My PSP has been getting a lot more play from me lately, do to me finally picking up some games I’ve been wanting for a while:
1) K-On!! Hokago Live!!
2) Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2
3) DJMAX Portable 3
4) Disgaea 2 PSP
Hokago Live is a rhythm game from the same developers that made the Project Diva series. The game allows you to play as each of the five members of Hokago Tea Time through some of the bands songs, including songs from the anime such as “Don’t Be Lazy”, “Cagayake Girls” and “Fuwa Fuwa Time”, and some of the songs from their single CD’s. The song list is pretty expansive, and while I’ve said before that I am not a big fan of their music, being that I’m a Metal Head, they work surprisingly well in a rhythm game. But damn is this game hard! Its certainly not as hard as DJMAX, but the game is seriously challenging for me. I haven’t even managed to get S-Rank on any of the songs, though I have perfect cleared some. The funny thing is, since I got my sister a PSP for Christmas, she’s been playing the game hardbody. Which thus led her to getting a S-rank with Azusa on Fuwa Fuwa Time. I got so jealous. Now she can do it consistently. FML. Interestingly, even though Azusa is her most hated character, shes' the one my sister plays the most. Her and Mugi I believe.
Anyway, all five characters are played very differently, as the music will automatically sync to whichever characters instrument. For example, if you are playing Ritsu, the drum sections play much louder then the rest of the song, and if you are playing as Mugi, the same will happen with the piano bits. It really helps you appreciate the music in a new way, and it really seems like the developers were trying to make this a music simulation. A clever nod that I noticed is that Mio’s sections are played almost exclusively with the d-pad. Because she’s left handed. Get it?
The game also includes extra features, like unlockable costumes for the characters to wear, as well as foods and cake to give them to keep them happy. Doing so in gameplay will allow you to keep your chain going even should you break it. It’s a handy little feature, though I try not to use it, should it become a handicap in the future, like the auto-correct in DJMAX Fever. If you’re a big fan of K-on, the game is pretty much a no-brainer, but I recommend giving it a try even if you only have a passing interest in rhythm games; the game is fun, frantic, and fast-paced, even during the cutscenes where you’re all doing is just eating cake.
Project Diva 2 is the sequel to the first Project Diva game, and drastically improves on the original game. There’s more songs, more things to collect, more vocaloids, more customization features, and more fanart. Everything about the game has just been drastically improved. The game was also made harder then its predecessor, as they drastically reduced the already strict timing on the game. If you want to clear this game at the harder levels, you’re going to need to be spot on with everything that you do. The use of new Vocoloids was also a great addition. While I do love Miku, it’s really cool to be able to play as the other vocaloids, like Ren and Len. I have yet to max combo or perfect clear any songs, but that’s also because I don’t play the game nearly enough. If you loved the first game, then I highly recommend you get the second game. It fixed all the faults of the first game, has no problems at all, and makes the already enjoyable game even more addictive.
DJMAX Portable 3 is probably the reason why I don’t play the above game very much. Portable 3 is, quite frankly, amazing. The HD graphics are gorgeous, the songlist is awesome, and the gameplay is a greased engine. Almost none of the songs from the other games in the series make a return in this installment, and the ones that do have been remixed. This paves the way for a bevy of new songs to be released, and offers tons of new gameplay. While I do admit it’s a little sad to see some of my fav songs gone, like Stay with Me, Oblivion, and Miles gone, I do have some new favs to welcome, like Love is Beautiful, Say it from your Heart, Funky People, and Luv Flow. A lot of Djmax fans were peeved about some of their fav songs being taken out, but I didn’t mind. It makes room for a lot of different songs to be put in, plus if you really want to play those songs, just pop in Portable 2 or Hot Tunes. The HD really does help a lot, and makes the game look absolutely gorgeous. So far I’ve been able to max combo some of the songs I’ve been playing, but I’m still a little rusty. Since I’ve been playing less and less rhythm games lately, my timing has been rather off. But then again, that happens to me no matter what kind of game it is. Eventually, I just stop playing a game and when I go back to it, my skills have waned. All well. Can definitely recommend this.
I’ve also started on Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days. I’ve been a long time fan of the series since high school, but I’ve never really had the time to actually dive into the mass of content each game in the series has to offer, to the point where I’ve never actually beaten any game in the entire series. In fact, this entry is the only one where I’ve actually managed to get past Chapter 3. I’ve been getting help from my HS friend Florence, who’s been playing the series a little longer than I have, but has known how to truly play for years. She’s been tutoring me on the finer points of disgaea gameplay, like throwing, attacking, and general strategy. The game so far has been a lot of fun, and is encouraging me to continue on in the other games in the series that I have already. At the moment, I have:
1) Disgaea 1 (ps2)
2) Disgaea 1 (psp)
3) Disgaea 1 (nds)
4) Disgaea 2 (psp)
5) Disgaea 3 (ps3)
Literally, almost every game in the entire series. All I'm missing at this point is the ps2 release of Disgaea 2. By my recollection, 2 is the only one where I’ve actually managed to get past the 3 chapter. Funny thing is I actually like this series. I just haven’t had much time to devote to any one entry. Gonna try to see if I can actually play this game to conclusion.
This next game is another reason why I haven’t been playing much games lately. I’ve been playing Z.H.P: Unlosing Ranger vs. DarkDeath EvilMan. Quite frankly, I’ve been severly addicted to this game lately. The game story is filled with the usual kind of Nis humor, and also has their penchant of huge amounts of gameplay. Unlike the Disgaea series, however, this game isn’t an SRPG; it’s a rougelike. Albeit a pretty easy rouge-like, but a rouge-like nonetheless. The game easily has one of the highest level caps I’ve ever seen: 990,000. Here I am on ch.3 with a lv. 121 hero, only to read that shit lol. The game easily offers tons of gameplay just based on the fact that the dungeons are completely randomized, but I feel that the game is a little too easy for a rouge-like. Maybe I’m overleveled for the chapter I’m in (I wouldn’t doubt it), or maybe I’m just being spoiled by Izuna and Demon Souls, but I’m used to every rouge-like kicking my ass, and this one I’ve only died 4 times. I couldn’t tell you all the times I’ve died in Demon Soul’s and Izuna. I’m also interested in the fact that the game has unlockable dungeons based with Dengeki Maoh characters, like OreImo and Asura Cryin. Those are going to be interesting, but I’ll save them as an incentive for when I actually beat the game. This game is very similar to Disgaea in that the main game is relatively short, but the post game content you can literally play for ages, or until the next game in the series comes out.
Another game I’ve been playing recently is Hokuto no Ken: Ken’s Rage. I know this game has gotten a lot of shit about it, since it’s a beat ‘em up mash game, but people seem to forget one important fact: IT’S A FUCKING BEAT ‘EM UP!!!! How the fuck are you supposed to make this shit not repetitive when the whole point of the game is for you to fight tons and tons of badguys?! Not to mention the game was based on Hokuto no Ken, an anime in which the entire point was for the main character to walk the earth beating up badguys. People go over the extreme for nothing, I swear. Anyway, the game is extremely fun to play. In legend mode, the story mode for the game, the player first assumes the role of series icon, Kenshiro, and goes through the entire manga’s first half of story. This runs the gambit from Kenshiro squaring off against the members of Nanto Seiken, like Shin and Souther, all the way until he fights his older brother Raoh. In other words, the game covers the entire story that was important. Amongst the other playable characters include Mamiya, Shin, Raoh, Jagi, Toki, Rei, Souther, along with Mr. Heart and a random outlaw as a downloadable characters. The game uses a pretty standard leveling bored where you use the points you acquire from defeated enemies to bump your stats and learn new moves. Enemies range from the typical fodder you usually encounter in beat em ups, with the characters from the anime being amazingly well rendered. While the game’s graphics are nowhere near the likes of FF13, the graphics are still amazingly welldone considering the fact that it is a beat em up. However, in a game like this, you don’t play for the graphics or story (even though it has a pretty kick ass story mode). You play for the gameplay, the sheer satisfaction of being able to combo, launch, and punch the daylights out of any punk that comes your way. This game delivers that feeling in spades, and to me feels like one of the most satisfying brawlers since Final Fight or Streets of Rage. The characters are all larger than life, and there’s really nothing more satisfying than watching Kenshiro kill an enemy with his legendary Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken. If you’re a fan of the Dynasty Warriors series, beat ‘em ups in general, or the Hokuto no Ken series, this game is definetly a great buy. I haven’t had so much fun with a next gen brawler or a Dynasty Warriors series game since Dynasty Warriors 3. .
In other news I’ve also gotten Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children Complete. Despite the fact that I am, all together, not a big fan of Final Fantasy 7 as a whole, I still place Advent Children as my most favorite game of all time. That I can say without a doubt in my mind. There’s no single movie out there that I can point out that I would watch over and over and over again. I watched the original version of the movie back when it first came out in 2006 when I was in high school, and I must’ve seen at least 100+ times since then. I could still pop it in the dvd player and watch it another 100 without getting bored. So you could imagine my surprised when I heard about Complete. I had originally thought that complete was a just a special edition release with special items. How the hell did I found so late that the movie contained damn near a half hour worth of special bonus content in the movie? You know damn well I got that shit as soon as I heard! Lol.
The extra half hour of content made what was already a great movie and made it even better. I can say without a doubt. The movie’s main problem was that the movie was confusing. It was confusing even if you had played the original game. The movie’s plot made no damn sense. How the hell was I supposed to know that Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz were the remnants of Sephiroth from when he fell in the lifestream, and that he was influencing them from there in order to join with a piece of Jenova and come back to life like he had in the original game?! Sorry, but unless you were reading some of the special bonus content that came with the special edition, you would have no idea, because the movie would not explain it to you. The bonus content in the movie now makes the plot understandable, as it explores everything, from how Denzel was adopted by Tifa and Cloud, to what happened to Elena and Tseng, to Rufus’s kidnapping, and even includes a new ending to the between Cloud and Sephiroth. The entire movies plot legitimately makes sense now, and it adds amazing more depth to the film. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Go out and watch it, particularly if you are a fan of Final Fantasy or RPG’s in general. Hell, even if you’re one of the few who hates FF7, you might like this movie if you’re into straight action films.
I’ve also surprised myself by actually getting back into Yu-gi-Oh. I used to play the TCG way back when it first started in 2001, back when the series itself first started and was just starting to gain popularity. I kept on playing right into my freshman year of high school, then quit, mostly because someone in my school had stolen my main dueling deck, containing most of my rare cards. After that I was so pissed off about the game that I sold all my remaining cards to my friend Raymond and quit the series all together. If there was any reason I would say I got back into the game, it would have to be Tag Force 5, which I was playing for quite a while. Very interesting game; anyone reading this that has a psp should check it out. Back in the day when I was first playing the game, I remember the card game was seriously broken due to the fact that everyone would simply choose from a large pool of cards that were utterly broken when played together. This was especially if you (like all my friends) played with no banned cards, or as I like to call it, Unlimited. This meant you could thus play with the sealed 5 (my own nickname): Change of Heart, Monster Reborn, Dark Hole, Raigeki, and Pot of Greed. Oh what’s that? You do a large ass combo that let’s you get a Blue-Eyes onto the field, and ur gonna swing? Ok, Waboku to cancel your attack. Then on my turn, Change of Heart to give me your Blue Eyes, tribute it to summon Summon Skull, Monster Reborn to bring back your Blue-Eyes, Raigeki to clear your field and swing for 5500. Oops, my opponent flipped Mirror Force. Fuck. The card game back then was seriously just od dumb, owing also to the Duelist Kingdom arc of the anime, which was dumb as YGO could get (I hope). Konami realized the dumb ass mistakes they had made, and thus tried to correct by banning cards left and right and making weaker versions of them. This was a bomb because some of the dumb as hell cards ended up being made broken by the players. Thus, apparently Konami gave the fuck up and just made a ton of cards broken. Surprisingly, this ended up completely balancing the field, because now the entire game itself is broken. Now the card game is actually pretty fun to play. While I would probably never go as hard in this game as I would in Magic, I do feel I am seriously getting back into the game. I’m surprised though by the simple fact of how much single cards have gone up in price. Luckily there are a number of sites where one can buy some cards at a relatively cheap price, like trollandtoad.com. I’m not so much surprised that at the cards have gotten expensive; I do play other trading card games, it’s just a lot more than what I expected. At the moment, I’m mostly running a agro-tuner deck, though once I decide on the cards I may choose to run either a Fortune Ladies deck or a plant deck, mostly because I like the character themes. I would run a Dark Magician Girl deck like I always wanted, however she never got any good cards to work her with, and since she really needs Dark Magician and Magician of Dark Chaos, the deck would eventually become a Dark Magician deck rather than what I want, then with all the other cards that need to be in there, the deck ends up becoming a spellcaster deck rather than what it’s originally supposed to be. Either way, I did still get what I wanted. I ended up purchasing a custom play mat with DMG design online. I commissioned a pojo.com member, D.O.A., to do the DMG artwork for me, and I’m having a Canadian store, Teddynme, do the play mat printing for me. Still waiting on the play mat to come in the mail, but at the very least I’ll show you guys the artwork, seeing as how it’s already online.
It came out looking really well, and I’m just hoping it looks just as good on the play mat. Teddynme is being really unprofessional about answering my emails concerning the purchase and the shipping, so I’m not going to link to their page. However, I will link you guys to D.O.A’s photobucket page showing some of his custom artwork. The man is really good with his photo editing, and he is really timely about getting back to you with emails and the actual artwork, not to mention his prices are very reasonable. If you’re looking good artwork for your playmate, I can definitely recommend him.I’m also very hype for the AH3 release on the 360 and ps3 last week. I’ve had my copy preordered on AmiAmi since October, and I ordered the regular version to save the costs. I don’t really care so much for the stick, and the limited edition goodies I can probably pick up online, should I so desire. The artwork will probably be scanned online anyway. Problem is, thanks to the postman being a lazy fuck and Martin Luther King Jr being born at the time of this writing, that thus means that even though the game is sitting there only 4 blocks away in some box, I cannot pick it up until January 17, at the time of this writing. I got so mad, because now I’m going to have to do what I did with Blazblue: Continuim Shift, and play the game after work as opposed to during the weekend, where I have more time to play around with shit. Argh.