Friday, November 27, 2009

Dragon Ball: Raging Blast Demo

I just tried the demo for the new Dragon Ball game. It makes no sense and has lots of punching. Just like the television show.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Apparently, he can't defend the earth from bad spelling.

So Defenders of the Earth was an 80's cartoon that brought together Mandrake the Magician, the Phantom, and Flash Gordon together on a team. One of the characters was Lothar, who was superhumanly strong, a technical wizard, and totally badass. He was not, however, a Caribbean Ninja. Note the misspelled Carribean on the package. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What is going here?

Okay, I am not an Iron Man scholar, but did he just kill that guy? (Click on the image to make it larger).

Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody

I'm sure that you've all seen this, but if not you should check it out here. It is nice to see something that isn't a cat playing piano go viral. 

BlazBlue is hard!

I have always enjoyed fighting games and, consequently, I have played a lot of fighting games. So I am reasonably good at them. I am good enough to beat the computer on at least the medium level (impressive, I know), and I can normally hold my own in online competition. I understand combos, I can perform all the moves, and I can even use concepts such and zoning and the wake-up game when I play. All of this means that when I play Street Fight IV online I win about 25% of the time. Not great, but pretty good.
However, when I play BlazBlue online I only win about 10% of the time. BlazBlue is a harder game to play than SFIV; it has a harder moveset, combo system, and wake-up game, but why should my win ratio be so different in the two games?
I have a couple of theories. SF IV is in many ways a classic Capcom fighter and is the same kind of game that I have been playing since SF II hit the arcades 1991. I understand what I have to do. I get what I need to do in BlazBlue as well, but probably need more practice on the intricacies of the game. I am better at SF IV than I am at BlazBlue, but not 2.5 times better.
Both online modes have a ranking system, so you can play people approximately your skill level; however, while SF IV forces you in G1, G2, or G3 categories, BlazBlue only allows you to search for opponents at your level. I am current at level 16 in BlazBlue and could not find anyone at my level using a search. In fact, I could not find anyone worse than level 26, and most where at level 45 and up.
I am not complaining that I get beaten by better players online; I do, however, think that Askys games should funnel players into mandatory skill levels.
My other theory is that because BlazBlue was generally purchased by hardcore fighting fans, most of these fans are very good at the game and now are at a higher level. There are fewer players, but more skilled overall than say the average SF players.
These are simply my ruminations on my defeat. The moral of the story is I need to spend more time in training mode.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Collection Update: Atlantis Attacks Complete!

So I managed to pick up the last few issues I needed for Atlantis Attacks, and I even managed to grab What If #25 (what if the heroes had lost Atlantis Attacks).

Now I need a new, cheap, cheesy series to collect. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Big Planet PSP

I just tried the demo. It is pretty much what you would expect. Neat in the same way that the PS3 version is neat, but much smaller and, consequently, with less detail. The different costumes don't quite come off as well on the small screen though, so some of the more detailed costumes from the PS3 version will look like multi-coloured sacks. If you are on the fence about picking up the PSP version, this demo will help you decide.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai: Micro-Review

All I have to say is wow. Just wow. Stan Sakai continually does a great job on this completely underated book. For its 25th anniversary he has created a special tale using Japanese monster mythology, and he works entirely in watercolours. This book really shows how underused a medium it is for comic book work. This should be on everyone’s shelf. 

To Rent or Buy?

When I was younger renting a video game was a consistent go-to form of entertainment. However, that was back in the days when games cost $5 to rent but $80 to purchase. Therefore, renting video games made excellent economic sense. But does it still make sense today?

In examining video game rentals we will use two industry giants here in Canada, Rogers Video and BlockBuster Video. Both offer video game rentals and sales for today’s gamer.

Rogers has its rental fees split into 2 categories: new releases and favourites. New releases are newish games (there are a lot of games that have been out for more than a year though) and cost $6 for a 3 day rental. Favourites cost about $10 for a week long rental.

Blockbuster also has 2 categories split by rental fees. You can rent any game for 1 week for $9 or you can purchase a monthly pass for $30. With this monthly pass you can rent 1 game at a time for as long as you want. So if I rent a game and don’t like it, I can bring it back after 2 days and then get something else.

But are these a good deal? Rentals are a good deal for movies; it costs $5 to rent or $25 to buy, and in most cases we only watch the movie once. However, video games take up a lot more time than 2 hours.

Let’s use Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction as an example. Total completion of the game (with bonuses etc.) would take about 20 hours. For argument’s sake, we are assuming that you have 20 spare hours in a single week.

Now if you rented it from Rogers it cost you $10 for a week. You don’t have a choice to rent it for a shorter time. So it cost you about $0.50 per hour for your fun.

If you rented the game from Blockbuster it cost you $9 for a week. Again, you don’t have the option of renting it for a shorter time. So it cost you $0.45 per hour for fun. This is obviously very economical entertainment.

However, currently you can purchase this same game used for $20. This game also has a trade in/resale value of approximately $8. So this game cost you $12 for 20 hours of fun at the more expensive rate $0.60 per hour, but you don’t have a time limit on when you need to return the game. Maybe you like to do something else besides playing games? Maybe you want to take a month to finish this game? For only $0.15 more per hour you can have that convenience.

Another example: Tekken 6. This game is a new release that would take about 30 hours for 100% completion. If you rented it from Rogers you would most likely not finish it in 3 days, but, again for argument’s sake, let’s say that you are very dedicated uber-nerd. The Rogers rental cost you $6 for 30 hours of entertainment or $0.20 per hour. A Blockbuster rental costs $9 (but you get it for a week) or $0.30 per hour.

Buying it would cost $65, but it has a trade in/resale value of $35 so we are looking at $30 for 30 hours of entertainment or $1 per hour. Again, this is more expensive than renting but you don’t have to return it after a week. You could use Blockbuster's monthly pass but that would still be $30 for 30 hours and you don't get to keep the game.

So what is the final verdict? Rentals are still useful if you are on the fence of whether or not you will like a game. If you hate the game $9 is a much better investment than $20, but if you like the game (or know that you will like the game) you are much better off purchasing it. For example, I would never rent any Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Metal Gear Solid, God War, or Final Fantasy (main series) game. I know that I will like them enough to keep for longer than 1 week.

So rent if you like, but do it wisely. Read reviews online, talk to friends, and see if you are making a good investment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tekken Platinum

I got the Platinum for Tekken last night. The Nightmare Train level is crazy hard. Take that Devil Jin!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #611: Micro-Review

A nice bridge issue with lots of humour. Fans of Deadpool will not be disappointed and should add this to their collection. The frenetic art style really suits the story but the inking could have been a lot tighter (several panels look unfinished). This issue provides an interesting lead in to "The Gauntlet" storyline. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

I just read that the sequel to BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger comes out in arcades in Japan on November 20th. The orginal game is one of the best fighters of all time with excellent graphics, tight gameplay, and a complex combo system.

You can watch the opening sequence from Continuum Shift here.

Hopefully we will see this hit home consoles in the summer of 2010.

Strange #1: Mini-Review

Marvel has given Dr. Strange a rough go of it the last few years. The Hulk crushed his hands, he became addicted to dark magic, and he gave up the title of Sorcerer Supreme. You should skip this book if all of that exposition was new to you as Waid does not fill in the blanks for new readers. The art suits the story, although I am not normally a fan of manga style art for North American superheroes. The final verdict is that those fanboys out there who know Dr. Strange and his history will be interested enough to try this and see where it leads in issue #2, but other should pass this book for something more accessible.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #610: Micro Review

An awful end to a z-grade storyline. I wish that they would return to publishing this book once a month.

Sometimes I just don't get DC: Superman as Nightwing

Despite being the King of Nerds, I am not the Emperor of Nerds and even my uber-nerd knowledge, while vast, has its limitations.

Take for example this action figure of Superman as Nightwing. It has something to do with the Bottled City of Kandor but I'm not really sure.

I also don't understand how this was even popular enough to get made into an action figure.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ninja Assassin

A friend of mine mentioned this movie to me. Isn't the title a bit redundant. After all, aren't all ninjas assassins?

2010 in Video Games

2010 is shaping up to be a huge year for games. Will all major consoles really hitting their stride and having price drops, gamers should be getting very excited. Here are some of the 2010 games I am looking forward to:

  • Metroid: Other M
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
  • Super Street Fighter IV
  • God of War 3
  • Epic Mickey
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Resident Evil Portable
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • The Last Guardian
It is only November 2009 and my wish list for next year is already way too big! What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Challenge Mode

So I completed all the Ridder's challenges last night and now I must master challenge mode to finish up my trophy collection. Wow, this mode is crazy hard. I have only about 6 medals in the predator (stealth) challenges and 1 medal in a combat challenge. I have to get 24 medals in each to ace the game! I'll keep giving you updates, but my quest for the platinum could end here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum

I finished Batman: Arkham Asylum yesterday. It is a solid, solid game that is much better than the standard super-hero fare that you see on consoles. If I am being honest, it is actually the best super-hero game ever (and that is not hyperbole). Excellent story, great voice-acting, nice use of powers and super-hero abilities, and a great secret riddle campaign. The game plays like a meld of Metroid Prime and Metal Gear Solid with a tight combat system thrown in. Check this game out you will not be disappointed. While we are at it here are some other great super-hero video games:
  • Marvel VS Capcom 2 (multi-platform)
  • X-men (arcade)
  • Spider-man (PS1)
And here are some to avoid:
  • X-men (NES)
  • Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (SNES)
  • Marvel Superheroes: Rise of the Imperfects (multi)
  • X-men/Spiderman: Arcade's Revenge (SNES)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Take that Jin!

I finished scenario mode last night in Tekken 6. Now I need to replay some of the levels to unlock more trophies. The Nightmare Train level is ridiculously difficult though, and as such the Platinum Trophy might elude me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Full Review: Tekken 6

Platform: PS3

Price: $65 CDN

Release Date: October 27, 2009

2009 is definitely the year of the fighter as another franchise sees its latest installment with the release of Tekken 6. Tekken first burst on the scene in 1994 and it has established itself as one of the top series in the genre.

Tekken 6 takes the tried and true formula and heaps (at times unnecessary) additions on the game for a home console release. There are several modes of play: arcade, online, and scenario campaign mode. The first two modes are standard fare, and as usual for Tekken the control scheme is tight and movesets seamlessly transition into killer combos. Where the game succeeds and fails miraculously is in the scenario mode.

This mode is a beat-em up style 3D adventure that puts you through 40 levels of nameless ninja pounding. The story, while incomprehensible at times, keeps you interested level after level. However, the controls are garbage; hit detection is brutal and movement is clunky at best.

The mode also has some rpg elements to it as well; you can upgrade clothing for added status effects. The problem is that every item is accurately displayed on your character. So while the character design looks great normally, once you upgrade your items you look like some 10 year olds’ design a wrestler from an N64 WCW game. For example, my character currently has a knit cap, aviator glasses, a puffy orange vest, power gauntlets, stretchy pants, and two Chinese swords at his belt. He has great stats, but he looks like a total douche.

The real problem is that scenario mode is uneven. It could have been great but the execution doesn’t quite work. That wouldn’t matter (it is a fighting game after all, not a beat-em up), except for the fact that 80% of the trophies are from the scenario campaign. Namco Bandai forces you to play this silly mode much longer than you would wish.

All of these issues aside, I actually have found Tekken 6 to be the most fun game I have played in a while. It will not replace SF4 or BlazBlue as my favourite current-gen fighter, but it is a fun ride. However, for $65 you should already be a fan of the series to make the purchase. All others wait until it goes down to $30. If only so you too can have your own cowboy hat, pirate shirt, leather vest, checked pants, lightsabered hero.