Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Promise of Haruhi Suzumiya (PSP) Super Premium Box: something you can only hope to get

Famitsu gives us details of what devoted Haruhiists will get for their unwavering devotion and ordering the limited edition copy of Namco Bandai's upcoming PSP adventure, The Promise of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Top to bottom, left to right: a Mikuru lanyard for your PSP, a UMD case with the SOS-dan logo, stickers, a PSP bag with the school logo, the box, an artbook, a vertical display base (more on that in a bit), and special earphones.

What is the vertical display stand good for? Well, you can pretend to have a little chat with Yuki. The effects of which can also be achieved by talking to a wall...

...However, she announces the time. Just thinking about it is already making me hard.

And for those truly dedicated fans who reserve their copy of the Premium Box now, they also get this limited figure of Haruhi in Christmas swimsuit outfit by none other than MaxFactory, responsible for most of the Haruhi figures in the market right now.

The Super Premium Box costs 9,450 yen or ~$82.14, plus shipping, and the regular package (game only) is 5040 yen (~$43.81). And this great box will most likely NOT be available in a store near you, unless you live in Japan (so you're gonna have to import). Also, the game will probably stay in Japanese unless someone picks it up (pleeeeaaaasssseee...), but I suppose if you know enough Japanese it's all good. The game comes out on December 20, 2007, and stores like Play-Asia will have stocks of both the game and the Premium Box on the same day (note that you can't get the figure from here though), so nark your calendars and set your alarms to avoid losing to other Haruhi fans. :(

Advance Wars DS 2 allegedly going for a more realistic look

Advance Wars fans will be very happy to know that the rumors about an Advance Wars DS sequel might be true: a demo was made playable in the Micromania Games Show in Paris, and the demo revealed a few important things that will take place in the possible new game:

-The old COs are gone. No more Max, Andy, and Jake (!!!).
-The old look is gone too. Meaning, it's no longer cartoony but is replaced by a realistic military look.
-A new unit is available - the Bike Infantry unit.

I felt excited when I heard about Advance Wars DS 2, but now I'm not so sure. Part of the game's charm for me is the overall cartoonish look of the thing, which made the entire game feel light-hearted despite actually being quite mentally involving, and it really went well with the un-seriousness of the characters and the cheesy dialogue ("You got served!"). Plus Rachel and Sami were hot. And you just can't take country names like 'Orange Star' and 'Black Hole' seriously anyway/ Overall it made the games a little more fun. Plus, I can't believe they would just scrap all of the old COs like that. Well I guess all we can do for now is wait and see...if this is true, that is.

Friday, September 28, 2007

PS3 will dominate by 2012, 360 to trail far behind

DFC, a marketing research and consulting firm catering to the video game market, predicts in a recent report that the PS3 may lead the race in terms of software sales, despite the Wii having sold more units worldwide by the year 2012. The PS3, according to them, "is looking to make a strong play for 2009 and beyond. For software revenue, the PlayStation 3 looks to be a solid platform for the 2009-2012 time period."

Furthermore, the Xbox 360 may end up in third place: "Unless the Xbox 360 can kick it into gear in the fourth quarter and through 2008, the system will probably finish in a fairly distant third." In the best-case scenario, it just might end up in a tie with either console. A big challenge for the 360, DFC says, is building a strong userbase outside of North America.

So now you know when to buy a PS3. However, it's not likely to enjoy the same success had by the PS2 because of many factors; one of these is the growing popularity of non-console gaming (handhelds and PC). Whereas the PS2 has captured 70+% of the gaming market share, the three new consoles are predicted to experience similar sales over the next 5 years, apart from having to share the market with the steadily growing players of non-console gaming. If one console were to lead the race, it would probably be ahead by only 10-15%.

tl;dr: PS3 likely to win, Xbox will lose, but neither can beat the PS2.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions Official US website is online

Whew, that was the longest post title I've ever typed. Anyway, like the title says, the official FFT: War of the Lions US site is finally up. There's a lot of info to be found here, so look around.

Here you may find the available Jobs for your characters. Some of them look like fun. Although I'm not so sure about Arithmetician. Math is hard! Note also the gorgeous artwork.

A little background of the story is also provided. Actually there's more than just a little bit...

Of course, there are character bios. Hey it's Ramza!

No RPG website is complete without an explanation of battle mechanics. There aren't pictures though...

The only gripe I have about the site is that a lot of the sections take so long to load. The longest wait I had was when I first entered the site. So, be prepared to wait.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Devil May Cry 4 screens

Oh, nothing much here, just some NEW DEVIL MAY CRY 4 SCREENSHOTS (courtesy of Check out the spurs on those boots!

WARNING: Big images. I can't thumbnail properly for horsenuts so this might take just a little while.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Halo 3 Legendary Edition problems! When will it end?

Scratched discs, faulty packaging, and the Master Chief replica helmet that comes with the $130 package can't even be worn by your cat. Now, people at IGN are complaining about the quality--or lack of--of the "remastered" Halo 1 and 2 cutscenes. Here are some choice quotes from the users:

"Anyone get the Legendary Edition and watch the second disc? The promised re-mastered cut-scenes are 4:3 and look like garbage. Anyone else seeing this?"

"The entire second disc is 4:3. First disc (that comes with special edition) is 16:9. But even the halo 1 cutscenes look worse than the original, like they were recorded on someone's VCR."

"Just got the official response. Yes it's going to look like ass. That really was the message. Will post one of the god-awful cut-scenes tonight in case you were contemplating the Legendary Edition."

"You guys must have messed up HDTV's because it looks great to me and XBOX360 is the best console ever for real gamers and, uh... just kidding. Looks like crap. :("

Bungie, what is going on? The box says "remastered in hi-res", yet these users are saying otherwise. Halo 3 was highly anticipated by your fans--fans that respect you, look up to you, and most importantly, expect high-quality products especially if you promised to deliver it to them when they fork over their $130--yet somehow you're falling a little short, not with the game itself but with the treatment you give your fans. $130 is a lot of money for broken discs and some Youtube videos. You'd better do something about these problematic Legendary Edition kits before someone sues you for deceptive advertising.

Kingdom Hearts spinoffs: new scans and info

Looks like the rumor about milking the Kingdom Hearts franchise is true after all. Three KH spinoff games - 358/2 Days (silliest name out of the bunch), Birth by Sleep, and Coded, are in development for the DS, PSP, and mobile platforms, respectively. Famitsu magazine scans and some info below:

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (DS)

-Developed by h.a.n.d., responsible for Chocobo DS.
-Multiplayer gameplay is mission-based
-Scenario is comparable to FF7: Crisis Core, wherein you know where it ends but don't know how it flows.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP)

-Developed by the KH2 team
-3 scenarios and 3 main characters, playable in any order (a la Suikoden III ?)
-Battle system takes from both Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the GBA and regular KH controls

Kingdom Hearts Coded (Mobile)

-Brought to you by the same team that did FF7: Before Crisis
Different Disney worlds available through download.
-The setting is Sora's memories, being accessed as though through computer.
-Graphics are 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds (lol mobile phone powers)
-Planned for international release (!)

It's interesting how Square Enix spread the three games on all three platforms, made each exclusive to their respective platform, and are developing and possibly releasing them simultaneously...Hmmm. Parents beware.

(thanks to duckroll of NeoGAF for info and scans.)

P.S. coding fucking sucks

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What to do if your Halo 3 disc is scratched

So you finally get your copy of Halo 3, and the limited edition too. You go home excitedly and boot your 360, ready to pop the game disc in, only to find out that the disc is scratched. Heavily scratched. Well, fear not. The problem with Halo 3 LE packaging has quickly become a huge problem for Microsoft so shortly after the release date, and thanks to the overwhelming complaints, and Microsoft realizing that the packaging actually does suck, the company is willing to do something about your damaged product.

If you send the damaged disc back to Microsoft before the end of the year, they will gladly replace it free of charge. However if it is not Halo 3 you're sending back, but is published by MS, forget it because they'll charge you 20 bux.

Tales of Innocence trailer

Tales of Innocence, the latest installment in Namco's hit Tales series, will be made available for the Nintendo DS. It features the same gameplay we've come to love, albeit with a few minor variations (running after the coins by yourself after a battle, for instance). The little "skits" are deliciously animu-styled as always, which is good, but everything else is rendered in 3D.

This trailer was featured in TGS '07. However not much else is available in terms of information (like release dates maybe?), so we will just have to wait a little longer.

Click the image to see the trailer (via Youtube).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wii = Gamecube with Motion Controller

"Through some lengthy investigations, we can now say for certain that there was no major leap in either performance or functionality compared to the GameCube. Instead, Nintendo decided to define the Wii entirely by the new controller."

It's over; Nintendo is finished.

Well not really. Amidst all the next-gen gaming hullabaloo, Nintendo managed to somehow successfully market a gaming console that, based on the standards that define a "next-gen console", isn't exactly a next-gen console. The above article proves that the Wii is nothing more than a Gamecube with a motion controller, hardware-wise.

-The difference between the original Xbox and the 360: "The Xbox 360 has a triple-core CPU along with a graphics processor that uses a "unified shader architecture," which, at the time of the 360's release, had never even been seen on a PC."

-PS2 and PS3: "[The PS3 has a] combination of one standard CPU core with seven additional SIMD processors."

-Gamecube and Wii: Broadway CPU, Hollywood GPU, and a "64MB GDDR3 chip manufactured by Samsung." Basically 1.5 Gamecubes + a motion-sensing controller.

Nintendo claims that developments in gaming hardware has reached a point where further improvements in processing power will not improve gameplay. This is where the Wii attacks from: instead of focusing on more power like the PS3 and the 360, it simply changes the way games are played. In essence, or so Nintendo says, the Wii isn't a next-gen competitor--it is an entirely new industry. Furthermore, it's marketed into a different, broader demographic--what video game snobs would call "casual gamers". It's this type of gamer that makes games like WiiFit and Wii Sports possible. But they're not the only market. Certainly, "hardcore" gamers are also included in the Wii market; it's just, they won't be able to enjoy MGS4-quality (and size) games with their console. Wii's "hardcore" market so far is undeniably a small niche (at least, as far as my observation is concerned): Those who own a Wii, or are planning on buying a Wii, probably do so because of Metroid Prime 3 or SSBB. There aren't that many Metroid fans out there, and there are certainly at least three times more Halo fans. But the marketing and targeting has been so good, as well as the price, that Gamecube 1.5 manages to hold its ground.

One of the major problems posed in the article is: What if the other companies develop their own, much better versions of the Wii? Will the original Wii, then, still matter? After all, the only thing that's more fun than playing Metroid Prime 3 than playing Metroid Prime 3 in high definition. Sony is beginning to threaten this with the motion-sensing Sixaxis. Though it's still clunky at the moment, it'll only be a matter of time before, ironically, we get a next-gen Wii.

Another unanswerable question is: how does the new way to play influence the gaming experience? It might seem fun at first to wave that little stick around, but over time it will become tedious and tiring, just like many other things of novelty.

tl;dr: Wii is like those shoes with blinking lights: Fun, original, and novel, but not practical, doesn't provide any more comfort than a regular pair of sneakers, and gets old pretty fast. Once Sony and Microsoft delve into the magical land of motion-sensing peripherals the Wii will be nothing more than another footnote in gaming history.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hideo Kojima interview: MGS4 stuff

For those who have been following MGS4 and are consequently befuddled, Kojima offers a few answers in this interview/speech from TGS 07.

Some key points:

-SoP stands for "Sons of the Patriots", which are nanomachines injected into soldiers of PMCs (private military companies).

-Johnny in Meryl's FoxHound is the same Johnny from MGS1 and 2. He's also the least useful member in the team.

-Yes, you can save the "beauties" (the major bosses: Mantis, Raven, Octopus, and Wolf). On the other hand, you can also choose to kill them. *coughBioShockcough* It will also be explained why Mantis has Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow dolls.

-EVA is in her 80s, and "Big Mama" is more than just a moniker...

-Sunny, the little girl, is 9 years old. Which doesn't add up; she was born around 2007, while the game takes place in 2014...

-Though he says there is a possibility of another MGS game, this will be the last one Kojima personally directs. No really. Seriously. However it's highly likely that it won't involve Solid Snake. Cyborg Ninja spinoff for the win.

Those are only some of the interesting points. See the full interview from Gamespot.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Downloadable Metal Gear Solid 4 videos from Tokyo Game Show

Just in case you've been looking for the videos of MGS4 in action at TGS that are above-Youtube quality and weren't shot with camera phones, get them from here:
MGS4 TGS videos from Ruliweb

Final Fantasy VII Overflow glitch

So, I was just taking my daily Internet stroll when I stumbled upon this little video on Youtube. I've not known any major glitches for FF7 except that one that lets you get Knights of the Round without the use of a Gold Chocobo. This one, called "overflow", involves gun-wielding characters (Barret and Vincent). The idea is that, if he equips several Materia that enhances strength (for Barret) killed too many enemies with Vincent's final weapon, is buffed enough in battle (Hero Drinks and Berserk are good), and use the Morph ability, the damage goes way over 9999. Nice isn't it? I know you can't wait to try to assrape Emerald Weapon with this now, but it gets more interesting. In the picture above, the thing wrapped in a red box is supposed to be the damage number. What happened to it? Well, the game wasn't programmed to display anything beyond 9999, so it gets screwed basically. This means you can't tell exactly how much damage you dealt. The game can't handle the truth!

Click the image for the Youtube link.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Capcom Announces New Megaman Legends Game!!!!!!! But..

Just recently, in the TGS, Capcom made an announcement that, under normal circumstances, would have made millions of gamers across the globe cream their pants profusely in excitement.

However, this is how it actually went:

So, after waiting long, long years in grisly anticipation of the next Megaman Legends/Rockman Dash game, we get....THIS?!

Just exactly what the hell is Capcom thinking? Are the standard handhelds really that bad? I mean, that's what the DS and PSP are for right? Handheld games? HAY CAPCOM, THIS GAME WON'T SELL OUTSIDE OF JAPAN, WHERE PHONES ARE NIFTY AND CAN PLAY GAMES!!!!

I got all excited for nothing.



In related news, they also have a Resident Evil and Devil May Cry game lined up for mobile.


Disgaea 3 Official Site is Up

The official (although Japanese-only) website for the upcoming PS3 game Makai Senki Disgaea 3 is finally up. If you can read Japanese (shame you can't copy-paste the text to Babelfish but I suppose you can ask a knowledgeable friend), you can read through the main characters' profiles, the story, and some news. I'm trying to but I can only do so much.

The best part is of course the character profiles. They don't seem to stray too far away from typical Disgaea fare but they still manage to look interesting. Here's some caps of the available character profiles on the site, with my best attempt at translating the names.

Mao - Seems to be the main character. Sort of looks like Laharl with the flowy cape. 1578 years old.

Razberyl - The token loli female sidekick. Reminds me of Hanako from 2. 1578 years old as well.

Almaz- fun and adamant, among other things, he's the first apparent human character in the game (18 years old).

Jiiya - he's a demon for sure, but his age is undetermined. Hmm...

There's some bits about the battle system too. Again, doesn't look like anything new from here, but I can't say since I can't read much of the text.

The maps and the on-screen elements are the same as before, and even the combo system is retained. However, there seems to be a new way to attack while stacked up:

Woohoo! Giant whip of characters. Though, I hope it's only one of many ways to attack while piled up, because the 'ladder combo' of Disgaea 2 was pretty useful for some of the bosses.

You can visit the link at the top for more information, or to help me with some of the moon language. :(

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Console preferences poll results

(The following is just my interpretation. There will be mistakes and it's mostly useless stuff, but if there's anything you wish to point out please feel free to do so.)

First of all, I would like to thank you guys for voting on the poll. To be honest, I wasn't expecting more than 2 or 3 people to vote, and 30 is the "sweet spot" for random survey analyses (said my Psych teacher). 42 people voted in total, and while it's still a small number it's just about enough for this blog's purposes. Again, to those 43 people: Thank you so much!

So, onto the results. It isn't exactly anything new or unexpected: Xbox 360 led the poll, which solely won the hearts of 44% of the voters. Wii is a far second, with 18% Wii-only users. The PS3 has the saddest results, 4% out of the 43 own only a PS3. However, 32% own a combination of consoles, and this is where I went wrong: I should have asked which consoles they actually own. Also, I can't determine which consoles they own, or if they actually bought all three. But I guess I can use these results in a research paper about affluence or something.

But I imagine, if the people who ticked option #4 had two consoles, one of them would be a PS3. Why? Because judging solely by the results of the poll, the PS3 sounds like a nice secondary console. And it's true: it sounds cliche and fanboyish but the PS3 really does have very few, albeit huge, games. In comparison, Xbox 360 has the largest library of games at present.

Which leads to another possible conclusion: the same people also own an Xbox 360. Why? To compensate for the PS3's lack of games of course. Though I might be wrong (I probably am), I don't think any one of these people who own 2 consoles own a 360+Wii or a PS3+Wii. Wii right now sort of seems like the console for those who have extra cash or for those who have little cash (the 18%). True, you can't rule out the possibility that they just really prefer Wii over either the 360 or the PS3, but apart from Metroid Prime 3 and SSBB (which isn't even out yet), what else does the Wii offer really, that isn't multiplatform? Trauma Center? I'm not being fanboyish or anything, but I imagine if I had a 360 I wouldn't need the Wii; and if PS3, my other console should be something that would hold me over until the PS3 gets its games (which will be a looooong time).

It looks like it'll be a sad Christmas for PS3; especially since the anticipated games don't come out until at least 2008.

Here's the results in graphic form:

How does any of this help with anything? It doesn't; in fact none of the things I said in this entry is anything that hasn't been said before, but it sure is helpful to know which consoles are failing, for consumers so that they will know where their money goes in the near future, and for developers to remind them which console they should make games for. As well, it's good for the respective companies who manufacture the consoles: Microsoft can use this while stroking its collective penis; Nintendo and Sony to remind them that their console is in danger.

Well...that's enough useless, research-less, bias-ridden stuff for today. Thanks for reading!

A couple of new trailers: Apollo Justice and Devil May Cry 4

Sucks not being able to go to TGS in person, but hey, that's what video game sites are here for.

Anyway, here's some trailers for upcoming games featured in TGS '07.

First is of the 4th installment in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, which ironically doesn't even feature Phoenix anymore, but some new generic-looking kid called "Apollo Justice". He might look generic but this is Phoenix Wright after all, so don't let his generic animu look turn you off. And Phoenix himself will still make an appearance anyway, but in hobo form. Watch the trailer (might be slow for some people).

Second is a new trailer for DMC4. If you remember the first trailer, it didn't really reveal much about the game, except what it looks like. Now, we have a more substantial trailer, with cutscenes and gameplay and blood. Suffice it to say it looks pretty sweet. See the trailer here.