Friday, February 29, 2008

New old characters in Soul Calibur IV

Xianghua and beginners' favorite Kilik are back for Soul Calibur IV. It's not a big surprise, but it should relax some speculators who've since been asking about Kilik. Also, thankfully, Xianghua didn't seem to get breast implants like everyone else, although her face looks kinda weird.

Guess who makes the most glorious comeback though.

The bright colors, the detail on the scales...this is perhaps the best Lizardman design ever, especially since the previous ones are so bland and cliche. I never really liked playing as him but he's so well-designed and fancy that I'd have fun beating people with such a fancy-looking character. He also seems to be designed after the Jesus Christ lizard.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 4 boxart + confirmed release date!!!

It's not clear yet whether this is for the bundle (80gig+Dualshock3+MGS4@$499), or for the game, or both, but you can definitely at least expect to have a copy of MGS4 by then. Based on the picture to the left though, it's probably the bundle.

The difficult thing about waiting for the bundle before getting a PS tripple and MGS4 is that the standalone game might come out before the bundle does, and you might have to stay away from the internet and your friends for a while if you don't want your MGS4 experience ruined. But if you don't mind getting the story spoiled for you at all, by all means, get the bundle. It's a great deal. You're practically getting the Dualshock 3 and the game for FREE.

There's also supposedly a special edition coming out as well. So many choices...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rumor: MGS4 release date?

I really don't like rumors, but I'll take anything MGS4-related D: This came from a certain prominent message board where people who are actually in the industry actually post...on the other hand this board also has a lot of bullshit. So...believe what you want.

I really want to believe. ;_;

Monday, February 25, 2008

Persona 3 FES is confirmed

Right now, if you go to Atlus' website and check the countdown timer, you will see that it has been replaced with the regular rotating Flash banner. But if you wait a while you will see that one of the banners is for Persona 3 FES, and that it's coming on the spring of 2008. Which is, like, really soon. (Someone said April 22.)

Alternatively, you can go straight to the official Persona 3 homepage and you will find out that it has been altered to suit this new development.

Good news for those who always wanted to date Aigis--or those who are just into android chicks in general.

The suggested price is $30, although I'm still not sure whether it's just the FES disc or if it comes with the original game (plus extra goodies). I'm hoping it's the latter.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bad parenting, bad journalism

This is why Fox News blows so hard:

That's right, blame video games AGAIN. Not only is it the stupidest thing ever (especially since the article itself establishes no correlation between the crime and video games whatsoever), but it only shows how butthurt they still are about the whole Mass Effect "SEXBOX" issue. What kind of people read/listen to this kind of news anyway? Seriously stop giving them money.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Video game franchises that should be put to rest already.

Every now and then there will be one game franchise that is so revolutionary/entertaining/mind-blowing etc. that the makers just won't stop at one. That next sequel features some improvements, and will sell even more than its predecessor. The next one doesn't have much to offer, other than that it's part of the series. Then the next game is just a clone of the previous one with new characters (maybe). It stays like this until the 7th installment, and by this time people are already getting sick of the previously revolutionary/entertaining/mind-blowing etc. game.

This sort of thing has been happening a lot especially recently. Companies even resort to remaking the game that started it all, in the hopes of calling back the tired fanbase, instead of just letting it go and working on something new. Sometimes, game series don't even live as long as seven installments--some games really lose their charm after two or three instances.

So, in this post I am going to list some game series that should die, unless they somehow manage to make it fresh again. It isn't comprehensive, feel free to add.

1. Super Mario Bros. -- no, not the platforming series, they actually need to make more of that. What needs to die are the spinoffs like party games and sports games. There's just WAY too many of them. The problem is many people would still buy these games because they have Mario in them. Nintendo needs to go back to making real Super Mario games and stop, excuse me for the term, whoring out the little guy.

2. Sonic the Hedgehog -- I'm sorry, but the horde of new characters need to be killed off. Silver? Facepalm. They need to stop trying to create 'deep' stories around the blue guy unless they do it really well, which I don't really think is possible because 1) what made the game popular back then is the exploration + speed aspect and 2) it's a game featuring talking animals. Not that I have anything against talking animals. Also how come some of the characters have clothes on while others do not? And Sonic's legs are getting too long.

3. Mortal Kombat -- Well it's pretty much dead already, lets just hope they don't come up with a new one. Blood and gore is so cliche nowadays.

4. Guilty Gear -- Mostly because the first true sequel is going to suck. Many of the old standbys were killed off or written out, and it's just an entirely different game now (it really sounds a lot like Dynasty Warriors).

5. Mega Man X -- The last one was X8 and it was quite a while ago, so this is also pretty much dead. But it better STAY dead. X4 was the last good game, and it wasn't as good as X3. Megaman Legends needs to be revived however.

6. Games whose titles start with "Sim" -- Do anyone actually still find these entertaining?

7. Final Fantasy VII -- not Final Fantasy in general, but FFVII. It's just getting ridiculous. They're not making games in this series to give us games. They're just milking Advent Children dry. Dirge of Cerberus was a horrible game, and I heard Crisis Core is mediocre. The character designs are sickening, and you can easily tell what the target demographic is with it.

8. Disgaea -- I'm going to be honest here. The first one was great. It was cute, funny, and really quirky, although for an SRPG it didn't really require much strategy. The second one was so-so. Not much has changed, except for a few tweaks and balancing so that you can't easily overlevel your way through the game. The third one however isn't looking too good. It's for the PS3 first of all, and they're using the same graphics engine as 1 and 2. There's some new stuff but nothing really exciting. Of course, this is just based on the previews, but seriously those low-res sprites should go. Also, having Laharl appear in every game is a bad sign.

That's it for now, I have to go, feel free to contribute.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Persona 3 FES announcement soon?

Out of sheer boredom I decided to visit Atlus' official website just now. I was greeted by this:

What could that countdown timer be counting down for, I wondered. Actually no I didn't; I had a good idea what it might mean. I Googled "persona 3 FES announcement" and I found this entry from Siliconera and immediately suspicions = confirmed. Looks like Atlus decided to listen to its customers and are finally bringing Persona 3 FES to the US (also, a couple of voice actors pretty much confirmed it anyway). In case you didn't know, FES is basically an expansion for their hit RPG Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. Additional content includes extra story and the ability to date that other android chick (although I heard you don't really get anything if you do).

I wonder if they're going to do anything about that penis chariot though. Jack Thompson's gonna have a field day with that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blu-ray Xbox 360?

Blu-ray Xbox 360 Planned By Microsoft

In case we aren't on the same page, you might wanna watch this first (try to ignore the fanboyism though): The downfall of HD-DVD

Ok, assuming that that first link is credible.

A 40gb PS3 would cost me $400. It already has a Blu-ray player (although some might argue that it has no games). For $50 less I could get a standard Xbox 360. But if I wanted to watch movies with it I would have to buy the ~$200 HD-DVD player addon. But now that HD-DVD is dead I would have to buy this rumored Blu-ray addon, which will probably cost a little more. But even if it costs the same as the HD-DVD addon it still feels like a ripoff. For $200 more I can buy a Blu-ray player AND a game console.

Then again, what other choice does MS have except kneel before Blu-ray? Okay "kneel" isn't the right word, since MS did say that if HDDVD fails they're going to switch to Blu-ray. Still, what else can they do? The rumors also mention something about an internal Blu-ray player. This is an even worse idea than the addon, because not everyone cares about the player and they'll be forced to pay for it as well. After all, you don't buy game consoles to watch movies. (Although I always imagine parents buying their kids PS3s just so they can watch movies on it too.)

MS can do one last thing: give away the BD addon for free...but they won't do that.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith? Not sure if want.

I just found out that a new Guitar Hero game is being built solely around Aerosmith. Maybe it's just me, but playing only Aerosmith songs in GH doesn't sound very appealing. What's wrong with the current GH formula which attracts a wider market? Aerosmith has a couple of good songs, sure (I like "Walk This Way") but not enough, in my opinion anyway, to make a full GH-sized game.

Furthermore, I'm no Aerosmith expert but what are they gonna use for challenging songs? All of the songs I've heard from them sound like they're easier to play (on GH anyway) than, say, "Heart-Shaped Box".

Oh, and yes, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" will be in the roster.

If Neversoft/Activision are starting a new "Guitar Hero: [insert band here]", then I am eagerly waiting for GH: Queen or GH: Dragonforce. Not necessarily because I like DragonForce, but if ever that happens the entire game is automatically in delicious hard mode.

Meanwhile, I'm still wondering why Guitar Hero still hasn't incorporated timing windows a la Guitar Freaks (where you are given a score based on how well-timed your hits are). I believe this kind of feature should be mandatory for rhythm/music games, since it actually measures how in-rhythm with the music the person playing is, and it adds a whole new layer of skill.

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is scheduled for release this June. Also, "Dream On" by Aerosmith is free DLC on the XBLM and PSN on February 16-18.

EDIT: It also has songs chosen by Aerosmith. Not sure how that affects the attractiveness of this game.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What would an Apple game console be like?

Recently, Apple, creator of the omnipresent iPod (as well as many other devices, namely, computers) updated their trademark to cover various types of video game devices as well. Before I proceed, I would just like to say that I have nothing against Apple (I am listening to my iPod as I write this, in fact), I have no problems with them releasing very similar products and marketing them as something totally different. Making a profit is the core goal of every firm, and if this is what Apple's market wants then it's all good. Though I never got into Macs because I've used PCs all my life and I'm more comfortable with them.

Please note also that I will not be using statistics, sales figures, and such in this post, so take everything here with a grain of salt.

Apple entering the video games market is nothing new. Back in the mid-1990s there was the Apple Pippin, which was designed to be a game console and a computer in one (much like today's consoles, except less powerful.) At launch, the thing was priced at $599 (the similarities just don't end!). Suffice to say, the console was a failure, as the market already belonged to the Saturn and the original Playstation. Those who watched Lucky Star might remember that Mr. Izumi promised to give his daughter a Pippin if she has low grades.

But that was before the iPod. Not too many people really cared about Apple back then. But ever since they launched the mp3 player whose name became a household term similar to Thermos and Nintendo, Apple, once known by most only as "that other computer brand", has become a truly unstoppable force, complete with new hordes of faithful followers in addition to the old ones already present. So threatening in fact that even Microsoft is attempting to gain some of the market back by launching their own high-capacity mp3 player.

However, it is also solely to this iPod that we can attribute the sudden increase in Apple's power. I (empirical evidence yeah!) can easily find 10 people who use iPods but I might have to spend a little more time finding the same number of people who use Macs. Maybe I should spend more time asking people other than my classmates, but wait. I can just as easily find 10 people who own a PS2. Where am I going with this? I guess what I really want to say is even though Apple has that many fans, they still don't amount to the number of Sony, Xbox, or Nintendo fanboys, let alone console gaming fans overall. Heck, even the PS3 is having trouble outdoing its own predecesor. (Also PS3sux.)

Although, there were already many companies who make mp3 players before the iPod came along, and it was still able to dominate. Apple did release the first mp3 player with large storage capacity. And made it trendy. I guess they just need a really cool gimmick and some catchy marketing for their future game devices to catch on.

Let's look at the iPod once more (I am looking at it right now). What are the features that make it different from other mp3 players? Firstly, although mine is black, the first iPod was colored white. Solid, clean, plain white. Secondly, it has the storage. At the time the iPod was released, most mp3 players didn't even have one gigabyte of storage. Apple's first had four gigabytes. Then, it has the clicky scroll wheel thing. The cool thing about it is there are neither wheels nor visible buttons, but you can press the top, the bottom, the left, and the right of the clickwheel for different functions. Also, depending on the screen you were at, the touch-sensitive wheel can be used to scroll through lists, increase or decrease the volume, and aim that cannon in that minigame that came with mine. Finally, it is small enough to fit into most pockets.

If that's all that makes the iPod special (in plain view anyway), then Apple is out of gimmicks for their video game device. All three current-gen consoles are colored white or have white versions. They also have large storage (except the Wii, which doesn't have any, but has expandable memory). The clickwheel gimmick is the only one left, but the Wii has waggle, and hell if anything can beat waggle. Even the PS3 controller has a motion sensor.

I'm not saying that the Apple console has to be just like the iPod. I'm sure there's some pretty intense R&D going on. But look at the Pippin again. It had a lot of features (4 CD drives!), and you could even say it was ahead of its time, being a network computer and game console in one. But no one was really interested. Now, if they iPod-ify the thing it will have a better chance of selling (see: iPhone). But let's say they do make a really unique console. Would they be able to penetrate the market anyway? Microsoft is having a hard enough time competing against Nintendo, and Microsoft has been in the game (no pun intended) for quite a while. There's also Sony. Even if every Apple fan buys this new Apple console, it still wouldn't be enough.

But then again, who knows. I hear a lot of people saying the current generation of video gaming, well, sucks, and they even fear that the video game industry might be at its last breath. Maybe Apple can revive it.

(P.S. I wonder if that made any sense at all. :<) (P.P.S. obligatory "PS3SUX")

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Videogame-related Valentine's day cards

Show your Valentine how you really feel with these 'special' Valentine's day cards. These are old, I know, and there are plenty of these, but I keep forgetting about them and these are the only ones I was able to fish out of my tumultuous ocean of improperly-named files in my single image folder dedicated to a certain SECRET WEBSITE. Because I actually renamed them.

Make that special someone fall in love with you. Give your Valentine one of these tomorrow!

This is my personal favorite.

P.S. No, don't give anyone any of these. :<

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wal-Mart covering M-rated games in black sleeves

Wal-Mart Covering Up "M" Rated Games

Wow. Just wow. How far are they going to drag this nonexistent issue of videogames, violence, and sex? Sure, the games do have gratuitious violence and/or sex, and you might say "lol they're doing the same thing they do to smut rags so that people know that they are, in fact, smut rags." No they aren't. They cover porn magazines in black sleeves because the covers of such reading material, more likely than not, DO contain nudity. When was the last time you saw viscera and/or bare titties on a game cover? Has there ever been an instance? (Hentai games don't count.) This is just so ignorant it makes me grind my teeth in rage. Thanks to you, kids will now have an easier time choosing the games that aren't meant for them. Furthermore, thanks for covering the rating printed on the box art, which as far as I'm concerned is doing a better job.

"When asked why the sleeves would matter when the titles are stored behind glass, the company had no comment."


Picture unrelated.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Today, Xenogears turns 10 years old

Xenogears is an RPG released by Squaresoft (who is now Square Enix) on February 11, 1998. Stating your partiality towards it nowadays will make people angry at you, but back then when censorship laws were only just relaxed (and we were young), it felt so rebellious and deep and awesome to be fighting against organized religion and God and angels and to hear things like sex in your videogame. (Now it's just really trite.) But more importantly, Xenogears was also cool because it had giant robots (called 'Gears'), and it allowed you to fight with or without them. One of my most fulfilling moments was when I was able to fight 'gear battles' (where enemies normally required the use of Gears to defeat) without using Gears.

Xenogears is also well-remembered for its notorious 2nd disc. Due to deadlines and lack of funds, the 2nd disc was horribly rushed by the developers, and it turned into with two-hour borefest of slow-moving text that cannot be fast-forwarded. The developers who would later form MonolithSoft vowed to fix this with Xenosaga but alas, that seems to have failed as well.

If you haven't played Xenogears, maybe now is a good time. Or not, if you have a short attention span and/or you have been spoiled by today's graphical standards. Still, you should; otherwise you'd be missing out on one of the more important games of the PSOne era. A PSP would be handy for this cause, you can leave good ol' Disc 2 running while you are in a meeting, and you wouldn't miss anything. Just the story.

I still find it hard to believe that it's been 10 years. I feel so old. :(

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fun with Google Image Search and Sonic the Hedgehog characters

Here's something maybe fun to do and definitely fun to tell your friends about especially while they're at work: In Google Image Search, try searching "Sonic", "Knuckles", or "Tails". Wait for the results and gouge out your eyeballs afterwards/watch your friends at work get fired.

Warning: Don't do this at work, in front of other people, or anywhere really. Before you try this, be aware that you might find some of the things that you will see disturbing.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Street Fighter IV SCREENS

I'm not going to post the screens here because there's far too many and you have to see them all, so follow this link to the Famitsu website.

The great thing about Street Fighter IV, as can be seen from the pictures, is despite the extra dimension and apparent roid rage it STILL strongly tastes of SFII. The poses, actions, and attacks are exactly like their 2D counterparts from centuries ago. Which is absolutely neat, this being a 2D fighter with 3D models and enviroments.

It still needs to be seen in motion however. I'd like to know what that "Saving attack" dealie actually looks like, because from the pictures it looks like a parry, and Capcom said parries are not available in SFIV. Crimson Viper also needs a few videos, because I still can't imagine how a character that looks like this actually fits in with the game, especially after having seen this:

Furthermore, still no systems or even NA release date announced. However, you may see the cabinets that they use here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New Street Fighter IV scans reveals new old characters

The recent issue of Famitsu magazine came with this Street Fighter IV spread (scans courtesy of RuliWeb). There has been much speculation on which characters will return; particularly, everybody is anxious about whether or not Chun-Li and her thighs will make a glorious 3D comeback. She did, and her thighs actually look more delicious than ever. And it doesn't look as out of proportion as I feared when I heard SF was making the jump into 3D land. But JESUS CHRIST WHY IS EVERYONE ELSE SO BIG. Just look at Zangief! He's a walking mass of flesh with chest hair. Blanka looks cool though, he looks just as monstrous as he should have really been all these decades. Dhalsim looks...normal. When taken out of context he doesn't look as stretchy anymore. But since everyone else put on like 500 extra pounds his new bulky physique still looks undernourished in comparison.

Actually I don't really have a problem with the direction the art style is taking, except Zangief. Hairy mass of flesh. It is so disturbing.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Rez HD on PS3 a huge possibility

Those who missed out on what is generally considered to be the LSD of videogames, Rez, when it came out on the Dreamcast (then the PS2) are gonna get a second chance this coming Wednesday when it hits the XBLA store. Rez is a plain ol' shooter-on-rails like Panzer Dragoon but its real draw is the music aspect and the visual euphoria. It's extremely wise for 360 owners to not miss this opportunity.

But what if you have a PS3 and not a 360? Fear not, Tetsuya Mizuguchi offers some hope. In an interview during a hands-on, Mizuguchi said that since PS3 controllers are featuring vibration once again, bringing Rez HD to the PSN store is "something they would like to do and have considered." Although he recommends having up to 4 controllers to place on various parts of your body to fully enjoy the Rez experience. There's no guarantee yet, but given how much this game is loved and how hard it is to find anymore, you can almost bet on it. Until then just run folding@home or something since PS3 has no games.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rock Band confirmed for Wii, but we already have the PS2 version

"a Wii version of Rock Band has been finally confirmed. While such a product has been discussed by EA and Harmonix in the past, official word that it should ship this year hadn't yet come."

Harmonix did mention before that a Wii version of Rock Band is guaranteed, even though there was no official statement. This time, however, it's absolutely confirmed, although no word on release date was given. A problem with a Wii version of Rock Band though is the possible lack of downloadable content. With around 200 downloadable songs released last year, this is quite a big deal. Sure, you can say "but the PS2 version doesn't have DLC either and it's doing fine." Yes, Rock Band is pretty good as a standalone game...for last gen. We should actually be thankful they even bothered with the PS2. Those who bought a Wii but not a 360 or a PS3, but have a PS2, might just stick with the PS2 version and this will hurt sales for the Wii version. Unless they can find a way to incorporate DLC into it. (SD cards might work.)

Also make sure the sound isn't mono.