Wednesday, November 23, 2005
After the launch party in Sydney for the Xbox360 here in Australia a few are reporting pricing and dates. From the press release:
Sydney November 22, 2005 - It’s only ninety-nine sleeps until Australians can get their hands on the world’s most powerful games console, the Xbox 360.
Microsoft today announced that two versions of the console will go on sale from 12:01am on March 2nd, 2006. Consumers will be able to choose from the Xbox 360 at RRP*$649.95 and the Xbox 360 Core System at RRP*$499.95.
So $650 for the decent 360 pack, it does seem expensive but when you look at what you get it puts it into perspective.
Xbox 360 is the first console that lets gamers enjoy the freedom of wireless gaming, as standard. The Xbox 360 offer will include the console, 20GB hard drive, media remote, wireless controller, component high-definition cable and Ethernet cable. Xbox 360 Core System delivers the same powerful gaming as Xbox 360, but starts with the basics and lets you expand at your own pace. The Xbox Core system includes the console, composite AV cable and wired controller.
Now I would be willing to drop $500 on just a Xbox360 core pack, so with all the added extras of the Xbox360 (lets say premium pack) that I would probably purchase anyway, it's only and extra $150 and you get some decent gear. Though compared with the US price, it might seem we are being charged a tad more. Though I think its on par with the UK pricing.
So 3 months, start you clocks and let the countdown begin.
Monday, November 21, 2005
So what's the first thing that catches my eye as I walk in, Xbox360 pre orders. My first reaction was "wow, cool", but then I just thought "hang on, wtf?!". I mean the thing has no release date or price, aren't people just going to ask stupid questions all the time about it.
So the guy working in there is a friend of mine and we get talking about it as usual. He lets me know that they aren't supposed to be doing it yet, but for some "sales numbers" reason they are. Still with no clue of a release date or price, we kinda figures it might be March with a price of say $600. Though if you do the math on the US price it works out to about $550. That seems like a better price to me, say the Xbox360 is $550, then the core pack is $400, it just seems more sensible.
They also had four games you could pre order, Project Gotham 3, Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero and also Oblivion.
So yeah, I put down a pre-order.
I'm quite interested to see the Australian release list now, I guess it will appear sometime early next year.
Being the nosy sod I am, I'm just now looking on The Office of Classification's website and what do I find Ridge Racer 6 is listed . So I would say that it's getting a release. If you do a search a lot of other 360 launch titles are also listed there, which makes sense.
It's interesting to note that all the dates for the classification submissions are dated back in October.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I have to admit there hasn't been a great deal going on in the gaming world that isn't next gen related. I know a few things came out but I've really not been that interested, it's pretty much too little too late for me. The only thing I've ordered recently was Guilty Gear XX #Reloaded for the PSP, so I might post some impressions of that when it gets here.
My main motive is to try and post as much info about the Aussie release of the Xbox360. Currently Microsoft seem to have denied us any information regarding the release date and pricing of the unit, and subsequently seem to have placed us low on the list of release candidates. Current speculation is that we will see the unit sometime in early 2006.
If that wasn't bad enough, the current release list for the US and UK are different. Which isn't a big issues, except the main game that I, and many people are interested in "Ridge Racer 6" is missing from the UK list. Now at the moment I'm not getting too worked up about this because by the time we see the unit I'm hoping that RR6 will be a release title for us, only time will tell though.
I'm also currently trying to decide if I should buy a new TV that supports HD. From what I have read it seems that if you play the Xbox360 on a normal TV it just looks like Xbox quality, so a HDTV is a must. I'm just wondering if I should bite the bullet now and do it, or wait to see when the 360 is getting a release and buy it closer to that time when the price may drop again.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I would give you a review of my new copy of Sonic Gems Collection for the PS2 that rocked up last week, I say “would” because my goddamn PS2 now doesn’t want to read the main part of the disc! I have no idea what the fuck is up with it, it reads the disc, reads the GameGear games on it but refuses to read any of the other games on there and just stops responding, I think the units fucked. I thought about it, and have a few options at my disposal. Either buy a new JPN PS2 at a cost of over $300, bet my PS2 chipped at around $150 or just buy Sonic Gems Collection in PAL for $50, I’m doing last one. I don’t really have any spare cash at the moment to blow out big time. I might just try and pick up a cheap JPN PS2 at some other time, for the moment it can wait and this one will do most things besides read the goddamn game I most want to play.
Oh yeah, I’m also downloading the new F.E.A.R demo, but I’m not sure I’m really going to care.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
So yesterday I turn on my PC, start up World of Warcraft, do a few things and then mutherfuckin BAM. I'm at my desktop, looking at a critical battery message for my mouse. All I could think was, WTF are you on about, I just put expensive long life batteries in you a week ago. Thinking it might be a error, I fiddled with the batteries, popped 'em back in, check the battery status and it's still critical. Now spending $8 on 4 Duracell Ultra batteries that last a week is just not on.
So yesterday I was in a mood, so just thought I'm buying a new mouse. So I decided to buy the most expensive thing I could. The Logitech MX 1000 is "teh shit". It's their new laser mouse, and goddamn is it smooth. You would think optical is pretty good right, yeah it's not, it's shit. Once you sample one of these things, you are in mouse heaven. Yeah it's expensive, but I didn't pay retail for it, so I don't really care.
Also for gaming this thing absolutely fucking rocks, not lag at all because it uses the new "Fast RF" technology, and because it's laser it's super smooth. Also the main reason I bought it, is that it's cordless however it is rechargeable and has a little bay you drop the mouse into. It's also super comfortable and has many buttons on it, actually I don't want to talk about it anymore. Go now and buy one. If you are still using a corded mouse, shame on you!
Sunday, August 14, 2005
On a console related note, I ordered Sonic Gems Collection the other day, so hopefully I'll have that next week and can write up some impressions of it. I picked up the PS2 version so I hope it's ok. It's not very expensive, and the PAL version should only be $50 which is a right bargain. Anyways, just hoping that SonicCD has the JPN/EU intro.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I'd always wondered what the attraction to these games was, especially WOW, and now I know. The massive size of these games is immense and overwhelming. Though the thing that I enjoy most is the commradre, helping other people out and also having people give me a hand when I need it. That's where I think the attraction lies, as well as the gameplay and levelling up characters and questing, it's being able to meet, chat and play with people who enjoy something you do.
Seeing as there are no Australian servers for WOW, I'm playing on one that I have no idea where it is. The pings aren't bad, and you get some lag ever now and then, but so do most people as well.
If you want to meet up with me in the game, my name is Raveous and I'm on the Draenor server.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Now I kind of have to agree that X-Play is pretty bad, and there are reasons for this. Morgan Web and Adam Sessler are the hosts of the show. After seeing Morgan Web also host "Attack Of The Show" I think she is pretty cool, and does a decent job. Adam Sessler on the other hand just comes across as a knob and should be associated with anything TV related. The show it's self is a mishmash of gaming news and reviews. They seem to choose really strange game to review at times (Digimon?!), and some of them I have no idea why they bother. If X-Play was on TV it would be something you might watch if it was on, but not really bother to make sure you didn't miss an ep.
However "Attack Of The Show" is a lot more stylish and well done. From the funky intro to the knowledgeable hosts. this show is 40mins of geek news. I try and keep up to date with most things by reading a fair few news sites, but I still pick up decent titbits from the show. The show it's self focuses on pretty much anything geeky or tech. From gaming to internet and the latest cool toys, they have a go at anything. I just wish I could get hold of more episodes because it's a great 40min show, and got some decent humour thrown in thought it.
Friday, July 29, 2005
This post was going to be about the new Wipeout Pure Delta Pack 1 that was just released, but since my camera battery is flat and I've just been playing We Love Katamari, it's going to be about the later. More on the Delta Pack in a day or so.
If you played the original Katamari, you know the score. It's an impossibly hard game to explain until you play it, the addiction and fun gained from it are unlike anything else.
Well We Love Katamari, is in all essence just like the original but even more fun, if that's possible. Katamari 2 has many, many more levels this time round, and many or them are themed. The themed levels range from, say rolling a Katamari that is on fire, and keeping it alight by picking up more flammable objects to then light a camp fire. Then there is the one where you have to create the head of a snowman, make a sumo wrestler huge to he smashes his opponent, and even a level where you just collect items and their worth in yen is counted. Some levels don't have a timer on then, while others don't really have a set size for the Katamari. This makes the game a lot more fun and crazy at times, and give is much more diversity than the original. Plus there are so many levels this time, it just seems to have so much variety to it, and they way it's presented and laid out for the player really adds to the experience.
The music is again is light hearted and enjoyable. It's pretty much on par with the music from the original, if not a little more edgy and funky at times. It's suits the game very well and always feels right at home. The graphics also have a very nice clean look to then as well, and the game retains its trademark look. Also all the items are fairly detailed, with most having some strange sound when picked up into the Katamari. I just want to know who decides what a sound a Gnome makes when you pick it up? Crazy.
One nice feature is that if you have a save from the original game, you can import the consolations you created from that save, and then when you use the planet viewer (each Katamari from each level is turned into a planet) you will see your constellations from the original game up in the stars of the background.
When all is said and done, We Love Katamari isn't just "more of the same" it contains a huge amount of content over the original. This is what a sequel should be, it has what made the original so much fun but has added what the fans wanted and expanded the gameplay for a fresh experience.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Though the box was in a fairly worrisome shape, everything was ok and survived unscathed. Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy came with a free mobile phone hanger in the shape of the price, which I am well chuffed about since it was something you normally only get if you pre-order. It's a small little thing that flashes but it looks mint.
I ordered some other bits and pieces as well, managed to get Ibuki from SFIII Gashapon which is great. I also ordered another one of those Virtual-On Coin figures, but managed to get the same one, just in a different colour (just my luck), though it still looks great, I just wish I could get hold of the Tamjin one.
I've only played a little of Katamari since I'm been involved with Killer 7, but the first few levels I did play of it are as charming as the first game, if not more so. The game looks a lot cleaner and the music is still really cool, it also lets you select which BGM you want for the current level, I can't tell what is what since it's all in Japanese but it's still a nice touch. I'll post more after a play it a little more tomorrow.
As for Killer 7. Hmmm. I really like the game, just a couple of the mechanics to it get me at times. The way the game navigates can get in the way of enemies at times and results in the enemy getting far too close to you. The utter lack of help at times when facing a new enemy sucks, the game could at least tell you the weak spot because some of them you just have no idea. Also the back tracking when a character dies it fucking horrendous at times, especially if you miss a save spot, the game just goes all the way back to the first point, ugh. It's not too bad, but fuckdamn if I want to be traipsing through a level again to retrieve a body. The game also does become a lot more challenging when there are more enemies on the screen, one hit kills become critical otherwise you are in the shit.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Killer 7 finally turned up today, so with the limited time I had tonight I played through the first chapter of it, which strangely enough took me longer that I thought it would. Killer 7, if you haven't been following it, is a very hard game to explain, and not just the bloody weird story that's just utterly bizarre. They gameplay is a splice between an action game on rails and a FPS. I say on "rails" because you cant just run any where you want, you follow a path, which in all essence most action game force upon you anyway. You can still go back and forth and choose paths and such, its just the you run along a line basically. Anyway it makes the game better, you do get lost or end up in stupid situations that annoy you.
Apart from the action, the game likes to throw a fair few puzzles at you, which you need to solve with different characters or objects. Once you get the hang on it, it's a piece of cake, though when I started all I could think of was "what the fuck do you want from me here". Though it's easy enough, same with the gameplay, once you get the hang of it it's great fun. From what I've played it's not hard, but then it was only the first chapter.
Having the choice to use different characters is great, as some are just more fun to use, or just feel better for a given situation. I can't really see why anyone would want to bitch about the game. It's got such great visual style, and some wicked audio throw about at random times. It's the kind of game which compels you to play it, and you just want to see what strange shit it has in store for you next.
Though I will say I don't know if picking up the PS2 version was such a hot idea, my two reason for getting the PS2 version were, it was $60 and my PS2 is hooked up to my surround sound system, unlike my Gamecube. The problem is with the PS2 version, the loading times seem to be a bit shit. They seem to take longer than they probably should, and I've heard that the GC version does have shorter loads times. When I say load time, I mean when you go from one area to another. Some times its just a fucking annoyance to walk back and forth because of it. The other is the is some bloody awful slow down. I've only seen it a couple of times, but fuck me that's enough. When there are say four enemies on screen, and you hit one in the sweet spot which triggers the bloody explosion effect, that's where the slow down is. I won't say it doesn't effect the gameplay, but it's still there. Still it's great fun, at least check it out for maybe a rental as it might not be to everyone's taste.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
I've had a bout of nostalgia for the past few days, and decided to quench it tonight by watching some old video game commercials. If you have never seen the sites that play host to these kind of things, I suggest that you check out, Video Game Ads for a sources of game ads from many countries and for many consoles. If you more of a Sega fan however, you would be best checking out this site for their excellent selection of all ads Sega.
It's great to go back and see some of those ads, one of my favs being this one for NiGHTS on the Saturn, where they proceed to drop an Playstation of the top of a building. It's such great brand assassination, which today I would really doubt you would get away with, but back in the day when Sega was still on top it was great.
After checking out some of the ads for the SegaCD it's no wonder that it didn't sell well, they are just so uninspiring. I actually on ever remember one SegaCD ad that I saw in a cinema once, I don't think it showed any game play, from memory it was one of those teaser ads which left you wanting more. Was really cool at the time, seeing a console advertised in the cinema. Though I will say that the Sonic CD is very cool, I always get a buzz out of seeing it. Though Sega really did focus way too much on the whole FMV thing with the SegaCD, which is a shame because it was probably the most bland area of the console.
It's kind of strange these days though with ads on TV, I rarely see any. Sony used to put out quite a lot back in the PSX days, especially with things like Final Fantasy and Gran Turismo. Recently though I've only seen a few Nintendo ones, and they were from Gameboy games if I recall correctly. Though Sony did show some Gran Turismo 4 ads, though I only saw those during either the WRC or Formula 1 coverage, which is right for demographic, if a little limited to coverage.
Though when I come to think of it, I did see an ad for Tekken 5 recently, and also some for Ratchet and Clank 3 a while ago. So there are a few everyone and then, just not so many as there have been in the past.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The new skin, as you can see if you have been to the Wire05 website it's all in the same theme.
This just shows the new "Exclusive" section the update creates, just below the Gamma section.
Picture of the track selection, simply named Wire05. However when you start the track it sounds like it has another name, but it's hard to make out.
Simply a picture of the new Wire05 ship, it kind of looks like the Aurocom ship.
An image of the track, quite colourful and full of nice effects also full of Wire05 posters and images.
The Wire05 ship isn't too bad it's pretty much like some of the others, and very similar to the Aurocom ship. The new Wire05 track is great, lots of nice long curve sections with plenty of speed boots pads and some nice straight sections, overall a nice fast track. Also it looks really great, there are some wicked effects built into the track itself that look wicked. It's all themed to the Wire05 event so it's all coloured blue and grey. It would be great to seem more content like this for the PSP for any games, but works especially well with Wipeout. As for the new music track, I'll have to figure out which is the new one, I'm not sure if it was playing when I started the new track.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I'm not sure if it's to do with the Xbox360 launching in the coming months or not, but there seems to be a distinct lack of Xbox software being released soon. Sure there are titles coming out, but most of them you just know are going to be the usual shite. It would make sense that Xbox software will dwindle as the Xbox360 nears, but I haven't really picked up anything for my Box in ages.
I finally got some good news about Killer 7. I was really pissed at CD-Wow in the last few days because it hadn't shipped, though when I checked my order list about 20mins ago it had the wonderful "sent" status next to it. 3 days late so I'm still kind of dark on it, but I guess it was worth saving a little on it. Though I'll have to wait until next week to check it out now. *sigh*
Also I'm still waiting on my order from Play-Asia that shipped on the 9th. I've never had an order take more than say 4-5 days before, so taking this long is a little strange. I just want We Love Katamari. I need a fix, I HAVE to roll up something strange, I just need to!
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Oh and trust Play-Asia to have three new flavours of those Shigekikkusu sour candy things. So now I've got to find something else I want from Play-Asia, as it's kinda pointless just ordering 3 packets of sour candy.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
You might have noticed the new online magazine called "The Escapist" that launched a few days ago, since it was mentioned on Slashdot and all. I found it to be quite an interesting read, though what caught my attention the most was that Tycho from Penny-Arcade had contributed an article to the line up. The magazine is more focused towards articles that cover attitudes towards gaming, and discussion of gaming in general, as opposed to news or reviews. I found it to be a nice change of pace, though I do have a "craving" for decent articles about gaming, and this hit the spot.
Tycho's article is one that discusses the transition of gaming, from basically a geeky pastime to a full fledge mainstream multi-million dollar business. I completely agree with the points that are made though out the article. It's a very hard topic to try and discuss because there are a fair few positive and negative marks against "mainstream gaming". You only have to read a few dedicated gaming forums, to see that many people these days think that a majority of game companies have given up their creative soul in search of the dollar. Constant IP resurfacing, and brand/franchise raping really is enough after awhile, especially when it the same old game just redressed at the end of the day. In reality, what it is, is fucking boring. Sometimes you just think that creativity is dead, and no one wants to take a gamble with a new product. This is one of the worst points of mainstream gaming.
Though on the opposite side of the fence, you have to also allow for mainstream gaming bringing in revenue and help fund some of the better games that are around. There are many great, creative titles that have been made, and possibly with thanks to game studios and publishes having the money to do so. Though these days there does seem to be a lot less "Original" titles, and so many more sequels and re-hashes.
The other article that I found intriguing was "Gamer Like Me" by Jennifer Buckendorff. The article basically discusses and asks, what constitutes someone being a "gamer". Now in my mind it's pretty easy to decide if someone is a gamer or not, it's just hard to explain it.
If you own a console, maybe a few games and occasionally play them, I wouldn't consider that person a gamer, as you wouldn't consider someone who owns a few DVD's a movie buff. Also someone who just plays a single game for hours on end, for instance The Sims, I also wouldn't call a gamer. Now this is where it gets more difficult, where do you draw the line between someone who is a gamer, someone who isn't and someone who is hardcore. Which is also this article tends to go a bit awry. I would say someone is a gamer who is passionate about gaming, spends a fair bit of time playing games, buys games that interest them in a variety of genre's and spends sometime talking about games and checking out the latest news. In the article Jennifer makes a point of someone, who would rather play games and refuse to watch a DVD, that's more of a hardcore trait if anything.
Now someone who is a hardcore gamer, would be very passionate and knowable about gaming. They would also own multiple consoles, and probably import games. Being up to date on everything in the gaming scene is a priority, and experimenting and taking a risk with a new or unknown game is a thrill. I would go as far to say that someone who is a hardcore gamer always want's to know more, is always willing to learn and read about something they may not possibly know about. It's becomes your main interest, and you develop a true passion for gaming.
Though at the end of the day, being a gamer isn't about how much money you have to spend on games, or even what you own. It's about being passionate about it, and enjoying it.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
You might have noticed that I mentioned that I'd started watching a web TV show called "The.Scene" in my last post. We'll I watched all ten episodes of it, and got right into it. I know people who are really in the scene probably think it's an utter load of wank, but I actually just like the originality of it, they way that it's composed is great, plus the drama is just interesting. Grab episode one if your unsure, there are plenty of torrents and such for it.
There is currently a few next gen articles flying about. One I noticed was regarding the PS3 loosing a built in router, I didn't even know the PS3 was going to have one! This isn't really an issue, routers cost piss all, I mean they gave me one for nothing when I signed up for ADSL, and it's sitting here on my desk unused. So no big deal there.
I also just noticed this regarding the Xbox360 not being on many gamers must have list in Japan. Can't say they it surprises me at all. Microsoft is trying to compete with Sony in their own country, in a market that they have dominated for a fair few years now. It will be near impossible for Microsoft to ever make a significant dent in the Japanese market, especially without support from someone like SquareEnix, who's software makes consoles a must have. I just find it kind of funny that these articles like this make is seem like such a surprise that Japanese gamers would rather a PS3 than Xbox360. I could go on about this for quite a while, but I won't because it would probably be just the same old tat that you already know.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
So even though I'm all for a PAL/English version I'm not prepared to wait 6 months and it still not be released. I always thought that Namco could do a compilation, and just put both games together for like $60, why not seems great to me. I really don't see the point on releasing a sequel when the they didn't release the original, the story will make fuck all sense. Though if Namco do release the Katamari games in the PAL region, I would re buy them. Yes, something I don't normally do, but I would love to have an English translation of them. So any I'll put up some impressions when I get hold of it.
Other things. You remember those Japanese candies I bought, which at first kind of offended my tongue, well I now can't get enough of them. Once you get used to how sour they are, they friggin rock. So I bought some more, haha. This time I picked up the lemon ones as well. I also decided to pick up another one of those Virtual On One Coin figures since I was so impressed with the first one.
Oh and I just started watching that show called The Scene. I've only watched the first episode but it intrigued me and I downloaded the rest of them.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
As I sit here listening to various tracks from the Jet Set Radio soundtrack, I just can't help but think of many a strange thing.
A load of stuff that I ordered from Play-Asia arrived today, just things that I wanted, you know I kept seeing them on the site and just had to purchase them. The picture of the PSP at the top of the page, it looks like a standard PSP.. ohhh wow.. But wait, it's now sitting atop a Compact Charger Stand. I mainly brought it just so that my PSP had somewhere to sit, but it's also great for charging it. Just plonk it down there when it's got to be charged, no probs. This one cost about $9, there is another that's about $40 or so and includes a audio jack, but I didn't really need that and also didn't want to spend that much on it.
This here is one of the new Virtual-On: Cyber Troopers One Coin Figures. The reason I only picked up one of these is because I was unsure of the quality of it, and the other being that they are over $10 each, yes that's right $10. I don't know what that one coin shit is, but last time I checked I didn't have any $10 coins on me.
Even though it did cost $10, I have to say it is excellent quality. You can tell from the that shitty picture but it has a great level of detail on it. Also the figure is possible with each of the limbs and head all moving. I'll probably pick up some more of these, only problem is that they ship randomly in a little cardboard box, so it's kinda hard to get the whole set.
Speaking of gashapon, I also picked up one figure from the Capcom Girls Collection 2. Again I wasn't sure what these would be like so I only picked up one, but they are currently on special and only $2.50 each. Again the one I got was excellent quality and very cute looking, so I'll defiantly pick up a few more of these.
This is more of a word of caution than anything. These things here are a kind of sour/sweet candy hybrid. Now I love this kind of stuff, but these have a weird kind of taste. For one they are very sour, the brown ones are cola and pretty sour, the blue are supposed to be lemonade but are really sour. They do taste kind of like their supposed flavour, but not enough to drive me into a frenzy.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
So anyway Coded Arms from the memory stick, it’s what I would say “far to easy” to do. Though I don’t feel too guilty, Coded Arms is a bit shit anyway. I played the first City level through, and I kid you not, that for about 7 levels, it was the same stage with things just re-arranged. I think a FPS could work on the PSP, just not with the awkward controls that Coded Arms implements. Basically you use the analogue stick to move, and then buttons to look around, yeah I know weird. You then use the D-Pad to zoom, and reload, and the right shoulder button to fire. Even after you do get used to it, it’s still messy. I think you can alter the way the controls work, but I can’t be that bothered. Plus the game is a little dull.
One thing that is good about these loaders, if that if you say own Lumines as I do. You can put that onto you memory stick and have the choice to play either that or say Wipeout on the UMD that is in the PSP. I know ultimately these types of things are mainly piracy, but they do have practical uses as well.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I picked up Viewtiful Joe 2 for PS2. If you played VJ1 you will know the deal with this one, if you haven't played VJ1, well you really should. Plus I'm not going to explain how VJ works, it's just too hard. Anyway VJ2 is pretty much the same thing, except now you can also play as Silvia, Joe's girlfriend. You have all the same moves as before, but you can actually "tag" with Silvia during gameplay. The main reason for this is certain puzzles require either Joe or Silvia, and I think some later on in the game require both. As you might recall, one of Joe's powers was Machspeed, which allowed him to catch on fire. Well Silvia has one called Replay, which is similar, allowing you to record a move and play it back 3 times, this also charges her with electricity.
So anyway after playing it for a little while it's pretty much the same as the original VJ just with the new Silvia element. The cutscenes are kind of slow at times, and not really as funny as the original VJ, they seem to have these weird pauses in them which just makes them drag. Also this time the game is based through different periods in time, which gives it a bit of variety. The game is still fun, and it's a seems a little easier than the Original game, well so far anyway. The original I ended up playing on Easy just to finish it because it got really brutal.
Another new addition is a section called "The 36 Chambers", which area series of rooms unlocked via the main story game. These rooms are, from what I can tell so far battles against groups of enemies with certain conditions, things like having an time limit or just one life. An interesting addition to the main game, though they seem fairly hard, I'll have to put some more time into them.
If you were a fan of VJ1 and wanted some more after it, VJ2 is really an essential purchase, if you just got frustrated by the original probably best leave this one alone because it's just more of the same.
Other things. I forgot to mention with King of Fighters Maximum Impact, apart from coming in a really nice cardboard outer cover, and with the bonus glossy moves book, it also comes with a bonus DVD. It's pretty much just about the game, some interviews and features of the game. It's a well put together pack, which is quite funny considering the game.
I also played a little more Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles the other day, and this game is really aimed at multiplayer. It's just that the single player doesn't really offer much at all, it's not very deep and is over simplisic. Also the combat doesn't consist of much at all, were I thought there might be more there, but there just isn't. Nice looking game, and well presented, just not really suited for single players.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
I finally game in today and picked up Viewtiful Joe 2, and King of Fighters: Maximum Impact. Viewtiful Joe 2 cost me $40, and KoF: MI was $35, pretty much why I picked them both up from EB. I wasn't sure on KoF:MI, because normally 2D to 3D conversions suck ass big time, and I had read both good and bad things about the game. However I was pleasantly surprised with it.
The first thing I noticed with Maximum Impact is the sheer speed of it, it's right up there with it's 2D counterpart, well more of less. I am seriously not kidding, it's the fastest goddamn 3D fighter I have ever played, and I love it for that. I've always wanted a 3D fighter that played at a 2D pace, but until now nothing has really done it right. If this game had a little more work done on it and polish, it would be a wicked fighter. Because it's KoF, all your favourite characters are here, with all their trademark moves and you can pull of some utterly ridiculous combos and juggles in the game, even bouncing opponents off of walls in the process.
Though one thing that is fairly obvious, the game being the way that it is, it's very open to button mashing, though this isn't too bad as it does allow people of any skill to play, and this game would make a great 2 player outing. One other thing to note is that the way the game plays, being very fast, I found it a bit of a strain to use the Dual Shock controller. After playing though story mode just once, my thumb really ached after it, though any arcade sick would make a great difference.
If you have ever played a KoF game you know the deal, this is pretty much the same deal but just in 3D, I know it's hard to believe. The controls are fairly solid in the game, though I did find that getting up after being knocked down is hard at times, there doesn't really seem to be a back roll or anything, you just get up which leaves you open to your opponent smacking you again. It quite a clean looking game as well, just he 3D arenas look a bit plain, they kind of reminded me of Fighting Vipers.
What I would love to see happen, is that Capcom, or SNK work with someone has already produced a 3D fighter like Namco or Techmo and produce a seriously fast 3D fighter. Maybe Street Fighter vs Tekken, it could seriously work if it was produced like Maximum Impact is, just with more polish and some reworked gameplay mechanics.
In the end, for $35 if your a KoF fan, or just looking for a fun 3D fighter to have a bash with a friend it defiantly worth a look.
I'll talk about Viewtiful Joe 2 tomorrow.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
So I did what anyone would do, stayed home and gamed all day. First thing I did was download the Battlefield 2 demo and have a bit of a play with that. I find it a fairly interesting game, and love the choices of different classes, and variety of weapons. Plus even with all the graphics on high it just runs a treat on my system. Blow up tanks with anti-tank weapons is a real blast. Though one think I did find disappointing, besides the matches only lasting 10mins because its a demo, was the weapons themselves. Maybe it's from playing a fair amount of CS lately, where the weapons are very pronounced and vivid. It's just in Battlefield 2, when you fire say a pistol, it just has this really weak ping feel to it. Even things like the sniper rifle just feel lifeless. I always think gun in FPS's need to have a real kick to them, to make it feel more realistic and it gives you much needed feedback.
I also finally stated to play Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I didn't expect it to be anything like it is, it's more like an adventure game than an RPG. At it's core you create a character, then follow a set path to certain places, to collect a certain liquid from these special trees. There isn't really anything wrong with that, you defiantly won't get lost. The combat is fairly simple, and works well, more hack and slash style. Also it has such a great look and feel to it, much more than I was expecting. I try and play some more into it, as it might have more depth to it. Though even if it doesn't it's not really a problem, simples sometimes is better.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Though in my defence, I will play right through a game if I really get into it. Also most of the time I'll play a game up to a point where it just annoys me with some sort of stupid difficulty, or I just get bored with it. The difficulty thing is quite an important thing for me, since I like to play a few different games, I don't want to have to "perfect" everything in a goddamn game just to pass a level, it's pointless, that's what "hard" or "ultra-hard" modes are for. "Normal" mode should be enjoyable, not a bloody trial.
I'm also still playing a bit of Counter-Strike, I thought it might be one of those things that I just needed to get out of my system, guess not. It probably won't last too long, it just takes time away from other games. It's just so addictive.
I just noticed that the weekly special over at Play-Asia is Armored Core Formula Front on PSP. Now I've read that this game is a mech simulator, you build a custom mech and then it fights a simulated battle, and I know that there is so much fucking Japanese in the game that it difficult to play. But...I just want to buy it because it's $29!
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Anyway apart from that the game is great, very nice stages now, no real boring crap. Also for some reason my PS2 won't let me play any of the old Arcade games or the Devil Within mini game. Damn PS2 *shakes fist*
Thursday, June 23, 2005
It's so unexpected when you first start playing that is just catches you off guard, especially the way that combos just rolls of your buttons and the awesome parry system. If you manage to hit the attack button at just the time an enemy is about to strike you, you parry their attack, landing many a blow upon then, which can then be carried into a combo. The one boss fight that I've played so far is basically a really large sword/parry fight with wicked visuals. The only complaint I have about the game is the rather bland textures and environment, though I haven't played a great deal of the game yet it's just that so far it's very open, but not much really fills the space.
Since Bujingai has had a PAL release it's quite easy to pick up, but you will probably want to try and get it for around $30, because while it a interesting game I've heard that it's quite short and wouldn't be worth shelling out too much for. Just one too look out for at some point.
Now Tekken 5. It seems that Namco has taken a few cues from Sega's Virtua Fighter 4 release, since the Arcade Mode now incorporates the whole ranking system, and a load of other stuff. It's not as well done and VF4 but it does the job. I really wish that the game let you use the Analogue Sticks in the main game, because after playing for an hour or so with the D-Pad I always seem to get a really sore thumb!
Anyway, the game looks and sounds great, I would have to say Arcade quality conversion, similar to VF4. I haven't played Tekken in a while and it always takes sometime to get back into it. As a result I got my arse handed to me a number of times in Arcade Mode. The only real issue I had was that the CPU really seems to take too much advantage of hitting you when your down, and abusing the whole juggling thing. Now I don't really mind this when I've played the game for a little while, but right of the bat it's goddamn frustrating. Other characters are worse than others, namely Hihatchi (barstard). Though it does push you into improving your game, which I guess works.
I really wanted to check out the bonus Tekken games that come included with it, but my PS2 was having none of it and wouldn't load them. So I'll try and fix that and see if I can get them to play.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
However it all ended fairly abruptly when I died half way thought the first section, annoyed at this and finding I would have to replay said section I turned the game off in disgust at it's ridiculous difficulty level so early in the game. Now I like a challenge and all, but this game really can get you off side with the way it plays. The amount of enemies you encounter, the amount of health you have, the amount of damage that they deal and being unfamiliar with the battle/combo system really make the game difficult at first, the combos being very important as they allow you to deal much more damage.
Anyway so after thinking I wouldn't return to the game I decided about an hour ago to try it again. This time with increased stats, and knowing what I was doing I blazed though the first section of the game with ease. So now I'm back into it and looking quite forward to what the game has in store.
It's a great looking game with a sort of future sci-fi feel to it, and the cel-shading used thought out is great, sort of Wind Waker but darker and more gritty. I never really played a Breath of Fire game before, only once very briefly on the PSX so I can't really compare it. There are no random battles which is a nice change, as you can avoid battle if you don't feel ready to take on so many enemies. The battle system is turn based allowing you to chose from different ranges of attacks, which can be used in combination to produce more damage. So far it seems interesting enough, and worth checking out if you an RPG fan, and at $25 from EB is well worth a look.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
The two new tracks are Exostra Run and Ubermall. Exotra Run is quite a fast track, with more downward slops than up, and a fair amount of wide open corners with boost pads before them, quite a fun and fluid track to race on. Ubermall on the other hand is quite the opposite. It has a fair few tight sections with fairly tight corners, leading to either a couple of really long fast corners and high section so track. It's not as fast as Exostra Run, but has some interesting scenery.
Friday, June 17, 2005
I was going to try and play a bit of Breath of Fire 5 this weekend, but I don't really know. I have no idea why I buy RPG's, I don't have the time to play them let a long put the time into them to complete them. But we'll see.
I didn't mention this because it's import related, however the weekly special over at Play-Asia this week is Tekken 5 (English language, Asian version). Now normally I don't pick up import games that will get a release in PAL, but it was only $30 and I'll be stuffed if I go out of my way to pay more for it.
Because I was already ordering that I decided to pick up Bujingai from their Big Summer Sale also, and yeah it's pretty big. $12, and it's got Gackt in it.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Since the game has been recently released in Japan, there is a first play thread about it over at NTSC-UK which has many favourable mentions of the game. So after reading a few posts I decided to pop over to Gamespot and check out a few of the new videos that are around.
Even though this it's supposed to be "on-rails" so to speak, it sill look like an excellent action/shooter game. With a great dark cell shaded feel to it and wicked style. It's due out for PS2 and Cube on 22nd of next month, so a little over a month away, but I'm sure to be picking this up on release.
Also I mentioned that I picked up House of the Dead 3 on Xbox the other day. Well I played through it, and goddamn it a short game. I managed to finish it the second time though. I remember HotD 2 taking me ages to beat, and that was also using a gun. HotD 3 looks really nice, and plays quite well plus it would be ace with a gun. It's also nice that it unlocks HotD 2 which is also an excellent port and plays very well. Just a shame HotD 3 is so very short.
Monday, June 13, 2005
With a game like God Of War one of the most important elements that needs to be right are the controls, and God Of War excels in this department. Solid, tight and responsive they make the game very playable and really fun, allowing you to pull of some ridiculous combos.
The sound a graphics are also very well done conveying the atmosphere and environment really well. The audio is actually quite outstanding, with some great surround sound effects being implemented.
The gameplay it's self is pretty much your standard action adventure style gameplay, all based around Greek mythology which is an interesting change. There seem to be a few puzzle elements at times in the game that make you think, which adds quite well to the gameplay. One interesting element was on one of the first mid-boss fights, to finish off the boss you had to input a series of quick button presses, quite similar to those old games where you had to hit the right button at the right time during a cinematic. The one I encountered was easy to pull off and the result was excellent and very well executed, leaving me quite satisfied.
God Of Was is due out on 23rd of this month and I would recommend that anyone up for a good action game check it out, with a nice original setting and great gameplay, it's seems to be well worth it.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
As I am the kind of person who doesn't always want or like to go along the latest "trends" I usually try and find clothing and the like that's more my style. I'm always looking around for decent t-shirts or gaming related ones. I know there are a few sites around which are dedicated to that kinda thing but not many of their designs really grabbed me.
That was until the other day when I stumbled upon Split Reason. If you after any sort of gaming apparel this is the place to check out. They have a serious amount of wicked designs, many web and gaming related. They also have some great looking hoodies and long sleeve shirts. Plus they also have a nice rang of clothing for the ladies. I've put a couple of my personal favs below just for fun.
Also the image at the top of the page is also available as a shirt, and looks the business! There are a load of other shirts that I'm currently loving, and you can check them out at http://www.splitreason.com//click_thru.php?id=45c842cef1118e346bb57b8dbdff97be
Oh, almost forgot to mention that they also sell the little Stikfas toys. I have no idea why but I love these things, so simple, yet so cool.
Friday, June 10, 2005
So after grabbing that he also recommended I check out Breath of Fire 5 on PS2. Since it was 50% off, cel-shaded and a Capcom game, I thought I would give it a try. Hey it's $25, and I've made worse investments (Crimson Sea 2 I'm looking at you).
I also managed to score a demo of God of War, the PS2 action game that everyone seems to be raving about. I'll give that a play soonish and write up some impressions of it.
I've also been playing a bit of FarCry over the past few days, I have mixed feelings about the game, but I'll post some impressions soon.
Oh and that game I mentioned below is Sonic Gems Collection, click here for a link to Sega Europe. It's currently listed with a date of September 2005.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
I was just browsing over at Sega Japan website, when I noticed a new section called Sonic Channel, which is home to a few of the new Sonic games coming soon. Now I remember reading about a new Sonic game coming out that was supposed to have Sonic CD and Sonic Fighters in it, but I didn't realise until just now that it also has Sonic R in the compilation as well. I think this new compilation is called Sonic Gems and is going to include the games mentioned above plus a load of Game Gear games.
I'm unsure of a release date but it looks like August in Japan this year, and it's coming to both Gamecube and PS2.
I've waited a long long time to play Sonic Fighters on a console, and it's finally coming, it's been nearly 10 years sonic I played it in the Arcade. The fact that Sonic CD and Sonic R are on the same disc is so awesome I can't even explain it. Sonic R has some wicked cool music in it, was one of the last Saturn games and is great fun.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
After going to another EB store on Sunday to see one of my mates there, I ended up going to Robina Shopping Center, thanks to my sister who convinced me it "wasn't that far". Because there is absolutely sod all there, besides the usually stores I decided to try and find one of those new transformers that is modelled from a real world car. I've been after the RX-8 for a while but have never seen it, I've once seen the WRC Subaru STI but with a damaged package, and also seen a few of the WRX, but I didn't really fancy it.
So after that I thought I would check out K-Mart, now I really hate K-Mart for various reason, but it was near by and I thought why not. So as I'm walking along the isle of various cars and toy, I notice sitting on the shelf a 1:24 Die Cast model of the Tureno AE86 from Initial D. To say that I was completely shocked and surprised was an understatement. Though when you think about it, it makes sense. Tokyopop worked with Jada Toys to produce a range of the most popular cars from Initial D.
The AE86 is actually a really well produced model. Very accurate and finished really well, it's only 1:24, but it was only $20 which isn't bad. They also have a few other sizes, 1:64 and 1:18. The 1:64 are matchbox size, and available from another K-Mart. However I'm vet to find another the 1:18 or any other the other cars in the 1:24, which is a shame as I would love to pick up the FDS3 and the FC3S. I'll keep an eye out and see if I can find any of the other models.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Game wise I've just been playing Doom 3. For some reason the game just freaks the shit out of me, which I guess is a good thing since it just highlights the atmosphere of the game, most of the time I play it with headphones on which makes it even more freaky. I'm enjoying it so far, the cross of classic Doom style gameplay with modern FPS style techniques.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Monday, May 30, 2005
Since I've also now got a wireless router I can get the updates for PSP games much easier, I just check out Wipeout Pure and Gamma Pack 2 was available, so I grabbed that. It came out a week or so ago, but I didn't hear much about it, probably because it for the Japanese version. Anyway the pack includes: Sebenco Peak, Feisar Skin and Yan Uber Ship. I Feisar Skin is light Blue with yellow highlights, it's not bad looking and a nice chance. The Yan Uber Ship looks very evil, and is quite good, it's main asset being that it has top handling. The new Sabenco Peak track is quite interesting, it's very twisty and has quite a few peaks and dips. Though I only played through it once, so I really need to try it out again. The update overall was just under 5 megs.
Looking on the Japanese Wipeout Pure site, there seems to be updates for the game every month which is quite cool. At least they are supporting the game and putting some effort into it.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
I;ve just been thinking about Namco X Capcom, which incidentally has just been released in Japan. What go me thinking about it is apart from it being a game that I am looking forward too, is an article over at Gamespot regarding it. They've posted some impressions which provide some detail about how the games plays and such. It's nice to see that it differs from standard SRPG's in that it adopts a more tradition turn based system.
After getting into SRPG's thanks to Nippon Ichi, I was particularly interested in an offering from the likes of Namco and Capcom. With so many characters at their disposal, how could something like that not be exciting. So after reading the preview from Gamespot I'm a little disappointed to find that, with so much text and voice acting in the game, there may be a slim chance of it coming to the West.
Now I know that's total speculation, but they are a couple of good points. However with the popularity of SRPG's now, Namco (the publisher) would be crazy no to publish it in the West, and hey the took a gamble with Katamari and that sure paid off. However Capcom and Namco are both quite good when it comes to releasing titles in the US, they will localise most things. Though both companies have screwed PAL gamers, so it then begs the question even if Namco X Capcom gets a US release, will it then get a PAL release?
Either way, I'll may pick up the Japanese release if a US/PAL version isn't in the works, even though I will understand nothing that's going on. If you haven't done so check out some of the trailers for this game, it does after all look as the kids today would say "teh shiznit".
Friday, May 27, 2005
At the moment I'm thinking about checking out some of the PC games I haven't had a chance to experience yet. Things like Doom 3, FarCry and what ever else takes my fancy.
I played a bit of Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 the other night, and while I like the combination of FPS and tactical strategy that it combines, it just annoyed me in too man other areas to really bother with it. The main issue I have with the game is it's while "realistic" aiming model. While I like games to be realistic, I also like them to be playable and fun.
The other thing is that the game play is really repetitive and the environments are pretty much very similar. I know most FPS can be like this, but this game just seems to be, suppress the enemy, flank and kill said enemies. Just not my cup o' tea.
Still waiting for my ADSL to become active, the current status is "Waiting for Telstra to Activate service". I don't have much against Telstra, but you know they aren't the fastest to get things done.
Also I found a great site this week called "I am a Japanese School Teacher". It's about a black guy who moved to Japan and now teaches English in Japanese schools. He writes his experiences up in such a humours and entertaining way that I haven't laughed out loud so much for a long time. If your into it read though the whole lot because I promise you it only get funnier and stranger as it goes.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I'm sure everyone has been keeping up with all the happening of E3, so I won't really go into any of that because I can't really contribute anything of worth the already plethora of sites overflowing with first hand info from E3.
However I will say that I'm quite intrigued by what has been shown and announced. What with the like of the Xbox 360 coming out so soon is a real treat, it's almost like Next Gen gaming is here now. Like everyone else I'm slightly concerned with Sony's showboating, only because I don't want them to make claims and not be able to produce the goods this time round, ala the whole emotion engine debarkle. I just think it would be embarrassing for Sony, and also lose them quite a bit of respect from many hardcore gamers. Though it's so early in the game for Sony and the PS3, it's very hard to speculate what they will and can produce. Just look at the PSP, that's some crazy shit right there. Then there is Nintendo and the Revolution, Nintendo managed to reveal 10 8th's of fuck all about, which resulted in myself looking interest in there new console. But again like Sony, it's quite a while away yet, I'm totally prepared to wait and see what they will produce.
The sad thing about looking at all the gorgeous HD footage of all the Next Gen titles, is that it makes current games in development look a bit tat. Another thing this year is that much of the attention if on the crop of new consoles and many current gen games, besides fairly big titles seem to have had less coverage. Though it's always good just after E3, when more solid info start to become available.
I'm actually quite interested in what's going to appear in the next year or so for the current generation of consoles, a lot of the time some decent stuff comes out at the end of a consoles life.
Anyway at the end of the day I'm quite relived that there is a gap between the new consoles. I means I can actually afford to pick up each of them without a hassle. Especially the new Xbox360 and a new HD TV that supposed 1080i, although 1080p is around the corner.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Found out today that my local exchange doesn't support DSLAM, which Broadband 2 requires, it's not like I'm the only person, but no Broadband 2 for me. I'm just going to grab a 1.5Mb 50Gig plan from TPG, should be fast enough.
I want to post some thought about the Xbox 360, Playstation 2 and Nintendo Revolution in the next few days. I love this time of year with E3 and all the gaming news that's about, it's even better when 3 brand new consoles are shown. I'm quite interested in how this is all going to go, what with Microsoft release their console so much earlier than Sony and Nintendo. The thing I'm most interest to see however is the price of the consoles, and how they actually play real games, no pre-rendered demos.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I'm currently downloading Half-Life 2 from Steam, but I don't have ADSL hooked up yet so it's taking some time. So I'm hoping it get done soon, I really want to see how this ATI Express AX700 performs, and at over $300, it really should do.
As promised pics and specs soon, I gotta log off for now.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Anyway I’m back now, regular updates from now on every 2-3 days.
I was going to point out the Xbox 360 coverage that was on A Current Affair, and meant to do it when I was at work on Friday, just a quick post. But like most of the time I had to do some web stuff for someone and didn’t get around to the post. Not that is really matters, I didn’t get to see it either thanks to the fucking Friday Brisbane traffic. Though I didn’t expect that there was much covered on it that isn’t online, and much like the MTV special, would have to tuned to the pander for the average punter.
My new system is nearly complete, for some reason I’m still waiting for the RAM. I have no idea why, especially since it was ordered on Wednesday, oh and the TFT but that wasn’t ordered until Friday anyway. I’ll post some pictures and specs once it’s done. I forgot to bring home any of those little things you stick to the case and then use with cable ties to tie back cables, so the inside of the case is a little wild at the moment. That will be remedied on Monday, I’m really anal about system cabling. I’d also forgotten how big these Lian-Li V Cool PC-V1000 cases are, it’s a monster.
I’ve also gotten myself a new desk, pick one up from Office Works last weekend, and it was delivered Wednesday. I spend some time this morning putting it together which wasn’t too hard, and it looks the business now. The thing is, you see these things in the store alls built up and think, sure that not that big. But even after measuring everything up, it’s not until it’s the room you realise how big it is. So at the moment, it just reminds me of some monolithic desk, and it’s not even that big.
However, I had to move my TV and a load of gear to get it in the room. So all my lovely cabling is now in a mess, and it’s probably going to stay like that for the mean time, because I’m sure it’s going to get worse. I also had to put my Saturn away, it wasn’t getting used and there isn’t enough room as it is. Also my Dreamcast is now perched on top of the new desk, unfortunately it’s not hooked up, but as it doesn’t get used all the often it’s not a big deal.
One last thing, I decided to finally check out Eternal Darkness on Gamecube which I picked up quite a while ago. I had heard a lost of praise for the game, but also quite a bit of negativity about the over hype about it. So of course I went into it not really knowing what to expect. When I first started playing it I was really getting into it, but as I got to about the Seventh Chapter it just seemed to become repetitive. I love the style of the game, and also the storyline and the eeriness of it. But the combat system just pissed me off at times, it’s just unresponsive, the game relies so much on it, that it just becomes such a hassle. The other thing is the whole magic system. While it’s really interesting, and it’s not even that it’s complicated, it’s just the way it’s implemented as a gameplay element that make it so difficult at times. There were a few other things that annoyed me at times, the whole hallucination this isn’t that interesting, maybe I was just expecting too much. I might play thought some more of it and see how that goes. I’m not sure, just constantly messing around with spells was really annoying.
Friday, May 06, 2005
At the moment I’m in the middle of a sort of refurbish of my current computer trends. Since I only own a laptop at the moment, it’s become a bit of a hassle so I’ve decided to build a new PC and hopefully get hooked up with a Broadband2 connection. I’m planning to pick up a new desk tomorrow, and then I should be able to get the parts and build the PC in a week or two. It’s a fairly high spec Intel P4 3GHz running on the new LGA775 platform, I didn’t skimp on any of the components they are all decent spec, and because I can buy all the gear though the company I work for it won’t cost too much. I’ll post some system specs and all the gubbins later on.
Apart from spending the last few days putting all that together, I found out some great news about Forza. Apart from this new Xbox racer getting rave reviews all over the place, it’s the only game to have the Mazda 3 2.3ltr Hatch model in it!!! That begin the car I own, I’m well chuffed. I defiantly have to pick the game up now, so I might do that some time soon.
I’ve never posted a pic of my car before, so here are a couple that I took when it was nice an clean, unlike at the moment thanks to all the rain.
Monday, May 02, 2005
With Initial D being such a popular anime most notably in Japan but also now in the West, I still find it strange that SEGA have never released this game outside of Asia. It’s one of SEGA’s best current generation games, and it’s also a hugely popular license, so I still can’t understand why this hasn’t been released in the West, especially with all the other rubbish that SEGA persist on releasing time after time these days.
Anyway onto the game. Being an arcade port, this game has the usual modes, being Arcade Mode and Time Trial, but it also includes a very well done Story/Manga Mode. Arcade mode is I assume pretty similar to the original Arcade version, which involves you taking on various opponents and the various different courses from the anime earning points and then upgrading your car, pretty simple. The races in arcade mode become very challenging until you’re familiar with the courses, so it takes some practice.
However if your after a challenge, Story Mode will really stick it to you. Story Mode has you reenacting all the races from the anime, in similar condition as well. Starting with you driving with a cup of water trying not to spill any and you race uphill, all the way to taking on Bunta, this mode will do it’s best to own you. Story mode is by far the most interesting mode, featuring the same voice acting found in the anime, as well as small pieces of storyline and simple animation to explain each battle. The difficulty on this mode is obviously designed to make you work at becoming a better driver, and work you it does. With most of the battles being fairly straight forward, some of them are a real challenge almost requiring you to perform a perfect race. The battles that I seem to have the most difficulty with are the uphill battles, the main reason being any loss of momentum from say hitting a wall will ultimately cause you to slow so much that your rival will catch you, this being worse due to the speed penalty imposed from hitting a wall too hard.
Everything else about Initial D Special Stage is just pure Initial D, from the Super Eurobeat music that plays as you drive, to the awesomely accurate course design and overall graphical look of this game there is very little I would want to change. I could go on for ever about how solid this game feels as you play it, and the outstanding car and drift control but it’s best if you just try and play it. Either hunt it out at a local arcade, import a PS2 or even mod your current one, either way this game is a must play.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Well after being on backorder for a little while, my JVC component switcher finally turned up at work yesterday. Also know as the JX-66 AV Selector, it’s quite a nice looking unit that can be positioned horizontally or vertically thanks to the included base. Also because it’s a passive switcher this little baby will also do HD signals up to 1080i, which I don’t need right know but it’s useful later on.
It’s a nice solid unit, with 3 component inputs and 1 output, all gold plated, so non of that silver shite. It has 3 nice solid switches on the front to select the input, and works a treat. I currently have my DVD player and Gamecube running though it, great quality with no signal loss at all, you would hope so as well because this thing runs about $130, and it’s just a basic switcher.
Top picture is the selector sitting atop my JPN PS2, so you can sort of get and idea of it's size.
This is the selector in all it's retail packing glory, ohh shiny.
And this is how I currently have mine set up, it just saves a bit of room and is eaiser is to place somewhere.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Another long weekend is upon us, that is if you happen to work in Queensland anyway. It’s great having an extra day, just to savor those games you really want to spend some quality time with, and what better games than Initial D: Special Stage and Beatmania IIDX9. I really have to say that Play-Asia fucking rock when it comes to delivering the goods, I only ordered those two games last Thursday and they arrived midday yesterday. They really are the guys for any import needs, and the shipping is cheap as well. I was only $6 to get those two games shipped in a small cardboard box with the games also wrapped in bubble wrap.
I didn’t get to play a great deal of each game last night as I spent a fair bit of time fiddling with the goddamn PS2 just to get it to read the Initial D disc. But once it did I finally got to experience the goodness that is Initial D Special Stage. Since I’ve never played the arcade version it’s all new to me, but I instantly fell in love with the game. I can really see why people are always on about it, it’s just feels so solid. The only thing that pissed me off was that there is no optical out put for the game, it’s been disabled. I read that it was to stop people from ripping the soundtrack, but you can just rip the goddamn CD’s so it makes no sense. So apart from not having surround sound for this game everything else is great. I’ll write some further impressions later.
Also with Beatmania, it’s been so long since I’ve played the series that I’m really out of practice. Plus I’m starting to think that you really need the IIDX controller to play this game, because at the moment with 7 keys it’s really difficult with the standard dualshock 2 controller. I’ll give it a few more goes, and see if I get any better. Using the controller with 5 keys used to be easy, but with 7 it just get confusing as hell.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Apart from the odd bit of Katamari Damacy, the other game that I got around to finishing was Disgaea. I’d put over 45 hours into the game but just never completed the final chapter, I decided on the weekend that I might as well spend the little time needed to complete it. It took longer than I thought, because it was like 2 chapters in one, making something like 10 battles, and a shit load of cut-scenes. It ended up being a bit of a slog, and at the end I was kind of glad I’d finished it. When I fisted started playing Disgaea I really loved it, now for some reason now I’ve just had enough. God knows if I’ll ever get around to finishing Phantom Brave or La Pucelle Tactics, maybe once I’m back in the mood. Though for some reason I’m still interested in Namco X Capcom, maybe because it’s different and a change from Nippon Ichi’s SRPG’s.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
After playing though Katamari Damacy and finishing it, then playing it again some more, I decided to check out La Pucelle Tactics today. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a while now, so I thought it was about time I actually played it.
As with most of Nippon Ichi’s SRPG’s it takes some time to get used to the new game system and it’s pretty much the same with La Pucelle Tactics. The battle system is pretty much the same as Disgaea, where you dispatch you characters to defeat the enemy. Also similar to Disgaea’s geo system is that La Pucelle has a dark energy system which can be altered, and then destroyed to produce powerful combos, and while it’s not overly complicated it does take some time to get used to.
Where as Disgaea and Phantom Brave allowed you to create characters, it seems La Pucelle required you to “Purify” monsters who once defeated will join you team and battle for you. With these monsters you can then train them and build their stats to create powerful aids in battle, none of which I have gotten into yet.
One thing that is quite good is that like Disgaea you can use characters close together produce combination attacks on an enemy. Also the counter attack system is quite good and allows for some decent extra damaged to be dealt even when it’s not your turn. Though one thing that I’m still undecided about is how the battles are played out. Instead of you character just attacking on the battlefield, the game fades to a separate close up of the action and it plays out from there. It’s all well and good, and looks nice, but takes so goddamn long to go from Battlefield to Fight Sequence and then back to the Battlefield, especially when it happens several times.
So far of what I’ve played the game seems very similar in style and gameplay to Disgaea and isn’t anywhere as hard as either Disgaea or Phantom Brave. Maybe it’s just me, but La Pucelle Tactics just seems to be more of the same, which is great if you’re a fan, but I think I’m just loosing interest. Especially as the cut scenes seem to take forever and are very slow. I might play further into it and see if it grabs me, but I really don’t know, maybe some other time.
I’ve got Initial D and Beatmania IIDX9 arriving next week so I’ll post up some info on those. Can’t wait to get into Beatmania again, it’s been quite a while.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
From the strange and surreal Japanese opening to the fee flowing game play, Katamari Demacy takes gaming back to its very simple roots. It’s so simplistic in it’s approach that it has become revolutionary in a sea of gaming boasting a larger more complex experience.
Katamari might not have the greatest looking graphics, or the latest 5.1 audio integration. However what it does posses is an element missing from so many games these days. It’s not that games these days aren’t great, it’s just Katamari contains such colourful, refreshing and enjoyable gameplay it’s hard not to be capture by its charm. Everything in this game simply adds to the enjoyment factor of it, most notably the simply rendered yet brightly coloured items that give the game it’s classically enchanting style. Even each of the little sound effects from each item that you acquire into your ever amassing ball is always amusing.
Every time I boot this game up, the intro and the music always bring a smile to a face, it’s just pure fun, it’s what gaming is all about. It’s funny how the most basic games are always the ones you enjoy the most.
I’m still a little dark with Namco and their decision not release Katamari in any of the PAL territories, it really is a game that so many people can enjoy, it just has such ridiculous potential. Though it hard to stay mad at Namco, they release far too many quality titles. However they have said that they are going to release the sequel to Katamari in PAL territories which is great news for everyone who hasn’t experienced the game yet.
Monday, April 18, 2005
So anyway the connection is usually pretty weak from it, and the PSP doesn’t like weak connections at all, it won’t load the pages or just stops responding. So after fiddling around, I decide to wander outside to try and receive a better signal. Sure enough the PSP loads the pages, and lets me start to download the content. No I didn’t realize that this Gamma Pack 1 was 3.7 megs, so I end up sitting on the drive, in the dark watching as the progress bar fill for this download. It’s quite strange sitting outside on a quiet clear night, as the wireless light on the PSP flashes away as it receives the data, and also the blinking of the orange memory stick light as stores the data from the wireless.
So after about 10 minutes I have the download. I get back inside and check out what it’s added and I’m pleasantly surprised. Gamma Pack 1 adds a few new things. First of all a new Skin called Piranha, which is a red background colour with yellow highlights, and looks the business. Next is the new team Tigron, a fairly chunky looking ship but with some decent specs and goes quite well. Finally the new Class named Gamma and the new track Staten, this is now my favorite track as it so fast and smooth and has many nice sweeping corners.
La Pucelle Tactics also arrived today but I’ve not had time to check it out yet, I will do in the next few days and write up some impressions.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
A friend of mine came round yesterday, and because he’s soon to sell his Xbox he gave me his copy of Gunvalkyrie. Everything I ever read about this game is that the controls are bad, that’s it, every comment. No one ever seems to point out just how rubbish the game itself is. I can handle the controls, there not that bad, mealy awkward. What I didn’t like in time I spend with it is just how awful everything seems to feel. I read once that this game was actually designed for the Dreamcast and to be used with the light gun, but because of the DC’s demise the ported it to the Xbox and gave is some piss poor controls. I’m a huge Sega fan, but this game is just a uninspired level crawl.