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8:14 PM on 02.08.2008

No Use For A Name helping "develop" Guitar Rising?!

Now this is some kick ass news! I mean, the announcement of GameTank's real guitar using, Guitar Hero-like game called Guitar Rising was awesome in its own right, but now Fat Wreck Records let loose that longtime punk rockers No Use For A Name are directly involved with the game! The Fat update uses the word "developing" instead of "involved," which I can't find any info to back it up, so maybe that's a misunderstanding. Maybe its not, someone know?

Either way, I love No Use For A Name and if they are able to push forward even a fraction of a punk rock agenda into the rock gaming world, I'm all for it. I'm sick of punk rock getting the bitch treatment in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, as they continue to put in songs that just aren't fun to play from crusty bands that are important to the history of the genre but not necessary noteworthy guitar-wise. Plus it would give me an excuse to put some new strings on that dusty guitar in the closet. ;P   read

11:33 PM on 02.06.2008

First 8 minutes of Professor Layton (from next week's retail version)

Professor Layton came in stock today at work and the puzzler sucker that I am immediately went and picked it up. Using a mix of British charm, light humor, awesome cartoon-style graphics and enjoyable puzzles, it doesn't take much time with the title to figure out why the series is so huge in Japan.

Here is the first 8 minutes or so of the game if you are interested to see what its like, get a taste for the English version or whatever. Yes I realize I fucked up the first, extremely easy puzzle - its not as easy trying to play it through the view-finder of a camcorder though, but I will take your abuse nonetheless. ;P

Just don't miss out on it next week if you enjoy your brainteasers and mindbogglers!

[embed]68976:7723[/embed]   read

10:53 PM on 02.02.2008

This isn't the X-Files! (Squenix delayed Brawl my ass!)

How does this happen. Oh wait, I know how it happens, why do people believe it? Its like playing telephone on an elementary school playground - what was originally said is never what is at the end. This isn't the X-Files, conspiracy does not exist at every fucking turn., a blog I like to check on every couple days or so, is running a rumor they pulled from some other random site called DPad that is buying into a rumor about Square-Enix being the cause for the initial Smash Bros Brawl delay due to copyright issues over the Super Mario RPG character Geno. Supposedly he was a playable character and Nintendo had to remove him far into development because Squenix owns the copyright and they couldn't close the deal.

This is based on pure scuttlebutt and that the random spot on the character select screen is under the two 3rd party characters. Some douche bag made it up and now its spread. The fan base is so rabid for this game and the outcry for every 3rd party character ever created to be in there that these ramblings and rantings of fans are getting out of control.

These are facts that must always be remembered:


2) The playable character list has been set for months upon months - the most recently delay had nothing to do with adding/subtracting playable characters, and I am almost certain - 99% so - the delay before that didn't as well. Content-wise, the game has essentially been finished since Novemberish - the testing process just took forever because Nintendo is anal and wants every one of their titles - especially one of this magnitude - to be polished to a point where the sun's reflection could blind small animals and infants in a matter of seconds.

After Sonic was announced as a playable character, all the massive secrets were out of the bag. That's it peeps. So stop believing the lies, put down the torches that Cloud or some other jerk is in the game and focus on honing those Smash Bros skills with the characters that ARE in the game.   read

7:09 PM on 01.31.2008

Mario Kart Wii Box - real or fake?

Kotaku posted this supposedly 'real' box art for the upcoming Mario Kart Wii game, wondering out loud if it is real or not. I, for one, have never seen the box art in person, but I have seen enough of the game to say that the images, font and logo are all legit, and it has a very sterile 'Wii' quality to it. So I'd say yes, for real.

Doesn't make it seem any less stupid that Luigi and Mario seem to be piloting invisible jets ala Wonder Woman. Should it come as any surprise though that Mario is the one of the pair with the obvious road rage problem? A life of mushroom addiction has a way of putting you in an awful mood when you're on a real bad low, I imagine....   read

3:51 PM on 01.30.2008

How good it feels to actually finish a game (plus Bomberman Wii, SSB Brawl mini-reviews)

Just finished Bioshock - for the first time. Yes, I realize how uncool that makes me, to just be finishing it, but that's how the life of a married, full-time working at a game publisher, game reviewing on the side man goes sometimes. You just don't have time to play anything for yourself if its not portable. But at least the first thing I did when I shed my account manager duties and went on a writing hiatus for was bust open Bioshock. And had it not been for more tragic events in a month than I've experienced in my 25 years of life, I'd have had it done weeks ago. But alas, it could only happen today.

I didn't harvest any of the Sisters, so I got a happy ending that was so sugary sweet. Sarcasm aside, it was a nice ending, even if it says NOTHING about the "Kraut." The final boss was a bit lame too, as I just powered through that shit. Frag grenades, ho!

But it was relieving to actually finish a game from start to finish (which my wife and I also did two nights ago with Zack and Wiki), its not too often I accomplish that anymore. When reviewing, I had a rough time line where I had to have a game played and written about in so many weeks so the publisher got the most out of sending us a review copy, which meant that I would log between 5-10 hours into each game (depending on the game's length and how much I needed to play to make a fair opinion on the game). I played some pretty awesome games over the year and a half I was reviewing full-time and maybe finished a fraction, at best, of them. Which hurts, because I invested well over 20 hours in both FFXII and Twilight Princess and have yet to return to them because of the need to play and review other games until just now.

I'm not complaining, it was a choice I made without a fight, but there is this satisfaction and closure that comes with completing a game - especially a good or excellent one - that can't be beat. And I began to lose a bit of interest in gaming because I was beating so very few of the games I was reviewing, not to mention the overload of games I play through at my day job every week.

Anyone looking to pick up Bomberman Wii this week only need to know this - single player is a ton of mini-games that use a variety of control and waggle schemes stuffed into a retarded story about some douche bag Bomberman douching around a resort. But multiplayer is tried-and-true Bomberman with loads of options (play modes, items, maps, etc.) and does a nifty thing in allowing one player to use a Wii Remote and the other to use a Nunchuk for two players using "one controller" action. Very smart of them and makes it so you don't need 8 controllers (especially since the Wii can't handle that many at once). Just make sure you like the person next to you or they don't smell. Graphics are meh, single player is meh, but multiplayer and its bucket of options are so much fun that if you are into that, it's hard to ignore. I'd give the game a 5 out of 10 if you don't plan to multiplayer much, a 6.5 if you do plan to multiplayer the hell out of it.

All the Brawl news that's been making its way out already is pretty neat, especially since I've seen every secret character in photographic proof form except for Wolf (but I'm sure there's proof out on the Web somewhere). Brawl really is an amazing game, as long as you like Super Smash Bros. There is NOTHING there to convince anyone who didn't like the series before that they should change their mind. Its just Melee but bigger, tighter and prettier. So if you love Smash Bros, you will love to no end Brawl. Me, I love the hell out of the Smash Bros series and having spent time with much of the single player modes as well as a few four player brawls, its easily a 10 out of 10 game. Fighting is as over the top and simple to enjoy as it ever was, none of the control schemes really bother me (though I still prefer the Gamecube controller), the addition of the Masterpieces is brilliant (especially after U.S. fans find out what's coming in theirs), and when people put this much love into a game, its hard to not feel it coursing through your veins while you play. Just the sheer about of shit to do, not to mention all the characters, options, modes, secrets, etc. make Brawl such an easy purchase that will last until the next Smash Bros game comes out for whatever Nintendo's next system ends up being, since Melee proved that you don't need to release sequels every year to keep selling and selling and selling.

Now that Bioshock is done, its time to finally hit up another crictially-acclaimed game I have yet to ever play - Resident Evil 4. I've got the Wii Edition and its time to finally play it.   read

2:19 PM on 01.27.2008

Mana Khemia Super Edition...sold out??!!! (The pain a preorder Shinra UMD case can't help)

Son of a bitch. You spend some time away from the computer, you don't bother to visit CAG when you do get on and look what happens! What looks to be a cool RPG gets an incredible special limited edition and the shit is sold out before you can even think about if you have enough money to afford it. All of that for $49.99...?! NIS America really knows how to convince you to not wait and buy their games right away. I can only hope that they produce something as awesome as this when Ar Tonelico 2 comes over here (*crosses fingers that that is even a true statement*).

If I have to, I might just hit up eBay for one of these, overpay a bit if I can't get someone on CAG to sell me theirs. The collector in me just can't let it go, especially since I've been on such a vinyl collecting kick, I can't help but indulge. Not even the Shinra UMD case that comes with a preorder of Crisis Core can ease the burn.

Son of a bitch! Maybe beating Bioshock today (FINALLY) may ease my pain.... ;P   read

3:57 PM on 01.25.2008

Shenanigans on the Super Smash Bros Brawl Japanese Character Select Screen

I know I'm late to the party but its hard to keep your pulse on the 'Net when you are worried about the pulse of a person at the hospital. ;P

Anyways, I couldn't help but comment anyways having seen the fully unlocked character select screen for Brawl about two months ago. I am sure many of you have come across the screen, and the video it comes from, by way of Kotaku and many other places. All it took was a good look over to know it is a fake. How is it fake? Besides the obvious (character photos such as Young Link, Mewtwo, Ganondorf, Midna, etc. not being of the Brawl render style) but the simple fact that characters that ARE in the game as secret characters are missing. And as anyone can plainly see, there is no more space for anyone else, which leads to my second point being that characters NOT in the game (as of a month or so ago when I last had tabs on the fully unlocked version) as playable characters are there such as Midna, Ridley and Baby Bowser.

There are some characters there that have not been officially announced that ARE correct (I'l let you guys piece that together on your own), but the amount of Photoshop'd unplayable characters makes this an easy throwdown into the fake pile. Just look at the inconsistent art style used in the character pictures if you don't believe me - every single Brawl playable character will be rendered in the same style for the character select screen - there will be no discrepancies on the final product.

Nice try to whoever tried to pass that off as real, but you're not that good. You have been called out on shenanigans!   read

7:31 PM on 01.21.2008

No More Heroes - a quick review.

With No More Heroes coming out this week, I figured I'd throw together a super quick review. I wrote all this off the top of my head, so I apologize now for bad grammar, missing content and anything else I fucked up. ;P

No More Heroes is about to come out this week and I have to say - about time! This is one game I have been really looking forward to for awhile and I hope it finds its way into a lot of Wiis the next few weeks. Seriously, this is one of those games that I realize won't appeal to everyone or sell a million copies, but god damn is it right up the alley of anyone who enjoys wanton violence, Japanese culture (but from the inside looking out and outside looking in) and/or over-the-top American action films.

The story is just out there, with a nice chuck of swearing and mindless babble during the cut scenes that let you into Travis Touchdown's world. The exchanges between Travis and those he comes into contact with bounces around from serious to absurd to classic to hilarious. My favorite parts of the game, story-wise, has to be the cut scenes before and after each assassin fight - they remind me of tension-filled anime battles or a Tarantino flick with the banter - it just pulls you in and has you gnawing at the bit to get to the next assassin.

Which is important, because the game play isn't going to light the world on fire nor keep interest levels really high on its own. If you've played God Hand, this will bring back memories as its the same mix of innovation held back by poor game play decisions. Basic attacks are executed by spamming the A Button as you slash wave after wave of look-a-like baddies. Once you bring their life down to a certain mark, a giant arrow pops up above their head and you can slash with the Wii Remote to execute them in wonderfully bloody ways. Every once in awhile you'll get a slot machine to pop up and it will grant you one of a handful of special powers that add a trippy filter to the action (like slow-mo and black and white) while letting Travis just go nuts on anyone in his way. I love the one where you move super fast and everyone can be one hit killed, so there is just blood everywhere, its amazing. Now if only the game didn't deteriorate into a mindless brawler so quickly.

In-between the assassin levels, Travis can explore the open world area known as Santa Destroy. If you have played Grand Theft Auto, you should feel right at home. You can ride around on your crazy motorbike, collect money by taking odd jobs - which range from killing people to collecting coconuts and mowing lawns - which is used to pay for the entry fee to the next assassin. Quite smaller than any town since GTA made the jump to the PS2, there is enough to do that it serves as a decent catalyst to move the game forward and allow players to take in the world that Suda 51 created and all the silly shit he filled it with (just spend some time in Travis' apartment).

The presentation for No More Heroes leaves a bit to be desired, but thankfully the art direction helps pull it up a bit higher than it probably deserves. The animation and in-game cut scenes look pretty good, not Nintendo-developed good, but still above average nonetheless. Character models are nothing short of awesome, mixing eccentric with badass seamlessly. But the life is lost to much of the world, as it lacks detail and texture, becoming just some random building, some random hallway, some random mansion, etc. and so forth. And then there's the slowdown - No More Heroes generally runs at 30 FPS (I think its 30 at least), but it'll drop down when roaming around town and if too many baddies come on screen. The sound side of things doesn't find itself in as much trouble, as a solid selection of tunes and perfectly campy voice acting keep everything rolling along.

Though its far from perfect, No More Heroes is a labor of love and you feel the extra 'umph' in the areas that seem to matter most to the developers - memorable characters, off kilter storyline, violent game play and randomly stupid, laugh-out-loud moments. These will stick in your mind more than the so-so graphics and slightly boring fighting. Wii owners looking for anything mature should look directly at this game, as should anyone who just likes feeling and being badass.

Plus - you save by taking a shit - how cool is that?

Final Score - 7.5/10   read

7:52 PM on 01.18.2008

What is the one game you wish would receive a sequel? (I know a secret)

I was poking around one of our game databases at work, looking to see if any random cool game had been added to the list to expect sometime down the line and I realized that our Japanese release list actually had a translated column! For months I just tried to find English words or have someone who knew Japanese tell me if the symbols meant a cool a English list was just a column outside of my browser window. I can be pretty fucking dumb. ;P

What I found today nearly stopped my heart. One of the most beloved series of all-time is finally receiving some love in a new game, currently at some unknown stage of development. I have no idea if its a port of the original, a remake or a new entry in the series, I simply know its title, which cannot be mistaken for any other game or an original IP.

Literally, I'd lose my job in a heartbeat if I leaked the info - hell, I'm scared to even drop the system its coming out on. All I can say is whenever the developer drops the bomb, its going to be huge, gamers will rejoice and many may even shed tears of unexpected happiness. Literally, the gaming world may stop for a moment and all scream, 'YES!'

With that said, I pose the question to anyone who reads - if you could see one series revived from the grave, what would it be (if you want to throw out what system you'd like to see it for too, that'd be interested too)? I won't be able to confirm or deny what you post, but let's just say I wouldn't be surprised to see the series in these comments if we get enough.

God damn I hate knowing amazing things that I can't speak about. ;_;   read

9:13 PM on 01.16.2008

I've got Advance Wars: Days of Ruins (Packaging and Game Play Video)

Picked up a copy of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin today from work and thought I'd post some pictures of the packaging and a little video of me playing it for the first time (sorry for the bad filming - I used digital camera and played at the same time, double foul). Haven't really had a chance to dig into it yet, but the quick battle I played through seemed like the tried-and-true AW with some awesome, high quality new tunes (if anything, check the video below for that) and a more streamlined interface. So far so good!

Sorry for being a douche bag but I had to show it off. ^_^

[embed]65199:7067[/embed]   read

4:39 PM on 12.27.2007


If you just heard a yawn come from outta nowhere, that was from me - I just finished watching the Star Ocean 4 teaser trailer and couldn't help it. As much as I talk shit about Star Ocean, I'm sure I'll still play the game as next-gen RPGs are still hard to come by. Some douche bag kids stumble upon powers inside themselves that will somehow let the save world after a thousand cut scenes of bad anime dialog and convoluted plot points. I'm sick of beautiful as all hell graphics paired with idiotic storylines and cardboard cutout characters strung out for 40+ hours. Bah hum bug I say!

I know I'm late to the party, but I finally started playing Bioshock. Its one of those games thatr grabs your interest right away, sinks its teeth in, then slowly lets its venom sweep through your body so that you slowly but surely begin to come over its control. The story never ceases to interest me or drag me and I don't think I have ever given two shits about the story in a FPS ever. There's just something so intriguing about the idea of Rapture, an underwater city built in the 50s' for people to live away from the government's watchful eye and thievery. But what always starts out good ends in shamble (due to the human's volatile nature of course), and experiencing that, possibly at its peak of terribleness, makes for gripping narrative.

Electronic Banking Monopoly is so sweet even if the land you buy in the game is kind of lame. Who the hell thought Jacobs' Field was a landmark worthy of Monopoly? Please! ;P   read

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