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Onechanbara : Z Kagura

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LKQSiDC0vA4/Tl_Lzy6sTfI/AAAAAAAAEKk/2IZ_8XolCUs/s640/ncOnechanbara-Z-Kagura_X360-02.jpg

I was anticipating this game and it just got released yesterday in Japan. Looks very saucy, I really hope D3 brings it overseas.

D3 seems to be a much stronger publisher in the west these days, so I think there's a good chance.

Just don't let us wait like a year before deciding!

RAGE & OTOMEDIUS : EXCELLENT - Double End-year Disappointments

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RAGE

http://image.gamespotcdn.net/gamespot/images/titles/product/7/942657.jpg

I'm a huge fan of post-apocalyptic games, so naturally RAGE was a game I had to play.

The adventure started fantastically-enough. The game's trademark top-tier graphics made the wasteland a joy to watch, and the gameplay is mostly traditional no-nonsense and non-gimmicky shooting action, which also was a big plus for me.

So, at the start you're quickly introduced to a couple of small but interesting towns with the obligued quest giving NPCs. The characters in this game look and animate superbly, so looking and talking with them was very enjoyable.

Basically, the pace at which you're introduced to new stuff in the beginning is pretty good, and I was sort of expecting the game to keep it up throughout most of the adventure, but alas it did not.

I was done with the first two towns in just a couple of hours then arrived to the first "big town" and was pretty much stuck there for the next 10 hours or so. The game started to feel rather small-sized by then, and I couldn't wait to just move on to the next town.

Finally, I cleared the first disc and when I started the second at that time I said "wow, it was worth it". Imagine my surprise though when I found out this second big town that I just arrived in was in fact the last one in the game.

Seriously, the whole end game of RAGE was total BS, not to mention surprisingly short. The story was also awful. I mean, the game throws these cool and intense shooting sequences but all the motivation the devs could come up with to put you through all of this stuff is that you have to prove yourself to some one-dimensional mobster mayor character? That's just lame.

Then when you're finally ready to hit the enemy in their turf in this supposedly epic final mission, I was expecting to see another town or at lest new scenery. But there's only this high-tech facility, you flip some switches, fend back a small bunch of enemies and the game ends... TOTAL LET DOWN!

Bottomline, I don't see me playing RAGE again ever. It has one of the most disappointing and anti-climatic end game parts I've seen in a long time.

--

OTOMEDIUS : EXCELLENT

http://thecontrolleronline.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Otomedius-Excellent_Box_360h.jpg

I have to be honest. When I first read the media feedback about this game I totally rolled my eyes. I mean, the media critics have always sucked big time at rating arcade games ever since the 32-bit generation.

This time however, I must admit I was wrong and they were right. This game just isn't that good.

As I've already mentioned a few times in this blog, OTOMEDIUS : GORGEOUS is one of the best shooting games of this generation.EXCELLENT unfortunately is nothing like it.

GORGEOUS had the legendary PARODIUS feel. It had more interesting and well made stages, better bosses, better music, better animation, well, better everything. EXCELLENT on the other hand feels like an unspired, low-budget sequel made out of the left overs of the previous game.

It's a real pity that western players were introduced to the series by this uninspired sequel and not the excellent arcade game.

I got a PSP

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I've never been much of a fan of portables, outside of my NOMAD which is where I do nearly all of my MD gaming. However a friend was selling his PSP to get the new Vita so I bought it off him.

So now I can play while in the bathroom what is in my opinion the best shooting game of last generation (alongside Shin Contra) the incredibly awesome EARTH DEFENSE FORCES 2. (^^;

http://www.inside-games.jp/imgs/zoom/178530.jpg

Now I can kick some Godzilla ass on the go and on widescreen!

I was really concerned about the controls though, I mean with the PSP analog joystick sucking legendarily and all. The good news is that the game allows you to change controller options to something relatively close to how EDF3 controls on the XBOX 360.

I do have to say I'm terribly disappointed at the lack of shooting games on the PSP. I've never looked into the PSP library before, but now that I have, the system doesn't have that many.

There's DARIUS BURST, STAR SOLDIER and other few quality shooting games, but far from what I was expecting to find.

Oh well, EDF 2 is such a long-ass game and I want it to replay it again so I'm probably gonna stuck with it for a while.

More bits and thoughts about the wonderful "hi-tech" 80's

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So I was dusting off some of my old game magazines looking for info about some old PCgames and I came across a couple of issues of the MyCom BASIC magazine from Novemeber and December 1988. For those of you who might not know, this was the time when the Mega Drive was released.

I don't have a PC scanner unfortunately, but the good news is that I searched a bit and came across a sort of MyCom BASIC database with the front covers and at least a one page scan of each issue.

Something is better than nothing, right? (^^;

Anyway, the header of the November 1988 issue was :

セガ16ビットTVゲームマシン発表 !

(SEGA Releases Their 16-Bit TV Game Machine!)

▲Click for insert scan.

The hottest games of the month were ORDYNE at the game centers and JACK : LAS VEGAS SERIAL KILLER - a black and white AVG (adventure game) for PC.

Stuff like POWER DRIFT, BERABOH MAN, KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD, and THUNDER FORCE II were also on the rage.

Now, the December 1988 header in turn was :

セガ・メガドライブ

徹・底・研・究

(SEGA MEGADRIVE THROUGHOUT ANALYSIS)

▲Click for insert scan.

The hottest games were IMAGE FIGHT, THUNDER CROSS and METAL HAWK (This was the time where shooting games ruled the Middle Earth still).

CAPCOM's DAI MAKAI-MURA was also kicking arse at the game centers.

Man, I know I can't say this enough but the 80's and early 90's were the sh+t. Loads of games and systems everywhere. The arcades impressed us with their super sprite scaling and 3D games that seemed like out of this world at the time. The powehouse gaming computers with arcade perfect ports that were far out of reach for most every kid still stuck with their 8-bit systems, but they still read about them and wished of one day owning one.


If you were actually playing stuff like STAR CRUISER or AFTER BURNER at the comfort of your home back in the '80s, you were one lucky kid.

There was none of this nostalgia BS that plagues the nowadays video game userbase. No lousy standards either, game companies had to be in the game to remain alive. Competition was fierce in every aspect.

More importantly, video gaming was more self-centered. Gaming was for the gamers, basically. It was game company vs. game company fighting for supremacy. Nowadays we have games with celebrity voice-overs and movie size budgets. Gaming has become way too mainstream and Hollywood-like.

There's lots of advantages in current gaming for certain, but I think the disadvantages are just as numerous.

But I guess for the new generations the online gaming, services and community must seem like the greatest thing ever, and above anything that came before it.

A thing that I'll never be able to dig though is why people want to play *new* games that look and play as if they were made over 20 years ago. And worse even how can they possibly think they're any cool.

I sure as hell don't remember anyone making Atari 2600-caliber games well into the 16-bit generation, and certainly even less earning praise for it. If that's not standards slipping, I don't know what it is.

Sonic : Colors vs. Generations - Which is the best Sonic game of this gen?

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http://www.degeneracionx.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/SonicGenerations.jpg

Two Sonics - Two Games to rule them all.

I know most people probably would say that Generations is outright the better game, but I think it's a closer call than that.

In my opinion Generations, altough it's unquestionably a top-quality game, it does rides a lot on the nostalgia factor.

Colors on the other hand, felt a lot more fresh when it came out. It delivered jaw dropping level design (some would say the best ever in a Sonic game) as well as some of the best graphics on the Wii system. The new wisp powers for the most part also were very fun to use.

But more importantly, it almost single handedly brought Sonic out of the slump of poor gameplay concepts that seemed like they could just not work right.

Generations of course has the ****c Sonic gameplay as well as THE ****c Sonic. And while Sonic is only 20 years old (the original Sonic The Hedgehog came out when I was around 11 years old), it would seem like in video game years that's like having 50, and it's just the stuff of old times.

I do have to concede that ****c Sonic is just too lovable, and it did made me remember why Sonic is the coolest game company mascot in history.

I don't feel the same way about the ****c gameplay however, which in my opinion is just not as good as the new one. But hey, we get both so it's win-win for everybody.

I think the graphics in Generations could have been better also. I mean, they're in HD and all, but in comparison the graphical quality of Generations is inferior as that of Colors considering the systems they're running on. Colors pushed the Wii's capabilities somewhat at least, whilst Generations was far away from doing that for the Xbox 360 or PS3. In fact, some parts of the game like the story sequences look pixelated.

Not that graphics are an important matter but I think it was worth mentioning it.

To tell you the truth, I'm still undecided as to which is the best game. I did received the more shockingly good impression from Colors and felt Generations only built up a little from it. Both are geninunely excellent games on their own though, so Sonic fans should be happy.

Just read the GameSpot Best of 2011 awards...

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Was it like the worst ever, or is it just me? Also, what's up with the whole retro game theme? Did I miss something? What does it has to do with the awards themselves?

And about it, it's quite obvious whoever designed it only had a NES while growing up. Talk about lack of perspective about retro gaming. Like if in 25 years from now they came out with another retro theme from this time and only picked Wii games to represent it.

They should've bought a Master System or PC-Engine, or at least read about them, then the theme wouldn't had looked so one track minded.

Skyrim 10+ hrs in impressions

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I've finally been able to spend some quality time playing Skyrim - here's my impressions so far. Take in mind that I'm not that far into the game yet as I've spend a lot of time restarting the game with various characters.

First I have to say that while the game certainly lives to my expectations, I don't think it's a big step above its predecessor. In my opinion Skyrim is a bit like what Icewind Dale was to Baldur's Gate : Basically more of the same wonderful stuff, but in a different setting and lacking the wider, more grandiose scope of the first.

Graphics : The game is beautiful to look at times, but some ugly lower-res textures still can be seen here and there. The snow effects also look cool most of the times, but it can also look like wet white paint when it's covering the floor of some ruined buildings.

Sound : The same pros and cons. Lots of character voices get rehashed to no end.

Gameplay : Handling the equipment and spells can be very annoying at times. I can't believe you can't map weapons and spells to the d-pad. Instead you can add any item, weapon and spells to your favorites menu (accessed by pressing up ond the d-pad).

This is still a menu though, and it's also a bit cumberstone, specially when dealing with dual wielding equipment.

Dual-wielding also doesn't feel well developed. They pretty much just allow you to hold and swing another weapon on your left hand, that's all. Its drawback is that you can't block, which is sort of lame. I'd rather wished they had given you a penalty to attack or something until you improved your skills.

Overall, the game was basically what was I expecting it to be : A wonderful adventure with lots of quest to do. But it's still far from being a relevant step above Oblivion. I was hoping maybe they would implement at least another race (Dwarves would've been great), but oh well. Maybe next time.

Further edit : Horse riding is also a huge let down. With recent examples like Read Dead Revolver, Skyrim's horse mechanics feel flat out archaic. Below even that those of the Wii/GC Zelda game.

New Xbox 360 Slim + New Games (Skyrim, Sonic Generations, Dead Island etc.)

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My old Xbox 360 busted a couple of months ago, and ever since then I've missed a few of the late releases.

Well, I finally went and bought a Slim model, and got Skyrim, Sonic Generations, Dead Island and Dead Rising 2 : Off The Record to get up to date. There was also the new Ace Combat, Batman Arkham City, that Warhammer game, and a few other games I'm interested, but I'll get them monday or so.

Luckly, you can use the old HDD on the slim model, so I didn't had to buy another one.

I'm very impressed with Skyrim BTW, tough it has the same black and white choice answers from Oblivion.

The game looks fantastic, the character creation is a huge step up, it has dual wielding, and the interface is the best in the series.

The only thing I don't like is that you cannot checkout your character appearance on the item or status screen.

I only hope the game isn't as buggy as Fallout and Oblivion.

I also have noticed that the character models have this light lines around them. It's not a big issue or anything, but it's odd.

Dead Island was a bit of a disappointment though. It just doesn't have the charm of games like Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising. Characters are far from memorable.

I still have to install Sonic Generations, so I can't comment on it right now.

Finally, my old system didn't had an HDMI port so I also was able to test that. I couldn't see any noticeably difference in image quality though. Both component and HDMI look exactly the same at 1080p on my TV.

Twitter : Is it worth it? Should I use it?

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I've noticed for a long time now that a lot of the blogs I've seen around have either twitter plug-in or a twitter link. (well at least the Japanese ones do)

I've personally never used this service, so I'm wondering if it would help me to promote my blog and/or to get in contact with other retro game enthusiasts, like in a forum.

The thing is, like I just said, I don't know how it works. Like, how exactly do people find you in there? I would hate to be talking to nobody there.

Also, if the service is actually worth it, I'd like to know how to get started, as in what should I be saying. I know there's a strict word limit to each message, but that's about all I know about it.

Virtual CD drive programs and Windows 7

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I'm wondering if any of you uses and can recommend me a Virtual CD drive program that works well under Windows 7.

On my old PC I used Daemon Tools Lite and it worked like a charm. However the latest version of the program, which is compatible on Windows 7 doesn't work on the programs I need (they don't detect the virtual drive).

Specially I need a program that works with emulators. I could be wrong but I think emulators require some old CD unit drivers (like ASPI) that aren't supported anymore on Windows 7.

So if any of you knows a good Virtual CD drive program that works fine, please tell me.