Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Zero Punctuation: MOH Airborne

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means! Zero Punctuation Wednesdays!

Lots of F-bombs in this one, just in case you're scared of profanity.

Yeah, I'm copping out today - It's Halloween, and it's still a holiday! Other two game reviews later this week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Let's start off today with a quick review of Guitar Hero 3 for the Wii, shall we? Only because it's the one game out of the three new ones this week that I've been playing the most.

At the ceremonial sacrifice of one Wii Remote to the guitar of the Rock Gods, you have your wireless axe ready to shred some tunes. And there's no need to remove the thing to start the game, with its analog nub right there on the guitar to navigate everywhere. So, until anyone wants to play any 2-player game, my Wii Remote is taking permanent resident in that guitar. And I really love assembling and disassembling my guitar, for some reason.

I'll save you most of the filler you'd probably read from other reviews and say this - Guitar Hero 3 is just more songs, and online.

That's it.

Does that make it boring? Hell no. With about 6-7 more songs to play through career mode, as well as the bonus extra songs to purchase, there's gonna be plenty of nights rocking out. As a friend noted, though, some of the cover songs suck ass bad, and the gameplay often focuses more on complexity rather than mapping notes logically to the guitar or beat. Personally, I'm putting this blame on the company switch, which somewhat eases these issues.

The online thing is new for me, since the past two games I've been limited to just the PS2 version. The setup process seems to be quick and painless (mostly because I haven't had any friends to invite yet...cursed friends codes), and scores seem to be submitted once you finish the song, which is very convenient. A word of caution, though - make sure to keep the autosave on. If you disable it, play some songs, and then save the game, your online stats may look a little lacking. Of course, it doesn't help that the site's been hit on and gone down more times than your mom. (Yeah, I went there.) Unlike your mom, though, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking (double-burn!) - so give the site some time to recoup.

One thing I hate, though, is the battle versus game. Who's idea was to add power-ups and the ability to "attack" your opponent with things like "broken strings" and "amp overload"?? Can't people just rock out harder than the other, and then tally up the points? I don't like wasting time trying to read disappearing notes or pressing one button to "fix" a broken string - it's fucking stupid, and anyone who thinks that any wins from this mode is a win should be smacked with their own guitar.

Overall, until Smash Bros Brawl comes out, that Wii's gonna stay cozy in its new guitar home.

By the way, here are my current GH3 stats.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Best AND worst weekend ever

I am weak.

Last Friday, I finally got my pre-order I placed for Phoenix Wright 3 for DS, and was happy to dive into 5 new cases for me to solve on the go.

Then I met up with my brother Saturday, who reminded me that Zack and Wiki was out for the Nintendo Wii. After all the glowing reviews I've heard of this game plus the cheap price ($39.99!!), I went with my brother and bought the game. (Thanks, Ryan.)

So now I had two games to play. Makes sense - I just finished Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Rogue Galaxy. I'm just queuing up my list once more.

Then "Guitar Hero 3" Sunday snuck up on me. And by "snuck up on me," I mean "jumped me, beat me up, and took my money." Surprisingly, I was able to walk in and pick up an extra copy for the Wii with no reservations! Take that, EB!

But my game count has increased to 3 over the weekend.

I am very weak.

Expect personal reviews of these three games this week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rogue Galaxy...finished!

Clocking in at almost 105 hours of gameplay, the great story behind Rogue Galaxy is complete. And wouldn't you know it - there's even more stuff unlocked that I can complete! Well, at least I can finally give it the official "finished" stamp and move on.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Remember when I kicked your ass in Smash Bros? No? Let's watch the instant replay, shall we?

I pray, pray, pray that this is not a typo:

"This time, you can view replays. What this means is, the game records what you did in brawls or in Target Smash and lets you review it."

The ability to record brawls?!?! This game just gets better and better!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Animal Crossing going MMO?

Personally, to finally get some information that the game is not forgotten is good enough for me...but to find a rumor that it may go towards the MMO route is a double-edged sword.

Don't get me wrong...this game was crying to be really, truly online for a while now, and they almost got it right with Animal Crossing: Wild World, what with their online town visitation and Wi-Fi capabilities. But that's just visiting someone else's town, which is still just one town. When I played Animal Crossing: WW, I was expecting to be able to visit some humongous Town Square where I could visit 20-30 people at a time to trade, converse, and possibly hit with my bug net. Hehehe...

All childplay aside, the rumor of going MMO is definitely a positive step for the game. Now the bad...

When most people think MMO, the first thing that comes to mind is World of Warcraft, or WoW...and the next thing that comes to mind is addiction. What other massively popular game can you think of where it's critically acclaimed for its hidden social interaction, while at the same time blamed for the small number of stupid people starving themselves playing 3 days straight in a public cafe? I don't want to read about children loosing their ability to sleep and eat over trying to earn enough Bells to pay that Crooked Nook for larger house upgrades.

What I would like to see in this next iteration is perhaps some other modes of transportation. We've seen trains and cars, but will we be able to own our own car to travel? Hell, even a bike would work fine. Just anything to traverse the possibly large maps that this game may have.

Oh, and Nintendo? Make that Town Square meeting place. Wouldn't it be just awesome to have everyone there listening to your announcements, as opposed to just sending mass letters to everyone that they got a secret gift from the president?

Me? I'm gonna take swings at people with my bug net.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This is heavy, Doc

So I made a local trip to the nearby Circuit City during my lunch break and found Guitar Hero 3 all set up on the Xbox 360 kiosk. Score! And, after noticing no one was around, I latched onto it like a leech on an open wound.

They have 5 songs on the demo:

- Even Flow (by Pearl Jam)
- Lay Down (by Priestess)

- The Metal (by Tenacious D)
- Hit Me with your Best Shot (as made famous by Pat Benatar)
- Rock You like a Hurricane (as made famous by Scorpions)

Of course, I started playing "Rock You like a Hurricane" on expert. Then things started going downhill fast.

Now, I don't know if it's because the setup was hastily put together, or that the developers decided to go back to the old way of doing hammer ons and lift offs...but I suddenly felt like I was playing like shit back there. Sure, after a few more tries, I was able to pull it off...but it still irks me in a bad way. (Found out later that they forgot to calibrate the lag. Stupid employees.)

In any case, I need to comb my hair back. The employees were so happy to have the demo up that they upped the volume to 11.

And, for the hell of it, here's that clip from Back to the Future.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm gonna need more popcorn...

Video games come with a lot of claims. Realistic graphics, awesome gameplay, great multiplayer...but two claims that I don't think work together are the "movie-like scenes" and "over X hours of gameplay."

I enjoy my movies, and I enjoy a lot of gameplay value...but together? I wouldn't want to watch an 80-hour movie, nor do I want to play a game with half of that time in movie-like cutscenes.

Sure, what most companies mean is that the game's plot and story will "flow" like a movie. But sometimes they flow too much. Like "Xenosaga Episode 1" too much. Or "Metal Gear Solid 2" too much. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum game companies get heckled for single-digit gameplay hours.

Somehow, I don't think any resolution is near. I mean, there are 2-hour movie-based games, and then there are games with tons of gameplay with hardly a lick of movie-like cutscenes.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Worst. Week. Ever.

No post today. This is mostly my fault. Will hopefully be re-energized next week.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quickie blog

Here are just a few tantalizing tidbits that are not enough for a full post, but definitely gets a nods up:

- Advance Wars DS 2 will have Wi-Fi as well as voice chat. In other words, be prepared to cover your ears if you ever beat me online.

- Little Mac is the newest addition to the Assist Trophies for Smash Bros. Brawl. What I'm hoping will happen when he throws the uppercut is the whole revving up sound effect. That would make this Assist Trophy killer!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Love is in the air

Finally...some box art for this eagerly anticipated title! I just hope they preserve the japanese dialogue, or at least give the option to change it.

Then again, if they can do the same great voice-over work as they did in Rogue Galaxy, then I really shouldn't worry about it. Check here for the full box art!

Late posts suck...TGIW

Sorry for all the late afternoon posts on my end. This is the second time this week, and it's starting to be a little unbecoming of me. I'll be bright and early tomorrow, though.

In the meantime, check out Yahtzee's hilarious review of the Orange Box today. Don't forget to check out his other awesome (and lewd) reviews at the Escapist.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lord of the DDR

It's been a while since I've played a DDR game intensely. The last time was when I was in college, playing in the campus arcade and making a dancing fool of myself in front of others. And that was when I was able to play the game through an hour non-stop, easy.

Now, I'm lucky if I'm still breathing after one song - which is what almost happened yesterday, when I "busted a move" (I'm using my "one bad 80's saying" card today) on the DDR pad at my company's rec room.

Granted, adjusting my settings on a Heavy song I was familiar with and dancing with a not-so-youthful body, I was really asking for it. As I lay there on the couch with fans cooling my buckets of persperation and calves burning, I thought to myself, "self? I think it's time to...break a leg (damn, out of "one bad 80's saying" cards) and utilize DDR as an exercise regiment.


Stupidity aside, I never initially
saw it as an exercise tool; I saw it as a way to dance to some really upbeat songs in a video game environment. And, I admit, I was a bit envious of those who attracted crowds in the campus arcade, with their seemingly infinite combos and complex execution of moves. It would take me a year of home-console practice before I started my arcade attempts and gather my own crowds.

Well, not exactly crowds...more like people who stopped to watch a geeky fool stomp his feet on 4 buttons in a flurry of maneuvers, desperately maintaining a high score without flailing his arms in a frenzied panic.

I'll do it all again, though - just not in public anymore. Either at work after hours or at home will be my dance floor.

Oh, and my arms still flail around like nobody's business. Maybe I should dance with my arms down.

Then again, maybe not.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Finished the story for Zelda: Phantom Hourglass over the weekend. I have to say, I'm still playing the game and unlocking more stuff even after I finished the game. Sorta felt like the story and side quests switched positions or something. No matter...whatever keeps me playing the game works fine with me.

Meanwhile, my Rogue Galaxy time has now clocked past the 85-hour mark. The strange thing? It's still feels fresh! I can't get enough of this RPG! Leveling up and merging weapons, getting Hunter points to increase my Hunter Rank, phenomenal storyline...all RPGs should be like this!

Friday, October 12, 2007

But they don't even wear pants

I had a conversation in my head wondering what the Gorons in the picture were saying at that very moment. Click to embiggen.

Cue "Ode to the Nut Shot."

That mysterious smudge...

Today's Brawl update involves something that was used little in the last Smash Bros. title - the snapshot. It was a nice little feature to include, and an even better way to show off how you kicked some Mario ass the last time your friend talked shit about Link. The problem, though, was that it was nestled so far into the game that many people didn't even try it out.

Now that the game's coming out on the Wii, the feature has an even larger role - the ability to save it on the SD card and to send it to other Wii owners! Also, they finally implemented the snapshot feature when you pause - something that would've been the icing on the cake since in the last game you could pan around characters while paused, and that was it.

All of those new features are those I've come to expect. The one thing that wasn't announced was what they blurred off in the last picture. Since everything in the picture is all about capture, do you think my comment on capturing entire movies of battles was far off?

If this caused the delay, then this game will DEFINITELY be worth the wait!

Uh-oh...I forgot, this is Nintendo, and, like salmon swimming upstream, they tend to flow against popular trends. On the complete opposite spectrum, that last option could very well involve that dreaded "sticker" mode - except on snapshots. Oh man, I would REALLY hate to be right on this instead of the movies prediction...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Brawl pushed to February 2008 *tear*

Nintendo giveth, and Nintendo taketh away. It's like they're punishing us for learning one of the most anticipated developments in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Nintendo: Okay,'s something big - Sonic's playable!
Nintendo: But now you just ruined your dinner. No dessert for you!

...which only proves you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sonic vs. Mario...FIGHT!

One of the most classic video game rivalries of all time is finally realized.


No matter what they say, it's never the "final" fantasy

In all my years of playing video games, no genre has challenged me more than the standard RPG. Each one practically demands hours of gameplay, constant attention to detail, and, as years passed, contains a multitude of side quests and missions that tack on even more hours to whittle away. Each and every one. Sure, you can "finish the story" and end it like that...but there will always be that "what if" factor. "What if" I finish that side quest? "What if" I collect all the runes and obtain the ultimate weapon? "What if" I finish the game with a different party and get a different ending?

Sure, RPGs boast an average of 40-60 hours of gameplay which, if you think about it, would be 2-3 days tops. But what gamers (aside from the obvious exceptions) play hours on end? If you take the typical gamer, a standard 40-60 hour RPG, and an average playing time of one hour (at most) per day of gameplay, you're looking at a single game that can easily last for 2 months.

Now do the math. Say I want to play 2 other RPGs, but want to also beat them within the same time span. That means I'd have to devote 3 hours a day for 2 months to play 3 RPGs simultaneously. And that's if I'm able to keep up with this absurd scheduling.

Maybe when I was younger and had less worries, I'd tackle something like this without a care. Unfortunately, much like most people, I've developed this "life" that demands attention more than Jack Thompson screaming "bloody murder" in Rockstar's lobby. I know that I don't have time to play these RPGs to their full extent.

What I want to know is...who does??

Sure, if no one finished RPGs, companies wouldn't release them at an alarming rate. I'm not an idiot. I just want to know who are the specific few, other than video game reviewers, that makes everyone else feel like they're inadequate to even start an RPG. Unless playing RPGs is a full-time job and you're able to plow through one a week, you must either don't sleep or don't do anything else once you get home.

And game developers? Please...I know you want to make each RPG you release as awesome as your company's reputation claims they are to be, and I don't blame you for it. But realize that your RPG is not the only one out there, and you can't expect your consumers to devote 100% of their time to one game. They're there to consume, and they mass quantities. It's digesting them that you should care about.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to hurl.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Side quests are expensive

Until recently, I've always considered the phrase "completing the game" as just that - completing the game completely, through the credits to the typical "the end" that many games display. It wasn't until recently when I got into a debate with a couple of friends about game completion and drew to the conclusion that there are two basic categories: "completing the game," and "finishing the story."

The phrase "completing the game" should be used when the player absolutely finds everything imaginable, or at least close to it. This includes any extra side quests, hidden items, completing 100% of everything, etc.

The phrase "finishing the story" is only used when just the basic game completion for the base story is done. In other words, a player breezes through the game with little deviation from the main plot.

I guess I'm more the latter than the former, due to the sheer number of games I own. For the most part, I'd rather progress through the game's original story to its conclusion rather than play a few more hours just to find an extreme powerup that won't make much difference when I need it.

Of course, that's not to say I never try to "complete" any games - it just takes time to get everything, and time's not exactly plentiful at this point of my life. Time is life's currency, and I'd like to spend it more wisely.

Under those circumstances, I guess you can say I'm nickel-and-diming my way through my video games.

How do you guys like to finish your games?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Atlus, you're busting my balls.

Okay, Atlus...fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. When I picked up Riviera for GBA, I did so back in my more fool-hearted days where I was riding the whole "Atlus is probably making a limited release, like Disgaea" vibe. And I enjoyed the game, for all the 3 hours I put into it. Then you decide to bring it over to PSP with more stuff added in...which, although very briefly, got me a bit peeved.

A few months later,
Yggdra Union for GBA comes out and, while still riding the "vibe," I picked it up. It's not a bad game for a passive SRPG player, and I got some shits and giggles out of it. Glad I picked it up before it sold out...

...wait, what's

Great. Just great. Thanks a lot, Atlus. What next? Moving Disgaea to PSP as well?

Oh wait...

Friday, October 5, 2007

"Canine weary" Friday

I was all ready to do a couple of posts today (lord knows there are a few issues I wanted to touch upon), but being a Friday and all, I'm just dog tired. Hopefully the weekend will give me some rest, and then I'll fill next Monday with a mess of posts.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Retro sprites FTW!

To say I am excited for Smash Bros. Brawl is an extreme understatement. I played Super Smash Bros. Melee to death; I've played 30-minute battles with my old college roommates end after end just to accumulate times and stats to unlock all the extra stuff, unlocked all characters and trophies, and, with the help of friends, completed all the missions in the game.

So, you can imagine how torturous it is to see one tidbit revealed each weekday at the Smash Bros Dojo site. Being a veteran of the game's style, the majority of these small updates doesn't make me jump for joy. But now and then, the smallest things are getting me antsy - like yesterday's update of sprite assist tropies, which used Excitebike as an example.

And I thought Game and Watch was a pretty cool 2D character in we're talking about laying the smackdown with a 2D retro sprite from way-back-when!

How much pwnage is that?

What would be great is if one of the cyclists fell off his bike, got on again, and was the last person to dole out damage. And if that last bit of damage knocked a player out of the game. That would be purely awesome. There's one thing that I'd like to see Nintendo do, and that is to do a better pause/replay function. The last game was pleasantly nice with the ability to pan the camera around and take pictures, but that required a 4th controller who wasn't playing to just take pictures. C'mon, I want to see full replays. Like Halo 3 replays.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The pen IS mightier than the sword

It has been a pretty dry spell for the Nintendo DS, and if Zelda: Phantom Hourglass didn't release this week, I would've forgotten it altogether.

All you need to know is this: performing a spin attack is as easy as drawing a circle.

What are you waiting for? Get the game now!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

...If you know what I mean

Nintendo's protective "jacket" for your Wii-mote is...well, insulting. Whether you're a grip pro or a palm sweater, please use the Wii strap! How many other TVs, lamps, and people's heads will suffer until people understand the sheer simplicity of tethering your controller to your wrist?

Now that this anti-slip jacket is out (and free, for existing Wii owners), the Wii strap doesn't look so stupid now, does it?

Thanks to Nintendo, you now have a rubber for your Wii.

Y'know, for case it tries to penetrate your TV.

Violently, and without warning.

At least you can now give it to your woman, knowing that it's covered.

And she'll appreciate the protection.

So no matter how much she sweats, you can be sure it won't slip off.

Whew, is it getting hot in here?

My video game roots turn 30

This was my very first video game system, and it turned 30 this month! Wow...does that mean I bought this system in its 9th or 10th year since its release?? That would be unthinkable today!

I didn't have much games to play with this system, but the ones I played weren't bad at all -
Missile Command, Q-Bert, Vanguard, Combat...but the one I remember most was Pac-Man. And I'm embarrassed to say that I thought there was an actual end to the game, leaving me to play for countless hours on end. Deception, thou art thy name...

Happy 30th, Atari 2600. Without you, I wouldn't have gotten Gameritis.

Monday, October 1, 2007

There should be a "does spouse know you have a blog" node

It's scary how accurate this chart is. Maybe scarier is the fact that I'm willing to post this on my own blog. So, if you find me suddenly blogging more, then I have definitely "stopped playing." (Thanks Miguel!)

And I'm still on my first life!

If you have a full case of Gameritis like I do, I'm sure this has happened to you before. You play a huge chunk of gameplay that you wouldn't want to suffer through again, and then suddenly you have to go somewhere that requires you to turn off everything. You frantically look around for a save point, but no luck. What do you do?

Well, the situation arose for me during a hefty playtime of Metroid Prime 3 during the weekend. I was hoping to get an hour of good gameplay before I had to leave the house, which I wasn't expecting much to happen. Turns out I killed off a mini-boss, found some upgrades, and explored a large chunk of the area. So obviously, to counter all these good things, karma decided to slap me in the back of my head and not reveal to me any nearby save stations for me to log my progress.
There are only a couple of options available to me in the short amount of time I had left:
  1. Play a little more longer to find an existing (but further) save station,
  2. Leave the system on while I'm gone for 2 hours, then return to continue playing, or
  3. Turn off the system and redo everything all over again.
I had exhausted option 1 a while ago, and option 2 can result in VERY BAD THINGS that I'd hate to go through again...which only left option 3. Painful as it was, I turned off the game. Sorta like ripping off a band-aid really fast.

Personally, I think save points outlived their existence as a useful tool and become more like an extra chore to perform. I'm talking about the solitary, glowing points on the map where the only purpose is to save and that's it. I'm not saying that they should be done away - they should be disguised to something more practical, or make it something that can be done anytime, anywhere. Lots of other games have done this without any complaints, making the gaming experience more streamlined and realistic. I mean, what in real life is a save point?

I guess, in a ironic twist, you can call a blog a person's own "save point." Wow, how weird is that? Oh, hey look, there's even a "save now" button to save a draft of my post.

Okay, time for me to beat this workday "level."