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4/29/2011

Dissidia 012 progress and thoughts

Something funny and unexpected has happened to me because I got a 3DS. The only game I have for it is SSF4 and the day I bought it, I also got Dissidia 012 for the PSP given the huge Final Fantasy follower that I am. Well, even though I like SSF4 3D a lot and I'm really surprised and excited about what the 3DS is capable of, the truth is that the game that hooked me and got my entire attention was Dissidia 012.

As I mentioned several times in my review for the game, the story is awful, but the battle system and the fanservice factor is so freaking amazing that I'm literally addicted to it. So I'm using this game while I wait for Dead or Alive Dimensions. 

I already finished the stories for every new character (Lightning and the others) and once you do, you get the option to play the stories for every hero from the first Dissidia, which I never played for some reason (I actually only finished the Warrior of Light's story). So far, I've done Terra and Bartz and currently playing Cloud's. I got extremely lucky because besides Yuna, Bartz and Terra resulted in excellent characters. I like Terra because she's a mage and her gameplay mechanics focus on casting spells from a distance. While Bartz is a mime, so he has some of the best techniques from every character, including Cloud's Buster Sword, Terra's spells and Yuna's summons. The combination is totally kick-ass and I'm 100% sure that so far, Terra, Bartz and Yuna are my favorite characters in the game.

Cloud is pretty good as well, I just unlocked and equipped the skill "Meteor Rain" on him which allows him to attack from a distance, and his melee attacks are incredibly good. He is faster than I expected at first and that's great because this game needs the fighters to move and attack very fast. His story is pretty bad just like everyone else's but the FFVII overworld remix that plays while he runs around the world map is excellent so I'm at least enjoying that.

I also found a way to level up the characters faster in Quick Battle mode which will help me a lot when leveling up some of the villains I'm interested in using, like Garland. What I do is play in party using a high-leveled character I have (like Terra, Laguna, Bartz or Yuna) and fill the rest of the party with low leveled characters. This way when the stronger fighter kills his/her opponent, the EXP will be shared meaning that the weak members of the party will get EXP as if they fought a strong opponent. This results in them leveling up very fast which is great and saves me a LOT of time.

So, the truth is that my 3DS is currently sitting in my room and I'm not using it because of Dissidia 012 (and Muramasa). But there's nothing wrong with it because I'm enjoying the game a whole lot and it is reminding me of my love for the Final Fantasy series, which is something I sometimes forget. I truly recommend this game.

4/27/2011

Regarding the PSN's intrusion



Last Wednesday, the PlayStation Network went down without much explanation on Sony’s part. At first, I thought it was because of system maintenance or just the whole thing being messy but after two days I read that Sony was actually talking about an “external intrusion”, which means that one or a group of hackers went inside the system to compromise info and just mess with the PSN and Qriocity.

Ever since one asshole somewhere (don’t know the name and don’t want to know) found out a way to install pirated firmware on the PS3 to pirate the games, download paid stuff for free and just turn the PS3 into a piracy paradise, Sony has not had even a day to rest. As a hardcore gamer that I am, my opinion is that this is a very evil thing to do. There is no excuse; no one has the right to do this.

As far as I’m concerned, there are 75 million accounts registered into the PSN, but talking about actual people, the real number must be around 25-30 million of active users in both PS3 and PSP right now. Several of those users have multiple accounts, myself included (I have the US account I normally use and a Japanese one to download demos and trailers from the Japanese PS Store). This means that there are 25-30 million people out there affected by this stupid asshole (s) whim. We cannot go online in our consoles to play our games, download stuff, and chat with our mates or whatever, all because of one idiot somewhere.

But if the PSN being down wasn’t enough, Sony stated today that every account’s personal info “may have been” compromised, including our names, addresses, e-mails and even credit card accounts. In my personal case, I have no worries with this because my credit card’s info was never put into the PSN (I buy stuff from it using prepaid cards) but there are millions out there who do and might now be robbed because of this.

It has been an entire week and from what I read, Sony is actually rebuilding the entire PSN from scratch to be able to have better security. Of course, there are tons of rumors flying around forums, things like “PSN will never come back”, “Sony will cease making consoles”, and “PSN will now be paid like Xbox Live”. To me, these are all absurd statements but who knows? I think they will just rebuild the system and we will be able to access it again.

But now, for a company as powerful as Sony to have a worldwide system down for an entire week (and who knows how many more days), the intrusion must have been very big, I don’t know anything about programming but if it were a hacker’s small work, the PSN would have been down only for a few hours before Sony could have fixed everything.

It would be great if Nintendo and Microsoft could help Sony in a time like this, even if they’re competing a lot, this could also have happened to any other online entertainment company and I think the big N and Xbox’s maker should step in and support Sony. I just hope that Sony is able to deal with this, I own all the six consoles of this generation (including the 3DS) and in my opinion, the PS3 has had the best evolution of all of them. It started as a very lame and overpriced machine at 600$ with Ridge Racer 7 and Resistance 1 but after all this years, it is a truly magnificent console. Sony does not deserve this and in this post, I offer my complete support for them and their work. 

4/26/2011

PS2 and old-school gameplay

One of the things I want to start doing is play old-school games again. When I created the blog I got hooked by Wave Race 64 and Megaman 4 for a few weeks but the truth is that given the fact that I'm not a graphics-whore, I can enjoy any game even if the graphics are from an old console. I have a lot of games for my PS2 and Gamecube that I never even started because some of them were just bought recently because I wanted to collect them.

Some of those games include Mario Sunshine, Okami, and the Devil May Cry trilogy, Pikmin, Ico, among others. Those games are very famous and as a hardcore gamer, I believe that it is my duty to pay respect to them and finish their stories. I have played a lot of PS2 games this generation, God of War 1 and 2, Final Fantasy X-2, Tales of the Abyss, Shadow of the Colossus and Ratchet & Clank 1, to be specific and I enjoyed them a whole lot so I don't see why my gaming time should only be focused on the three current home consoles and the portable ones.


Besides the PS2 and Gamecube, I have a lot of stuff on PS1 and N64 that I would love to play as well. Just a couple of weeks before creating the blog, I started yet another run of Final Fantasy VIII on my PSX, which is plugged in my garden, while the environment for gaming there is truly epic, the game wasn't (You can read my opinions on FFVIII here). But there are many titles that I'd like to give a try even if it's just for killing boredom, example: Star Wars Episode I Racing which is a very underrated and obscure racing game for  the N64 and it is VERY good. On the PSX I have Parasite Eve, Legend of the Dragoon and others which could be great to play even nowdays.

But one of the old-school games that I truly want to finish is Final Fantasy V, which I own for the GBA. I really don't remember anything about it and since I'm playing a lot with Bartz in Dissidia 012, I'd like to finish the game he comes from. But between FFV and me is a huge mountain of unfinished games that I want to finish as well, mostly out of compromise with the money I paid for them but I don't know. I might just end up playing FFV instead.

FF: 4 Heroes of Light review delayed

My upcoming reviews are for Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, for the DS, and Muramasa for the Wii. In the case of the first game, I haven't finished the story and I don't want to write the review until I do. I think I'm partially close to the game's end but I just haven't picked it up in these days because Muramasa and Dissidia 012 were taking up all my time. I'm going to pick it up again this week and see if I can finish it by next week, the game is very good, better than I expected but the jobs are a little weird and it takes a lot of hours to take off but the truth is that it's good.

For Muramasa, I finished Momohime's story last night, I enjoyed it a whole lot. The game is truly magnificent, especially the 2D backgrounds featuring beautifil japanese scenarios. Now I have to start Kisuke's story which I suppose it is going to be as long as Momohime's. If it is, the game will be finished by the weekend and the review should be up by either Saturday or Sunday.



Other than that, I can say that I'm extremely hooked into Dissidia 012, more than I imagined. When I got my 3DS, I thought I was gonna spend more time on SSF4 3D than on Dissidia but it was the entire opposite. While the 3DS is a really impressive machine and has a lot of potential, mine is currently just sitting inside my closet because all I'm playing right now is Dissidia 012 and Muramasa.

4/24/2011

REVIEW: Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy (PSP)


Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy is the prequel to the game Square-Enix released back in 2009 to celebrate the saga’s 20th anniversary. It is a fighting game featuring characters from every mothership title in the FF series. In the first game, we could use one hero and one villain from every game, but in this entry, there are new additions like Lightning (XIII), Tifa (VII), Vaan (XII), Kain (IV), Yuna (X) and Laguna (VIII), among three secret characters.

The game plays like an action-adventure title, in a 3rd person perspective with a lot of freedom to move around the stages by running, dashing, jumping and even flying through them. It is not a common fighting game; in fact, it has tons of RPG features on it, which is logical given that it is a Final Fantasy game. Every character will have a base HP and “bravery” stat. By using bravery attacks, the fighters will try to reduce the opponent’s points until they have enough to deal strong HP attacks to damage the vitality of the enemy until one of them dies.

Like in most fighting games, there are a lot of styles to choose from. There will be fast melee fighters like the Onion Knight (FF3) and Tifa, strong but slow melee characters like Garland (FF1) and Cloud (FF7) and the mages who focus on ranged attacks to keep their enemies at bay like Terra (FF6) and Shantoto (FF11). This guarantees that every player will have at least one character they like and can feel comfortable with.

One of the great additions to the gameplay is the assists. By fighting your opponents, you will fill an assist bar that when ready, can allow you to call a companion to help you by doing several attacks in a row, leading to excellent combo opportunities  to take out huge amount of HP from your enemies.

There is a cool customization mode which allows you to equip different items and accessories like weapons and armor to the characters like in a common Final Fantasy game to boost their stats and add several different features to their attacks and the fights themselves. This is applied in an excellent way because regardless of the mode you’re playing on, it’s usual to get rewards to pretty much every fight you play. You can also summon monsters like Ifrit and Shiva to add tweaks to the matches on the go.

Graphically, the game is amazing. The PSP graphics Square-Enix manages to obtain never cease to get better, even after excellent-looking games like Kingdom Hears: Birth by Sleep and Crisis Core. Dissidia 012 looks better and takes the PSP’s visuals to another level. The textures are of top quality, the frame rate is steady and never slows down and though there is a lack of anti-aliasing here and there, it doesn’t bother because the environments are so beautiful to look at and the fights are so intense that you won’t have time to notice it. The animations in the characters are excellent as well, no matter what they’re doing, talking, running, fighting, etc. The game looks great.

There are a lot of modes to choose from. First, there’s a story mode which tells the tale of how the goddess of harmony, Cosmos and the god of discord, Chaos have been in an endless war over the rule of the universe and they call several fighters from different worlds (the FF characters) to fight this war with them. To be honest, the story is not very good; it is full of JRPG clichés and ridiculous events happening among the Final Fantasy protagonists, which result in either stupid moments that shouldn’t happen or endless fights against “manikins” which are just clones of the game’s fighters used to level up and gain new items to equip.  Every hero in the game has a story which is an opportunity to get used to his/her fighting style and know a little more about them.

Among the bad story the game offers, there is a cool feature in the mode which is a world map. Almost every Final Fantasy game had a world map their characters had to travel on foot (or airship), so this time, instead of just using the characters in the fights and looking at them in the silly cutscenes, you will be able to walk around the world map and open chests, fight enemies and access the gates where the story-based things happen.

Besides the story mode, you can play the Battle Mode which covers Arcade, in which you fight five random AI enemies for a reward, Time Attack or Quick Battle, which can be either 1 on 1 or party-based (in party, you can choose from a group of five and they will share the EXP after winning). These modes can be played in “custom”, where you use the characters at the level you have them at and with the equipment you have on them, or “preset” where you just choose a level from 20, 50 or 100 and the game automatically gives you an optimized version of the character at those levels.

You can also play the game on Ad-Hoc mode only which is a little bad because there is a lack of online gameplay which could be great given the tons of options the game offers for customization. But the fights in this mode are great and you can edit a player card your friends can download to register you, in this player card you can add your nickname, an icon, some info on you and your favorite character.

Then there’s the PP (player points) catalog, where you can spend the points you earn after every fight in every mode to buy new costumes for the characters, new icons for your player cards, stages, songs and even gameplay features like an increased item drop when you defeat manikins in story mode and such. Some of the things in the catalog are expensive and this is where the “calendar” comes in, when you play the game for the first time, a moogle will ask you which day of the week you play the most. Your answer will be the “bonus day” in the game, in this bonus day you will earn extra PP (and extra items, Gil and exp) for every fight, so you have to pay attention to this and take the opportunity to play a lot in this day you chose to earn more points to spend in the store. Besides the bonus day, the moogles will give you gifts obtaining extra PP, items and accessories every day so checking the calendar everyday and going through the moogle’s silly letters usually pay off.

The soundtrack is incredible, probably one of the best things in the game, it features at least three of the best songs from every mothership Final Fantasy game, either in the original versions or remixes (the songs from FFI-VI are remixed) it’s usually the battle theme, boss themes and other iconic songs from the games. The new tunes are also great and give a cool Nobuo Uematsu feeling to the game. If you’re a fan of the series, you will love the soundtrack and it will even bring you a lot of memories from the old entries of the saga.

The voice acting is good for the most part, some of the characters from the games without voice-acting (like for example: Cloud, Bartz and Kefka) pretty much fit what we all imagined they would sound like and the modern ones have their original voices, Yuna and Lightning have exactly the same actresses who voiced them in FFX, X-2 and XIII which is great because the had very iconic voices in their respective games. The silly stuff here are not the voices, but the dialogs which given the poor story, are not very good.

The game has pretty much infinite replay value, since almost all the characters have a story of their own that takes about 2-3 hours to complete, you can imagine that completing the game can take hundreds of hours taking stories, leveling up, farming PP and just killing boredom (which the games is excellent at). While the game is completely aimed at hardcore fans of the saga, it is excellent and common fighting (or just competitive) games aficionados can enjoy it a lot. The content in the game is pretty much infinite, the fights are intense, the cast of characters is incredibly good, the soundtrack is amazing and it is definitely one of the best PSP games out there. I totally recommend it, especially if you like Final Fantasy. It is one of the best gifts Square-Enix has given to their public.

Pros:

-           Intense fighting system featuring the most iconic Final Fantasy characters
-          Almost all the fights earn you useful rewards
-          Excellent graphics, soundtrack and presentation

Cons:

-          The story is uninteresting and not very good
-          Some of the cool features in the PP catalog are expensive and require lots of farming to get them

Graphics and Visuals…………….9
Music and Sound Effects………...9
Gameplay………………………..9
Replay Value…………………....10

Overall Score………………..…..9.25/10

4/23/2011

New figures upcoming!


There are a trio of Final Fantasy XIII figures that have been in my Amazon wishlist for about a year now, they're Lightning, Snow and Vanille. The party I used in pretty much the entire game. I noticed that they were becoming a little bit expensive, probably because they're rare now that the game has been out for so long. At first they were about 20 dollars each but now Lightning was at 42$ and Vanille at 31$ and the rest of the articles were even more expensive so I just went an ordered the three of them.

For what I've been seeing in several online pictures, the figures seem to be of excellent quality, which is normal in products related to FF games, I own a lot of figures from the series and they're all excellent so I trust these ones won't disappoint me the moment they get here.

Look at them:

















The details in the clothes seem to be excellent and the faces are just like the game versions of the characters, which sometime change a bit in some figures (I have a Cloud Strife which looks nothing like the FF7 protagonist). I seriously can't wait for them to get here now, the dilemma I have is whether or not to get them out of their boxes, I need to think that through...

I will of course, take some pictures of mine as soon as they get here to add them to the Anime and Figures page in the blog.

4/22/2011

Final Fantasy V, XI and XIV thoughts

As I've mentioned several times in the blog, I'm a huge fan of Final Fantasy. It is one of my favorite series in the world, and lately I've felt all the love again because of Dissidia 012 which is a game created only as a tribute to the series. One of the games on it that I pretty much don't remember is FFV, the one featuring Bartz, Gilgamesh and Exdeath. I own it for the GBA and would seriously like to replay it but the huge mountain of unfinished games I have always keeps myself away from it.

FFV was the game that introduced the famous job system many of the later titles in the series had, like X-2 and XI. I remember it being funny at times and while the story is not as deep as VI or VII, it was great. If I ever replay that game again, I'm sure I will enjoy it as if it were the SNES era. 

I also unlocked Shantoto and Prishe in Dissidia 012, they're both characters from FFXI, the MMO, which is usually considered a bad game among MMORPG lovers and (at least where I live) pretty much nobody played it. Almost all the FF fans I know say stuff like "I'm a fan of the series but I never played XI". To me, XI was a great game, I played it for about two years and though I admit that WoW gives it some pretty serious competition, FFXI has a lot of charm, especially if you're a fan of the series and have friends to play it with, which I fortunately had since day 1. 

I've always wanted to go back to FFXI but in my country, there's some retarded limitation to the amount of dollars we can spend on our credit cards so paying the monthly fee for the game is a bit of a pain in the ass and would leave me without the the option of getting a lot of figures and games from Amazon (website I always use for my online shopping). But now that I think about it, FFXIV is out, and though the results on the PC version haven't been good, I trust Square-Enix can fix the game, make a good job again and release a true online FF experience for next-gen gaming. 

So, since I plan to build a gaming PC in the near future anyway, I might as well wait for FFXIV to be 100% released, instead of blindly going back to XI which would probably be bad if people start to migrate from one game to another.

4/19/2011

Muramasa is amazing!

I think it was about a year ago when I bought Muramasa, probably more. I remember that I played and liked it a lot but didn't pay enough attention to it so I never actually advanced much. Now, since I already finished Mass Effect, I went and started it again on my Wii, which was kind of abandoned after all the time I spent on it in the DKCR and Epic Yarn times. The result is that I'm completely in love with the game now, especially the art style, which is something like classical Japanese mythology.

The game features two different stories, in one you play as a renegade ninja named Kisuke who lost his memory and is being chased around by dangerous ninjas and monsters and the other story is about a girl named Momohime whose body was taken up by a demon who is trying to get power from different Japanese blades. It is a 2D sidescroller focused on an intense combat system where you get attacked by a lot of enemies at the same time and have to use combos and other techniques to defend yourself.

In it, you have the option to level up your character to gain more HP and attack power, create blades and equipping them, cook food to carry around and eat when needed, etc. But the most impressive things to me so far are the graphics, which feel like you're playing inside a Japanese painting, it's really great and though some of the locations tend to repeat themselves, they're all beautiful to look at and jump around. 

I'm currently playing with Momohime, got to level 8 with her and defeated two challenging bosses (I'm playing in "Shura" mode, which is just the hard difficulty). The next time I pick it up I'm going to play Kisuke's story to go around both of them at the same time. In other news, I also want to start Okami on my PS2 because since I have the rest of the week free from college I can take a lot of time for gaming. Anyways, I truly recommend this Muramasa game if you own a Wii, it's really impressive, challenging and difficult. 

REVIEW: Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition (Nintendo 3DS)



Super Street Fighter 4: 3D Edition is one of the launch titles for the Nintendo 3DS, the company’s new handheld console. It is a port of the game of the same name available already for the Xbox 360 and PS3 but the amazing thing here is that the game takes full advantage of the 3D capabilities the portable console offers, and the results are simply amazing.

The game is the 4th entry in the incredibly famous series made by Capcom, it’s always had a great deal of success and this time is not the exception, the full roster of characters from the console versions is available here, including Ibuki and the rest of the “Super” cast. All of them with the same moves and gameplay mechanics, so the fact that this is a port for a portable device doesn’t mean that any content was taken out.

Starting with the graphics and visuals, I can say that they’re very impressive. When playing with the 3D on, the level of deepness is excellent and the details in the fighters are really good, the textures look great on them and combined with really fluid movements and reactions make it a great experience. I noticed that the backgrounds in the stages were toned down a little, example: some things that move or react to the fight in the console version are just static in here but they really don’t affect the gameplay at all because all the players will be watching are the fighters, especially with the 3D.

It’s really great to see how a console game that didn’t make it to the Wii was able to get into the launch lineup of the 3DS with this quality in the visuals. The graphics are awesome, especially in the characters, which make SSF4: 3D Edition the best title in the console right now.

Gameplay-wise, the game stays completely faithful to the original versions, offering the same deep fighting mechanics the series is famous for. It uses all the buttons in the console, Y, X and L for the punches and B, A and R for the kicks. You can move your character with either the pad or the stick. Using L and R can be a little uncomfortable at first but it’s just a matter of getting used to it. If you’re new to Street Fighter, the system can be a little hard to get into but with practice, you can build up a lot of skill and tactics to take down your opponents.

There are 35 characters to choose from, a lot of them share the same moves (like Ryu and Ken) but they all have stuff unique to them which gives them personality and since there are so many, it’s guaranteed that there will be at least one for each player. As you can imagine, some of them are easy to use while others require much more skill in their command lists but give a lot of satisfaction when you win with them.

One of the new things in this version of SSF4 is the “Dynamic View”, which is an over-the-shoulder camera that stays behind your character giving the feeling of an action adventure game. Personally, I don’t like it and it’s very uncomfortable but I suppose that it’s just a matter of tastes. It is a curious new thing to the system. Another addition is the use of the touch screen to use some of the character’s moves and Ultra Combos, you can simply touch the option with the stylus to use the moves instead of using the commands with the buttons.

Just like in most games of the genre, SSF4 3D offers an arcade mode where you choose a difficulty, number of rounds and of course, a character and play some fights with the AI until you have to beat a final boss. This classic mode is great for practicing, getting to know new characters or just killing boredom.  Besides that there’s “Versus” mode, where you play against people with other 3DS consoles near you over and over, “3D Versus” which is basically the same but with the dynamic view. The title also has a challenge mode which is found in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 under the “mission” name. In this one, the game will give a series of commands to the character you choose and you just have to do them, most of them are very hard to pull off but they’re great for practicing and investigating which moves to use in different situations. Then there’s Training mode where you play a character against a dummy, perfect for practicing.

But the most important gameplay mode is of course, the online multiplayer, where using the WiFi capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS, allow you to play countless of people over the internet. You can create or find rooms or lobbies with several options to attract people and fight them. Besides all the gameplay modes, you can collect figurines to show them around in the online matches or customize a player card which describes stuff about you, like a motto, portrait and a picture of the characters you like to use.

The music is great, it is filled with tons of songs that fit perfectly in the pace of the fights and some of them even remind players of the songs used in older titles of the series. It’s very entertaining and never gets repetitive. The sound effects are also great, there are a lot of sounds for the punches, kicks, characters falling down and reactions to the things happening in the fights. There’s a lot of voice acting as well and though some of the characters have annoying voices and silly lines, it is good for the most part.

Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition is definitely the best game in the launch lineup of the Nintendo 3DS, offering a very deep fighting system, great characters that come to life with great graphics in 3D, outstanding sound effects and intense online gameplay. It is sure to please pretty much any kind of gamer interested in a good game that can show that the new Nintendo handheld can offer. I totally recommend it.

Pros:

-          -     A very deep fighting system that always offers new things to learn
-          -     Big and varied roster of characters to choose from
-          -     Excellent soundtrack

Cons:

-          -     Using L and R buttons in combos can be uncomfortable
-          -     No online leaderboards


Graphics and Visuals………….9
Music and Sound Effects……...8
Gameplay……………………..9
Replay Value………………….8

Overall Score………………….8.5 / 10

4/15/2011

New reviews coming up!

I think I have everything ready to be able and post reviews for SSF4 3D, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light and Dissidia 012. In the case of this last one, I still want to mess around a little with story mode and its online capabilities before writing about them. I think the three articles should be up by Monday, one per day, starting today.

I already tried all the modes in SSF4 3D and feel confident about writing its review, it's going to be good. I think I'll focus a little more on the gameplay, 3D effects and how this game can be handled by the 3DS and not the Wii. In the case of 4HOL, I haven't actually finished the game because I'm hooked in Mass Effect. But I've done so much stuff with the battle system and exploration that I'm sure I can write the review. Finally, and as I mentioned already, while I already played about 9 hours of Dissidia 012. There are some important things that I still haven't tried and they're vital for the review, in my opinion.

Changing subjects, I'm about to finish Mass Effect's story. There's only one mission left in it and the plot is just great. [MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT] In a stupid conversation about the Krogan's cure, Ashley killed Wrex trying to save me. I loved Wrex but never liked Ashley so I left her to die in Saren's facility and went to save Kaidan instead. This means the party I'll finish the game with is Kaidan, Garrus and Shepard. 

The Wii's successor is pretty much confirmed

Several of the gaming websites I follow on twitter posted a headline about rumors of Nintendo announcing the Wii's successor on the E3. I already talked about this a little in this article. According to them, the new console (which I'll just call "Nintendo HD" for now) is more powerful than both the 360 and the PS3. That would be great but then it would most likely end up being a 400$ console which is probably a little too much.

But, as an extension to the other article I already posted some weeks ago, I'd like to share my opinions on how (according to me) the poor Xbox 360's catalog lost a lot of quality, especially when talking about exclusives. When this generation started back in 2005-2006. The 360 had at least 10 amazing exclusives per year. I'm talking about games such as Dead or Alive 4, Halo 3, Gears of War, Mass Effect, Forza 2, etc. Sadly, the console has always suffered from the god damned RROD problem that (if you live in Latin America like me) forces you to just buy another console, and several of the exclusive titles are either not exclusives anymore or have serious contenders in the multi-platform part.

When thinking really hard about it, and taking all the Kinect crap out of the equation. The only good exclusives the Xbox 360 has from the last two years are Halo ODST, Reach, Forza 3 and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. That's four games in two years. While the Wii and the PS3 are raining exclusives almost every month. There are other exclusives but they're not really considered killer-apps. It really is sad from a gamer's point of view to see how the 360 became a machine just for ports of games already available on the PS3, Wii and PC.

To me, Microsoft made a huge mistake when aiming the console from the hardcore to the casual crowd so drastically, they started with the stupid avatars as a lame way to copy the Miis. And then, Kinect came out and made things worse because though I admit it is a great technological achievement, the games simply suck bad. So, Nintendo has a great chance here to come back to the way it was in the 90s. If it keeps a good balance between hardcore and casual games and releases a console with all the things we like from the PS3/360 then we, as gamers, will get all the benefits. Let's hope Nintendo doesn't make the same mistake again.

4/13/2011

My opinions on SSF4 are slowly changing

Since I was a little kid I've always despised the Street Fighter series because I don't like the cast of characters and the moves were a little too hard to pull off on the SNES controller. I was always a Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct guy in the old days. After I switched to Dead or Alive in the Dreamcast era I kept seeing as "new" SF titles were being released but looked and played exactly the same as the SNES ones. I even have a couple of them for the Sega console for some reason.

The fact is that after years of Dead or Alive I saw how the entire industry was very excited about SF4 (and SSF4 afterwards) but even though I kept reading about the things it was going to have, it never got me interested. I even played it a little with some friends and didn't like it. That was until the 3DS arrived.

Since SSF4 is the only game I have for the 3DS right now, I've had no choice but to mess around a lot with it. To be honest, I hate the cast of characters. The vast majority look and act very lame (especially El Fuerte, Cody, Rufus and Dhalsim) and I can't stand Chun Li's legs even though I like to play as her in MvC3. But there's one character that I'm actually liking a lot, Ibuki, the ninja schoolgirl. She has a pretty lame personality and annoying voice but her moves are quite amazing and for what I've been seeing on YouTube, her combos are very deathly and not very hard to pull off.

So I've been spending these days playing people in the online matches and I've actually gotten good results with Ibuki. I have around 60% win rate which is great for a game as complicated as SSF4 and that I don't really like much. The truth is that as long as I play Ibuki, I can enjoy the game but all the other characters I've tried are horrible, I simply can't understand why people like Ryu or Ken. They're just souless generic martial artists... and I thought Akira from Virtua Fighter was generic.

I'd also like to take the opportunity and mention that Dead or Alive Dimensions FINALLY has an official release date for America: May 24th. I was already notified by Amazon.com (my pre-order is from there) but the truth is that if I see it in a store before the Amazon copy gets here I'll just buy it and end up with two copies of the same game. I don't care, it is DOA.

Learning Dante and Chun Li

I think that in the last days I've been getting better in MvC3. Not in pro level or anything like that but I went from losing every match in a night playing with my friends to actually win a lot of them. One of the problems my team had in the beginning (Felicia, Morrigan and Deadpool) was that Deadpool didn't have any support while trying to stay away from the opponent. By adding Chun Li, her assistances help Deadpool a lot. Besides her version of SSF4 is nothing like the one in MvC3. Chun Li is a great character and though her kicks are very easy to pull off, they're very good.

Another character I've been playing with in the last weeks is Amaterasu, she has three different weapons to choose from and they're all different and serve their purpose, she's great and has a very annoying combo where you just press "heavy" several times and she keeps hitting the enemy for heavy damage. With good assistances like the ones Felicia, Deadpool and Chun Li offer, she can be pretty deathly in my team.

The final character I'm going to try and learn is Dante, his style is very cool and he's the one with the most moves in the entire game which means he has more options than everyone else. I like his assistances as well, can support Deadpool and Felicia a lot especially when avoiding being punished by my opponents. I admit my progress with Dante is not very good, I'm having a hard time finding good combos with him but I'm just going to keep trying. 


So this means that I have the following teams ready to be played:

1) Morrigan, Amaterasu, Dante
2) Morrigan, Deadpool, Chun Li
3) Chun Li, Amaterasu, Deadpool
4) Dante, Felicia, Chun Li

4/12/2011

Trinity Universe Gameplay


And this gameplay video is for Trinity Universe, a game by the same creators as Hyperdimension Neptunia. Looks very cool and I recognize two characters from Disgaea there though I've never played that series.

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Battle Gameplay


This is a game I've been interested in the last couple days since I stumbled upon it while browsing Amazon. It's a dangerously japanese RPG exclusive for the PS3. Take a look at the battle system.

Elder Scrolls Music - Relaxing Compilation Vol. 2


An excellent compilation of some of the best songs in Morrowind and Oblivion.

Mass Effect progress

I've noticed that I haven't been writing here in the last few days. To be honest I was a bit lazy and I didn't have anything to write about because what I've been doing is checking out my 3DS and playing Mass Effect, along other games I usually talk about here like F1 2010, Madden 11 and Little Big PLanet 2. So I'll just post a bit of my progress in Mass Effect so far.

I'm playing the game as an adept because I like using mages in RPGs and I didn't want Mass Effect to be a blind third-person shooter with a pretty story. The results have been insanely great. I feel like a jedi with a pistol. The biotics in the game allow me to move my targets around the places at my will so they're at the mercy of my companions who are usually most skilled at firearms than me (especially Wrex and Garrus).

The plot has been really interesting so far and most of the side-quests I've been doing are great and engaging. I'm really really happy to have finally picked this game up, after all these years. One of my friends told me that Mass Effect is his favorite series from this gaming generation and I definitely see why. I'm currently trying to find Laira's mother in a frozen planet called Noveria. The woman is acting as Saren's (the bad guy) right hand and I need to stop her and the plan to revive an ancient race of machines called "Reapers" who would just eliminate all life in the Galaxy.

Now, changing topics. Tomorrow I will write a bit about my first impressions on Dissidia 012 which is very good. I spent the last three or four days messing around with it to be able to make good opinions. I have to write a boring essay for college but I'll do my best to write this tomorrow. I'm really wanting to learn how to play Terra, Yuna and Shantoto properly. I also learned that there are three very cool secret characters to unlock and I'm of course going to hunt them down to see what they're up to, especially the FFXI one.

Also, I'm going to write a review for SSF4 3D this week. It's most likely going to be up either friday or in the weekend if I don't go on a trip with my girlfriend's family. Of course, I also plan to write one for Dissidia 012 as soon as possible to have content for new games in the blog.

Finally I'm going to start a serious run of Muramasa: The Demon Blade for the Wii probably tomorrow or wednesday night. I'm really wanting to play this game before God of War III and I'm sure it won't bother my run of Mass Effect. With this, I'm out for today. If you read this, check the reviews, opinions and anime sections in the top section of the blog and tell me what you think on twitter "@Mike_Nieto". There's a lot of new content coming in the following days.

4/11/2011

I got the Nintendo 3DS!

I got my hands on an awesome black Nintendo 3DS. Since I live in Venezuela, the prices of the device down here are sky high and I really need it for Dimensions, which comes out in mid-May as far as I’m concerned. One of my cousins was going to travel to Miami for business so I asked her if I could give her the money to get the 3DS and she said yes. Last week, she game back and I picked it up.

I got to say that I’m totally impressed. The Nintendo 3DS is much better than I expected. The only game I have right now is Super Street Fighter 4 which is good, very slow paced, but good. The 3D effects the system is capable of producing are literally mind blowing, just like in the movies and PS3 games. I thought the 3D thing was going to be a prettier version of the images like the one in Majora’s Mask sticker (everyone has this cartridge so they must know what I’m talking about). But it literally is 3D. I can’t explain how Nintendo managed to create this but I’m thankful they did. The system is amazing.

The system uses a home menu like the one in the DSi. You have several icons and options to choose from in the lower screen and you use the stylus (which is smaller than the DS’ one) to navigate around them while the upper screen shows a cool 3D image of the icon you’re viewing. It comes with two “games”. One is called AR Games, what you do in it is use some cards that are included in the system and put them on a flat surface, when the 3DS camera is looking at them it instantly recognizes the things and creates images from them and you have minigames. It feels very futuristic because, for example, you have to move around to place where the cards are placed to shoot a dragon. But the truth is that it’s nothing more than a tech demo. Among the cards are some with Mario, Link, Samus, Pikmin and Kirby and you can take cool 3D photos of the characters using them in a cool background that you find.

The second game is called Face Raiders, what you do in it is take pictures of people’s faces and the game fits them in some flying helmets and you move around trying to find them and destroy them for a high score. Just like the AR one, it’s simply a tech demo and not a full game itself; both of them do a really cool job in showing you what the system is capable of. A final cool thing in the system is the Mii creator, just like in the Wii, you can create the avatars but this time you can take a picture of someone’s face and the system will create a Mii that looks just like that person, and of course, you see them in 3D which is very cool.

But now to the important thing: The games. As I mentioned, I only have SSF4 right now. I’m going to write a review for it but as some highlights I can say that the game looks VERY good on the 3DS. The backgrounds were toned down and there’s some lack of anti-aliasing when you turn the 3D off but the effects are amazing, even in the character select menu. In the game you can play arcade mode, a mission mode where you practice cool combos, play with people online and do training. It is a very cool port of SSF4 so, if you’re a fan of the series I truly recommend it.

Besides that, I can say that the system looks very strong. If the 3DS could easily handle SSF4 (which the Wii couldn’t) then I’m even surer that the Wii’s successor is on its way.  The games I tried looked very well graphically and since we now have an analog stick; it gives the system more options for better games. So far, the coolest titles are first party and DOA which are all coming in the following months. I’m truly interested in Ocarina of Time and Kid Icarus but of course, I’ll always keep an eye out for any cool games that might come out for it.


4/06/2011

I finished God of War II


In the last two days I've been having trouble sleeping, as usual, so instead of just lying in bed doing nothing, I played a lot of God of War II with the intention of finishing it as soon as possible. Yesterday morning, the game ended and while the story is really cool, I didn't like many of the other features in the game.

My biggest complain in God of War II is the double jump, it looks very unnatural and doesn't really fit well when you look at how Kratos normally moves, the double jump should just have been a single big jump (like in Halo) if they really wanted to make Kratos jump around. It feels useless because you almost never do any platforming anyway. But well, maybe it is just me.

The fights are very cool and the enemies are varied which is extremely important in a game like this. The bosses are great though I must admit that I still can't get Clotho out of my head, disgusting old witch. I enjoyed killing her a lot. I'm really happy to have finally played this game.

My current plans are to just keep going in Mass Effect (which is getting better and better) and probably start Muramasa which I want to finish before God of War III. Both Muramasa and GOW3 will get reviews here so, stay tuned to read them.

Finally, I'm pretty sure I'm going to pick my 3DS up today. My cousin arrived from the states yesterday and I already talked to her about picking it up today, I need to call her again. I still have no games for it but after the disappointment Samurai Warriors and Madden turned out to be, the only real options for now are Super Street Fighter 4 and Ridge Racer. Unfortunately, I only have money for one so I'm 80% sure I'll end up with SSF4 which I'm most likely going to buy tomorrow afternoon.

4/01/2011

Madden 11, Mass Effect and God of War II impressions


I was very lucky last week finding Madden 11 used for the PS3. I sold my Xbox 360 copy of Madden 10 and found the 2011's edition for nearly the same price so I took the opportunity. The game is amazing. I played some matches in exhibition mode with my current favorite team: San Diego Chargers and had a blast. They added an amazing new gameplay style in which the game simply chooses the best play for you and you take care of moving either your defenders or passing the ball to advance yards. It makes things much simpler to everyone, especially people like me who are not die-hard fans of the sport and don’t like to scroll through so many plays before starting the actual action.


I’ve got to say that for some reason, the game looks better to me than FIFA 11, I don’t know but I see better textures in the NFL players than the FIFA ones, but the character’s animations in FIFA are better for obvious reasons (it’s a much more dynamic sport). The commentaries are good though I could notice some repeated lines in just a few games, oh well. I’m going to start playing a season soon to get more used to the new system and try to at least learn to play Madden which I’ve always wanted to do (since I was a kid).


The most important things about my gaming weekend were that I finally started Mass Effect. I decided to play less of the other games to dedicate some time to it. It’s very good, the combat has some annoying stuff like having to pause every time I use a biotic (I’m playing an adept) but so far it’s great, especially the environments and narrative. I arrived to the Mass Effect party like 4 years later but at least I got there.


And the other game I started was God of War II in my GOW Collection copy for the PS3. To be totally and 100% honest, I don’t like it very much. I’m more used to fast-paced action adventure games like Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta and since this is a PS2 game remastered in HD. I can clearly see the difference with more modern titles. I started the game in hard mode but I kept losing in almost every fight (I’m not very good at it I admit) so I switched to easy mode because the game recommended it to me. I’d have preferred to play on normal but that’d have meant starting the game over again and I’m already advanced in the story.  I’m just going to finish it as quickly as possible so have at least experienced the storyline before God of War III which is already waiting in my room.

Forza 4 Gameplay Preview.


Even though today it's April's Fools, I'm posting this. This is just another proof that the racing genre is the one that evolved the most in this gaming generation. Enjoy it! (Microsoft just confirmed it is real)