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Archive for September, 2010

Review #372

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs
Publisher: Nintendo of Japan
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: 10/04/2010

I reviewed the Japanese version of Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs back in March of 2010 and found it to be a good game, but also the least interesting and fun of the series. While there were a few new elements like rune casting and a flying type minigame, the core game was mostly the same, and as such, it lacked a lot of the freshness and innovative feeling one had with the first two. Now here we are six and a half months later and it’s time to talk about the North American localization of the game. How does it fare for those of you that missed the original import review?
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Review #371

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Studios America
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd.
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Release Date: 09/28/2009

I have to admit I was pretty cold to the Atelier series when it first started. I though Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana was a mediocre game at best, but as the series continued, I warmed up to it, even if I’ve preferred the Mana Khemia spin-offs more. That being said, my favorite experiences with Atleier characters have come from mash-ups like Cross Edge and my current GOTY, Trinity Universe. As I mentioned in my preview of Atelier Rorona, everyone on staff has thoroughly enjoyed the series. The question is, after a whopping EIGHTEEN games in the Atelier series, was Gust able to keep this latest entry from feeling stale or like just another sequel churned out by a developer for a quick profit, or has Nippon Ichi been able to keep their amazing streak of high quality games released in 2010 alive?
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Review #370

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Developer: Wayforward
Publisher: Warner Home Games
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 09/07/2010

We’re pretty big fans of Wayforward here at Diehard GameFAN, as long as you ignore their older stuff like WWF Betrayal and Ping Pals. Everyone on the planet seemed to love Shantae, Sigma Star Saga won our awards for best traditional shooter and best GBA title of 2005. Our opinions on Justice League Heroes ranged from calling the game “good” to “poor,” depending on the system, their Contra 4 remake was excellent, and A Boy and His Blob won multiple awards from us in 2009 including Wii Game of the Year, Platformer of the Year, and Best All-Ages Game. That’s pretty impressive.

Now it’s time to look at Wayforward’s latest release, Batman: The Brave and The Bold, which is a licensed platformer based off the hit cartoon bearing the same name. For those of you unfamiliar with the cartoon, it’s basically a Batman team-up show, where the Dark Knight teams with a different super hero in each episode. It’s light hearted and combines the best aspects of the Adam West campish 60s era Batman, the Olan Soule voices Super Friends/Super Powers era and the DCAU Batman: The Animated Series era. In fact, Adam West plays Thomas Wayne, Julie Neumar plays Martha Wayne, Kevin Conroy plays The Phantom Stranger and The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh and Mark Hamill has voiced The Spectre. It’s truly a wonderful cartoon and well worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet.

The big question however is if The Brave and the Bold manages to defy the odds and be one of those rarest of gems – a quality licensed platformer. Do we actually have a streak of two high quality Batman games between this and Batman: Arkham Asylum, or has Wayforward streak of quality games come screeching to a halt?
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Past Few Weeks

Monday, September 13th, 2010

So things are definitely on an upswiing since I last updated with personal information. Guin came into town for Labour Day Weekend to see Mr. Chewie Biteums and make sure I was holding up okay mentally since work became totally insane at around the same time I was already stressed out from his dour cancer outlook. It was great to see her and I can’t wait until she here on a permanent basis. I miss her constantly.

On September 9th, Mr. Biteums’ histopath game back and there was still cancer in the sample taken but only in the center which means, in a medical miracle of miracles, the two surgeries removed all the cancer from him! I was so ecstatic and it’s still hard to believe that in the path month we’ve gone from removing scar tissue from Chewie to being told it was Spindle Cell Sarcome which no life form gets better from to being told he’s cancer free. My heart and head have been on an emotional roller coaster and combined with January’s misdiagnosis of a heart tumor in him that turned out to be bad blood work, I don’t think i can take any more stress of that magnitude.

Chewie does have a lump on his shoulder right where the cancer was so I’ve been freaking out about that. However, when we brought him in for his final evaluation today, she pointed out this lump is actually one of three incision points. I knew about the other two, but I didn’t know that this third one was basically where she jury-rigged all of his skin to stay togetherafter she removed a mass of it that was the size of my hand. That’s a lot of skin on a bunny and she basically stretched what little was left and held it together at that point. She then proceeded to pull a suture that was incredibly long out of the lump and tonight it’s about half the size it was. She said to still watch it just in case like I would any other lump on him, and trust me, this thing is getting multiple checks a day, which is overkill and he HATES it, but he beat cancer and god knows I’m not going to let it come back.

Other than that, it’s just work and life as regularly. My Dad comes into town Thursday to stay with me for a week and I have Let’s Dish on Weds, but otherwise it’s writing, video games and life as usual.

Review #369

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Cladun: This is an RPG!
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: 09/21/2010

Over the past few years, we’ve seen companies release nostalgia based games with 4-16 bit style graphics in an attempt to be “retro.” Bandai Namco and XSEED tried it with Retro Game Challenge and From Software and Atlus USA did it with 3D Dot Game Heroes. In both cases we found the games to be decidedly…average. Now it’s Nippon Ichi’s turn with Cladun: This is an RPG!. Although the game looks decidedly retro, the more you play the game, the more you realize this is an engine they never could have pulled off in the era of Dragon Quest or Wall Street Kid.

In my preview piecethat I wrote up after a dozen or so hours with the game, I talked about the story and magic circle system that dominates all aspect of the game. Although I was impressed with the title around the twelve hour point, that’s only a drop in the bucket with an RPG. Now that I’ve beaten the game (as much as it can be) and have logged over forty hours onto it, it’s time to see if my first impression held true.
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Review #368

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Developer: Beenox
Publisher: Activision
Genre: 3-D Action
Release Date: 09/07/2010

Although Spider-man isn’t my favourite comic book character, I was really looking forward to Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Why? Because I was finally getting a game with MY Spider-Man in it: Miguel O’Hara. For those of you who don’t know, Miguel O’Hara is Spider-Man 2099, which was a fun comic written by Peter David (I still own the TPB of the first ten issues) and he still remains pretty popular even though he’s only appeared in Exiles in the past few years. There was supposed to be a 2099 video game for the PC and Sony Playstation back in the late 1990s, but it was cancelled even though the game was partially finished. I was really disappointed then, but with the chance to finally do some web-slinging as Miguel instead of Peter Parker, there was no way I was going to pass this up.

Unfortunately, when all was said and done, I found myself HATING my time with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions due to flaws in the game that never should have made it out of playtesting and/or quality control. From bad camera angles to severe slowdown and a plethora of horrible glitches that even crashed the game a few times, I went from being overly excited about this game, to praising God that I was finally done with it. I should have been wary since Beenox was the developer. After all, they have primarily been a company that does ports of mediocre games to the PC and has only ever developed three marginally decent games on their own before, Bee Movie, Monsters Vs. Aliens and Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, of which DHGF staffers has reviewed the latter two and found them…wanting.

So where did Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension go horribly wrong? Let’s take a look, while also showing that some aspects of the game were very well done indeed.
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DHGF Exclusive Articles for the Week

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

15 Years of the Sony Playstation - 15 Fun Games You Might Have Missed

A preview of the new PSP RPG, Cladun: This is an RPG!

Another PS Plus Rant