Monday, May 31, 2010

Would You Like Some Supper or Some Super?

Today is Memorial Day and like usual, it's observed by me and my significant other with a barbecue gathering. This year, something different was added into the mix: My significant other surprised me with a game offer. How that's triggered by today's event, I don't know but I can't complain! So we both sat in front of the computer looking for a good video game deal - most of the time, I don't take full advantage of an offer like this one with expensive games. So I decided on Super Street Fighter IV for the X-Box 360. I was going to wait for the Personal Computer version of this, which at this time is rumored to come out late this year alongside the arcade version but the recent discovery of cross-platform failure has truly shifted my perspective in regards to the matter. Add the shockingly small amount of players on the PC version of Blur, perhaps paying a bit extra to play on the console may not be such a bad idea after all - $20 is still a heck of a price difference though. When I first bought Street Fighter IV last year, I got the PlayStation 3 version and that version was missing a number of background details as I have discovered while playing the PC version. It is reported that none of these have been corrected on Super for the PS3, thus me getting it for the 360. My copy should be arriving in a couple of days. Thanks for the game, honey!

Shouldn't vanilla Street Fighter IV be taken off the market by now?
I mean, would people really say "Oh look, the regular is $10 cheaper, let's get that!"?

Games Played 05/24/2010 - 05/30/2010

- 05/24/2010 -
Avencast: Rise of the Mage - PC
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Wii

- 05/25/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype - PlayStation 3
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Wii

- 05/26/2010 -
Alien Hominid - PlayStation 2
Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype - PlayStation 3
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Wii

- 05/27/2010 -
Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype - PlayStation 3
Split/Second - PC

- 05/28/2010 -
Blur - PC
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Ninety-Nine Nights 2 Demo - X-Box 360*
Split/Second - PC

*Much improved over the first game. A fun hack-and-slash action game.
It's repetitive, yes, but I like that whole single hero vs. hordes of enemies idea.

- 05/29/2010 -
Blur - PC
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Dante's Inferno - PlayStation 3
Ninety-Nine Nights - X-Box 360

- 05/30/2010 -
Aegis Wing - X-Box 360
Blur - PC
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
ESPGaluda II Black Label - X-Box 360
Halo 3 - X-Box 360
Ninety-Nine Nights - X-Box 360

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blur Online a Tad Blurred

I spent a couple of hours playing the online mode for Blur that I just picked up on Friday. The online experience is definitely really smooth and a lot of fun but the problem that this game is facing right now, at least for this Personal Computer version, is the small community. During the whole time I was online, the game fluctuated between a total of 80 to 150 players. Perhaps many are still playing the single player mode. The level up system is separated between single player and online multiplayer and I am sure that it's not something that everyone is aware of when they first started the game. I bet that the servers are packed full of people on the consoles. I just hope that things will pick up for this game on the PC, especially with it being available on Steam.

Check out the player count on the top right hand corner.

As a side note, though the port is seemingly solid at a technical standpoint, developer Bizarre Creations missed the mark in correcting certain important things on the PC version. The on-screen display doesn't show the X-Box 360 input configuration even when you are using it. Instead, you'll see the keyboard input keys just like Split/Second. This of course can lead to some minor frustrations when you are trying to navigate through the layered game menus. Secondly, the players cannot select a picture to represent themselves in the game. I have seen screenshots of the console versions and the boxes that are generically showing the human silhouette here on the PC would be filled with with your profile picture on the X-Box 360 and the avatar icon on the PlayStation 3. Slightly disappointing.

Notice the sad and "empty" picture boxes on the top left hand corner.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Game Alert: I Like Broccoli Edition!

I must really be in the mood for racing games because last night (that's several hours ago), I picked up Blur for the Personal Computer. This game didn't interest me much when I first saw it but after watching an online session of the game on today, I was hooked. While Split/Second is an evolution of kart racers, Blur is more of a tweak to the well-established formula. It's touting itself as the "mature" version of a kart racer because of its usage of real world locations and cars - you should check out the official site and watch how the game mocks the cute kart racers using a character named "Brock Lee" - but all of the basic elements are here: the crowded circuits, the weapon pick-ups, and the arcade thrills. I have only played one race so far and it is definitely fun - not as great as Split/Second though. This game hardly pushes the boundaries when it comes to its graphics and my PC handles the maximum settings with ease. I am going to try out the online mode tomorrow.

The "Brock Lee" skits will even turn hardcore vegans into meat eaters.

ModNation Racers will have to wait a while longer.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Split/Second "Very High" Setting Solution

I am a bit of a graphics whore, I know - I still value gameplay over graphics though don't worry - and last night when I was tweaking with Split/Second's rigid graphics settings, I did it all with the native resolution set at 1920 x 1080. This morning, I adjusted the resolution to 1280 x 720 and the "Very High" setting runs very smoothly on my Personal Computer. I was trying to look for the differences between "High" and "Very High" and it was very slight but it really comes down to the texture resolution and overall clarity and depth of the images and the colors. Perhaps there are more particle effects too, that part is a bit hard to tell. I am so glad I got this for the PC though because even at 720p, this game looks f^&*ing glorious, please pardon my French. I still hope that Black Rock Studio will release a patch to fix this maxed out graphical settings for higher resolution play because I know it's darn possible. This game is no Crysis and I am able to run that very nicely at 1080p.

I now declare you, Split/Second, the best looking racing game to date!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Game Alert: Split's Port Slip Edition!

I went to the store a couple of hours ago to pick up ModNation Racers for the PlayStation 3 only to discover that the store is not selling the game for $49.99 anymore. I really do not want to pay the full MSRP for the game but I also do not want to leave empty handed so I picked up Split/Second for the Personal Computer. I have been so pumped up to play this title after I tested it out across all the three platforms that it has been released on.

I love the yin & yang feel of the cover art.

Performance-wise, I am able to smoothly run the game at 1080p on my PC with the graphical quality settings set to "High". It's such a great looking game and this version is surely the prettiest of them all. When I tried the "Very High" setting, the game is not playable at all and it was running at 10 frames per second ouch! But looking at the recommended system requirements - Nvidia GeForce 8800GT or better, 2.0 GB RAM for Windows XP, & 3.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor - there is absolutely no reason why my PC cannot run it smoothly. Many others report the same problem with the highest setting and they have the latest and greatest PC setups. I blame it on poor optimization because Black Rock Studio apparently spent too much time making the console versions as the shoddy four-page instruction manual seems to indicate. Hopefully, a patch will be released to remedy the situation so that people could experience the game's maximum graphical potentials. [Update Note: I was able to make the "Very High" setting playable by adjusting the game to 720p.]

Perhaps the game can become the most beautiful racer ever...
...when the "Very High" setting is fixed.

The last thing I want to bring up is the new SecuRom setup that's included in the game that should make people who are often wary about this Digital Rights Management tool reconsider their stance. There is now an option included with the game to revoke the license attached to the computer! There's no more need to look for a revoke tool to download when it becomes a natural part of the game installation. So when you are tired of the game, revoke away with ease! Let's hope that this will become a standard for all SecuRom-based PC games.

License deactivation should always be this visible and easy.

Split/Second Version Split/Decision?

You know it could be a bad sign for those who own a gaming Personal Computer when a demo of a game is made unavailable for the platform while the consoles get to test them out. Such is the case with the recently released Split/Second. I have tried the game on both the PlayStation 3 and the X-Box 360 - there was nary a difference performance wise between the two and when such is the case, I would always opt for the PS3 version - but the demo was not made available for the PC version until after the game's release. If you still haven't heard of Split/Second yet, it is the next evolution of the kart racing sub-genre with a cool power-up system where you trigger traps and open alternate routes on your way to the finish line.

I downloaded the demo today and I must say that I had a hard time trying to decide between the PC and the PlayStation 3 version. This is because the PC demo doesn't allow you to mess around with the settings to benchmark it against your PC build: Another bad sign for this version. The default resolution for it was 1280 x 1024, and yes that is not even widescreen. Still, everything runs very smoothly on my PC but I did notice some bad low resolution textures here and there. But even this bastardized version already looks miles better than the console versions because of how crystal clear everything looks. I played the game with the X-Box 360 controller and it works perfectly. Sadly, all the on-screen displays do not reflect the 360 controller layout so it was confusing to determine how to perform the proper triggers while playing the game - further research revealed that this is still the case in the full version of the game. Despite all the shortcomings, I am going to go with the PC version for this one. The controller input mapping can be learned and even if things go bad at 1080p with all the settings maxed - I have heard that this game is troublesome at maximum settings even with the latest and greatest graphics card with SLI setup - at its default, it still looks darn gorgeous compared to the console versions. There is also that price point - I can easily pick up the PC version for $29.99 while the lowest I have seen for the PS3 version is $49.99.

Yes, I know it's ready but which button should I press again?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Random Game of the Day

Alien Hominid (2004)
Developer: The Behemoth
Platform: PlayStation 2
Induction Date: 2004

If you are a tree hugger, I am sure you won't appreciate a mechanical bee.

I don't know much about Alien Hominid's humble beginnings at the Newgrounds website but what I do know is that the game is a great shoot-'em-up! You play as a cute little yellow alien whose spaceship crash landed on earth. It is then faced with insurmountable obstacles on his way to reclaim his spaceship and his freedom. The game is a run and gun shooter and is sweet mix of Konami's Contra series and SNK's Metal Slug series. There are even some flying sections in the game though unfortunately, it's not as great as the rest of the action. Alien Hominid is easy to get into but can be very difficult to master. All the bosses are quite nasty before you figure out their attack patterns and death can come so easily even while fighting against regular enemies because of how fast and sudden the bullets can travel towards you. Though it's obvious that the developer infused some comedy into the game, for me it feels more light-hearted rather than downright funny - their next game, Castle Crashers however is a different story. Alien Hominid also includes some mini games and a "PDA" game. The latter is a throwback to the old classic platformer formula and it even comes with a level editor that allows the players to create their own devious levels. This game was later released on the X-Box 360 but for me, there is really no reason to buy it again.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

The Horny Kimono Wearing Cheerleader

I knew that if I didn't get an intervention something like this would happen. The signs were clear. The expensive kimono... Then the pair of ominous looking demon horns. Now... Oh my galaxy... I just purchased a pair of avatar pom-poms that is currently being featured as a discounted item on the X-Box Live Avatar Marketplace. I don't know what it was that so compelled me to do so. It's not like I have ever played with pom-poms before. Maybe it's the crazy animation routine - I have never seen an avatar move so much like this before. But there you have it. I got another avatar item. I sure hope that I am have not reached the point of no return. I am very scared. Someone... Please help me!

Ha ha ha ha ha!... Wait. What did I just do?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Game Alert: 100X the Fun Edition!

The game is so good, it should have been called Söldner-XXX!

Waiting for Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype to show up on the PlayStation Network Store today was a real pain since Sony took their sweet time with the update and the game didn't become available until later this evening. I was expecting it to show up early in the morning. Thank the galaxy I was able to play a couple of games of Culdcept Saga online while I was waiting for the game's arrival.

One of the best shmup bosses ever? Without a single doubt!

Well, it's finally here and all I can say is that this game is amazing. It definitely is the best looking side scrolling shoot-'em-up to date, running at 1080p and featuring some of the most impressive looking 2D effects as well as some remarkably solid 3D graphics. This sequel is light years beyond Himmelssturmer with a revamped weapon and power-up chaining system. My main gripe about the original is the laborious weapon management where you have to constantly pick up energy to juice up your weaponry. Here, you will never run out of weapons and the power up will continually increase the effectiveness of the weapons. Another major change is the power-up chains: In the first game, once you have filled up your chain meter, you actually have to switch weapons to release the bonus power up and you are forced to stick to only one weapon type per chain charge attempt. Here, it is released automatically, giving you the freedom to use the most effective weapon for the current situation at hand. Of course the real star here is the game's drastic change from a flawed random bullet mess of a shooter into a zen-like precision-dodging bullet pattern extravaganza. Rains of beautiful bullets constantly filled the screen like it's a Cave game but of course the bullets in this game are much easier to dodge but perhaps that will not be the case once the higher difficulties are unlocked. I cannot stop playing Final Prototype several times over already. If you are a fan of the genre, this game is a must have. SideQuest Studios, welcome to the big league.


Monday, May 24, 2010

An Intricate Booby Trap... But For Who?

I had a rather peculiar Culdcept Saga match earlier this evening. The reason why I said this is because of the way this individual portrayed him/herself prior to the match,. I met this person during a 4 player free for all match last week. Soon after the match, I received an friend request from this person and I assume that it's an invitation for many future Culdcept battles and since beggars can't be choosers, I accepted the request. A couple of nights later, I received an actual invitation to a match. The game got disconnected due to server error after the first few rounds and when I asked for another round of play, the person informed me that he/she needs to go back to story mode so that he/she could unlock more cards and more stages. I guess this person was trying to tell me that he/she is "new" to the game.

Then tonight, we finally got together again after the person sent me a strange message asking me if I wouldn't mind playing with him/her because he/she had just made a new deck that needed to be experimented with. I really didn't understand why this explanation was even necessary - I will play a game of Culdcept with anyone who is willing to do so. It's obvious that this person wants me to know that he/she is a novice. Once I got into the game, I was greeted with a rather advanced deck, very tricky and clever. I was able to win the game in the end with double my opponent's mana points. Then, I got a "sore loser" message indicating that if he/she knew I was going to bring the kind of deck I used for the battle, things would have been turned completely around. At this point, it became obvious to me that this individual is preying on new players and that this person him/herself is not a mere novice - especially with his/her technical description of the deck that I used. Perhaps the fact that I have recently blocked my achievement details from everyone had ruined this person's dirty tactic. I then looked at the person's gamertag and noticed that it's brand spanking new with hardly any achievements from Culdcept Saga nor any other games. I have a feeling that this new account is created just so that the individual could surprise unsuspecting opponents. I don't go into a person's Culdcept background just to play a game with that individual. I guess with only the hardcore players left playing the game, it may be hard for this individual to find an easy win? One thing is for sure: This kind of behavior is going to discourage new players from trying out the game online.

Another reason why this game is best played with the people you know.

Games Played 05/17/2010 - 05/23/2010

- 05/17/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 - PlayStation 3

- 05/18/2010 -
Culdcept - PlayStation 2
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360

- 05/19/2010 -
King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match Demo - X-Box 360
Metal Slug XX Demo - X-Box 360
ModNation Racers Demo - PlayStation 3*
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe - X-Box 360
Rocket Knight Demo - PlayStation 3

*Fun and responsive kart racing mechanics. I had fun with the character edit
mode included in the demo. The pre-race loading time is incredibly bad though.

- 05/20/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
F-Zero GX - GameCube
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - GameCube
Mario Kart DS - NDS
Phantasy Star Online: C.A.R.D. Revolution - GameCube
Soul Calibur II - GameCube

- 05/21/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
ESPGaluda II Black Label - X-Box 360
Halo 3: ODST - X-Box 360
Mario Kart DS - NDS
Mario Kart Wii - Wii
Marvel Ultimate Alliance - X-Box 360
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 - PlayStation 3

- 05/22/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit - X-Box 360
ESPGaluda II Black Label - X-Box 360
Marvel Ultimate Alliance - X-Box 360
Torchlight - PC

- 05/23/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
ESPGaluda II Black Label - X-Box 360
Mushihimesama Futari Ver 1.5 - X-Box 360
Streets of Rage 2 - X-Box 360
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Wii

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Can't Quite Scratch This Itch

I know that I just started playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 today - and I'm going to do my best to not stop until I get all of those darn stars - but those who have been keeping up with this site for a while know that my play pattern is sporadic and a bit random sometime. Well, make that most of the time. I am really itching for some multiplayer and a bit of role playing game. I thought the perfect candidates to satisfy this need were Marvel Ultimate Alliance as well as its sequel but finding others to play with is a bit of a challenge: I think it's always hard to convince people to play any old games on the PlayStation 3 or the X-Box 360 if they have already unlocked the associated achievements and trophies.

What a shame.

I was able to get a session going last night for the first MUA and the group played through the first two missions. It was fun but I wanted more. Since I don't subscribe to World of Warcraft anymore, I think I need to abandon all hope on the multiplayer portion of my wants and just focus on the role playing element. I then moved to Torchlight - I still need to explore Fate and these two games are just too similar - and that was enjoyable but I want something deeper and more challenging. I want to spend some serious hours playing this selected game and it took me a while to come to the following selections: It's going to be between replaying The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, finishing up Fallout 3, getting back into Avencast: Rise of the Mage, or properly starting The Dark Eye: Drakensang. The result should be reflected in future reports of the Daily Game Log.

I think I'll start this off with a little Avencast.

New Game Alert: Oh My Galaxy Edition!

I got my copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Nintendo Wii this morning. I was a bit worried that this game was going to be too similar to the first Galaxy but I am happy to report that my fear was unfounded. There was definitely that feeling that I was playing a "remix" of the first game when I first played it but after I completed the first world - and fought its overwhelmingly incredible mega boss battle - I quickly realized that Nintendo definitely succeeded in bringing a new experience to this sequel. And those graphics... Though I am sure the game would look a lot better in high definition, it is still a stunning achievement because it makes you believe in the power of 480p and in this day and age, that's quite a statement.

A colorful, energetic cover art that makes me smile.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Culdcept Saga's Gender Crisis Grows

So you still manage to keep your spirit up even after the previous confusion in regards to your gender. Still, you should know that it's a really, really bad sign that things will never, ever get better when someone actually said something like this to you:

Sorry to disappoint you but there is nothing to castrate there Castora...

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Streams

I have been able to find quite a number of live streams of Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Nintendo Wii on since yesterday. The game is not slated for release until tomorrow but we all know the stores got them really early and of course there will always be people who would be able to get access to them earlier than the release date. I was able to refrain myself from watching these streams for too long because I don't like my games being spoiled and I want everything to be fresh and surprising. One thing I did notice is that some of these guys have been playing the game for quite some time because they have quite a number of stars already in their collection.

Allow others to ruin the game for you before the game is even out yet!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Google Pac-Man

I didn't expect to see a fully functioning game of Pac-Man - complete with the classic sound effects and a special map - when I went to Google's search engine today. Google would always change the theme of its site to match current events but this is just too freaking cool. What a great way to honor and celebrate the game's 30th birthday which will fall on the 22nd of this month - tomorrow! Clever and fun!

What? No Leaderboards?!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Bit of GameCube Love

I couldn't find anyone to play Culdcept Saga with tonight and I was getting a bit bored playing through the story mode again. I was thinking to myself that there has to be another card-based game in my Game Library besides Yu-Gi-Oh! and I was right - I have completely forgotten about Phantasy Star Online: C.A.R.D. Revolution on the Nintendo GameCube. I immediately grabbed the disc and played it on my Nintendo Wii. The game is still a lot of fun to play and I actually have ways to go when it comes to collecting all of the 400+ unique cards that can be found within. After I had my fill of C.A.R.D., I started playing several other GameCube games. Oh my galaxy, these games are so much more beautiful than a majority of the actual Wii games I own and their audio design packed quite a punch. I must say that I do miss playing these GameCube games and perhaps it's time to revisit them on a continual basis. Below are screenshots from my GameCube session tonight:

It's no Culdcept but it's not a bad game either!

My favorite Mario Kart: Double Dash!! team is Luigi + Waluigi!

I need to learn how to play F-Zero GX properly again...

Link desperately attempts to showcase some masculinity in Soul Calibur II.

I do hate playing GameCube games on the Wii though because it turns the sexy
console into this nasty looking thing with its flaps open and things sticking out of it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rocket Knight PlayStation 3 Demo

Rocket Knight is finally out on the PS3 and since the demo is made available on the PlayStation Store, I thought I would test it out. The demo of Rocket Knight on the X-Box 360 was disappointing compared to the Personal Computer version. This PS3 release however suffers a much worse fate. Though it can be played at 1080p resolution, I really doubt that it was native because everything looks extremely blurry. The 360 version may contain some slowdown when too many things are happening on the screen but on the PS3, the frames per second are locked at a much, much lower rate. Though there is no slowdown on the PS3, the game looks extremely sluggish and the scrolling of the screen is definitely jerky. Don't get stuck with the PS3 version!

Climax Studios, what do you have against the PS3?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Very Interesting Culdcept Evening

It's around 11:30 pm and I have been playing Culdcept Saga online for the last 6 hours. I was very surprised to find a number of available games to join in this evening. Since I don't have a casual sparring partner, I would usually visit the mostly empty online lobby every so often when I am playing the game to see if there are any random strangers waiting for their opponents there. The evening started off with a disappointing find when I stumbled upon this alliance match:

Notice anything strange about this match?

You're guessed right! The match duration at the bottom right hand corner indicates that the game only lasts the minimum 10 rounds and when I checked the player's profile, apparently, he hasn't unlocked the "alliance match" achievement. This was a chie/phie run. I almost joined in the game but thank the galaxy that I remember to read the fine prints before jumping into anything. Then, things started to get better. I was able to join a free for all 4-player match. It lasted around an hour and a half and I did so poorly in it - I got third place out of four. After that, things got even better! I found another free for all 4-player match! This match is perhaps the most intense Culdcept experience I have ever experienced! All the 3 opponents have really challenging decks that seeming compliment each other in their effort to reduce land territory. It was a really close game but mid-way through, the opponents in fourth place was able to turn things around and moved himself into first place. Unfortunately, the other two opponent gave up and they both disconnected from the game, leaving the two of us and the A.I. replacements. Here is the result:

I won but not by much and we played through the maximum number of rounds.

Pay attention to the date and time indicator on the top right hand corner.
Yes, the match lasted for about 4 and a half hours!

If you look at the red player in the chart above, he was dominating the second half of the game and at one point, he exceeded the goal of 9,000 mana. But I am a true Cepter and in a game of Culdcept, it is never over until it is over. Wow... I am so glad that I have regained my interest in playing this game again. One of the most fun gaming nights ever!

The Adventure of Lonie Ganer

I have decided to post some of the gameplay footage on YouTube of me playing Culdcept on the PlayStation 2 today. At first, I was just going to use my old save date but since the name of the character in my game is similar to my actual X-Box 360 and PlayStation 3 gamertag, I have decided to play the game from the very beginning. I don't like to share those willy-nilly with everyone but those who are genuinely interested in communicating with me on those gaming platforms. I plan to record footage of me playing the game until the end using my new character, Lonie Ganer. The challenge here is that since she's completely new, I do not have access to my previous unlocked cards and custom decks. The real purpose behind this is to give the game more visibility in the YouTube gaming community since I cannot hardly find any gameplay footage of the game there - unless you love listening to an annoying voice while watching the game. While playing this game today, I am reminded yeat again how much I adore the card battle animations in this version of the game compared to Culdcept Saga on the X-Box 360. Though the cards themselves look blurry and lack the clarity found in Saga, the way they attack, react to those attacks, and how they get destroyed are just plain slick and entertaining! This whole Lonie Ganer exercise is going to be lengthy side project but hopefully, it will be able to show people how incredible Culdcept truly is.

Pan got clubbed right in the crotch and he immediately recoiled in pain! Ouch!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Games Played 05/10/2010 - 05/16/2010

- 05/10/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Dark Fall: Lost Souls - PC
League of Legends - PC
Omega 5 - X-Box 360
Soul Calibur IV - X-Box 360

- 05/11/2010 -
Heavy Rain - PlayStation 3*
Majesty 2 - PC
Rocket Knight - PC

*I haven't played this in a while. I noticed a patch download when
I started the game. Sure enough, I didn't encounter any more freezing
thus I was finally able to get to the end of the story.

- 05/12/2010 -
Bionic Commando - PlayStation 3
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger - PlayStation 3
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Rocket Knight Demo - X-Box 360
Split/Second Demo - PlayStation 3*
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology - PSP
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force - PSP

*Looks as good as the X-Box 360 version. Great game.
If the PC version ended up being a bad port, I would definitely get the PS3 version.

- 05/13/2010 -
3D Dot Game Heroes - PlayStation 3
Tornado Outbreak - PlayStation 3
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology - PSP

- 05/14/2010-
3D Dot Game Heroes - PlayStation 3
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe - X-Box 360
Street Fighter IV - PC
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology - PSP

- 05/15/2010 -
3D Dot Game Heroes - PlayStation 3
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
ESPGaluda II Black Label - X-Box 360
Resistance 2 - PlayStation 3

- 05/16/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 - PlayStation 3
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe - X-Box 360
Tornado Outbreak - PlayStation 3

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Loner in Spectator Mode

I have been doing some heavy duty Culdcept Saga over the past several days. I am afraid that the Cepter within me has re-emerged at full force and I feel like I don't want to play anything but Culdcept Saga. I have been doing a lot of deck experimentation, trying out strange deck structures and then testing them out against some random opponents or willing friends - whoever is available first - or just playing against the computer when they are not around. I have already accepted the reality of my situation when it comes to finding another friendly player to battle with online - not a lot of them out there - and the renewed interest in deck customization is what keeps me going with the game.

Behold! My favorite new look!

My passion for Culdcept resulted in that previous paragraph because that little section was not the reason why I am writing this entry. I wanted to actually write about my recent discovery of, a website that hosts live streams. I found it more intriguing than YouTube because you can actually watch things live. Of course, the only channels that I am interested in are the gaming channels. Though these channels also have recordings from previous sessions, it's the live gameplay that fascinates me the most. There is a little chat box next to the live stream where people can chat about the ongoing gameplay. It's filled with a lot of jerks for sure but it's very interactive and fun nonetheless. As much as I love playing video games, I also love watching others play them, especially the fact that I am the only one who plays video games in my household. Watching recorded gameplay footage is somehow different than watching these live streams. Perhaps because these live streams really reminded me of that time so long ago during my teenage years when I would visit the local arcades or the game stores not just for the opportunity to play games, but also the opportunity to just watch other people play video games. I have been watching live streams of Super Street Fighter IV ranked matches as well as League of Legends battles. The bad thing about this is that because they are so engaging to watch, I may be spending too much time watching versus playing. Perhaps that's just a part of being a well-rounded gamer.

Watching this is more fun than beating up infinite Kens online.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Truth About PC Live Multiplayer

I was shocked today when I found out that Street Fighter IV for the Personal Computer that uses Microsoft's Live network does not support cross-platform online play between the PC and the X-Box 360. I always assumed that all Live-enabled PC games have this ability and the PC versions of Lost Planet, Shadowrun, and Universe at War: Earth Assault do. Actually, not all of them have this ability! A friend of mind invited me to play Street Fighter IV earlier this evening and we both tried to invite each other into a private game and I got this:

That's just dumb.

I have encountered this screen before when I was trying to play a Culdcept Saga online match with a friend of mine who is living in Japan. Basically, the console/server recognizes the two regional versions of Culdcept Saga as two different games and the same is the case here with trying to connect the console version of SFIV with the PC version of the game. It's easy enough to find others to play SFIV with online on the PC - though currently, the community is very small because of the arrival of Super Street Fighter IV - and the PC version that I own is definitely graphically superior than the console versions but this new revelation really made me upset. It is just very idiotic to use the Live network but then limit the users from being able to connect between the two platforms. I am not going to support this atrocity anymore. If a PC game is Live-enabled, I will expect cross-platform functionality. If it's not there, then I will get the game for the X-Box 360. The only problem with this is that I really do prefer cheaper prices and superior graphics. Still, stupidity must not be encouraged at all cost.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Game Alert: Zeldot Edition!

My copy of 3D Dot Game Heroes for the PlayStation 3 is here. You really have to hand it to Atlus, after years of being in total obscurity outside of Japan, they have finally amass legions of loyal fans that ensure massive sales with pretty much anything they release. Remember Demon's Souls? For them to be able to turn a totally weird game like 3D Dot into the talk of the town for PlayStation 3 owners is another example of their growing empire - I got messages from people on my friend's list about how much they love the game, something that doesn't happen that often. So what is the hype all about? Well, there is some validity to the whole thing because 3D Dot is pretty much a Zelda clone. No, not the newer Zelda games, but the pre-Nintendo 64 years. I can see why a lot of people are just crazy about 3D Dot, especially if they have never played a Zelda game before. It's an overhead hack-and-slash adventure game with a really unique graphical presentation that celebrates the blocky look of pixels in a 3D environment. For fans of the Zelda franchise, like myself, the game is an absolute must. For everyone else, the hype will get to them soon enough.

A character creation tool is included: I have seen many Links already.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Steam + Mac = Everybody Wins Portal!

To commemorate the Steam client's arrival on the Mac today (Valve is so going to dominate the Mac gaming world), everyone can now download Portal for free! The game's demo is attached to the Steam profile by default but now it is full product that is being offered. If you are one of those unfortunate people who have yet to play this demented little first person "shooter", here's your chance to get the game. The offer doesn't last forever though, only until the 24th of this month. If you don't have a Steam account, it's free to create one and it will not cost you anything to use it. Download this game immediately! a test participant... you may be required to perform simple tasks...

Rocket Knight X-Box 360 Demo

Now that the X-Box 360 version of Rocket Knight is released on the Live Marketplace, I decided to download it so that I can compare between it and the Steam version on the Personal Computer that was released yesterday. If you can play on both of these platforms, it is safe to say now that the PC version is vastly superior to the 360 release. First of all, though it is still a pretty game, the 360 version lacks the native 1080p support thus it cannot match the immaculate crystal clear clarity found on the PC version, even when the 360 upscaled it to 1080p. There's also a slight issue with the shadows where they look rougher and less defined on the 360. Then, the 360 version has loading time and though it averaged at less than 10 seconds per occurrence, it felt like forever after playing the game on the PC. Lastly, the 360 version has slowdown during hectic moments, most notably during the flight section when there are large explosion chains on the screen. I am confident that the 360 version could have performed better but it's apparent that the PC was the lead platform for this game. PC owners, download the game with confidence!

If you want the best Rocket Knight experience, run away from the 360 version!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Game Alert: Rocket Knight 1 Day Early!

I logged on to my Steam account like I normally do every day and I noticed that the demo version of Rocket Knight, a game that I pre-ordered several days ago, was showing available for download. The link for it was broken for the first half hour before the option finally disappeared. About an hour later, I went back to the Steam client and saw that it was available again. After about 15 minutes of download time, the game was available to be played. Since it was supposed to be a demo, I was rushing through the sub-stages to see how long long the demo would last. After I completed the first stage, I was surprised that the game proceeded to stage 2. I then exited the game and checked the Steam store page and saw that the full game was showing available for May 11th! I could have sworn that it was still showing with a release date of tomorrow and it was on a separate tab from the option to download the demo. Perhaps the demo accidentally grants access to the full game for those who pre-ordered it so they worked out a deal to release the game early but who cares? Rocket Knight is already here for those who have a gaming Personal Computer!

He seems to have lost his edgy look...

I must say that I am very impressed with the game. It feels very similar to the first game on the Genesis and it plays like the action/platform games of old, only with pretty 3D graphics - something that should have been the evolution for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. There is a screen at the beginning of the game that warns players that the game is meant to be played using a gamepad and the game fully supports the X-Box 360 controller. The stylish cell-shaded graphics are clean and sharp, though they do lack details. This PC version of the game supports native 1920 x 1080 resolution and it runs at a smooth 60 frames per second with all settings maxed out on my PC. Just like the original, the game features both platforming areas and flying stages that play more like a shoot-em-up. Forget the stupidly episodic Sonic 4... This is the return to platforming greatness that we have all been waiting for!

This boss is easy to kill but it doesn't make this encounter any less awesome!

The flying sections are still as cool as they were before!


Monday, May 10, 2010

New Game Alert: Falling in the Dark Edition!

I snatched this one up for my Personal Computer from Direct2Drive before their Spring sale event ended earlier today. Dark Fall: Lost Souls is the third entry in the Dark Fall series. It's basically a point and click adventure but what sets these games apart from the rest are the rich narrative and sometimes spooky atmosphere. You play as an inspector who is investigating the disappearance of a little girl. The game is pretty much a one man project from game designer Jonathan Boakes and the its technology is an obvious reflection of that: Lost Souls has a native 4:3 aspect ratio and employs cheap tricks to convey 3D space. I still love these kind of games though but I think it's time for point and click adventures to fully embrace modern graphical technologies and abandon the "classic" design limitations of the yesteryear.

A creepy newspaper clipping that doubles as a convenient plot device.

Games Played 05/03/2010 - 05/09/2010

- 05/03/2010 -
Halo: Reach Beta - X-Box 360*
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force - PSP
Zeno Clash Demo - PC

*Wow... Was this game made for the original X-Box? Terrible graphics.
The multiplayer versus is boring to me. I want to play the campaign...

- 05/04/2010 -
Audiosurf - PC
Dirt 2 - PC
Fuel - PC
Left 4 Dead - PC
Soul Calibur IV - X-Box 360
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force - PSP

- 05/05/2010 -
Mario Kart DS - NDS
RayStorm - PlayStation
RayStorm HD Demo - X-Box 360*
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force - PSP
Zeno Clash Ultimate Edition Demo - X-Box 360**

*A lazy update to an average shmup.
The PSOne version still looks great so there's no need for me to get it again.

**Not as sharp as the PC version. Waiting for the PC version to include
contents from this X-Box 360 port before I get the game.

- 05/06/2010 -
Beat Hazard - PC
Dark Messiah of Might & Magic - PC
Tornado Outbreak - PlayStation 3

- 05/07/2010 -
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Demo - PC
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Dirt 2 - PC
Dynasty Warriors 6 - X-Box 360
Fatal Fury Special - X-Box 360
Rock Band 2 - X-Box 360
Tekken 6 - PlayStation 3
Tom Clancy's EndWar - PlayStation 3
Uno - X-Box 360
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force - PSP

- 05/08/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Fate - PC
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force - PSP

- 05/09/2010 -
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Fate - PC

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Freddy Krueger's Favorite Strip Club?

Have you ever wondered what Freddy Krueger of the Nightmare on Elm Street fame does after a long night of teen slaying? Well he would "play" DreamStripper on the Personal Computer. I stumbled across this little smut while looking for some PC demos to try out and the first thing I thought of was the iconic horror icon - I am not referring to the remake that I still haven't seen yet. This is partly because of the cheesy title of this game but mostly, this game scared me so much that I don't think any real human being would actually enjoy it... Then again, I would be wrong because a lot of people do get turned on by video game characters. I have to admit that I have on occasion thought of how hot it would be to hook up with a video game character - gasp! This game has been out for a while and in a nutshell, you take control of a voyeur who pays a virtual stripper to perform right in front of you. The full version of the game would allow you fully customize the looks and the physical attributes of the stripper as well - that's a lot more than what you can do with a stripper in real life so I can definitely see the benefit of owning this software for those who are into this kind of thing.

Let me think about that for a minute...

Dream or nightmare? You decide!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Test of Fate

I started playing the dungeon-crawler role playing game Fate for the Personal Computer yesterday evening and I must say that the game is a lot of fun. Since Fate shares its game designer with the newer Torchlight, both games almost play exactly the same with similar pet system, character artwork, and sound/voice-over implementations. The only difference between the two can be attributed to the lack of preset class selections in Fate. Playing this game feels like I am playing Torchlight but only with much uglier - yet tolerable - graphics. Torchlight is definitely much more polished but I am going to stick with Fate for a while before I get back to that game.

He's surely an ugly looking child...

The game wouldn't look so bad if not for the cluttered user interface.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rocket Knight Version Decision

The original Rocket Knight Adventures on the Sega Genesis is one of my favorite platform games of all time so it shouldn't be a surprise that I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the new Rocket Knight that will be released on the PlayStation 3, the Steam client, and the X-Box 360. The only question is, which version of the game should be inducted to my Game Library? Steam is making it very easy for me to make that determination because the game is offered with a 20% price discount! I am sure that the graphics will be better on the Personal Computer as well. I have already pre-ordered the game and it will become available for download next week on the 12th, the same date when the X-Box 360 version will be making its debut. Too bad it won't come to the PS3 until the 18th - very cruel! I can't wait to play this!

Rocket + Steam = Win! More games like this on Steam please!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Söldner-X 2: Now with an Official Release Date

It's great that SideQuest Studios has finally revealed today that May 25th will be the date when Söldner-X 2: Final Prototype is going to hit the PlayStation Network Store. It will be modestly priced at $12.99. I really cannot wait to play this game! Though I appreciate knowing for certain when I will be able to get the game, this bit of information has transported me to that unpopular alternate universe where a day feels like a month and a month feels like a year.

But I want to kill my super-huge stone monster-face boss now!

Beat Hazard: Cool Update!

One of my recent favorite games, Beat Hazard for the Personal Computer, has received a pretty neat free update today. The option "Chill Out Mode" can now be selected from the main menu. Basically, this mode allows you to just enjoy the game with unlimited amount of lives. Sometimes, it's easy to get pulled out of the experience when you run out of lives in the middle of a song so this mode is perfect for those who just want to enjoy the music tracks uninterrupted while still playing the game. Of course, no achievements can be unlocked while using this mode and the accumulated score will not be uploaded to the Leaderboards. I can't wait to see what other goodies will come our way for this amazing title. Thank you Cold Beam Games!

A great addition to the game.

New Games Alert: Resolution of Fate Edition!

Three games are inducted into my Game Library today: Tom Clancy's EndWar and Tornado Outbreak for the PlayStation 3 as well as Fate: Undiscovered Realms for the Personal Computer. EndWar is a military strategy game where you can use your voice to provide the in-game commands. I really want to use the fancy Bluetooth headset I purchased back in late 2008 but the PlayStation Network community is a quiet one... Since I hardly get to talk to anyone of the PSN, I thought I could get more use of the headset now that I have EndWar. Tornado Outbreak is a Katamari Damacy clone but instead of playing with balls, you are playing with a tornado instead. I like that the game has boss fights and I am looking forward to those encounters.

It was not "fate" that lead me to Undiscovered Realms... It was trickery!

Last month, I picked up the second expansion to Fate called The Traitor Soul because I thought that it included the original game. I found out too late that it didn't and after researching a bit more about the game, the first expansion - Undiscovered Realms that I received today - is supposed to be the one that include the original game. I am happy to confirm that it does indeed! I still don't like WildTangent for their deceitful practice and unless they are making something super impressive, I don't plan on spending any more money on their future products. I am starving for some good Diablo-ish action so I hope that Fate will be able to fulfill this need. It is too bad that the original game and the Undiscovered Realms expansion do not include widescreen support - yucks - but I am willing to stomach this flaw if the gameplay is as good as many claim it to be. [Update Note - 11:23pm: Actually, the game can be played in any widescreen resolution by altering a hidden file using the steps found in the game's official forum.]

I can finally begin my journey into Fate.