Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons

Leliana Vess, Defier of Demons
Black Magic shall rule over all

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More shit is going down

So in terms of games, I recently bought the video game Heavy Rain. Played it for almost two days straight, and managed to beat it. It was actually really good. The story had me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time. Still doesn’t hide the fact the game is basically a ps3 tech demo hidden around a murder mystery story with quick time events. The graphics look absolutely stunning, amazingly real. However I’m disappointed, as are many fans of the game, with Sony’s decision as to the DLC. If you haven’t heard, the game is going to release a patch come September so that the game will fully utilize the Playstation Move. Really, Sony? I hope everyone realizes that since this is going to be the first game to utilize it when it comes out, that there will be numerous problems with movement detection. I mean, movement detection in a video game has never worked out correctly. Not even Nintendo, with their huge amounts of money, are capable of making it work with the Wii. Let alone are we going to be able work on the first try. Funny thing is that the controls for the game were bad enough. Seriously the game had pretty wonky controls when you were not doing a QTE portion. I don’t plan on getting the Move, so I decided there was no reason for me to wait in purchasing it, unlike a lot of other people who are holding off on buying the game so that they can use the Move. I plan on going through the rest of the game to see the other ways I can take the story and try to see if this might be the first game for ps3 where I get all the trophies, since this game isn’t too hard anyway. I’m not going to spoil anything about the story, since that’s pretty much the main reason to play the game, but I really don’t like the reveal of the origami killer because it really hurt me. Oh well, at least the reveal was sufficiently shocking, if a little head scratching. You can see his motive, it’s just the gameplay aspects of the whole thing that I won’t get into to avoid spoilers.

I’ve also been playing more Tales of Vesperia, and just got past the ruins after Aspio, which means I now have Rita in my party. Rita is an awesome and funny character, and having all the skits (finally!) voiced really adds to the game. All the skits are fucking hysterical and most will make you laugh out loud. The game is a huge level grind though. Sometimes it feels like you take forever to level up; thankfully the battle system is really enjoyable and makes you want to get into random battles. The surprising part was the ruins you have to explore to the east of Aspio. In this stage, the end boss is your standard “really strong guy that will take apart your health in a few attacks, doesn’t take much damage from physical attacks, but takes a ton of damage from magical attacks, which is perfect since you just got a new mage in your party” type boss that’s usually in every rpg as an excuse to try out your new party member. The funny thing is that going by some Gamefaqs faq I’m using, it says the best level to take him on at is at 7-11. Since I was level grinding for so long, I had my party at 16, so I figured this boss was going to be a cakewalk. Problem was that since unlike Abyss you can’t change your individual party members tactics, Rita went charging at the thing like she was Hercules while Estelle would only heal when someone was at the brink of death. Long story short, my ass got handed to me. So I had to change the setting so that Estelle could only use First Aid for a spell and Rita could only use Splash. This time, I managed to survive but the asshole took a ton of my Life Bottles with him. Now I learned how to use the analog shortcuts for spells. That will help out a ton. I left off on the game after that since I had to sleep for work, but wow I seriously can’t wait to play this game again. This game is completely awesome and might usurp Abyss as my favorite Tales game.

In anime, I’ve finished Ikki Tousen: Xtreme Xecutor. I would also say that this was an awesome series, however, I did not like the reveal of Kentei as actually being Shiba-I. I mean really? They gave so many hints that it was her that you almost wanted to believe it wasn’t her. I was hoping for something completely out of left field, something that no one would have thought of as a surprise twist. But no, it actually was her. It wasn’t anything bad, and it didn’t hurt the story at all, but I was really expecting (or hoping) for something completely unexpected, something that would shock and amaze me. Unfortunately that just didn’t happen this time. Oh well, I’m still happy with how the season turned. Probably the best season since Dragon Destiny, let’s hop they due a fifth season with this level of awesomeness.

I managed to snag a copy of a Thai movie called Chocolate, directed by the same director for Ong-Bak and the Protector, two of my all time favorite martial arts movies. I happen to be a huge fan of Tony Jaa, because I think he is the only martial artist in the entire world that would be capable of taking on Bruce Lee. Yes, he’s that amazing. I especially love how every single move he does looks like it has an insane amount of power behind it. There’s so many points in all his different movies that I could show where you can clearly see all the power he has in his blows.

Anyway, Chocolate is the story of a girl named Zin who is the daughter of a Japanese Yakuza boss and his Thai girlfriend. The twist is that the girl happens to be autistic. Thus she then spends her days exercising and watching Muay Thai movies on TV. When her mother then becomes bed-ridden from cancer, Zin goes on a quest to get money for her mothers operation and runs afoul of some gangsters. The funny thing about the movie is that the actress playing Zin, unlike Tony Jaa, does not have actual Muay Thai or Muay Boram experience. The only martial arts experience that she has is in Taekwondo. Thus, she needed to be trained in the art for two years before the production of the movie and another two years during the movie. Sadly, this means that for the whole beginning of the movie, the actress clearly is doing Taekwondo if you actually pay attention. However, later on in the movie she then begins to do the Muay Boram we’ve all come to know and love & actually does a great job of it for someone that had to learn it in such a small amount of time. The movie is very impressive in it’s martial arts and also in it’s stunts, and includes the fight scene that makes the movie for me: near the end when Zin must fight a retarded young man with the twitch that fights for the mafia. This scene made it for me just because of it’s originality. I mean, what other movie have you ever seen shows two martial artists fighting that also happen to have mental diseases? Sadly the fight scene was pretty short, but it was still memorable. Unfortunately, my main gripe with this movie is just the actress. While everything in the movie is amazing and the actress certainly has skills, she just doesn’t have the charisma of Tony Jaa. Tony Jaa just grips you in every fight that he’s in with his fight skills, ferocity, and utter unpredictability. This girl sadly does not. It’s not bad for her first movie and I would tell anyone this is must-watch martial arts movie, but that would have to be after Ong-Bak 1 & 2 and the Protector. Once you watch those, then watch these. Ultimately while this is a great martial arts movie, it just can’t compare to the director’s previous efforts.

Also managed to get a copy of Resident Evil: Degeneration along with Chocolate. Resident Evil: Degeneration is the CGI movie for the Resident Evil series that was made as a prequel for Resident Evil 5. The plot involves Leon and Claire teaming up yet again to fight off the zombies in an airport and to fight the new global threats from terrorists using Umbrella’s viruses. It’s a pretty interesting movie that offers a pretty fresh take on the Resident Evil story. Also, Capcom really wants to turn Leon into a badass. I’m sorry, but for me, the only badass allowed in the series is the immortal Barry Burton. He’s my whole reason for playing Resident Evil 1 and why I don’t like the remakes as they changed all the voice acting from the original. I actually happened to like the old voice acting from the original, Capcom, thanks a lot for screwing me over on that one. I’m just kidding though I probably would play the remakes if they weren’t so damn expensive everywhere I go. I’m also going to try to buy a copy of Tales of Symphonia. I have the enhanced ps2 remake, but I would like to play the game in English, which I’m only going to be able to do on the Gamecube. At least it will give a justification for my Gamecube, which I haven’t done anything with since I got it. There aren’t any games for that system that I want and I refuse to ever play Super Smash Bros. I played that once, and never again, because it was horrible. Anyone who thinks that game can be played on a competitive level should have their head examined.

Speaking of Resident Evil, I made a couple purchases over the PSN network today, my very first purchases. I was going to purchase Persona 3 Portable because I had heard it was cheaper, didn’t consume as much battery life, and loaded faster. Turns out that the download is the exact same price (49.99). So yeah, I’m buying the game with merchandise, not no silly digital. Instead though I purchased some games off of psn:
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3
Super Street Fighter 2 HD Remix
Final Fight Double Impact
Gundemonium (I think that’s the name lol)

And got some games from my friend:
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Super Puzzle Fighter HD remix
Megaman 9
Plus some downloadable content for disgaea 3.
Damn, that’s a lot of games to write about (cracks fingers)

Anyway, Resident Evil 2. Hot damn this game is hard. Like wow. I think it’s partially just the controls, because I have a hard time getting used to the old controls because I haven’t played in so long. I’ve been playing the game mostly on my psp because I had a hard time playing with the ps3 controller. The game is seriously scary though. Especially when I play the game with my headphones and the sound turned up, with nothing else in the background…gives me the effin chills lol. So glad I can play this. Now I can play these awesome games before Capcom butchered the series with 4 and 5. Not to mention they were only 5.99 each. Awesome. If I can get reused to the controls and deal with the difficulty, I’ll probably play both games to completion. I’m going to play 2 before 3, however, to kind of go through continuity.

Super Street Fighter 2 HD remix is really good, and I highly recommend anyone to get it. It retains all of the original classics controls and game play style, all with redone graphics made to match the UDON comics style. Funnily enough, they even retain the originals classic sounds effects. Problem is months of playing SSF4 has made my execution go to the pits. As most people know, unless you have had excellent execution throughout your life, your execution will go down as a result of playing SSF4. The easy inputs in the game really allow you to just be completely sloppy with your execution, which hurts in a game like this, where your execution needs to be spot on completely perfect. Negative Edge helps slightly, but it’s better to have your execution high for obvious reasons. Due to this, I’m going to be playing this game slightly more so that I can raise my execution back to what it used to be. If anyone wants to play me, my PSN tag is fr49200.

Final Fight Double Impact was kind of a disappointment because I thought they would also change the game around, or added HD graphics. Mostly the only changes have been a rearranged soundtrack and added online co-op. I could understand not changing the game around because it would probably upset most of the hardcore fans who want the game just like the original, but here’s the thing: I have the original on MAME. I was able to play the whole game for free. Thus, when I spent 14.99 on this game, I was hoping for something new: new enemies, maybe a new stage. Instead I just get a remixed soundtrack, online co-op, and unlockable extras. I’ll play it simply for the fact that I’m bitter about having spent the 14.99 on it, but man Capcom, you could’ve done so much more with the release. Not to mention that all you have to do to get your hands on the game is buy most Capcom classics collections to get the game (and those are like, what, 9.99 now? Lol). It was pretty disappointing, but the simple fact that it’s Final Fight kind of allieviates the pain.

Gundemonium is basically a bullet-hell shmup that was released on PSN a while ago that I got for…9.99 I think. It was mostly just to spend the extra money that I had. It’s a pretty decent shmup with some story about anime magical girls stopping some great threat or other. The story is completely throw-away, like most shmups out there, but what I find funny is the game-advertising: They continually hype the game’s “anime” graphics and character design. The reason why I quote “anime” is because it’s that American anime style where you know it’s not Japanese. It’s really obvious. It doesn’t stop the game from being pretty entertaining though. This will definetly not keep me from playing Deathsmiles though. It’s a very good game for being an indie. I think you could tell that the creators of the series played shmups a lot, particularly bullet hell shmups. I have yet to really give the game some of my time, but I will in the future.

Lastly I also got Marvel vs Capcom 2 from my friend, and gave that a bit of whirl. It loads a hell of a lot faster than the ps2 version that I have and usually play, and the graphics look like they have been beefed up a bit. I never really wanted to play this game because I heard that it was imperfect from the arcade version. Apparently they had removed some of the more popular glitches from the game. In the end though, you get online play. Plus it’s not like the ps2 version is exactly arcade perfect either; that version also has some glitches removed. Anyway, I’ve been practicing a little on it, but I’m going to try asking around and finding out what are the removed glitches and changes. The problem is that even though it’s “universally recognized” that the ps2 port of MVC2, besides the glitches, is arcade-perfect, a lot of fans say it actually isn’t. I’ve heard a lot of people claim the port is slower, faster, or laggy. With all these different feelings on it, I personally think all of it is subliminal. It’s just how people feel at that time of the month. Hell, it could even be an excuse when someone drops a combo and loses their match.

Megaman 9 was really cool to get. I had wanted the game a lot back when it first came out, before I had a next-gen console, then when I put money on my psn account I completely forgot about it. But man does the game kick your ass. This game might also qualify for my hard games commitment. It’s even harder because I haven’t played a real Megaman game in years. I think the last one I played was Megaman X4. Come to think of it, I’m still stuck on that game, at the point where you have to fight all 8 bosses before you fight Sigma. If I practice for a day and watch vids on boss patterns and how you can avoid getting hit, I can pretty much beat all 8 bosses with minimal hits, but Sigma is still a bitch. Megaman 9 might be the hardest megaman game I’ve played since 2. I’ll still play it though, soon as I find out the proper boss order.

Last was Super Puzzle Fighter HD remix. I was thinking about buying this for the HD graphics and remixed music, but I decided not to because I already had the game on MAME and learned my lesson with Final Fight. Ended up being a good decision because I got it that same day from a friend. Anyway, from what I played the game isn’t really that different from the MAME version I have, but it does look pretty. I’m going to have to wait until I have some friends over to play this game more because this is a game that needs more than one person to play with. It’s not as fun just playing by yourself. This would make a great party game though. Probably going to try to get my sister to play with me, seeing as how she usually likes a good puzzle game every now and then.

The Disgaea 3 DLC apparently is only accessible post-game. This means that I have to actually beat a Disgaea game, something I’ve never been able to do. Yeah, I know, sad. The extra content seems to be some extra maps and some new characters from previous Disgaea titles. My friend told me that the content ranges from pretty fun to game-breaking, so can’t wait to try that.

Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve also downloaded some extra content for certain games. I downloaded the Joker maps for Batman: Arkhum Asylum which I have yet to try, as well as the five ps3 exclusive fighters for UFC undisputed 2010, which I also have yet to try. I also downloaded some bonus content for Cross Edge, which apparently is new stage maps. My friend also allowed me to download the alternate costumes from Street Fighter 4, which means I can now use them in Super. I’m probably going to download the new alternate costumes for the Super characters, but I’m going to wait for them to release the batch pack at the end of the month like all the other smart people are doing. Will probably also get the Blazblue: Continium Shift DLC once that finally hits. Can’t wait for that. I wonder if Makoto, Valkenheim, and Platinum the Trinity are going to be allowed in tournaments, since their DLC only. I see no reason why they shouldn’t, which tells me we are going to see a ton of Makoto’s and Valkenheim’s once they come out. I don’t know if Platinum is going to be very popular though. She might get popular with the Arcana Heart crowd since she looks like she would be from that game rather than here. I’m going to give all three a fair shot seeing as how I have to pay for them, but I’m still going to be maining Noel. The only other characters I would probably try maining are Tsubaki and Makoto, but that depends on how I like them. Since I’ve been playing only Noel since the arcade release of Blazblue: Calamity Trigger, anytime I play with someone else the game feels completely weird.

Games I looking forward to besides Continuim Shift:….none lol. Maybe I’ve just been out of the loop but there’s no games out right now that interest me. Everything I’ve been playing has been old games that I wanted to get a long time ago or games that I don’t care about. I think the only game that I would say I am looking to get is Mutsuhime-sama Futari, and that’s because a copy showed up locally. How much you wanna bet it’s gone by now?

Either way, I did get four new games; one for my ps3, the other three for my 360. These are Tomb Raider: Underworld, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Ghostbusters, and Star Ocean: the Last Hope International. Also decided to buy a Play-and-Charge Kit for my 360, because my batteries would always die during a game and get me killed. I don’t like the fact that Microsoft feels they have the ability to charge 20 bucks for something that should rightly be included with the damn controller when you buy it. The controller can suck up juice like no one’s business, so the play-and-charge kit becomes almost essential, thus they feel they have the right to charge for it. Look at the ps3 controller; that comes right out the box without having to buy anything separate, and it doesn’t use some weird wire like the 360; it uses a regular USB wire like most HDD’s. Not to mention that it comes with every controller. This means that if I want to buy a new controller for my ps3, it will cost me 50 bucks. If I want to do the same with my 360, it will cost me 50 bucks for the controller, and another twenty bucks for the play-and-charge kit. That comes out to seventy bucks all together for the 360, as opposed to 50 bucks with the ps3. What a scam.

Anyway, Ghostbusters is actually very fun. It really captures the feel of how the Ghostbusters movies used to be and is very fun to play if, like me, you used to watch the movies all the time as a kid. The game is rather dark though. And not dark like scary and macabre; I mean dark like I can’t see a thing in front of me. It can get pretty hard to see anything with the puny flashlight that they give you. I haven’t played a game this dark since Doom 3. The game also can get pretty scary, since the ghost’s like to try to scare you a lot by popping out of scenery or shooting out from the walls. The game off-sets these frights by loading up the game with all the comedy seen in the movies. Peter Venkman and the rest of the cast are all just as hilarious as they were in the movies, and trapping ghosts has never been so much fun. Like most people have said about the game, it really does make you feel like you are a ghostbuster. From using the PKE meter to shooting the proton packs, everything feels like it should feel: like the ghostbusters going out and getting to business. Getting to take on the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was also really epic since you’re hanging off a ledge while he climbs up the building toward you, shooting marshmallow minions the whole way. Then while you’re trying to get to the building he’s attacking, you have to dodge his feet and the marshmallow’s he’s throwing at you. All while Dan Akyroid is cracking jokes. Problem is I don’t think that the newer generation is even going to know who these guys are. Ghostbusters isn’t exactly famous with the kids anymore. Hell, when I first saw the movie it was old. Kids aren’t even going to know these guys were Saturday Night Live, are that Dan Akyroid was in Coneheads (loved that movie as a kid). I hope that by playing the game it encourages a whole new generation to sit down and watch the movie, giving the franchise a whole new generation of fans. These days kids don’t ever want to sit down and watch something unless it has amazing special effects, which is really sad, because some of the best movies are those with only middling special effects, like Star Wars. I’ve been trying to get my sister to sit-down and watch the original, but she won’t, saying the movie looks way too old. She’s the opposite of me in that I don’t care how old a movie is I would still watch it. Oh well, maybe when she gets older she’ll change.

The other two games that I got were Tomb Raider: Underworld and Tomb Raider Anniversary Edition. I got these game mostly because they were cheap and because I had always wanted to play them. Since I never got to play any of the ps1 entries, it always felt like I had missed a part of gaming history. Then of course the series has seen a bit of a resurgence now that the newest entries were returning to “the series former glory after a ton of shit games”. Glad to see that in any case. The only one I’ve played was Underworld, so that’s the only one I’m going to talk about. Underworld I’m still on the first stage of the game and I’ve managed to take out the giant kraken. Don’t know if that’s the last time I’m ever going to see him. The game is pretty good, though the camera goes bonkers some times. Will keep playing it; I haven’t played it enough to formulate a clear-cut opinion on the game.

Star Ocean: The last hope is a game that I’ve been wanting for a good while now. I played Star Ocean: Till the end of time almost to completion, and even though the game had a ton of bad things about it, I still thought it was decent. Hopefully this game fixes the mistakes. So far, I’ve been playing for about an hour. My gripes:

1) Enemies give piss-poor experience, thus requiring huge amounts of level-grinding to get anywhere in levels.
2) Environments are huge to the point where you can easily get lost. You might need a guide for this.
3) The camera can get completely spastic in closed spaces, like your ship.
4) The music drowns out the characters voices 90% of the time.

My likes:
1) The graphics are some of the best I’ve ever seen in any ps3 game ever.
2) The battle system in the game is extremely fun, even though it reminds me a little too much of the Tales series.
3) Blindsides and the Board system reward strategic and skilled gameplay by increasing experience gained and other little goodies.
4) Battles are frequent, making it not hard to level grind.

It’s still way too early to really make any judgements on the game right now, but I’m going to stick with this game because it’s really good. Will post my feelings later on.

Wow this is a long entry. I typed a damn essay. Anyway, see you guys next week!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Death smiles, Loli’s smile back

Bought a copy of DeathSmiles NA, and it is awesome. At first I didn’t know if I wanted to pay $50 for a shmup, but then I heard how the game comes with the OST a Deathsmiles faceplate and the limited edition box, and the game is still $50. Not only is that an amazing deal, but I also wanted to show Aksys support for what they are doing by releasing these special editions that can cost $100 normally and releasing for around half the price. That’s part of the reason why I bought Record of Agarest War also (that and the b3wbs! Lol)
The game is all sorts of fun. I mean really, if you want to play an easy shmup that can help you get better at them, this is the game. One of the gameplay features that helps you learn is that every character has a small golden ball right in their middle. That is the characters target point, thus the game teaches you that your character sprite itself can get hit without taking damage, as long as your target point itself doesn’t get hit. It’s a really good way to teach people about avoiding bullets and dodging patterns. Also, another good thing is that enemy bullets are played with what seems like a different graphical filter from the rest of the stage, so it makes it easier for you to see what you have to avoid. Aksys really chose the best possible game of the Cave lineup to bring over, because this game is easy enough for anyone interested in the shmup genre to learn the basics.
The game includes the original arcade mode, a remixed 360 mode with better graphics, and Ver.1.1, which changed certain game mechanics around. Then there’s also the included Mega Black Label, which adds an extra stage and character. This mode also has an arcade, 360 and 1.1 version. Then each stage can be customized with 4 different categories. Then there are four characters (five in MBL) each with their own different specialties, like scoring and survival. Add this up, this means with 6 different modes, 4 different difficulties, five different characters, 2 ways of playing, plus online, there are more than 200 different ways to play the game. Like shmup fans like to say: “A good shmup is forever”.
I feel real sad about the reviews for the game however. A lot of people are complaining that the game is really short, that you can beat it in an hour, and that it should have been a downloadable game. These are obviously missing the entire point of a shmup. With all the modes you can play through, all the stuff you can do with it, you’re really going to complain about that? I give the game a solid 10, just because of how much you can do with the game and how much there is to learn with it. Anyway this is just a short review of the game, I will probably post more as I play.

Record of Agarest Debacle

So after browsing the Gamestop website, I come to find out that a Gamestop barely a train ride away from me had a copy of Record of Agarest War. So naturally I went right after work to buy it. Hoo boy. If I wasn’t having such a tough time getting this game I wouldn’t have bothered. I’ll try to take a pic of the game later on so you can all see what I mean, but wow, the box was completely messed up. Bent in a whole bunch of places, the thing looked like it was tossed like a football. Then the clerks had the nerve to tell me it was brand new. You can just look at the wrapping and tell that someone opened it, looked at what the free goodies were, and then shrink-wrapped the box again. Sad part is that it was a Gamestop employee that I happen to know. Might try to buy another copy of the game in better condition, but at the very least, every single thing was there. The Limited Edition version of the game (called the Really Naughty Edition, and the only version of the game sold in the states) comes with a felt pillow case of Erris, a lol mouse pad of Vira-lor, and a copy of the game with the included soundtrack. I would just like to say the art of the game is beautiful. Like, it’s amazingly good art, and I am probably going to do some research to see if the artist of this game has done any Visual Novels. Somehow the art reminds me of the amazing art that you can find in Shuffle!; even though I’ve never seen that anime before, I have seen the art, which also heavily impressed me. I’m actually considering doing a review of this game on Youtube, just so I can show off the collector’s edition stuff. If I do decide to, I will post a link later on.

The game itself is really fun. Since this is all I’m going to talk about this blog entry, I’ll give everyone a short synopsis. Basically, Record of Agarest War, (known as Agarest Senki in Japan) is a SRPG that became ridiculously popular over in Japan. The game mixes a competent SRPG with lots of Dating-Sim elements. When the young knight Leonhardt betrays his kingdom in order to save a young elfin girl, he is visited by the elf version of C.C., who then gives him the secret power of the Geass so that he can take revenge on the head of the empire for killing his mother and blinding the young elfin girl in an attack…
Yeah I’m just kidding. Actually after saving the young elfin girl from his fellow soldiers, he is on the brink of death when he is visited by a young woman named Dyshana, who makes a deal with him: She will revive him and give him the power to save the young elfin girl, and in exchange he and his kin must become her Spirit Vessels, whatever these are is not revealed until later as the story goes on. Due to the way this game works, you actually take control of five different main characters, and for each character, you must gain a bride (thus the dating sim elements), then you play as the resulting son, who inherits skills and qualities of his parents. I wonder what would’ve happened had they had a daughter…Anyway, with this system you can actually play through each of the five generations, which I guess each act like a chapter within the story. The game’s battle system sadly, is nothing really unique, as it is your standard fare. The funny thing is that the in-game graphics look a lot like Idea Factory’s other SRPG, Cross Edge; the only difference is that instead of a side view like in a fighting game, the game takes an angled overhead view. The game also features a pretty deep combo system, which allows you to bring other party members in during your attack, in exchange for exhausting your characters AP and only as long as they are on connecting points on the field. It’s actually pretty useful when you’re fighting one enemy, as you can choose everyone to attack right away then separate, thus killing the enemy before they can take their turn. The game’s characters are all very interesting, and like I said, the art is utterly amazing. The music in the game is of middling quality, much like Cross Edge. The majority of the tunes you will forget, however because of the 360’s ability to play any music you have stored on the hard drive, this completely negates the complaint in my opinion. Gameplay is your standard SRPG fare. You travel on a world map to different points where either a story point may take place, or a battle may take place. The actual battles themselves can range from being rather easy level-grind fare or requiring actual strategy, depending on how far in the game you are. I’m still at the beginning, so the battles are still fairly easy. I’m going to finish this game without a doubt so I’ll let you know how the game is when I’m done. By the way, Vira-Lorr is mine. You can’t have her.

Francisco Rosario: The King of unplanned purchases.

Yeah I’m claiming that title for myself. I mean, it wasn’t completely unplanned, but it wasn’t like I woke up in the morning and thought Hmm, I think I’m going to buy this today. It’s not like I one hundred percent regret the purchase or anything, but it’s like one of those moments where you can’t actually believe you did that. Just like to point out, I’m still happy with it.

Anyway, what is it that I bought that earned me this title? Why an all-new Xbox 360 Slim of course. I bought it mostly because I had heard that the new model has completely fixed the Red Ring problem, and I truly think they did. The new model has a lot more fans and ventilations than the previous model did, and the console doesn’t get so hot as before. I remember when Joe brought his 360 over a couple of times, after a good hard day’s worth of playing, the console would be hot enough to sear your skin. Now, the console gets about as hot my ps3 does in the same amount of time, if not less so. Plus, if you install the game onto your hard drive, the disc practically doesn’t get hot at all. In an effort to save space on the console, I decided to only install the games I play the most right now. I don’t think I would’ve bought the console had the Red Ring problem not been addressed, as I do not want to pay for a console with such a high failure rate. That was my whole reason for buying my ps3 over the 360, as it is the more reliable hardware. Now that they might have fixed the problem though, I thought, Hey, why not? The fact that I got the system for about 300 dollars also influenced my choice. Everywhere else I know they are selling it for about 400. Anyway I like the system. Its compact, sleek, and links with my mp3 player better than my ps3 does. However, I don’t like the sleek finish, as it is just a complete fingerprint magnet. My PSP is the same way. It does make the system look pretty, but you shouldn’t touch it. Also, the system attracts a lot of dust, but then again everything in my room attracts dust, so it might just be me lol. I also really don’t like the fact that the only music you can put on the hard drive is songs ripped off a CD. Taking your mp3’s off your mp3 player won’t work like on your ps3. But the system can still play them when your not playing a game. Retarded, isn’t it?

Of course I had to buy the console with some games. The games I got for it include: Dead or Alive 4, Spectral Force 3, Tales of Vesperia, Wartech: Senko no Ronde, Battle Fantasia, and Rumble Roses Double X.

The first game that I will talk about will be Dead or Alive 4. When I bought the 360, I made sure this was basically the first game I got, as this is one of my main reasons for buying the 360. It’s pretty much the only game in the doa series that I didn’t really get to play very much, plus you can get a copy at GameStop for like less than 10 bucks. Anyway, this is right now the game that I’ve been playing the most. Anyone who knows me personally or who reads this blog knows that I am a diehard fan of this series. I’ve invested a lot of time to getting good at the game, so you know I’m going to play this entry like all hell. I especially wanted the game for Kokoro. As I said before, Kokoro is definetly one of my favorite girls in the series. My favorite would still be Ayane, of course, but Kokoro would probably be number two. Kasumi would be a very hard three, and Hitomi would be four. Argh, the characters in the series are so damn likable it’s hard to choose to just one. Kokoro is very hard to use on a high level though, mostly because she’s completely based off of her mixup game. Off of her punch, punch combo, she can either go with
1) An automatic multi-throw, which she can then continue into another combo or the rest of the multi-throw, though from playtesting I think the first option is very unsafe. I continually get jabbed out of whatever I was going to continue it to.
2) D P+K, P+K
3) FF+P
4) Her qcb Multi-throw
Plus you can just free-cancel and grab your opponent when they empty counter. She has a lot of mixup opportunities but they all require having an idea of what your opponent might do once the P,P comes out. Some people just spam punches in order to get out of stuff, so this can be very bad when you’re fighting a Kasumi or a Christie, because they have the fastest jabs in the game. In fact if you were facing a Kasumi or Christie I would advise you to forgo the P,P combo all together. Kokoro is easier to play online because of the added lag that will eventually hit the game. It will become harder for your opponent to counter your P+K, P+K combo, and harder to break threw your multi-throw. I believe this is one of the main reasons why Kokoro is such a popular character to use online. I just wish I could play online, but I don’t have an internet connection at home, so I lose out on that. Plus I don’t know if I want to pay $50 a year just so I can play doa 4 online. I’ve gotten to play online a couple of times with Joe’s 360, and the competition seemed to be healthy, except that they’re were too many Nicole’s and Kokoro’s for my taste. I guess they’ve become the Dead or Alive versions of Ryu and Ken.

The next game that I will talk about will be Tales of Vesperia. I had wanted this game ever since it first came out, since before I owned a ps3. I had become a big fan of the Tales series in recent years, mostly after playing Tales of the Abyss, and watching the later anime adaption. I had been trying to buy the JP PS3 edition for a while now, but I just can’t find a copy of the damn game locally, and online is out of the question since I don’t have a credit card. So now that I have a 360, I said shit let me just get the localized version. Of course that thus means that I have to deal with the English voices. Ugh. Agh. Eww. Danielle Judovits did an ok English Estelle, but she just isn’t moe. Nakahara Mai was much better. There are so many points in the game where I know Mai-kun was being moe, but they just couldn’t translate it to English, which just leaves Estelle looking stupid. Still the game itself is very good and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing it. The battle system is great and really does feel like a much better version of the one in Abyss. Plus I really love that, unlike Abyss, the skits were left totally voiced. It helps, but besides fixing the obvious problem of not having these games come to the states, they really need to allow either for dual voice acting, or just leave nothing but the Japanese voice acting. This series really doesn’t work in English.

Another game I got was Wartech: Senko no Ronde. I had heard about this game on SRK through a thread. Basically it’s a fighting game/shmup hybrid. You control your characters and attack with long range and short range weaponry, but you can use screen filling B.O.S.S. attacks which turn you into a shmup boss. The game is notoriously popular in Japan for this mix and it’s amazing graphics, but due to Ubisoft’s horrible port of the game, including no advertising whatsoever and making a horribly generic cover art for the game, the game sold like a wet paper towel. Thus you can literally get the game at Gamestop used for about three bucks. Oh well, if you ever feel like getting a good game for an amazing price, check this game out. Anyway, I still haven’t found who I think my main is going to be, because so far I’ve only played as Changpo. I’m going to try the rest before I go specifically for one person. Haven’t played this game that much, but I’ll go back to it someday.

Another game I bought was Spectral Force 3, at a recommendation by Joseph. Also I like the companies previous works, like Chaos Wars, Cross Edge, and am interested in another game of theirs: Record of Agarest War. The last nail in the coffin was that my favorite character in Chaos Wars, Hiro, is a recruitable character. It’s actually a pretty bad SRPG to me. I especially don’t like the fact that you can’t save mid-battle. Seriously, what SRPG nowadays doesn’t have that? Even Fire Emblem, a GBA game, has that, for God’s sake. Plus the game looks pretty bad for a 360 game. Like a lot of people have said before, the game looks like it could clearly be on the ps2. I’ll try to keep playing the game, but right now it’s pretty hard because there’s so many other better SRPG’s that I could be playing right about now, like Jeanne D’Arc or Disgaea 3.
Another game that I bought is Rumble Roses XX. I’m a big fan of the original game on the ps2, and this new version is supposed to have been really buffed up in terms of game play. I would say it is; there’s a ton more game modes and match types, and obviously due to the generation jump, the game’s graphics have been buffed up quite a bit. I’m only playing the game with one of my favorite characters, Reiko, but I will definitely play the game with other characters. I like this series just because I think it’s way better than the Smackdown vs Raw games that the WWE keeps releasing every other year. Those games don’t hit the game play mark as much as this one does to me. All they ever offer is create modes, which almost never interest me. Plus I find it funny that people keep talking about all the fanservice that keeps going on in these games. The stuff in here is nothing worse than some of the stuff that goes on with the WWE divas. All they do is pose and walk around in skimpy outfits. That’s pretty much everything that Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson have done in their careers. Not to mention that the game comes with a whole ton of unlockables. Seriously, this game has hundreds, maybe even thousands of things to unlock, so I can really see this game having tons of re-playability. Already started on some stuff, but I’m going to focus on unlocking the extra characters. Basically, every
character comes in a default version, namely a heel or face version. You can unlock there opposite version, plus their Superstar version, which is a stronger, more flashy version of their normal selves. I’m going to go for Superstar Reiko and Dixie first before everyone, because I love their superstar character designs. I tend to think of the superstar versions as their Wrestlemania versions haha. The only thing I don’t like about this release is that there’s no story mode. That in my opinion sucks. I actually liked the story mode in the original, and was hoping they would improve on it to make it better. Nope, sorry, no story mode for you. Oh well, that’s pretty much my only knock on it.

The last game I also got was Battle Fantasia. This was a fighting game that Aksys, the makers of Guilty Gear and Blazblue, made right before Blazblue. You can totally see where they got the inspiration for Blazblue. The story mode is almost the very same style, the story involves an evil entity that was destroyed by a group of heroes (four heroes instead of six), hell, the only thing missing is that there’s no tyrannical government involved. The game is marginally fun, but playing a 2D fighting game on the 360 pad is just a torture. Then it’s going to be a pain to buy an arcade stick just for the damn 360. I think that from now on, I’m only buying fighting games for the ps3. The only fighting game I would willingly play on 360 would be Dead or Alive, simply because that game works better on pad. This game itself doesn’t seem like much of a good game to me anyway. It’s certainly fun, but I pretty much imagine there’s no real scene for it. If a fighting game doesn’t have much a scene, then it’s a pretty good idea that the game sucks competitively. Though I can’t always say that holds true. Melty Blood anyone?

Anyway, there are two main games that I am looking to buy: Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach 2, and Record of Agarest War: The Really Naughty Edition. I saw the used version of Agarest at Gamestop, but since it was 49.99, and the new limited edition is 59.99, I would lose out no matter what. Thus I said forget it and I’m just going to look for the limited edition. For Xtreme 2 I saw a used copy in ok edition at Gamestop, but when I went to buy it they said they didn’t have any copies in stock. Typical Gamestop. Why have the case there then? If they had given me a job there I would’ve checked the whole stock for them, the bastards.