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Archive for February, 2010

Review #339

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Last Rebellion
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software America
Developer: Hit Maker
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Release Date: 02/24/2010

Despite their name, Hit Maker is not a developer that has produced any real hits. Most reviewers haven’t been kind towards their titles, but I have to admit Blade Dancer wasn’t bad for a $4.99 game, which is what I paid for it when Nippon Ichi put it on sale in the Playstation Store. As well our own Aileen Coe gave a fairly positive review to A Witch’s Tale and we tend to be one of the harsher gaming publications around. I also liked A Witch’s Tale for its innovation and weirdness.

Now here we are with Hit Maker’s fourth game, Last Rebellion. Even before the game was officially out, people were badmouthing it and some were even proclaiming it the worst game of the year, which shows that said publication hadn’t experience the hell that is Walk It Out. The weirdest things I heard was the bitching that the game used static images for dialogue instead of fully rendered CGI. This confused me greatly because MOST RPG’s have gone that route. I grew up in the 8 and 16 bit era so this is pretty standard for me. I mean the old Sega Genesis Shadowrun didn’t have CGI or animated cinematics and it’s still one of the ten best RPG’s ever released. Disgaea didn’t have either of those things and it won our 2003 Game of the Year. So I went into this game assuming that these complainers were only concerned with how a game looks rather than how it actually PLAYED (which is both stupid and sadly how many gaming publications actually look at products these days) or that these were younger people who have probably never played quality RPG’s like The Bard’s Tale, Ultima IV or Shining Force that earned their status as legends through gameplay and story.

So did that turn out to be the case? Was Last Rebellion actually a good game that just happened to be retro in look and feel? Was this a case of judging a budget niche game by Final Fantasy fanboys (the second creepiest scourge in gaming). Or did it turn out that Last Rebellion was indeed a pile of pure unadulterated suck?
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Review #338

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Endless Ocean: Blue World
Developer: Arika
Publisher: Nintendo of America
Genre: Simulation
Release Date: 02/23/2010

The first Endless Ocean is one of my favorite games of this console generation. I raved about it in January of 2008, and at the end of the year, Endless Ocean would go on to win our “Nintendo Wii Game of the Year” and “All-Ages Game of the Year in our 2008 Gaming Awards. It was my #3 game of 2008, (Behind Valkyria Chronicles and The Lost Crown).

Here we are two years later, with the second game in the series. It’s been released at a budget price of $29.99 and some come bundled with a free copy of Wii Speak, which will allow you to talk to other gamers playing this title as long as you both have a Wii Speak. This is a great way to move both products since you’re getting a fantastic deal. At least on the surface. After all, there are only five other games besides this one that are Wii Speak compatible (Uno, The Conduit, NBA 2K10, NHL: 2K10 and Animal Crossing: City Folk. I have neither owned, nor even played any of those games, which makes Wii Speak a nice bargain to be thrown in with EO:BW, but ultimately an object that will just take up space.

It’s rare you see a Nintendo title with budget pricing. After all, many of their games are actually slightly above the average price for a game on one of their systems. We see this most often on the DS where Nintendo first party games go for $34.99 while third party titles tend to go for $29.99. Is this a subtle warning from Nintendo, an obvious fear that it won’t move many copies due to an overt lack of violence, or is it an unexpected gift, giving gamers a title that is superior to 95% of the titles we’ve received this console generation regardless of system, yet at half the price?
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Review #337

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Ragnarok DS
Publisher: XSEED Games
Developer: GungHo Works
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: 02/16/2010

I’m not really an MMORPG person. This is mainly because people tend to be dicks for the sake of being dicks on them. There have only been two MMOPRG’s I can say I have enjoyed and they are Dungeons and Dragons Online for the PC and Phantasy Star Online for the Sega Dreamcast. I guess I’m still a bit anti-social with my RPG’s. Ragnarok Online is a Korean MMORPG that has been around for nearly a decade, and one I’d never actually heard of until the offline beat ‘em up game, Ragnarok Battle Offline which I played in French for a short time. I enjoyed the gameplay and the visual styling of that game so I was always tempted to try the MMORPG, but I just never had a chance. Now XSEED has brought us another non-MMORPG spin-off for the series, and this one is thankfully in English.

The locations, graphic style and overall feel of the game such as classes are supposedly very similar to the MMORPG, which is great in terms of continuity and keeping the more diehard fans of the franchise happy. However the most important point is whether or not the game is any good and if the game can bring in any people outside of the current Ragnarok fanbase. So is this a worthy game for your DS regardless of your Ragnarok experience, or is it a game that fails to please anyone in its attempts to bridge the gap between PC MMORPG and portable action RPG?
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Yay Vacation!

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Off to Cancun in late April to early May. Can the bunnies be good for four days by themselves? They generally are, but after the four months of bunnies health scares, I have to admit I’m nervous about leaving them.

Antiques Roadshow Visits Arkham, MA

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Today Just Keeps Getting More Fucked Up

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

First, I come home from Gamestop to learn mail was delivered at like 8pm last night so I had mail after all. In there was a copy of the game I have to review. You know, then on I just bought? Well, at least I can get a refund by return the thing.

Then there was this in the mail.

Notice the lack of a return address right? Well, I open it.

Okay then. That’s a little creepy. From the hearts though, it looks like a gothie valentine of sorts, right?

Yeah, that’s not creepy at all, right?

Jesus Christ, Today is Annoying

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

1. I was asked to basically change the entire way we run statistics today and to do it for three years of information in two hours. It takes me half a day to do it for a month. Oy. That was a great way to wake up.

2. I have had to explain to one of my shelter’s program managers how to do a simple task for the past year and he still doesn’t get it and even though his lack of doing it correctly continually gets us scolded by our funder, his response was “It’s you that doesn’t understand what i’m doing.” Even though he’s only one doing it wrong and even the funder has confronted him directly about how he does it wrong. Holy fuck. Honestly, these people are so against self-improvement or taking responsibility for their own mistakes that you have to get downright MEAN with them to make any progress. It’s insane.

3. Chewie has been very destructive today and in trying to stop him, I ended up slashing my right kneecap pretty badly.

4. I barely slept last night.

5. I had to deal with Gamestop employee today who was so stoned he had no idea what he was doing. This wa sbecause said Gamestop didn’t get in the game I needed to review yesterday and because the developer is late in sending me the review copy. Had they been on time, I wouldn’t have had to deal with this particular annoyance.

6. It hasn’t snowed in like a week and the mall still hasn’t shoveled the parking lot yet. That was a fun surprise.

7. Water and heat was out today form 10am to noon as the building did some renovations.

8. I ended up having to miss a mandatory training at work due to items #1 and #2.

#9. I just realized I haven’t gotten to eat today yet due to all of the above.

I am so looking forward to today being over.

Bunny Valentine’s Day

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Since it’s Adopt-a-Rabbit month and Chewie and Baby have had bunny health issues, I decided to take them to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington today for a bunny playdate. It was to see if maybe it was time for a third bunny again.

First up was Chester, a little baby white dwarf bunny with blue eyes that is the most hyperactive animal I’ve ever seen. He absolutely loved me and he enjoyed Baby and Chewie as well. They didn’t mind him at all and even let him get a hump in. He’s the size of Chewie’s head though and he’s not going to get much bigger. Chewie eventually sat on hChester to calm him down.

Second was Cosette. She was a very sweet Lionhead that liked me, but was terrfied of Chewie and Baby even though they really liked her. So that was a no.

Third was Snowball. She was a three year old albino mini-lop and she got along great with Chewie and Baby although there was an occasional moment of agression by all three. She is much more a people bunny and loves to be held and snuggle. She liked me more than my buns and right now she’s tied with Chester for being bunny #3. However, she’s three years old and unspayed with is a bad sign as it means she’ll develop uterine cancer if she doesn’t already have it. She also has nasal and occular discharge which is a bad sign as well. Great and super sweet bun, but rather sickly so I’m waiting to hear fromt he volunteer vet about her overall health and spaying before she is a definite choice.

Fourth was Ty. Ty was a mini albino-rex, so he was basically a smaller, colourless Chewie Biteums. They got along okay, but not as well as Snowball and Chester.

Finally there was Orion who was a Baby Florida White. These things are huge and as a baby, he’s the size of Chewie, who is a large bunny to begin with. This did not go well and eventually Chewie bit Orion’s weener.

So it looks like Snowball and Chester are the finalists. I’m waiting to hear from the vet on the health conditions of both and then it’s back for another bunny playdate. Hopefully Chewie and Baby will like one enough to be our third bunny.

Review #336

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

5-in-1 Solitaire
Publisher: Digital Leisure
Developer: Digital Leisure
Genre: Card Game
Release Date: 02/01/2010

This is interesting. 5-in-1 Solitaire was released for DSiWare the same day as the WiiWare version. That version was only 200 Nintendo points ($2), while the Wii version if 500 ($5). You would think the portable one would be more expensive since you can take it anywhere while this version is tethered to your TV, which is probably in reach of your computer which generally has at least one version of Solitaire on it for free (Mine has three of the five modes in this game.) So it’s more than a little odd that someone would want to pay for more versions of Solitaire. However I suppose maybe you don’t want your child getting their grubby mitts all over your computer, especially since it is tax time. With that in mind, let’s see if Digital Leisure has given us a reason to actually pay money for Solitaire.
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Review #335

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Walk It Out
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Genre: Exercise/Bemani
Release Date: 01/12/2010

Long-time readers know that I’m the go-to guy for exercise or Bemani games on the Wii. Walk it Out is Konami’s attempt to cross the two over. With Rhythm games, Konami has generally done a really good job with DDR Hottest Party 1, HP2, and HP3, which came out a few months ago. There are also god awful rhythm based games like Just Dance.

Then there are the exercise games. Exercise games for the Wii have either been excellent or awful. Your Shape and Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout are the best of the bunch while EA Active and Wii Fit turned out to be little more than snake oil giving the illusion of exercise while actually provided improper techniques and worst of all, exercises that are actually bad for you, especially your hips, joints, knees and ankles. One of the worst that both those high profile but crappy games feature is walking/running in place. It’s bad for your knees. Now treadmills have impact boards built in to counteract this, but just running in place on your floor or in your basement with put undue stress and pressure on your joints. Bottom line is you shouldn’t do it.

Now Walk It Out appears to have taken all that into consideration by providing you a game where you can use a DDR pad or balance board instead of using the default walking in place option. However it’s also a game where all you do is walk. So how does it hold up?
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