Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No More★ Heroes Red Zone

While there hasn't been a peep or even a release date for the US Release of No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise, the load time ridden, buggy PS3 port of the game,  Japan has a date for the Konami fixed version.  It's also going to be budget priced.

It's getting the dreaded Z rating (18+) and for once that actually means completely uncensored.  It's release date is July 21st, a month before Westerners were expected to pay full retail for it.  That leaves the only reason to wait for the US release is if you absolutely can't stand menus/instructions in Japanese.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Surfing H3O (PS2) Megaman X7 (PS2) Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City (PS3)

Because of this, I have always wanted to play Megaman X7.  I needed to hear X go, "I'm through fighting, I'm going to look for a peaceful solution."  It isn't on youtube (Or I couldn't find it.)  The actual delivery of the line isn't as awful as you imagine it to be.  It's delivered as lifelessly as the rest of the game. 

After the second level I looked at myself in the TV, blacked by a long loading screen and said, "You could be playing a good video game."

Maybe Surfing H30 is that video game.  I don't know.  It doesn't work with component cables on a PS2.  I got a demo video and then a black screen while sounds of me failing to be radical played.  The demo video made the graphics look terrible in the way early PS2 games all do.  I'm still going to buy the Japanese version if/when I find it.  Also if I bother to learn what the Japanese version's name was.

I bought it for $1.99 because the premise of the Japanese version is AWESOME.  Meteors are wrecking havoc on Earth so aliens from across the galaxy come to Earth to catch the wickest waves.  The US version kicks that idea in the junk in favor of generic xtreme sports game that was so common at the time.  It was published by Rockstar of all people, so I can't even understand why they would change after they made Body Harvest (N64).  Body Harvest which asks you to find the TOLL MASTER not 5 minutes into the game.

I was going to put it off, but let's go ahead and talk about GTAIV:Episodes from Liberty City before I forget what I thought of it.  First, it's exactly what I want from a GTA game and everything I hope GTAV is.  I want that game to be 6 interconnected 10 hour stories that have the whole world unlocked from the getgo. Episodes is 2 12 hour stories with a bunch of bonus stuff that I felt okay not playing.  They are also devoid of what made me quit GTA IV about 4 hours in.

Any game longer than 10 hours better be fun/challenging/entertaining all the time.  It should starve off thoughts of my own morality.  If it is a bad time for more than 5 minutes at a time it is making me a worse person.  It is lowering my life quality.

While I'm no doubt years behind the rest of the internet on this, all the base bonus content in GTAIV is awful.  More that it requires you play it to advance the story/make the game easier or more fun.  The man-dates/real dates are all draining terrible wastes of anyone's time.  The reward for the real dates is offscreen sex.  In The Ballad of Gay Tony you can call a girl at any time to have off-screen sex with.  Sometimes she even calls you.

I was trying to seq-way into this but it went somewhere else: The pool in GTAIV is awful.  The pool in Duke Nukem 3D is better.  Hell, the pool in Yakuza 4 is EXCELLENT.  I guess it says something more about me how much bad pool minigame bothers me.  In TBOGT they don't even bother to make a golf minigame any representation of golf.  You aim your cursor exactly where you want it to go and if you hit X correctly twice it goes there. 

In general improvements to GTA, IV helped with mission-checkpoints, immediately restarting missions, and keeping your weapons if you died.  I stopped San Andreas on the "fly the terrible fucking plane under bridges but if you touch the water you ARE FUCKED".  Which easily required 10-15 minutes of my life to get back to the starting point to fail again.  I think I've tried that mission 3 separate sessions. 

Let's actually talk about the game now!  It's pretty good!  The stories are easily a thousand times more swallowable than Niko's.  I could never reconcile "I needed to get away from all the killing" with all the killing Niko does immediately before and after saying that.  I've heard people argue for this, but it never makes sense in the face of him saying that he is tired of murders and then commits hundreds of murders.

At least The Lost and The Damned mentions this, "Look at this, I hope I never have to fight that Niko guy.  He is psychotic." The Lost and The Damned has you playing the VP of a Biker Gang right when the President gets of prison.  You've been making deals, keeping the peace, and making sure everyone has money to live.  The President is a little more carefree about this lifestyle and immediately pisses off a rival gang and drives half the city to fucking hating you.  I liked the cast and missions even when I didn't like the cast.  It has a more expansion pack feel of the game as the levels are spread out across all 3 islands.  Most of the missions in TBOGT are centered around GTA's Manhattan.

TBOGT's story is about the exact opposite of what you would think the title would imply.  You play Gay Tony's straight business partner/clean up boy.  You're never involved in the actual business, but you are always in-charge of cleaning up his messes.  You're also a "self-centered greedy killer."  Excellent, a GTA protagonist that knows exactly what he is!  "I don't man, I kill for money."  His self-awareness is really refreshing.

That doesn't have anything to do with being gay though.  The game treats homosexuality like it treats American conservatism.  Being gay is pretty weird!  Almost every character in the game calls Tony a faggot, insinuates that you have sex with him, and they MIGHT be a closet homosexual.  Your character takes it in stride, but Gay Tony is never shown being gay.  He can never decide on his accent.  It does show onscreen heterosexual sex at least twice, and has the possiblity for off-screen sex at any time (see above.)  It even has a female character whose entire existence is to complain that you won't have sex with her. 

The whole is someone going, "I'm not gay dude.  It's just the title, but I'm not gay."  Tony has a boyfriend who exists to be an asshole and get murdered.  It's amazingly heterosexual despite the title.  At least there's a rich Arabian man-child who misuses American slang wonderfully. 

Much like everything the video I linked two paragraphs ago shows everything that I have been trying to explain and kills my wish to write more.

Next time, I'll talk about something that isn't video games!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Soul Blazer (SNES) Illusion of Gaia (SNES)

I'm working my way through the Quintet series of games on SNES on the Xboxen.  I started with Illusion of Gaia which is a very linear action-RPG.  I liked the concept that killing every enemy in the room gives you an upgrade.  I liked that it had me marooned on a raft for a few weeks and it actually felt like I was marooned for a few weeks.  You also hear a lot about the pig sacrificing itself to feed a starving village but before that the plot goes completely freaking nuts.  I'm not sure how much of that was the terrible translation and how much of that was over-ambition.  None of the actual game playing is as good as a Zelda, but it was a nice change of pace.

Soul Blazer/Soul Blader is the game Quintet made before IoG.  It's much more formulaic.  Now when you finish fighing monsters you release people/animals/furniture/plants into the world to repopulate it.  It has a better translation strangely.   "You've released a goat."  FUCK YEAH I DID.  It's sort of like Ys III in forcing a romantic subplot at the end.  There's a girl who is sad her dad is dead but then you met her dad who is alive and then dies and then at the end you become human to be with her?  It even gives you a no choice prompt of "Will you return one day?"  >Yes

Made me think of how awkard the love plot is in Crisis Core or FF8.  You would think with the amount of romantic film/books/manga that Japan puts out they could just copy a half-decent one. 

How's Soul Blazer the game?  I had fun for the first dungeon/town and then you do the exact same thing 5 more times.  It has a very small soundtrack that they reuse it for different towns and dungeons increasing the repetive monotonous nature.  I almost stopped playing the game at the first boss, until I realize he required a tiny bit of effort.  He's also the only boss I remember.  He's also a bonus boss if you collect crap in IoG which honestly doesn't feel like a reward.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Steal Princess (DS)

So I guess we're never getting Landstalker PSP.  Oh man Landstalker with it's death screaming slimes and kobolds.  With it's gloriously difficult platforming things to the isometric viewpoint.  With music like this.  Please ignore the terrible american boxart.  Instead look at the awesome Japanese boxart.  I was super excited for that remake around 2006.

Climax Entertainment's games after Landstalker aren't so hot.  I've only actually played Dark Savior (Saturn) and that was briefly because the language barrier got in the way.  Now if I saw it, I'd pick up Time Stalkers (DC).

I was in Tokyo for Steal Princess's release, but it was 6,000 yen and the knowledge that it might suck held me off.  As I practically never looked at DS used games it slipped my mind.  Looking at it now, I'm surprised at the scores it got in Famitsu ( 8-7-6-7).  I honestly didn't expect it to be that high.  There was another reason I didn't buy it, this video.

The game is like Adventures of Lolo.  Small one screen puzzle stages.  You might have to defeat enemies in a specific order, or just flip a switch.  I fucking hate Lolo.  They are terribly boring.  I feel the fun being drained out of me as I play them.  Steal Princess is sort of the same feeling.  Do the thing, do the thing, okay do the thing.  It gives you a close up everytime you pick up a jewel and everytime you unlock the exit.  Our Steal Princess isn't even fun to move around.  Using her whip to swing across things is frustrating.  As she's a sprite on a bland 3D background and isometric, depth perception doesn't exist, and more than that when you need to swing "up" 4 glowing balls the prompt for each ball is so small that I had to give up. 

Oh I can get jewels to buy PARTS to make my own insipid levels, don't sign me up.  In fact get out of my house.  I'm going to play the game a bit more but...

Super Meat Boy exists.  SMB has perfect, exacting, exciting control and environments that challenge you to use it.  SP has me defeat the blue kobold before I get the red sword to hit the red kobold before I get the yellow sword to kill the yellow kobold.  Then in the next level I fight a "boss" kobold that's just a normal kobold but bigger and it's not like I'm dodging it's attacks or that I even could.

Man, Super Meat Boy is great.

Friday, April 1, 2011

James Bond: Blood Stone (PS3) Secret of Mana + (OST)

Sometimes I just need to be James Bond.  So I was happy to try Blood Stone, the final game by Bizarre Creations.  I've had the wrong system to try out their games, though I very briefly played around with Metropolis Street Racer (Dreamcast) .  The big hook of BC's racing games were kudos.  It wasn't about how fast you drove, but how you drove fast.  It's a nice change of pace from strategically playing bumper cars in Gran Turismo.

I couldn't finish Blood Stone because of a bug involving the US version of the game and my Japanese PS3.  I'm pretty sure I played enough to have a strong and reasonable opinion about it, but the bug also sapped my strength in writing something focused about it.  Let's try anyways

The new James Bond movies make it an explicit point that killing someone is really hard.  Bond often gets in long drawn out fights with one guy.  Of course in the finale he'll have consistent access to a gun and take on an army.  In BS he'll take on an army of absolutely loyal men constantly.  Bond is so deadly, that merely hugging a man for half a second is enough to incapacitate them.  That's acomplished with a mere press of the square button.

Hell I don't really need to say anything just watch this and decide if you think that was completely retarded.  Why is MI6 the only security detail at an international conference?  Why do they KNOW something is going to happen, and send one freaking dude.  Oh wait he's James Bond, so you know, everything is possible.  BS is written by the same guy that wrote Tomorrow Never Dies, you know where the villian's goal is inciting crisis to get higher television ratings.

Watching that video, I can think of very easy justifications for everything happening that aren't completely retarded.  Oh also that "pause" "skip" during cutscenes is on the whole time.  There is no way to turn it off.  It also joins the long line of games where I'm only given a limited number of control configurations and not just allowed to set the controls however the fuck I please.

Oh and the enemies constantly call for "back up" when none ever comes.  In short, hey The Secret of Mana + Soundtrack is a single track arrangement that is pretty neat and you should check it out.  I don't even really like Secret of Mana.