Sunday, March 31, 2013

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - Substance edition: Main game

After not getting this review out immediately after part 45 of my MGS2 playthrough I figure this is long overdue.

The game starts out with a great opening, and then when you start Snake infiltrates an oil tanker in all his acrobatic awesomeness. The tanker plays like Metal Gear Solid, only with more of a focus on the new first person aiming mode, which I find myself using a lot more than the standard aiming mode from MGS. The objective is to gather info on the new Metal Gear without being caught, and that's no easy task. There's a boss fight to be had here that relies on equal parts skill and luck, which is how most of the MGS boss-fights are. Unfortunately, the boss fights that follow seem a little bit lacking. At one point you need to sneak past an entire boat full of marines, and with a time limit to boot. Down to the wire that gets really intense, after that there's a cutscene showing you what sets up the events for part 2 of the game.
After the colonel explains your mission you quickly realize that Solid Snake is not the "Snake" in question, this is FURTHER proved by the fact that the main player-character of THIS game is blonde, wears a weird looking suit as opposed to Snake's cool one, and that Solid Snake is already in the complex. The mission description is that the president of the United States has been kidnapped by a group called "The Sons of Liberty", supposedly headed up by Solid Snake. A team of marines has been sent in officially to rescue the president and Jack "Snake" Raiden from FOXHOUND unofficially. You'll notice that Raiden's suit looks a lot like the one that Psycho Mantis wore in MGS, and I'm sure that was intentional. One thing that kinda kills the atmosphere for me is that you immediately find out that the REAL Solid Snake is in the building, along with knowing that there's a bunch of marines as well. The first game enhanced the intensity with a sense of isolation, and knowing that your team-mates weren't combat ready, in the vicinity, or on site added to that. This game breaks that because you know where Solid Snake goes so does Philanthropy, along with the aforementioned team of Marines. After some fairly tense areas without a gun to your name you will encounter a guy in the uniform of the Marines and an acrobatic guy who you know is gonna be a boss later on. After that's over the marine will unmask himself, and if you haven't figured it out already this man, "Iroquois Plisken" (An "Escape from New York" reference since Solid Snake is based on Snake Plisken) is a thinly disguised Solid Snake, and thus Hideo Kojima earns his title of biggest troll in the games industry by listing the characters name as Iroquois Plisken, even though he's clearly about to say Snake.
I'm done with the plot synopsis for now but I need to bring this up, they mention a harrier in the opening and here's my thoughts on that:
In the middle of a fight with the harrier jet we all knew was coming, at the very beginning Snake began throwing me things, a stinger launcher and some ammo makes sense, but after I started firing on the harrier Snake threw me a box of SOCOM ammo
Why would I have any use for SOCOM ammo in the harrier fight? What was the AI thinking when it gave me the box of SOCOM ammo? WHO KNOWS.
All I know is that throughout that seven minute fight I kept not wanting Snake to give me ammo and rations, but no matter no matter how much I kept asking him NOT TO Snake kept giving me ammo and rations enough to give me two rations and plenty of stingers at the end of the fight. On top of that the fight took SEVEN MINUTES! And that was the first time I tried it! No continues, nothing! It took me a whole bunch of continues to beat the HIND D in the first MGS, even on my third playthrough (The one I shot for Youtube) I don't think I beat it on the first try!
Bringing the AI back into question, towards the end you and Snake team up, with Snake throwing you items if you start to run low on ammo, HP, etc. But he won't use a ration, even if he's low on health, and that makes for a lot of unneeded game-overs when I played through it, even more so since if Snake gets in your way (He does a lot) when attacking he takes damage. List ONE GAME where friendly fire is a good idea. Earlier in the game there's a section where you need to protect a scientist on her way over to rendezvous with Snake and Otacon via sniping, and you can call Snake in to take over if you can't make the shot easily. The problem is you can't call him off if you only needed him for one urgent shot if, for instance, you're out of bullets and she's close to some land-mines you forgot to take out or there's a whole bunch of soldiers and you can't take all of them out in time. Even earlier there's a section where you have to swim through flooded corridors to rescue the scientist I was talking about earlier, and you can easily get lost in there since the map is just a map of The Big Shell, showcasing the double octagon of the facility and no real detail on where you are, and the Soliton Radar only  shows a certain area around you. With a time limit in the form of limited air (Which is dumb since Raiden came in via water, he should at least have his rebreather with him) it's likely you can die a lot if you haven't memorized where to go or know that you can surface in certain spots.
One thing I need to address is the fact that the first boss-fight as Raiden is fairly lacking, since it's just a "Survive until something happens" fight, and you can easily waste precious ammo on trying to damage her. The other's are better, the exception to that being the Harrier since it's so short. The next to last more than makes up for it though.
At first the game seems like a not so good self-parody, but like the first game I just had to stick with it to get into it, the new control scheme is pretty good and you'll eventually adjust to it. As for sword control, an entire fight is solely with swords, and since you have to use the right analog-stick to control the sword, you might not be too thrilled about that, but it's actually pretty fluid. I played through most of the game using a Dualshock 1 controller since at time of playing my Dualshock 2 wasn't working properly, but it works fine with either controller. The most fun I had was the boss-fight against Sons Of Liberty's explosives expert, Fatman. Even though the game seems a little off after you finish The Tanker section everything gets tied up at the end, and the setup for the next game happens after the credits, just like in Metal Gear Solid.
All in all I enjoyed the game, and I say it's worth picking it up, Amazon has the PS2 version of Sons of Liberty and Substance for cheap, so if you've got either a backwards compatible PS3 or a PS2 and are on the ropes about getting it, and you liked the first game, go ahead and buy it, the game is worth the money. However, if you HAVEN'T played the first game and happen to have a PlayStation, PS2, PS3, PSP, PSV, GameCube, or Wii, read this and see if Metal Gear Solid appeals to you, and if it does (There's no reason why it wouldn't I hope) then go ahead and hop over to your preferred seller of PlayStation or GameCube games and buy Metal Gear Solid. Now, I haven't played the original, PC, HD, or Xbox versions of this game, but since they SHOULD be all pretty much the same I'm just gonna give Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty main game 9.9*. I'm kinda on the ropes about whether to give this a perfect rating or not, since there are some issues with the helper AI, and a few of the bosses are either easy or re-used. I liked the game a lot more than it seems like when I was making commentary, but again, there are some legitimate complaints that irritated me. I'll be playing through Snake Skateboarding, Snake Tales, and the VR missions in a future series, and maybe I'll upgrade the rating then, over and out!

Image credit Google Image Search

Saturday, March 30, 2013

3DS firmware update part 3

So far the only thing I've noticed is aesthetic changes, the web-browser's loading bar is now a small strip on the top screen, and a lot less intrusive. Downloads don't seem to have changed for the most part, although fortunately they no longer crash when you close the system. I'll have to check out a demo from the Nintendo Zone and see if they've fixed the crashing issue with closing the system while downloading from there. All in all they did fix a few things, but you can't move saves from the digital version to the retail one, only retail to digital (Although I think I covered that already) they still haven't fixed the fact that it still takes a while to boot (Although that's just impatience on my part) and since there have been reports of system crashes you'd think that they'd release another update that fixes that, although by the time I found out about the crash they probably had. Anyways, the 3DS is still a good system despite the fact that without any kind of controller grip it's extremely uncomfortable for long sessions, and as a games journalist that's a major problem since I've been playing Mutant Mudds for a while and I have a feeling that I'm starting to get carpal-tunnel from the smallness of the system, I need to pick up a circle-pad pro sometime soon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

David Hayter will not voice Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 5

According to an article from David Hayter, the iconic voice of Solid Snake, and Naked Snake of the Metal Gear Solid series, wasn't even APPROACHED for the role of Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 5. Kojima gave a response saying "It's a new type of Metal Gear game and we want to have this reflected in the voice actor as well,"
Hideo, you can re-imagine Metal Gear all you want, just leave the voice-cast alone. In Twin Snakes David Hayter gave up HALF HIS SALARY to let the entire original cast of MGS reprise their roles, we've had the same voice-cast since the beginning for every game they were in, this is one of the ONLY series that has such a stable cast, to screw that up now is to completely throw away everything that's been worked for since Metal Gear on the MSX2. Maybe this is what Kojima meant when he said Metal Gear Solid 5 would be unsellable, not that it was going to be controversial in content, just that he was going to royally tick-off the entire fanbase to the point of insanity. Metal Gear Solid 2 had Raiden as the main character and MGS3 didn't even feature Solid Snake, but they both introduced new things and kept what was familiar and what made Metal Gear Metal Gear. Too much innovation will hurt MGS5 (Which is apparently going to be two games) and so will changing voice-actors. What I liked personally about the MGS sequels is the gameplay and cast put into new situations while still unfolding the storyline piece by piece, and I'd enjoy a completely new Metal Gear game with open-world and stuff like that as long as it's done right and as long as we get to have the same familiar voice-cast. Nobody ever complains "This cast has gotten too familiar to me, get someone who sounds nothing like anyone who's ever been in the role" (I'm looking at YOU SEGA) and nobody ever should, that's as dumb as saying "We've got a new development team, let's re-boot Devil May Cry instead of re-imagining Mega-Man" (You know I'm talking to you Capcom). I fear that MGS5 won't be very good since "Open World" usually just means "Padded", but this IS Konami we're talking about, creators of Castlevania.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney mid-point thoughts

I'm taking a break from The World Ends With You to finish Ace Attorney.
So far I can't complain, I haven't gotten a single "Guilty" verdict yet, although for some reason they re-used the character theme from a witness in the second case for another character, which completely doesn't fit her. The theme in question is happy and soft, which fits the character who is garbed in pink and quite bouncy and bubbly, but doesn't fit either of the other characters they use it on, a male idiot (Hard to describe him any other way) and a frumpy female college student, although they replace the area theme where the guy is with the samurai theme from the third case (which at least applies) later on. One thing I need to address is the fact that in order to proceed with the fourth case you need to present a specific piece of evidence to a witness to get them to reveal an updated piece of evidence critical to keeping your client a free man, unfortunately at this point you'll likely over look the evidence in favor of presenting something else that could help, and that brings me to what is probably the ONLY problem I'll have with the game, the fact that even if you've deduced exactly how the events of the second case went down, if you try to present a specific piece of evidence before your boss tells you what to do you'll be penalized by the judge. If you haven't screwed up before it won't be a problem, but if you happen to have tried presenting the evidence before a few times or at a different point in the testimony you could potentially lose the case. I get that they're trying not to sequence-break, but I'd like it if there were opportunities to present evidence that contradicts a testimony BEFORE Capcom thought about it, it'd make for a better game. That little gripe aside the game is good so far, it stimulates my inner Sherlock Holmes the same way the Nancy Drew games did, only now you don't have to kick your way out of a burning shed only to be given a ticket by the hyper-sensitive park ranger for almost being burnt alive.

Here's the next post in the series:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3DS firmware update part 2

Apparently that touted feature of being able to move save-data from the retail version to the digital version doesn't let you move them back to the physical version, and that's a pretty stupid thing to do. Also apparently there's a crashing issue with this latest firmware that lets you fix it by powering off the system, and then powering it back on holding L, R, A, and Up on the D pad. This was necessary, why?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

3DS system update

 Nintendo News: System Update Brings Enhancements to Nintendo 3DS
REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Nintendo has released a downloadable update for Nintendo 3DS that will add new functionality to the hand-held system. Items featured in the update include:
A tool that allows Nintendo 3DS users to transfer save data from the packaged version of a game to the downloadable version. Players that originally purchased a physical version of a game will be able to pick up right where they left off with their save data if they decide to purchase the digital version of the same game. Save data that is transferred to a digital game cannot be moved back to the physical version.
An improvement to the feature that downloads items in the background when the Nintendo 3DS system is in Sleep Mode. Items will now download when the Nintendo eShop is running. Users can simply close the system cover to activate the “Download Later” feature and the game or application will begin to download.

Here's an issue with that, they say "Players that originally purchase a physical game will be able to continue from last save if they decide to purchase the digital version" the tool to move save data is fine, but you shouldn't have to pay for the digital version if you purchased the retail version. All 3DS games, when bought new, come with a registration code for Club Nintendo, why not let you enter that code on the eShop and let you download the game without needing to pay twice? It makes perfect sense.

Another thing, I can't tell if the software downloader "upgrade" is actually an improvement or not, the wording is ambiguous, I'll be able to tell if they messed it up or not after I update my 3DS tonight. Anyways, cya later!

Quote courtesy of Nintendo

Friday, March 22, 2013

The World Ends With You, first impressions

I've taken a break from Ace Attorney to play this game and I happen to like it.
This game is sometimes billed as a more modern version of Chrono Trigger, but they're completely different and unique games with totally different play styles, it's not better than Chrono Trigger, for me, I think they're on the same level. The music in this game is stellar, but I'd like it if there was a lot more variety to it, there's only a handful of about five songs that play from day one to day three, and even though they're all great I'd like to see a lot more variety of them. There might be more in gameplay after day three, but so far the only different songs are in cutscenes and not in gameplay. The game is an action-RPG that requires you to pay attention to both screens. The plot is that you, Neku, has been dumped into an alternate-reality game where you have to survive for seven days in order to escape. The touchscreen is used a bit more than I'd like, but it actually works, after the battle tutorial you absolutely NEED to open up the menu and equip pins because otherwise you're having to run around as Neku and your partner is the only one able to attack if you don't. Now, the art style is intriguing, the story is interesting, and so far the title means absolutely nothing. So far the game is good, and you have a lot of cool things to do. It's kind of hard to describe, which is why it's hard to tell other people what it's about without spoiling things. Anyways, the partner system makes it a little hard to pay attention to both screens, I usually wind up just making my partner face the enemy and keep pressing left or right on the D-Pad. Unfortunately they don't use the button controls too good since it's designed for both lefties and righties instead of just having two control schemes you can choose from. I'd like it if they let you use more button control, but it's not completely needed. I like the game so far, I'd recommend it.

Here's the second part:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, first impressions

I picked up all five of the US released Ace Attorney games cheap, I'm really liking the first one so far.
This game is equal parts visual novel and point and click adventure game, only with deductive reasoning used instead of illogic puzzles. You play as the aforementioned Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright, a rookie lawyer that seems like a cross between Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes at times. It's pretty much always gonna be murder trials you're working on with a lot of investigating to be had. A lot of the game requires deductive reasoning, thinking ahead, and foresight to keep going. Your boss will occasionally help you out, but in one episode I found her help completely useless since I figured out what was going on before she told me, and I tried presenting the evidence as such, but since the evidence didn't get updated until after she told me about it I was penalized for it, even though it made perfect sense. That little criticism aside the game is great, the story has me spellbound and despite it being a visual novel/adventure game there are points where it gets really intense, mainly in the courtroom and even outside. I might get the WiiWare version so I can do an LP, but I don't usually buy digital games. This game is so immersive that in episode 3 I had to stay away from the office as much as I could just to stop from crying, and that's the first time that any game has had me close to tears.
Glad I got this along with Splinter Cell otherwise I'd be completely disappointed by Saturday.
One thing I have to say to Capcom is why haven't you localized Ace Attorney Investigations: Prosecutors Path? Or even Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney! You reboot Devil May Cry but don't localize something that would make you a load of money? At least there's someone pushing for them to be localized but since Capcom's focusing the Ace Attorney budget on Ace Attorney 5 it grows more unlikely every day. Also, why is it called Ace Attorney 5? In total there have been SEVEN games in the series, but then again, this is from Capcom, the people who named the twentieth installment in the series that defined survival horror Resident Evil 6, and released Devil May Cry in order of second, last, first, and third, so linear numbering isn't their strong suit, but since the name so far is just Ace Attorney 5 and this is only the second numbered sequel (Prosecutors Path is the unofficial name for Turnabout Prosecutor 2) then why don't they just call it Ace Attorney Eight? Inexplicable numbering aside it's still entertaining.

Here's the next post in the series:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tom Clacy's Splinter Cell: First impressions

Goodwill was having a 50% off sale so I picked up a copy of the first Splinter Cell game on Xbox and decided to play it, these are my thoughts on it:
My first impressions are that the game is far too slow, they dump you into a training course, then make you use the right analog stick to look at lights before they let you move around. A lot of things in this game remind me of Metal Gear Solid, but not in a good way. You see, Metal Gear Solid drops you into the action from the beginning, sure you gotta figure out the controls yourself but that's better than a slow-moving tutorial mission that can't be skipped. I'd have been fine if they had just taken a cue from MGS and made training optional, in fact, I'd probably have skipped it and not have gotten so bored by the time they dropped me into real gameplay. One thing you need to know is there is falling damage, and you don't press a button to jump off the edge of something, you just jump, that means a lot of wasted HP on accidental jumps. Also the controls are fairly broken, I've had Sam grab onto a zip-wire and then let go to fall to his death, they shouldn't let you let go until the very end of the zip-wire! And another thing is the jumping, it's fairly imprecise at times and fine at others, another problem is the gear selection, you can't just press, say, black (I think that's the button) for gear and scroll until you find what you want, you have to go left until you find the category, then up until you find what you want. There's a reason why I set item selection back to "Linear" in MGS2. Another thing I noticed is the gun-aiming is imprecise (and very similar to RE4), in the training mission I was supposed to shoot some lights out to sneak past a camera, but my even though I had the cross-hairs on the florescent tube the bullet went into the wood. Another thing I need to address is the rigging of the characters, it's awful. Comparing it to Metal Gear Solid, MGS2, or MGS3 it looks terrible, the fingers are blocky and the lip-sync is off. Now, this is sixth generation we're talking about, but MGS2 had passable lip-sync. Another thing is Sam Fisher's voice-actor's voice is too deep for the role, it sounds like he should be running the op, not being a part of it.
Now, although Splinter Cell came out in 2002 and used the kind of aiming system that Capcom used for RE4 in 2005, we must take into account the following: RE4's aiming system, while not exactly perfect, was much better than the one used in Splinter Cell. Now, Splinter Cell came out a year after the first version of MGS2 was released, so I can safely say that Ubisoft was probably trying to cash in on the first MGS games' popularizing of the stealth genre, and that so far it looks like they did a bad job of it, you have to press white to press up against a wall instead of just pressing up against a wall and instead of having a button to punch, a button to shoot, and a button to use things you have to use "A" for multiple things, like opening doors, flipping switches, and taking ahold of guards, at least they left the attacks to the right trigger but why couldn't they have just used the right trigger for firing and let you use "X" to punch? Also, you can't just punch, you gotta be next to something you CAN punch in order to punch it, and if you've got a gadget equipped you use R to use it. If you're gonna try to cash in on MGS, at least try to make it quality okay? So far it just feels like a more broken, more pretentious stealth game, they don't even have the excuse of "This is the Xbox's stealth series" when MGS2 and 3 were both ported to the Xbox!
I'll do a followup when I get around to it. I'm gonna get back to browsing through DS stuff for now. BTW, I'm gonna pick up Resident Evil Revelations and Fire Emblem Awakening at the first opportunity I have.

Sonic Generations: Blue Adventure

I'm reviewing a game I finished quite recently, Sonic Generations: Blue Adventure for the 3DS
My first criticism is the lack of fully-voiced and animated cut-scenes. Snake Eater 3D has them, Resident Evil Revelations has them, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance has them, and even Resident Evil: Deadly Silence on the DS has them! What's the excuse to not have them in this game? The only up-side to that is you don't have to listen to too much of Roger Craig Smith's god-awful voice-acting.
Another complaint is that Modern Sonic's gameplay isn't behind the back 3D like the console games, it's all pretty much in 2.5D, except when the angle shifts a bit to show off what you're doing as Modern Sonic.
One more thing I noticed is that they left out a lot of stutff, in no order they've got nothing from the following games:
Sonic CD, Knuckles Chaotix, Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic 3, Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2, Sonic Battle,  Sonic Heroes, Sonic Advance 3, Sonic Riders, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic 06, Sonic Rush Adventure, Sonic The Hedgehog 4 part 1 or 2, Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, Sonic Free Riders, SegaSonic The Hedgehog, or Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.
Since it only includes levels from Sonic 1, 2, & Knuckles, Adventure, Adventure 2, Rush, and Colors, the game is extremely short, I finished it in less than two hours. Half the main bosses are just races between one Sonic and a hedgehog from the rest of the series he fought in a boss-fight, that's not to say those are easy, they're just not what they could have been.
As soon as I get my Xbox 360 fixed I'm going to do an LP on Sonic Generations: White Spacetime, but that's only got two more levels than Blue Adventure. For the classic stages (Sonic 1, 2, & Knuckles) they just remade the stages in 2.5D, when you play them as Modern Sonic they're pretty unique levels. The over-all design of the game is good and its shortness doesn't mean that it's not fun, it's just not worth paying more than ten dollars for.
Now, I was afraid that the level-select wasn't going to be very well implemented, but it was. Now, there's one thing I need to address, in the Colors stage, Tropical Resort, for Classic Sonic they use the DS version as the base and the music from the Wii version, that's fine only Modern Sonic's stage is a side-scrolling version of the opening stage and uses a remix of said music, which despite being absolutely fine, feels like they should have put it on the classic stage beforehand instead of the modern stage. Since the entire game is pretty much in 2.5D I used the D-pad for all the main levels and the analog nub only in special-stages, since that's the only time you control either Sonic in a behind the back 3D type angle. Another thing is that most of what happens isn't explained, even more of the simple cut-scenes would have been good, the only race-fight that gets explained is Metal Sonic, and most of the other boss-fights just happen without any context. I hope that White Spacetime is better with that.
One last thing I need to point out is that A) there's a lives system, and B) you only start out with two, how did they get stuck on only two lives? It was like that with Unleashed too, even the classic games start you off with three!
All in all it's not a bad game, but like I said, it's not worth forty bucks. I enjoyed it, but it should have had more levels, the 3DS game cards can hold 8 gigabytes (a little less than the DVD-DLs used for the Xbox 360) so why is this game so short? Ocarina of Time 3D has the entire world of Ocarina of Time in it with cut-scenes and colorful graphics, Snake Eater 3D is the entirety of MGS3, but with added 3D, FPS aiming mode, and some gyroscope controls, Chrono Trigger on the DS is pretty much the same as the original but with some added dungeons and such. They put A Link to the Past, TLZ, and Zelda 2 on the GBA and they last longer than this game! How is it that Capcom, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Konami manage to use the 3DS like a home console with REvelations, OoT3D, SF643D, Splinter Cell 3D, and Snake Eater 3D, but SEGA gives us a game that can be finished in less than the length of a James Bond movie? Like I said, it's not bad, but it would have been better with more levels from the rest of the games and a bit more context. Even White Timespace is missing a lot of levels from the games, it'd also have been cool if they came up with a few unique stages for the end so they could round it out, going all the way from Sonic 1 to the current game, but alas, it was not to be had. I was actually hoping that when the showed the credits that is was a false ending like in Black Knight or Adventure so that I could keep playing. After I started I was hooked and finished the game in one sitting. Fortunately there are challenge missions, but most are just you going through the stages you've completed in a certain amount of time or killing a certain kind of enemy a certain amount of times, or collecting something. The online mode plays a lot like the rival races, you versus a random opponent through one of the stages seeing who can get to the end first. Before I stop, I also need to address that in Modern Sonic's Green Hill Zone there's a platform that you have to jump on to and then ride to the top, there's a lot of platforms that you have to time your jumps precisely to actually keep going, and occasionally you can over-shoot them and fall. There's one stage where you have to time your boost precisely to keep going, and in the modern stage of Adventure 2 there are rockets you can easily dash by if you're boosting and fall off the edge. Back in Green Hills Zone and a lot of the classic areas there's a place where you have to slide under to keep going, or something that it would make sense for you to go into a spindash for, but since Modern Sonic only spin-dashes in the Special-stages you can only either slide if it's a low thing or boost if you have to go up a hill, but you run out of boost, and if you run out of boost you have to gain momentum by running back and forth between two hills or just by back-tracking a while and gaining speed, both of which add more time to the clock. Occasionally they try to make use of the 3D feature (Which I keep stubbornly turned off) by changing between three planes, a midground, a foreground, and a background, and sometimes (like when the ground in all three planes follows the same path) sometimes it looks like there's a platform where there's really empty space. Now, although it's easy to misjudge the placing of a platform the first time, there are also places where you can jump to attack an enemy, then boost and fall through the platform to your death in sme sort of glitch. Also in the modern Colors stage you can boost past a point where you were supposed to use the Laser Wisp to get past and wind up falling, this is a problem with taking stage layout from one game and using a completely different camera setup and slightly different mechanics, I only did this a couple of times though.
All in all I give it a 5.7* rating, it's too short, there's a lot of context missing, and the lives system shouldn't have been implemented. The game is still fun to play though, if you can find it cheap pick it up, it's pretty good. I hope SEGA decides to re-make the first few Sonic games the way they did the levels in this one, that would be great, even better than the DS collection of Sonic games.

Photo credit Wikipedia

Okay, last edit. A really good thing for the game would have been for them to have a stage unique to Generations and then end with the first stage of the next game so that Generations gets stuff from past, present, and future just to show that they're planning something new and epic, and the ending theme of Generations should have been Sonic Youth by Crush 40, just a LITTLE bit of foreshadowing to keep the buzz going. Can anyone say that that wouldn't have been totally cool?

Okay, this is really the last edit, back at the beginning I said that they had nothing from an entire list of Sonic games. That's not completely true, they just don't have levels from those, Metal Sonic and a few bosses from  the games I mentioned appear, just not any stages.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pikachu 3DS XL

The Pikachu styled 3DS XL is launching on March 24th, is suggested to sell at $199.99, will include a 4GB SD card, and will be available while the supplies last. A new Poke'Mon Mystery Dungeon, titled Gates to Infinity is also launching on the 24th, and is suggested to retail at $34.99. If you buy a 3DS XL and Gates to Infinity or Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and register them both with Club Nintendo (that's one of the listed games and a 3DS XL) between March 21st and April 30th you'll receive a code to download one of five 3DS games for free: Super Mario 3D Land, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone!, Star Fox 64 3D or Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive!. Details have not been provided if the game is random or if you get to choose the one you want at this time.
I just gotta wonder, why this and not the Fire Emblem: Awakening 3DS XL? The Japanese white version looks so cool. Not that this Pikachu one isn't still pretty good but thee are white, teal, silver, and clear 3DSs we haven't gotten in the states yet. The limited Fire Emblem Awakening one in Europe is just a blue 3DS XL with a sword and some art silk-screened on and the game installed. Nintendo still hasn't announced a date of release for the Circle Pad XL in the US. Fortunately the device isn't region locked (Tell me how that would be a smart thing to do) so you COULD just import it from Japan. Anyways, I'll update when Nintendo gets back to me on the status of the promotion.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I probably won't be getting much in the way of filming done for approximately the next day or two. We're remodeling the upstairs bathroom so I'm tied up helping with that and if I were to shoot anything a lot of banging and sawing would be in the background since my "studio" is across the hall from said bathroom. And I probably won't do any PC LPs since that'd require a complicated tripod setup and a lot of dubbing. Don't worry though, I've shot enough content that I'll be able to keep uploading it and it won't run out before we're finished.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mutant Mudds

So, after playing a lot of Mutant Mudds I can safely say that it's extremely hard. It's enjoyable, and a fun little platformer, but you'll be mad at it when you play it. I like it, it's a great game and for $8.99on the 3DS I'd say it's worth it to pick it up. If you liked Cave Story (which I do) you'll like this.
HOLY CRAP, this thing has SIXTY levels to it.... I'm nowhere NEAR done with it. Well that makes it even more worth it, your time'll be spent on trying to survive until the end, and then unlocking the next levels by taking all the diamonds in the stage. One criticism I have is that there's no check-points in the level, so you go back to the beginning if you lose all three hearts, which is frustrating if you right at the end and get hit. Another is that you can only have one power-up at a time, I got to a point where I had a ranged bubble-gun and could shoot further and rapidly, and I could unlock an extended-hover Jet-Pack, but it was one or the other, when both would have been best. That aside it's challenging and makes you think. The plot is nothing special, alien mud invades the planet and you have to take care of it with your bubble-gun. The level-design can get confusing at times, and occasionally I thought that the levels were designed to have as few obvious solutions to passing them as possible, but that makes it even more satisfying when you actually beat the level. Now, the manual is of no help, it doesn't tell you any more than the in-game tutorial does, except that sometime later in the game you might have a jump-boost by pressing down and jump.
The main part of the game is perspective and timing puzzles, some of the timing puzzles are hard to master, but it's still a good game.
Anyways, with a sequel coming out sometime next year, and twenty of the PC levels imported to the 3DS version for free I'd say that Mutant Mudds is a game worth getting. It's hard, but it's fun. I'll get back when I've finished the game.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beat it VS. Beat it 2008

And with another non-game review I prove that "Various Reviews" is not merely a name and that I really do wear a lot of hats. And here we go, a music VS review.

Beat it starts out clear, the drumbeats are audible and sound great. The guitar is crystal, and Michael's voice sounds perfectly goof
The lyrics and music blend perfectly, the guitar in the background and cymbal sound perfectly fine.
The song itself is inspiring and has a good message to it, while still keeping you entertained with the beat and guitar.
The guitar solo is as awesome as ever, the song has aged well, Van Halen did a good job on the guitar front.
The song lasts four minutes and eighteen seconds, a perfect length. It doesn't outstay its welcome and the fade-out allows a good cooldown. What else can I say? It's Beat It.

Now, the opening of Beat it 2008 sounds good, but the followup by the drumbeats sounds muffled.
Everything sounds muffled really, Fergie's voice is the only clear part so far. Even Michael's voice sounds like it's heard through a pillow over top of the speakers.
The guitar suffered most, it's muffled more than anything else.
This tries to be an epic remix, and could have been if they kept the guitar clear and squealy like it's supposed to be.
Now I don't understand why Fergie is saying "You want it? Come get it!" over and over.
Both the solo and bass guitar sound muffled. Honestly? This song isn't living up to its full potential. Some of the editing is a bit confusing, since it has Michael singing as well as backing himself up. I know that was kinda his thing, but it seems kind of out of place towards the end of the song with the duet.
The song closes with part of the riff from the opening, then abruptly ends without any ceremony with two opening echo beats, it's not bad.
 On its own Beat It 2008 is pretty good, and both songs are perfectly fine listens, but the techno-synth of Beat It 2008 kind of overshadows the outstanding guitar of Beat It, which doesn't really help it much.
If you can, listen to both and see for yourself which you prefer. I pick the original Beat It since it's got the best guitar, but Beat It 2008 has some impressive synth if you like it better than electric guitar.

Image credits Wikipedia and Google image search

Monday, March 4, 2013

Michael Jackson: The Experience

I've been trying to think up the best way to review this game for several months now, but I figured I might as well just dive in.

Michael Jackson: The Experience is a spinoff of the Just Dance series using the Just Dance engine or whatever they all it that was released for Wii, PSP, DS, 3DS, Vita, PS3, Mac OSX, iPad 2 and Xbox 360 over the course of three years starting in 2010 and ending TBA this year. I only played the Wii version since that's the only one my library had and on top of that I don't own the necessary hardware to play any of the other home console versions.
The very first warning sign is the fact that it says:"The dance game the world is waiting for" on the front
We'll see if it lives up to its own hype.
The back of the box says:"Step into the King of Pop's videos and learn all his moves"
Okay, that's not true. The gameplay consists entirely of somewhat less than the length of each song, instead of remaking the entire music video into a game section. Unfortunately I only had a few days with the game because I got bored fast. The Wii version has tutorials that require you to achieve a certain ranking or something to unlock all of them, but you need the tutorials to know what to do so you can get the highest ranking. Back to the gameplay, Ubisoft attempted (Quite poorly) to compress the legendary music-videos that Michael Jackson was famous for into gameplay sessions that are a few seconds shorter than the actual songs, and back to that quote I mentioned from the box you don't learn all his moves, most of the iconic moves have been over-used, like in Bad. Bad winds up re-using a lot of things and becomes extremely repetitive, especially towards the end. They've even inserted moves that are either bad shadows of the ones from the actual videos or had never been used in the video period. With Smooth Criminal there's a section where they require you to lean like MJ did in Moonwalker, but that requires specially made shoes and a floor with hooked pegs protruding from it. Ubisoft even cut one of the moves out of the Bad instance and inserted it into Smooth Criminal, which leaves me wondering whether or not they actually watched the videos or just intended to make it as unlike the actual videos as possible. Then there's "They don't care about us", which had two different videos and therefore should have two different sections dedicated to it, but no! Theyjust adapted the prison sequence and inserted a move that requires you to tap your left shoulder in time with the drumbeats. It's not impossible, but it wasn't in the video and therefore shouldn't be in this game. Beat It involves mostly repeating the ending sequence of the Beat It video with a few moves that make absolutely no sense thrown in. All in all, it doesn't do a good job of adapting the videos into gameplay sessions, and feels kind of rushed. I've only ever played Just Dance 3 to compare it to, but if Ubisoft did the same thing with the rest of the Just Dance series they did for this, then most of the gameplay is nothing like the actual videos.
Now, since there it such thing as "WiiSpeak", Wii USB mics, and Wii headsets you'd think that Ubisoft would let you sing as well, but there's no voice function. CNET gave this game a 5/5 whereas most of rest of the critics cited on Wikipedia said that it wasn't perfect, and I'm inclined to agree, the controls are broken, something that could easily be glossed over by the Wii Motion +, but wasn't, sometimes the difficulty is stupid because it doesn't actually tell you what to do to prepare beforehand since the tutorials aren't all unlocked at the start, then of course there's the fact that not all the versions have the same songs. Some of the songs are DLC and therefore not included by default even on the consoles that DID get them (Which is absurd, not like they couldn't have packed them all onto the discs or cartridges) Then there's the fact that several songs (This is it, Hold My Hand, Jam, and You Rock my World) are 3DS, Vita, and iOS exclusive. This just comes down to Ubisoft wanting to wring out as much money as possible from everyone they could, and I'm glad I didn't pay for this game. Ironically, they included the song "Money" on the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions of the game. This game is essentially just a cash-in by Ubisoft to capitalize on Michael's surge in popularity following his death, and doesn't offer much in terms of gameplay or interface, which by the way is terrible to navigate. Most of the required gameplay involves you following the onscreen mirror image's movements only when the bar on the left tells you to, but if you want to get anything out of this game I suggest that you try and follow the avatars 1:1, that'll at least give you exercise.
Summing it all up I'm gonna rate this game a 5.2*, I didn't enjoy myself as much as I did playing Skyward Sword or even Just Dance 3, I'd like to change quite a few things that happened in the development of this game so that it matches the videos a bit more. I know that you can't have the player run all the way across a subway station in Bad, but this was dumbed down beyond belief.