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Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed?

I wholly enjoyed this Vita game from start to finish, much more than I imagined I would when I picked it up. If you are into anime and Japanese video games like me, you will find a lot to like about the game. On the upside, the graphics is clean, the music pleasant, the plot predictable but interesting, the characters charming, the dialog humorous, and the battle mechanics simple yet effective. In particular, two hilarious epic battles involving 48 idols will likely stay fresh in my mind for a long time. On the downside, the game suffers from several technical issues such as an inconsistent frame rate and frequent loading screens. Truth be told though, they did not bother me at all, the latter being somewhat irrelevant when I use fast travel to move between areas which shows one of the interesting flyers I collected in the game.

Kudos to Xseed Games for a fantastic localization effort. In fact, their translated dialog is so awesome that I had to constantly "will" myself not choose the funniest response (often the last one) in conversations. I only played the game with Japanese audio and English subtitles, so I don't know how the dub sounds.

So far I have gone through the game twice, accounting for 52 hours of total play time. On my first play through, I got the true ending for Shizuku, with a special "guest" appearance by Nana (who is too cute for words) at the end. On my second run, I got the true ending for Rin.

Anyway, if you like games specifically catered to fans of the aforementioned genres, you should definitely pick up Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed.

Should Nintendo go 3rd party?

In response to http://www.gamespot.com/news/iwata-explains-why-nintendo-wont-release-its-games-on-other-platforms-6412687:

I always thought this was obvious. Close integration of unique hardware features and software provide unique experiences that would not be possible otherwise. If Wii was such a gimmick, Microsoft and Sony would not have invested so heavily on Kinect and PS Move. DS/3DS has been nothing short of success, despite having to contend with the more powerful Sony portables and the gaining popularity of gaming on mobile devices. Wii U is failing because it lacks first-party titles to demonstrate the system's special capabilities. Once that is rectified, Wii U will be on its way to attain a healthy market size.

What Nintendo needs is to grow is to improve other aspects of their business, such as their online infrastructure, platform SDKs, and initiatives for promoting 3rd party titles. Nintendo has been making many mistakes over the years, but not giving up on hardware development is not one of them.

Xbox One ala Dreamcast?

(I am going to start using this blog space to archive some of the longer comments I make on GameSpot. LiveFyre doesn't seem to offer a way to find my previous comments. Archiving them on a document locally on my PC is not much fun. ;)

In response to http://www.gamespot.com/users/Starshine_M2A2/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-26030976,

Very well written article. Just some random thoughts that crossed my mind:

- I honestly do not believe these policies (online verification, region-lock, used game) Microsoft tried to enforce had anything to do with innovation. They were aimed at maximizing the profit for the company and their partners, nothing more. In addition, the way Microsoft went about it was anything but constructive to the industry. Comparing what transpired this past month to what Sega had tried to accomplish with the Dreamcast does the latter injustice.

- Instead of trying to enforce such policies which many view as anti-consumer, Microsoft could have gone straight to the happy medium, where physical and digital versions of their games coexist. Each provides a different set of benefits and limitations inherent to the format. Then leave it up to the customers to decide which one they prefer.

Those who wish to continue to purchase their games in physical form is free to do so. They will enjoy the benefits of owning a physical disc, such as the ability to trade it in once they are done with it. Those who wish to purchase the digital version is free to do so. They will enjoy the benefits of owning a virtual library of games, such as the ability to access that library on any Xbox One console. The caveat is that, for authentication, with the former you must keep your disc in the tray of the Xbox One and with the latter your Xbox One must always or periodically beconnected to online.

This strategy is not dissimilar to what Nintendo has been practicing on the 3DS this past year. Nintendo delivers its new games in both formats, physical in the form of the card, digital on the Nintendo eShop. Even though they don't proclaim it outright, it is quite obvious that Nintendo is respectfully urging more players to migrate to the digital format. They do so by publishing videos that demonstrate the advantages of owning digital, limiting retail production (speculation), and providing utilities that allows users to transfer their saves from physical to digital.

Had Microsoft adopted a similar approach, the backlash from the media and the consumers would not have been as strong. The focus would have been placed on the other aspects of the Xbox One. Which brings me to my next point...

- Although I understand what Microsoft is trying to do - to provide a unified and consistent experience for their entire line of products - I wonder if they are going about it the right way with the Xbox One. Convergence is only successful if the newly integrated features naturally enhance or significantly extend the core experience for the user. I feel that Microsoft is simply trying to do too much with the Xbox One.

Yes, it is an all-in-one entertainment hub, but who exactly is it for? Is it a device for the gamers? Is it a device for the sports fans? Is it a device for the living room? Is it a device aimed to extend the PC experience? Who will be lining up for the device on Day 1? It is hard for the consumers to identify what you are trying to hit when you have arrows pointing in so many directions at the same time.

But if Microsoft is able to re-focus and seamlessly execute their ideas, the Xbox One can be just as successful as any other entertainment product. If not, they only have themselves to blame.

- Don't worry about Microsoft losing confidence. Like any powerful organization, they need to be reeled in every now and then so they don't feel like they can get away with anything. Like Nintendo and Sony of the past, Microsoft will learn and grow from this experience.

 

Nintendo's Trouble with Nostalgia?

In response to http://www.gamespot.com/nintendo-3ds/videos/nintendos-trouble-with-nostalgia-6407235/?tag=Topslot;Nintendo039sTroubleWithNostalgia;Nintendo039sTroubleW.

- New Nintendo hardware comes out, sells poorly initially. General response: Where are my Mario, Zelda and Metroid? It would be so cool if they had more Nintendo first party titles featuring these mainstay characters. You know what my favourite game of all time is? Link to the Past! If only Nintendo would just do a remake of the original. That game is so awesome! And Bravely Default - where are you? Why do you not bring this game over to North America, Nintendo and SquareEnix? It so reminds me so much of the old Final Fantasy, when gameplay is good!

- New Nintendo software comes out, many are sequels or based on proven franchises. General response: Nintendo relies too much on nostalgia. Why is Nintendo repackaging the same game over and over again? Why don't they innovate like they did in the past? Are they pigeonholing on the things they know? I am so tired of seeing Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach in these games. We need something new!

Doesn't that very sentiment apply to the rest of the entertainment industry as well - merely with other properties and assets? Nintendo is banking on the support of older gamers who grew up on these IPs while welcoming a new generation of gamers to grow up on them at the same time. Is that so terribly bad? It is almost like watching a new TV series of an old iconic cartoon we loved when we are children with the younger generation.

- Third party releases some new IPs featuring gameplay that takes advantage of the platform - they are critically good but sell poorly. The rest? Shovelware. General response: 3rd party title never sells well on Nintendo platforms, shovelware or not. Nintendo is just giving them what they want. After all, the numbers seem to suggest that gamers in general want sequels and remakes of age old mechanics, but with familiar characters and settings.

Hmm. What is Nintendo to do?

Sorry, I am too excited to come up with coherent thoughts after watching the latest Nintendo Direct . ^^;;;

Fire Emblem Still MIA at Retail

As of February 13th, Fire Emblem Awakening is still MIA at retail here in Vancouver. Is this an honest mistake on Nintendo's part, one that they are desperately trying to rectify? Or are they holding out on purpose, so that more players would be forced to purchase digital copies from the Nintendo eShop. I honestly don't know what to think anymore... I need to share this with other members of my family, so a digital copy is out of the question for me. *repeatedly taps on spacebar*

Thankfully Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan is just around the corner. I guess I will be buying and playing that game instead.

Madoka Magica!

I recently fell in love with this anime serie and have been watching it on repeat. It is probably one of if not my favourite anime in the last decade! If you like anime and love the magical girl theme, you should do yourself a favour and go check it out. There are lots of twists and turns that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Some of them are predictable, but mixed those in with a wonderful tale, endless tearjerking moments, and an emotional OST, I am certain that you too will fall in love with this anime. Just as Neon Genesis Evangelion pushed the mecha envelope, Madoka Magica did the same for the magical girl genre. ^^

Disappointed by the Cancellation of Start/Select

What is there to say that hasn't been said already?

I am not entirely sure why the UK crew decided to go with the new GS News format. Does it save them a lot of time doing these stories in short spurts throughout the week instead of one summary episode at the end of each day? I totally understand if they said they were getting tired of the old scripted format (that probably takes a long time to do too), but GS News feels so terribly clinical and does not provide the type of content we want.

Start/Select was one of the main reasons I visited GameSpot. I am glad I still have IGN Daily Fix to go to, but it isn't and will never be the same as Start/Select.

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