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TheBuck27 Blog

Sony... why? Just... why? 360 and Wii Thoughts as well.

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I'm a supporter of Sony. I try to defend them, even when they do something horrible. Why? Well, of all the consoles in history that I've played, and I've played a lot of them, I firmly believe the PS2 is the best. That's right, best, of them all. Why? The games, and the controller. And the PS2 has the coolest peripherals of any system IMO if you count the multiplatform ones. Also, I believe the original Playstation is in the Top 5 of best systems of all time.

But now, I have no idea what Sony is trying to do. Are they resting on the laurels, or are they trying to get themselves out of the game industry? Maybe someone high in power in Sony Corp is trying to sabotage them?

I mean, when people bash the PS3, I always seemed to defend it by saying a simple word, "future". In the "future", the price will drop. In the "future", good games will be made for it. In the "future", the hardware issues will be fixed. But now, I'm not even sure of that. What I am sure of is in the here and now, Sony is hitting one wall after another. They don't even look like they're trying, they just look like a drunk dude who keeps trying to stand up and walk around, only to walk straight into a wall. Then he passes out. And when Drunken Sony barfed, they puked out the PS3.

Now, I'm not going to say the PS3 doesn't have any redeeming values. I mean, the potential is there, and if you happen to own Sony, or have as much money as whoever owns Sony, then the PS3's price will seem like a bargain to you. If you are otherwise rich and must buy every single console that's made, the PS3 has a few good games on it that are worthwhile. But, it is kind of pathetic that the PS3, as of the time I'm writing this of course, has only one game that Gamespot rated above a 9 and that was a game released a year earlier on the PC and 360. And to the best of my knowledge, no extra stuff in it to make up for the yearlong wait. Of course, some people say that games like Virtua Fighter 5 and Resistance: Fall of Man were unfairly underrated, and while I can't comment on Resistance because I haven't had the pleasure of playing it, most people I know say it deserves at least a 9. Also, I read the review of Virtua Fighter 5, and if I understood it the way I thought it sounded like, the only real flaw in the game is the lack of online play, and that's hardly worth bumping the score down to an 8.1, especially considering most people I've talked to once again said it was even better than Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution which was considered the King of all Fighting Games for years.

But despite all of that, the point is the PS3 should have better games, and it just doesn't. Only one of those three games I mentioned is even exclusive. I mean a lot of people think that's one of the reasons behind PS3's lack of hits and inferiority to the 360, 360 is gaining more third party exclusives while PS3 is losing them. And the third party games that happen to be exclusive to the 360 end up getting the rave reviews. But the thing is, when it came down to my choice of listing the PS2 as the best console, I did so mostly due to the first party games, not the third party games. Without a doubt in my eyes, Sony produced better games that last generation than either Nintendo or Microsoft, although all three did produce great games. That brings up the question for me, where are all the Sony games on PS3? Once we start seeing those, I'm sure things will probably start to look up. Socom on the PS3 should be great. Insomniac already has shown they can make a great game on PS3, and their next Ratchet & Clank game should rule. Gran Turismo on PS3 should also be great. God of War 3 as well. And I know Naughty Dog is working on a game for PS3, presumably a new platformer, so they can keep with the tradition of having three 3D platformers and then one racing game with their platformer characters per Playstation, and then start fresh with a new series for the next Playstation.

So, as you can see, despite Sony's poor business decisions and horrible start with the PS3, I guess I'm still not counting them out yet. Why? Well, for one thing I know Sony can do well, and a lot of people crapped on the PS1 and PS2 their first year, and history tends to repeat itself. On the other hand, Sony is faced with a tougher challenger this time, not one but two tougher challengers. The 360, which I feel is in pretty much the same place so far as the original Xbox's first two years, but neither Gears of War nor Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has generated "Halo hype", although Gears of War has come close, trying like hell to do it as well.  Microsoft is also WAY more aggressive with the marketing, but still, the 360 isn't as good as people say it is. For one, it's still not selling well in Japan. And for two, it's still not a well-rounded system, as almost all of its great games are shooters.

And the Wii. The console I feel will be the star of this gen. Why? Well, when it comes to the 360 and PS3, most people will pretty much only buy one, because they're essentially identical systems. But the Wii is something different. So most people will end up having either a Wii and 360, or a Wii and PS3. Also, the Wii is more for a wider audience, it's cheaper, and the exclusive games on it are much more unique than the ones on 360 and PS3. So, in my opinion, one of two things will happen. 1: The Wii will become a new Dreamcast, which I doubt. Or #2: The Wii will outsell the 360 and PS3 and Nintendo will reclaim its #1 spot, which it hasn't had since the NES days at least in America (as every subsequent console after the NES has had at least one of its competitors outselling it in America, the SNES by the Genesis, N64 by Playstation, and the Gamecube by the Xbox and PS2, respectively).

Anyway, that's it for this blog. I have some other stuff to talk about so I'll see you in the next blog. Hope you enjoyed this and wasn't too bored. If you disagree with anything I said, or if you just want to tell me I'm boring, I suck or I rule, comment on this blog please.

Video Game Pet-Peevery

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I know, Peevery (Pee-Verr-EEE) probably isn't a word, but it's the best way to describe this blog. I'm just going to complain about some stuff because I'm in a bad mood here. I'll talk about the video game politics crap, but also my opinions on XLA, as well as Virtual Console, crappy games, and the new consoles. So let's get going.

K I'm gonna kick this off with Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade, which I personally feel is a big ripoff. Why? Well, first of all, they're charging 5-10 dollars for 10-20 year old games. Now sure, in their original, native format, these games would probably sell for more than that due to the cartridges no longer being made, but as a download, no way. But a lot of people complain about that, so I'll steer clear and make another complaint pertaining to these downloads, and that's this. A lot of these games that they're selling on Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade were sold in Compilations just a few years ago. You can buy this compilations at Gamestop for very good prices, and they're mostly backward compatible on the new systems. Take for example, Sonic on the Wii's Virtual Console. Charging 8 dollars for one 15+ year old game is bad enough, but this game was just released on a comp a few years ago called Sonic Mega Collection on the Gamecube, which is backward compatible on the Wii. Off the top of my head, I think Sonic Mega Collection costs 18 dollars used, the games on it? Well,

I don't know all of them, but I know that it does have Sonic The Hedgehog 1, 2, and 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, as well as the piggybacked games of Knuckles, which would be Blue Spheres, Knuckles in Sonic 2, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. And finally, Sonic 3D Blast which sucks but whatever. In addition to a few bonus games on top of that. But, disregarding the bonus games, and the Knuckles piggyback games, there's 7 games there. So if you were to buy them all seperately on Virtual Console, 8 x 7 = $56. Compare that to Sonic Mega Collection, which is $18, and includes more games, all on one convienent disk. I think Virtual Console is one big ripoff, but you be the judge. The only draw to getting the Virtual Console games is being able to play Sonic with the Wiimote, but still, unless I won the lottery, I'd rather pay less and get more games.

However, Virtual Console is worth it for a few games. Like Mario. I so wish they made a Mario comp on Gamecube, that would've rocked. But instead, you have to pay more on Virtual Console. But oh well, the games are worth it. Also Toejam & Earl, which I still don't know why they didn't put it on Sega Genesis Collection on PS2. Same with Streets of Rage, another great game not available on Comps. And the TurboGrafx 16 games as well. But whatever you do, if you want a game on Virtual Console or Xbox Live Arcade, try to check and see if it's on a Comp first, it could save you money and get you more games for that less money.

Okay, next, the new consoles. I'm not going to deny that the hardware is impressive, but there's one big issue I have. And that's backward compatibility. Nintendo was the only one that did it right, making the Wii 100% backward compatible out of the box. And Sony got their act together too, as about 98% of PS1 and PS2 games are compatible, again out of the box.

But my main issue is with Microsoft. The Xbox had a lot of great games that people really want to play. Problem is, Microsoft not only discontinued the Xbox after 4 YEARS, one of the best consoles hardware-wise in history, gone after 4 years, which is rediculous in and of itself, but they didn't bother making the 360 as backward compatible as it should've been either. I mean they did make an effort, but they should've made it fully backward compatible out of the box. Instead, what they did is made random games compatible, including the worst games ever made for the system, while leaving out a few awesome games. Including my personal favorite Xbox game of all time, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. As well as the three main bundle packs, Tetris Worlds/Star Wars Clone Wars, Top Spin/NCAA Football 05 and Sega GT 2002/JSRF. While the former one is just okay, the latter two are great. In addition to Freedom Fighters, the best third-person shooter on Xbox. Also Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, another great shooter. The original Mech Assault, another awesome game. Voodoo Vince, my personal favorite 3D Platformer on Xbox apart from Psyconauts. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Two Thrones. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Dead to Rights 2: Hell to pay. 007: Everything or Nothing, True Crime: New York City. There's more, but now they're talked about stopping updating, which is just bullcrap. I think they should re-release the original Xbox with a low price and maybe a new design, I think there's enough demand for it to make it a worthwhile sell. That's just me personally.

I don't have much to say about politics, except, well obviously politicians are full of crap. If violent games were outlawed, I'd bet anything that we would see a rise in crime, a large rise, not a fall. You don't agree? Prove me wrong. That's it.

Anyway, next and finally, I hate when people hype games so heavily and then release total crap. I mean, I'm perfectly fine with people not hyping or advertising a game at all and then releasing crap, because they spent just as much work and money on advertising their game than they did actually making it. But, when a game is heavily hyped and turns out to be crap, that's what pisses me off. Especially when it's in a proven franchise that has produced great games in the past. Take Driver for instance. Driver 3 was heavily hyped and people were really looking forward to it. Which is no surprise considering the first Driver was an awesome game and Driver 2 was all but revolutionary. But once it was released, Driver 3 was garbage. Horrible, way to ruin a franchise we all know and love(d). Then there's WWE Wrestlemania 21 on the Xbox. People saw the screenshots and said "HOLY CRAPPP, DA GRAFICKS R AWSOME SO THA GAME WIL RULL!!!!1111". Yeah I admit, the graphics were impressive, but then I looked at who was actually producing the game, which would be Studio Gigante.

Studio Gigante, despite being owned by the co-creater of Mortal Kombat, has never, NEVER produced a decent game before. You show me a good game with Studio Gigante on the box and I'll show you an orange flying pig. And Wrestlemania 21, as I expected, turned out to be crap. No, worse than crap. Diarrea, garbage. Angry Video Game Nerd would be much better at summing up Wrestlemania 21 than I am. But anyway, it was worse than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be garbage. Nuff said. 

There's more but I'm done with this entry. I'll finish up later on. Bye now.

PS2, the rest of my list

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When we last spoke, or, well, when I spoke to you, as you didn't really have any input, I was ranting about my favorite PS2 games by genre. I covered a lot of ground, but not every genre. Here's the rest of them.

 Okay, what's left? Ahh, RPGs. My least favorite genre personally. The only turn-based RPG I can think of that I really, really enjoyed was Earthbound on the SNES. I've never liked Final Fantasy, although the story behind how Final Fantasy came about, how it was made, and how it was really supposed to be the "Final Fantasy" but it ended up saving a company and spawning 15 million sequels, is definitely one that interests me (That's me, being such a gamerhead, I love hearing stories about games even if I don't like the games themselves). Although I do enjoy real-time combat RPGs, which I like to call "Anti-RPGs", but I've always thought of those more like action/adventure games. Ehh, so I guess I'll break it down by type of RPG.

Turn-Based: The only one on PS2 I can come up with off the top of my head that I actually like is Front Mission 4. Sure, it's not a great game by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like it, and here's why. Most RPGs really strike me as these fantasy type games that are, for lack of a better word, cheesy, like kids' cartoons. Sorry if that upsets anyone who's reading this, but that's my opinion on most of the turn-based RPGs I've played. Front Mission 4 is a turn-based RPG, but you fight in tanks, shooting the crap out of each other. Sure, you take turns, which means it's not Mech Assault, but it's still cool, and different from most other RPGs. It's not a game I'd play every day though. No honorable mentions I can think of.

 Real-time combat: First of all, let me get this out of the way. There are WAY better games in this genre overall on Xbox than there are on PS2. Fable and of course Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind are my top ones. But one game really stands out for me on PS2 and that's Kingdom Hearts. Sure it acts like a kid's game, but seriously, anyone with a good heart can enjoy it, because that's what it is, a good-hearted game. Combining the traditional RPG characters with Disney characters is just genius, and best of all, it's fun to play. Definitely a good game, and unlike Front Mission 4, it is a game I'd play often, because it's good. Very good. Nuff said.

Multi-genre: Sure, most people would say GTA. But not me. I love GTA, but I'm going against the crowd here. GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas are all honorable mentions. As is James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, which is easily in the Top 3 of all Bond games ever made, most probably in the Top 2. True Crime: Streets of LA, another honorable mention. Definitely underrated game, although not great by any means. So, what is my choice? Well, since this is a "Favorites" list, and not a "Best" list, I can say which game is my favorite, even if I don't think it's the best. By that token, I pick 24: The Game. Okay okay okay, I know. The gameplay is bad. Well, that may be a bit harsh, the gameplay is okay, but definitely below average. But one thing saves it, and that's the story. The story in 24, I feel is the best story in a game on the PS2. And PS2 games have some awesome stories, so that says a lot. Now, you may think I'm biased, because 24 is my favorite show, and you know what? You're probably right. But this is my favorite's list, so I'll say what I think is my favorite. I pick 24 Season 2.5, also known as 24: The Game. Putting it simply, you can't call yourself a real fan of 24 unless you've played through the game or at least watched the cinematics on Youtube, because it really is like another season of the show slapped in between Seasons 2 and 3. And the story is just about as good overall as the actual Seasons 2 and 3 of 24. K, that's all for 24. Lol.

I'll do a quickie for the other genres because they aren't as important.

Puzzle games: ehh, not the best genre for PS2, I'd say Lumines Plus, with Bombastic as the sole honorable mention. Talk about a hidden gem.

Rhythm games: Pah, no contest, Guitar Hero. One of the DDR games as an honorable mention, as well as Frequency and Amplitude, obviously from the makers of Guitar Hero. Well actually Frequency and Amplitude both came first, but whatever. I've always kind of liked Beatmania, as there was this faction of wrestlers in Ring of Honor called Special K, and they were rave kids who entered to house music, and I kinda like stuff like that. Lol. Also Eye Toy: Groove. With a better songlist that could've been a great game.

Beat-em-up: Viewtiful Joe series of course. Not too many honorable mentions, although on Xbox I'd say New Legends, which had horrible graphics but actually a decent 3D beat-em-up engine, which is almost impossible. Oh yeah I forgot one. On PS2, Oni. That's the best 3D beat-em-up engine I've ever experianced before personally.

 Miscellaneous: Katamari Damacy. I know Gamespot categorizes it as a puzzle game, and I sort of agree, I mean it's the closest genre Katamari Damacy comes to actually fitting in, but I still think the Katamari games deserve their own genre, but until that happens, I list them as miscellaneous.

Classic Game Comps: There were a lot of fantastic ones on PS2. Midway Arcade Treasures 1 and 2 were great, as was Sonic Mega Collection Plus, the best Sonic game on the current consoles (kinda sad that the best Sonic game Sega can produce is a compilation of old Sonic games.) Sega Genesis collection is great. Capcom Classics Collection 1 and 2 are fantastic. Mega Man Anniversary Collection is awesome. Mega Man X Collection is worth it just for the first Mega Man X which I feel is the greatest Mega Man game of all time. Intellivision Lives was a very good blast from the past despite its flaws, and even Namco Museum and Taito Legends were worth it due to the few notable games on those collections. But #1 on the PS2 is my eyes is Activision Anthology. For a few reasons, #1, these Atari games can't be purchased on Virtual Console or Xbox Live Arcade because they're too simple to sell by themselves, which means if you want to play these games, you have to either buy this 6 dollar disk or download. #2, even though the games are well over 20 years old, they still hold up fantastically today. When I'm not in the mood for a big game that's complex with flashy graphics, I can pop this in and have just as much fun. #3, every game is emulated perfectly. And #4, the whole menus of the game is just great. Some real thought was put into this collection, it wasn't just thrown together like other comps. And the bonuses included are awesome as well, like the original patches that were awarded to you for reaching a certain high score, and even old commercials which I love. Why this didn't get a higher score from Gamespot is anyone's guess. Maybe I'll right their wrong and post my own review, as I haven't reviewed a game in a while.

Anyway, that's all for this blog. I'll post one about Xbox games soon and then I'll come up with some fresh topics for later blogs, maybe comment on the latest Gamespot news, considering they are, after all, kindly giving me an outlet to write my opinions. Wellp, see you later, peace.

Top Favorite PS2 games by genre

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K hey what's up? I've cited before that PS2 is my favorite console, and this is my top favorite games for PS2 by genre, along with my honorable mentions. Hope you enjoy.

First-person shooter: I admit PS2 isn't the best console for FPS games, but there were a few good ones. There was Half-Life, which was, in my opinion, superior to the PC version in every way and you should definitely check it out. There's Medal of Honor: Frontline, which another great one. And in my opinion, the PS2 version of Frontline was the best one. Then there's Killzone, which I believe was unfairly underrated because it wasn't the Halo killer Sony hyped it up to be. But on it's own merits, Killzone was a very solid FPS. But my personal favorite FPS on PS2 without a doubt is Red Faction. It's a classic. Fun, if simple gameplay, good characters and storyline, good weapons, lots of enemies to pump lead into, replayability, good levels, and the Geo Mod technology was definitely interesting. So while it wasn't the best FPS, it is my favorite on PS2. Very good game.

Third-person shooter: PS2 isn't too stacked with third person shooters either. Although it does have a nice handful of good ones. Max Payne and Max Payne 2 for instance. The PS2 versions of both were highly underrated in my opinion. The Xbox versions have better graphics, but personally, I think the PS2 controller works better in both games. Psi-ops, another game not too many people talk about anymore, but a great game. Then there's SOCOM, which I think has a very underrated single-player game. No, it's not just training for online, it's good enough to buy the game (used, not at full price) even if you aren't planning on playing the game online at all. As well as Star Wars Battlefront and Battlefront 2, which are both great. Even Ratchet: Deadlocked, which is also fantastic. But my favorite third-person shooter on PS2 by far is Freedom Fighters. The gameplay is incredible, the AI is some of the smartest of any game, the squad-based gameplay is just perfect. The story is gripping and makes the game highly replayable, it's just the best in my opinion. Easily in the top 5 of shooters overall on PS2/Xbox/Gamecube. The only shooters of any kind that I'd definitely put over Freedom Fighters on PS2, Xbox or Gamecube that I can think of off the top of my head are the original Halo (Halo 2 was highly overrated IMO) and Resident Evil 4. There's probably one or two others but those two are the only ones I can think of.

Other shooters: Meaning rail shooters, flight combat shooters, shooters with prerendered backgrounds and fixed cameras, and over-the-shoulder or "Second-person" shooters. Resident Evil 4 by far. There's very few honorable mentions here, apart from maybe Star Wars Starfighter and Star Wars Jedi Starfighter, but while both of those are great games in my opinion, they don't match up to RE4. Also Ace Combat 04 and 5, but again, those don't stack up to RE4. Resident Evil: Code Veronica X is another honorable mention for me, but again, RE4 blows it away. So RE4 is my final choice.

Platformers: In my opinion, the best genre for games on PS2. A lot of great choices here, from the three obvious ones, Jak series, Ratchet series and Sly series, as well as Rayman 2, another fantastic platformer, and Psychonauts, which sold for crap unfortunately but was an amazing game. There are others, but those I already mentioned would be the "top ones". If I had to pick a single game out of all of these, I'd say it'd probably be a tie, but if you couldn't accept that, and twisted my arm, I'd go with Jak 2 by a nose. Why? Well it was just my favorite personally. The Sly games, especially Sly 2 and 3, and the three Ratchet & Clank games (Ratchet: Deadlocked is more of a shooter than a platformer) were very close, and those would be followed by Jak 3 and Jak & Daxter, which would then be followed by Rayman 2 and finally Psychonauts, in that order. But it's very close. Jak 2 by a nudge.

Racing games: Burnout 3 is my choice. Burnout: Revenge improved on the gameplay and graphics, but for some reason I always find myself coming back to Burnout 3, which is still on my Now Playing list. Just an amazing game overall. I love the sense of speed, the gameplay, the crashes. It's such an exciting game, and so much fun. I can play for hours nonstop and enjoy every minute of it. The funny thing is, even though Burnout 3 was the third game in the series, hense the name Burnout 3, in actuality it was more like the start of the trilogy. That's because Burnout 1 and 2, while being good, solid games, neither of them matched up to Burnout 3 and it's successors. Also, Burnout 3 was the first Burnout game to be published by EA (the first two were published by Acclaim, and if Acclaim had remained in business long enough to see the release of Burnout 3, they probably would've survived in my opinion). Burnout: Revenge was another great game, although at least one of the changes they made wasn't perfectly desirable by my standards. And Burnout: Dominator, the last game in the "trilogy", returned the series to its roots while retaining most of the things that made the previous two games so great. The honorable mentions in this category would be, Burnout: Revenge and Burnout: Dominator, as well as Gran Turismo 3 (4 was a bit of step down, or sideways from 3), Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and, in a surprising choice for me, the budget game Power Drome, which was one of the hidden gems on PS2 for sure. PS2 isn't the best console for racing games, but the racing games on it are definitely very good, and the controller works amazingly with them in my opinion.

Sports: My choice is MLB '06: The Show. After all the years of crappy MLB games by Sony, when MLB 2005 was released, 989 Sports had finally produced a great game. And one year later with MLB '06: The Show, Sony had improved on it greatly, creating the best baseball game of this generation. Honorable mentions would be ESPN NFL 2K5, which in my opinion was by far the best football game on PS2, as well as World Soccer Winning Eleven 7 International, by personal favorite game in the series. NHL 2002 was my favorite hockey game, and I still enjoy telling the story about how I happened upon that game. I wasn't too interested in hockey video games, as I hate watching hockey on TV. But one day, I walked into a Gamestop and saw NHL 2002 for 2 dollars. I don't care about updated graphics personally, and since I don't watch hockey or care about what's happening in hockey, up-to-date rosters didn't matter to me either. So I decided to buy it. And I loved it. What a great hockey engine. Simple, but just so fun and addictive to play. I also loved the comical commentary, because some of it was legitimately funny, and it was a lot more fun to listen to than boring regular hockey commentary. I bought NHL 2003 after that, but I hated it, as they zoomed in the default camera angle too much so you couldn't see your teammates, so I had to change to a far away view, which wasn't very good either. So none of the camera angles was as good as the default angle in NHL 2002, which was zoomed in just enough to see the action, while zoomed out enough to see your teammates to make effective passes. I still play NHL 2002 to this day, although I may be picking up NHL 2004 soon and/or one of the ESPN NHL 2K games which I hear were very good.

Action/Adventure: PS2 is a great console for action/adventure games. The Onimusha series, I love. As well as taking off the "musha". Just Oni, which was actually made by Bungie before Microsoft purchased them, is another hidden gem on PS2, and a great action/adventure game. Speaking of hidden gems, what about Beyond Good and Evil? Another fantastic action/adventure, one of the best on PS2. Shadow of the Colossus, another great game. I love how it's entirely devoted to boss fights, a very interesting feature that sets it apart from other games. From the makers of Shadow of the Colossus, ICO is another great action/adventure. Although I feel it's a tad overrated by it's fans. Prince of Persia series is also great. My personal favorite of the Prince of Persia games is Sands of Time. I love that game, along with the fact that it has the original Apple II Prince of Persia, which was one of the first action/adventure games, and is very different from the new version, but it's awesome as well. Warrior Within and Two Thrones weren't quite as good, but definitely fun games with good stories nonetheless. But all of these games are left in the dust by one, and that is God of War. I mean the original, because I unfortunately haven't had the pleasure of playing God of War II for more than a few minutes. But the original is without a doubt my favorite action/adventure game on PS2. Some people write the game off as a button masher, but those people obviously don't know the definition of button mashing. Because if you "button mash" in God of War, it'll get you nothing but a nice long dirt nap, unless you're on the easiest difficulty, but what kind of wuss plays on the easiest difficulty?

Fighting: This is really tough. It's between Tekken 5 and Virtua Fighter 4. It's a close call, but I'll give the slight edge to Tekken 5. Just a brilliant fighting game, so much fun, and the graphics are by far the best on the PS2. Virtua Fighter 4 is a great game too, but I'd give the slight edge to Tekken 5. Honorable mentions are Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and Deception (Armageddon wasn't too great in my opinion. It was a lot of like Mortal Kombat Trilogy on the Playstation, tons of characters, but the game overall left a lot to be desired). As well as Soul Calibur 2 and 3, two more fantastic fighting games. Of those two, I'd give the slight edge to Soul Cali 2. The Fight Night games were great too.

Wrestling: I felt this deserved it's own category because there were a number of good wrestling games on the PS2. Mostly Smackdown and Def Jam Vendetta, but you also have the highly underappreciated Galactic Wrestling Featuring Ultimate Muscle, a very fast, over-the-top wrestling game based on the cartoon, made by AKI. The import scene is even better, with Fire Pro as well as King of Colosseum (which I'm pissed because they weren't released in America). I personally don't have the means to import games, and so I haven't gotten to play these yet, so I can't give my opinions on them. From what I've heard from friends, they were great. I can't wait until they come out with PS3 versions of KOC and Fire Pro, because the PS3 is region free. Until then, though, guess I'll pick my favorite American PS2 wrestling game. And that would be WWE Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain. There were a few serious AI issues, but still the game is fantastic and it's my personal favorite. I've been playing it once a month at least, most of the time once a week, non-stop since the release date in 2003, and I'm still not bored of it. It's so fun to play, and I love wrestling, so that's why it's my favorite.

That's all for now. On a future video I'll talk about my favorites on the few other genres left. But this blog entry is long enough already. So, hope you enjoyed this, and see ya later.  

Xbox (sort of) Hidden Gems

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The original Xbox is one of my favorite systems. It's an unfortunate victim of big business, but a great console nonetheless, with hardware that brought games to the next level, and great software, if you could track it down, that is.

 The Xbox, in my opinion, had more underrated or underappreciated games than any other console in history, at least in proportion to how many games on Xbox were actually played and considering the system only had a 4 year lifespan cycle.

 When Xbox fanboys, the stupid ones, go off on how the Xbox was better than PS2, they usually only cite one or two games that were really awesome, as opposed to mentioning all the great hidden treasures on the Xbox that really did make it a great system.

So, for the purpose of this article, I'm not gonna talk about Halo, which I love, or any of the other really popular Xbox games, mostly shooters, racing games and sports games. Instead, I'm gonna talk about the games I feel nobody ever paid real attention to, or were my personal favorite of the cult classics, or games that were talked about in their day but aren't really anymore.

I'm gonna start with my personal favorite Xbox game. That would be The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Now I know, Oblivion is a superior game, but "best" and "favorite" are two different things, and of the two, I've played Oblivion, but I prefer Morrowind. Reason being, pretty much anyone can enjoy Oblivion, but to enjoy Morrowind to its fullest, you have to be both a hardcore gamer, and have a good imagination. As well as attention span, and love big adventures in games. In other words, it's basically a game made just for me. Sure, the combat sucks, but it's still technically an RPG, and combat in RPGs always sucks, especially turn-based. While Morrowind's combat is in real time, it's actually more like turn-based because to win in Morrowind, the combat requires about 40% preparation, 40% weapons/equipment, 15% luck and only 5% skill. Everything else about the game is incredible though. There's literally nothing like it on the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube generation of games, the environments are insanely interactive, you can do pretty much anything you want. Along with that, there's such a huge number of side missions and secrets that it can literally take years to beat the game 100%. It's unfortunately not backward compatible on the 360, but if you still own an original Xbox, and haven't gotten the chance to play this, buy it used at Gamestop or EB NOW! It's only 6 dollars used. For such a huge game, that's an insane price. You can get the "game of the year" edition for about $10, and it includes even more levels, missions and characters. The game has flaws, the graphics are dated and it's definitely not for everybody, but it's my favorite game on the Xbox.

 Another one of my favorite games is Jet Set Radio Future, or JSRF. It's another highly original game, and highly inexpensive. A whopping 2 dollars used along with Sega GT 2002 in the 2-pack. But that isn't backward compatible with the 360. The stand-alone game is backward compatible though, but it's about 6 dollars. Still, that's a great price for such a great game. It's a cross between an action-sports game and an action-adventure game. The characters all ride on roller skates, and there are simple tricks, but make no mistake, this isn't Tony Hawk or Aggressive Inline. It's an objective-based adventure game. The cel-shaded graphics still look great by today's standards, and it's a very fun game to play. It's probably one of the more frustrated games I've played though. It's not difficult per se, but it's frustrating. The controls and camera can cause some problems occasionally, sometimes resulting in death. Also, the music is bad. It's this techno rap stuff. You can't shut the music off. It'd be fine if there were more variety, but what happens is, the game starts with a 3 song playlist, and replays the same songs over and over until you get to the next chapter, at which point there are 3 new songs, and those replay over and over. Why the entire soundtrack couldn't have been available from the get-go is beyond me. Also, all of the music follows that same genre of music, so there's no variety anyway. The music fits the theme of the game, but it's not for everybody. This would've been a great game to add custom soundtrack support to, but unfortunately, that option is not available. The music is probably my biggest complaint about the game though. Still, it's a very good game and I reccomend it to anyone. If you like the music, you'll like the game even more. If you don't, well that's what the mute button on your TV is for.

 Continuing in the Sega universe, Shenmue II. this game was heavily hyped in it's day, but sales in America were disappointing. The graphics were some of the worst on Xbox due to the game being a slightly cleaned up Dreamcast port. But you know me, I don't care about graphics. And if you let Shenmue II's bad graphics stop you from playing, well, sucks to be you. Because Shenmue II is an adventure you simply cannot afford to miss. Gameplay-wise, it's a fantastic adventure. It can almost be compared to a detective game in a way, because the main story involves looking for evidence and tracking down people. In fact, if the CSI game on the Xbox were like this, instead of a crappy point and click adventure game, that'd be awesome. There's a ton of minigames including Yu Suzuki arcade games Hang On, Outrun, Afterburner 2 and Space Harrier. Even though the majority of these games used a special controller in their arcade cabinet, be it a motorcycle for Hang On, a cockpit for Afterburner, a steering wheel and pedals for Outrun, each of these games works really well with a standard controller as well. Shenmue II also has a fighting mode, similar to Virtua Fighter, which is fun but would be better if the camera was better. Shenmue is also one of the first games to have "Quick Time Events", which are the timed button press events that would later be copied in games like Resident Evil 4.

Shenmue is one of the most realistic games I've played. I only wish it were more interactive, because you can do things in this game that no other game allows you to do. Also, the main story pretty much gets boring after you play through once. I usually find that games with good stories and good gameplay are fun to play through a second time just for the fun of it, but that's not the case for Shenmue II. Even still, it's only 6 dollars, and that's arguably worth it just for the Yu Suzuki arcade games. In case you don't know who Yu Suzuki is, he created the arcade games I mentioned above as well as Virtua Fighter and Shenmue. He's one of the true pioneers of video games and I can't wait until his next game comes out. Hopefully we'll see a Shenmue III in the near future as well. But for now, you aughta check out Shenmue II if you have an Xbox or 360 and haven't played it yet. The included DVD "Shenmue the movie" gets you up to speed on the story of the series if you missed out on the Dreamcast version, and the game is good enough that it really shouldn't be missed.

 Then there's Deathrow. My favorite sports game on the Xbox. It's a very mature game. Lots of swearing, blood and violence. But it's a lot of fun to play too. It involves a disk that you basically throw through a hoop to score a point. To win, you either have to have the most points at the end of the game, or beat up your opponents enough that all four of your opponents are KOed at the end. "Deathrow" refers to a move where you charge up the disk until it turns green, then throw it. If one of your opponents or teammates gets caught in it's line of fire, they get knocked down. It's a great way to knock out goalies, retrieve the disk quickly, and score. The stock music is crap, though. Now only is it generic and bad, it doesn't fit the theme of the game. But, if you have some hard rock on CDs, you're in luck, because the custom soundtrack is supported. The teams and players are all unique and original. It's just a fun, original game overall. It's like a cross between a sports game and a fighting game. And it's only 5 bucks used. And it's backward compatible on the 360. Hell yeah! Lol.

What's next? Well, going back to Sega, Panzer Dragoon Orta. I didn't get to play of the Panzer Dragoon games on Sega Saturn (I believe there were two of them, each are still selling for upwards of $100 or more on auction sites or Amazon). But I sure do love Orta. It's a rail shooter where you ride on a dragon. It's a beautful game graphics-wise as far as the art style, although it is from the earlier Xbox days. Even though it is just a rail shooter, it's surprisingly deep and very fun to play. It's only 8 bucks used at Gamestop or EB, which is a great price needless to say. I think it's backward compatible too. Definitely one of the great hidden treasures on the Xbox, and you should definitely check it out if you get the chance.

 Freedom Fighters. This one's multi-platform. So if you have a PS2 or, I think it's on Gamecube too, not totally sure. But anyway, Freedom Fighters is incredible. I would say it's definitely THE most underappreciated game in the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube generation. It's a third person shooter, but it's sort of squad-based. The AI is incredible, some of the best in any shooter. When I said sort of squad based, I meant, well it's not like SOCOM or Killzone, it's basically, if you've played GTA: San Andreas, and you know the whole recruiting Grove Street Families members and having them fight alongside you, that system was basically a copy of Freedom Fighters. It works better in Freedom Fighters as well, as there are more options for controlling your squad, and your squad members are smarter and better at defending themselves. Freedom Fighters is a very atmospheric game as well, and the guns feel very powerful. It's a rather short game though. In fact, that's why I think it didn't sell very well, because people rented it instead of buying it. But if you've never played it before, it's only 5 bucks on Xbox, and 10 bucks on the PS2, so it's definitely worth a buy if you're even remotely into shooters. In my opinion it's the best third person shooter on the PS2 and Xbox, and one of the best shooters overall on those systems, at least in the top 5. I'm pretty sure it's backward compatible on both PS3 and 360 as well. So unless shooters aren't your cup of tea, you have no excuse not to check it out.

 I'm gonna finish up with a very surprising choice in my opinion, Starsky and Hutch. Sure, the single player is not great I mean it's okay, but that's not why I like this game. I like it because of the 2-player mode. Sure, that's not too great either, if you play it the way it was meant to be played. The 2-player game is designed for the light gun and steering wheel. The concept is one player drives and the other shoots. When the game is played like this, it's a tired gimmick that pretty much sucks. But, when you play it with only one player, with one hand on the wheel and the other hand on the gun shooting, well then you've got a highly original, pretty fun game. Good for me too, because when I bought my Xbox, it had the light gun included, which admittedly isn't the best light gun and is scarsely supported on the Xbox. It's tough to master, but it's like a really good arcade game in a way. Not the best game of course, but definitely a fun gameplay experiance that's worth playing if you have the light gun sitting around, a racing wheel, and 5 dollars for the game. The single player is more like an extra feature to me that just adds a little bit of value to the game, where the main draw is playing the 2-player mode by oneself. Definitely very cool.

Okay, so that was my bargain shopping list for hidden gems on Xbox. These gems are what made Xbox a great system in my opinion, not the Halos Knights of the Old Republics, the Project Gothams, Forzas, Top Spins, Mech Assaults or Crimson Skies. Those games were awesome, don't get me wrong, but the hidden gems were what made the system in my eyes. The prices of these games are as such that there's really no excuse not to check them out. So if you read this article, I hope you check out at least one of these games. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed this. Thanks and bye.

 

The PS2

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Disclaimer: The following article reflects only the opinions of TheBuck27. If you don't agree, please leave a comment arguing your point. TheBuck27 likes and appreciates a good spirited debate, especially about games. TheBuck27 is not responsible for anyone who falls asleep or dies of boredom during his long rant.

It seems unprecidented that a console nowadays would have a 7-year life. I mean look at the Xbox. For such an incredible machine hardware-wise, and a system with a lot of very good games, not to mention an awesome looking machine, it only had a 4 year lifespan before Microsoft scrapped it in favor of the 360. The Gamecube had a 6 year lifespan, but it was only Nintendo's main home console for 5 of those years, and while the Gamecube had a number of underrated classics, it's sales reflect more of an also-ran than a serious competitor.

So why did the PS2 have a 7 year lifespan? And why are sales still higher than Sony's new PS3? Well the latter question has a very complex answer, but the former question has a very simple answer: because it's the best.

I've played, and enjoyed, pretty much every major console to come out since the Atari 2600, and I like to think I'm very familiar with all of them. If I were to make a choice though, if there were one console I would say was the best overall in history, it would be the PS2. For three very simple reasons.

#1: The controller. The Dualshock 2 is easily the best controller design in history. It has a lot of buttons, enough for a very complex game, but each button is so easy to access that even handling a game that uses 8 buttons simultaniously becomes second nature with some practice. The shape fits the hand perfectly, the pressure sensitivity is perfect. Each button feels perfect, and the bit of weight in the controller gives it the perfect feeling while playing. Not only that, it lends itself well to all styles of gameplay and all genres of games. There's not a single game genre or console game at all that doesn't work with the Dualshock 2, and that says a lot.

#2: The games. PS2 has a more diverse catalog of great games than any other home console in my opinion. Sony produced the best first party games of the gen, and ended up with a number of other exclusive games from third party companies as well as other hits. Where's my proof? Well I really can't get into it now as this rant would be several hours long, but to sum it up, I have 50 PS2 games in my current collection, and I feel I could probably double the collection and still not have every good PS2 game. Meanwhile, I have 20 Xbox games, and I think I could probably just barely double that before I run out of really good Xbox games. The Gamecube had even less, even though the games that were good were indeed very good.

#3: PS2 is truly the only current console I can think of that has games that appeal to everyone. All age groups, all tastes in games, all maturity levels have a number of great games on PS2, which I can't really say about the other consoles. This has been true for previous consoles in history such as the NES and SNES, but no other current consoles or from the last gen either.

That's how the PS2 ended up becoming the highest selling home console in history. And if Sony discontinues the PS2 before 2008, it'd be a real shame. Luckily, the PS3 is almost fully backward compatible, so if you've moved onto the PS3 or still own a PS2, and you haven't purchased too many games for PS2, I reccomend going to gamestop.com or ebgames.com and looking at the under $10 games for PS2, as there's many incredible games for under $10 at Gamestop.

Anyway, I've ranted way too long about this one subject already. So I'll close things up for this entry. I'll get into my personal favorite PS2 games on a later date. So if you were able to remain awake through this, thanks for reading and seeya later.

My first blog

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This is my first blog. For any of you who may be reading this, thanks for wasting your time on reading something I wrote, as it warms my heart that anyone other than me would read this. Well, pretty much. Anyway, if you are reading this, truly thanks.

Anyway. What can I say about me? I like video games. But I don't really get to play a lot of current stuf due to lack of much disposable income. But I do play a lot of older games, as well as PS2 and Xbox. I'll post my opinions on those two systems on a later date. I personally don't really care about good graphics in games. I mean there's nothing wrong with having a game look good, but gameplay and value are the real selling points for me personally, which is why I don't mind buying older games. So that's why I devote my gaming resources to, instead of buying new consoles and new games, to instead attempt to buy every single worthwhile PS2 and to a lesser extent, Xbox game ever released. I'm not even close yet, although I do own more games than most of my friends. Anyway, I also enjoy writing reviews of older games, but I think I suck at it. My other hobbies include wrestling (No WWE or TNA, just Ring of Honor), TV dramas and sitcoms, and as far as physical activities go I enjoy basketball, swimming and occasionally bowling. Kind of an odd combo I suppose, but I have reasons for all three. Anyway, I'm not going to tell you my age, because I run a message board with a circle of online wrestling fan friends, and it's one of my secrets I keep from them just for fun. I assure you, you don't need to know my age because I'm never going to ask anyone online to "meet me in real life" or anything nasty like that. I just come on these sites to talk about my interests, and video games are my personal favorite interest. Rest assured of this fact, I love video games, and always have. And despite the fact that I don't play online and I can't buy the newer games, I consider myself as hardcore a fan as the next guy, maybe more. Anyway, that's all. I'll go into greater detail about my favorite consoles, games and whatnot at a later date. So that's all for this one. Seeya later.