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About

I'm just your average young male gamer, nothing very special. I started gaming at the age of 5, when my parents got me a Nintendo 64 for my birthday, and I have been loving videogames ever since then.

I play mainly action games and RPGs, but I play anything I find interest in ultimately. Sports games and puzzle games are what I play the least, with a few exceptions.
I'm hoping to take a game design course and venture out into the industry.

I also enjoy drawing, playing my drums, and watching anime now and then. I also have a weakness for anything to do with Samurai or Japanese history.

Consoles I (have) own(ed):

-N64
-Wii
-GBC
-GBA
-DS
-Xbox [incapacitated...NO!!! RAIKOH!!!!!! I never killed the hyrda :'( ]
-PS1
-PS2
-PS3




Currently Playing

-Sengoku BASARA 3
-Trinity Universe
-Yakuza 3
-Rythm Heaven



My favourite videogames (in no particular order):

-Zelda: Ocarina of Time
-Half-Life 2
-Portal
-Golden Sun: The Lost Age
-Tales of Symphonia
-Tales of the Abyss
-Okami
-Super Mario Galaxy
-Super Smash Bros. /Melee/Brawl
-Conker's Bad Fur Day
-Otogi: Myth of Demons
-Pokemon Silver
-Sengoku BASARA 2
-Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater


Currently wanting to buy:


-Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes (yeah, its just the English version of SB3)
-Tales of Graces (in freaking english, Namco!)
-Metal Gear Solid: Rising
-Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
-Starcraft 2 (when I get a new PC)
-Diablo 3 (when I get a new PC)
-Way of the Samurai 3
-Okamiden
-BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
-Marvel vs Capcom 3
-Tatsunoko vs Capcom
-Nier
-Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2
-LittleBigPlanet 2
-Dead Rising 2
-Monster Hunter Tri
-Super Mario Galaxy 2
-Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
-Metroid: Other M
-Yakuza 3
-Yakuza 4
-Ryu ga Gotoku 5 (Yakuza 5)
-Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!
-Samurai Warriors 3
-ModNation Racers
-A Boy and His Blob
-Red Dead Redemption
-Killzone 3
-Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage
-Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
-Super Dimension Game Neptune
-Orochi Musou Z
-Ar Tonelico: Qoga

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Behold, my incomparable skills with MS Paint. Marvel at Sorin's see-through hand.

Nearly a full year of hyperventilating, and nail biting excitement will soon reach its crux. Am I speaking of StarCraft II? Well, I am hyped, but this isn't about that.
Less than three days remain before Sengoku BASARA 3, the 4th console game in the hack n' slash series, will release for the Playstation 3 and Wii in Japan. I have my copy pre-ordered, and now the agonizing wait is steadily growing.









Of course, those unwilling to cope with playing a whole game in an unfamiliar language will have to wait until October 12th, when the English adaptation, Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes comes to North America.

Here are the last tidbits of info that Capcom has trickled out in regards to Sengoku BASARA 3.





Gameplay & System Info





"Drama Emaki Mode" Story Paths



It had already been known that there would be choices to make, and multiple endings for each of the 16 playable characters, but just how much choice is the player presented with?
If this chart in the Drama Emaki section is any indication, there is some surprising depth. Ieyasu's story sees 3 major branches leading to 3 different endings, with plenty of smaller branches on the way.

Reviews of the game from Dengeki and Famitsu have cited that an average playthrough of the new story mode will clock in at roughly two hours, about twice as long as the standard 5 stage story mode of past titles. With multiple playthroughs required in order to see everything, it seems there's much more meat to the narrative content here.






Assist Generals/ "Bodyguards"



I'm still a bit foggy on the nitty gritty of this addition, but basically you get to choose your allied officers that head into battle with you, and they can grant you stat buffs or special attributes. Exactly how much they will factor into gameplay remains to be seen, aside from perhaps unique dialogue between characters. I just want to know how long it will be before I have Hirotsuna's tiger fighting by my side.







Big Bosses



The previous Sengoku BASARA titles had big machine bosses too. However, the strategy that went into fighting them was paper-thin. The player more or less ran up the the closest leg and spammed a multi-hitting skill, or used their BASARA attack until the wooden husk keeled over. Wooden AT-ATs, dragon-spider-tanks, Living Buddhist Statues, they were basically all the same.





In this video, you can see the Toyotomi Epic Horse




From the looks of it, that too has changed with Sengoku BASARA 3. The new monstrosities that our heroes will face-off against include the above pictured Toyotomi Epic Death Carriage (since I don't know what it's actually called), a Zabii shaped tank that is literally titled "Ah, Lord Zabii~! Your visage and memories!", the Chosokabe's Toad-Spider-Boat-Walker-Thing (named "Akatsuki-maru"), and, for some reason, a huge excavation vehicle that belongs to the Kuroda, but is being used by Mogami Yoshiaki(?).







In this video, you can see Otomo Sorin, and the Kunikuzushi. You also see him do inappropriate things





The new bosses actually have weakspots, attack patterns AND movement patterns, and don't sit still waiting to die. Although, fast characters like Kotaro can still make mince-meat out of some machines, like the Zabii Tank.





Other things shown on the site include glimpses of the new weapon upgrade system, and word that in addition to taking 3 skills into battle, each character may also bring 1 of 3 unlockable "super skills". I have no idea exactly how these skills are executed, but they include such feats of random win as Ieyasu picking up and throwing Tadakatsu's drill-spear.










New NPCs




Otomo Sorin



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otomo_Sorin

Zabii, "Mr. LOVE AND PEACE" himself, has left Japan, and appointed his loyal choir-boy page Sorin to carry on the goals of Christi-- er, I mean, "The Zabii Cult". Sorin doesn't fight with a "weapon", opting instead to ride on the aforementioned Zabii tank. It shoots missiles that can be hit and redirected back at Sorin, and can also rotate while singing "ZABIIZABIIZABIIZABII!"
Sorin also does all kinds of wild movements while riding this thing. He even does a "pelvic thrust" occasionally.
It may be also worth noting that Sorin's voice actor is well known for his role as Uchiha Sasuke in the anime adaptation of Naruto.








Tachibana Muneshige



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachibana_Muneshige

A big burly man with a well groomed beard, and a pair of lighting-imbued chainsaw blades. This Muneshige, I like. The history between the Otomo and Tachibana clans is something I'm not so familiar with, but if memory serves, Muneshige was the adopted son of Tachibana Dosetsu, who was originally a vassal of Otomo Sorin. It seems as if he only follows Sorin out of his own sense of honour, as he doesn't seem to make an awful big noise about the Zabii Cult..
That said, he looks to be a beast to fight against. In Kotaro's japanese video, Muneshige's charging attack alone nearly sapped all of the life away from the Legendary Shinobi. He also chases you throughout the Battle of Hetsugigawa Stage (Zabii's Castle); fitting, as he was known as the "Tadakatsu of the West".









"Landlord" NPCs

Not as story relevant as the other NPCs, not with a "full moveset" like them either, from the looks of it. For most of them, it seems more of a way to easily slip in representation for clans that have not appeared in the series. I had never even heard of most of these samurai, but lets take a look.
We'll begin the most well known of them.









Naoe Kanetsugu



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naoe_Kanetsugu


"I am the invincible main character! It took a whole year, but I've become famous! Uesugi's number one fighter, Naoe Kanetsugu!! I won't lose to the likes of y--AAAAGGHH!!! I lost even though I'm invincible?!?!"

You may have noticed him in Sengoku BASARA 2. Maybe in the anime (he made an appearance in this week's episode, for those of you following it). He's the man who boasts of his invincibility.

He's certainly funny, but as a fighter, he's as lacking as ever, in spite of his now unique character model. In fact, I dare say he's weaker than ever before, being dispatched by skills that merely would have wounded other officers. He also seems to have no elemental attribute.
"Muteki no Shujinko", I salute your misplaced bravery.








Utsunomiya Hirotsuna



http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Utsunomiya_Hirotsuna

WATAH!! Wait, what? Does this guy think he's Kenshiro?! I know little of this character or his real life counterpart. What I do know is that he looks like Dynasty Warriors' Zhao Yun, he has a pet tiger(s?), and he's packing plenty of "AAAATATATAtAtATATAtATATATATATATATATATAT*cough**hack**cough*"
His element appears to be Ice.

Tsuruhime is the only playable character with the Ice Element, and yet 3 NPCs (Kenshin, Yoshiaki, Hirotsuna) have it? Unfair...*sadface








Nanbu Harumasa



http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Nanbu_Harumasa


A creepy, old, one-eyed ninja who summons ghost samurai? I like this guy, too!
And that is literally all I know.
As you can guess, his element is Dark.









Satake Yoshishige



http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Satake_Yoshishige


The most uninteresting looking "unique" general, aside from his deadly eyebrows.
His element, or at least his attacks are centered around Earth, and it looks like he can bury himself underground.











Anegakoji Yoritsuna



http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Anegakoji_clan


Hmph. No individual article on SA? Exactly which member of the Anegakoji clan he was, I haven't the faintest idea. He has bamboo shoots on his back, and he rolls logs outwards to attack the player.
No idea what his element is. Light, perhaps?











Amago Haruhisa



http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Amako_Haruhisa


Despite his somewhat feminine appearance, he has one of the deeper voices of the landlords. His stage appears to be a sand-swept desert (on the coast of Japan; go figure), and his element, I'm guessing, is Wind.










Unique Character Traits


These are some unique things that each character can use to make the most of their playstyles, and further diversifies the cast. Here are the traits we know so far:

Tokugawa Ieyasu: can charge most of his attacks

Ishida Mitsunari: can execute a warp move after his skills to cancel lag time, and chain skills together

Sanada Yukimura: can execute a lunging slash after skills, similar to Mitsunari

Date Masamune: skill set changes when all six swords are drawn (i.e.: Death Fang -> Death Bite)

Otani Yoshitsugu: hold square to apply a "mark" to enemies; skills gain homing properties

Saika Magoichi: using different skills changes her equipped weapon (magnum, shotgun, machine-gun)

Kuroda Kanbei: using a dodge cancels lag time after skills

Honda Tadakatsu: different activation modes can change attacks (i.e. Flying + Attack Mode = aerial
bombing)

Maeda Keiji: "Love Tactics" skill can be chained into basically any of Keiji's moves, including his BASARA

Chosokabe Motochika: long distance anchor chain moves deal multiple hits(?)

Mori Motonari: trap activations using his taunt; different combinations of traps (?)

Tsuruhime: attacks do more damage at a specific range

Shimazu Yoshihiro: hold square to walk; eliminates the annoying habit Yoshi has of getting his sword stuck in the ground if his first hit misses

Oichi: Black Hand moves hold enemies in place, stay active while you can move and activate other skills (?)

Fuuma Kotaro: as long as he hits enemies, he can stay airborne indefinitely

#16: ???


...Hmm...what's that? #16? Oh, right, the final playable character was leaked by Capcom's Korean site last Sunday, but was taken down a few short hours later. Dengeki, V-Jump, and Famitsu had articles about this character that same week, and that Wednesday evening...the japanese SB3 website was taken over...



THE FINAL PLAYABLE CHARACTER

Don't read on if you don't want your puny mind blown!
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WARE WA....
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Oda Nobuuuuuunagaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa zu!

*Title has been changed from "Demon King of the Sixth Heaven", to "Demon Conqueror of Heaven and Hell"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oda_Nobunaga


Despite the fact that the Honnouji Incident has taken place in this game's storyline, and Nobunaga was sent to rest in the underworld, he bitchslapped the overfiend, arm wrestled Beelzebub, and gave King Minos a pinkbelly, and will rise to wreak havoc on the fields of Sekigahara. The most major change seems to be a ghostly red visage of Nobby that appears during certain moves. Some of his new skills make more use of his often neglected shotgun, and rumor has it that his BASARA attack is different now. But seriously, how can you top a living, tattered red cape that mercilessly shreds everything in sight?!
All will be revealed when Nobunaga's gameplay video hits the Japanese site on July 29th, the day the game releases in Japan.

Back when the initial details of SB3's story were coming in, Nobunaga was one of several characters confirmed to be dead. This, however, didn't stop him.
It's funny how despite the statement that "the Oda are no more", more than half of the Oda characters are still alive. Nobunaga, Oichi, and Mitsuhide are still in this game, while Ranmaru and Nouhime are the only ones left under the dirt.




I am incredibly pumped. This long awaited game is almost here, and will soon consume all my damn free time. The land-dividing conflict rides forth into Japan this Thursday, July 29th, for the PS3 and Wii.
The conflict spills onto western shores on October 12th, and will be a budget title, priced at $40.

Sadly, the online co-op that was originally meant for the PS3 version of the game has been scrapped, but local multiplayer is still in. There are also no plans for DLC, which means an expansion game in the vein of Sengoku BASARA 2: Heroes will appear some time in the next year or two.



___________________________________________________________________________________

If I'm lucky, I should have my copy of the game by next week. I'd love to write a review once I've begun to satiate my thirst for hacking and slashing.

GOOD COURAGE! LOTS OF LUCK!!
Photo Photo Photo










Yep, news for Sengoku BASARA 3 is just pouring out lately. Can't say I'm complaining though, as it is the one sequel this year I am most excited for. Yeah, call me borderline insane for having this slightly above other fantastic (and easily day one purchase) titles like Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, and even Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, but SB2 is just one of those games I still regularly pop into my "MacGuyver-modded" PS2 well over a year after first getting my hands on it, so the very idea of playing a much improved iteration in HD is quite the salivating prospect.






First off:
Box-art Reveal

http://z2-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B002M76PD0.01._SCRMZZZZZZ_.jpg

*couldn't resize properly, just use teh linkage






I wouldn't say its the BEST boxart the series has had, but there are worse ones out there. Actually, this is one of the better ones since the initial release of SB2, which featured a painting by Makoto Tsuchibayashi (lead character designer for BASARA, also did designs for Devil May Cry) of Maeda Keiji for the cover.
This cover gets the point across, with the whole East vs West thing.






Next, the game's opening cinematic was revealed today.





Compared to the previous titles, this opening has a better artistic style to it. I like the frame of classical Japanese art used for the clash between Yukimura and Masamune, and the creative backdrops for the scenes featuring the other characters (such as the namesake of this post. Dirty thoughts were had at Magoichi's part in the opening >_>)

The song used is "Naked Arms" by T.M. Revolution, who has had his music used in basically every game in the series so far, with the exception of SB2 (which featured High and Mighty Colour).

Its also nice to notice that the Masa/Yuki segment in the opening is rather brief, and attention was given mainly to Ieyasu and Mitsunari, but somewhat evenly divided amongst the other new characters; furthur evidence that there will be other characters sharing the spotlight instead of the original yaoi-bait poster boys (one of the reasons I tend to avoid DeviantArt...).









Lastly, a new gameplay video of Mori Motonari was put up on the game's official site.




Not as flashy as the other vids, and to be honest, Motonari is not one of my most frequently used characters. However, it was still nice to see. I like the look of Tsuruhime's stage, and Motonari's new skills are interesting; they include summoning a squad of archers, using an explosive mirror image to distract enemies, and I believe some changes were made to the activation of the floating-circle trap-skill.


My excitement for this game is still high, and the fan community isn't as negative as it was several weeks ago when lots of NPCs were revealed (of course, response from everywhere else on the internet *cough*kotaku*cough* has been resoundingly negative, as anything that reminds anyone of Dynasty Warriors is automatically shit, amirite? If one game is vaguely like another game it will be EXACTLY like that other game, AMIRITE?!?! This is why clearly CoD:WaW was exactly like Wolfenstein 3D, or why Halo was a fucking Megaman ripoff. amimakingaconciseandlegibleargument?).

^this may be a "news" post, but its still my c-blog, con sarnit!


Sengoku BASARA 3 comes out on July 29th in Japan.
Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes comes out sometime this Fall in North America and Europe.
[available for both PS3 and Wii]



And don't mess with Tsuruhime...















SHE'LL FUCK YOU UP
Photo Photo















After Capcom's Captivate event, new information came (finally!) about the localization of the newest entry in the over-the-top hack n' slash series, Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes.
Despite some things I don't like about the voice direction, it looks like it may shape up to be a solid port, and it turns out to be a budget title!
$40 to get into the action. I still have a lurching feeling that it will bomb, as gamers on this side of the Pacific tend to scrutinize games of this nature, but a man can hope...






Here's an epic trailer about the overarching storyline of Sengoku BASARA 3









Anyway, after the slew of news about the English release, I figured I might as well make a blog post about all the news regarding the Japanese release, Sengoku BASARA 3, as A LOT has been revealed over the last few months.


We'll begin with the newest gameplay changes from previous titles:

*please note this is a BIG blog post, and may contain some spoilers for Sengoku BASARA (yes, in all caps) 2, and its expansion, Eiyuu Gaiden (Heroes). If you planned on importing these PS2/Wii games, read at your own risk.















Base Captains


Stages are covered in "zones" belonging to either your army or the opposing army, with each zone being controlled by a base captain, sitting atop a raised platform. Allied base captains can give you items, such as health, increased attack or defence, and I believe that enemy base captains are capable of giving the same to their surrounding troops (though given Basara's track record, this probably won't really make your time more difficult unless you're playing on a higher difficulty).

Taking over bases doesn't really have the same core necessity that it does in Koei's Warriors series, but can help in other ways. Base captains trigger a giant explosion when killed, taking out all the surrounding enemies and driving up your combo by A LOT. Aside from being able to score mad stacks of gold from defeated enemies when your combo is high, you also get a new item box whenever the combo goes from 0 to 500. In addition, a new "Super FEVER!" has been added when your combo gets higher than 1000(?), which nets you x11 gold. Farming will be much less of a chore it seems.

The strength of enemy officers, particularly bosses, are affected by how much territory they control. So if you think you won't be able to beat Tadakatsu, consider taking out some more bases, and you'll see his "star rating" go down, making him weaker overall.


















Sengoku Slow-mo


A gauge surrounding the character portrait denotes your slowmo gauge, and when executed it...well, slows the movements of all enemy units (though I think bosses are resistant to this, not sure).

This replaces the Sengoku Drive from Sengoku BASARA 2, which made you move faster and hit harder when activated, with a new drive being added every 100 kills, and at higher levels you would get an upgraded drive if you had one unused in your slot. I personally don't miss the drive, as it made the game much too easy outside of Extreme dificulty, and bosses could be taken out in about 5 seconds by using a Lv. 3 drive with your Ultimate Basara attack (this is playing on HARD).

Speaking of Ultimate Basara, I believe it is activated when Basara is used in conjunction with the slowmo feature, but I could be wrong.
















Clash


While attacking a boss, your blows will sometimes bounce off each other, maybe just regular attacks and not skills. If this occurs three times consecutively, you will start hacking away at high speed, and be forced to mash square (A on Wii?) until one of you wins.

I don't know if you do an extra special attack when you win, as this hasn't been shown much in any gameplay videos released, and I only know one person who has actually played a demo for the game.

















Cooperative Multiplayer


Did you know Basara didn't have any multiplayer modes at all until Sengoku Basara 2: Heroes? Well, thankfully, co-op is returning, and you're still able to revive a player should they fall in battle by standing in their proximity. Great if your buddy sucks...a lot.

I hope we can see a video of the coop mode, because I want to see if it has the same horrendous "ghosting" (popup) that ruins the coop modes of the Musou games.
Also, please Capcom, let us do coop in Free Mode. Being limited to Conquest mode in Heroes wasn't very nice *sadface*

- the PS3 version of the game has online multiplayer, while the Wii version doesn't :\




Now, to the core of the game updates so far, the characters!
We'll start with the newbies.














New Characters
*after spending lots of time on the KoeiWarriors forum, I'm trying to get used to the traditional Eastern name order (surname > given name). So just flip these around if your used to the Western order (given name > surname)










Otani Yoshitsugu



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Ctani_Yoshitsugu

In real life, Yoshitsugu had leprosy. His health deteriorated to the point that when the Battle of Sekigahara came, he had to be carried to the battle on a palanquin.
And thats the best way to describe how his design came about. He looks like Shishio from Rurouni Kenshin (instant awesome), and he's voiced by the same guy who voiced Gendo in Neon Genesis Evangelion (INSTANT LEGEND). He fights using floating orbs, and can "mark" enemies for his skills to target them. He's very different from the other characters shown, and it looks like he'll offer a good variety to gameplay.



















Saika Magoichi



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saika_Magoichi


This is quite a shock for anyone who has played Samurai Warriors, where, as in most depictions, Magoichi is a MAN. However, Saika Magoichi was merely a title, not a true name, and thus it is technically possible that a woman led the group at some point, though not likely.

She is meant to be a "replacement" for Nouhime, the previous gunslinger of the series. To be honest, I think Magoichi blows "Lady Butterfly" out of the water. Her skills take advantage of 3 different weapons: dual magnums, a shotgun, and a machine gun. Using different skills changes the weapon she has equipped, thus granting her a new S-string (standard attacks). I'm very excited to play as her.

She's gotten some flak for being gruff (people clearly aren't used to strong female characters...) and some people claim she has a man face...wtf...

Watch the video to see her in action.


















Kuroda Kanbei



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuroda_Kanbei



Hmm...very peculiar character, this Kanbei. For a long time I kept confusing him with Takenaka Hanbei (in his gameplay video he even mentions Hanbei, who is confirmed dead). His design is a bit...bland, compared to the rest of the cast, but the more subdued approach to his character is an alright choice. Not every character can be like, say, Yukimura, yelling every single line.

Fights using a ball and chain, handcuffed to himself (I believe he was in prison, IIRC), and looks to be the slow & powerful type.



















Tsuruhime




No Wikipedia article? Dang...anyway, Tsuruhime, historically, is the oldest character in the game (older than Motonari!!!), and she commited suicide in battle in her early twenties. She was an archer in real life, as well. She's supposed to have a rivalry with Chosokabe Motochika, who now has THREE people on his sh*tlist >_>

She is portrayed as a spry teenager, with a priestess outfit that looks like a sailor fuku [insert your own Lucky Star joke here]. Being a teenager, she also doesn't have an earsplittingly high-pitched voice. Definitely a plus. You can also occasionally see her bloomers when she runs. You pervs, you.

Compared to Mori Ranmaru (also dead), she seems much more "archer-like", and I like her moveset so far.









Well, so far, those are the PLAYABLE new characters...but more on that later. Its time to get to the returning veterans!

















Maeda Keiji


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maeda_keiji


The party boy returns, bringing along his ludricrously oversized nodachi that would make Cloud Strife cringe in jealousy, and his faithful pet monkey Yumekichi.

Still the ever on-the-run vagabond of the Maeda clan, Keiji pals around with the Uesugi for SB3. Apparently he falls in love with Magoichi at first sight, a feeling which isn't returned *dun dun duuun*

Not very much has been shown of his new skills. I know of one where Yumekichi runs off and brings back a random item (health and such), but theres a chance he'll bring back a bomb, the sneaky bastard.
















Honda Tadakatsu

*name was changed to "Iron OX" in Devil Kings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Tadakatsu



He's called "Hondam" by fans for a reason. His story in SB2 revolved around rescuing Ieyasu from various kidnappers, but since lil' Takechiyo is all grown up now, who knows where his new storyline will take him?
A few new skills have been seen, such as being able to fly in the air AND drop bombs on foes below, as well as one where his drill spear gets attached to one arm, and is used like a lance, finishing off with an explosion. This is good, as his S-sting is very unwieldy and moves all over the place, making focusing on a single enemy quite difficult.

















Chosokabe Motochika

*name was changed to "Arslan" in Devil Kings


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chosokabe_Motochika


The pirate is making a comeback! With his trusty anchor/spear (which he surfs with ON LAND) he leads his pirate gang in search of fortune and fame! *insert 4kids One Piece theme*

Aniki (his pirates call him this, it means "boss" or "big brother") has some trouble this time around. Not only must he deal with his rival, Mori Motonari, and a new pest, Tsuruhime, but his friend from SB2Heroes, Ieyasu, has invaded his lands.

He looks VERY much improved from SB2, his skills appear much more effective. Plus he's a pirate. This game has pirates, ninjas, AND robots. We need a character that can combine the three o_0























Shimazu Yoshihiro

*name was changed to "Zahn" in Devil Kings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimazu_Yoshihiro


Yoshihiro was one of my least used characters in SB2. Aside from the fact that I tend to shy away from the uber slow, uber powerful types, I hated his S-string. If the first hit doesn't connect, his sword gets stuck in the ground, and you're forced to wait a second while he pulls it out. This means that boss fights rely mainly on spamming his skills over and over.
Thankfully, since SB3 allows you to equip 3 skills at once, theres a better variety for this, and maybe I'll just use him more frequently than before.

Also, since this game in centered around Sekigahara, his rivalry with Tadakatsu now at least kindof makes sense.

I don't really know anything about his story in SB3. Yoshihiro is the head of the Shimazu clan of Kyushu, who frequently clashed with the Otomo (Tachibana) clan.

*here's hoping for a Tachibana to be a playable character...






Get ready, this next one brought on quite the fangasm when I first heard of....



















Oichi



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oichi



HOLYF***INGSHIZNUGGETS, THISISDELICIOUSYESHYESH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Honestly, I nearly fell out of my chair when a Famitsu leak revealed her return. She is my favourite character in all of Sengoku BASARA, especially from a story standpoint. She had THE BEST storyline in the entire franchise (bold, yes, but most fans would agree with me on that one), representing a touching tragedy that was completely out of the ordinary for the series.

Her story is a "loose" continuation from SB2H, in that Nagamasa, Nouhime, Ranmaru, and Nobunaga are still dead, and she has amnesia (better she doesn't remember what she went through).
She has ditched her naginata in favor of a moveset that uses only her "Hades hands".
Her skills, like Motochika's, have been greatly improved. I very seldom used her black hand moves in Heroes, but now they have more practical use, not to mention range.

















Fuuma Kotaro



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuuma_Kotaro


Taciturn and total badass ninja Kotaro is once again hired by Hojo Ujimasa to do the one thing the old geezer can't: kick some ass. He looks just as fun to play as he was in Heroes. He gains a counter attack skill, similar to what Kasuga and Sasuke had in previous games, and I believe he has some mid-air versions of his older skills as well (such as the fuuma shuriken throw).

It appears his story this time around isn't just assassination after assassination. A screenshot (which was posted by Jim Sterling not that long ago) showed Kotaro with Tsuruhime, and some people have heard something about Kotaro saving her from danger, if by accident. I hope Capcom doesn't completely dial back his badass factor.









Now that all the AWESOME news is done, we get to the unfortunate news. Possibly due to the hardship of getting on a whole new development platform (the PS3 being difficult to develop for), there are LOTS of non-playable characters in this game. Like, 10 have been revealed so far, and I pray there are no more. Not just new characters, but ones that have been playable since the very first game in the series on the PS2. F***, even characters that were playable in Devil Kings! Some were NPCs back then, and are NPCs once more after being playable in SB2/H.
*sigh* Well, behold the people you will fight, but for the moment, cannot fight AS.












Non-Playable Characters














Hojo Ujimasa

*name was changed to "Orwik" in Devil Kings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hojo_Ujimasa


The crazy old man whose castle, Odawara, is probably more well known than he is. Aside from the fact that his clan's crest (IN REAL LIFE TOO) is the TRIFORCE, he also has Fuuma Kotaro in his hire.
He has a tendency to ask his "honourable ancestors" for aid in battle, to no avail. He also can place a "moxa" (some east-Asian therapuetic burning thing?) on his head, making him move and attack faster.

His name was changed to Orwik in Devil Kings, and for some reason all the enemies on his stage were Egyptian themed. WHY???















Katakura Kojuuro



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katakura_Kagetsuna


This makes me sad. Kojuuro was a badass, Yakuza style swordsman, with awesome skills, and a wicked mode called "Moonless Slaughter" where he drags his sword along the ground and punches his enemies before making two massive one-handed swings.
But, he's an NPC now...

Anywho, Kojuuro is Masamune's attendant, and frequently advises him of decsions he should make, Masamune being as reckless as he is. He is known as "The Dragon's Right Eye" (Masamune having lost his right eye due to smallpox).

He was first introduced in SB2 as an NPC, but was made playable in the Heroes expansion.















Kasuga

*name was changed to "Venus" in Devil Kings



One of only 2 fictional characters in the series, Kasuga is a kunoichi (female ninja) who serves Uesugi Kenshin. She is obviously meant to be fanservice to the male demographic, being the most scantily clad female in the series. She is most known for being extremely affectionate towards her Lord Kenshin, having [implied] orgasms when they appear together, and this was taken to the extreme in the anime.

She was playable in the original game, where she shared the same moveset with Sarutobi Sasuke.
Despite being an NPC, she retains her newer moveset from SB2, using a set of kunai (throwing knives) attached to pink glowing threads.














Uesugi Kenshin

*name was changed to "Frost" in Devil Kings


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uesugi_Kenshin




Very effeminate in appearance (there is an old story IRL of Naoe Kanetsugu referring to him as "mother"), the elegant ruler of Echigo. Like Kasuga and Sasuke, he was playable since the very first game, so its rather disappointing he's been made an NPC now.

He is an ice user, and has both close and long range skills, which come out very fast.

















Sarutobi Sasuke

*name was changed to "Talon" in Devil Kings


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarutobi_Sasuke


Legendary ninja Sasuke (no, not THAT Sasuke) was also playable in the original game, but has been moved to NPC status. He fights using a pair of very large shuriken, uses a variety of ninjutsu, and can make bunshin (clones) of himself.
He serves and advises Sanada Yukimura, who is now the leader of the Takeda army since Shingen has fallen ill.
















Maeda Toshiie & Matsu

*names were changed in Devil Kings to "Lark" and "Bramble", respectively


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maeda_Toshiie
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maeda_Matsu



Wait, BOTH of the Maedas are NPCs?! WTF...
Well, what story signifiance they have hasn't been told in much detail yet, as both of them had rather silly, fun storylines in previous titles (Toshiie chasing after Keiji, Matsu gathering ingredients for a feast, etc.).
Toshiie can spew fire, and Matsu summons animal familiars, including a swarm of hawks, boars, and even a bear.

Toshiie was playable in the original game, while Matsu then was a clone of Kenshin, and was given her own, playable moveset in SB2.















Tenkai

*technically, name was changed to "Reaper" in Devil Kings


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenkai



In case you notice something familiar about "Tenkai", then you've probably noticed he looks a little...A LOT like Akechi Mitsuhide. Well...he is. In some very crappy, yet cool looking disguise he is apparently able to fool the rest of the cast(?). This is based off of an old story that Mitsuhide might have survived the Battle of Yamazaki, and started a new life as the famous Buddhist monk Tenkai.

Mitsuhide was playable in the original Sengoku BASARA, but an NPC in Devil Kings. He uses twin scythes as weapons, and has a slow, shambling walk. His skills so far seem no different from his moveset in SB2.

Mitsuhide's depiction in BASARA is known for being a very different approach from the norm, as in most depictions he is a noble man of honour, such as in Samurai Warriors or Onimusha.


















Kobayakawa Hideaki




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobayakawa_Hideaki



Well, this...is...interesting...As in most appearances in pop culture, Hideaki is depicted as a pathetic turd, who is incapable of doing the simplest tasks. Here he is shown as a chef(?), and has a wok strapped to his back that he uses as a shield as well. Others have noted that his helmet makes him look like 'Heracross' (see: Pokemon).

He is known historically for betraying the Western army during the Battle of Sekigahara, which was a major factor in the Eastern army's victory. His betrayal also caused Otani Yoshitsugu to ask one of his attendants to cut off his head (he was too weak from disease to commit seppuku [ritualistic suicide]).

He also has the girliest man voice I think I have ever heard in my life. No, really, go to the official SB3 site and listen to it.

http://www.capcom.co.jp/basara3/main.html


I wonder if Spike Spencer will voice him in Samurai Heroes...it would be an interesting thing to talk about at Anime Evolution 2010 in Vancouver, which I have a VIP pass to ^_^
AND WHICH SPIKE IS A GUEST AT!!!!! o_0 ZOMG
















Mogami Yoshiaki




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mogami_Yoshiaki


The Fox of Dewa is an elegant man indeed. With a rapier in one hand, and a piping hot cup of tea in the other, his moustache and striped pants will lead him to glory.
Just don't make him angry...










Lastly, here is a video showcasing a variety of each playable character's skills and unique attributes.




Skills appear to be more "chainable", and midair combos are now possible (note from Mitsunari's and Kotaro's segments). Also, if you look at Keiji's segment, take note of the enemies. Then, note the flag that clearly has the face of Zabii (Q-Ball in Devil Kings). I think we know who the next character is >_>








All in all, despite the character cuts, it looks like the gameplay has been given an overhaul, and looks to be even more fun than the previous titles. A playable demo is being made available at Japanese retail stores this week, but there is no word when (if ever) it will come to the Playstation Network.



Sengoku BASARA 3 releases for the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii on July 29th this year in Japan, while Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes will be released on those same consoles in North America (and Europe?) some time this Fall.






*I left out Mori Motonari on purpose, as Capcom is releasing a video of him this coming Wednesday.
Photo Photo Photo











Games. Most games have music to set the mood, empower a scene, or simply to keep us entertained as we slog through the LAVA DUNGEON OF DOOM. Of the goals present in videogames, a long since industry standard has been to place a challenge before the player that sets themselves apart from the previous obstacles: the Boss.

A boss encounter will almost always have a change-up in the music to present the increased importance of this bout. A quicker pace, booming horns, the bass gets turned up to 11, etc.
As story and narrative has become a bigger part of games, we not only see the change in music during battle, but different characters, including the "big bad" or his subordinates will have their own pieces of music for use in the narrative sequences, reflecting their personalities, beliefs, and struggles.
Yeah, Sephiroth has that booming Latin chorus for the final battle, but in the 40 or so hours before that, there's the much more eerie, villainous theme that accents his placement in a given scene.

Everyone has their favourite tunes from an unforgettable moment of triumph and aching thumbs in their personal history of gaming. Agatio & Karst's theme from Golden Sun: The Lost Age (a true nostalgic treat for the ears from a time when I first started playing RPGs that weren't Pokemon), the unforgettable duel with Asch in Tales of the Abyss set to "The Meaning of Birth", or the dizzying clash with the final boss in Bayonetta.

This article delves into a few examples of boss themes and musical pieces in games. Some are my all time favourites, and several examples stand out in very unique ways, which I will point out.




*Please note I'm only going by games I have actually played. I'd love to take examples from other games, especially games that have thematic bases built on music, like Ar Tonelico, Rez, and (I think) Eternal Sonata. But I wouldn't be doing those games justice unless I experience them firsthand.









The Boss - Metal Gear Solid 3




In the waning moments of MGS3, Naked Snake was forced to confront his former mentor, The Boss, one last time. She had shown her superiority time and again throughout the game, but this time she wouldn't just dismantle his firearm and let him walk away. It was kill or be killed. The Boss also reveals that a pair of Russian MiG s will bomb the surrounding area in 10 minutes, so Snake is not only forced to fight this emotional battle with the one person he ever looked up to, but end it fast so he can escape with EVA.

The 10 minute time limit is where the interesting point of the accompanying music comes in. The music is, appropriately, "Snake Eater", the opening theme of the game. As the battle begins, an instrumental version plays, the smooth string sections complimenting the dizzying field of flowers as you look for signs of The Boss waiting to ambush you (sucks to be you if you don't have batteries for the thermal goggles). Those who have mastered the CQC system can likely end the battle relatively quickly, but I had not, so I had to rely on sniping her from afar.
Now, there is no onscreen timer for this fight, so your only cues to how much time you have left are when The Boss says "five minutes" or "three minutes".
Now, as The Boss says you have 5 minutes remaining, the lyrics appear in the song, adding even more emotion to the scene. The very end of the song also marks where the time limit ends, which I thought was cool, though I didn't know it would actually end in my defeat the first time I played through on Normal difficulty, though!













Second Encounter with Jenova (end of Disc 1) - Final Fantasy VII



Well, if you've been living under a rock for the last decade and know nothing about the plot of FF7 or the twists at the end of Disc 1, I count you as a truly lucky individual (should you ever decide to play it, you can have a nice, clean experience).

Everyone else, you've probably heard about *mumblemumble* getting *mumblemumble*d a few hundred times, and the people weeping over said scene. Well, since I had been told of this scene quite a few times before, it didn't have a very strong effect on me, rather I like it more because Cloud finally shows some testicular fortitude around Sephiroth, even telling him to shut up while he's in the middle of one of his triumphant villain speeches.

Oh right, this is about music. Well, when the aforementioned scene occurs, the now well known "Aerith's theme" plays, not only during the aftermath of the FMV, but also into the fight with Jenova. Even though I already knew what was going to happen, I liked the fact that the music carries over into the boss fight, making you ponder how the party must feel when they're forced to fight for their lives in lieu of the immediate events. It was a nice touch, and complimented the scene very well, better than if we just heard "Jenova's theme" again (and that's saying something, cause I LOVE Jenova's theme).

Speaking of Final Fantasy, there was also that opera scene from FF6, but unfortunately, I only just started playing it (I just recruited Gar/Gaul/that wolf kid you find on the plains), so I can't write about it properly.













Ascending Ganon's Keep - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time



While the previous two examples have been where music compliments a powerful emotional scene, this is one example where the music in a game becomes not only a part of the background, but a physical part of the game itself. Whether or not you find it a "serious" use is up to you.

The puzzles solved in Ganon's castle, Link ascends the keep, fighting enemies all the way as the eerie pipe organ music accents the final leg of his journey. Link finally reaches the last, ornate door, leading to the room where Zelda lies captive, and Ganondorf waits to finish him. As Link draws open the door, a very interesting sight is seen: there's Zelda, trapped in that translucent pink crystal, and next to her is Ganondorf...on a pipe organ. The camera even cuts to his hands, as he tickles the ivorys. This was such an odd thing to me the first time I saw it, I mean, the big bad plays his own theme music?! Unthinkable! He was responsible for that music the entire time Link slogged through this damn castle?!
Maybe he took a liking to music when he took over Hyrule castle, maybe he was trying to instill fear in Link as he maneuvered the castle to make him less effective in the fight (he has a reason to fear the Master Sword after all), but whatever his reason, it was an interesting sight.

There was a good parody of this scene in Adamwestslapdog's "Zelda Abridged" on YouTube, so go check that out if you have the chance.

Now, while we're on this subject, there's another, very similar scene...













The Absorption Gate - Tales of the Abyss



After having your party split into 3 groups, solving several puzzles and finally being reunited, Luke and co. descend the final elevator to the lowest chamber of the Absorption Gate, and confront Van. In a scene that may very well be a tribute to the previously posted scene, Van is playing an organ when the group enters. Unlike with Ganondorf, where the BGM actually does stop when he stops playing, with Van, the music does carry on without him seated and playing. He does make a shrill sounding chord on the organ to punctuate a point in his speech, which goes on top of the BGM.













Sloprano - Conker's Bad Fur Day


Image actually from Conker: Live & Reloaded

Now, CBFD was a unique game in itself, especially for an N64 platformer. You'd think there's no other way you could be surprised by a game that features a squirrel lush, a sunflower with G-cups, fat exploding rats, using a bull to kill diarrhea afflicted cows, movie parodies galore, and plenty of cussing. Well, after defeating the Bull and getting a ball of crap from a dung beetle, you use it to crash through the door to a cave. Inside is a large, brown chamber, with pieces of corn with eyeballs hopping about. A booming voice tells you "bring me sweet corn!". After tossing a couple of those poor buggers into the fecal abyss, a truly unforgettable moment in the history of gaming begins.



Opera music begins playing as a giant monster rises from the cesspool in the centre of the area, he himself made of feces. Even more surprising, he's a singer! The entire background music to this fight is intertwined with his singing between stages of the fight, and his attack and movement patterns during the fight are timed with the music. As his lyrics go, he is The Great Mighty Poo, and he's going to throw his shit at you. Defeating him entails dodging his lumps of doodoo, and waiting for him to start singing again ("aaaaaaAaAaA!") so you can chuck a roll of toilet paper into his mouth. Each new stage of the fight picks up the tempo, too. The third stage of the fight is where it gets even more interesting, as Conker himself adds to the song.

GMP: When I've knocked you out with all my bab, I'm going to take your head and ram it up my butt!
Conker: Your butt?
GMP: My butt!
Conker: Your butt?!
GMP: That's right, my butt! (Errr...) My butt! (Errr!) MY BUUUUUUUUUUUT!!!

The last leg of the fight is tricky, but once you finally get that last roll into his mouth, he lets out one resounding high note that shatters a mirror at the back end of the chamber, revealing a chain. Grabbing it causes, appropriately, a toilet to flush, taking the Great Mighty Poo down the drain. He won't be forgotten.














Everything Ends... - Metal Gear Solid 4



It would take me a long time to write about the significance of the final battle of this epic conclusion to the Metal Gear series, but there are much better write-ups out there of this amazing section of the game. Suffice to say, Snake has gone to hell and back to stop Liquid's plan, and all that remains atop Liquid's battleship are Snake, Liquid himself, and their fists. The battle has 4 parts, each representing a different game in the "Solid" series. Not only does the music change to a signature song from each game, but the HUD also changes to match each game represented. Starting off with MGS1, and the infiltration theme, then into MGS2's tanker theme, and my favourite, MGS3's "Snake Eater", Liquid even starts using CQC at this point of the fight.

The final segment has "Old Snake" which also plays at the main menu. The heightened tension and fast action of the fight gives way to showing the exhaustion of the two fighters, struggling to shuffle forward and land even one more blow. One of the most wonderful and memorable moments in any game I have ever played. Beautiful.














Dr. Peace - No More Heroes




The first that we learn of Dr. Peace (who isn't a doctor by the way) is that he is a crooked private investigator. After battling his way through Destroy Stadium, Travis stumbles upon "the good doctor" giving a rousing vocal performance of a song that has a really long title (see the above image). Dr. Peace also reveals some details about the UAA and his own backstory, including his not so good relationship with his daughter, before fighting Travis.

Naturally, Travis bests him, and before the final blow is dealt, Dr. Peace says he wishes he could sing for his estranged daughter one last time.
Those who view the "false" ending of the game are also treated to the full version of his song.

"Better practice my rap..."

















The Grand Fonic Hymn - Tales of the Abyss


This image is actually from the TotA anime, not the game. It was the best I could get with Google image.

This one doesn't really fit in with the theme of most of the previous posts, since the music is only a part of the final section of the boss battle, but it plays a crucial role in the battle, more so than the previous entries.

Without spoiling the final events of Tales of the Abyss, I will explain that each of the fonic hymns that Tear sings have a different effect to them once she learns the words and the meaning behind them, and when all the hymns are sung in succession, it makes "The Grand Fonic Hymn", which does important things o_0 vagueness for the win

Its interesting that when used in battle, you can tell what spell the AI is making Tear cast by what Hymn she sings (that is, assuming she is using one of the hymns, such as Judgment).
In the final battle, the music eventually changes to an orchestral (MIDI) version of the grand hymn, and then, in the awesome (and un-losable) final FINAL section, Tear sings the entire hymn herself, as the previous, cloudy view of the surrounding ruins gives way to a cosmic, psychedelic blue nebula.
The lovely hymn is also heard at the end of the credits following the finale.

















Usurping the Demon King - Sengoku BASARA 2: Heroes




In the last stage of Oichi's story mode, you soldier on alone through Honnouji to reach your brother, Oda Nobunaga (< getting used to Eastern name order now). As you step into the temple, seemingly flooded with flames, Oichi and Nobunaga exchange rousing, maniacal laughter, driving the point home that Oichi has lost what remained of her sanity, and she is now as cruel and dangerous as her brother, the "Demon King of the Sixth Heaven".

The song that begins playing during this scene is "Nemure, Hi no Hana" (I think it means "Sleep, Burning Flower") which is sung by Oichi's voice actress, Mamiko Noto, making it all the more fitting and personal.

Once the battle is over, the song continues still (well, it starts from the beginning), Oichi lets out one final burst of triumphant laughter, before raising her hands upward and begins to cry, for everything that led her up to this point, all the people she slew, including her own brother. She weeps with her head buried in her hands, as the burning temple begins to crumble around her, and the credits begin to roll. She is the only character in SB2H to have a unique credit sequence, and a true wonder it was.

I would go into more detail ("What? There's more?!?!), but I think it would merit its own article.
Suffice to say it still is my favourite ending, heck, my favourite storyline of all from the BASARA games.








What are some of your favourite uses of music in videogames?
Photo Photo Photo











I've made no attempt to hide the fact that I am extremely excited for the slick new Sengoku BASARA 3, and as my fanboy mode has shifted into high gear this last week (wisdom teeth removed, won't go to school, nothing to do but games and internet), I decided I would post a synopsis of all the lovely details of this game I have come across as of recent.




Anyway, to get things rolling, here's [what I believe to be] the official logo for the North American/European release:


Well, it did come from Capcom's Europe site, so that seems legit.
I somewhat agree with complaints that the font for "Sengoku" looks a bit iffy, but I'm just glad it doesn't say "Devil Kings".


Now, onto the meat of the new revelations: the characters!

[for the record, I have the habit of using the English form of name order, i.e. Given name > Sir name.
I've seen people fervently argue that this is wrong when referring to Japanese people/characters such as this. I'm used to this order from playing Samurai Warriors. Deal with it.]


(confirmed)NEW CHARACTERS


Ieyasu Tokugawa


Whoa! Little Takechiyo sure decided to make some changes to his appearance!
At first I thought this was someone completely different, like maybe Ieyasu's son Hidetada (I think he was his first born), but as it turns out this is indeed Ieyasu (or "Irdene", for those of you familiar with Devil Kings).
He's ditched his spear and magic helmet (*waits for applause from Looney Tunes fans*) in favor of dishing out pain with his fists. I've heard stories abounding that some of his moves are based on techniques from Street Fighter, but I'm not very familiar with SF myself, so I can't confirm that.
I heard some of Hideyoshi's moves in SB2 were based on Zangief from SF as well, so go figure (not that that matters all that much, since Hideyoshi won't be in this game; but more on that later.

Here's a comparison pic, hastily prepared by myself, to see how different Ieyasu is:



His new moveset looks great, and is definitely miles ahead of being another Toshiie clone.
But what am I doing here talking to you about it, when you could could be watching it instead?


Here you can see Ieyasu going toe-to-toe with Sasuke Sarutobi.
Another interesting note to make: Enemy bosses can now use Basara attacks.
This means that this game will be a "tad" more difficult than previous iterations.
Don't bother trying to imagine taking the brunt of Tadakatsu's Basara on Extreme difficulty...*shivers*




Mitsunari Ishida



Well...he's different from Koei's Mitsunari, I'll give you that much. At first glance, I didn't know what to make of Mitsunari...let alone once I knew he IS Mitsunari. The white coat/haori thing, the absurd hairstyle...my skepticism loosened a bit once I saw him fight.

Mitsunari fights using Iaijutsu (a sword style that Kenshin Uesugi/Frost also fights with), but Mitsunari's seems, well, different. I suppose you could say Kenshin seems as if he's dancing while he's fighting, as if it's a "display of true beauty" of sorts (that fits in with his personality in these games quite well), while Mitsunari seems like he just has raw blood lust (which fits HIS vengeful personality here to a T).

Mitsunari's story revolves around him going out for revenge against Ieyasu Tokugawa, whom Mitsunari blames for the death of Hideyoshi Toyotomi.


This video also helped confirm that Tadakatsu 'Hondam' Honda (Iron Ox in DK) will be returning as well. Schweet!



As of this post, those are the only new characters I've seen concrete evidence of, as Capcom is being very sneaky with the way they're trickling details down (or maybe I'm just impatient).
It's been going around that the character opposite Tadakatsu in this scan is Yoshitsugu Otani:



More rumours too, such as Yoshiaki Mogami being in the game, and that Magoichi Saika will be there too (since the Saika crest was apparently spotted in the background in a screenshot from a while back).


[RETURNING CHARACTERS]


Yukimura Sanada


Ten! Ha! Sessou! Yukimura, the raging poster boy for Sengoku Basara. When he isn't plowing through the frail peons of the opposing army, he's exchanging sucker-punches to the face with his master and eternal mentor, Shingen Takeda (Red Minotaur in DK). Recent story details, however, alluded that "Oyakata-sama" is bed-ridden in this game. Whether or not that means he will appear during gameplay at all is a mystery for now...

Here's what we know about changes made to Yukimura Sanada (Scorpio in DK -_-).

He's gotten at least one new skill (in which he dashes forward and makes a sweeping slash; seems to take out shielded enemies very efficiently), his skill Rekka (FLAME DRILL!!!! ...dammit, DK) has an extension, called Dai-Rekka. Oh, and did I mention YOU CAN USE IT IN MID-AIR TOO?!?!

You can drill your enemies from 10 directions before they hit the ground!


Here's some footage of Yukimura in action (no, fangirls, not THAT kind of action):

This video confirmed 2 additional things: 1) Motonari Mori is returning, and 2) F***ing Solar Laser Beams. Yeah. That just happened.





Masamune Date


"Ok, are you ready? Psyche up guys! Put the guns on! Go straight! Have a party! Yee haw!"
Imagine these lines being spoken by Captain Falcon, and you will understand why Masamune is the most awesome person in the history of the existence of existing.
The Oushuu head's real life fascination with western culture was embodied in the BASARA series by having him constantly mix in english lines whenever he tried to sound cool. This leads to Pwnage. Sheer epic win was had. Punch was served.
Plus, he wields 6 swords...AT THE SAME TIME.

The most notable change to Masamune is indeed regarding his "Six Claws". In previous releases, Masamune is able to draw all his blades through the use of a special item, or skill, or after his BASARA attack. Ok, that hasn't changed from the looks of it. However, while in this state you were unable to block/dodge, and unless you were using Masamune's personal item, you would return to his "one blade state" after the use of any other skill.
We-he-he-ell, not so fast, buddy boy! Now when the "Dokuganryu" whips out his 6 claws, his skills change to accommodate them. Death Fang, Crazy Storm, and Magnum Step each now have their own 6 Claw version of themselves (and for those who don't know, those are the actual names of the attacks. Masamune says them, IN ENGLISH, as he uses them).

It's hard to put Masamune's epicness into words, so just watch the video:



In addition to the above details, a new "dash" system is in place (which supposedly acts like the running system in Dynasty Warriors where after a "wind mark" flashes you gain momentum and can execute a running/charging attack).
The skill system has also been revamped, allowing you to equip 3 (maybe 4 from the looks of it) skills at once. Oooooooh yes...

To finish off this section, I'll nab you the name and a picture of other returning characters!



Sasuke Sarutobi



Kojuuro Katakura



Tadakatsu Honda



Motonari Mori



------------------------------

Now, sadly, not all is merry in the land of spikey hair and catchy J-Rock openings (speaking of which, the SB3 opening theme is "Naked Arms" by T.M. Revolution).

First and foremost, I suggest reading through this forum post:

http://s13.zetaboards.com/koeiwarriors/topic/6615453/1/
This post also contains details pertaining to the storyline. Definitely worth a read.



That's where I've gotten a lot of my information, after some sleuthing of my own, mind you.
It is also where I learned a shocking twist to rain on my parade: CHARACTER CUTS.
Whether from a design standpoint, popularity, some crazy astrology reading or whatever, several characters will not be showing up in this new addition to the Basara series.
Apparently this is to push back some of the characters that wouldn't make sense to include in the events after Mitsuhide's Rebellion and Hideyoshi's rise to power, which makes sense, historically.
But it still brings my piss to a boil.

In case you were too lazy to check the link, here's the list of characters that are "taking a break" from Sengoku Basara:

- Yoshimoto Imagawa
- Nagamasa Azai
- Nobunaga Oda
- Nouhime
- Ranmaru Mori
- Mitsuhide Akechi
- Hideyoshi Toyotomi
- Hanbei Takenaka


I'll give you a moment of silence...
...
...
...
...alright, that's enough. While these cuts are quite sad, I'm trying to stay on the bright side. Yeah, Nobunaga was a badass, Mitsuhide was lovably insane, Nou was...oh, yes, that butterfly tattoo! Oooh...er, uh, Yoshimoto was funny for what he was worth, and Nagamasa was one of my personal faves...*sigh*

Like I said, stay on the positives. If those are the only characters that won't be returning, we'll have all the other ones to come back as well, and plenty of new character's to warm their seats until Sengoku Basara 3: Heroes gets released within 2 years (I assume).
But...is anyone really excited to play as Kennyo Honganji? Really? Even with his own moveset...

Well, it also lifted my spirits back up a little that a certain someone isn't on the cut list...guess who?





Ah, Oichi, my psychotic demoness, surely you escaped the clutches of these cut characters, yes?
(Plus, if she's in, then its a 99% guarantee that Katsuie Shibata will be here too, since I don't see Oichi's story working out well without "romance leading to tragedy", as it did in SB2H).

Also, if Motonari is confirmed, then Motochika Chosokabe can't be far around the corner!
There's also the large chance that Hisahide Matsunaga will be playable, provided he's in.
Then there's all the possibilities for new characters as well...*drooling*.

Ahem...there's still many more questions that need answering; for me, I needs to know the full roster NAO! But the game is slated to release in 2010, presumably in Q1 or Q2, so I've got a long while to wait for that...
(Just a friendly reminder, its releasing on both the PS3 and Wii)

So for now, we can only wait and ponder what Capcom has in store. Personally I'd like to see more female characters in this game (give me Ginchiyo Tachibana, please), as Basara has picked up a bit of a reputation of being "yaoi fangirl fuel".
Don't type the word "basara" into deviantart.com. You have been warned.
:P

I wait with bated breath for new news about this game, which is shaping up to be one of, if not THE best entries in the series to date!

See you all soon!






















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Rurouni Kenshin: Enjou! Kyoto Rinne
Developer: Banpresto
System: Playstation 2
Genre: Anime, Action, Adventure, Brawler
Released: September 14, 2006


Ah, the licensed video game. An opportunity to cash in on the fanbase of another entertainment medium. Instigator of the downfall of the videogame industry (look up "E.T. for the Atari 2600).
Now, movie games have been good on occasion (see "Scarface: The World is Yours"), so too with comic book games, but then there's that special market that tends to get bent over the proverbial desk on a regular basis: anime games.

Not necessarily "games with a japanese animation look" to them. I mean "Licensed Anime Fighter: *Pointless Acronym* Stardust Cross Edition" type stuff. Its the general consensus that anime games suck in general. So when a property like Rurouni Kenshin, which I am a fan of, got a game, I withheld my giddyness for a while, and scoffed when I heard it wasn't coming to North America.
But thanks to the internet, and the PS2 modding community, I now had the chance to play this game.

But does it survive the anime game curse? Read on to find out...








As you might ascertain from the title, Rurouni Kenshin: Enj-- i'll just call it RK for now, focuses on the "Kyoto Arc" of the anime/manga series.

To sum it up for those who don't know it, Kenshin Himura is an ex-assassin who, after one horrible moment in his life, vows to never again take a life. He wields a sakabato (reversed-blade sword), and wanders the land. He comes to rest at the Kamiya-Kasshin dojo in Tokyo, where most of the series takes place.
Anyway, during this arc, an old enemy of Kenshin's makes a return, and Kenshin learns that the man who took his place as a Choshu assassin, a delightful mummy-man named Makoto Shishio, is trying to plunge Japan into chaos. An envoy from the government begs Kenshin to go to Kyoto to stop him, which Kenshin agrees to, to the dismay of his companions, who leave as well to go find him.

The game has 4 stories, each centering on a different character in the series. While Kenshin's story is the "canon" one, the other 3 present accurate stuff as well, including some "what-if" stuff.

Speaking of characters, there's 4 of them (duh).
There's titular character Kenshin Himura, master of batto-jutsu,
Sanosuke Sagara, who prefers to bash people's faces in with his fists,
Hajime Saito, former Shinsengumi captain, master of the "gatotsu" (he likes stabbing people)
and the unlockable bishonen shinobi, Aoshi Shinomori, complete with twin kodachi (short swords)
The characters each have a distinct feel, but play similarly nonetheless.



The controls are decent. Its the pretty standard "X=Jump, Square = Light Hit, Triangle = Heavy Hit" fair.
Pressing Circle causes your character to side-step/dodge-in-place, letting you pummel an unsuspecting goon who underestimated your button pushing skills. Holding a direction on the analog stick while pressing Circle causes you to dash, for when you need to run from the enemy (or mob of enemies).
Special moves can be used when buttons are pressed in unison (i.e. Jump+Light Hit = Uppercut-hit).
Holding L1 puts your character into a "ready" stance, which also "locks in" on your enemy, and is useful for the boss fights, so you can keep track of the enemy and roll around them, etc.



Finally there's the "ougi"s (in other words, SUPER PWNAGE ATK!), which are used by pressing R1+R2 when the "ougi indicator' is golden yellow. The indicator is filled, I think, by being within a proximity of your opponent(s).
Appropriate to the source material, Kenshin has no ougis until he completes his training with his master, Sano has none until he finishes learning it from Anji, and Saito has all his from the get-go, cause he's cool like that. I don't recall Aoshi's, but I think you can't use them until some point early on in his story (once he gets his 2nd sword, I believe).

As always, the ougis are flashy, cinematic, and oh so sweet. When I finally nailed Soujiro with Kuzuryu-sen (Nine Headed Dragon), screams and profanities of excitement flew at my TV (hitting Soujiro with any ougi is pretty tough, you see).



Now, the bulk of the "non-canon" stuff is comprised of fights against mobs of lesser enemies. These aren't quite so fun in my opinion, mainly because it becomes apparent that the fighting mechanics are designed for 1-on-1 fights, and it becomes a challenge to concentrate on up to a dozen foes at once and block and dodge as appropriate.
If you happen to seek out these fights, you'll earn a bevvy of EXP for your character, so if you can bear these group fights, it is to your advantage.

Its the boss battles, however, that truly shine in this game.
From the tutorial battle with Jin-E Udo, to the confrontation with Senkaku, from Aoshi's first bout with Kenshin, to the desperate clash with Cho the Sword Hunter, there's plenty here for RK fans.
Knowledge of the source material plays to your advantage, too (which is something thats nice to see).
For instance, if you remember that Kenshin crippled Senkaku by dodging around him repeatedly until his leg broke, try it out in the game, and, lo and behold, Senkaku can't dodge anymore!
It's also a blast to live out the best fights of the series (until the Jinchuu arc, mind you :P), such as the epic bout with Soujiro, or even Kenshin's training with Seijuro Hiko.

There's also a plethora of secret bosses as well, usually with the Juppongatana (10 Swords) who weren't a part of your selected character's story mode. The list runs from fat-ass Iwanbo, hang-gliding anorexic Henya, scythe wielding transvestite Kamatari, and oddly enough, former Shinsengumi captain Soshi Okita, who has made only minor appearances in most RK media (though I guess this is no different).



The events and progression of the game appear to operate on a clock, with a new event happening after enough day-night cycle has gone by. Talking to a certain waitress in an outdoor restaurant lets you jump immediately to the next story event, which is nice if you don't feel like grinding for EXP.




There's not all that much I can say about the visuals. It has a pseudo-cell shaded look that most anime games have.
The text-box cutscenes have some awkward and stiff looking animations, sort of like Tales of Symphonia in that regard, but aren't that bad. The major cutscenes appear to have mo-cap (I'm not an expert on this so I'm not sure if it is motion capture), and are much better in quality. There's voice acting for pretty much all the relevant/important scenes in the game, so odds are if there aren't any voices when you talk to that random police-officer, its not important.


The sound is similar to the visuals. The sound quality is ok, the music is right out of the anime, well, most of it, which is odd.
There are plenty of tracks right from the animation, but others sound like those songs you hear on MadTV that "sound like a really popular song but not quite like it so we don't get sued" type of thing.



In conclusion, Rurouni Kenshin EKR is a surprisingly solid action-brawler, with all the fanservice (not the boobies kind), fun gameplay, and good control you could could want from a licensed anime game. Its a bit rough around the edges, but most of this can be forgiven. Highly recommended for Rurouni Kenshin fans. Should be looked into for someone looking for an anime-style action/brawler.

Pros:

+ Solid Gameplay
+ Good controls
+ Plenty of Fanservice (Fun things for the fans, not boobs)
+ Boss fights are fun

Cons:

- Group fights are a bit of a pain
- Some music seems "inauthentic"
- The non - mocap scenes are a tad awkward looking
- You'll want a translation guide for Saito's story. Do it.


My score:
7.5/10

Verdict:
Buy It
but find it cheap if possible.
Would be rent, but no video store I know carries imported videogames.