Monday, September 21, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band...finished!

And not only finished, but 5-starred every song on the game! Well, okay, this shouldn't have been TOO surprising for many reasons, but playing through their songs reminded when I listened to their music in my youth.

Like Rock Band 2, The Beatles Rock Band will warrant much more replay value in the months to come for a couple good reasons - my wife is always willing to sing, and the trophies list is quite challenging to complete, if not downright impossible. Well, perhaps not for someone specifically good at one instrument. I don't foresee myself completing that 550-note streak for expert drumming anytime soon. But so far I'm knocking them down as I go.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days arrives

The second game in the series, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days has arrived for PSP, along with its new content and tower gameplay mechanic from Disgaea 3. Hopefully, like the Disgaea PSP game before, the added portability factor will allow me to invest much more time into this game than I normally would if I had to hog the TV before.

Plus, it's harder for me to move the entire TV to the bathroom if I want to play in there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Zero Punctuation review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Now here is a treat, a game where Yahtzee finds to be good. But you know Yahtzee - the game-hating reviewer has to rag on something, right? So rather than praise what's been already praised before, he'll nick-pick all the minor flaws in the game and blow them up in a witty explosion.

The NSFW Batman: Arkham Asylum review is below, so enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scribblenauts writes its way into my home

Scribblenauts, the highly-praised game of E3 2009, is finally in my hands and on my head, thanks to GameStop's pre-order bonus - the rooster hat. Already, this game has me going nuts just on the title screen, where you're free to just simply write down what you want to appear on the screen, even before starting the game.

While it's true that you can find almost any word represented in the game, remember that most vulgar words will not appear. Plus, they categorized certain words with the same image. Trying typing "squirrel" and "chipmunk," and you'll get the same squirrel image for both. Plus, it's amusing to spawn two rabbits in the same screen, and watch them reproduce! For an added bonus, type in "your mom" and see what appears!

And, just because I got the pre-order, here's an image of me donning the hat.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune...finished!

Playing and beating Batman: Arkham Asylum twice over has given me tides of confidence over beating those types of games. Which is why I believe that it had a major part in me to complete Uncharted: Drake's Fortune in an astonishing (for me anyways) 5 days after purchase.

For an early PS3 title, there was quite an amount of detail, from the adrenaline-rushed gun fights to the crumbling rock barriers. And, like Batman: Arkham Asylum, there's a well-told story that's worth playing again - or watching again, if it were like a good movie. And I did this all without any hiccups or crashes, despite the firmware update they released recently to appease the few issues that were addressed with the new update.

While the game was great to play and the story flowed nicely, I think I'm gonna sit out a while before I play again. Unlike dying constantly in Batman, dying by some constant annoying gunfire in Uncharted is much more annoying.

I can't imagine waiting for a sequel for so long if you finished the game when it was released back in 2007. But the wait seems to be well worth it. Time to place my pre-order now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum (hard mode)...finished!

It's a very good thing I finished Batman: Arkham Asylum the first time in "normal" mode. If I had started the game on "hard" mode from the very beginning, I would've stopped playing in frustration. The meat of this game lies primarily in all the brawls you encounter throughout the game, and the "hard" part of the game is mostly from the enemies being stronger and more aggressive.

There are little aspects, too, that are ramped up in difficulty. Unlike the "easy" and "normal" modes, "hard" mode has no more of the Bat-sense halos over your enemies' heads during fights, so you'll truly need to anticipate their attacks to properly counter them. Also, they've decided that only in "hard" mode will the enemies be able to crane their necks and look above you, possibly catching you perched high up there in your seemingly-undetectable gargoyle and shoot you down.

In the end, I persevered through the tough battles, often spending up to a half-hour trying to pass the more endurance-driven bouts without being killed. Would I do it again? Hell no. If I'm gonna enjoy the story again, I'll play through it in "easy" mode next, just to equal things out. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to some more free content coming later this week!

A double dose of old PS3 exclusives

Taking full advantage of Best Buy's "buy one PS3 game, get the second half off" last week, I purchased two titles that'll be receiving the sequel treatment later this year: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. I figured that I should beat these games before the end of the year, with Ratchet having an additional DLC stand-alone expansion, Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty, to complete as well.

But so far, both games will sure to satisfy me to no end. Ratchet and Clank is just a great series overall, and I've had the pleasure of playing their second and third outings on the PS2. Uncharted just looks great with very convincing computer models that express more emotion than the characters from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

As of this writing, I'm giving both equal playtime, but might favor Ratchet over Uncharted, simply for the fact that there are still some unresolved issues with the game against the new firmware.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My wife's new earrings

Totally forgot to post this up, but my wife got some interesting earrings earlier this week. Now, I'm the gamer in this relationship, but she wanted to purchase this all her own; I didn't influence her to buy them at all. With that said, this is what she got, along with closer shot:

Blooper earrings. Isn't she awesome?

I'll try to get better pics of them later, but I had only one picture at the moment, and I had nothing else to post for today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band ends up in my hands

I enjoy listening to Beatles in pleasant, music-inspiring batches when I feel that the music scene is too bogged down in repetitious songs, but never did I consider the The Beatles Rock Band to be an immediate purchase. Even after the time I spent on the game at E3, the game just didn't offer the challenge that I've gotten accustomed to in Rock Band. Yes, I understand the songs are simpler and known for their melody and impact, not for their wicket riffs and drum sets.

So why did I end up making the purchase? To play with my wife.

My interests peaked when she inquired about the game randomly. "Did you hear about this game? I'd play this game with you - I recognize more songs here than your Rock Band 2 game." And it's true; most of the time in Rock Band 2, she just doesn't know or get into the songs played there.

With a small glimmer of hope, I bought the game yesterday and left it alone while I attended to other errands. When I got home around 10:20 pm, my wife, to my surprise, wanted to play The Beatles Rock Band with me. And better still, she took on the drums AND mic at once, with me on the guitar. This proved a bit too taxing on her, so she ended up just taking the mic for the rest of the time, but that over-enthusiasm was priceless.

For the rest of the night, we went from song to song, mostly navigated by my wife, and sometimes to songs that even I'm not familiar with. Little did I know that she bought a greatest hits CD years ago and listened to their songs before - she's possibly a bigger Beatles fan than me! (Which isn't much of a stretch - I'm more of the "vanilla"-fare Beatles fan) Best of all, she seemed to enjoyed herself more than I did, with all the glorious visuals and myriad of songs to play and sing to.

And thankfully, my view of the game at E3 was slanted. All I got to play was the bass, and that wasn't terribly difficult even in Expert setting. But guitar was decently difficult in Expert mode, and that made me all happy all over again. The sort of happy I got when I first played Rock Band for the first time. And I thought I'd never feel that way again at least until the next Rock Band, let alone a stand-alone game for just Beatles songs.

Thank you, Harmonix, for getting my wife to play games with me again!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Zero Punctuation review: Wolfenstein

For this "Lazy Wednesday," Yahtzee has a review for Wolfenstein, entirely in limerick form.

First, the Irish accent, and now this limerick style? Is Yahtzee getting bored of his own shtick?

I'll just fondly remember the days when Wolfenstein 3D was the craze, what with its floor-after-floor-filled-with-nazis goodness, and a machine-gun-wielding robot Hitler. None of this "glowing skeletons" crap.

Anyhoo...NSFW and all that good stuff below, enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Muramasa slashes its way to my house

Look at that fold-out wall scroll! Just look at that! That thing's HUGE! I'm a pretty tall guy, and even with my arm span I wasn't able to unfold it all and hold it up! Now THAT'S an impressive pre-order bonus!

Muramasa: The Demon Blade has been, thus far, a gorgeous romp through George Kamitani's pieces of art. Much like the same experience I had with Odin Sphere, Kamitani's artwork not only sets the mood and atmosphere, but blends naturally with the style and gameplay that is traditionally known with his games. The slight heaving of the characters' chests as they breathe, the additional animations that display your food being eaten bite by savory bite, the slight glances by your main character as you run seamlessly through the layered scenery...everything is alive and vibrant with color and movement.

I'm looking forward to treasuring every moment of this.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Batman: henchman blows himself away

So, I'm starting a new campaign through Batman: Arkham Asylum's hard setting, and everything is fine and dandy so far; Batman fights thugs, Batman knocks them unconscious, rinse and repeat. When the last henchman falls, however, he's left in a very uncompromising position. One may speculate that it's a position that, left untreated, can prove fatal. Or ridiculously embarrassing.

It's one thing to get beaten up by Batman, but to land with his balls in his own mouth? That's gotta be a bit demoralizing...

The game labels all the baddies you knock out to be "unconscious" when you observe them in Detective Mode, but it's hard to imagine this particular henchman surviving the fight after landing like this. While I forgot to check for myself if he was still unconscious or deceased, it's clear that this is a Batman "fail." But I'll chalk this to the programmers for this oversight.

So more like a Batman programmers "fail."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Zero Punctuation review: Tales of Monkey Island

The Monkey Island series has always filled me with such gaming pleasure in the past, and is part of a long-dying genre of point-and-click adventure goodness. I remember the small satisfaction of using the right combination of objects to achieve your goal and progress the well-written story closer to its climatic end.

Of course, when you don't know what the hell you're suppose to do, then it becomes an angry race at making every possible combination of objects. And when you finally find the right one, you scream at the screen, "how the fuck does that make any sense???!?!?"


But Tales of Monkey Island is one series I hope to play soon, just because I miss those types of games from my gaming youth.

I share the same ire as Yahtzee does with previous Monkey Island games, but my (hopefully) better intelligence allows me to cleverly reason which objects to use, as opposed to myself 14 years ago, when I had the patience of a ripened banana.

So enjoy this review of the first two episodes by Yahtzee and his Irish alter ego. NSFW, of course.

Batman: Arkham Asylum...finished!

Despite the short single-mode campaign, Batman: Arkham Asylum is lengthier than most other games, and the end result makes the game feel like a very pleasant interactive movie. Everything melds together into fine, almost seamless transitions from one event to the next, with Batman controlling like a true superhero that rarely falters in his quest for justice. And even if you fall off a ledge accidentally, a quick grapple will bring you back to solid terra firma in true Batman form, feeling nothing like any cheap quick-time event.

I look forward to playing the Challenge Maps over and over for a good score, and to find all the unlockables still hidden on the island. Plus, I still have to play the game again in hard mode because...well, because it's like watching my favorite movie over again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Scenes from the Anamanaguchi concert in DNA Lounge

It all started for me when I listened to Anamanaguchi’s cover for “Holiday” on the 8-bit Weezer tribute album and I coincidently noticed an ad for their San Francisco concert happening at August 30th. What followed was a quick search for Anamanaguchi’s site and an explosion of 8-bit goodness in the form of streaming audio and retro-style music videos. And to think this started a little more than a month ago. So after catching up with their last CD and streaming their latest songs from their latest CD, Dawn Metropolis, off their site, I went to their concert this past Sunday at San Francisco’s DNA Lounge.

The audience was surging with energy when they performed on-stage! The band started out strong with Blackout City, and mixed it up with songs from their last CD and Dawn Metropolis. They even played a not-yet-released song they composed with the help of an iPhone, and did a cover of the Go-Go’s Vacation as well.

The only thing that made the concert better? When Jake (the guy in the red T-shirt) told everyone that the smoke from the smoke machine smelled like bacon.

The hacked NES, GameBoy, iPhone, and second (backup?) NES.

James, the bass guitarist, selects the next 8-bit tunage to rock out to.

The crowd in a frenzy as Anamanaguchi ignited their fans with retro rock.

The club was pretty humid. Even Luke, the drummer behind Pete, got a little more...comfortable.

It doesn't look it, but Ary's prepping the next song from the GameBoy. Most likely Mermaid, since that was the song they mentioned was composed with only the GameBoy.

Probably the best thing was that, before the concert started, Anamanaguchi signed my CD! At the time, they couldn't find their bass player, James, to add the 4th signature, but I was able to get it after the concert! I can't wait for them to come back to San Francisco again!