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3:41 AM on 05.14.2011

Game and Watch Gallery - Fire (Music)


The following is a sketch I did on FL Studio and Pro Tools of this jazzy song of the classic game, although initially planned to be used as a guide for an eventual recording of the song with real instruments, for some reason I forgot about it and so it stayed in my hard drive untouched. The notes are completely accurate, even though wind instruments are not emulated and instead kept the track with only acoustic bass and grand piano. The drums definitely do not mimic the original 8-bit tune.

I am dumping this here in the case somebody finds it interesting or something.

[embed]201122:38453[/embed]   read

4:11 PM on 05.28.2010

ill-timed Reviews: Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII gets the fundamentals right, but fails on the execution.

Arguably, storytelling is the protagonist in each Final Fantasy iteration, where you can count on lengthy game-play to accompany it.

Unlike their predecessors and also current jRPGs, FF XIII tries to give game-play sense within the story and also by being logic instead of being a separate entity from the story.

The sense of starting at level one, while coincidentally finding only monsters of your level as the game progresses is eliminated; the excuse to enjoy the ability of using magic unlike the commoners is well founded making the protagonists genuinely special. Add to that a better, more transparent transition to battles with a genuine dynamic strategy within it; you get a consistent world that blends game-play and storytelling instead of abruptly becoming one or the other.

Narratively, improvements favoring logic are also implemented: your party doesn't stay together happily during the whole adventure as if they were part of a kids tv show. And the lore is built upon a more realistic view of society where power can dictate the truth and freedom fighters can easily be labeled as rioters and dangerous individuals.

Not to mention that graphically the game becomes even more real, plausible and palpable, with a realistic scale and proportion of scenarios, wild life, buildings and paths; while inherently shrinks the possible size of the maps, it greatly enhances the veracity of the existence of the characters.

However, the disgrace for Final Fantasy XIII comes with a series of ill-conceived design choices that, at times, completely nullify the great choices.

Linearity is essential for a cohesive plot, to purposefully cause a meaningful impact on the player. However a demonstration of a blatant lack of creativity by the level design team, makes this Final Fantasy a very, very long and dull corridor with some meaningless branches that either give you items or are just completely useless.

Battles also suffer, specially when common and irrelevant fights can last twenty minutes or more if you are not using the correct characters, therefore nullifying the special aura surrounding our characters, when you can barely damage simple guards that would crush you if they could heal themselves as often as your party. Of course, you can pause the game and use the Retry function to choose the right characters and finish the battle quicker, but there it goes the immersion. Not to mention that during 80% of the first two discs, before the first fight against the Primarch Dysley, the awful decision to leave you with only two members in your party, create a tedious and insipid pace in most fights, not to mention that you just might not want to use the character at all for being intensively annoying (Vanille.)

With all the top-notch graphic quality, carefully crafted sound effects, decent voice acting, except for the dumb redhead, and with the well-timed, if rather dull music; the story, despite its serious approach to a social and political commentary, it just can't achieve matureness with its random melodramatic outbursts of faux-dilemmas of existentialism. What's worse is that none of it makes sense: you don't really know these characters, you don't really know their world, thus we have no idea of their motivations and purposes, unless... and this is the stupidest fault of FFXIII: With all the budget, production value, development time and impressive technology that this game displays, counting the jaw-dropping pre-rendered CGI and the abundant in-game sequences, you still have to pause the game, go to the menu and read text memorandums to understand the story.

It falls on Motomu Toriyama's shoulders the lack of vision and idea, to present this game in a sensitive manner; a lack of focused direction that otherwise would have prevented boring game-play during the first half, an incoherent story that doesn't bother with structure or explanations, and a linear experience that just feels more like dry on ideas.


11:23 AM on 11.10.2009

Dear Dtoid Community: STFUAJPCG

On MW2, IW, Activision and the precedent it sets...

We get it, you don't own a gaming PC and we know you are happy with your consoles, since a lot of us own consoles too.

Being accused of piracy and elitism when we are just demonstrating our concern for the lack of a feature that's been the center of online gaming on the PC for a long time, it's unfair and frankly, I don't know how many strangers to PC gaming seem to know, better than us, how would we enjoy better our games or what missing features shouldn't affect us.

We all are here because we love video games, and when a sector of the community is affected by any circumstance, this shouldn't be a cue to marginalize and hate it; even more so, when there is a lack of knowledge on the problem, resulting in a lot of bigotry and unnecessary fights.

We don't want you to agree with us, we are not asking for your sympathy, we know we are a minority and that consoles are the priority to developers and publishers, but it is our choice to play on the PC and we (at least I, dj anon) ask you kindly to shut the fuck up and just play console games, after all, you are not pc gamers, right?

Disclaimer: I know generalizations are always unfair, so I'm obviously not talking to the entire Dtoid community, you know where you stand, anyway.

Also, bewbs.


7:03 AM on 10.13.2009

DJNX's short Reviews: Dead or Alive Xtreme 2

DOAX 2 is one of the few games that actually relieves stress and is just fun.

Aside from the obvious eye candy and fan service, DOAX is a game that is true to its concept: vacationing. Whether you are a boy or a girl, you'll feel very relaxed playing volleyball, trying out new swim-suits, getting new accessories like hats, sandals, bracelets, etc.

Certainly, DOAX will not be everyone's cup of tea, not to mention that the game can become repetitive and with room for improvement. But playing it after those long days for an hour, taking cool photos or participating in some beach flag contests; Dead or Alive Extreme 2 is definitely welcome in a market full of competitive and stressful games.

Difficulty adjusts to the gamer and the controls are spot on, graphics are among the best for the current gen. This is a game with a lot of appeal to the entire family: mom and sister will love to buy outfits, try combinations with the accessories and send the right gifts to make a friend during the vacation; while son and dad will enjoy the eye candy and prove their skills on volleyball and jet skiing.

DOAX 2 is just plain fun.


4:58 PM on 10.11.2009

Forza Motorsports 3: The Ultimate Console Sim

Beyond the restless war between Forza and GT, there is another one that unites them. Regardless of whether you play GT5:P, Forza 2, RacePro or the recently released Need for Speed: Shift; these are considered "consoles sims", pointing out that the real and fully-fledged experience is exclusive to the PC.

Titles like Live for Speed, GTR 2 and rFactor, have been pushing for the most realistic and accurate driving experience, and with a game like iRacing that holds official NASCAR and soon IRL tournaments, all of the sudden, console sims can look toy-like.

This October, Forza 3 will be released, and the guys at got a review copy of the game. Their conclusion: Forza Motorsports 3 eliminates the barrier that differentiated pc and console sims, from the physics to the damage, FM3 gives the most hardcore pc games a run for their money and even setting the bar in some aspects.

Coming from these guys, that have played every racing sim since the birth of the genre, using all kinds of wheels, pedals, shifters and rigs, that must mean something, right?

The actual reviews starts around 17:30   read

9:24 PM on 09.06.2009

The New Team Ninja

With Sigma 2 approaching and Metroid: Other M announced; speculation on Team Ninja's capability have surfaced, prompted by the resignation of former leader Tomonobu Itagaki, back in June 2008.

As noted by Jim Sterling, when talking about the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2: "If it's a success, it will be a strong statement about former Team Ninja chief Tomonobu Itagaki and whether or not he was truly essential to the franchise's quality." This is the opportunity for Koei Tecmo and the new Team Ninja boss, Yosuke Hayashi, to demonstrate that not much has been lost and that the development studio will keep on releasing quality products (let's just not get into the infamous DOAX.)

Personally, I think Sigma 2 won't serve to benchmark against the Itagaki era, when the team is vastly familiar with the process if we remember Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden Sigma; the latter one already with no direct input by Itagaki. Not to mention that the game already has a clear concept, a vision that formed its style and established mechanics that move the gameplay. So, according to previous efforts, PS3 users will be in for a blast with this expansion, either way.

That's when Metroid: Other M comes to the picture, as the first true game by Hayashi's Team Ninja, which aside from the usual "insightful" comments such as: "it's going to suck because team ninja is involved" and "I bet samus will have big boobs"; the game is a complete question mark. And while on the headers Itagaki is always the only one mentioned, other key members left with him. Here is a little list:

Yoshifuru Okamoto - Game Producer
Hiroaki Matsui - Art Director
Katsunori Ehera - Game Director
Yasushi Maeda and Takuro Sasaki - Lead Engineers
Kazuki Motosa - Animation Lead
Masato Onishi - Cinematics Lead
Takafumi Inamori - Audio Lead
And quoting Matsui "...the guys from the level design team."

Which leaves the current Team Ninja with brand new personnel on key positions. Then again, Metroid: Other M, is being developed in conjunction with Project M. And that could make Ninja Gaiden 3 or Dead or Alive 5 the actual first effort, on their own, by the "new" Team Ninja.

All of that, at the end, was to ask the very same question: Do you think they'll be able to stay on par?


9:21 PM on 09.04.2009

Bugatti Veyron confirmed in Forza Motorsports 3

This car gets to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.
It costs $1.4 million dollars before taxes.
Top speed: 254 mph.

And now you'll be able to race it, tune it, paint it, crash it with full damage during career, multiplayer and tournaments.


The Bugatti Veyron is currently the 6th fastest car on the Top Gear Power Lap Board and lapped the Nürburing in 7min40sec while overtaking other cars in the process.

Some quotes from three recognized auto journalists, about the Veyron:

"Yes, it really is quite unlike anything else on the planet. "
-Steve Sutcliff

"It is, I think, the most incredible motorcar ever made. "
-Chris Harris

"The greatest supercar of them all."
-Jeremy Clarkson

Forza Motorsports 3 is coming on October 27 for the US and 23 for Europe.   read

2:18 AM on 04.06.2009

DJNX's short Reviews: Fallout 3

Fallout 3 is a game that is so big and open, that most of the time it cannot maintain its substance and style.

The grim post-apocalyptic world and the bizarre underground life presented during the first couple of hours of gameplay, where every choice seems to unveil more of the plot or change it to another direction, creates a very immersive experience. However, not long after you leave your underground life, the game becomes so big and loose that the core essence of the game dissipates and every choice you make is less relevant to the outcome of the game.

Fallout's 3 quests are trite, corny and sometimes simply boring and/or uninteresting. Having a whole world of monotonous errands, accompanied with slow and repetitive conversations with void characters doesn't really compel you to accept quests, which is what gives the game it's life length.

However, as an RPG, what really keeps you on playing is the compulsory urge to level up and improve your abilities and for that you need to kill things. That being said, the combat system in Fallout 3 is really fun thanks to the VATS system, the weapon repair system, the restriction of items to carry around, the health system which can get you sick with radiation or addicted to pills and other RPG mechanics, makes survival engaging.

But, since trying to avoid quests, that most of them take place inside dungeons (inside buildings, sewer systems, mines, etc) and not the wasteland, leaves only the quests that pertain to the core of the story, which renders the game very small and linear.

Big and open yet loose and trite or tight and small, but linear and short. It is up to you to follow the corny and weak side stories or adhere to the more concise and engaging central plot if you don't mind leaving the majority of the wasteland unexplored.

Was this fault of the writers and programmers or is it simply impossible to sustain the essence in a game this big?


Proofreading is welcome.   read

2:06 PM on 04.05.2009

"Professional Reviews"

After the GTA IV fiasco, who takes seriously the "professional" reviews?

Indeed, video games are now considered an industry and like all industries, profit is the number one priority and also considering how expensive video games are, reviews are supposed to help us discern between the good, the bad and the average; having that in consideration, then reviews can become a sub-industry of the main one, becoming part of the promotional material and feeding the hype.

Nothing better to prove this point than the myriad of perfect scores that GTA IV got. And then we hear that almost no "professional" reviewer plays the hole game before writing the bloody review. So there I am, with $100 dollars less in my pocket, playing a video game with buggy controls, cliched story, and awfully repetitive gameplay. And all those thoughts: "Could this be one of the best games ever?" turned to "How could I've been fooled into this?"

So I get over it and start looking for some reviewers I can trust, and when possible, playing the demo and watching online videos of the gameplay, even if I dislike spoilers and surprise features are not so surprising once you finally get the game.

Destructoid writes good reviews and Zero Punctuation is the only one I really trust as we agree in a lot of things and have a lot of favorite games in common. Professional reviewers for video games will suffer the same faith as movie critics: at some point, most people will simply stop listening to them because of their lack of professionalism.   read

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