatomically but the way they move, the textures of their skin, and the varying emotions on their faces made them very, very realistic... and very human. The weirdness of the planet's wildlife and geography also made sense and are made real by the consistency of their overall design. The movie is a tad longer than it should be, clocking at two and a half hours with an obligatory epic battle scene at the end. I can assure you though that Avatar's strengths actually lies in its quieter, more gentle scenes when the soldier is trying to learn the ways of the indigenous people. Special kudos to Sigourney Weaver for her passionate performance as the scientist responsible for the creation of the avatars, channeling her character with the essence of her previous rendition of Dian Fossey from Gorillas in the Mist.

After the last couple of pedestrian usages of the 3D technology, such as with the pathetic The Final Destination, I would not have forced this issue as much as I am going to: This movie must be seen in 3D. You will be shocked. You will be amazed. Most importantly, you will believe that there is a validity to this technology. I sure hope that this movie will invigorate and inspire other directors to be this precise with 3D and to embrace it as a natural extension of the cinematic conventions. Because the length of the movie, my eyes did feel a bit uncomfortable near the end of the viewing - the next jump for 3D should be to accomplish the effect without the use of 3D glasses, something that I believe will happen in the not too distant future. You will revel in the movie's incredible vistas and its emotional weight will haunt you long after you have seen the movie. Avatar has truly redefined the cinematic viewing experience.

RATING: 5 out of 5

Games Played 12/14/2009 - 12/20/2009

- 12/14/2009 -
Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica - PlayStation 2
Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus - SegaSaturn

- 12/15/2009 -
Ceville Demo - PC
Everquest II - PC*
Magnetica - NDS
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360

*I was surprised to see that I still have this game installed in my PC. More surprising
for me was finding out that my account received a temporary re-activation period.

- 12/16/2009-
Blaster Master - Wii
Magnetica - NDS

- 12/17/2009 -
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Qix++ Demo - X-Box 360

- 12/18/2009 -
Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial Challenge - PlayStation 3*
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360

*This time trial contest/demo is fun but the graphics are disappointing.
With faux real time lighting and cardboard spectators, the game fails to impress visually.

- 12/19/2009 -
Magnetica - NDS
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Trine - PC

- 12/20/2009 -

The House of the Dead Overkill - Wii
Magnetica - NDS
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
1 vs 100 - X-Box 360

Sunday, December 20, 2009

OnLive Still Alive

When I first heard about OnLive, I thought it was revolutionary. It is a gaming service where no actual game hardware is required... All you need is just a good connection to the internet: It's genius. I still think that it is going to truly shift the gaming industry in a positive light when it is finally available. OnLive hasn't been on my mind for a very long time - it's been doing a really good job at being extremely quiet - until I was made aware that I may be beta testing it soon. The process of the beta testing recruitment can be found on the company's blog and if you are interested to possibility experience this service before it goes live, you might still have a chance to be a part of the beta. I just thought that I should make a mention of this to acknowledge the fact that OnLive is still alive and well... Though its looming threat is hardly felt these days with the consoles enjoying their blossoming successes, it doesn't mean that it will be less potent when OnLive finally becomes a reality. If it is successful then, it may be death to gaming consoles/personal computer.

But I want to play now!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Direct2Drive: Finally... A Purchase!

Direct2Drive's 24 Days of Christmas deal of the day for yesterday was Trine, the extraordinarily beautiful medieval platformer from Frozenbyte. I would have purchased this game a long time ago for the Personal Computer if not for me wanting to wait and see how the PlayStation 3 version of it would fare. After discovering that the PS3 version is stuck at 720p, I planned to get the game for the PC. It's been somewhat abandoned on the Purchase List and yesterday was a very busy day for me - not to mention that I also retired for the night earlier than usual - so even though I knew Trine was available for only $9.99, I only purchased it today 4 minutes before the sale expired! Yeah, I almost missed it. Well, at least I am getting a game out of this long-winded sale event.

Of wizards, rogues, warriors, and creepy undead.

Friday, December 18, 2009

November 2009 Monthly Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.


Total Games Played: 38

Dragon Age: Origins really captivated me in November 2009. The game only kept getting better and better the more I played it. One thing was certain during the playtime though - the quickbar access is critical for a smooth gameplay. BioWare should have kept this exclusive for the PC because in a way, they are responsible for making the console owners paying more money for a neutered version of the game. This game will get even better with the user generated contents for the PC - especially with the extraordinary toolkit that was released for the game. Still, just playing through what's already there is overwhelming and addictive enough.

I love Tekken 6. I have not loved any of the Tekken games released after Tekken Tag Tournament so this only means that Namco has truly exceeded my expectations. With Soul Calibur IV being the disappointment that it was, it's nice to see Namco being able to pick themselves up and make such an improved version of their beloved franchise. Even the scenario mode that will have you fight waves after waves of goons before facing a stage boss is highly addictive, adding more replayability to the game.

From the first day I first picked up my 2000th game, Borderlands, I was hooked. Torchlight may be the conventional Diablo-clone but Borderlands is more like the next innovation in the dungeon-clearing treasure-looting role playing genre. The game is incredibly fun to play and once the skill tree is accessible, the game gets even more entertaining. A must have for anyone who either enjoys first person shooters or dungeon crawlers. The idea of the blending between the two may be off-putting but believe me when I say that it was a match made in the brightest corner of the galaxy.

Best New Game of the Month:
Dragon Age: Origins (Personal Computer)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo Wii)

I Missed You I Want You Game of the Month:
Phantasy Star 0 (Nintendo DS)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Game Alert!

If there is one game that reminds me of my early days of gaming, it would be Sunsoft's Blaster Master for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was released on the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console early this week and after much consideration - I have a balance of 800 Wii Points that I was holding off for something big - I decided to download it yesterday.

Can we please have Sunsoft's incredible Batman next?

As soon as I started playing the game, the sense of nostalgia came rushing in. Despite the much cleaner graphics - my NES years were plagued by disgusting digital noises playing via the RF cable - the game is still as I remembered it. The soundtrack is quite memorable and overall, the game is playable. If you have never heard of this game before, Blaster Master is a platform shooter where you switch between controlling a futuristic vehicle to get around the large Metroid-inspired stages and controlling the driver who can jump out of the vehicle to get into the many dungeons scattered throughout the game world. There are vehicle parts to collect and big bosses to fight. It's one of the best games on the NES.

The game encourages precise play: you'll lose your gun upgrades when you get hit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review: Grace

Grace (2009)
Genre: Horror
Format: Blu-ray
Director: Paul Solet

It's not that hard to offend people. The cheapest and easiest way to accomplish that usually involves religion or sexuality. Those come up more often than the one definite trigger that would send a lot of people nuts: Babies. You just can't talk bad about babies. Even when you see an ugly toddler, you are supposed to compliment their parents for passing down their good genes. Why? This is because babies represent a sense of purity - a clean slate if you will - a freedom from theology, sexuality, and all other forms of nurtured evil that humanity has conjured up ever since we became smart enough to form languages and methods of archiving our personal experiences. Grace, is a wonderful movie. The only problem with it is that most people will definitely avoid watching it because it dares to cross that line of what is acceptable for most people, or at least in our current society: Grace made monsters out of babies.

The movie poster above sums up the tale quite well. Grace, the name given to a baby that was not meant to survive birth, has a taste for blood. Her mother unfortunately, is just too happy to oblige for Grace is her only child and she has tried to give birth before but her past pregnancies yielded nothing but despair. The greatest triumph of this film is its deliberate and suspenseful pacing. This is not your typical body count movie as the premise may suggest. Instead, it's all about the build up of characters. There is a deep psychological underpinning to the characters' action and inaction, giving the movie a thick layer of gritty realism. The theme of a woman's maternal longing is also greatly expanded upon by using three distinct characters who are struggling with their own personal demons. The horrific bits are subtle but shockingly powerful. The way writer/director Paul Solet uses an actual baby to do most of the scenes - including the messy parts - will make you question the entire production but this is how Grace is able to translate its dark visions successfully on film.

Grace is a sick movie. It doesn't offer any form of redemption nor hope at the end - you're given a really gross final scene instead. It does a lot of things that defy cinematic expectations. There is even a "sex scene" in here that really caught me by surprise. If you have a weak stomach, you may need a barf bag for this one. If not, get your ewwws, yucks, and heck-nos ready. You are definitely going to need them.

RATING: 4 out of 5

October 2009 Monthly Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.


Total Games Played: 30

World of Warcraft continued its dominance over all else in October 2009. It was the second month of my return to Azeroth and the desire to get both my Druid and my Priest to that 80th level was definitely there. The new continent of Northrend offers a lot of richly rewarding quests but this unfortunately means nothing to my previous main character, the Undead Priest because he has a full epic set already. Thus, my concentration went to my Tauren Druid who was collecting all the goodies left and right from quest givers - It was very addicting and I can't deny how good it felt to be constantly rewarded for all of that level grinding.

When Demon's Souls came into the picture, I was slowly pulled away from WoW. It was another game that was all about levelling up your character. Since it was much more fresh and new than WoW, the attention switch was inevitable. The one thing that made me stop playing Demon's Souls before I could finish it was the unbalanced player versus player element. There are ways to ensure that it's harder for other players to invade my game but I get a bit impatient at times. I do want to get back into this game soon - even though that means I have to learn the game's subtle intricacies all over again.

After the brief time I spent with Raiden IV as a rented game via GameFly in September, finding the game at a local store was a much needed reunion. I love my Japanese shoot-'em-ups and even though the Raiden series has never been my favorite, it's highly playable and it's a series that has made a successful jump from 2D to 3D graphics without sacrificing the precision of the gameplay. Raiden IV lacks content compared to Raiden Fighters Aces but it is clearly the superior game. Too bad that you can only use the additional ships if you unlock them using your Microsoft Points... The game really doesn't need another bad publicity. I highly commend UFO Interactive for bringing the game to the North American market but they should have been more thoughtful about the extra ships situation.

Best New Game of the Month:
Tekken 6 (PlayStation 3)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PlayStation 3)

I Missed You I Want You Game of the Month:
Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection (PlayStation 3)

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Game Alert!

Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica for the PlayStation 2 is one of those games that I regret not buying soon after its release because nowadays, a new copy in immaculate condition is hard to find. I was finally able to find the game at a very reasonable price and I am so very happy to finally own the game. Ar Tonelico II is another role playing game by Gust that combines unique though familiar battle system - if you have played the developer's other RPGs - and some blatantly ineffective attempts at sexual innuendos. This is the tag line on the back of the box: "Always come back for seconds." Yeah. And then, you can also find this in the game's animated opening video:

Do nubile songstresses sing better when they are this close to each other?

No, I didn't buy the game just because of its "Suggestive Themes". I have been a fan of Gust ever since I played Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, also released for the PS2. I just love their usage of pretty 2D sprites and their gorgeous yet hectic battle screens. I am very curious to learn more about the whole "Metafalica" thing (is it related to the band Metallica?) so I plan to get into this game very soon.

It's finally mine. I thought I would never get a chance to buy this.
The game comes with a soundtrack CD and an artwork booklet.

Sunday Hookup

No, not that kind of a hookup. I'm actually talking about the tangled-up, complex video game kind. I have moved into my new place for more than two months and during all of that time, I didn't properly hook up some of my "active duty" game consoles in my game room. The consoles in question are the import PlayStation 2, the import Nintendo GameCube, the Sega Dreamcast, the SegaSaturn, and the X-Box. Getting all of these consoles connected to one main display - with the help of my receiver unit - has never been an easy task. Not that it's any real hard work or anything. It's just a major hassle trying to get to the back of the entertainment center to make sure that everything will look neat by the time everything is done. I like being able to access my consoles whenever I want to access them but I surely don't enjoy the back-end process of accomplishing that.

Those consoles have been sitting quietly in there, waiting to be played.

The seedier part of my game room.

So I forced myself to get it done yesterday. It did take me almost the entire day because I just had to stop myself many times in between. Getting the wires to where they needed to be - which meant keeping track of all the other wires in the direct vicinity - was a very cumbersome task and sometimes, my brain just couldn't take it anymore! Now, all but one of those additional consoles listed in the previous paragraph have been "installed" and ready for use at my very discretion. I have decided to put away the import Nintendo GameCube though since I do have a Nintendo Wii to play all of my GameCube titles. This does mean that I will not be able to easily play the 12 import games that I have for that console. Since I hardly ever play them these days, I think I will be okay with this decision for now. Putting away that system also means that I will not be able to play my Game Boy games on the big screen via the GameCube's Game Boy Player attachment. This was the main reason why my GameCube was hooked up in the first place after the Wii purchase but I am happy with the way these games look on the Nintendo DS so no big loss there.

Retire in peace my GameCube... May your services be called upon again.

Hookup dilemma: Should I connect those component cables here or on the receiver?
I opted to keep the top section of the entertainment center clear so the receiver it is
even though this resulted in more button presses to switch between the multiple videos.

I was considering to "re-activate" my Nintendo 64 and my Sega Genesis/Sega CD - a decision that would surely bring me more painful wire/cable management headache - but I am going to wait on that for now because I am currently planning to turn a small section of my house into a "Retro" corner for the older gaming systems.

Games Played 12/07/2009 - 12/13/2009

- 12/07/2009 -
Bit.Trip.Beat Demo - Wii
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
My French Coach - NDS

- 12/08/2009 -
Heroes of Newerth Beta - PC
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
My French Coach - NDS
OD Beat Drop Demo - X-Box 360
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel - PC
Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online - PlayStation 3

- 12/09/2009 -
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360

- 12/10/2009 -
Borderlands - PC
Capcom Classics Collection Remixed - PSP
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Tekken 6 - PlayStation 3

- 12/11/2009 -
Borderlands - PC
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - NDS
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes - NDS
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360

- 12/12/2009 -
Dante's Inferno Demo - PlayStation 3
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - NDS
Majesty 2 Demo - PC
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Tekken 6 - PlayStation 3

- 12/13/2009 -
Deadly Creatures - Wii
Dragon Age: Origins - PC
Dodonpachi: Dai-Ou-Jou - PS2
Jade Empire Limited Edition - X-Box
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - X-Box

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Direct2Drive's Tiger Woods Sale

So you can't check up on the news these days without being fed about the latest development in the whole Tiger Woods situation. I could care less about him or his sexual life and whatever the ramification of his decision to commit to a marriage without being monogamous is something that should remain private between him and his wife. Of course, the media has been poking a lot of fun at Mr. Woods and the latest mockery comes from Direct2Drive's "Name That Game Givaway" for today - whether intentional or not:

That looks like Tiger Woods alright... With a golf club resting on his head.
Sure it's from the cover art but they should have used a different section to crop.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gasp! Your Majesty!

Before I went to bed last night, I downloaded the demo for Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim for the Personal Computer. Apparently, I had this game listed on my Purchase List and the odd thing was, I completely dismissed the sale of the game when it popped up not too long ago via Direct2Drive's 24 Days of Christmas offer. I would say my Purchase List is getting a bit out of hand - it's just way too long - that sometimes I can't even recall games that I have listed there. But that is actually the main idea behind its creation: the list is supposed to remember games that I am interested in when my own brain fails me. Going through it last night and actually stumbling into Majesty 2 on it, I knew there has to be a valid reason why this game was listed there. So I installed and played the demo this morning and I now know that I have missed a great opportunity to buy this game. Majesty 2 is basically a strategy game that plays more like a city-simulation. You build up your lands, train soldiers, gather resources - the typical thing you'd do in a game like this. What really attracted me to this game is that you don't control your hero units directly. Instead, you get to assign quests and rewards to get them to do your bidding. For some odd reason, the process of attaching a bounty on a creature's head and then seeing my heroes do his or her thing independently is incredibly fun for me. Too bad about the sale. Maybe next time.

Watching your heroes battling out enemies is a lot of fun.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Direct2Drive ZZZ Sale

Eleven games have been revealed for Direct2Drive's 24 Days of Christmas Sale and yet, I still haven't been able to find a good purchase from the deals offered. Granted, I already own three of these games but it does seem like the site has a tendency to present discounted games that I have no interest in whatsoever. For example, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames was being sold for around $5 on December 8th - 50% off from its current price tag of $9.99. $5 is not a lot of money but I will not be spending even that kind of money on a game that doesn't bear any significance to me. Oh well, there are still 13 more days to go. There is a possibility that they are saving the best for last. You just never know. I really would like to see Dirt 2, Jade Empire Special Edition, Risen, and Torchlight participating in this sale before the whole thing is done and over with.

That's a big Christmas tree but it doesn't have enough pretty ornaments on it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Games Alert!

I picked up 4 new games today - I am sure you would be able to tell which two of these were sold for less than $10. All of the games are for Nintendo's platforms: Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for the Nintendo DS as well as Deadly Creatures and Klonoa for the Nintendo Wii. Clash of Heroes was a surprise find - I didn't even know that the game existed until I saw it at the store. The screenshots on the back look promising but I supposed what really convinced me to pick up the game was the Might & Magic name being attached to the title. I hope I will not regret the decision of buying the game. I was sure that I wasn't going to pick up Spirit Tracks - it's such a popular title that I thought I would let it stay on my Purchase List to allow for an easier time for my friends and family to pick out a gift for me this Christmas. I guess I like being difficult to buy for. I have to keep that tradition going.

Ubisoft just had to put that quote from on the cover for Clash of Heroes.
Marketing quotes on the back of the boxes please...

I know I said they should put them quotes on the back but what's this?
"Could be the best DS game of 2009"? Are you serious? "Could be..."?
I guess it could also be the worst DS game of 2009?

You can tell that you've picked up an old release when
you can find an expired coupon included with the game.
Not that I would be able to find a local Wahoo's to redeem this coupon anyway.

September 2009 Monthly Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.


Total Games Played: 35

If you have been following the monthly analyses, you will notice the sudden decrease in the total number of games played on this month's data. This is due to the "content overhaul" decision I made at the end of August 2009. The focus on the "Random Game of the Day" feature before September 2009 had lead me a bit astray when it came to widening the type of content that I would post on this site because it took some serious time commitment to work on those articles - after selecting a game at random, I had to then play it to remind me of what that game entails before writing about it and some games were more time consuming to get into than others. Things are definitely more manageable now for me and I also inherited a more relaxed approached to what I would write about in regards to my gaming experience.

September 2009 was the month when I reactivated World of Warcraft. This happened after I purchased the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I had been away from the game long enough to really enjoy my return and as a result, it became the most played game of the month. I still don't regret coming back to WoW even to this date. The only problem I am having with the game is that many of my friends no longer available on the server that I am playing on and there is no way I am going to pay Blizzard more money just to get my characters transferred over.

Besides the physical move, I also made another form of bold move in September 2009 - GameFly subscription. It only lasted for a month but the impact of renting games can be seen on the slots for the second and third most played games of the month - Batman: Arkham Asylum and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Renting did put a lot of pressure into my carefree video gaming schedule because in an effort to justify the amount of money paid for the service, I just wanted to get the rented games over with so that I could get the next one on the list. In the end, I only rented 3 games from GameFly. Would I rent again in the future? I will just leave that option open for now.

Best New Game of the Month:
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (Personal Computer)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:
Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Nintendo Wii)

I Missed You I Want You Game of the Month:
I can't recall to be honest.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Borderlands - Me So Zombie!

The zombies have arrived on Pandora! Borderlands' first downloadable expansion pack, The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned has finally hit the Personal Computer today after much delay. The price is, unfortunately, similar to the amount it was sold for on the consoles - $9.99. If you like to kill some zombies in your Borderlands, click here to get to Gearbox Software's online store to purchase the expansion. Be prepared to be patient though - it's a 1+ Gig download! Next up - a patch that will really fix the crashing problem in the game. We are really looking forward to that, Gearbox.

Update Note: 10:08pm - While trying to install the expansion, I got an error indicating that Borderlands version 1.10 or higher is necessary for the installation. The new patch can be found here. Will this patch be able to fix the game's crashing issue? Stay tuned.
Update Note: It didn't fix the crashing issue for me but the fan fix still works.

The game is fun enough as it is...
But you know things get spicier when you have zombies to kill.

August 2009 Monthly Gaming Analysis

With the end of 2009 being just around the corner, I definitely need to catch up with my Monthly Gaming Analysis so that I can write a bigger and better Yearly Gaming Analysis for this year.

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.


Total Games Played: 62

August 2009 didn't seem to be that long ago - time goes by so fast, does it not? It is apparent that I wasn't too focus on any particular game that month. I can still remember that it was just one of those weird months where everything around you just seem out of whack. There were some personal things that I was struggling with at the time as well - which of course, didn't actually translate into happy gaming moments.

Thus, I found some solace in playing a little bit of my Nintendo DS here and there when I had more time to indulge on video gaming. I just picked up The Legendary Starfy earlier during the month, so it became an easy target of my playtime. I never get to finish it though I came pretty close towards the end. A really fun 2D platformer - a genre that needs to be revived with frequent new releases.

The two other prominent games for that month are Culdcept Saga and SingStar ABBA. I can always get into those games no matter how foul my mood could be at any given time. I was trying hard to find good people to play Culdcept Saga with but those 5 days yielded no results. Singing is a nice way to relax for me and after an hour into SingStar, most of my worries would always be lifted away.

Best New Game of the Month:
The Legendary Starfy (Nintendo DS)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:
Little King's Story (Nintendo Wii)

I Missed You I Want You Game of the Month:
I can't recall to be honest.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wii Shop Channel D-D-Demo?!

I was checking out the latest releases on the Wii Shop Channel last night on my Nintendo Wii - I haven't done so in a long time and I was even itching to buy some Virtual Console games. I was so surprised to see that Nintendo got several WiiWare game demos available for download! This is a great step for Nintendo, the fact that they are just not that savvy when it comes to the online gaming culture and convenience. None of the demos offered were particularly interesting except for Bit.Trip.Beat so I did try that out. It was irritating that after the demo was over, the console connected me straight onto the online shop in an effort to convince me to buy the full product - this came with some annoying loading time too. Still, definitely a good addition for the Wii that Nintendo should keep as a permanent fixture to the online store.

Only for a limited time! But if Nintendo is smart,
they would just let those demos stay up on the channel permanently.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Games Played 11/30/2009 - 12/06/2009

- 11/30/2009 -
Dragon Age: Origins - PC
Nervous Brickdown - NDS

- 12/01/2009 -
Bayonetta: First Climax Demo - X-Box 360
Dragon Age: Origins - PC

- 12/02/2009 -
Dragon Age: Origins - PC
Neverwinter Nights 2 - PC

- 12/03/2009 -
Audiosurf - PC
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - PC

- 12/04/2009 -
Bayonetta: First Climax Demo - PlayStation 3
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Demo - PC
Devil May Cry 4 Demo - PC
Flower - PlayStation 3
Mass Effect - PC
Need for Speed: Shift Demo - PC
Nervous Brickdown - NDS

- 12/05/2009 -
Dragon Age: Origins - PC
Tekken 6 - PlayStation 3

- 12/06/2009 -
ExciteBot: Trick Racing - Wii
Overclocked: A History of Violence - PC

New Game Alert!

My order of Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 for the X-Box 360 is finally here and it is... Oh, so glorious! Gosh, waiting for UPS Ground delivery was a major pain. Before the night's end, I will be sending a very personal thank you email to Cave for being so thoughtful of their Western fans by making this game region-free and playable on any X-Box 360. I really hope that the number of sales will justify to them that they cannot ignore the North American market anymore for all of the future home releases of their shoot-'em-ups.

The X-Box 360 saves this year's best surprise for last thanks to Cave.

The first print run of the game comes with a download code for Version 1.01 which contains the original bullet patterns from the first iteration of the game. Lovely! When I checked the popular online import stores today, I noticed that they have ran out of copies from the first print. If you still haven't ordered this game, make sure you do so quickly before the batch from the next print run is sold out!

The DLC code works perfectly as well and I have downloaded Version 1.01!

PS3 Bayonetta - Gamist's Revenge

There may not seem to be a lot of activities in the comment section of the PS3 Bayonetta Demo - No Climax! article that I posted last week but this is because a lot of the action is going on behind the scene. It didn't take long before the article was published that I received a handful of hateful emails over the past couple of days about my "bias" towards the X-Box 360. The contents of these emails contain no valid arguments nor even any sign of rationality. Instead, the term "360 fanboy" was thrown at me more times than I could count alongside many other nasty slurs and curse words. Some accused me of being blind. Many argued that I didn't even play the PlayStation 3 demo and that I may not even own a PS3 at all. It is apparent that these readers are new to the site and they apparently don't know what I am all about when it comes to video games. The article struck a nerve and that lead to immediate email retaliations. Perhaps all of these are just the works of one person with many email accounts? Funny how my article about 2009 being the year of the PS3 didn't bring me much admiration nor love.

Am I a fanboy? Well, we all know that is not true. I choose the actual game before the platform in which the game is published. Whichever that platform happens to be that contains the best possible option for a specific game for me, that would be the version of the game that I would buy. Thus, I bought Dragon Age: Origins for the Personal Computer vs. the 360 just for argument's sake. I don't like that word "fanboy". I prefer to call gamers who put consoles before games as "gamist" because of their similarity to being "racist" - very interchangeable. Those who don't care about favoring a specific console, I playfully name our kind as "poly-gamist".

Bottom line: Graphically, the PS3 version of the Bayonetta Demo is drastically inferior compared to the 360 version - oh, bring on more hate emails. Compared to the 360 version, it's ugly. If you think that the PS3 version is extremely beautiful and has no flaws, you will not say the same thing after you have actually tried out the 360 version. It's funny that these gamist even attempted to argue this point when I have played both demos and they have only played the PS3 demo. I wish I have a good piece of hardware to capture the differences between the two but I have found this page on to help everyone see what I am talking about and click here for their specific analysis, complete with videos. There are rumors that Sega and Platinum Games are working to ensure that when the North American release of the PS3 version is finally out, it's going to look exactly the same as the 360 version. Even that in itself solidifies the fact that there are graphical discrepancies between the two versions. I will believe the graphical improvements when I see them. I doubt that it will happen though: Remember Resident Evil 5?

When a game is not made equally across the platforms that are capable of handling that game, the victims of such horror are all of us. Blame the developer for the poor resource management.

Why so much hate? You can still buy it for the PS3, you know?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Milestone Celebration

You would think that with the overwhelming amount of shovelware being released on the Nintendo Wii, I would not have this many games on the system. ExciteBots: Trick Racing marks my 100th Wii game. I purchased the console on 05/12/2007 - 2 and a half years ago. So that means that I am buying around 40 games for the console per year on average. There is indeed hope for the real gamers who own a Wii after all! Click here to view the complete list of my Wii games or click here to browse the entire game library.

Apparently, there are 100 reasons to buy a Wii.
Actually... Wii Fit doesn't count.

New Games Alert!

I really wanted to pick up more games than these two but I just refuse to pay full price for those other games knowing that the big Christmas sales are just around the corner. So what I ended with are two cheap games: Overclocked: A History of Violence for the Personal Computer and ExciteBot: Trick Racing for the Nintendo Wii. I have been eyeing Overlocked for a long time but I kept forgetting to get it even though it has been sitting at Severity 1 on my Purchase List. I just learned about ExciteBot several days ago and I am a sucker for cool racing games. This one features robotic bugs as the vehicles of choice so how could I resist that, especially at the really really low price that I paid for it.

Bugged, in more ways than one.

Friday, December 4, 2009

PS3 Bayonetta Demo - No Climax!

The X-Box 360 "First Climax" demo of the upcoming Bayonetta has made me into a 200% geeky-witch fan. Unfortunately, the PlayStation 3 version of the demo fails to impress. Just like what I have heard from my Japanese friends, the PS3 version of this game is so poor compared to the 360 version, Sega should really be sued for the discrimination. The best analogy that I can come up with to compare the two is this: The PS3 Bayonetta is like the PlayStation 2's Ratchet & Clank games while the 360 version is like that series' PS3 sequels. I am not exaggerating. While there is this illustrious clarity and luster to the game's graphics on the 360, everything looks muddy on the PS3. The lower texture resolutions don't help either and the choppy frame rate made the whole thing worse. As if things weren't bad enough already, the surround sound mix is muffled on the PS3 as well. I played through the 360 demo several times and with each play through, the level of excitement was high. The ugliness of the PS3 port really took away any of my previous joy and admiration for this game. For those who have the option to get the 360 version, do so with confidence. For those who don't, I'm really, really sorry. I recommend waiting for the PC version if you have a gaming PC because I would hate to see anyone paying any money to buy such a wretched incarnation of the game. Just remember, it's not that the PS3 is not capable of running this game perfectly... Sega is just being moronic like its usual self these days.


Direct2Drive's 24 Days of Christmas Sale

First off, thank you, Direct2Drive, for not calling this a "Holiday" sale. If you have been paying attention, I am hardly a religious guy but I am a firm believer that we should call any and all celebrations by their proper names. If that's not the case, then we would have to rename everything from "Veterans Day" to "Martin Luther King Jr. Day" to being just a "Holiday".

The funny thing is, these games should be priced as so in the first place.

As I have expressed a number of times before, I am a supporter of the direct download distribution of video games to the point where I think all video games should be sold this way right now - don't worry about fancy packaging and instruction manuals because those can be presented digitally too. But of course, I also want these digital download games to be properly priced. Direct2Drive's 24 Days of Christmas presents a great opportunity for people like myself to indulge in direct download purchases because of the price slashing involved. The 3 games presented thus far (one I have already own) haven't been able to get to me yet but I can't wait to see what the rest of the 20 games will be. Each sale of a selected game only lasts 24 hours before the next one is put on the table so make sure to check daily so that you don't miss out on the games that you really want. It looks like the one for today is going to be Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. Not too sure if I'd buy that, we'll see.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bad Execution: X-Box 360 Avatar Pets

Okay, I will admit that when I first learned that the X-Box 360's Avatar Marketplace is now selling pets, I was thrilled. I will never, ever spend points on clothing items or any of the other fancy accessories but pets? That's just too adorable to ignore. So I finally went online to check it out tonight and I was extremely disappointed. At 240 points, I expect the pet to stay permanently next to my avatar but unfortunately, it's just a simple animation routine! Stupid! Just like all of the other non-clothing items, this "add-on" only appears briefly at random intervals on your avatar. So let's say that you purchased a cat, it would pop up from thin air, does something with your avatar briefly and then disappears. It would then appear again, doing the same animation routine. I would gladly pay for an avatar pet if it would just stay next to my avatar, doing its own thing while interacting with my avatar every now and then. I feel so cheated by this because I was so excited about the idea in the first place... It's not too late to fix this, Microsoft.

Cute idea... But it just doesn't work.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins - Personality Conflict

Not long ago, I have come to a realization that creating a new character before I actually finish playing Dragon Age: Origins is a bad idea. Well, now I have completely abandoned my mage character and I am now 27 hours into my dual-wielding warrior princess. The funny thing is that this late character-switching happened before with Mass Effect on the X-Box 360 where I played as one character mid-way through only to discover that I really didn't enjoy my character build so I created a fresh character that I used to complete the game. The content completion in the "Heroic Accomplishments" screen is now showing up as 33% across all characters - I was able to discover so many things that I missed out on while I was playing my first character. Playing the game again from the beginning brought out some nice subtleties to the gameplay mechanics and believe it or not, the game now plays a lot better than it did before. By the way, I did create 2 more characters too and I played each of those through their origin quests. The amazing thing about that last bit is that I actually plan on leveling up those characters soon! But my focus is definitely to get to the end with the warrior so that I can proceed to writing my final thoughts on this magnificent game.

I have come to love both of my creations but alas I have to remain focused.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bayonetta Demo

Bayonetta (2009)
Developer: Platinum Games
Platform: X-Box 360
Scheduled Release Date: 01/05/2010

Geek + Chic = Witch?

I thought that this game was just merely a "hyper-feminized" version of Devil May Cry but boy was I wrong. I can now understand why the Japanese gamers have been so much in love with this game and they are a lucky bunch to be able to already own this possible masterpiece of an action game. Since Bayonetta is made by the same guy who was responsible for the creation of Devil May Cry, the game does have the same feel to Dante's adventures when it comes to high action and excessive drama - the screen is just bursting at the seams with enemies, special effects, explosions, kick-butt fighting prowess, and blood & guts - but despite all the chaos, the game is very very easy to play and though intimidating to look at, it is also surprisingly accessible.

Hot yet disturbing hair as clothing action!

Bayonetta is a action adventure game where you control the title character, a new breed of witch, through pretty environments killing all manners of mystical creatures. The storyline is lacking in the demo - Bayonetta arrives at a train station and is suddenly attacked by otherworldly creatures - but what is there is very cheesy. The game takes itself very seriously, which makes the whole occasion even more hilarious. It's a good thing that the action is nothing to laugh about - it is highly engrossing and just beautiful to look at. It's a button masher for sure and from what can be experienced in the demo, it revolves around the attack-dodge mechanics where properly timing both is highly rewarded. There is a heavy emphasis on keeping your character untouched at all times because when you are hit by the enemy, you lose the build-up of your power. Then, there are the "torture attacks" (think Mortal Kombat fatalities) where you can give your opponents ultra-humiliating deaths by kicking them into a nail coffin or summoning a guillotine to chop off their heads, to name just a few.

Video game bosses are meant to be this big.

I am very impressed with what I have seen and played. The game is epic even beyond the God of War games with its imaginative stages and extraordinary boss fights. The graphics are silky smooth and looks like it could be the best looking game on the console to date. There are reports from Japan that the PlayStation 3 port of this game is rather poor. I will update this article to clarify that once I am able to get a hold of the PS3 demo [Update Note: The verdict is disheartening]. I really want to wait a couple of months after its release to see if a Personal Computer version is going to surface but now, I am not sure if I can wait that long to play this game. Bayonetta may end up replacing Famicom's Magical Doropie as the best witch game ever made.