Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekly Special - Super Robot Taisen K for DS

Last week's special sold out, don't miss out on this one! Another DS game and a strategy one at that. It's Super Robot Taisen K this week, a new game in the popular Super Robot Taisen series of games, also known as Super Robot Wars. It's available at the Super Robot Price (see what I did there?) of $24.90. You save a massive $40!

Please note that this is a Japanese strategy game, but will work on any DS and I'd assume there is no english language option. If I remember correctly, the Super Robot Taisen games are still easy to figure out and fun to play even if you can't read the language. It's kind of like Advance Wars, with Robots, but no building capabilities. What you've got is what you fight with. Limited to one copy per person, don't miss out!

"A large war is whipping the world into a whirlwind, destroying numerous planets and lives. Although civilization allowed people to live in cities scattered across the universe, violence never stopped.

50 years ago, the demon queen led her invasion, and later came the virtual beasts. Both menaces were taken care of, however, the troubles with humans carries on.

Science and technology allowed people to alter their off spring's genes. Coordinators are people who are genetically adjusted and seemed to have better physical or mental attributes than normal natural borns.

The differences in abilities set the two types of people apart and grudges, as well as envy is the source of current strife.

Each camp, the Naturals and the Coordinators, has their military force and war is about to start. Board your robot and get ready to enter battle. The mechas come from a multitude of series, from the relatively new classic Gundam Seed to King Geiner."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cinderella+Pygmalion with twists - Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge and Nobuta wo Produce

Summer is a time for scares, and Sunako loves them. Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge is the story of four Bishounen's attempts at turning the horror-loving girl around into a lady. A bit of a Cinderella and a bit of a Pygmalion tale, you might think "I've seen that before!" and dismissed it.

Yes, you might have seen it before, but with hilarity at this magnitude? From urban legends such as the seven school mysteries, vampires lores and the top grossing Japanese horror film, the Ring, this series takes all of the fun elements and mix them together into a ghost house ride.

The anime is a low budget production, instead of cheapness, however, the anime maker's clever use of SD characters and presentation makes the anime even more humorous.

Another drama which takes a similar vein is Nobuta wo Produce, instead of having a horror loving action heroine, Nobuko, a.k.a Nobuta is merely a bullied, quiet girl who failed at finding a place in her class. In come Shuuji and Akira, the two handsome boys who take up the challenge to "produce" her.

Again, seen that? done that? but have you seen Johnny's boys do it? Kamenashi and Yamashita even did a role play on romantic interaction for Nobuta (and the laughing audience). It's not really what they do for Nobuta that garnered praise, it's the growing friendship (with light homoerotic undertones) that really pulls the overused theme a notch above the others.

Hilarity and homoerotic undertones aside, there is one common factor that makes these two show differ from the usual Cinderella+Pygmalion mixes.

Instead of really changing the girl by decking her in beautiful clothes and sweet-talking her to build up her confidence, what the shows really did are having the public change perception of the girl.

Sunako won her first friend Noi over with her action heroine and cooking prowesses. Soon she enamored other girls by her willingness to chase cockroaches away for them. Although in SD form most of the time, her quietness still managed to win her some (mis)guided suitors.

All the boys really did is to drag Sunako to school and occasional counselling sessions with her. Pretty clothes crop up almost every chapter, but they really are foils. What changed was the public, not Sunako herself (at least not her sense of style).

Having to wear a school uniform for the most part of the year meant that the usual Cinderella trick won't work. Shuuji and Akira had tried to go around it and decked Nobuta in designer clothes. Her popularity is shortlived, for she has to go back to wearing her school uniform and the crowd around her dissipated.

It is by accepting the tests that her classmates and the boys pushed at her that Nobuta showed them another side of herself. She did not become the bubbly, high strung heroine, she remains quiet and awkward, it's the crowd that slowly learns to accept what she is.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Games to Own #8 - Call of Juarez for Xbox 360

While Hollywood made plenty of Wild West movies to satisfy people's fascination with this stage of history (although sadly, not very often these days), there hasn't been a lot of games based on this period. A fantastic Wild West movie recently shown in cinemas you should check out if you have a Blu-ray player is 3:10 to Yuma, it's one of my favorite movies.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, We get a heck of a lot of World War 2 shooters, but Call of Juarez is the only FPS wild West game I can think of since a cool (at the time) shooter called "Outlaws", which was released on PC many years ago. I'm not sure why, I guess publishers think there's not much interest in these games, which of course is false as Call of Juarez sold well.

The story follows Billy Candle, who's accused of murdering his mother and stepfather, who happens to also be Reverend Ray McCall's brother. But Ray is not just any Reverened, he's an infamous gunslinger who turned to the lord and became a Reverand. Now Ray believes the Lord wants him to punish Billy. With bible in one hand and gun in the other (I kid you not!), he's out to take his life. That's all well and good, but the problem is, Billy is in fact innocent.

The interesting thing about Call of Juarez, is that you play as the chaser (Reverend Ray) and the runner (Billy) in the story, switching between each one at certain intervals. You'll sometimes go through familiar territory, but usually with different routes. Billy's levels consist of stealth and sneaking mostly, with some really fun bow and arrow action as well, while with Ray you'll be shooting enemies like it's 1769! Apart from a quick draw slowdown mode which can be done with dual pistols and is very cool, you'll also be able to use rifles and shotguns. Billy's main weapon is the bow and arrow and also enters "concentration" mode and can also use rifles and shotguns. I found the bow too fun to bother with the weapons though.

Billy's missions can be quite frustrating with some bits requiring trial and error. It's not always clear where you're supposed to go or what you're supposed to do and this makes his levels less fun than Ray's. You'll lose/die a lot with Billy. Luckily, the loading times are really fast. The graphics also deserve a special mention, sometimes the game looks fantastic, other times a bit average. The music gets repetitive but the voice acting is pretty good.

For a first effort from little known developer Techland, Call of Juarez is a great game. Sure it's flawed, takes a bit of time to get going and yes it can sometimes be frustrating, like some of the horse riding and Billy's sneaking bits, but overall it is a fun shooter with an enjoyable story and the change in characters keeps it fresh. The extra missions after completing the main story mode are really fun too. The second game which is a prequel is almost out, so make sure to play this one first! It's only $25!

8.0 out of 10

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Propis GP2X Wiz

It seems that Dogma-G is getting close to releasing a new game for the GP2X Wiz. This one is called Propis, and it's a match-3 sort of game. It's a pretty little game with cute characters. To me it looks like Puyo Puyo meets Bejeweled.

The real interesting thing is that they claim the game will have WiFi multiplayer support. I have to assume that must mean that a GP2X Wiz WiFi attachment will be coming out around the same time.

It seems that this game was shown at GPH's E3 booth, but I guess most people missed it. The game looks well made, and that's important for GPH since they don't have any commercial titles exclusive to the Wiz, yet.

Of course, time will tell if this game is good and if it indeed does support some sort of WiFi multiplayer hardware.

Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Thanks to http://wwforever.tistory.com/244 for some info and gfx.

Weekly Special - Phantasy Star Zero for Nintendo DS

Hey hey! It's another weekly special. This week we break away from the Xbox 360 to bring you a DS game special! RPG fans will especially like this one, it's Phantasy Star Zero, another great new addition to the popular Phantasy Star universe. It's available at the super low price of $14.90. That's $34 off!

Please note that this is a Japanese RPG game and I'd assume there is no english language option. All DS games are region free and will work on any DS, so if you can read Japanese, are willing to learn or don't care about the story...well, what are you waiting for?

"Phantasy Star Zero is a highlighted production by Sega, the fruit of the combined efforts between the anime producer Kobooka Toshiyuki and the mystery novelists Shiwasu Tooru and Arai Teru. It inherits the exciting gameplay and adopts a completely new storyline.

Three races are present in this installment, the Humans, the androids Casts and Newmans, a new type of beings that descended from the moon. Depending on what strengths you value and what weaknesses you can afford to have, decide your player character's race and profession.

The game takes place two centuries after a great war which destroys everything. To rebuild civilization, the humans, the only race left on the crumbling world did all they could and constructed cities. Within the city everything remains peaceful, but once they step out, the people are accosted by enemies.

To keep their cities safe, the humans formed the hunters organizations and joined forces Casts to combat the enemies' aggression. However, there is another race which humans have forgotten for they have disappeared even from the history books. When the Newmans descend from the moon, new opportunities for adventures and conflicts opened."

Wolfenstein 3-D on XBL & PSN

I was pretty surprised to see this 17 year old title up on each respective downloadable network. It's being used a promotional tool to drum up hype for the release of the new Wolfenstein game coming out, which should be a good game by the looks of things. That's all well and good, but considering it's just a straight port, why isn't it a free download? I mean, sure, it was good at the time, but it's aged badly and this version has no graphical improvements of any kind. Even the source code is freely available. I doubt it cost a lot to port this game, it's not graphically intensive (haha...yeah) and even the iPhone version recieved a nice graphics update, while the console port gets nada...what gives?

My advice? Get the iPhone version if you have one and don't pay for such a poor port of a 17 year old game! There's no better way to tell the developers you're not happy with what they released.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weekly Special - Prince of Persia for Xbox 360

Looky what we have here, another Xbox 360 special! That's five in a row! Is your wallet running dry yet Xbox owners? Well, if you own a NTSC-J 360 console, you can't miss out on this special, it's Prince of Persia, a fantastic new adventure for this generation and the start of a new trilogy. But yeah, it's not region free, bummer. It does feature English and Korean, but it won't work on NTSC and PAL 360's...on the bright side, it's been discounted to an all new low price of just $16.90, can you believe it? That's $33 freaking dollars off and for a AAA title no less, good times.

An all new setting and and all new prince (or is he even a prince? We shall see) as well as a partner in the form of a pretty lady with magic called Elika, the game has an open-world feel and allows you to choose your next level from a few available as you unlock new sections. All new moves, combat system (which I liked) and fantastic new graphics along with a good story makes for one neat package. This is actually one of my favorite single player games of this generation. The game gets a big thumbs up from me and I can't wait to play the sequel, if you're 360 can play it and you don't own it, you have no excuse, buy it now!

Limited to three copies per customer, while stocks last...you know the drill.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Random Flavor: Lego Star Wars

If you've been keeping up with "Flavor's Random Pick" (which I'm toying with renaming "Random Flavor" as in this post's title) you may have noticed that I tend toward two things: hand-held games and games I can play with my kids. In a weird way, this pick breaks both molds while actually adhering to both.

Lego Star Wars came out back in 2005. It allowed you to play through episodes 1, 2, and 3 which was actually very cool because episode 3 hadn't even come out in theaters yet. I remember watching Ep3 on the big screen and recognizing certain scenes from playing the game.

When I first got the game, I didn't intend to play it with my kids. I thought it would be something okay to play while the kids were around, but it wasn't thought of as something they would play. I do remember letting my oldest (and the only one that was alive at the time) play it a bit, but she just pushed buttons and such. It was a great game then, and now that the kids are a little older, it's a great game for them to play. The animated violence consists of characters breaking into lego bricks, so it's not real graphic. You can easily play cooperatively with a 5-year-old, and a 3-year-old could still tag along if you help them a lot.

Oh, and as I mentioned, this game was not a hand-held game. I played it on my XBox (not 360) back when it came out. Now, though, it is available for almost every game system. If you want it on the go, you can get it for the DS or PSP. If you want it on a home console, pick your favorite and I'm sure you'll find it.

It's also worth noting that, even if you're not into Star Wars, you may find a Lego videogame that you are into. The franchise has branched out to other movie franchises, so you can now find Lego Batman, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Indiana Jones, etc.

If you're looking for a fun game, and you haven't tried any of the Lego games, check one out. If you're looking for something to play with your kids and they're into any of the movie franchises that have a Lego game, go for it. You can't really go wrong with any of them, and if you're reading this blog you already have one of the systems to play it on.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Post E3 - No price cut, no PS3 Slim?

Now that the dust has settled after E3, most people are asking a long burning question. When will the PS3 get a price cut? I was expecting Sony to announce a price cut at E3, but only because a certain image was leaked beforehand which I thought to be authentic and there's growing evidence that it is indeed real. There's no doubt in my mind, but I'm sure there's plenty of naysayers.

I am of course talking about the PS3 Slim console. Haven't heard about it? Read on.

First we have the leaked image from a chinese factory:

Looks quite real, does it not? Notice the new box art and what not? Later on some employees from game stores said the PS3 Slim was indeed coming soon. Then after E3, Jack Tretton and John Koller complained about leaks and Koller was particularly uncomfortable when asked about the PS3 Slim. Coincidence? I think not!

The image is probably from a fresh and ongoing production of the new PS3 slim console and I have a sneaking suspicion it will be priced $50 to $100 below the current model price. Not only that, to sell the existing "Phat" PS3's, I think they will recieve a clearance price of $50 below the Slim's price. When will this all be unveiled? Why, at Tokyo Game Show of course. Never put all your eggs in one basket! If Sony did that at E3, there wouldn't be much left for TGS now would there?

The PS3 will no doubt lose a lot of plastic due to the smaller parts. As the parts become smaller, so does the electricity consumption become much more efficient and it will produce less heat. It will also weigh a lot less. The PS3 package is very heavy and no doubt expensive to transport overseas and into retail stores compared to something like a Wii. I'm sure this factor will also facilitate the price cut. Watch out at TGS for the announcement of the PS3 Slim and price cuts, or better yet, stick with this blog!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Weekly Special - F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin for Xbox 360

Guess what? It's another weekly discount for Xbox 360! That's four in a row now. I'm sure owners of the other consoles are starting to feel a little lonely. But don't fret, maybe it will be your week, next week. It's one of my favorite shooters of recent memory this week, the sequel to the original F.E.A.R., titled F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin. Being known for it's excellent AI and "Bullet time" style of gameplay, F.E.A.R. also told us the story of a scary little girl called Alma.

Available for the incredibly low price of just $24.90, which is a half-price bargain, especially for such a fun first person shooter. This special is available for one week only and while being the Korean version, is region free and will work on any console. It also includes the following language options: English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. Unless you're too young (it is a horror shooter after all), I recommend you buy this game right now, you won't be dissapointed. Only one copy per person, so don't miss out on yours!

Still need more convincing? Okay, picture a mix of Rainbow Six: Vegas and Max Payne and you'll start getting idea of what the game's like. Plenty of cool rifle weapons, ketchup (blood) and corridor shooting gameplay. There's some outside stuff too and you even get to jump in a machine and...hmm, I've said too much. Excellent AI and nice graphics round off the package. I thought the game improved on the first in every way and was much more fun to play. Much better level design too. My only complaint? The ending is a terrible cliffhanger which tells you nothing. Oh well, I'll have to wait for F.E.A.R. 3.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

E3 Conference Summary Part 3 - Sony

Last but not least, in part 3 of the E3 conferences, I'll be writing about Sony's conference which was just under the two hour mark. It wasn't boring though and there were some surprises, especially in the PSP section. Prediction wise, I was pretty far off on the Sony conference, so make sure to read on to get the a summary of the whole presentation.

Sony started the presentation by spouting figures and making sure to let everyone know the PS2 is still going strong with 100 titles to be released this year. The rest isn't worth noting.

After a bit, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves gameplay was shown and as expected, it looks awesome and improves on the original in every way. There seems to be even more detail and one bit where Nathan stands up high overlooking a city was very impressive.

MAG was played with the full 256 players online. It seems to be the only redeeming feature of the game as it looked incredibly generic and failed to impress me. Maybe it will be fun to play, but it will depend on the objectives and reliability of the servers. Respawning seemed quick and the game is coming this fall.

Next, the worst kept secret was shown. It's called the PSP Go and features the same PSP hardware except a missing UMD drive, 16GB on-board flash memory and sliding screen as well as bluetooth. It was made clear that it won't be replacing the current PSP-3000 model and is for digital download fans. It will cost US$ 249, Euro 249 for each respective region and be released on October 1. Japane will recieve it one month later at a price of 26,800 Yen. Make no mistake, that's a hard price to swallow for this piece of equipment. I have this nagging voice screaming FAIL, but we shall see. It looks okay.

Big surprise next. Gran Turismo PSP announced to be launching with the PSP Go on October 1. Featuring 800 cars, 35 tracks and running at a constant 60fps, it's just freaking awesome. And here I was predicting it wouldn't show up this year either, what a pleasent surprise. Only a video trailer was shown, no gameplay footage, but the game was playable at E3.

Another Metal Gear Solid game was announced, titled Peace Walker and is set 10 years after Metal Gear Solid 3. Apparently the game will be a true sequel and not a spinoff title. Sounds good to me. This one has a 2010 release date and is looking quite good indeed.

Another surprising announcement. Resident Evil is coming to PSP. A whole new game, PSP exclusive. Along with LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm Arctic Edge, Assassin's Creed, SOCOM FTB 3, Soul Calibur, Jak and Daxter and more, you can see the PSP is having a much needed revival. It's looking to be a bright future for the handheld.

Onto PS3 now, there will be a new IP from Rockstar exclusively for the PS3 known as "Agent". Expect a James Bond type game with GTA type gameplay. Nothing was shown, but I'm sure that's what it will be.

Assassin's Creed 2 for PS3 is played. It looks fantastic and the game seems to have been improved in every way. I'm really looking forward to this one.

A Final Fantasy XIII video was shown, nothing new here. This was followed by (surprise) an announcement of Final Fantasy XIV which will be released next year! It's an online only title and is a PS3 exclusive.

Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Sony showed a motion controller of their own, similar to a Wiimote, except it seemed to very accurate. Use it as a sword, bow and arrow, gun, it all seems to work well. Again, without any actual games, we'll see how well it works.

A game called ModNation Racers was shown. It's a Kart game, which takes it's cue from LBP for the ability to create levels and share them. The track editor was very impressive and easy to use. A decent track was created in five minutes. The game itself though, didn't look so interesting or good, but it's coming out next year so it might get a lot of improvements.

Team ICO showed off their next game titled The Last Guardian. Graphics looks fantastic and it's sure to be a good game.

A teaser trailer for Gran Turismo 5 was shown. No additional info or release date. I won't bother posting it, it's not worth watching.

Everyone was excited to see a demo of God of War 3 at the end. It looks good of course, but it's just more of the same. The presentation ended with many a "Awww' from the audience as they wanted to see more of the game.

Overall a great presentation with some surprises, especially on the PSP side of things and Gran Turismo PSP and Resident Evil PSP made me a fan of the PSP once more. Seriously, I thought the system was on the brink of death. That's all for this year, hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

E3 Conference Summary Part 2 - Nintendo

In part 2 of the E3 conferences, I'll be talking about Nintendo's conference which was shorter than the other two, but much better than last years presentation which was, well...crap. I was also much more on the moeny with my previous predictions on what would happen here. For all your Wii and DS news, read on.

As I mentioned before, I was sure that a certain plumber would be getting a new game on Wii and I was right on the mark. Luckily for gamers, Mario games are good and don't suck like the Sonic games, so while the plumber is starting to outstay his welcome (how about a new platformer?), I'm sure it will be a good game. It won't be like Galaxy though, this Mario game plays like a 2D Mario just like New Super Mario Bros. on DS. It will be 3D graphics of course. Also, the game has four player co-op, which is an interesting idea. Personally though, something new would have been my preference, but maybe Sega will take notice and make Sonic in the same way.

Next up was Wii Fit Plus. As someone who was bewildered by the success of Wii Fit, I can't really say this made me jump up for joy. Anyone heard of going OUTSIDE for excercise? Playing a sport, socializing, going to a gym, running etc. It contains 15 new balance "games" (I use the term loosely), calorie tracker, six new strengths and Yoga activities. Last time I checked, Yoga was a form of meditation and watching a screen and listening to sound isn't part of it. Meh, whatever.

Wii Motion Plus was shown, with plenty of demos showing the sensitivity. Lucky for Nintendo they were on the ball here, since Microsoft and Sony have come out with motion controllers that seem to have much better precision than the standard Wiimote.

A trailer of Final Fantasy Crystal Bearers. Not much new stuff here. It sure doesn't compare to FFXIII, but it might satisfy a Wii owners RPG needs.

After that there was a new trailer of Kingdom Hearts for DS, which is coming in September. A big seller no doubt.

Another DS game shown. This one's called Bowser's Inside Story and features Mario and Luigi going inside Bowser's "pipes". Ah, plenty of joke possibilities here. Anyway, it's coming this fall.

The sequel to the two Golden Sun GBA games was announced. I thought this series was dead. Luckily it's not! The Golden Sun games were some of the best on the GBA and the best RPG's.

DSi Facebook integration. No prizes for guessing if I skipped this bit. Do you really need Facebook on your DSi? As predicted, a new Zelda game was announced, Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and mentioned along with DSiware.

Okay, now we have something that left most people baffled. There was a big hype up for this add-on product. It's called the Wii Vitality Sensor and it reads your pulse from your finger. Boned. It's useless, 'nuff said.

Plenty of people were probably happy to hear about the Super Mario Galaxy sequel. Looks like Nintendo has learned from the Gamecube to release more than one proper Mario game. It looks like more of the same to me.

Announcements of third party titles. Nintendo trying to appeal to the more mature and hardcore gaming market with The Conduit, Resident Evil: Dark Side Chronicles, and Dead Space Extraction.

The surprising and most interesting title for last. A new Metroid game being made by Team Ninja of Ninja Gaiden fame. It's called Metroid: Other M and will feature an M rating. Whoa, prepare for the ketchup to go flying! It'll be interesting to see if it plays better than the flawed Ninja Gaiden 2.

Overall a good presentation. Couldn't compete with Microsoft or Sony, but much better than the one in 2008.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

E3 Conference Summary Part 1 - Microsoft

The big three (Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony) have done their E3 presentations for the year and I thought they were pretty awesome, especially after a dissapointing E3 in 2008. All three presentations were great and it's hard to tell who "won" E3, but it was either Microsoft or Sony. Anyway, I'll give you the lowdown of what happened and even provide my own opinion on the parts that interested me. So, get ready because first up is the Microsoft conference.

Microsoft's press conference started off with the Fab Four's (The Beatles, of course) Rockband title. The intro movie was shown and it was quite good indeed. It featured some slick animation and of course, some great Beatles songs. There will be 45 songs in total, with whole album downloads (Abbey Road being the first) coming soon after the game is released on 09.09.09. They also mentioned the whole Beatles catalogue (13 albums) will be released as remastered editions in music stores at the same time. Sounds good to me. There will also be an exclusive song "All you need is love" for sale soon after launch with all proceeds going to charity, not for homeless people but for "Doctors Without Frontiers". George Harrison's wife and Son showed up without saying a word as well as Yoko Ono-Lennon, which the less said, the better. The anti-climactic finale had the two remaining living Beatles members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr take the stage, being unprepared, unprofessional and fumbling for words on what to say about the game apart from, "The game is great". A waste of time, then. Oh yeah, forgot to mention... some people also played a Beatles song from the game, complete with all the instruments and singing and it was excruciatingly bad. I had to skip this part.

Moving on, Microsoft didn't spout out numbers and sales figures and instead focused on showing game footage and displaying demos, something Sony still hasn't stopped doing. We were treated to 10 world premier titles. This part was great.

First up was Tony Hawk showcasing his new game (Tony Hawk Ride) and acting professional and able to talk about the game unlike a certain pair of Beatles. Anyway, a new Skateboard controller, which is basically a skateboard with no wheels or trucks, just the skateboard deck. The skateboard has good detection capabilities thanks to infrared sensors all over and it seemed to work great with the new game and understands kicks, grabs of the board and grinds. A video was shown of pro skateboarders playing the game and commenting on how close it is to the real thing. Looks good, let's just hope it can deliver. The game itself looked okay, let's hope it's better than the mediocre Tony Hawk games of the last few years.

Next up was probably what most people were waiting for, a certain title called Modern Warfare 2. This of course being the sequel to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Of course, it didn't dissapoint and it's shaping up to be even more awesome than the first game. Feels very "Hollywood". Comes out 11.10.09.

After that great presentation, we were shown some footage from the surprise announcement of E3 2008, Final Fantasy XIII. Most of it was basically what's in the PS3 demo on the Advent Children Blu-ray release, but it also featured english voice acting. Looks very similar to the PS3 game graphics wise and still looks like a great game. Spring 2010 for this, damn.

All the above games are coming to other platforms, but the rest of the 10 games shown are all exclusives, starting with Shadow Complex. Oh my, this was definately one of the low points of the presentation. For such an underwhelming game, Shadow Complex sure recieved a lot of presentation time and enthusiasm from two members of the development team responsible, Epic Games. Using the Unreal Tournament 3 engine, Shadow Complex doesn't show anything amazing at all and is a 2D plane shooter like Contra, with okay graphics. I guess it's okay for an Xbox Live game, but like I said, there was too much huzzah from the devs for such a mediocre looking game. Not interested, sorry.

Joy Ride came next, with an okay trailer showcasing a kart racer for use with your Live avatar. The best thing about the game is that it will be a free download off Xbox Live, so can't complain even if it sucks (like PlaySation home), well we can, but we shouldn't. Additional content purchases for the game will incur a fee. It'll be interesting to see how good it is.

Away from the XBL stuff, Crackdown 2 was shown with a short trailer. Didn't tell us squat, so there's not much to report on here apart from the fact that it exists. Same thing happened with Left 4 Dead 2, a trailer with no ingame footage or details.

Splinter Cell Conviction was one of the high points. This game looks freaking awesome and the amount of different ways of going about missions and the combat possibilities needs to be seen. A true next gen title and a 360 exclusive. A "must get" for me.

The Forza 3 presentation was impressive and the dev was sure to point out multiple times that Forza 3 will be THE driving game of this generation. Well, not totally empty words after Forza 2, but Gran Turismo 5 will provide stiff competition. Game runs at 60fps, with 400 cars from 50 manufacturers. It's coming this October and it looks good.

Halo fanboys probably enjoyed the Halo 3: ODST presentation. Playing a human soldier named the "Rookie", it's your job to find out what's going on. I found the gameplay shown very underwhelming, bordering on lame. What was shown just wasn't interesting and when a ladder was climbed with no animation for climbing, just the running movement, the game felt half-assed. But, we shall see. Unimpressive from what I saw.

Alan Wake looked pretty cool, it's kind of like Alone in the Dark, but only you know, GOOD. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool how Alan narrates some bits and the combat looked fun. Nice graphics and atmosphere, could be a hit.

That's it for the games, next up was announcements about the movie service on XBL, with movies now being available to stream at 1080p and available in more countries. Facebook and Twitter came next, I skipped these bits and won't go into any detail, sorry.

Okay, back to the games. Metal Gear Solid: Rising, the next game in the series starring the Ninja, Raiden is also coming to Xbox 360. Microsoft was reeeeeal happy about this. PS3 just lost it's last important third party exclusive, ouch. It's going to be a different game experience, probably something like Ninja Gaiden.

Finally, the big surprise, Project Natal. It's basically a camera which tracks motion and can be used to control all games. Not only that, it also has voice recognition. Steven Spielberg came along and gave his praise for it. I think it's best you watch this promo video to see the possibilities:

A few demos were shown and it does indeed seem to work well. It might even put the wiimote to shame, but I'll need to try it for myself. So to conclude, it was a great presentation and Project Natal was a pleasent surprise. Good job Microsoft.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Persona 4 Figures - Rise and Kuma

Wave Corporation may not be the most famous, or well known figure maker out there, but the Persona 4 characters they are releasing does look very pretty. If the finished product of Rise is of the same quality of the preview picture here, their Persona series is certain to become one of the prized figures out there.

Compared to Persona 3, Persona 4 has a lot more cute elements (although still somewhat bizzare) and has a generally far brighter atmosphere. And to compliment this mood, characters have a lot more quirks. And these quirks are personified by Kuma, or Teddie in the US versions.

Dressed in a bear suit and talks in sentences that ends with kuma, Kuma is a dream come true for people who wishes that animals or stuffed toys could talk. But for those who did not like the idea of the talking bear, or found that too childish, they only have to proceed further into the game to find the bishounen hidden under that costume.

So if Wave Corps is making their Persona series, it might be nice to include this other side of Kuma.

For those who likes to shop from better known brands, here is the Alter version of Rise. Although retired, she will always be remembered as the idol and the girl of many people's dreams.

Opps, she's going back to her idol job? Good for her!

Beside the characters, I think a lot of personas are wonderful as figures, as they are intricately designed, they can really let the figure makers show off their expertise and attention to detail.

If they're making one for Yukiko's Konohana no Sakuya, in semi-transparent plastic that shine under the lights, I think I might get one.