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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nintendo 3DS: A Bit Pricey

The gaming community is on fire today over the  release announcement of the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming system. It will be released in Japan on February 26th 2011 and then March here in the United States. The price is a bit steep - it will be around $300 if the Japanese price tag is any indication - but I think that it's just too expensive for a handheld device. That price is even higher than the launch PlayStation Portable. I am sure that the 3D technology is to be blamed for this. I really like inclusion of the analogue stick and the home button on the 3DS - not to mention the whole 3D without glasses that will change the application of 3D in home entertainment in the future you just wait - and of course I am dying to get one myself. But perhaps it's a good idea not to become an early adopter of the 3DS because of Nintendo's obsession with releasing slight hardware upgrades within the lifespan of their past handheld system, like the repeatedly evolving Nintendo DS. The actual price for the North American release is still up in the air though so there is still a tiny bit of hope that it may go below that $300 mark.

But why is the second analogue stick still missing
It would so fit under the face buttons on the right hand side of the device.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LOL in LoL: Safe to Sorry

It never ceases to amaze me how people are able to come up with such "creative" summoner names in League of Legend on the Personal Computer. One thing for sure, they definitely add a strange level of excitement into the game: I always have to get myself ready to hit "Print Screen" on my keyboard every time the game starts. Here are my recent finds:

He must be pretty popular with the ladies.

Yeah, sure, but are you shooting blanks?

Cross-species intercourse has its risks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Game Alert: Move without the Move

I couldn't afford to get the PlayStation Move controller ($49.99) and a Move game ($39.99) at the same time so instead of waiting to get them both together, I thought I would just pick them up separately. I was very tempted to get Phantasy Star Portable 2 that was just released on the PlayStation Portable but then that would further push my Move agenda behind. I was going to go for the controller first but since they ran out of it - which I think is a lie because the store is trying to sell that stupid $99 Move bundle that comes with Sports Champion + the PlayStation Eye Camera + the Move controller - I picked up a software instead. So my first Move game is EyePet and I have been drooling over this virtual pet simulator ever since its release in Europe. With this North American release, the game now mandates the use of the Move, which is unfortunate because I will not be able to play it until I get the controller: Sony could have given us the option to play the game with the DualShock controller. I hope I could pick up the controller soon. In the meantime though, I guess I could gloat over the colorful cover and smell the freshness of the instruction manual.

Not the cutest pet ever... At least you can make it wear cute outfits.

Slight Game Room Renovation

I was cleaning up the garage over the weekend and I found an old computer rack that fit into my Game Room perfectly. With this structure now occupying the right hand side of the room, I am finally able to take my original X-Box console out of the entertainment center. I really like the idea of seeing my consoles out in the open but I still wouldn't be able to fit all of them on the computer rack because of potential wire clutter and the short reach of the old cabled controllers. I am surprised that I am still left with a lot of empty spaces on the rack. Though that is promising prospect for future spatial need, I am sure that I will find decorative gaming materials to fill up the area pretty soon.

The small media cabinet has been moved to the back of the room.

I have forgotten how sexy the original X-Box looks
since it had been confined inside a small and dark space all this time.

Games Played 09/20/2010 - 09/26/2010

- 09/20/2010 -
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies - NDS
League of Legends - PC

- 09/21/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition - PC
Sonic Adventure 2 - Dreamcast

- 09/22/2010 -
Border Down - Dreamcast
Cho-Aniki: Kyukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyo Otoko - PlayStation 3
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies - NDS
Gaia Seed: Project Seed Trap - PlayStation 3
Giga Wing - Dreamcast
League of Legends - PC

- 09/23/2010 -
Border Down - Dreamcast
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies - NDS
League of Legends - PC

- 09/24/2010 -
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies - NDS
My Aquarium - PlayStation 3

- 09/25/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
My Aquarium - PlayStation 3

- 09/26/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
My Aquarium - PlayStation 3
Motor Storm: Pacific Rift - PlayStation 3
Rogue Galaxy - PlayStation 2

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: Survival of the Dead

Survival of the Dead (2010)
Genre: Horror
Format: Netflix HD Stream
Director: George A. Romero

For quite some time now, writer/director George A. Romero has never taken a misstep when he continuously presented us with newer films in his Night of the Living Dead series. Sure, Day of the Dead was a bit ho-hum but with such strong recent entries in the forms of Land of the Dead and especially Diary of the Dead, you would think that Romero's future endeavors will only enrich his trademark zombie experience. It is sad to say that Survival of the Dead is not only highly disappointing, it is also one of the worst zombie films ever made.

This movie follows a small group of soldiers who are looking for a place to settle in away from the zombie apocalypse. They are then lured to a small island where two influential families are fighting over what to do about the zombies: one wanted them to be killed off on sight while the other wanted to keep them like cattle to see if the zombies could be trained to become socially functional. The sociopolitical underpinnings that normally come with a Romero zombie film are definitely there but the progression of the plot is rather sloppy and the impending free-for-all zombie rampage at the end of the movie really lacked any real impact. The gore is strong and there are definitely a lot of zombie deaths - a couple of them are quite memorable. The real problem here is that the storyline just doesn't work and the situation just doesn't make much sense at all. It's nearly impossible to associate myself with any of the the three factions found within the story and it seems like Romero might have gotten a bit soft on us when everything ended a bit too neatly.

I was really looking forward to watching this movie and the fact that it was so bad was rather shocking. This is the kind of mistake that can completely ruin a franchise and the worst thing about it is the fact that Romero had written and directed the movie himself. I could understand if someone else took the reign, destroying the movie but that is not the case. I fear that Romero has lost his magic and he should probably stop before he could hurt himself more. Survival of the Dead is the equivalent of a zombie shot in the head - it's now dead and I know that it wouldn't rise back up again.

RATING: 1 out of 5

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Project Nidalee A-OK!

So I started dreaming about owning the champion Nidalee in League of Legends for the Personal Computer on Tuesday. At that time, I only have around 100 Influence Points and Nidalee can be unlocked for 3150 IP. Most of the champions are priced at 3150 with the more unusual ones being made available for 6300 IP. If you are ever curious to know how long it would take for you to accumulate enough points to unlock a new champion, this should give you a general idea of that time frame. I play about 4-5 matches a day, depending of course on how long the matches are. On average, victory or defeat can be accomplished around 45 minutes. If it's shorter, then I could fit in more matches. I do win more than I lose these days - well, it all depends on the team dynamics - and it took me 4 days before I was able to get enough IP to unlock Nidalee. The next champion I plan to unlock is the 6300 IP Blitzcrank. But maybe I will spend my IP on another rune page or the actual runes as long as I don't get tired of Nidalee. Still haven't tried this 100% free to play game? Sign up for your free summoner account today!

Collecting IP to unlock champions and runes is a sure way to keep players engaged in the game.

To the West We Go

I have just played the demo for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West by Ninja Theory on both the PlayStation 3 and  the X-Box 360 and I must say that I am very impressed with this game. This is quite surprising because their last game, the PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword failed miserably gameplay-wise. Enslaved is a comeback for the developer, who has once again able to showcase unbelievable graphics unlike anything you have ever seen before like those found in Heavenly Sword but this time around, with a heavy dose of platforming goodness and a simplified yet satisfying combat. Enslaved is a brilliant re-imagining of the classic Chinese literature, Journey to the West, but without the mythological creatures, Buddhism, nor talking animals. Instead, we have a tale of a female slave who is forcing another male captive to help her get back to her home in a modern, futuristic world ravished by robotic creatures. The bottom line is that if she dies, he dies and that leaves him with not much of a choice.

A truly epic stage... (X-Box 360 Screenshot)

Based on the gameplay footage included in the demo, this particular journey only focused on the two characters - a departure from the original literary work - so the game seems to have been heavily influenced by UbiSoft's Prince of Persia but without the "princess" following you at every turn and jump. The demo doesn't provide a lot of content but it is enough to convince me that this have the potential to be one of the best games released this year. The demo takes us to the very beginning of the game where you have to escape a huge - yes, in that Shadow of the Colossus kind of scale - slave ship and it is here that the game quickly introduces its smooth platforming mechanics as well as the fun combat. As solid as the gameplay may be, the one thing that makes such an impact here is the game's gorgeous graphics. The cut-scenes are done in real time, using the in-game character models and those expressive, detailed facial close-ups look better than what Square Enix could conjure up in Final Fantasy XIII. I don't know why this game ended up going multi-platform but Sony could have had a system-seller here if Ninja Theory still practices monogamy - what a big loss.

She could have just asked nicely... (PS3 screenshot)

Now the only question is this: which version will I get when the game comes out? Graphically speaking, at first glance, there are hardly any differences between the two demos - which should make Microsoft very happy because this game is definitely the best looking title on the 360 as well as the PS3, easily topping Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in its wake. If you observe closely however, it is apparent that the 360 version looks a bit sharper while the PS3 version suffers from frame rate drops, clipping shadows, and prominent screen-tearings. I will have to get this game on the 360 and Sony should seriously start thinking about adopting talented developers with potentials into their parent company in the future. The game will be released next month on October 5th.

Winner! The PS3 should have been the superior version but it isn't.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 5 out of 5

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Game Alert: Aquarium Collection

I love aquarium games though I am selective about which ones I induct into my Game Library. I have My Aquarium on the Nintendo Wii and I was thinking about getting the sequel My Aquarium 2 but with the improved original game being released on the PlayStation 3 recently, I decided to go for that version instead. Aquatopia for the PS3 was average and the lack of customization and interactivity really hurts the game so I am looking forward to experiencing the wealth of options found in My Aquarium. I like the fact that the fish could actually grow from infancy to adulthood and that you can upload footage from the game to YouTube. This release looks a lot better than it did on the Wii and runs in full 1080p... And what's this? It comes with trophies too for those who are crazy about those things.

Mine, not yours!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Games Alert: Japanese Shmup Love

Of course just after my recent complaint about Sony's stupid content license management, two great PSOne shooters are made available on the PlayStation Network Store. I had to get both of them, naturally, since I am absolutely nuts about the genre. The first is Cho-Aniki: Kyukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyo Otoko and if you have never heard of the Cho Aniki games before - I have even written a a special article on one of them here - it's about time that you get yourself acquainted with this infamous franchise. It's a shoot-'em-up where you control a flying human and the game is notorious for trying to be as homo-erotic as possible. Don't be scared though... If you are sure about yourself, you will find much to enjoy from this very odd game. Besides, man-love should be more than tolerable in this day and age. The second is Gaia Seed: Project Seed Trap. This one is more of a conventional shmup but with a little twist: you don't die immediately when you get hit by bullets or obstacles. Instead, your ship has a shield that actually regenerates over time! So as long as you are good enough to not get hit every single second - which can get tricky though this game is easier than most in the genre - you should be able to avoid a quick death. I look forward to more Japanese shmups being released on the PSN Store... Well, it's probably the only way Sony could get me to buy something from there.

Nice warp effects in Gaia Seed. I absolutely love fancy 2D effects..

Cho-Aniki madness: One of the most horrifying bosses in a shoot-'em-up ever!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love at First Bite

So I love League of Legends on the Personal Computer and today, I am loving the game even more. Every week, the game rotates champions that everyone can use and one of them for this week is Nidalee - a champion that I never knew I would enjoy playing. I have played along her side in many battles but she is one of those champions that look rather weird and has weirder abilities. Basically, she is both a range and a melee fighter who has the ability to switch between human and cougar forms. Even when a character that I do not own is being offered for free for the week, if I was not interested in them, I wouldn't even try them but tonight was an exception. I used the Influence Points I have accumulated over the past week to buy the game's latest champion, a mute instrumentalist named Sona. It is hard to actually get to play her because she is new - that means that everyone would pick her as quickly as possible during the champion selection screen. So when Sona was snatched away from me, I realized that Nidalee was available on my screen so I picked her. Wow, she is the most fun champion I have played thus far and that human/cougar thing is just so wild. I am going to work hard playing the game this week to get enough Influence Points  to permanently unlock her before the current rotation ends.

I am sure that the "cougar" thing is seriously intentional...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Current State of Multi-Console Games III

While re-downloading contents onto my new PlayStation 3, it just occurred to me that Sony has a stringent digital rights management tool implementation where you are only limited to download the gaming contents you purchased to 5 individual PS3 units. I contacted Sony via email - I love having a written trail for these kinds of things - and requested them to reset my download limit and deactivate the previous console. I was surprised by the response that I got: Basically, the Sony representative explained to me that they would only deactivate previous consoles when the customer has reached the 5 download limit and that the deactivation process is a one time courtesy. One can always deactivate the system oneself via the Xross Media Bar menu but that of course requires that the previous PS3 is still working. I just found this to be nonsensical especially when you can transfer licenses more easily with the X-Box 360 even with Microsoft's once per year setup because it only requires you to have your new 360 console and access to the license transfer website. I did express my disappointment to them but I am not about to argue too much about this since I do still have the broken PS3 with me.

Sony did however unlock the songs I purchased for SingStar so that I could download those again on the new system - song and video downloads are locked only to one console - but they said that it will take about 7-10 business days before I could actually do it. As much as I don't like Microsoft's money hungry mentality, at least they have better common sense in making their customers feel secured about their Live Marketplace purchases so I have decided that for all direct download games, I will always choose the 360 version to avoid future license limit complications - unless the 360 version of those games are vastly inferior. I will still favor the PS3 for disc-based games though but perhaps that may change as well if the title has a lot of downloadable contents.


New PlayStation 3 Casualty

It is great having a live PlayStation 3 in my Game Room again and I was aware of my inability to do a file transfer between my PS3s (since the broken one can't even be turned on) will result in a lot of data loss. What I fail to realize however is that I have invested a lot of time playing this one supposedly super game and now... I have to replay the game from the very beginning. That thought alone has sent me into a spiraling madness because that game is... Final Fantasy XIII!

FFXIII is not a bad game. It's just ruined by its insistence in getting a multi-platform release.

I stopped playing the game right before what I suspect to be the last section leading to the finale and I invested around 50+ hours into the game at that point. Though I think that the storyline for this game is better than most in the series, the linearity of the game design will kill me. I don't know if I can stand going through some of the cheesy moments in the game again... Oh well, at least it looks real pretty right? Oh the hair graphics looks so very convincing... Not! This should teach me to focus on finishing up one game and one game only before moving on to something else.

Games Played 09/13/2010 - 09/19/2010

- 09/13/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Runes of Magic - PC

- 09/14/2010 -
League of Legends - PC

- 09/15/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Runes of Magic - PC
Sega Genesis Collection - PlayStation 2
Sword 2 - PC*

*Heard so much about this "free to play" MMO but it ended up being horrible.

- 09/16/2010 -

- 09/17/2010 -
Karaoke Revolution - PlayStation 2
Karaoke Revolution Volume 2 - PlayStation 2
Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 - PlayStation 2
Karaoke Revolution Country - PlayStation 2
Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol - PlayStation 2*

*It was a Karaoke Revolution extravaganza because I was hosting a birthday party.

- 09/18/2010 -
KOF Sky Stage Demo - X-Box 360*
League of Legends - PC
Space Invaders Infinity Gene Demo - X-Box 360**

*A top down shoot-'em-up featuring King of Fighters characters. Weird but fun.
**This proves that Space Invaders will never die! Great re-imagination of the franchise.

- 09/19/2010 -
Alan Wake - X-Box 360*
League of Legends - PC
Wii Sports Resort - Wii

*Oh no... Mr. Wake is barely keeping me awake playing the game!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Games Alert: Moved by a Couple of Monkeys

Two games are inducted into my Game Library today: The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition and Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge for the Personal Computer. These are remakes of the classic games by LucasArts that were originally released about 20 years ago and I can still remember playing them on my roommate's computer during my freshman year in college - I really miss the time I spent at the university. To be frank, I could hardly remember much of the content within these point and click adventure games so playing through them now, especially with the sparkly new graphics, should be entertaining. The games are bundled together into a nice little package via Steam at a very reasonable price, so I am glad that logged into the Steam client tonight.

The LucasArts week has been uneventful until now.

My Steam library is really expanding.

LoL's Upcoming Graphical Overhaul

When I first started playing League of Legends on the Personal Computer, I thought the graphics were horrible. It took me a while to adjust to the cartoonish look of the game and I really don't mind them at all when I play the game these days. The newer champions that have been introduced to the game are nicer looking as well, with better character animations and an extra amount of details as well as complexities in the model constructions. Riot Games has recently announced that the game will be receiving a visual bump in the near future - not to mention the addition of a new battlefield. They have posted a couple of screenshots that showcased the graphical upgrade. Unfortunately, the new look doesn't look that impressive. It looks like they have added some additional polygons on the character models plus a heavy usage of bump mapping and an extra layer of sheen, making the characters look like plastic toys. The new graphics seem to take some of the the charm of the original look and I think that cell-shading would probably fit this game's art style a little better. Still, the new models definitely look a lot fancier than the original and I cannot wait to see how the environments and creeps will look like after the switch.

This is how Gragas, the fat drunk, looks like at the moment.

After the update, he's going to be fat and shiny.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Game Alert: Not a PlayStation Move Game...

With that new console that I just got, I really have to wait to get the PlayStation Move that just hit the market today. This latest induction into my Game Library is actually something that I found online and I just couldn't resist the price. Alan Wake: Limited  Collector's Edition is being sold for $39.99 at Amazon.com at this time. I don't know how long this will last but if you are interested in getting the game at that low price, please click here. I paid much less than that for the game thanks to the discount codes from past dealings . The outer packaging is awesome: inside the cardboard sleeve is a fake book where the game disc and the extra contents are stored in. This limited edition release includes a free downlodable content for the game, avatar/theme goodies, a 144-page book entitled "The Alan Wake Files", a soundtrack CD, and a documentary video. I am disappointed however that the actual game disc is placed inside a generic DVD case instead of the cool metal case that we have come to expect from these special releases. Alan Wake is a survival horror game about a writer where you use light to destroy your enemies. I doesn't look as scary as say a Silent Hill game but we'll see soon enough when I am actually playing it.

Why Alan Wake and not Stephen King? Oh wait... King doesn't have that leading man look.

A New PlayStation 3 Story

I should have known that there was something extraordinarily odd when my significant other left work early today. Just as I was lamenting over my dead PlayStation 3 in last night's entry, low and behold, I got myself a new PS3 console today. I am completely blown away by this... It came to me as a complete surprise and bundled with it, a large financial sacrifice from my significant other. I may have whined about my lover not being a gamer several times in the past but this is a testament that though we are beings of opposite polarity when it comes to our individual obsessions, understanding is more important than anything else in a relationship. Of course, since the money that comes out between myself and my significant other has a direct impact on our combined life as a whole, new games - well, I have one coming in today via mail - will be inducted at a much slower pace than usual for a while.

Actually, the new design doesn't look as ugly in person.

The unit that my significant other got me is the 160GB model and though I miss the whole bulky skyscraper look of the original, I like the the glow on the disc tray and power buttons when the unit is on. The unit looks nice laying on its side so I don' think I will be getting the stand to erect this one vertically. Compared to the old PS3, this unit is also extremely quiet. I can't even hear the fan whatsoever. I am sure that I will miss the backwards compatibility with my huge PS2 collection but I do have my PS2 to take care of that need. This extremely pleasant surprise really made my existence... I can't thank you enough, baby!

I know that It Only Does Everything but I hope it doesn't know how to die.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Game Alert: Impregnated While Sleeping?

As someone who enjoys gaming on multiple platforms, being without my PlayStation 3 is starting to wear down on me. Things have been pretty rough financially and deciding to pick up new games these days becomes a rather exhausting exercise in budget management. Sure I can still get a game or two every so often (the cheaper ones at that) and I have started saving some cash to eventually get another PS3 but I guess that is never enough for what I am trying to accomplish. The good thing here is that at least what I want is not as expansive as what I already have. My significant other noticed the slight emptiness in my being and got me Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep for the PlayStation Portable to cheer me up, a gesture that I truly appreciated. I still think that the first Kingdom Hearts game on the PlayStation 2 is the best entry in the series but we will see if Birth by Sleep is finally able to change that.

Not a big fan of the subtitle but I hope it makes sense in the end.

Item Shop Madness!

I logged into my Steam account today and I was browsing through the list of new releases available there: wow, there are a lot of new Genesis games being sold on Steam now - I surely hope that more will be on their way. Then I saw a game called Recettear: An Item Shop Tale from EasyGameStation that was made available on the 10th of this month. I saw that it was available for pre-order before but I didn't notice that a demo was made available for the game then. If I played the demo before the full game was released, I would most likely have it pre-ordered for the discounted early purchase price.

Yes you can silly girl... But you surely have to pay for it!

This deceptively simple game about managing an item shop - like the one you visit in a typical Japanese role playing game - is quite addicting. You stock up staple RPG items, place them on the display areas of your store, and haggle with your customers while trying to make a hefty profit. As simple as that may sound, it's incredibly thrilling to make a sale and increase your profit margin, especially with a looming deadline approaching for a large bill that you have to pay off. To make things a lot more interesting, there is also a hack and slash action role playing game hidden within the game's design where you can travel alongside an adventurer to raid dungeons and find items to sell at your shop. I am just going to maximize everything that I can do in this demo version but I will definitely be getting this game in the future.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 4 out of 5

Radiant Silvergun on X-Box 360!

WARNING
NO REFUGE

ENCOUNTERED AN ASSAILANT.
RADIANT SILVERGUN ON X-BOX 360      
BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS...

1: 360 CONSOLE STAY ALIVE
2: GOLD MEMBERSHIP MUST FOR RANK
3: SEGASATURN JUST MEMORY

This news is a good and a bad one for me. Let's start with the positive: Treasure's Radiant Silvergun ranks at number 2 on my top 10 favorite games of all time and it is the best shoot-'em-up game there is on the market to date. Now that the game has been announced at the Tokyo Game Show for a 2011 X-Box Live Arcade release with improved graphics, I know that I must get the game again! It even includes co-op over X-Box Live but that is not recommended due to lag however... It is still impossible to play co-op Ikaruga on X-Box Live.

The original looks awesome but this remake looks much better!
Loving the widescreen side panels that clean up the top portion of the game.

The bad news? Well, redundancy and that my SegaSaturn copy will become outdated and obsolete. I am proud to be an owner of the original release and that can never be taken away from me. Too bad this copy will lose its $250+ market value though! Not that I would ever sell the game. I am more excited about this than the two new "motion controllers" from Sony and Microsoft. I surely hope that this game will also be released on the PlayStation Network but since Ikaruga is still absent, that would probably be a no. Those who have never played this game before and is a fan of the genre should get very excited to finally have the chance to experience the game without shelling out a lot of money for it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Your Privates Will Thank You

Interesting choice of helmets...

I have heard about Zombie Cow Studios' Privates for a while now and I had even downloaded the game late last month but I kept forgetting to install and play it. This completely free title for the Personal Computer is a hilarious precautionary tale about sexually transmitted diseases made into a video game. You control a group of small army men tasked to destroy STDs at the most interesting locations of the human body. You only control the leader of the squad directly while the three other team members are computer-controlled. The game is a side-scrolling shooter and you have 4 different weapons to use in your arsenal.

Get up close and personal with the most notorious of STDs.

I have played through 3 of the game's 5 stages and though everything is hilarious, the game itself is average at best. The great thing about this game is that it took the lighter approach in presenting the subject matter by using cartoonish graphics and silly-looking monsters to represent the worse of STDs. Those with weak stomachs would probably still feel a bit of a nausea with all the talks about bodily fluids and orifices. There are spoken dialogues in the game that accompanies each mission and they really keep you engaged and shocked. I suppose the blunt sexual conversations and the dry British humor may not be for everybody but I found them to be very funny. The graphics are beautiful (I mean, disgusting) with a lot of the locations being cleverly imaginative. It's a shame that the game's perfect presentation is betrayed by the haphazard play mechanics. The AI that manages your teammates is pretty useless thus they die for reasons beyond your control. The enemy type changes so frequently that switching between the weapons becomes more frustrating than it is fun. Sticking with just one weapon type would have made the game a bit more focused.

Don't play this game before having a romantic evening.

If you are living in a free society where consensual sex between two adults is not forbidden by the law or god or both, you know that safe sex is a must. If you are one of those people who are not very careful in your sexual life, this game may give you some pause in regards to your inaction. It's great to see that such a strong message can be delivered with such an impact via a video game. It's too bad that the game is just not polished enough to warrant multiple plays. If you are interested in the game, you can download it by clicking here.

They are hard to destroy, just like their real life counterparts.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 3 out of 5

Monday, September 13, 2010

Games Played 09/06/2010 - 09/12/2010

- 09/06/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Zero Gunner 2 - Dreamcast

- 09/07/2010 -
League of Legends - PC

- 09/08/2010 -
Unlimited Saga - PlayStation 2

- 09/09/2010 -
League of Legends - PC

- 09/10/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Unlimited Saga - PlayStation 2

- 09/11/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Life Line - PlayStation 2
Ridge Racer V - PlayStation 2
Unlimited Saga - PlayStation 2

- 09/12/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Life Line - PlayStation 2
Runes of Magic - PC

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good Video-Game Movie: It's Possible

I know that I was very harsh in my review of Resident Evil: Afterlife but I think that such strong discontent should be encouraged within the video gaming community. We should want video games to be presented in the best of light when they transcend into other formats, specifically, in the movie media. The problem for the most part when accomplishing a lofty goal such of making a film worthy of the video game that inspired it is that film is a passive form of entertainment. You are merely a spectator who has to take whatever it is that is given to you from the movie while in video games, you are actively living (almost) every moment of what transpires and you have direct control of the progression of things - or at least a very convincing illusion that you do. This is also the reason why "cinematic" video games that use a heavy amount of cut-scenes just doesn't work that well within video gaming in itself: the best example of this is the utterly disappointing Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots. It is obvious that movies and video games are on opposite sides of a spectrum since they each offer a different kind of brain stimulation.

I have stated that video games should not be made into movies and I do feel strongly about that. There is however one movie that I actually considered to be a good adaptation of a video game and that movie is Silent Hill by Christopher Gans. Released in 2006, this is perhaps the one and only such exception of a great video game movie and  the fact that it happened before should hint that it could happen again. So what made this movie so successful to me? I really can't remember too much of the details of the movie since the last time I saw it was back in 2007. I did pick up a copy of the movie DVD and now that I am reminded of it, I plan to watch it again soon. I do recall however that the movie really captured the essence of what the Silent Hill games are about:

a) Being trapped in a haunted town that can switch dimensions on the fly.
b) Being lost in a place where nothing seems to make sense.
c) A lost loved one who becomes the object of the journey.
d) Weird creatures that want to kill you.
e) Odd characters who are denizens of the place.

I can recall how enjoyable the movie was and I truly appreciated how it never tried to simplify the complexity of the psychological horror found from within the dark confines of the games. Though the characters in the movie are new, their references to the video games are spot on. Silent Hill can be considered as a seriously creepy horror movie and not just merely a movie based on a video game and when a movie can stand on its own merits by the proper application of things found in its video game counterpart, it then becomes a companion piece to what inspired it. So if you are a fan of the Silent Hill games and you have not watched this movie, it is comes highly recommended. Other filmmakers who are looking to cash in on a popular game by creating the big screen adaption should study both this film and the Silent Hill games to learn how to do it right.

When you see that sign, you know that there's no turning back.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Review - Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Genre: Action
Format: Theatrical Release
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Let's get one thing very clear: I really despise these Resident Evil movies because they do not do the source material any justice. As someone who enjoys the survival horror series from Capcom that the movie is based on, I am very protective of the wonderful memories that I have experienced from the game. Part of this blame here can be attributed by Capcom's love for allowing movie-makers to destroy their original visions... Like that last Street Fighter movie...

This is the 4th movie for the series and though it is as ridiculous as the others and has no bearing within the actual video game version of the Resident Evil universe, it is thankfully not as bad as the second and the absolutely rotten third. Basically, you follow the rather immortal Alice - if you only played the video game, I am sure you were thinking "Alice who?" - in her continuing battle to destroy the Umbrella Corporation, the company responsible in the eventual zombie outbreak that has taken over the entire world. This eventually lead her to a fortified penitentiary, occupied by a small number of survivors... Including... What? Chris Redfield? How? Why? No Way! Eventually, the band of boring characters are forced to leave the building as the zombies are able to find their way in to reap themselves of the last remaining fresh human meat. The movie did steal one enemy from Resident Evil 5 but if you have played that game, you know that the appearance of this creature will not make any sense to the movie storyline whatsoever. There are some fun action sequences though in the movie but just like everything else here, they feel empty and not very satisfying.

The movie was made specifically to utilize 3D technology so it does look better than the post-processed garbage seen recently - like that poor implementation in Piranha 3D. Some scenes do look nice with convincing depth perception but they don't even touch the greatness found in Avatar. You won't miss much from watching this movie is its 2D form but if you love your 3D, at least it's better than average. Overall, another disappointing movie that doesn't deserve the title stolen from the video game. Unfortunately, with its cliffhanger ending, another one will follow suit in the near future to remind us that video games should never be made into movies.

RATING: 2 out of 5

Friday, September 10, 2010

LOL in LoL: More to Love

As I play more and more League of Legends on the Personal Computer these days, the "creative" names that I have encountered are getting more and more vulgar, as shown in the last example on the previous entry of this ever continuing series of posts. To avoid turning this site into a cesspool of curse words and human body parts, I have decided to focus on the more subtle creations...

There is a thin line between love and lust.

CreamFromLimbo was sick that day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

LoL Fail

As you could gather from yesterday's Monthly Gaming Analysis, League of Legends on the Personal Computer has been an integral part of my gaming life for the past three months. I was looking forward to playing more of the game today when I noticed that the client was continually giving me a terrible "The launcher has experienced an error. Please restart this application." message. Apparently, many others are facing the same dilemma and I even tried reinstalling the game but that of course, failed to work. I guess it will take a while longer before I can get a chance fighting alongside or against the game's latest champion, Miss Fortune. In the mean time, Riot Games is taking the matter very, very seriously, as evidenced by the delicious image that pops up if you try to visit the official website at the moment:

What is heavier than a whale and twice as stinky?
Nothing is sexier than a semi-naked Gragas... Nothing!

Update Note: 09/09/2010 - If you are having the same problem, check out the solution from the community on the official game forum by manually replacing corrupted files using the instructions found here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

August 2010 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.

OVERALL BREAKDOWN:


Total Games Played: 38

League of Legends on the Personal Computer has taken the number one most played spot for its third month in a row. If this is not a convincing enough reason for anyone who hasn't tried out this free game to finally get on board, I don't know what else I could do to make things clearer: This game is just incredibly addictive. To be honest, I was expecting for the likes of Runes of Magic as well as Allods Online, two "free to play" massively multiplayer online role playing games that I started playing last month to rise up to the top of the list but they are certainly just pale in comparison to LoL.

Next up is Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for the Nintendo DS. I usually play this for about half an hour or so before I go to bed. I really like the game's story where you play a role of a "god" and it's great to see that more and more Japanese role playing games are implementing a vast amount of visual character customizations. Tied at second place is the modern classic Plants vs. Zombies. This game has so many unlockables and I was working to get them all while streaming the gameplay on my Justin.tv channel. The incredible musical pieces found within are a compelling enough reason to spend some more time playing the game.

I really worked hard to get to the end of the PlayStation 2's Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia until my PlayStation 3 died, taking with it the 30+ hours of save file data. I tried to heal my wound by playing the sequel, Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica but now, I actually stopped playing it because it just feels a bit awkward to jump into the sequel like that. The great thing is of course, the two games can stand on their own so I shouldn't let the trauma of the situation to stop me from actually finishing up the sequel. Another game tied at third place is... Runes of Magic for the PC! I was expecting to play it more frequently though... Perhaps I should start back on it again this month.

Best New Game of the Month:
Puzzle Quest 2 (Personal Computer)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (X-Box 360)

I Missed You I Want You Game of the Month:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Games Played 08/30/2010 - 09/05/2010

- 08/30/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Ys Seven - PSP

- 08/31/2010 -
Ape Escape 2 - PlayStation 2
Ar Tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica - PlayStation 2
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies - NDS
Kirby Super Star Ultra - NDS
Ys Seven - PSP

- 09/01/2010 -
League of Legends - PC

- 09/02/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Metroid: Other M - Wii
Puzzle Quest 2 - PC

- 09/03/2010 -

- 09/04/2010 -
League of Legends - PC
Wii Sports Resort - Wii

- 09/05/2010 -
League of Legends - PC

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Game Alert: A Good Kind of Opposition Edition!

All three of Relic Entertainment's Company of Heroes releases are being sold at a discounted rate on Steam for their weekend sale. I really enjoyed the original Company of Heroes: it is a spectacular real time strategy game set in a realistic, brutal setting of World War II. This is the reason why I have inducted Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts into my Game Library today. I have been meaning to get it for a while now but you probably have noticed that my Purchase List is getting longer and longer these days. OF is a standalone addition to the original game and it includes new factions as well as new campaigns. Getting this game actually reminded me that I still need to finish up the campaign mode of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. I have to get back into that game very soon.

You want to be in the company of these heroes.

Sale Fail

So your company is celebrating its 6th anniversary and you want to offer some good deals on direct download games. You look at your list of games that are available in your inventory and you proceeded to mercilessly slash down the price swiftly like you are a stealthy ninja who is silently lurking in the stillness of the shadows. You look down at the new, reduced price and thought you have done such a good job with your katana skills.

We are so generous, we're cutting the price down by 75%!

You then await for the scavengers to come and collect their dues from the strong stench of "discount game" smell emanating from the now helpless game... But what is this? People are not biting? Why is that? Isn't the price cheap enough for them to just buy the game without thinking? Well... It's actually not.

$2 cheaper at Steam! What?
Somebody at Direct2Drive's marketing department is in a lot of trouble...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

666... 6

Last year, I wasn't aware of Direct2Drive's anniversary sale until its last week but I have certainly learned my lesson since then. The direct download company for Personal Computer games is currently celebrating their 6th anniversary and for the next four weeks, they will be selling selected games for only $6. Depending on the games of course, that could mean tremendous amount of savings so everyone should check out what they are offering both on a weekly as well as daily basis. They don't have anything that I want thus far... I do hope that they are not going to follow the pattern of pricing the games in conjunction of the year that they have been in business. I don't think $20 game deals for their 20th anniversary would work but who knows, maybe in the year 2024, that amount of money may equate to nothing. But at least by then we would have world peace and people won't be fighting over religions and political ideologies right?

Still don't have Titan Quest? Today is a good day to get the game!

Random Game of the Day

Fantavision (2000)
Platform: PlayStation 2
Induction Date: 03/24/2001

What's more fun than chasing after a huge comet?
Well, watching colorful fireworks while doing so, of course!

Fantavision is one of those seemingly simple and shallow puzzle games that will grow on you if you allow yourself to be enveloped by its madness. I was intrigued by it when it accompanied the launch of the PlayStation 2 and it became the 7th game I purchased for the system. The game has a some quirky play mechanics: basically, you use the left analogue stick of the controller to aim and lock on to a bunch of flares launched into the air. You have to manually detonate them but you can only do so if you matched 3 or more of the same color. If you fail to denote them, your Play Meter will continue to deplete and once drained, completely, it's game over. The game is more complex than that - at later stages, the flares shoot from every corner of the screen in less obvious sets of colors. You can also chain different colors by locking on to power-ups and special flares. Those that you can't manually detonate will also automatically explode if they touch the exploded flares of the same color. The game is less technical while you are playing it. You just have to absorb yourself in the moment and the color-matching will become second nature. I really love the retro-futuristic vibe of the game, especially the non-sensical progression of the stages and the live actors interactions that show up every so often. The game still looks amazing when I played it today and the varied soundtrack is very pleasing as well. There's even a two-player versus mode included in the game, though the options for it is rather limited. One of the console's best games.

LIBRARY STATUS: 5 out of 5

Review: Piranha 3D

Piranha 3D (2010)
Genre: Horror
Format: Theatrical Release
Director: Alexandre Aja

You would think that after the success of Avatar, movie makers would want to replicate the intricacies of 3D that the movie was able to bring to the audience. Instead, Avatar's success seem to obsess Hollywood with post-process 3D at an alarming and annoying rate. Piranha 3D is another victim of this trend and what is worse than that is the fact it it is only released in theaters in 3D - a local drive-in is showing it in 2D however - forcing us to endure its cheap effects. The most problematic thing is that "blue screen" cardboard effect where the depth is there but everything looks mighty flat. Thankfully,the movie is entertaining enough that I could forgive its hefty price tag and unnecessary 3D gimmick.

Piranha 3D should be self-explanatory when it comes to its plot and it surely is. If you are a horror fan, you want to watch this movie for one thing and one thing only: the river party massacre. There's nothing more fun (and sick) than seeing beautiful people with perfect bodies being eaten alive by a bunch of hungry fish, especially when there's that no-holds-barred attitude on how the entire carnage is presented. It takes a while to get to the meat of the movie but the build-up is paced wonderfully. The piranha themselves look pretty convincing but that realism is often taken away by the forced 3D moments. For a movie about an unstoppable nasty legion of man-eaters though, which should be a pretty standard kind of affair, it really doesn't know how to end itself. It's disappointing that a movie that could give you some nasty looking violence would shift its focus to some "family friendly" sequences to bring everything to close.

Until the 3D technology is perfected, there is no reason why a movie release is limited to 3D so let us hope that Piranha 3D does not encourage future movies to do the same. 3D doesn't really add anything to this movie. While the effects can look good, when they are not, they look really really terrible and that can easily take you away from the movie experience. If you are looking for a fun horror movie though, Piranha 3D is entertaining enough, especially with the one death orgy sequence that is thoroughly satisfying to watch.

RATING: 3 out of 5

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Game Alert: Dial M for Melodrama Edition!

My copy of Metroid: Other M for the Nintendo Wii has arrived today. The game definitely isn't like any of the other Metroid games as I discovered its heavy usage of cut-scenes and full motion videos - they do look mighty impressive however. Team Ninja's involvement in the making of this game can already be felt in the extra dramatic and cheesy dialogues, the shameless sexploitation of Samus, as well as the action-heavy gameplay. It is a mystery why Nintendo didn't just design this game using the straight up classic Metroid formula of 2D exploration but with 3D graphics since traces of that are certainly evident in this game. Good thing that the game is still fun to play but I doubt that it will come close to matching the excellence of any of the previous Metroid titles.

I am missing the silent Samus already...