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-Near- Blog

It's A Happy Time For..........

Even in this time of mishap and depression a lot of us try to be happy by having something to look forward to or something that we routinely do that keeps us satisfied. So for the occasion I will state "It's a happy time" for different things that I think people will use to keep going.

It's a happy time for Hajime No Ippo fans:

If you like boxing or fighting animes and have never seen this one you better look it up right now. Hajime No Ippo is one of the longest running manga's and its still going. Why is it good to be happy? Well because it's still going for one, but also because the anime which in this case is as good as the manga, has started up again after a good 5 year absence. It the anime started in 2003 and had 76 long and amazing episodes but ended right when the main character won the championship despite the manga going on. But in December of 2008 it was announced that they producers would start up again and keep the anime going which is even more detailed and amazing than before. Even if you hate boxing or sports, you might be surprised by the amazing character development and amazing detail they put in every episode. It's definitely worth checking out.

Hajime No Ippo Characters

It's a happy time for Naruto Shippuden fans:

As if Shippuden wasn't cool enough, the manga has really taken a serious tone. Seriously every time I say I'm done, someone pushes me back into in and I am surprised each time. It always just seems to leave you wanting more. I don't know about the next person but it looks like the creators are trying to get as close to an adult themed series as possible. Every chapter gets more violent and more serious and you know what I wouldn't have it any other way. Welcome to primetime Naruto.

Naruto Shippuden Characters

It's a happy time for Lakers/Celtics/Cavaliers/Magic fans:

If you like basketball and these are one of your favorite teams you know what I'm talking about. If you don't or your favorite team isn't one of these four or the Spurs or Hornets than your out of the loop. Kobe and Lebron fans are all over the place now arguing and debating. Celtic fans seem to just pop up out of nowhere (I live in the Northeast) and Magic fans are just along for the ride. If you're a fan of any other team besides the Spurs or Hornets, may the soul of the game be with you.

Kobe BryantLebron JamesDwight HowardKevin Garnett

It's a happy time for Pittsburgh Steelers fans:

Hey they won the Super Bowl and did it in a nice fashion. Fans have a whole summer and season to brag and that's always fun to do.

Steelers D

It's a happy time for Xbox 360 owners/possible buyers:

Not trying to persuade anyone or say that one system is better than another because I'm not a fan boy. However nobody can doubt the truth. Let's face it, games are no longer easy-set-up instant-play anymore. With the economy the way it is and so many systems on both the 360 and PS3 side failing, buying one is basically an investment. And as it stands despite RROD, the 360 is just the definite choice. You'd think the rechargeable wireless controllers, free online, web browsers and Blu-Ray would be a no brainier and in a way it is, just not at this time it seems. 360 is on a role, gaining new titles while keeping their exclusives. Aside from a few really good titles, there isn't anything you can play on the PS3 that you can't play on the 360 or that is worth playing in general. It also doesn't help that the PS3 is still costlier than the 360. But with the current release list and future big blockbusters coming out for 360, Sony better do something quick because at this point in time, they're losing and it's about to be a blowout.

360

It's a happy time for Halo fans (possibly again):

With a still strong multiplayer world Halo fans are less than a month away from getting a piece of Halo: Wars, the RTS game by Ensemble (who are pretty good at making RTS games). The ability to command entire armies is always nice, but the ability to command futuristic armies against an unstoppable alien force just sounds like hours of "I'm not getting up for the sake of humanity" time. Adding to the good stuff is Halo: ODST, which is set to arrive in September and seems to be shaping up nicely. If you're really into the story and universe of Halo the recent price drops and new novels will also help pass the time and Halo stories are no joke, especially since some of them are New York Times Bestsellers.

Halo

It's a happy time for Zombie fans:

You already got the heart pounding multiplayer action of Left 4 Dead which gathered high ratings and plenty of awards from critics. Yet in the coming weeks, Resident Evil 5 will be upon us adding even more mischief to our zombie blasting mayhem. Resident Evil 5 is expected to be another high scorer after the previous entry did so well. But it doesn't end there. Capcom officially announced that the rumors are true and Dead Rising 2 will be coming out (most likely by the end of the year or early next year) which will allow people time to beat RE 5 with a friend and play numerous L4D games over the summer.

Left 4 Dead RE5

It's a happy time for action movie fans:

Seems the demand this summer is a dose of Sci-Fi with a strong side of Action. With movies like Star Trek, Terminator, Transformers, Dragonball and G.I. Joe all set to release over the next 5 months we're in for a good show, well all except Dragonball, that'll be more of a shock and awe.

It's a happy time for Pokemon fans:

Hey man, I say only the show and cards are for kids. The games revolutionized handheld RPG gaming and allowed us to brag, create teams and start all out wars against our friends. With the DS as powerful as ever, Pokemon Platinum is coming at the right time. Considered to be the best and possibly the only Pokemon game you'll ever need this is going to be big. Expect people to pull out DS's from everywhere as the battles begin anew cause if Japanese ratings are any indication, this one's gonna be close to perfect.

Poke Platinum

It's a happy time for Reality TV fans:

I hate them and you probably do too, but they're a host of people that literally live and breathe the lives of other people doing stupid things on TV. As of now it seems like there is no end and won't be for a real long time.

At least for now, people who enjoy these things have something to be happy about. For the rest of us, well oh well. I know I probably missed some things, but these stood out the most. If you have anything tell me. I have a feeling this won't be the only "It's a happy time for" blog.

-Near-

Steelers Win, Four Blockbusters on the way!

Wow again, it's been a long while since I've been on. Never thought I'd have such a busy stretch. I'm back though and in for good for so lets get down to it...

First up SuperBowl XLIII was....well ok. I'm a Giant's fan so I wasn't too into it. Actually to tell you the truth I think only Steelers fans were into it. I've been to Arizona and even people there don't care about the Cards. What I will say is that Larry Fitzgerald looks like the greatest wide-out in the game today. His touchdowns throughout the entire post season broke a record and he's looking like the Kobe/Tiger/Crosby/A-Rod type of player, just crazy good for no reason. But yeah that's about all I really was into. I knew the Steelers were going to win even when Fitzgerald had that late game touchdown. But yeah this was nothing like the excitement of last years and I'm not just saying that because the Giants won. Last year just had a better setup. Also Bruce during the halftime show was ok but nothing special. I think they should've had U2 instead.

The things that got my attention were the movie trailers shown during the commercials of the game.

Transformers 2 is looking pretty interesting. During the trailer I thought I saw something and I had to confirm it on YouTube. About 15 seconds into the trailer a car blasts through a wall/window and transforms back into it's car mode. But the thing is it transforms into one of the hottest cars out today, the Audi R8. If I'm correct GM bought the rights to the Transformer movies to make all the transformers into vehicles they make but Audi is a German made car. Maybe the economy and the bailout has something to do with it but if they have foreign cars in it this movie is going to be sick. Imagine seeing a Mercedes or BMW or Lambo just transform. I personally think Bumblebee should have been a Lambo but hey even if the Audi R8 is the only car they have that's foreign, that's a sweet ride to choose. (I had an Audi A6 for a short while and loved it, til I had to sell it :cry: but I am definitely gonna get another once I finish college)

Audi R8

The next trailer I saw was the G.I. Joe movie coming out. That was sweet. It didn't blow me away but it was pretty cool. They showed Snake-Eyes and Storm-Shadow and it looks like they're going to have some over the top action scenes and that's fine by me. They didn't show anything that was too cheesy or stupid which I think got a lot of people interested. I think it's the same thing with the Star Trek trailer (which also looks pretty badass though I never watched Star Trek ever) they made it good but not cheesy.

So this makes four cool blockbusters that I want to see,

G.I. Joe

GI Joe

Star Trek

Star Trek

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers 2

Terminator Salvation

Terminator 4

This is looking like a real good summer. All these movies start in June and run til August. That's four long nights I'm going to have guaranteed. If you saw any of the trailers, write what you think, and if not get to YouTube immediately. As for now, well it's good to be back.

-Near-

College, Snowboarding, FFXIII never coming out!

Short blog but hey, life happens right?

I am not a fan of college. I'm doing fine with my 3.5 but man is there so much to do. I've almost completely stopped partying for two reasons. One, partying won't get you s*^t in the future, unless you happen to meet your future wife or husband at a club and they somehow are rich or have crazy connections to help you get somewhere in life.

The chances of that happening, 1 in 2,754,395.

Yeah, that's right.

To everyone who isn't in college, trust me it's worth it to skip some parties and hang outs in order to get in school work and some hours at a job. Most of my friend's party like crazy (drink and smoke, the latter which I don't do at all) but they all have under 2.0's. In fact that highest grade is 1.7. Yeah that is crazy hard to bring up in college, and you don't wanna put yourself in that situation. Trust me in will affect your life. Just ask yourself if it's worth it to party it up at the possible expense of the next 30 years of your life. The second reason I almost completely stopped is because people can get stupid. To guys' watch who you mess with, some girls, no matter how fine really aren't worth it. And to girls be careful out there, not all guys are a**holes but some are even worse than that.

Drinking to Grades ratio

Next up: snowboarding.

So I'm up watching a preview/reply of the old X-Games and the one that will begin next week and it really made me want to snowboard like crazy. However I'm not really good at snowboarding so I like to do the next best thing which is play snowboarding games. However these days there isn't much to choose from which kinda sucks. Shawn White isn't that good to me, and Amped is pure BS in my opinion. I usually don't say this but "Where the hell are you EA?"

Yeah, that's right....again.

EA. If there were two things that EA ever got right it was their cool Fight Night series and SSX.

SSX was fun as, well I can't even say but it was fun. It may not have been realistic but there was something about it that blew our minds away. Maybe it was the customizable gear, memorable characters or crazy over the top courses. We really need another one of those, something to take our minds off of life so we can escape to the mountain. Fight Night 4 has been announced, come on SSX 4, get yourself in gear.

NOTE: SSX 3, hands down greatest snowboarding game ever. We can debate this and trust me; I'll never run out of things to say.

Amazing snowboarding game

Will FFXIII ever come out? Not for another year the least. From what I've researched SquareEnix is looking at winter 2009 as the release date. Problem is they still haven't officially announced anything. But even if they did I wouldn't believe them. We should all remember how many times FFXII and Kingdom Hearts 2 were pushed back. I expect FFXIII to do even worse with that. I'm willing to bet that I'll graduate and have my first career job, before it comes out and I'm a sophomore.

FFXIII Screenshot

Is it just me or is everyone abnormally pretty in this game?

Either way, I'll be playing!

-Near-

End of the Year Folly-360-Sephiroth and DBZ Evolution

Oh man it's good to be back online.

I have been inactive for about two weeks now, partly because my college, like all colleges (duh) is on break right now. Usually this is somewhat good news for me as I'm very busy during the school year. Unfortunately this hasn't been one of those vacations. My Xbox died again, but this time I managed to sell it for the full price that I bought it for, (my warranty is dead so I had to be a bit cunning) but I had to use some of the money right before I was about to get a new one.

So I've been without a main system for the entire vacation except for my PSP and PS2 (which I have no games for, I only have two PS1 games, FFVII and Chrono Cross). However the PSP is not as fun, nor would the DS be if I had one (so stop right there DS fan boys and girls) because I firmly go with the notion that handhelds are in fact handhelds-while-going-somewhere, thus should be used on the go. I have six PSP games, some of which like Crisis Core I probably won't even beat til March/April. Why? Because I do my best to only play them on the go. People who have one (PSP or DS, or for you cool kids, both) know this the best, nothing beats being on a long and boring train/bus/car ride and taking out your handheld with a handful of games that you still need to beat. Am I right? Anyone who's ever been on a train with a PSP knows how many stares they've gotten. Everyone around you has a paper or book or a simple Ipod or Zune and there you go with your PSP with movies, games and music, nothing beats it. Thus that's the reason why I don't play PSP basically at all if I'm not on the go. If I sit and beat the games, then I feel stupid when I'm on that long train ride with my PSP but a bunch of games that I've already beaten. Makes sense right?

So besides not having a system to really play, my internet has also been down until now. Unfortunately it almost means nothing being so I go back to school in three days. Great! But really though, it's been terrible, because I don't watch a lot of TV. Even in my dorm room where we have 3 TV's all in one room, one being a 40 inch plasma, all that's ever on is ESPN and sports games and Family Guy. So most of my news I get from CNN.com and MSNBC.com, where I read my articles and watch news videos without having to look at stupid reporters and deal with commercials. I also am always on the web for school and stuff like Gamespot. What's worse is that we have FIOS, so when you lose that speed, you really feel it.

But alas everything is back to normal. So I have a few things to talk about. Well three mainly. Xbox 360 Elite/Gamestop, Sephiroth and Dragonball Evolution. Yes I know it's a pretty random list but hey I'm random guy lol. (Oh that was terrible).

First up Xbox 360. I know you PS3 people would tell me to get that instead since my friends are but I won't for three reasons. I've played and beaten the games that I've wanted to on the system, those being Uncharted/Heavenly Sword and Rachet TOD. Nothing new has really come out, and HOME doesn't excite me at all and it's still a pretty hefty price. So there's no need for me to get one right now, at least until they get a possible price drop or Uncharted 2 (which looks badass) comes out. So I've decided to wait until my next paycheck so I can buy the Xbox Elite. I feel for some reason that I'd do better with it. If anyone reading this has one please tell is if it's as badass as it looks. I also have yet to play Fable 2, Fallout 3, Gears 2 and Left 4 Dead in their entirety. Meaning I only played snippets at friend's houses. So I know I would be entertained. Also my roommates have 360's but I need my own cause we want to have big COD, NHL, NBA and Halo matches against the floors above. If that sound's awesome that's because it is. So I'm thinking of getting this Elite, a subscription to LIVE and two of the games I haven't played yet, most likely Gears and Fable although Left 4 Dead might take its place. But this time I think I may get the Gamestop Warranty too. The other day I saw someone while at Gamestop. She had a 360 that wasn't broken or anything, but just dirty and looked like it would get the ring soon. She hands it to the guy and he gives her a brand new one. So I asked her about it and she says that it's the 4th yes, not a typo, the 4th times she's done that. Talk about taking advantage of Gamestop. They kick our asses with the prices they give for our returns, we should get something lol. But really though I'm about to do that, what can they say, nothing, it's their warranty. If anyone has experience this please tell me about it.

New Xbox 360 Elite

Next, Sephiroth, yeah the silver haired, most badass villain of all time from FFVII, seems like a better hero than villain to me. Anybody who's ever played Crisis Core, (which I still haven't beaten, but again that's on purpose) should know what I'm talking about. Angeal was pretty kickass too, but I think Genesis is just pure BS. I think the guys at Square were like "we need a mass amount of enemies but we don't want to put in the time to make an assorted variety so let's just make the same things over and over and call them Genesis Copies!" But still Sephiroth was a nice guy man. You play FFVII and you watch Last Order and Advent Children and you go damn he's cool as hell but he's an a$$hole you know, but then you play Crisis Core and he's a really cool dude. I really like him as a nice guy and think he would make an excellent hero to me. No offense to Cloud or Zack but hey the man is just misunderstood that's all.

Sephiroth/Genesis/Angeal

Lastly speaking of pure BS, this just takes the cake. After fighting for a good while my friends forced me to watch the Dragonball Evolution trailer. My conclusion, Toriyama must be either dead or kidnapped because I can't believe he'd let this **** reach theaters. I've also speculated that maybe he's broke and needs money. Any excuse is necessary. Now I understand that it is very very very hard to adapt Dragonball Z to live action. Even Avatar and One Piece would have an easier time. I'm all for trying to semi recreate DBZ in order to fit but even still they couldn't get it right. It's so bad that they couldn't even make Bulma's hair blue. Hell, they couldn't even make Master Roshi old. We can create Optimus Prime, make over 1000 Agent Smiths, make a Terminator that shoot lasers out of his eyes, but we can't get an old guy with a 'stash to play Master f*#^ing Roshi. I'm not even gonna talk about Goku and Piccolo. Or that crap of a kamehameha! Oh man, and you know what the worst part is, I'm gonna be first in line to go see it lol.

Goku and Bulma

Goku Bulma 2

Happy New Year people! Let's start this one off right!

-NEAR-

Batman and Joker, The Greatest Conflict of all Time???

So I picked up The Dark Knight and I have to say, this really was one hell of a movie. I think the best part about it was that it almost had everyone thinking, this isn't a superhero movie, this is a crime drama. I remember when I saw it in theatres most of the people actually forgot it was a superhero movie.

Batman Movie Poster

That seems to be what makes Batman so great. Superpowers are nice but it's the human side of things that pushes Batman ahead of other superheroes. I somewhat believe the same for Marvel's Ironman though at some point *SPOILER* (in the comics) he fuses with some parts of the suit thus gaining telekinetic powers. If it sounds confusing, it is. Batman however is just that guy, and pretty much that's it. That's all there is to it. He is THAT GUY! How many people always chose Batman when mentioning favorite heroes? How many people always choose Batman over Superman when asking who is better? Or who can beat who?

Thus leading me to my next point, villains. My top 5 villains ((DC/Marvel Universe) that I extremely favor are:

The Joker (comics Joker cause he kills people)
Apocalypse
Darkseid
Thanos
Killer Croc

The reason why Joker is number one is simply because again like Batman he's human. He can control respect, even among people with superpowers. I realized I liked the Joker a lot when I read The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum graphic novels. Apparently, they were the same two novels given to Ledger to study how to be the Joker. Reading those novels does something to the mind, I swear. You really start to go insane, no joke. I recommend heavily, those two graphic novels if you want to see how the real Joker was. The cartoon had so much editing and he wasn't allowed to kill people or deform them thus making him seem more like a clown when that was completely the opposite. In the comics, especially these two, Joker challenges Batman, shows that all humans have weaknesses while simultaneously almost making Batman go insane himself. You would never think that a conflict could run so deep between a guy who dresses like a bat and another who dresses like a clown but hey anythings possible.

I also recommend The Dark Knight to add to your collection, or possibly start it off. There are a ton of features and any extra equipment (sound system, home theatre, plasma, blue ray, etc) make the movie that much better.

Killing Joke Cover

Arkham Asylum Cover

Near

I had no handhelds yesterday, yet a PSP sits in my lap!

 

Soooo I couldn't help myself. After about two weeks of research and deciding I went with a PSP. Reason why? Well they're were a few.

1. DS is cheap (about 2/3 of one of my weekend pay checks) and will get cheaper when the DSi comes out. Because I have no need for the DSi I could probably snag a DS for 100 later down the road.

2. I did a lot of research and found that PSP has higher rated games, which in essance means nothing, but most of these games I really like and wanted to try. 

3. SquareEnix vs SquareEnix. Primarily Chrono Trigger vs Crisis Core and FF:Tatics. I love to play RPG's on the go especially for trips. DS has a lot of RPG's but half of them are remakes. Chrono Trigger is also $40 and I can get both Crisis Core and FF:Tatics for less than that. The World Ends With You looks to be fun to, but those, and probably Poke Platinum and Advance Wars would be good cheap pick ups for later down the road.

4. Multi-Entertainment. I mean music, movies and games. And I can get UMD movies for cheap.

5. Online. It's much easier, to go online with PSP and most of my friends have it so I can get some good multiplayer out of it. 

There are other reasons, but those are the most evident. So I got the Madden Bundle cause I like football and I can easily play my friends in it. Gonna get FF Crisis Core and Tatics within the week. Regret getting a DS a little but always know I can pick one up in the future.

Madden Bundle

 

I haven't watched the video yet and I have no idea what the beats thing is. If anyone has the Madden Bundle or knows what the beats thing is please further explain, I kinda just got into the gaming once I opened the thing up. Anyone think I made the wrong handheld decision?

-Near-

Hard Times for RPG fans

After playing The Last Remnant I realized something, I wasn't immersed like I thought I was going to be. While a pretty good game in its own right, the play though made me realize that I hadn't been immersed into an RPG game for years. Elders Scrolls IV is amazing and throws you into an amazing world but the story doesn't complete grab you. The same can be said for Fallout 3, Fable II, Eternal Sonata and Tales of Vesperia despite those all being good games (although not all may be everyone's tastes). Then there are other games like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey and Infinite Undiscovery that aren't amazing enough to tap you on the shoulder. With that being said, out of playing games for both the PS3 and 360 the only game that managed to really get me was Mass Effect. Before that everything goes back to the PS2, Xbox and PS1, as I'm sure may be the case with a lot of people.

We live in a time we console systems are highly unreliable, and it seems that great RPG games may be following suit. A lot of us look to Square-Enix for their core franchises in Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts (and if you like anything Chrono, a possible 3rd Chrono game). Yet all we get from them are delays, push backs and trailers. Let's not forget that Final Fantasy XII, the game the probably had the most marketing for any RPG game ever came out 3 years past it's original release date only to have many of us disappointed because of the overall feel of it. We look to Bio-Ware who with Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect amidst others, have a great reputation. However they usually only release one major game at a time a year and their recent acquisition by EA makes me nervous for that timeline. Bethesda seems to be the same way in terms of how long it takes. Besides that, we don't really have anyone major which leaves us all waiting for the very few games that RPG fans crave.

I'm wondering if Square is going to pull another FFXII on us. They've been talking about FFXIII for almost a few years now and still there's no release date. Only promises of more FF games and Kingdom Hearts as well, which too, has no release date. While I'm sure these games won't disappoint my question is what happened to the good ol' days? The times of KOTOR and FFX, and even years before with FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX, Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, Threads of Fate. What happened to quality games with quality stories for everyone to enjoy? It seems like developers are making RPG stories as complicated as possible in order to guarantee sequels so they can milk franchises or half ass-ing them to get them out to make as much money as possible. Don't get me wrong, Kingdom Hearts is an excellent franchise but they have a handful of games all with different stories set to come out for all different systems. I know people who have bought systems just for one or two games and the KH situation seems like a strong milking to me of those kinds of people to me.

Maybe I'm by myself here. I started with PS1 and enjoyed many quality RPG's on that system and had lots of fun on the PS2 and Xbox as well. I'm all for making an RPG the best that it can be, but with the current situations that us RPG fans face, I'm afraid we may only have our memories for a while.   

-Near-