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2DS - The follow up blog

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Well, like I said to GS1994, I was planning a follow up blog on the 2DS ordeal and here it is.

In my last blog, I admit I was very critical of the system, and I still kind of am. Here's what still on my list:

The name: 2DS

Really Ninty? I know this is a cheaper version of the 3DS, but 2DS? Sounds like a cross between DS and 3DS. A complete stepback in hardware.

The design

Arguably, it's one of the least major things for me now, but the design still looks fairly bad to me. There's just something about the dual screens being technically one screen that doesn't sit right with me. Probably because you can't fold it, but eh... whatever.

But reading some of the praise for the hands on and the fact that it's cheaper, I may be able to have a variant of the 3DS finally. I can look over bad design as long as it's bearable, but being said, I do fear how it will fare in sales.

Okay, I can't decide what makes me want to slam my head to the desk more.

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Either Nintendo's announcement of the 2DS (3DS without the 3D and it has one of the worst designs I've seen in Nintendo history since GB Micro).

or

Robin Thicke's music. Blurred Lines with T.I and Pharrell Williams (who did a co-op with Daft Punk I kind of liked) was awful (it almost sounds like Enrique Iglesias' Tonight with Ludacris) and Give it 2 U with 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar made things worse.

Jeez, I sound like a TGWTG reviewer I've been getting into recently. I'd never thought I'd be talking about Pop Music again since I'm more of a Rock kind of guy, despite one of my favorite band being Flight of the Conchords (which is folk comedy that satirizes more than one genre).

Weird, huh?

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai - GameCube vs PS2 versions - my thoughts

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Yeah, yeah. I know Gamespot has been making a lot of people angry with the upcoming changes and all, but I don't want ot get on that too much.

Instead, I'll be comparing my experiences with two different versions of the same fighting game based on one of my favorite anime/manga franchises, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai.

Where did I play them?

First:

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai

vs second system:

DBZ: Budokai PS2

Admittedly, it's not a spectactular game, nor is it anything great, but at the time it was decent enough for quite a few DBZ fans and it sold well enough to spawn not only two more sequels (Budokai 2 and Budokai 3, the latter given regards from even members of the FGC who just have a hard time liking other DBZ games), it also helped Legacy of Goku on GBA continue a huge stream of games in the franchise being localized for North America and Europe. A few were quality, but there was still so much shovelware at the same time.

The game was developed by Dimps, who Sonic fans know as the developers for Sonic Advance and Rush, while Street Fighter fans know them for teaming up with Capcom for Street Fighter IV. Originally, it was released as a PS2 exclusive in 2002, but nearly a year later was ported to the GameCube with a different graphics styIe, but still being the same game. While Japanese and PAL versions were published by Bandai (who later merged with Namco years later), the US versions were published by Atari/Infogrames.

PAL vs NTSC US versions

A smaller note, but one I might as well still cover while I write this. As someone who has played both an American and PAL UK version, I've noted some interesting differences, one of them being the intro,

Here is the PAL version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of3ERUNMQKE

Here is the NA version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT9t3FGdFEI

Personally, and this is perhaps my nostalgia talking, but I like the US version of the intro better. It was just a great recreation using the in-game engine to re-enact the Japanese intro (which featured the song "Head ChaLa" while this featured Funimation's "Rock the Dragon", though the version I linked may be a bit different). Hard to fight against when the EU version uses clips from the story mode instead, but it doesn't feel as impresive.

Also worth noting is that the PAL version of the game sticks to just the Japanese voice acting, while the US version has the in-house Funimation voice actors. I can't give the edge to either of them to be honest as both have their ups and downs. In Japanese, Goku and Krillin have rather unfitting voices (they don't sound anywhere near their age), but then again, neither do Frieza and Cell in English (a bit over the top for my liking).

PS2 vs GameCube

Okay, here is where we get to the main attraction, what makes one perhaps better or worse than the other?

Well, like I said several paragraphs above, the GameCube version uses a slightly different styIe compared to the PS2 version, by utilizing cel-shading on the characters, while the PS2 version looked a bit more plastic like the action figures, and for that the GameCube version wins in the graphics department. Sure, it's not a great looking game by any stretch, but it did it's job well enough to represent the look of the anime better. It also makes things a bit more clear and several DBZ games after have used the cel-shading since.

Then there is also the load times, which granted isn't very long for either console, but I have noticed that, once again the GameCube version has a slight edge there. In my time playing the PS2 version, the loading felt a bit longer, and I could swear I'm seeing other, but smaller loading times I don't remember seeing in the GameCube version, while on the GameCube, there was fewer and had a shorter amount of time to load everything. Not even slight delays of getting into the World Tournament mode selecting your character (I mainly play as my favorite Dragon Ball character, Piccolo).

But a big one I shoudn't forget is the controls and for the PS2 and GameCube, it's quite important due to one thing, the different button layouts. Sure DBZ: Budokai has a rather simplistic way with two main buttons (punch and kick), and an energy button (even when you need to complete certain combos to activate moves like Kamehameha), but if one thing controllers need is easier navigation and for fighting games, I got to give it to the PS2 version. Not that the GameCube version is particularly bad as it's still playable on there, but in many of the more traditional fighting games, the PS2 controller just has the upper hand, and DBZ: Budokai is far from an exception. Also don't forget that the D-Pad on the GameCube controller is quite dinky, despite having the much better looking cross design.

And for the controls alone, I give the slight edge to the PS2 version. True, the GameCube version had the edge in a few things such as slightly fewer and lower load times and better visuals, but controls alone make the PS2 version the more "go to" version, if only (ironically) by a little. Besides that, as a DBZ fan, I still consider the game to be decent fun on both systems even through the differences going as far as giving both versions the same score.

That's it for me!

My belated birthday acquisitions: Scott Pilgrim vs the Saiyans + Other

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Like I said in my last blog, here's what I got for my b-day:

Two games (both of which I already played on GameCube, but there's nothing wrong with double dipping):

DBZ: Budokai PAL version (PS2)

The Sims 2 Pets PS2

DBZ: Budokai (PS2)- Interestingly, when it comes to localizations, only the PAL versions of several DBZ games (this included) have the Japanese dubbing. Not to mention, this one in particular has better boxart than the US version. For the Japanese dubbing alone, I did consider re-picking the game up.

The Sims 2: Pets (PS2)

But there is one DVD I also got... Scott Pilgrim vs The World, an international box office flop that fared better in DVD/Blu-Ray releases. Admittedly, I didn't see the film in theaters when it first came out as I had more interest in Prince of Persia and Inception (both of which I saw in theaters, but I do not own on DVD yet at this time).

As for non-birthday related, we upgraded our standard edition Skyrim with the Legendary Edition. It contains all the DLC's (Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn). Currently, I'm playing the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC's.

As of Tuesday, I am 22 + Revisiting with the Kongs

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On Tuesday this week, I have celebrated the start of my 22nd year of birth, now a year over the US Drinking Age (which, again, I have no plans). I'll share my birthday haul later, but for now...

Recently, I've been replaying two games that, though published by Nintendo, is developed respectively by two different western developers, one from the UK, the other from the US, both starting with the letter 'R'.

Donkey Kong 64

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong 64- Easily one of Rare's black sheep on Nintendo systems (another being Star Fox Adventures on the GameCube, which is also really good), but it's really a good game. Sure being a collect-a-thon is not for everyone, but it's platforming and being the ability to play as five different kongs can be pretty fun. Plus, it's got the original Donkey Kong from the Arcade.

Donkey Kong Country Returns- Still one of my favorite platformers (with Mario, Sonic, Kirby and Rayman) on the Wii and it makes me psyched for it's sequel on Wii U (which got original DKC composer, David Wise, who left Rare a couple years ago, back on board). Recently, I unlocked Mirror Mode. And you thought the main game was hard:

-Reversed perspective (obviously)

-No Diddy Kong

-No inventory use

-Only one heart

Yeah, I recommend stocking up on lives. :P

I'll share what I got for my b-day in the next blog. See ya around!

Earthbound out now on Wii U Virtual Console

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Sorry for the shameless advertisement in my title, especially since it's for a game I never played (but with characters I admittedly knew from Super Smash Bros.) yet, but...

EARTHBOUND/MOTHER 2 is now on Wii U Virtual Console for the price of 10 (this goes for Dollars, Pounds, and Euro).

Fun fact: This marks the series first OFFICIAL release in Europe as it never released over here when it first released (and bombed... hard) on the SNES outside of Super Smash Bros. But considering it gained popularity through granted unofficial methods, I have to wonder how many downloads it will have compared to the original retail release.

I'm hoping it sells well enough for a belated MOTHER 1 and 3 release and translations. That would be awesome.

Shigeru Miyamoto, I still love your stuff, but sometimes, you need to shut it.

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Granted, this MAY be a mistranslation, but I have to wonder if Shigeru Miyamoto even knows why he may be going massively downhill for some, to the point of going on other gamers' s***list (Sean Malstrom surely has it in for him right now).

In the past, he's been pissing off a few of his own fans in regards to the F-Zero and Star Fox franchises, the former in regards to having no clue what th F-Zero fandom wants and his resistance to making a new game in the series after the failures of F-Zero GX and the GBA games after that, to the point of regretting developing one of them. As for Star Fox, he threatens to kill off the franchise if the remake of a remake, 64 3D (which in Europe, isn't called Lylat Wars 3D for some reason) doesn't sell as well (it bombed in Japan, but it did decently in America, not sure about Europe).

Now he makes a statement in regards to Japanese gamers not wanting hard games...

Ive been making action games for some 30 years, and Ive been thinking about the difference evident in how their popularity has been gradually declining in Japan whilst in America it has been maintained.

The issue is that Japanese who cannot overcome the level of difficulty in an action game no longer want to play them. This perception then spreads to all games as a whole, and people avoid them because they see them as difficult.

In the case of America, there are a lot more people who enjoy a challenge and will stick with it for you and try to overcome the initial hurdle.

Yes, its action games which really demand a certain level of skill.

Right, some players just enjoy playing, some prefer to finish it, and some prefer greater challenge. People looking for a challenge will dismiss an easily cleared game as easy.

But by making things too difficult, the people who just want to play get driven off. I always wanted to accommodate both types.

Miyamoto

...wow. It's one thing to piss off a lower part of your own fandom, it's a whole nother to probably (and likely) piss off quite a few gamers in your own native soil.

Shigeru, as said in the title, I still like your stuff, but you need to shut it sometimes.

RIP, Ryan Davis.

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And this year, we lose another great journalist in any form of entertainment.

I admit, I only browse Giant Bomb on occasion, but I did remember Ryan when he was back at GS and heck, long before I joined Gamespot, I remember seeing him and Jeff on special episodes of Cinematech (back on G4 when I was an advid watcher).

Like film critic Roger Ebert (who also died earlier this year), I may have not always agreed with him, but I can understand his placements (I personally love Zatch Bell! Mamodo Battles on my GameCube, but reading his review for the PS2 version, I can see why he couldn't stand it in a few places, like the story mode and how they handled that, not to mention having a simplistic fighting system is easily frowned upon in the FGC, though the latter didn't bother me that much because as much as I love fighting games, I'm not too big into it to the point I'd join a tournament).

What makes this worse, he goes at a young age of 34 and was recently married as well.

Thanks for everything, Ryan! My prayers go out! :(

Did I just read some more Wiki misinformation?

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Reading the trivia section for Mortal Kombat 9 in the MK Wikia:

  • This is the first game in the series to introduce guest characters. It is also the only fighting game to feature more than one guest character from other franchises. In this case, Kratos from God of War Series, and Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street movie series.

This is probably debatable considering the on-going, well debate of this next franchise and what genre this belongs (I believe it belongs in the fighting genre, myself), but didn't Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a crossover between Nintendo's characters feature Konami/Kojima's Solid Snake (Metal Gear) and SEGA/Sonic Team's Sonic the Hedgehog three years before Mortal Kombat 9?

On another note, can you name some Wiki misinformation that got to you?

Did you know: Microsoft thought they owned Donkey Kong?

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No kidding, here's what a former Rare dev has to say on the matter:

The current generation of 'enablers' won't even know they own the IP... Here's a true story.. When Rare was first bought by MS a group of execs came on a tour.. One of them noticed the Donkey Kong. ..Posters everywhere and said.. 'Hey that's great.. We own Donkey Kong right??' ........./massivesigh

Chris Seavor

Wow! :shock: :|

Did MS SERIOUSLY not know that DK was Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo's first baby in their line of mascots (though a couple of Nintendo's others were created by Masahiro Sakurai and Satoshi Tajiri)? Why the hell would they just sell that off completely? They wouldn't even do that to the IP's they are barely using (Star Fox, F-Zero, Eternal Darkness).

Come to think of it, as much as I HATE going back on this topic (Nintendo and possibly being a third party), I can see MS fighting for exclusive rights for Donkey Kong due to Rare's involvement.