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3/31/2012

Ninja Gaiden 3 is an abomination...

I got my copy of Ninja Gaiden 3 for the PS3 yesterday and decided to at least try the first stage to see if the reviewers were or not right. They are. This is a game that completely forgets everything the first two entries in the series did so good and simply becomes a common action-adventure title that feels more Dynasty Warriors/God of War than Ninja Gaiden.

The graphics are good so far, Ryu looks very cool to be quite honest but the rest of the game isn't giving the visuals any justice. First of all, during the first 30 minutes of gameplay there are about seven completely retarded quick-time-events sections. The fights make you slash the exact same kind of enemy DOZENS of times in the same street over and over again and it quickly becomes very repetitive. 


There's no wall jumping during combat or the platforming sections, now Ryu climbs walls using his kunais. Thing he never needed to do before. There's only one weapon: The Dragon Sword and it seems to have much less moves than the version from the previous games. In fact, many of the combos just happen by themselves, you touch an enemy with the sword and Ryu does a cool move to kill the guy while you simply watch it. There are no combos, no real need to parry like before and cornering enemies isn't useful anymore given that they just seem to never stop respawning and attacking from behind. This really feels like a stupid Dynasty Warriors game with Busa on it.

There's only one magic spell during the entire game as well, Ryu kills guys and fills up the "magic" bar and unleashes a Dragon that literally kills every enemy in the area. There's no need to aim the thing or cast it in an strategic place like before. In fact, when you cast the dragon thingy, no matter where you are, the animation will always take place in the same location of the area and leave Ryu to be controlled again in a set spot, not where he was standing when he originally casted the spell.

The life bar works in a very weird way, the max health gets reduced if Ryu gets hit and he doesn't really seem to be able to heal unless he gets lucky enough to cast the spell. The enemies don't drop the pretty orbs from before. There's no money and no stores to upgrade weapons and buy cool things. There's no hot busty chick. The female girl is another "CIA agent" or some crap like that, she never shows her boobs and talks too much, unlike Rachel, Momoji and Ayane which were cool and killed stuff.

The dialogs are horrible and the story is total crap. I know NG games aren't strong for their story, they even feel like porno flicks with ninjas sometimes. But NG3 takes it to another level. There's no evil Vigoorian Empire or Black Spider clan, no fiends or angry Gods for Ryu to cut down. The bad dudes in the game are.... robots and terrorists... It feels like a joke, like Team Ninja decided to mock us like Capcom does with their fans. Ryu never seems to shut the fuck up, compared to NG1 where he had around 15 lines at most. This isn't a Ninja Gaiden game, it's just a stupid common action adventure game made to please the casual market that has been invading gaming every since the Wii and Call of Duty became popular things to own.

In short, the game is a total disaster, it's a complete disappointment and doesn't do anything right. I think that if this exact same game didn't have Busa and the Ninja Gaiden name on it, it'd be considered a "decent" game by the reviewers, but it simply doesn't do the franchise any justice. Remember when we used to say the Xbox 360 version of Ninja Gaiden II was crap¿ Well that one is awesome compared to this. Now that the opportunity to get the DOA5 demo from this is gone, stay away from NG3, it's a bad game and it's disrespectful for everything NG1 and Sigma 2 did so great before it.

3/30/2012

Halo 3 multiplayer is still fucking awesome

Today I was watching some Halo 3 MLG matches in YouTube and nostalgia hit all over me. I went and played the game with the multiplayer disc that comes with ODST. I had a blast, the game is still full of people and the Team Slayer matches were great. Boundless came up three times in the matchmaking so I had to remember all the underground tunnels in the map all over again.


It's a real shame that shooters aren't really my thing. I mean I love them, especially Halo and Uncharted but I'm just not good at them. Still, I like playing them a lot. I even want to start playing both Halo 3 and Reach online every now and then. It's not like my Xbox Live Gold subscription is there only for DOA4 and SC5 anyway. I'll have to practice over Live if I want to get any good because I don't really have anyone to play Halo with in my city online. The only shooter people like over here is Call of Duty and only casually. 

3/29/2012

I'll be away for a while

This Saturday, I'll be traveling to Spain with my family for three weeks. We will be visiting a lot of different cities in the country like Barcelona and Madrid and I probably won't be able to get online as much. Still, since I got a new cool Sony Vaio laptop, I'll probably get online on it in the hotel rooms to post little updates on whatever needs to be said gaming-wise.

Unlike the last time I was there, I'll try to look for game stores and other things related to my hobby when I'm in Europe and with luck, buy any games for the PSP and DS since they don't have region lock, same with the PS3. 


So that's that, starting this Saturday, there won't be much activity in the blog. But I plan to make a good bunch of reviews as soon as I get back. The priority is with Soul Calibur V (360) and Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3). I'm watching a very short and not-very-good anime series called Freezing, it's about some hot girls fighting each other in an alien-invaded Earth. Sounds cool, but it's not to be honest. I'm gonna finish watching it and write a small review for it probably during the trip since I will be able to finish watching the 12 episodes before traveling.

I also have a small plan of taking a gallery of photos for each of my figures to keep track of what I own and share them on the internet. I'd be organizing them in the "Figures" tab in the upper side of the blog. And regarding the cool plan I had for playing the entire Final Fantasy franchise. It's gonna have to wait because I'll be very busy with me internship, classes, girlfriend, Japanese studies and just playing other non-Final Fantasy games like Tales of Graces f (which I recently got in the mail), Atelier Rorona, Star Ocean 4, Ninja Gaiden 3 and others.

3/28/2012

Soul Calibur V online is actually very good

I don't know about anyone out there but the truth is that since DOA4 came out, I haven't had a good online experience with any fighting game. I've tried VF5, SC4, Blazblue, MK9, KOF13, MvC3, UMvC and three different versions of SF4 and all of them run like shit online. They're full of lag and crashes and in MK9's case I was never able to even find a match.

But lately, I've been lurking around in SC5's online matchmaking and it's actually very good. It runs really smoothly and I've even been able to find matches against great players who don't just look for the ring-out and don't dress their characters like Luffy from One Piece. 


So taking in count that I'm still active in DOA4's online, I don't see any reason to not keep playing SC5 as well. My favorite characters are Natsu and Maxi because they're fast and their combo execution feels very cool. I didn't enjoy SC4 very much but the fifth, despite the horrible cast, especially Pyrra, is a very cool game which I'll of course be reviewing by April's end.

3/21/2012

Dead or Alive 5 demo in my hands!! (in my PS3)

I wake up today and check my e-mail. I burst with happiness when I see Amazon's message with the DOA5 code so I try to download it... The thing doesn't work so I contact Amazon and they try to help me but say they will fix the issue "between 2 and 4 business days". I was pissed, really pissed seeing my buddies over freestepdodge.com playing the thing and myself with an invalid demo. But during the afternoon I try again and it works! I start screaming YES! FINALLY! and download the 415 mb after about 4 hours... yes, four hours because the PSN is horrible. And now I own the thing and I'm IN LOVE with it.

Hayate is incredible, I never really paid much attention to him in DOA3, 4 and Dimensions but now he looks pretty badass in the second red costume, with a bow on his back. And Ayane is as hard to play as as ever but she looks really cool. 

The graphics in the alpha demo as simply incredible. The look much better than Soul Calibur V, the last released 3D fighter and of course, infinitely superior to the 2D ones. It runs at a steady 60 FPS and there's only one stage. The urban building in construction.

The gameplay is exactly the same, except for the sidesteps like the ones in SC5 and VF5 (pressing 22 or 88 will avoid some hits) but they're MUCH faster. There are also power blows that if charged enough will result in the "ultras" we all feared, but they're actually not that powerful and can easily be countered since they're mid punches.

The alpha demo tells about two new stages. In the background of the menu we see a "military stage" with some tanks placed around and a helicopter flying through the stage and firing a chain gun and there's another one that looks kind of like a traditional Chinese residence building of some sort which I assume will have several tiers. 

I'm extremely please with how the game is shaping up. It looks awesome and plays exactly as it should. I can't wait until more characters are revealed and the final game gets a set release date. I'll be posting more impressions once I play it with my friends.



Ninja Gaiden 3 Gametrailers Review

Ninja Gaiden 3 Video Game, Review | Video Clip | Game Trailers & Videos | GameTrailers.com

Take a look at that link. It's Gametrailer's review for Ninja Gaiden 3. They seem to have a much more balanced way to explain what's going on with the game than most websites. I knew from watching the first trailers that NG3 would definitely not be as good as the first two but giving it a 3.0/10 like IGN did is just plain retarded. Well, as people say around: "You can't spell ignorance without IGN".


Anyway, check out the video review the guys at Gametrailers.com did, it's pretty cool and actually gives me much more hope in the game.

3/20/2012

Small update

It's been a while since I updated the blog with anything other than a video. I'm still here, playing, watching stuff, reading and writing. But I've been spending most of my vacations to do these activities instead of just being on the internet. I finally finished reading Ico: Castle in the Mist by Miyuki Miyabe. I stopped it for some time because the middle section of the book is a bit boring. But I continued it and the story suddenly got very cool and interesting and I almost ended up slapping myself for not having finished this excellent book before. I recommend buying it even if, like me, you didn't like the PS2 game the whole thing is based on.

I started a new small novel called "Pacific Vortex!" by Clive Cussler, an author recommended to me by a fellow gamer classmate. So far the story is very interesting. It's about an American nuclear submarine that goes missing in the Pacific Ocean and a "hero" called Dirk Pitt who is kind of like a mix between Indiana Jones and Nathan Drake tries to find it. It's a very short novel but so far it's very cool.


Skyrim and Final Fantasy XIII-2 are still my most played games right now. I actually didn't play any Skyrim today (though I did write the review) but spent a good two hours on XIII-2. I was very confused at first with how the JRPG worked and its story but I'm slowly getting the hang of it. I bought Sazh's DLC and the costumes for Serah and Noel. 

In Skyrim, I wanted to get the platinum trophy but decided to stop when I found myself looking aimlessly for the 50 skill books with the High Elf, so I just went and created a Khajiit assassin and started a new adventure. Playing in stealthy mode is very cool. I recommend trying that style, not everything is swinging a sword at the enemies...

I don't quite remember mentioning this here but I bought Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 which I'm leaving sealed (as a collector's object) and Soul Calibur V for the Xbox 360. SCV is actually very cool and I like it but the story and cast are horrible. Fortunately, Maxi, Ivy and Natsu (a Taki remake) are there. The only characters I like. My Tales of Graces f copy should be arriving in about a week. That game will also remain sealed until I'm done with the Atelier games and probably Star Ocean 4.

And finally, if Amazon decides to be nice enough. I should be getting an e-mail with my DOA5 alpha code very soon. In just a few hours as a matter of fact. As soon as I get it I'll start downloading it in my PS3 and post my first impressions.

3/19/2012

REVIEW: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3)



The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is out and after spending almost 150 hours, it is finally possible to come up with a well-elaborated review of the game. Just like its predecessors before it, it is a single-player WRPG where the players create their own character and are free to adventure however they want in one of the beautiful provinces of the fictional continent of Tamriel. 

This time, the public wanders around the northern province of Skyrim, home of the Nord race, white people who resemble Vikings. Like in the four previous titles, the players are able to make a character choosing from the ten different races. Humans like the Nords or Imperials, elves like the Dunmer or Altmer or the beast races Argonian and Khajiit. Each race comes up with different attributes and lean towards better performance at different styles of play, either melee, stealthy or magic-oriented.

The events of the game take place 200 years after the Oblivion crisis where the “Hero of Kvatch” and Martin Septim stopped the daedric prince Meruhnes Dagon from invading Tamriel. With the events, the fourth era of the Empire started. The game begins on a carriage where a group of Nord rebels called the “Stormcloaks” are fighting to stop the imperial dominance over the province of Skyrim and they get captured. The carriage is transporting the rebels to the small southern town of Helgen to be executed but just as the player character’s head is about to be chopped up, a gigantic black dragon attacks and destroys the town, killing almost everyone. 

At that moment the adventure itself starts. The player character learns that the dragons, which were thought to be just legends, are coming back to life and they are under the rule of Alduin. The player, which carries the title of “Dragonborn” also learns that he comes from dragon heritage which allows him to easily perform shouts and understand the language of the great reptilian beasts. 

Just like in Morrowind and Oblivion before it, the players in Skyrim can choose to ignore the Main Quest completely, and if they decide to finish it (which can be done in several different ways), the game will just continue allowing the Dragonborn to keep traveling and adventuring. The province of Skyrim is really big, much bigger than Morrowind and Cyrodill from the two previous games. The environments are mostly mountains with snow and cold plains which resemble the nature of the landscapes of countries like Norway, Sweden, Iceland and the like. 

There are nine main cities in the game, each the capital of a hold inside the province. Each one has its own “Jarl” or governor who rules and administers everything inside his/her territory. The holds are full of Nordic catacombs, caves, mountains, lakes, swamps, forests, plains and even steampunk ruins from an extinct eleventh race called the Dwemer (who were also important in Morrowind), who are unplayable of course. Each of the locations can be freely explored, they all have a set layout, quests and creatures both friendly and enemies.

Graphically, the game is a huge step forwards compared to Oblivion and other similar titles like for example, Fallout 3 and New Vegas. The details on the textures, lighting, antialiasing, colors and animations are all very good. But, like all Elder Scrolls games before it, there are many minor errors in parts of the visuals. Fortunately, these small mistakes do not really hinder the gameplay at all and when seeing and understanding the size of the game and everything it tries to successfully do at the same time, it becomes clear that the visuals won’t be perfect. Still, Skyrim is definitely one of the most beautiful games out there.

Another big improvement is the characters’ faces which were mediocre at best in Oblivion and Morrowind. Now they feel more realistic and each race successfully stands out. In the previous games, the High and Wood Elves almost looked the same, just like most of the human races, while the Argonian and Khajiit were awkward and their faces were not well animated. Now the two beast races look incredible and it’s really hard not to stop running and look at one when encountered somewhere in the game. 

When creating a character, most of the aspects in their faces can be modified completely. The nose, mouth, eyes, ears, hairstyle, color of the hair and skin can be tuned until they look exactly how each player wants them to.  And when playing the game itself, it becomes easy to notice that the animations were improved as well. Now they move really naturally no matter what they’re doing. If they’re just walking, fighting, casting spells or smithing a new weapon, they will look as if they were real. Sometimes, minor bugs will happen but just like with the graphics, they aren’t very common and they don’t hinder gameplay at all.

Skyrim can be played in first-person or third-person perspective. Each one is very cool and looks beautiful. When playing in first person, the players will look at the Dragonborn’s hands while swinging melee weapons, shooting a bow, casting different spells and things like that and when playing in third person, the animations for jumping, running, walking and strafing can be fully seen. There are some things that should have been represented by an animation like when the character drinks a potion or eats some food. Instead, if a player makes the Dragonborn drink a potion, all that will happen is that a “magic” effect will envelop the character for a second or two.

In gameplay, Skyrim maintains the same basis from Morrowind and Oblivion but many changes were made that both improved the gameplay and simplified the role-playing system that was so iconic to The Elder Scrolls. Starting with the good things, no race is prohibited from doing anything. In the previous games, a High Elf warrior or an Orc wizard were highly unlikely to be achieved but in Skyrim, it can be done and while High Elves still lean towards magic and Orcs towards melee fighting, there isn’t anything stopping anyone from playing the race they want the way they want.

Melee fighting is pretty much the same as in Oblivion. There are daggers, swords, axes and maces both one-handed and two handed and damage can be dealt with them using normal blows or power blows which consume stamina (the old fatigue bar). There is no difference between using a mace or a dagger this time, because they will level up either the one-handed skill or the two-handed one. That feels a bit awkward since it doesn’t make sense to level up using swords the entire game and being able to deal full damage with a mace if a player decided to pick one up at a higher level. Archery is also the same as in Oblivion, the old and very cool crossbows, throwing knives and shurikens from Morrowind are still gone. But there are many different bows and arrows to pick up and like in Oblivion; they can be poisoned to deal extra damage with each hit.

Magic saw a HUGE improvement in Skyrim. While the Mysticism school is gone, its spells are now part of another one. Telekinesis and Detect Life are now in Alteration while Soul Trap is now in Conjuration. Most of the spells now have different animations, unlike in Oblivion where a level 1 fireball and a level 50 one looked exactly the same. Now there are cool factors like area-of-effect damage and conjuring traps which can be fully enjoyed especially with the Destruction school that allows using flames, frost and thunderbolts to damage enemies and Illusion one that calms opponents, makes them run away from battle in fear or makes people and creatures fight each other while the mage responsible simply watches from a distance. 

The stealthy skills are still there and they’re pretty cool. Sneak allows moving undetected around places, Pickpocket makes players steal items from a distracted person and Lockpicking allows people to open locks to enter a closed house at night or steal the contents of a chest or drawer. Playing with stealth makes the Dragonborn deal extra damage with fewer hits from a melee weapon or arrow and if played correctly it can make the player character clear out an entire dungeon without any enemy ever knowing he/she was there to begin with.

The most common enemies are of course people and wild animals like wolves, bears and tigers but for the first time in the series, the players are able to fight dragons. They can be seen from a considerable distance to allow players to avoid a confrontation with them if they want to since they’re the most dangerous enemies in the game. But occasionally, one (or two) will find their way to the Dragonborn’s location and launch an attack. It’s pretty awesome when this happens inside one of the nine mayor cities or a small town because the guards and townsfolk will also charge at the huge creature. Sometimes even the shopkeepers (who never carry weapons) will fight them with their bare hands and that’s definitely a beautiful sight to see.

A few negative changes were made to the gameplay. For example, the stat system is gone, which means that there’s no longer a value for Strength, Intelligence or Endurance. Now, only the skill values remain for things like Sneak, Illusion or One-Handed Weapons.  Each time one of the skills is raised a number, a small part of a level-up bar will be filled, and when complete, the Dragonborn is ready to go up a level. This allows the player to give an extra 10 points to Health, Magicka or Stamina (Fatigue), so the character gets and extra amount of the thing he/she uses the most. 

This is usually considered negative because if for example, a player creates a Khajiit with stealth gameplay in mind and he happens to dislike that style when the Khajiit is level 8-10, he can completely switch to magic or melee without anything stopping him. In Morrowind and Oblivion, each character had a set number of stat preferences, major skills and minor ones that when used determined if the character leveled up or not. So, if a High Elf in Morrowind didn’t have “Long Blade” in his major or minor skills but the player using him suddenly decided to start killing things with a sword, the elf would NEVER level up from doing that because he was not created for it. Still, this can be considered a very subjective thing to criticize since the RPG-system in Skyrim is much easier to deal with and allows the casual audience to easily understand how the game works and be successful at it. But the hardcore players used to how Morrowind and Oblivion worked will be a little troubled by how easy leveling up is in Skyrim. But those things are a matter of personal preference for each player.

Skyrim also has an awesome system of perks that allows for better enjoyment of each skill. Each time the Dragonborn levels up, he/she is able to choose one perk for a set skill. So he/she can choose to deal an extra 20% damage with two-handed weapons, a 50% less magicka cost for expert-level Destruction spells, make triple damage with a sneak attack with bows, the ability to create more powerful poisons with alchemy and things like that. It is recommended that each player knows which perks are available and chooses carefully depending on how their character is supposed to play in each skill because once they’re bought, they can’t be deleted.  The activated perks when in higher levels is what makes each character stand out because there are so many (more than 200) that each player will have a completely different character, even if they chose the same race and gameplay style.

The different factions are still in the game and they’re all awesome. The Mages Guild and Fighters Guild are gone but in their place, Skyrim has the Companions, a group of warriors from all races that work solving problems for the people of the land and clearing out bandits and thieves and the College of Winterhold, a big castle in one of the cities where the mages reside to study spells and their origins. The Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood are still there and their own storylines are excellent, especially the Dark Brotherhood’s one. Besides those four, the Dragonborn can chose to join either the Stormcloaks or the Imperial Legion in the civil war happening in the province. But unlike with the guild and the brotherhood, once a player joins either side, the other becomes the enemy. So it is impossible to finish both of the civil war questlines with a single character.

In the sound department, Skyrim is an excellent game as well. The entire world is filled with literally hundreds and hundreds of sound effects for everything. The wind, objects falling to the ground, spells, weapons hitting things, water flowing in a river of waterfall, etc. The combination of great sound effects make the entire game feel very real and together with a superb voice-acting, it makes the world of Tamriel come to life in a better way than ever. Everything is voiced and each quest is described and narrated from beginning to end by the participants in an excellent way. All the player needs to read are the hundreds of different books that complement the Elder Scrolls universe but the quests themselves are all voiced. 

After spending a few hours in the game and especially when interacting with the townsfolk in the cities, it will become easy to notice that many of the lines are repeated by different characters, so for example, every time you decide to purchase a spell, the vendors will usually say “So you wish to master the arcane arts!” and when noticing many characters saying the same line, the whole thing becomes awkward but hilarious.

The music, composed by Jeremy Soule, is simply beautiful, a fully orchestrated set of songs about 4 hours long which resemble music similar to Morrowind and Oblivion and even movies like The Lord of the Rings and TV series like Game of Thrones. The soundtrack in the game makes a perfect job of complementing the medieval feeling and environment The Elder Scrolls is supposed to have. The main theme of the game, which is awesome, is sung by around 90 people and the lyrics are in the dragon language invented for the game. 

In short, The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim is without a doubt one of the best and most beautiful games of this generation. Being a single-player RPG, it manages to keep the gameplay possibilities endless. The main story, six factions and hundreds of quests in the game allow for around 120 hours of gameplay with a single character. The role-playing system, while simplified for the casual market, is still very deep and requires to be studied to successfully create the character each player wants.

The graphics are excellent, especially in the landscapes and characters themselves. It has a great soundtrack and voice acting and the combat is really fun no matter what style each player prefers. Skyrim is a must-have title for everyone out there with a PC, Xbox 360 or PS3. Bethesda has done a great job again with the series. 


Pros:
- Endless possibilities when creating a character.
- Hundreds of quests to finish, many of them in different ways.
- The Main Story and Dark Brotherhood’s questlines are awesome.
- Magic gameplay is hugely improved.
- The faces are very realistic and well-made.
- A huge territory to explore with hundreds of locations.


Cons:
- Stat system is extremely simplified.
- Some minor bugs and crashes here and there.
- Guards still unexplainably find out about your crimes.



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

- Overall Score……………….. 9.8 / 10

3/18/2012

Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 Hands On Gameplay



This is a short but cool video with some gameplay for Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. It looks and plays MUCH better than the first one (which is a horrible nightmare to play). I already got mine and am curious to play it. But will wait a few months for it. 

Cheers to the guys from Just Press Start for the video.

3/14/2012

Dead or Alive 5 new trailer with Hitomi and Ayane!



Another gameplay trailer for DOA5. This time we see Ayane fighting Hitomi. They both look really beautiful and awesome, especially Hitomi, who seems to move similar to her DOA4 counterpart. The fight takes place in the same stage Busa and Hayate fought in the very first trailer and each of the rounds ends with an "ultra" by each of the girls.

The demo will be available in about a week for those of us who pre-ordered Ninja Gaiden 3. As I've said before, I'll only have Hayate and Ayane available unless I get lucky enough to get my hands on another code with Busa and Hitomi. 

3/06/2012

Another Skyrim update post

And here's another post updating my progress in Skyrim. God this game is so fucking awesome and addictive. I'm still playing as my High Elf wizard. Decided to delay the creation of a second character until I'm completely done with the elf. I'm currently midway through the Main Story, just reached the very top of High Hrothgar and met the leader of the Greybeards who taught me another pointless shout. The landscaped look very beautiful from the top of the mountain. I recommend visiting them.

I'm also doing the Dark Brotherhood quests, the Night Mother already chose me as the Listener and told me to speak to someone in some ruins. I'm taking every chance I have to buy/sell Alchemy items from the vampire lolita inside the sanctuary to raise my Speechcraft and Alchemy skill. 


My Conjuration skill is already at 100, so now I'm able to summon two Dremora Lords at the same time... One is already way too overpowered, so you can imagine that having two at the same time fighting by your side  breaks the game, but those are the benefits of playing 100% mage. I have Destruction in 92, I expect to master it by Wednesday if everything goes according to plan. Illusion is in 70, Alteration in 68 and Restoration in 56. It pissed me the fuck off that Restoration grows way too slowly, so I don't think I'll get 100 with the healing school, but Alteration and Illusion are totally possible.

In fact, casting Frenzy from a distance and watching groups of dumb enemies kill each other is fun as fuck and raises the Illusion skill really fast. I also noticed that picking up stuff with the Telekinesis spell raises Alteration very quickly as well.

In total, I'm at level 38. I think I'll be around 50 by the time I finish the Dark Brotherhood and the Main Quest, along with some other random questlines. I can't wait to try the master Destruction spells. It's gonna be really fun.

3/05/2012

Halo 4 Spring Showcase 2012



And this is the new trailer for Halo 4. It features several important members of 343 Industries talking about their plans and work in the game. Good news for the hardcore fans, the Battle Rifle is back and the gameplay reminds me a lot of the original trilogy. There doesn't seem to be any of the armor perks from Reach.

Sadly, we still don't know what the hell the story is about or what the Chief will be fighting this time. But at the end of the trailer they confirm a "holiday 2012" release. I hope so!!

DEAD OR ALIVE 5 NEW TRAILER!!!



The new Dead or Alive 5 trailer is out! It features a small round with Ayane and Kasumi fighting in a square stage inside a cave with a river. It's really beautiful and Kasumi's new look is incredible. But the great news is that the game's invited character has been shown: Akira from Virtua Fighter. I love this, it really feels like both Team Ninja and Sega listened to my words over the last years. Among all the bullshit crossovers we've been seen in fighting games, one that tangles DOA and VF would be just perfect. I still don't know if Akira will be the only VF character invited, I suppose he will, but I'll be posting more info as it becomes available.

3/04/2012

HYPERDIMENSION NEPTUNIA MK2 (US) TRAILER


This is the trailer for the second Hyperdimension Neptunia game. It looks extremely full of fanservice, just like the first one but I actually see some improvements to the visuals and gameplay. I ordered it from Amazon so it should be arriving soon. Look and laugh at it!

3/01/2012

REVIEW: Hatsune Miku. Project DIVA 2nd (PSP)



Project DIVA 2nd is one of those very rare games that never make it out to our continent but somehow become extremely famous. This is the title that houses the otaku goddess Hatsune Miku, a very pretty anime girl who sings and dances in a J-Pop band called Vocaloid along other not-so-famous characters. Project DIVA 2nd is a rhythm game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band where the players need to press the four face buttons on the PSP with a set timing for each of the dozens of catchy songs in the game.

This is a very simple game, with no deep gameplay mechanics, no plot or narrative and no multiplayer modes to enjoy online but it manages to do what it wants almost to perfection. The objective of the game is simply to unlock the songs, play them in harder difficulties and earn money to dress up the characters or buy pretty items for the DIVA room.

Starting with the graphics, they’re very pretty and colorful. Each of the songs features either Miku or another girl dancing and singing the song in a very flashy and beautiful fashion, usually with great and smooth animations. There is a little lack of antialiasing in some parts of the bodies but it’s nothing really bad. The game looks great but not as good as Resistance Retribution or any of the Square-Enix most famous titles in the portable console.

But in the visuals, there’s a little “mistake”, if it can be called that. The buttons that need to be pressed are all over the screen, and when playing in the harder difficulties, they come and go so fast that it’s almost impossible for the person playing the game to actually look at the video where the girl is dancing and singing. Now this is completely understandable since there’s no logical way to make the player look at the pretty things in the screen and know which buttons to press at the same time, but the issue is there. Fortunately, there’s a way to watch the video of the songs without actually playing, this is a relief for anyone wanting to look at the video, memorize the songs or simply listen to them.

Another minor issue that everyone out there needs to know is that because this game is not officially released outside Japan, it will be in Japanese, there is one pirated versions with a fan translation, but if anyone decides to import it from the far-east land, they must know that the game will not be in English. So, everything from the menu texts, tutorials, shops and of course, the lyrics of the songs will be in Japanese. If fortunate enough to understand a little Hiragana and Katakana, there won’t be any problems to move around the menus but forget to understand anything Miku says unless fluent in the language.

The gameplay is simple, but extremely fun. “Free play” mode allows choosing a song and difficulty and just go directly to it. When in the songs themselves, the four face buttons (square, triangle, circle and X) will be seen flying around the screen to reach a small shadow of themselves, at that exact moment, the button needs to be pressed. Each song has different levels of speed and difficulty so a song in “hard” can be more difficult to finish than another slower song in “extreme”.

Depending on which moment the buttons are pressed, the game will give a quick ranking that can be “worst” when failed, “sad”, “safe” “fine” and “cool”. The last two can be combed together which results in great score multipliers for the final results. And getting too many “worst” will make the players fail the song.

Besides the songs themselves, it is possible to visit the girls in their rooms, which can be decorated in “DIVA room”. It is also possible to buy different pretty outfits for them to wear in the videos in “Character models” and even use “Edit mode” to change several aspects of the songs themselves.

There’s also a small AdHoc function in the game to share the songs made in “Edit mode” with another player nearby with another PSP and game. But sadly, there’s no actual multiplayer so the only chance to actually compete with someone else is to play the same songs and compare the scores and things like that. It’s really unfortunate because the game feels like it has a lot of potential for multiplayer play.

Sound-wise, the game is incredible. Being a rhythm game, it is completely understandable but the developers managed to get everything right. The vast majority of the songs are very beautiful and catchy, even for people who don’t know or like the J-Pop genre. This is definitely the best aspect of the game, and when mixed with the pretty visuals, the results are awesome. Since it’s a PSP game, it can be enjoyed for a few minutes, in a car or train ride or a waiting room or things like that or just play it for a good two hours at home.

It’s very sad and unfortunate that with the fame Hatsune Miku and the other girls have over here; her game hasn’t been released overseas. It’s pretty sure that it would see thousands and thousands of sales if published but sadly, the only way to enjoy it legally in our continent is to import it from any shopping website like Amazon, eBay or Play-Asia. It’s expensive, but depending on the tastes in gaming and music, the price can be worth it.

Project DIVA 2nd is a very beautiful game, recommended to anyone out there with a PSP; it’s the perfect game to carry around for almost any situation. It can be hard to finish the songs in the higher difficulties but with practice, pretty much anyone can learn them and emerge victorious. The game looks and plays very nice and the songs are awesome. So if the money is available to import it, Project DIVA 2nd will be a great game to purchase.

Pros:

-          Great presentation and visuals.
-          Excellent soundtrack with dozens of catchy J-Pop songs.
-          Lots of extra items to buy and difficulties to try out.
-          Edit Mode is very fun by itself.

Cons:

-          It’s hard to find stuff if not able to understand Japanese.
-          The game is very expensive due to its Japan-only release.
-          Many of the best songs are very hard in “Extreme”.
-          DIVA room is kind of pointless.


-          Graphics and Visuals………...8
-          Music and Sound Effects….....10
-          Gameplay……………………8
-          Replay Value………………..10

-          Overall Score……………….. 9 / 10