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9/28/2012

Dead or Alive 5 is here!

I got Dead or Alive 5 off the PSN because I didn't want to wait for my Amazon copies or the Collector's Edition to arrive. It's AMAZING, incredibly good with excellent graphics, sound, music, game modes and all the good shit you would expect from a DOA game. I'm really digging the title system. Basically, the game awards you titles for many things, like using a character for the first time to unlocking all of his/her costumes and you can show two of those in online matches and you profile. I'm currently using "Tina newbie" and "Jann Lee newbie".

The gameplay itself is excellent, a HUGE step forwards in comparison with DOA4. Holds feel completely useless now and spamming them to get lucky damage is definitely not an option anymore, especially with the vast quantity of stuns that don't allow holding in them. There's a very useful sidestep for all characters that works like in Virtua Fighter, avoiding linear and semi-circular strings. Less moves seem to stun in counter-hit and normal-hit. This is specially obvious with characters like Helena. 

I'm trying to get used to the system first because I've been in DOA4 for seven years and sometimes I just forget to sidestep and use the new systems in mid match but I'm slowly getting there. My favorite characters so far are Helena, Jann Lee, Tina and Leifang. Helena kinda feels like her DOA4 self but she lost PP2KP, her main juggle ender in that game. But this time 236PKP works much better so that's not a real problem. She has too many mid punches and her unholdable stuns are very difficult to land. She's good but definitely not even close to top tier like she was in DOA4. 

Tina is not what I expected. During the development of the game, especially sound E3 she was supposed to be a monster like in DOA3. With many safe moves, good damage output and excellent throws. Now she "feels" like she lost the safety and good damage from strings. Her throws are excellent and she has too many of them, she even got two advanced holds to buff her defense but at least at first she doesn't seem as good as her DOA3 version. I need a lot of time in the lab with her until I reach a final decision.

Jann Lee is a God, simple as that. All the useful-looking strings he got in DOA4 that never worked in that game are now awesome, he got a new stance to increase damage from combos and plays very similar to his DOA3 self, which means that if he gets you to a wall, you're dead. This fucker is AMAZING.

I didn't expect to feel this comfortable with Leifang. She changes so much from one game to another that it's not even funny. She has a new stance that uses sabakis to interrupt enemy strings and deal damage with her own ones, kinda like Aoi in Virtua Fighter. She's fast, not ninja-fast but enough to be able to keep pressure on most of the cast and I'm noticing a great distance and throw game from her. She's very good this time.

Besides those four, I tried Gen Fu, Pai, Eliot, Rig, Mila and Kokoro and they seem very cool as well. Fu's damage is just too big so we can expect to see him a lot in high-level play once more and more people get the game. Eliot appears to be similar to his DOA4 self but three changes made him very viable in the new game like useful parries, a 9-frame palm and the ability to land excellent juggles via refloat. It's very good.

Sadly, I have a very worrying issue with the game: The netcode. I can't play online for shit and all matches I've played have been very laggy. There are tons of people complaining about this especially when games like Soul Calibur V, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and even Virtua Fighter 5:FS have excellent online systems. It's a bit disappointing that I might have to do some serious change to the online connection because of the game. I'll wait for the 360 copy to try it there. I hope there's an improvement.

9/23/2012

A quick update on Xenoblade

Wow, have I really not posted anything in ten days¿ That's a big no-go on my part. I've pretty much been doing nothing interesting lately other than playing Xenoblade like an addict. The game turns better and better as you keep advancing. I think I'm already getting near the end but knowing these JRPG plot twists I could very well be halfway through the game. 


Though I'm not particularly a fan of any of the characters, they're all pretty awesome gameplay-wise. Shulk (the main protagonist) is a fucking monster dealing damage with that Monado sword. The dude deals 1200 with each auto-attack hit while the others are around 700-1000. That's without mentioning Melia, the mage girl who deals around 500-600 but she shouldn't be near any enemies with her defense and HP stats. All characters have specific uses and attributes. I really like how Riki destroys enemies dealing debuff after debuff. I hate Reyn but he's a great tank and with certain buff I can make him block and evade most attacks aimed at him. Melia is not my favorite mage in RPGs (That'd have to go to Jade from Tales of the Abyss or Rita from Tales of Vesperia) but she's solid, able to buff the party and deal great damage and debuffs to the enemies from a safe distance.

SPOILER WARNING!

You might want to skip this specific paragraph because it has a heavy spoiler about a party member, ok¿ here goes: Fiora is excellent once you get her back, she's an extremely powerful damage dealer but I'd recommend having her with a tank like Reyn or Dunban in the party because she's so strong that she'll be absorbing too much aggro and she's not good in the defense/HP factors. A great party to use her is Dunban, Fiora and Riki. 

END SPOILER!


The areas are HUGE and with lots and lots of variety on enemies, terrain, quests and things to do. This is definitely one of the best, if not THE best game in the Wii. You've just got to try it out. I'll try to keep the updates coming for it. 

I'm currently waiting for my Tekken Tag Tournament 2 copy to arrive but I'm worried because there's a "slight" chance I'll be getting Dead or Alive 5 near launch and if that's the case then I won't be playing TTT2 at all. I also got my Kirby 20th anniversary copy. It's excellent, cute and I'm once again proud to say I love Kirby.

9/13/2012

DOA5 Gen Fu vs. Pai Developer Fight #2



Second developer fight between Pai and Gen Fu in the same stage. This time, Pai emerge victorious and we get to see her doing a hold and a Power Blow. She looks very beautiful and just like Akira and Sarah, feels right at home in Dead or Alive. I'm actually very interested in these two new characters.

DOA5 Gen Fu vs. Pai Developer Fight #1



A Developer fight showing two new characters for DOA5: Gen Fu and Pai Chan, the third and final invited character from Virtua Fighter. The fight takes place in the upper tier of the Sakura stage. Awesome shit indeed.

9/11/2012

DEAD OR ALIVE 5 - MILA (NEW CHARACTER)



Team Ninja released the official Mila trailer today. She looks great, with fast strings and excellent grabs and holds. The trailer also shows several new tiers for the Sweat stage and some dangerzones that cause a train accident around the area. It's incredible!

Gaming update 09/12


OK So I finished Modern Warfare 3 and I'm very surprised. Unlike the piece of shit that MW2 was, the third game was actually very fun. Great weapons, locations, story, pace, graphics and sound made the experience really enjoyable. I don't like the multiplayer very much to be honest. I'm more of a Halo guy over that department but Spec-Ops is reaaally good. I tried it both offline and online and it's very fun. I'll most likely review the game during the week.

I started God of War III after about a year owning the game. This backlog thing is killing me and I'm trying to go through all my games as best as my vacations allow me to. I gotta say that while the game's world is fantastic and the graphics and sound are top-notch, the gameplay is killing the entire thing. Maybe it's just me but God of War's gameplay is just too dull for me. I'm going through the entire game by pressing square, square, triangle in every fight because if I attempt another string I get hit ALL THE TIME and don't even get me started on changing weapons. I dunno, the gameplay lacks too much. That roll movement is too unsafe in most occasions and I find the defensive game too uncomfortable too. Dunno, maybe it's just me. Those QTE are excellent though. The game is brutal.

Xenoblade is getting better and better. I was a little bit doubtful at first as you probably noticed from my previous article on it but now that I got another good party member, I won't have to use the homosexual Wakka-wannabe that is Reyn. Sharla is really crappy too except for curing so I'm very excited to get the mage girl to replace her. The story is turning more and more interesting as I progress. I'm already about to get inside the Bionis' waist so I have no idea if I'm still in the beginning of the game. What I do know is that it's excellent and if you manage to look past the early-Gamecube graphics, you'll have a blast with this game. The areas' sized are exaggerated, too big! I think that the foot, leg and waist of the Bionis alone are bigger than Skyrim, and Skyrim is BIG.

Anyway, I'll keep posting things as I get farther into each game. My next review will be for Modern Warfare 3. I hope to do a good job on it.

REVIEW: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)



It seems like a loyal tradition for Square-Enix to release at least one Kingdom Hearts game in each portable console. These spin-offs, while very good for the most part, have only prolonged the wait for an official third entry in the series by most fans worldwide and such is the case of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the first title in the series available for the Nintendo 3DS which comes as a very good action-RPG title with great visuals and sound, decent gameplay and a very confusing storyline, which already seems normal for the franchise.

Kingdom Hearts 3D takes place sometime after Kingdom Hearts 2. In it, Sora and Riku must take on a test called the “Mark of Mastery” to become true Keyblade Masters by unlocking some sleeping Disney worlds. The curious thing is that the game actually has two different adventures. One for Sora and one for Riku and you literally play them both at the same time using the “Drop” system. There’s a bar active at all times that keeps getting smaller and smaller as time passes. When it runs out, the character you’re using at the moment will “fall asleep” and you’ll immediately take control of the other in his adventure. This can be a little annoying because it can happen in the middle of a battle or when you’re too concentrated in something else with one of the guys. Fortunately, the game allows you to find and buy and item that resets the Drop bar to its original size.

Graphically, the game is very good. As it usually happens with Square-Enix games in portable consoles, the textures are cartoony but they fit perfectly with how the game is supposed to look like, the frame rate and anti-aliasing are also very good, even when you play with the 3D effects fully on. Kingdom Hearts 3D’s graphics and visuals are a blast. The animations look very smooth as well. This franchise has always tried to mimic the combat of Final Fantasy’s cut-scenes and Advent Children in gameplay and it’s always done a great job with it. Sora and Riku move gracefully as they attack their enemies.

During the game’s story, Riku and Sora will visit many different-looking worlds from Disney movies like Hunchback of Notredame, Tron Legacy and Fantasia. Each one has its own art style, areas and layout and they’re very cool. The negative thing would be that they’re kind of linear which gives little room for exploration and sidequests in the worlds.

In sound, I can say the game is fantastic. As usual with these “Final Fantasy brothers” games, the soundtrack is incredible, with tunes that perfectly mix what Kingdom Hearts is supposed to be like, a mix between JRPGs and Disney. Each song resembles either a common Square-Enix soundtrack or a Disney movie and surprisingly, the result is very satisfactory. Each character is voiced greatly as well, which is very important given the deep storyline the game has. The storytelling is a little confused especially if you haven’t played or don’t remember key events from the previous games in the series. Fortunately, most characters sound good and will try to make the story have sense, in its own way.

The game is filled with many cartoony but cool sound effects for almost anything. Square-Enix seems to have recreated the Disney worlds in a very good way while adding sounds for the flashy attacks, magic spells and other abilities for all characters and bosses.

In gameplay, Dream Drop Distance has both similarities and differences to the previous games. The combat for example is very much alike; you have a button for attacking with the Keyblade, using skills and spells, blocking and jumping. You move Sore and Riku with the analog stick, control the camera and switch targets with the shoulder buttons and select skills and spells with the D-pad. This last thing is very annoying sometimes because you have to stop moving to select a skill and sometimes it can be frustrating to get hit by a boss or another enemy because of it.

Movement is very much alike but KH3D uses a new mechanic called “Flowmotion” that allows Riku and Sora to gracefully jump and dash from almost anywhere and use many objects to their advantage. It is activated by rolling into a wall or object and is especially useful for getting around the worlds quickly, but it can be used to attack enemies as well as there are different ways to deal damage from Flowmotion moves.

Each world also has a mechanic called “Reality Shift” that allows for the use of the touch-screen in the 3DS to do something different in them. You can trap enemies inside bubbles and make them explode to deal damage, create light rails across stages to ride on them and even attack enemies via a very funny comic featuring Mickey, Donald and Goofy. These Reality Shifts happen very fast and are very useful every time they are available.

Unlike other games in the series that have the main protagonist be accompanied by Donald, Goofy and other Disney characters as party members, KH3D offers you with a bunch of “Dream Eaters”. They’re some kind of Pokémon-like creatures you can create if you have enough items and the recipe. Some of them look like cats, birds, rams and even dinosaurs and each one is different with its own abilities and stats. They level up along Sora and Riku and can be used to unlock cool abilities like extra HP, elemental resistances and even skills for the Keyblade. You can also play some silly minigames with them via touch-screen to raise your synergy with them and their performance in battle. But truth be told, the vast majority of them aren’t very strong and you can’t rely on them to deal much damage or cure the player character.

Besides Flowmotion and Reality Shift, the game has many Keyblade skills and spells to use like the usual Fire, Thundara, Blizzaga and the like. Most of them work differently and have their own attributes so switching between them often is a key aspect in emerging victorious in the battles, which can be very hard especially if you play in Proud Mode (Hard) or Critical Mode (Very Hard).

In terms of replay value, the game doesn’t really offer much in terms of sidequests and end-game content. In fact, the only things you can do are find more Dream Eaters, level up in a fun arena minigame for them or simply play the game again in a higher difficulty to try and get the secret ending.

The only real negative thing about the game is probably the storyline. It’s very confusing and uses too many references to the previous games. To understand the plot, it will be necessary to go through all the other games or simply read their plots in a wiki or other websites. Otherwise you’ll most likely finish the game without having any idea of what the hell happened. This can make many players stay away from the game but truth be told, after you understand what happens in it, the plot actually does make sense in its own way. And trust me; the storyline in Kingdom Hearts is very, very good.

In short, Kingdom Hearts 3D is a great game and the first major RPG in the 3DS made by Square-Enix. The graphics, sound and gameplay are very good for the most part. It has an excellent combat system and visiting the Disney worlds is really fun. As a portable RPG game it does a great job and right now it could be easily called the best RPG in the 3DS. I totally recommend it.


Pros:

-          Great graphics and 3D effects.
-          Catchy music.
-          Excellent combat.
-          Tons of skills and spells to choose from.
-          Beautiful and varied Disney worlds.


Cons:

-          The Dream Eaters aren’t very useful in combat.
-          Very confusing storyline.
-          Not much to do after you finish the main story.
-          Drop system forces to change characters in mid-battle.



-          Graphics and Visuals…….…..9
-          Music and Sound Effects….....9
-          Gameplay……………………9
-          Replay Value…………….…..7


-          Overall Score……………….. 8.5 / 10

9/10/2012

DOA5 leaked video shows Mila gameplay



Mila is here! A leaked video from a French gaming website "accidentally" posted a story-mode video featuring Tina meeting Mila in a bar and the fighting a little. She looks very cool and seems to use a style similar to Brad Burns from Virtua Fighter. Sadly, the player was terrible with her (and Tina too). We finally get to see what she fights and looks like. 

9/05/2012

Modern Warfare 3 also started

Besides Xenoblade, I also went and started playing Modern Warfare 3 to end the story I continued in MW2 last week. I'm extremely impressed, I'm actually liking it a LOT. MW2 was a complete disappointment but the third chapter is very enjoyable. I'm playing it in Hardened with barely any problems. The game in the Xbox 360 looks and feels better than any COD game on PS3 which I'm still not sure if it's my imagination or these games on PS3 are simply terrible. 

The storyline even got interesting! This might be heavy spoilers so if you care about the plot in the games and haven't played them you might want to stop reading this paragraph and jump to the next one. I definitely didn't expect the Russian president to want peace and be kidnapped like that by Makarov. It's very impressive what the writers have managed to do with a character that simply shot some civilians in a shitty airport mission in MW2, it's very cool and I'm impressed by it.  It's also good to see how Soap and Price are trying to stop Makarov by themselves. And playing with so many different characters. Wow, the Britain mission!


Ok, no more spoilers. I'm enjoying MW3's campaign so far. Every weapon I've tried is cool and not simply another assault rifle with a different skin, graphically it looks very nice, the cinematic parts in the campaign are excellent and so far, it' a really nice FPS game. I do understand why it's so loved by the public. But I dunno. I still have three more games in the franchise to try out so I'll reserve any further opinions until they're done. 

Hell, I might even buy Black Ops 2 in Christmas.

Xenoblade Chronicles officially started

I finally started my first playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii. I gotta say that after about six hours into the game, I'm very impressed in most things but a little bit annoyed in others. First of all, the world seems fantastic just like the battle system, soundtrack and characters so far. The game kinda plays like a MMORPG where your party autoattacks and you're able to select skills from a menu in the lower part of the screen. It does feel very innovative for a single-player RPG but also reminds me a bit of Final Fantasy XII. 

I'm very, very impressed with how a Wii game avoids having load times for such big areas. I've visited huge plains and mountain areas already with a town in one of them and there weren't any load times between them. I mean there are, but they almost never happen. I'm also very pleased at the fact that equipment actually changes the looks of the characters. Shulk, the main protagonist is your typical blonde JRPG protagonist but in just six hours I've equipped enough stuff to him to make him wear several costumes already. It's very cool.


So far I'm very pleased, the game plays excellently and I just know it will become more and more interesting as I get farther into it. There are short but great tutorials for every aspect of gameplay, and they're necessary because there are too many things to keep in mind, like your player's position during battle, which skill tree he's learning stuff from, leveling up the skills, keeping synergy with other party members, create items, craft gems, in short, too many stuff that makes this a very deep game. But I'm still not sure if it "reinvents" the JRPG genre as many have already stated.

There are some negative things I've noticed. First, the character design so far is kinda meh. The characters, while not bad, look exactly like the stereotype created in most famous JRPGs like Final Fantasy, Tales, Star Ocean and others. Shulk looks exactly like the Star Ocean 4 dude or Tidus. Secondly, the voice acting in English is simply terrible. It was made by British people it seems but while I do love the British accent they give to the English language, it just doesn't seem fit for a video game, much less a JRPG. This is forcing me to play the game in Japanese reading the subtitles in English. 


Secondly, the graphics. While the game is very beautiful and has excellent landscapes to move around the two Titans' bodies, the graphical power of the Wii doesn't do any justice to this game. Much like it happened when I played pretty much any 3D game in the Wii, I can't avoid thinking "This could looks SO MUCH BETTER on the Xbox 360 or PS3" every five minutes or so. Xenoblade's developers seem to have put all their efforts in the landscapes which, again, are very beautiful, but the characters themselves and most enemies don't look very good. I remember playing Final Fantasy X, X-2 and XII on my PS2 recently and they definitely looked better than this. It's sad because it's obvious this game could have had a much better graphical power in the other two consoles, but well, the Wii is what we got, and trust me, the Wii's catalog definitely needed a game like Xenoblade.

So, I'm really liking the game so far, still learning what to do, how to play and getting used to the deep mechanics. The graphics aren't very good to be honest but the rest of the game is excellent. If you have a Wii, don't even think about it, BUY THIS GAME (And The Last Story).

9/03/2012

Kingdom Hearts 3D is over!

Wow, what an ending. I'm not really used to these games but I'm starting to like the KH franchise. The final battles are over after several hours of level grinding with Riku to stand my ground against Young Xehanort. He was still pretty hard but I definitely dealt more damage which helped a lot. The ending was very confusing as I was expecting but it seems like this game connects KH2 and the spin-off with a possible future release of KH3. 

I recommend the game definitely. If you play in Proud Mode like I did, the game will be challenging but very fun. Some of the boss battles will get frustrating if you're underleveled like I was during the entire game. But nothing is impossible. A negative thing I found was that there doesn't seem to be much exploration or things to do besides the main story and the card minigame with the dream eaters. That was a bummer. I'm used to my JRPGs offering cool shit to do after the world is saved. Anyway, great game, a review is coming very soon.


9/01/2012

The Last Story arrived!

My copy of the famous Wii RPG "The Last Story" arrived yesterday and it couldn't have been in a better way. I remember preordering the game many months ago. And I thought I was gonna get the normal version. Then I noticed the Amazon page for the game offering a small art book for preordering the game. But when my copy arrived, it came in a VERY NICE box with a CD soundtrack, the game and the art book inside. So I'm very happy about getting the game this way. I took a few pics:




I'm going to start Xenoblade very soon (probably even tonight) and post my experience with that game here. I don't think I'll be playing The Last Story at least until October but it feels nice to already have two of the three best RPGs in the Wii. We can only hope and wait for a localization of the third, Pandora's Tower.

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn - Limit Break Trailer



New trailer released for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It shows gameplay with a few locations, character design and limit breaks for some of the classes. I think the classes names were changed but I know I saw a White Mage, Warrior, Paladin, Ranger and Monk in there. No clue about the new names there. But I can say the game looks fantastic. Like a much better version of what Final Fantasy XI was (and is). I'm most likely gonna give a try to this game sometime during 2013 and I'd love for it to be on PC. 


Dead or Alive 2:Hardcore (combo movie)



An awesome Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore combo video put up back in 2007 and found today by Gill Hustle, a FreeStepDodge member. It shows very good shit for all the characters and makes me want to play the game again!

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII revealed

In the first day of Square-Enix event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Final Fantasy franchise, the company announced the third and final chapter in the FFXIII trilogy, which will go by the name of "Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII". According to the different articles from many sites out there, the game will be a mix of old things seen in the first two games and many new mechanics. One of them has caught the attention of the public. The game will revolve around Lightning trying to save the world from destruction in under thirteen days while gaining time from many tasks like completing quests, killing enemies and things like that. This makes people remember one of my favorite games ever, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

Besides the countdown system, it seems like the game will be open-world, with players able to go anywhere and doing things their own way. Customization is also a big focus according to Square-Enix who stated most things will be customizable, from Lightning's clothes and equipment, to things in the world itself. Some of the media were shown a video with Lightning completing a quest and killing some enemies in a solo battle system similar in part to the Paradigm Shift ATB system present in FFXIII and FFXIII-2. Only this time, players will be able to control her movements in the battlefield, so the game might be like a mix between Tales of and FFXIII. At this moment, no one knows.


Also.The game world is called Novus Partus and one of the cities is Luxerion. These names are completely new to the franchise and might suggest that the game doesn't take place in Cocoon or Pulse, so there really isn't any info about the game's real connection with the past two titles. But at least we know what the thing will focus on most likely. 

Besides this game, the event goers and stream watchers were shown an excellent music composition based in Final Fantasy XI: Online and a new trailer and gameplay of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (A game I'm dying to play once it comes out). But the most expected news aren't still around. Where is Versus XIII¿ It seems like a Square spokesman told the public he saw the game and that it is awesome but people won't be quiet about it until the game is shown again in a trailer. Hell, I know I won't.

Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be out in 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.