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Novakaine's blog

2:10 PM on 10.02.2010

Etrian Odyssey 3 boss music > You

So yeah, Etrian Odyssey 3 is out, and with it comes the glorious caress of Yuzo Koshiro's music on our ears.

Dance with the Stratum guardians to this melody:

[embed]185470:33744[/embed]   read

10:09 PM on 06.15.2010

My thoughts on this glorious day

Gotta say that this is going to be one of my favorite E3 conferences of all time.

I don't even consider the cringe-worthy demonstration of Skyward Sword as a downer, because (as I predicted, by the way) on the hands-on reports, even the Nintendo-haters of the gaming press sang praises of how sensationally the swordplay was. And the art style is exactly what I wanted: cel-shaded, mature fantasy. The screenshots genuinely look like pictures and artwork... just gorgeous.

3DS has me so excited, too. I'm getting one at launch, even if it's over $200. Metal Gear Solid 3DS, Super Street Fighter IV, Star Fox 64, Dead or Alive 3DS (!), Kid Icarus, Resident Evil Revelations, and Atlus' pledged support of Etrian Odyssey and Persona... I think I've died and gone to heaven.

Gonna pour one for my homies. Gamers everywhere rejoice, for there are great times ahead for us.   read

11:04 PM on 06.14.2010

WNBUT: Viera and E3 Edition

So I finally got back around to picking up Final Fantasy XII again. After a short bit of re-acclimating myself to the game, I progressed to the end of the Eruyt Village chapter, which I thought was rather neat. Fran's farewell in particular was rather touching. Also, the music in the village was simply gorgeous.


I managed to watch all of EA's conference today on G4, and I thought it was a pretty rock-solid show. Hot Pursuit looked pretty sweet, and Dead Space 2 just looked wicked. Bulletstorm took the cake for me, though--it looks like the result of a menage a trois between MadWorld, Unreal Tournament, and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (the almighty kick!). Definitely excited for that one.

In non-gaming news, I've been busy trying to get back on the schedule at my old workplace. Also been really busy apartment hunting in northwest Austin, although I've found a place that's a winner for me (just have to hope it's still available, since I've been tied up lately and unable to sign). Taking a boring summer class which is remedial math for retards, but it's the only class I"m taking so I can't really complain.
And lastly, I managed to shave another minute off my mile run on the treadmill, which brings me to a 11:29 mile. The goal is to at least get a 13:30 mile and a half as per APD standards, but I've got plenty of time (as in, probably a year and a half) to prepare before I actually apply.

That's what Novakaine's been up to. What about you?   read

3:34 PM on 06.07.2010

Junichi Nakatsuru: Why you should know who he is

Junichi Nakatsuru is a name not commonly recognized in the video game landscape. Whenever the discussion of elite video game composers arises, you'll never see his name listed, either. Which is a shame.


Nakatsuru works for Namco, and he's been involved in most of their big properties in some way or another. He composed the beautiful ending theme for Ridge Racer 2 (whose uploader sadly disabled embedding), and he's composed for the Ace Combat flight sim combat games.


He's most well-regarded for his work on the Soul Calibur franchise, though.


Nakatsuru's work is booming and orchestral, climactic and energetic, which makes his music perfect for medieval showdowns such as those found in Soul Calibur.

His musical repertoire extends to pure fight jams, however, as he's more than capable of composing pieces that can be quite heartfelt and saddening.



This post was really sort of a filler between now and the upcoming pre-E3 post I'm planning. I'm not going to expound as much as I did to Yuzo Koshiro's music in my Etrian Odyssey blog post; I just wanted to spread some love to a musician who quietly does his job.   read

12:51 AM on 05.28.2010

Etrian Odyssey 3 officially setting sail for American shores

A little birdie has told me that in the latest Nintendo Power issue and in Atlus's official twitter, they have confirmed Etrian Odyssey 3: The Drowned City, will be coming to Amer'ca. Joyous songs of praises ring as they commonly do, in honor of Atlus.

Here's hoping Atlus bundles some awesome swag and marketing for the game here, like they did in Japan. As we all know, they're quite good marketing.

(Link for the source? I'm this site's biggest Etrian Odyssey fan, who are you to doubt me?! I AM your source!!!)   read

12:35 AM on 05.24.2010

Red Dead Redemption get: Biggie Smalls edition

So I finally jumped on the bandwagon and got RDR, and so far I'm really liking it. I've already died once and as a result ended up going in a completely different direction than before I was slain (who knew putting up your dukes was enough to warrant eight saloon patrons to blow you to bits), and rather than feel upset, I'm actually happy it happened.

Hunting wild game and selling their drops is oddly satisfying, as is dealing with the not-too-uncommon marauder. Now I just need to figure out what's best to do with the money I'm slowly accumulating. (I also hum GTA 4's mission accomplished tune every time I clear a mission.)

Also, I can't help but mentally envision the remix to Ecstasy of Gold as the theme song for RDR. In fact, given Rockstar's rather swagger-licious approach to life, I think this crazy mix of the Notorious B.I.G. and Ennio's masterpiece is particularly fitting, wouldn't you agree...?

[embed]174399:30061[/embed]   read

11:45 PM on 05.19.2010

What Novakaine's Been Up To (WNBUT): Forget FF 13

Ironically, Jim Sterling (who usually earns my ire) basically summed up my feelings about Final Fantasy XIII in his review, so I think I'm done trying to put up with the game after having only gotten about six or seven chapters in. (I disagree with Jim about the music, though.)

So, now that I'm free from that... thing, I think I'm gonna go back to Final Fantasy 12 and God Hand. If I had spare money, I'd probably buy 3D Dot Game Heroes, but I'm getting low on funds... and I need to save up for Dragon Quest 9, Other M, and the inevitable Etrian Odyssey 3.

Pretty close to platinum'ing Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which would be my first platinum. Just gotta get the Rank 22 trophy and the "private match" ones like use an engineer tool for a headshot, roadkill an enemy with a chopper, etc.

Also, as I mentioned on the forums, I finally bought Shatter on PSN, and I am ashamed it took me so long to bask in its glory. Best Arkanoid game ever, and its crazy shmup/brick-breaker gameplay and house music soundtrack are fucking glorious.

I seem to have gotten away from doing editorial-style blog posts, so maybe I'll be doing more frequent... "bloggy" posts under the header "WNBUT." We'll see. What have you been up to, dear reader? =)   read

10:02 PM on 05.09.2010

Why I Love Etrian Odyssey's Music

A lot of people can justify their affection towards something with an answer of intangibles. "It's just good," or "I just do." These answers are great all on their own, but I've always been one for argumentation, so I always shoot for a way to articulate why I like something.

In the spirit of raising awareness for Etrian Odyssey III (which Atlus has still not announced for U.S. release, but it'd make no sense not releasing it given its fiscal success), I've decided to put into words just why I feel so strongly towards a game I feel is worthy of the adjective "unique" in today's video game meta.


Etrian Odyssey is a very eclectic game. It successfully draws on nostalgia from the past and combines it with the technology of the present. It's a crunch-heavy game that pushes the focus onto where the rubber meets the road: combat, and spelunking. Story is not essential, and is not given that much attention in the game.

...or is it?


While Etrian Odyssey may be infamous for taking the road Final Fantasy would never take in regards to video game narrative, I would challenge those who claim Etrian Odyssey's story is throwaway. True, it's not at the forefront... that's because it's everywhere in the game. And that includes the music.

What Etrian Odyssey does to increase the story is provide a soundtrack that is, quite simply, unlike anything else on the Nintendo DS. When famed composer Yuzo Koshiro was told the game was aiming for an old-school feel, he decided to dust off the PC-88 he used to make game music in the 1980s, and use it for Etrian Odyssey.


Yuzo ingrained in the music an odd mystique; they were still modulated blips, but much as any great composer who's familiar with restricted format, he used creativity and musical artistry to negate this. What resulted was music that actually told the story itself. The tracks heard while exploring the strata were given special moods and tones that perfectly fit the scenario in the game. In the first embedded video, you can practically sink your fingers into the thick feelings of awe, caution, and mystery your party feels when you take your first steps into the First Stratum; and in the second video (much later in the game), the evoked feelings of grief, conviction, and duty are reflective of what you must do in the Fourth Stratum, which has a very Hayao Miyazaki-like scenario.


The most important music in JRPGs--the battle themes--are all incredible, as well. The first battle theme (the third embedded video) evokes a struggle for pure survival... which is exactly what your fledgling guild is doing, at the beginning of the game. You face horrific beasts around every corner, and the fight music is a perfect beat for your guild to dance to. The second battle theme (fourth video, and introduced in the Fourth Stratum) reflects a change in tone, almost giving a feeling of sorrow, tempered by steely-eyed conviction. Again, this is done intentionally, as the aforementioned plot of the Fourth Stratum is intended to make you feel rather... unheroic.


The boss theme also does a magnificent job at capturing emotion, this time being pure malice. You can practically taste the murder in the air as your guild watches the Stratum's guardian stir from its resting spot to see who challenges it. Truly memorable boss music.


And of course, I couldn't avoid mentioning the music for the Formido Oppugnatura Exsequens ("Terrible Ancient Warriors of Nature"), aka the F.O.E.s. If the boss music evokes malice, the F.O.E. music reflects pure terror. Infernal monsters who will chase you even if you escape them in battle, how scary it is! The F.O.E.'s music is so iconic, it even got a famous viral video.


In summary, a big part of why I love the Etrian Odyssey franchise is just how well its makers seem to understand psychology of video games, and the artistry involved in manifesting it. From the snippets I've heard of Etrian Odyssey III's music, it seems to be a full return to the evocative glory of the first game... which makes me all the more antsy for Atlus's inevitable announcement of its arrival to U.S. shores.   read

11:36 PM on 04.26.2010

I love bad voice acting [with videos!]

While bad voice acting rightfully gets the living tar kicked out of it, I must admit that I am very appreciative of bad voice acting for the limitless laughs it provides us. My PSN friends and I dick around while playing deathmatch by pulling out numerous one-liners to help the emotional flow of the game; and while movies provide great, cheesy lines, we definitely would have much less ammo.

To help pass the time here under the starry skies of central Texas, I present to you two particularly enjoyable videos for me. The first comes from a classic venture in bad voice acting, Mega Man 8. To this day, fans are baffled at the choice of voice for Dr. Light, but I couldn't imagine a life without it. (If you pay attention to 0:22, you'll notice that the actor actually screws up his line, but the voices director didn't care enough to make them re-do the scene!)


The second video comes from a recent masterpiece, Heavy Rain. True to Quanticdream's style, the game's fantastic engine/platform and interactive cinema is ruined by David Cage's lackluster writing and voice casting. This video in general is a tongue-in-cheek jab at Heavy Rain, and you'll see some other funny bits interposed in it.


Love it? I know I sure do. ^_^   read

2:25 PM on 03.12.2010

Playing FF 13? Nah, I'm playing FF 12!

The words "Final Fantasy" have been buzzing across the Internetz, all surrounding the U.S. release of Final Fantasy XIII.

But it's not this new blockbuster which I'm playing--no, I'm playing an important game in my backlog, the Final Fantasy before this most recent one.


(Still the most beautiful rendition of the theme, if you ask me.)

Being an unfortunate soul who was stuck through last gen with only an XBox (I know, I know), I missed out on a plethora of timeless classics on the PS2. A game that I never truly gave a fair chance, however, was Final Fantasy XII.

I was one of those people who raised pitchforks and torches when the Gambit system was first unveiled, and claimed it was the death of the series I had been playing since 1992. As the years passed, so did my indignity and ignorance, and only as I entered the HD gen did I finally give this Ivalice adventure a fair try... and I'm glad I did.

Though I'm only thirteen hours into the game (how poetic), I am in love with it. Ivalice is perhaps the most well-presented and fleshed-out settings in video game history, and Yasumi Matsuno's prosaic writing--panned by many as generic and boring--is a welcomed change by me. Much as Final Fantasy XII's battle system was a radical change from prior installments, so was its narrative; a Final Fantasy game sans the ever-permeating "anime desu desu" theme. (This coming from someone who enjoys anime.)

Another thing I love about the game are its characters. Akihiko Yoshida was a beautiful change of pace from Tetsuya Nomura's overdone, asinine character designs; and though I wish the cast of permanent party members was larger and more diverse (such as including a Banga or Moogle), I do find myself loving each of the characters... except Vaan, but Square-Enix forced Matsuno to include his annoying ass, so he wasn't even supposed to be there.

Production values are gorgeous and its the best-looking game on the PlayStation 2, and Sakimoto's score has almost no duds in it.

Though I cannot yet give a final verdict as I haven't beaten the game, I do finally see the hype and unabashed love showered upon this game when it came out four years ago. Maybe if I put some time between now and my playthrough of Final Fantasy XIII, I'll be able to put aside any personal biases I have towards that title and be able to appreciate it for its own merits, too.   read

4:51 PM on 03.05.2010

Mercenaries: Reunion is a scam

Why the hell can't I use the rest of the Mercenaries crew?! I buy this to find out I can't pair up Tribal Sheva and Heavy Metal Chris? Come on Capcom, I know you're greedy as fuck, but come on. Would it REALLY be that hard to make a super Mercenaries mode with both the original RE5 Mercenaries characters and the new DLC characters?

Oh wait, you're probably going to release it as DLC in a year and charge us.   read

10:10 AM on 03.03.2010

Vanquish (Mikami HD game) new details

Vanquish, Shinji Mikami's upcoming HD project, recently got some press in Famitsu, where we got some scans for a handful of in-game images.

The game is confirmed to be a third-person shooter, and in particular, when Shinji was asked to describe the game, he simply replied, "Shooter." Before you raise the pitchforks and torches, Shinji continued by saying he didn't want to make a normal, run-of-the-mill shooter, and instead wanted to capture a feeling of speed and good tempo, and "something flashy."

He said rather than focus entirely on spraying bullets, the game would focus on flow and rhythm to the action; and he also said that in the game's boss battles, the game would be more of an action game than a shooter.

Mikami also is incorporating a focus on close-quarters combat, allowing you a boost meter to quickly close the distance with your foe, and giving you a large arsenal of melee attacks and even a Bullet Time special ability.

The game's setting is obviously in the near future, and Mikami designed it as a sort of future parallel to the Cold War, where the Americans and Russians are squaring off yet again. In this futuristic world, robots are the mainstay of armies, and actual human combatants are few.

Definitely gets me excited, Platinum Games has not steered me wrong yet this generation.

Famitsu scans and Famitsu Interview via AndriaSang   read

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