30lives

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The past month in the world of games journalism was riddled with controversy which put gamers, the game journalists and the hobby itself in a bad light. Big and now often abused words such as “misogyny”, “sexist”, and even “rapists” have been thrown out and used to generalize the “gamer identity” in an attempt to sensationalize news posts in various online outlets. Personally, all those digs at gamers and the conspiracies which followed such as #TheFappening looking like an elaborate scheme to get more people to drink the Social Justice Warrior Kool-Aid by vilifying people who associate themselves with the sub-culture of being a video gamer. What do these SJWs really want in life? I would imagine it to be some semblance of credibility and clout which would translate to money or projects that would generate money for themselves. I mean, I would do it that way given the opportunity and a lapse of my own principles. I mean a cry out for “inclusion” in video games and popular culture such as comic books seems like a far cry from real social issues happening around the world.

Looking back at covering the Tokyo Game Show last month, I couldn’t help but notice a few things people didn’t really talk about. What outlets would have talked about are the JAV (Japanese Adult Video) Idols in the Ryu Ga Gotokou (Yakuza) booth and the giant Onee-chan Bara demo booth where patrons would play the demo of a game about scantily-clad girls slashing things inside the boobs of a girl printed on a wall. There was also no shortage of booth girls (who would have been scrutinized by someone) and even hired female name-cosplayers whose jobs were to give out promotional materials or just to strike poses for the deluge of photographers, press and non-press alike that would come to convention. Despite the general male-centric fantasy tone of the showcased products, I did notice a healthy population of women in the crowd participating as consumers lining up in the demo booths of any game you could find in the show floor.

Typical crowd you will find in TGS.
Typical crowd you will find in TGS.

It was not only in the demo booths but in the presentation panels such as the Yakuza presentation panel which featured 10 JAV Idols and the game is about three things: money, violence, and women. Do these women who attend the panel and not voice out any objections about glorifying the Yakuza life as it is misogynistic towards women do a disservice to their own gender? I believe not, I think these women who were watching the same presentation beside or behind me who just laughed off the raunchy content of the game simply just get it. Video games are not a reflection of reality, it’s fantasy. We do things in video games that we can’t do in real life. They don’t enable us to just “live our lives in the game” like people looking outside-in would assume. It’s just passing the time and having fun, then we get on with our real world things. How hard is that to figure out? Explain. The people who get caught up with those games and virtual worlds obviously need help not because of video games but because of their upbringing and how society (the real world) interacted with them.

Anybody going to cry for social justice?
Anybody going to cry for social justice?

Yakuza and similar games are targeted to a male audience and that’s not a bad thing. Having said that, it’s not like there aren’t ANY games targeted to female fantasies either. There is a game in the TGS published on the Playstation Vita and obviously hyper-sexualizes men in all their glorious um… I don’t know manly beauty? However, the point of all this isn’t about some gender commentary and how video games, should portray gender roles. The writers and game designers could honestly do anything they want, as long as it’s in good-will to deliver and entertaining product. If it’s too sexualized, violent, or emotional intense to your liking, don’t buy it. Say it makes you uncomfortable but don’t demand that your opinion be taken into consideration for the entirety of the game or ALL GAMES for that matter. There is a reason why markets are segmented and not all products are inclusive of every possible demographic there is out there.  It is the same way comics (another favorite target of SJWs) are marketed. There is a comic series for everyone, there would be even more titles you will find interesting if you can (and should) move past things like gauging how offensive a character’s pose would be and how sexualized or un-sexualized a character is with their old/new costume. If we go down that route, haven’t we already forgotten what video games are supposed to be for? You know, that thing called “game play” and why we all played games in the first place? Sure, maybe it was the box-art, or CG video (for playstation and above era gamers) that put a game on our radar but if they didn’t play well, we wouldn’t have given them the time of day or most of our childhood, which is the more likely case. It was a real shitty time to read about games in mainstream news outlets late August to September and I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again. As adults who still indulge in video games, we know where we stand and we most certainly have our own identity. We look forward to the new challenges and thrills video game

Now this doesn't look so bad after looking at half naked hyper-sexualized male rock stars, right? These two games come from the same publisher by the way.
Now this doesn’t look so bad after looking at half naked hyper-sexualized male rock stars, right?

companies will lay out in the installment of “Popular Franchise A-Z” not how we are apparently misogynists and suppressed rapists for partaking in the hobby. We are functioning members of society just like everyone else but we prefer to play video games over partying in clubs, watching sports in bars, or I don’t know spending time in gentleman’s clubs.

With all these people clamoring for “social justice” in video games and other popular media about apparent sexism, it makes me wonder if they ever truly partook in the hobby they are criticizing. There are so many things to talk about regarding games. If not the game itself, the artists and musicians behind it. Better yet, what about the various art and game development schools who have had graduates or even undergraduates already contribute to gaming? Did you know that there were art schools and game development schools participating in the Tokyo Game Show as exhibitors too?

Every time a SJW defends him/herself by calling their critics gatekeepers,it just makes me doubt their sincerity towards the hobby even more. So basically they are stirring up controversy just to be relevant, right? Then why would I give a hoot about any of those twisting words and taking context out of games and turning them into rallying cries to stand up against injustice against a gender, belief, or culture. Ulterior motives all over, nothing to see here.

There are so many real social issues which need to be taken on that have no relationship to video games which is a form of entertainment for the financially stable. Video games are where people would pass time in the hopes to be entertained in the manner of their choosing. The fervor of the SJWs against video games are certainly appreciated in real social issues that directly affect the lives of REAL people such as poverty in Africa and developing countries such as the Philippines. Or perhaps against victims of extreme religious or cultural beliefs which actually practice or condone misogyny towards women. But no, they are directed at trivial things on mainstream platforms (video games and comics) with ulterior motives. Therefore, you sirs and madams who exist to be offended for other people are not welcome in the world of video games. I know where I stand and I choose to boycott any game developer, publisher, and news site which partakes in putting SJW garbage on a pedestal. This is the best way to ensure they fall out of relevance.

On a lighter note, I leave you all with all the other sights of TGS. It was glorious and I look forward to coming back next year with video game coverage instead of commentary on shit-eaters trying to gain more clout and “making a name for themselves.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Kaihinmakuhari station
At the Kaihinmakuhari station

Major item in bucket list crossed, y’all. Finally got into Tokyo Game Show this year which is definitely one of the biggest events in all of gaming. All the giants in the video games industry were at the Makuhari Messe to showcase their latest games and titles under development that we should all look forward in the next few months. Notable attendees were Sony and Microsoft (Nintendo does not attend TGS for some reason but was still present through 3rd party devs), Konami, Sega, Capcom, Square Enix, Bandai Namco and more. We were super stoked to see the presentations by esteemed game directors, squealed loudly with more than 220,000 game fans, and shared some of the disappointments as well. Here are some of the pictures I took in the event (and some captioning for context). Enjoy!

More pictures and coverage on Alex’s post soon! I will also be posting about select games that we got to test on the floor as well.

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wtf
I’m a chink, therefore Jackie Chan.

Yesterday, I left you folks on a cliffhanger. I’ll simply fess up and say that my ravings went on for too long, so I had to make this a two-parter. While I can make a part three because I ended up rambling on even more, let’s just end it today. Now, to answer the question: why won’t local e-sports tournaments ever work out?

That’s because of our player base. The so-called “next generation” of cyber athletes  are a bunch of weak-willed cowards. Throughout my employment in promoting Crossfire, issues about small scale cafe tournaments refusing entry of prominent competitive teams was a thing. Nobody wanted to play against the top dogs because they wouldn’t stand a chance.I’m going off the chain here again to say what kind of bullshit reason is that?

FG.Wolves drank so many tears in Point Blank.
FG.Wolves drank so many tears.

I won’t lie to you. I haven’t been keeping up with the local competitive game circuits so feel free to correct me if everyone is out for the top team’s blood but I doubt anything has changed much since I dabbled in that world. The person being criticized is not even the “current generation” of cyber athletes. As far as I am concerned, if you are over 25 years old, you’re considered a veteran, yesterday’s news, an old guy in competitive gaming because of this thing called hand-eye coordination which deteriorates over time. I also am not familiar with the MOBA scene here but I’m positive that there are only a few top teams and boat load of people who provides them with endless tears to drink.

In a competitive environment such as e-Sports, everybody is aiming for the top. If you get a chance to fight the champs, you will jump on that opportunity, that’s how you get better. The top teams in my time were more vilified than they were beloved. It could have been because of the way the top teams carried themselves rubbing people the wrong way or how other people couldn’t stand how they couldn’t beat said top teams but I saw more bashing than I saw competition. It wasn’t “put up or shut up”, it was cry till’ you had no more tears, pause and drink water, then cry some more.

In the history of bad ideas in the world of online games one stood out the most and it wasn’t the P1 million rope-a-dope Operation 7 tournament that never happened by E-Games. The honor goes to a game publisher (also E-Games) sponsoring their own e-sport team and parading them around for all the country to see, be envious of, and start bashing them out of butt hurt. Despite being the team to beat, people despised them because they claimed that the team was given preferential treatment in tournaments. As far as participation in tournaments and in-game items, sure but everything else was fair game and yet they complained. This is why we can’t have nice things. Everyone but a select few want it easy… in a competitive environment.

Yes! This image again because it's hilarious!
Yes! This image again because it’s hilarious!

The local game publishing industry also shares the blame in killing its chances at making e-Sports work. Most of it is actually self-inflicted due to several bad eggs in the industry. As if petty shit like ripping competitor posters and uninstalling their games wasn’t enough you had greenhorns in the online games industry in charge marketing with big salaries and big budgets during the online games bubble. They were squandered on ineffective yet costly marketing attempts which more than anything, insults the intelligence of their intended audience, celebrity marketing. Just as you would market consumer products. It took them a while to actually learn from their mistakes and when it came down to crunch time, they had to blame someone for their poor performance.

It’s not surprising nobody wanted to owe up for being a colossal moron so let’s blame the competition. The “illegal aliens” who were “illegally” taking away their player base… by setting up a game publishing company in the Philippines and offering games the same way they do, minus the idiotic marketing. What’s wrong with this picture is our government being protective of idiots while companies who actually can do much better and actually generate jobs for Filipinos are harassed to no-end or are prevented from doing business in our country. Several foreign owned companies were issued cease and desist orders but only Gameclub was “raided” by questionable means because they posed the biggest threat. It didn’t even pan out for the raid’s instigators. Does the E-Games brand still exist? Not anymore, case and point.

The punch line is the fact that Level-Up has gone through several owners: a South-African IT comapny, China’s Tencent, and finally Asiasoft. It’s public knowledge that Asiasoft is not a local company and yet there are no cease and desist orders or raids on game severs. There are obviously loop holes which can be used to skirt the law and this is not sour grapes, okay. I’m not secretly wishing for the downfall of Asiasoft-owned Level-Up, I think it might be a good thing considering the huge list of games under Asiasoft’s belt. They can actually provide Filipino gamers more games than anyone could ever have offered. But you can see as clear as day how our laws and law enforcement agencies could be used as a satellite targeted ICBM to ruin things for everyone.

The Hounds of Justice!
The Hounds of Justice!

Compound all that dirt above and more undisclosed in this already long post and you get a loss of consumer trust. Sales are down across the board for all gaming companies? Maybe they were traumatized with all that crap and just moved on to globally published games or games on Steam, like DotA 2. RIP local gaming industry. I don’t really mean it and as dire as things look now, I have friends in the online gaming industry and I wholeheartedly hope that they will achieve success and do print a substantial amount of money. I salute them for still  trying to fight the good fight.

As if the original DotA wasn't already a problem for online game publishers...
As if the original DotA wasn’t already a problem for online game publishers…

Things would have been different if shitheads like Don “the bald fucking shit eater” Jocson got a brain aneurism before he put his plan in motion. Words aren’t enough to describe what a horrible person he is so let’s just go the potty mouth child route.

Players wanting bigger prize pools or complaining about the prize pools I had for my own tournaments annoyed me to no ends. Even the so-called money grubby behavior some of the top teams displayed popped my nerves from time to time but is it really about them or more on my frustration at not being able to afford a bigger prize pool? It’s a shitty feeling when you look at our neighboring countries coming up with huge prize pools that make your grand prize look like a consolation prize. But do you think these so-called “money-grubbing cyber athletes” got to where they are just by counting prize money? Then again, what prize money? I doubt anybody in this country could even subsist on the collective prize pools of all tournaments made versus their expenses for playing and training for each respective game.

The player in scrutiny is someone I know and have personally acted as their team’s handler for the 2011 World Cyber Games. Jupiter Mars “Elgee” Gaboy has been playing games competitively since the Philippines received its first invitation to the World Cyber Games. I believe it started around 2002 or 2003 so that would mean he probably has over a decade of experience in e-sports.

How many people would have dedicated that much time to playing games. Granted that he has not made a career out of it until recently, you would have to imagine what sacrifices he made to be the gamer he is. You can also question his sanity and priorities for sacrificing so much just in an attempt to make a career with playing games. He along with the other players during his era are still at fore front of the local FPS scene usually losing against each other in tournaments but almost always placing at the top. Why? I can only think of one reason. Because they are the ones willing to put in the most time and effort even if deep down, they know they’ll never make a career out of it and I can guess most of them are pretty burned out already. Call it whatever you will but that’s doing something “for the love of gaming” right there.

The guys from Cristal (now MSI Evo.GT or something I guess), Fairview GamingWolves, Loko, WaraPWND, among other teams  people were loud, very emotional, and blunt when it came to their opinions but they sure did their work when it came to preparing for tournaments. You cannot ever take that away from them no matter what people say or think about them. They have continued to raise the bar in competitive gaming for this country time and again by giving each other a run for their money and wowing everybody in international competitions by becoming fan favorites and placing in the top three at times.

There were more notable teams but I forgot their names because I am getting older already, for that I apologize.

It is stupid to call out one of them out for one outburst which isn’t even remotely damaging or derogatory to the tournament’s organizer. While I think this is a case of too much butt hurt from the community manager of Assault Fire and a couple of ignorant/flunkie bloggers, Elgee’s biggest mistake was to allow himself to come under scrutiny by opportunistic albeit idiotic people. Remember kids, when you’re a public figure, there will be a lot of people after your head, just because they can. How is it that some people can be so deluded as to be offended at a statement which reads to me as “the prize money is not attractive at all”? I believe the tournaments 101 already explained the role prize of money.

Here is my advice to future game operators: When someone complains about cash prizes and you know the deal behind why it is as such, just apologize that it didn’t meet their expectations and then assure them you will make one that is more attractive in the future as part of your planned events. It doesn’t matter if your game will actually not be around to see that time but we all have to keep our appearances. How hard is that?

As far as making a career out of e-sports in this country, I think it’s a bad idea but nothing I say or do will prevent people from trying anyway.

In hindsight, maybe Point Blank players didn't really hate the whole team. They just hated this hipster for rocking an undercut before it even became mainstream. Peace z3r02! ,\/,,
In hindsight, maybe Point Blank players didn’t really hate the whole team. They just hated this hipster for rocking an undercut before it even became mainstream. Peace, z3r02! ,\/,,

In the off chance (more like certainty) that people will be offended with the feature image, allow me to explain #Pinoize. It is basically the summation of what we believe is undesirable behavior in Filipino nationals which includes taking a studio/group pic with gang signs.

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Hey MMO gamers! Through some happenstance and magic, we happened to stumble upon 400 beta keys for the much-anticipated Southeast Asian release of Phantasy Star Online 2. After quickly finding out that online gaming beta keys aren’t accepted as currency or barter for, um… questionable things, we decided to whip up some code sorcery and give ’em out to you, our wonderful readers.

Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming out at an unspecified date courtesy of Asiasoft, giant corporate entity most recently known for buying out Level Up Philippines. The publisher plans to release the game throughout their SEA area of responsibility, which includes Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. So if you happen to be in that area of the world (if you’re reading this very post, chances are, you are), please enjoy the unique beta key below this post.  Oh yeah, this is for the PC version of the game; yes we are equally upset that Sega won’t get off their FAAAAT ASSES and localize the game’s Vita version.

Fine print and details ahoy!

  • Date: Thursday, 10 till Sunday, 13 April 2014
  • Beta Starting Time: 1500HRS (Philippine time, GMT +8), Daily
  • Beta Closing Time: 2359HRS (Philippine time, GMT +8), Daily
  • Beta Activation Page: http://bit.ly/PmhHJa

Developed by SEGA Corporation, Phantasy Star Online 2 is a Massively Multiplayer Action Online Role Playing Game (MMOARPG) where players get to experience revolutionary combat in an action-driven gameplay, to take a journey into an immersive sci-fi fantasy narrative and to explore mysterious worlds to unravel their secrets.  For more information, check out the game’s official website: http://pso2.playpark.com/en/ and follow the game on Facebook for community updates: https://www.facebook.com/playpso2.ph.

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Around this time last year, five surly kids were busy laughing at how terrible games coverage was being handled in this country. Shaking our heads at how the majority of sites and publications out there were essentially fronts for large companies to hawk their wares or people with “in-debt knowledge” (actual line from an actual site) begging said companies for free shit; we figured that it was about time to give people out there a serious alternative from what was out there. We didn’t really have any grand ambitions in mind, just something that would, at the very least, keep us and perhaps a small contingent of our mutual friends entertained until we got bored and moved on. After some thought, we decided that we’d call ourselves “30lives” for no other discernible reason other than it gave us the very cool domain-hack, http://30liv.es/

Around two hours later, I slapped together a boxed CMS theme, popped it in one of my spare server boxes sitting in a co-location, and 30liv.es was born. Two weeks later, we decided that we all made a huge mistake and Google thought we were a Spanish-based site as we were using the .es top-level domain. We rechristened ourselves at 30lives.net and started writing about… things. Mostly things that made us angry. Even though we weren’t really angry. For a while, our editorial style was based on faux vitriol, and we’d write about things about the local and worldwide gaming scene that we thought didn’t make sense. This didn’t win us any favors or friends, and we didn’t really care. Someone had to dish out some real talk, and being sycophantic parrots that copy and paste press releases wasn’t really our style. Looking back, the way we’d rapid-fire posts every single day was actually fairly insane (not to mention unsustainable).

We’ve significantly toned ourselves down since then, and just write about cool games or events around the country whenever we can (or share a funny picture here and there on Facebook). It’s not that we’ve become lazy, or complacent, or anything, but because we’ve exhausted everything we’ve wanted to put out there. Which is why we’re using this message as an open invitation to our community: if anyone out there reading this wants to say something, perhaps use our reader base as a platform to get a message out there, or even contribute a piece of news that hasn’t flown by our radars, get in touch with us!

Of course, we’d have pulled the plug on this thing months ago if it wasn’t for our awesome readers. We’ve had some asshats pop in and out every so often to deride us, but for the most part we’ve been having fun interacting with the little community of readers we’ve started to build. If we haven’t made it abundantly clear before—thank you. We started this project as simply a way to keep ourselves entertained, but we are thankful and humbled that there are actually people out there who enjoy reading what we’ve been putting out.

Here’s to at least another year of doing whatever we’ve been doing.

– The team at 30lives (Ryan, Cheena, Alex, Shin and… Borge I guess)

Not every game is a winner, and we certainly can’t give participation medals for those games we didn’t quite like this year. So—since this blog isn’t the Special Olympics, we decided to suppliment our Games of the Year feature with an antithesis: another scientifically-calculated list; this time of our five collectively-chosen worst games of the year!

ff-all-the-bravest

5. Final Fantasy: All The Bravest (Mobile) — I’ll admit it, I’m a hater; so much so that I’ll willingly subject myself to hours upon hours of objectively bad games in order to have more material to spit truth towards my less-enlightened brethren. Prefacing that, I found it a challenge to find a game I’ve played this year that was equally or more heinous as Final Fantasy: All The Bravest. Best described as a disease-ridden prostitute of a mobile game that forces you to whack off your mobile phone in order to ejaculate recycled sprites from Final Fantasies past, the game doesn’t even have the decency of letting you go ten minutes without shaking you down for more money. And what does that get you? The chance of maybe getting another cute sprite character to play this pointless, meandering game with.

At this junction, I realize that even challenging Square’s creativity is a futile venture—the company is clearly content on spending their last few vestiges of consumer goodwill on running their franchises into the ground, but All the Bravest is a particularly loathsome venture that should have never gotten greenlit. If you like this game, you are probably one of two types of bad people: a “whale,” of which scummy mobile companies get their primary sustenance from, or a bleeding-heart Square fan who swears the company could do no wrong. -Ryan

tokitowa-3
Nope irl

4. Time and Eternity (PS3) — because of Ni No Kuni‘s release last year, I was doubly stoked to find out that there’s another “anime” game that will be released a few months after. I guess NNK really set the bar pretty high because I found it really (almost impossibly) hard to enjoy Time and Eternity. While the ideas were all good on paper, the execution in TaE made the HD anime on 3D backgrounds look really grotesque, almost Frankensteinish in actuality. What saved the game for me is Yuzo Koshiro’s amazing soundtrack which kept the track ‘Towa’ on my playlist rotation for quite a while. – Cheena

Here’s the link to my full review!

3. Injustice: Gods Among Us (Multiplatform) — With all the hype leading to its release; the comic book events with tourneys hosted by prominent celebrities and personalities, the tie-in action figures, and the overall excitement for “the ultimate superhero fighting game”, my fears were realized when I played it confirmed that it is indeed a re-skinned Mortal Kombat.

It seems like director Ed Boon (NetherRealm Studios) can’t make anything but Mortal Kombat. This is really an uninspired game using the DC Comics property to sell it. I’d rather play a first-generation Marvel/Capcom game than this worthless piece of crap.

More like, Injustice: Shit Among Us. –Shin

Oh look, it's some alien... martian... man... guy.
Oh look, it’s some alien… martian… man… guy.
wonderfulfail
I SAID MAKE A CIRCLE GODDAMNIT! WE’RE GONNA DIE!

2. Wonderful 101 (Wii U) — Disregard the cheesy superhero clichés and quirky personalities of the game’s main ensemble and you will still be left with little to desire except for Platinum’s talent for making action games. The latter is marred with frustrating controls and questionable game design decisions. There are so many times where you could die or miss out on bonus items because you couldn’t perfect making a circle (to activate the main hero’s power) or repeating a circular motion (to energize normal citizens) with the right analog stick just because your game pad is telling you that “you’re doing it wrong”. Never has changing weapons in an action become so unnecessarily complicated that one of the main functions of the game feels tacked on and forced rather than an intuitive control scheme that utilizes the Wii U’s unique game pad. In other words, why make simple things complicated for the sake of a gimmick?

Speaking of the game pad, the only innovative thing about it is the off-screen play which sometimes is also a cause of death because you would need both screens (TV and game pad) to know what’s actually going on in the game. Without any warning messages it’s pretty obvious what would happen next.

Only a Nintendo fanboy will tell you Wonderful 101 is THE killer-app for the Wii U. Let’s face it people, Nintendo is the autistic kid who nobody understands among the big three. Only Nintendo gets how to develop for Nintendo. If that’s the case, what are third parties even for but to be used as lab rats in hopes of developing a brand new IP to be milked to oblivion? With Wonderful 101, I can see how third parties’ projects for Nintendo’s Wii U is nothing more than a money sink. You would have better success making games on the 3DS and you don’t even have to give damn about making 3D graphics anymore. – Alex

1. Bioshock: Infinite (Multiplatform) — pls

bioshock-infinite-coins

Y’know, it just doesn’t seem right that we’re twelve days into 2014 but we haven’t even decided on our collective GOTY candidates. Since objectivity runs into subjectivity on these lists, we’ve decided to take the scientific route and use some actual math and statistics to determine our true collective games of the year, based on the 30lives team’s myriad tastes. True science at work, dear friends!

tomb-raider

10. Tomb Raider (PS3, Xbox 360)
Lara Croft makes a triumphant return in the most engrossing and action-packed Tomb Raider ever. There are few dull moments and you really see Lara’s character develop throughout the game. A brilliant inventory system, great level design, and responsive combat mechanics makes it a perfect introduction to Lara Croft for the new generation of gamers. – Shin (read my full review here, dolts)

rabidsmt9. Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
My second foray to the Shin Megami Tensei world (Persona 4 Golden being the first), SMT4 was one of the games that kept kicking my ass. What a refreshing game for a change too, in a world where today’s games kept holding your hand through the tough levels, SMT will keep kicking your ass until you scream no more and change the difficulty level to Fellows. – Cheena

We reviewed this game a while back too! Point your browsers right here.

8. Dragon’s Crown (PSVita, PS3)
I like 2D scrollers and dungeon crawler games. This became an insta-favorite for me and my constant gaming buddy since it’s one of the few co-op games that we both enjoy. I even bought a Vita version so I can level up my sorceress on the go. – Cheena

Check out our review of Dragon’s Crown right here!

7. Pokemon X/Y (3DS)
Pokemon X and Y
represents the series’ apex as it marks several technological and gameplay refinements that may upset some, but ultimately level the playing field down so new players and those that haven’t been paying attention to the games for a while (this guy) can play at a much higher level than in previous iterations of the series. I truly appreciated how scaleable the game can be: you can either choose to simply partake in this game’s respectable 30-hour quest, or catass yourself all the way to tens of thousands of wasted hours breeding and IV training and such. I would recommend talking to friends and loved ones first before making the latter choice. – Ryan

ni no kuni

6. Ni No Kuni (PS3)
I have been waiting for a spiritual successor to Dragon Quest VIII (one of the greatest games of all time, in my opinion) and this is probably the closest that I’ve accepted wholeheartedly. Ni no Kuni has the elements for a legendary RPG: good writing, lovable lead characters, collectible monsters and crafting. What’s even better is that the game is ensconced in a perfect Ghibli-rendered world. Absolutely breathtaking. – Cheena

Read Ryan’s take on the game here.

5. Saints Row IV (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
To me, video games are ultimately trivial hobbies—this is why I loathe games that take themselves too seriously, or try to pretend to be anything else than an interactive time-waster/rollercoaster ride. Saints Row IV is the ultimate “fuck around” game and in my opinion curbstomps (pause for inappropriate visual) Grand Theft Auto V where it counts the most: the “fun” department. Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of fun with GTA V but Saints Row IV simply outclassed it as an open-world game (despite recycling much of SR3’s assets) as well as a multiplayer experience. – Ryan

fire-emblem-awakening-624x4044. Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Turn-based strategy games will always be my favorite game genre and Intelligent Systems has revitalized an old franchise by producing a high quality game. I instantly fell in love with all the characters with all the ‘shipping’ features plus the introduction of the Casual mode embraces all noobs who want to play without the stress. – Cheena

Click here to read Cheena’s musings on FE: Awakening!

 

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3. Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4, Xbox One)
Assassin’s Creed IV made me forget the whole obnoxious memories entertainment “corporation x conspiracy” theories because: Pirates. Fond memories of Sid Meier’s Pirates were rekindled in a much more badass and violent manner. There is so much swashbuckling to do that I almost forgot I was playing an Assassin’s Creed game. It’s that good! -Alex

Last2. The Last of Us (PS3)
Though probably on the top of most gamers’ and outlets’ collective GOTY lists, in my honest opinion The Last of Us falls short for the simple reason that—under any real scrutiny—it’s a solid B+ game and nothing more. Though Naughty Dog has crafted a fine narrative in spite of the staid source material, the game screams “AAA” through and through, splashing on a beautiful coat of paint on your standard “monster closet” design. -Ryan; my full thoughts here

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
A Link Between Worlds reinvents the best Zelda game (A Link to the Past) to make it compelling to play in a concise package. I have not played a game all year long (2013) that made we want to pick up my 3DS and play for consecutive days as long as I could. This is the one 3DS game you shouldn’t miss and one you can repeat through-out the years in the form of speed runs.  -Alex

And there you have it, that’s our GOTY list. Any other games you folks felt should be on our list? Feel free to drop us a line on our Facebook page!

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rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief —Still trying to put some serious time into Shin Megami Tensei IV, which I think will be the only current-gen RPG I’ll be playing for the next couple weeks. The new Mario & Luigi game was released today, but given that I’ve hardly scratched the surface of SMTIV and I’ve got Tales of Xillia to worry about, it’s safe to say that I won’t be touching that game in the near-future.

Weekend tech project: My niece’s birthday is coming up next month, and since she fell in love with my SNES, instead of having to loan her my carts all the time, I decided to build her a Raspberry Pi setup with RetroPIE and pair it up with one of those USB SNES pads. I wasn’t going to half-ass it either, so I spent the better part of the weekend drawing up a model of what I’d like the box to look like, which I’m going to have 3D printed pretty soon.

 

cheenaCheena, Managing Editor— I was finally able to finish a bunch of play throughs for Shin Megami Tensei IV so that is a good thing, I guess. I can finally shelve the game for the meantime and give some loving to my current backlogs. I will come back to it in a few month’s time when they release DLCs or whatever new content though, for sure.

What’s eating my time now is Dragon’s Crown. I’ve played it on local multiplayer with the husband as a sorceress (and him as a fighter). Nothing beats good ‘ol arcade side scrolling action games for co-op! I’ve had lots of fun with it and hopefully I can finish the Sorc campaign by the end of the week and start with a higher difficulty soon.

I’m also looking forward to the PS Vita sales this month and will be adding a few more games to my backlog roster, namely Muramasa Rebirth and New King’s Story.

 

shinShin, News Editor— I don’t think I’d be able to play anything else until I get the platinum trophy on Dragon’s Crown. Seriously , this game is wreaking havoc on my playing schedule. I played nothing else this weekend — I have even neglected my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town. Yikes!

I was playing the PS3 version before release and last week I bought the PS Vita version so I can transfer my save and play it on the go. And because of that functionality at my fingertips, I have clocked in 64 hours on my main so far (I use the Elf) and now trying to beat the ancient dragon on Infernal Difficulty as I write this. I have noticed that It’s easier to play online on the PS3 than on the Vita version. I have to go through a stupid string of errors before I will be able to connect to a random play session on the handheld but on the PS3 it’s pretty much one click. So I use the Vita for single-player on-the-go grinding then transfer to the PS3 when I’m home.

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alexAlex, Reviews Editor and of Things— I’ve been a busy gaming bee for the last two weeks. From reviewing Killer is Dead to unlocking the insane difficulty in Dragon’s Crown and then an unprecedented move coming from someone who never finished a single Tales (Tales of Destiny and Tales of the Abyss were the only ones I’ve played) game in my life, I’ve decided to play and finish Tales of Xillia as my next review because I’ve been hearing some good things about it. So far, all I can say is its shaping up on the gameplay side while the female protagonist, Milla Maxwell could have been taken more seriously from the get go by non-Tales fan if they didn’t go down the usual moe-moe anime character bullshit. It also doesn’t help the actual voice of the character (both in English and Japanese) to become believable dressed up like… I don’t know, an anime fantasy stripper I guess. 

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rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief —Dragon’s Crown had me by the balls all weekend. I haven’t quite explored every nook and cranny of the game’s single-player component, but I’ve been playing round upon round with confused Japanese players. I can’t speak for the PS3 version, but the Vita version runs the online bits at a very acceptable rate; considering that my co-op buddies are 10,000 miles away. And can I just have a quick sidebar for a second and give a hearty fuck you to all the idiots deriding this game’s awesomely-tacky art style? Seriously, this is why we can’t have nice things.

Inspired by my Intel NUC review, I decided to relegate my Ouya to the bedroom and use it as a spare console/Hulu box. I haven’t upgraded (or even turned on) the thing in quite a while, but I have to say, the console’s firmware is actually starting to take shape. Menus are snappier, performance and controller lag has been addressed somewhat, and from what I’m gathering, OS-level functions can now be controlled via a PS3 controller (which is fantastic as the bundled controller is hot garbage). Good news for all you semi-late adopters, I guess: I just found out that Datablitz branches will start stocking the thing.

 

cheenaCheena, Managing Editor— I got back on my groove and am now almost at the home stretch for Shin Megami Tensei IV. It’s becoming hard to quit the game again, taking most of my playtime for the past few days.

Another game I am also deeply enjoying is Magic The Gathering 2014 in XBOX Live. I am currently playing the Sealed Play campaign which is mad, mad fun. I was given 6 booster packs to open and I created my deck based on the stronger cards in the packs (I made a white and black deck, with zombies and angels fighting together woooo), and more packs will open once I defeat the rest of the planeswalkers in the campaign. I will probably write a full-length review once I’ve clocked in more playtime, so stay tuned!

 

shinShin, News Editor— The whole weekend was mostly Dragon’s Crown. I’m playing the PS3 version and it’s absolutely gorgeous! I have decided to try and platinum this game or at least finish all the sidequests so I can have all the Treasure Arts. My main character is the Elf (the one with small boobs) and I enjoy jumping all over the screen and pulling off combos with her. The game has a ridiculous amount of content for a game of its kind and I can’t wait to buy the PS Vita version and play it on the go when it officially releases.

Peppered in-between my DC sessions are pick-ups of Shin Megami Tensei IV for the 3DS. I love the game but it makes me sleepy if I play it for more than an hour at a time. I don’t know why! lol

My second attempt to play The Last Story on my Wii for an LTTP Review was more successful than my last one. I say this because I finished the tutorial.

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I really want to finish this game someday. (sadface)

 

alex66466_10151573879278932_1480279263_nAlex, Reviews Editor and of Things— I told myself I wouldn’t buy Civilization 5: Brave New World, the latest and apparently best expansion yet for the turn-based strategy time-sink. I also ignore a lot of things I tell myself so most of my free time during the week and weekend was devoted to finishing one play-through in the largest sized map with the most number of city states and in marathon game speed. I believe the game took around 40 hours or so to complete. Naturally I had a secondary game to play while waiting for the computer to process the turns of other civilizations and city-states which at the time was Tekken Card Tournament which I reviewed earlier today. I’m liking the how they implemented spies, the world congress, and ideologies (social policies such as order, liberty, and autocracy have evolved into a different branch altogether). All these mechanics really make the game harder when you enter the modern era. I was forced to annihilate Greece (Alexander) with sheer military force because his influence on city states would ensure him a cultural victory in the long run (diplomacy is obviously not my strong point). Now that I’ve gotten the hang of the new and old systems from the last expansion (Gods and Kings with that blasted religion tree) I’m set to take on King difficulty and aim at harder settings. The Prince difficulty is pretty forgiving as I was able to defeat a civilization which had better tech and more soldiers because for some strange reason, they didn’t know how to siege cities properly.

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rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief — Something something Shin Megami Tensei IV. This is what we’re all playing, I’m pretty sure. I actually wasn’t feeling the game much before the weekend started because waaah waaah it was too hard. I should get rid of my Wii U—it must be generating some sort of inert radiation that pussifies everybody within a 50m radius. That, or I’m getting old and have less time to deal with games that require grinding. I’ve hit a pretty good groove since then, however. Still GOTY.

Steam sale wasn’t that great; the only thing that I bought was Just Cause, because it was 79c and I couldn’t find my Xbox copy. Oh wait, I also copped System Shock 2 because I’ve been looking for an excuse to replay the game for quite a while now. Everything else was either poo or games that I already owned on other platforms. Meh.

As far as quazi gaming-related stuff goes, I spent a bit of my weekend driving around and looking for camera equipment at yard sales, which is just about as exciting as it sounds (read: not). Thankfully the newly-relaunched Retronauts podcasts were a fantastic companion throughout!

cheenaCheena, Managing Editor—I was sick the whole week, which sucked, so I did not get to play a lot. I squeezed whatever free time I had not sleeping (or coughing) with Shin Megami Tensei IV. Aside from that, I’ve been abusing Streetpass friends for the Streetpass Bundle Games like Warrior’s Way and Mii Force. I’m currently stuck in a stage and I think I need at least five guys for more firepower. Also got to finish Find Mii last week so hooray?

Also tried some new mobile games from the LINE chat messenger app like LINE Jelly and I Like Coffee. None were enjoyable, so I say avoid.

shinShin, News Editor— It was pretty much an all-Nintendo week for me, benching my PS Vita and PS3 to the sidelines.

I picked up the streetpass game Mii Force and I find it is quite enjoyable. It brings me back to my childhood shooter games like Twin Bee and B-Wings (the ‘hammer’ weapon looked like a penis). I just think it’s stupid that it has leaderboards that only updates when you tag people on streetpass (lol). Why can’t it have the usual active online leaderboards? Because aliens? Nintendo, I swear…

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#RabidFans #LongLines #Sarcasm

Another streetpass game, Warrior’s Way I purchased yesterday after I met with the other editors and played over dinner. It’s like a super simplified Nobunaga’s Ambition slash Romance of the Three Kingdoms with Miis. I haven’t had the chance to get into it, though.

And of course, Shin Megami Tensei 4. We are all playing it and you should, too. If you haven’t read our review of it, you don’t have to. — there’s no excuse not to pick it up if you have a 3DS.

And to top it off, in an attempt to do an LTTP (Late To The Party) review, I fired up the old Wii console and launched Hironobu Sakaguchi’s swan song, The Last Story. But yeah, it was just an attempt. Maybe next week, then (lol).

 

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Why do Fatlus Friends not get any bonuses?

alexAlex, Review Editor and of Things—*mumble mumble* Mostly spent time on Shin Megami Tensei 4 *mumble mumble* and then daily grinding for the Street Pass Games Bundle. I’m really enjoying Mii Force and Warrior’s Way among the four paid Street Pass Plaza games, the rest I don’t really care about. I will also head out later on to avenge my army’s loss against cheenacat’s army in futility today. *mumble mumble* Damn you Nintendo forcing me to socialize with people. *mumble mumble*

Okay, I really can’t get over the fact that people get bonus APP points in SMT 4 because of my hard work in Etrian Odyssey 4 while I get nothing to show for it. I want bonus APP points too. D: Also, the other band wagoners here at 30liv.es can enjoy whatever bonus APP points they will receive from a Soul Hackers Street Pass because I picked that game up over the weekend for the lulz.

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rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief — I can’t believe I now own seven copies of Metal Gear Solid 3. No regrets, though; despite the obvious and glaring issues it still is—in my flawed opinion—one of the best games of all time. Still, the Legacy Collection pack-in went straight to my shelf. I actually played MGS4 instead to see if the trophies and patches it’s received since its release have made it any good. Nope: still awful, over-engineered drivel.

I am furiously clenching my butthole at the thought of Shin Megami Tensei IV arriving at my doorstep any day now (tomorrow, precisely). I know, from that moment on, that I will have zero free time.

 

cheenaCheena, Managing Editor—Finally had the time to play Shin Megami Tensei IV for long hours without end. It is a very challenging game because I get wiped every 15 minutes or so if I’m not being careful, which is obviously great. This will delight the inner masochist in you! Also, there’s my review from last week so read up if you’re still not sold on getting the game.

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Oh my…

Aside from SMT, I spent a bit of time on the Four Games Streetpass Bundle. I’ve written my impressions here. I love what Nintendo is doing to make Streetpassing more fun and also to compel you to bring your 3DS everywhere you go. At least you have more stuff to do with the random people you meet aside from just being fodders in Find Mii and Puzzle Swap. Maybe if they made the game a little less pricey, we’ll be able to convince more filthy casuals to buy!

This week, I plan to sink more time on Time and Eternity and write up a review, as well as more of Project X Zone and maybe finally finishing SMTIV so I can finally move on with my life.

 

shinShin, News Editor— Trying to breeze my way through Muramasa: Rebirth on the PS Vita. Finished Kisuke’s story and started Momohime’s. A game like this is perfect for a handheld and I guess that’s the reason why I did not fully finish it when it came out on the Wii couple of years ago. It’s such a beautiful game (as expected from Vanillaware) and makes me excited for Dragon’s Crown.

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HHHHHNNNNNNNNNGGGGG…
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Finally, I can be Mii! lol

I also finished the last two scenarios in The Walking Dead: 400 Days DLC. My favorite was the one with Vince in the prison bus. It’s pretty short but funny and horrifying at the same time. Can’t wait for Season 2. Come on Telltale, hurry up!

I already got the Shampoodle building unlocked in my town on Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Now I can run around as myself (my Mii actually) and not be a pre-made avatar. Pretty sweet!

Not really a game but do yourself a favor and SEE PACIFIC RIM! It’s the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

 

alexAlex, Review Editor and of Things— I got nothing this week. Outside playing a couple runs of Stan Lee’s Verticus off a friend’s recommendation and no-lifing Game Dev Story and checking my army in Clash of Clans, there wasn’t much gaming going on. 

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Yep, Stan Lee.

Verticus is pretty challenging and reminds me of old arcade games which don’t end until you run out of lives. Consequently, the game is designed to reflect the modern age of micro-transactions. Meaning you can pay to acquire power-ups to survive longer to rack up more points. Gotta make money with apps, right? That’s the whole reason people make apps. Regardless, the game is pretty entertaining and frustrating at the same time. People with iOS devices should try it out. 1005636_10151551364368932_1370458279_n 543116_10151551364283932_1803534824_n

The premise of the game is simple, collect all the cool power ups then avoid mines, and other obstacles. Try to stay alive for as long as possible with increasing levels of difficulty to get the highest score ever.

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rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief — I had a long weekend (for once) since we’re celebrating 237 years without a hostile takeover (aka Independence Day aka 4th of July aka why the hell is the Philippines still celebrating that fake June 12th Independence Day instead of the superior and historically factual July 4, 1946 Independence Day). Not much gaming was consumed during this weekend unfortunately; poisoning myself with cheap ESBs and Red Breast whisky took precedence. Still, I was able to sneak in a few rounds of Super Luigi U (which is awesome and ball-crushingly hard), Deadpool (complete garbage, avoid if you have any semblance of taste), and of course my favorite addiction, Animal Crossing: New Leaf (on which I was able to unlock the AR pattern functionality so I’ll be donning some Shenmue-inspired gear, TYVM).

If you haven’t noticed yet, my personal goal is to play at least one obscure retro game a week, so on this week’s playlist is Rabbit for Sega Saturn, a very off-beat Samurai Shodown 2 clone (speaking of which, SS2 just came out on iOS if you are a masochist) starring weird furries with stands a la Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. This game gets a thumbs-up for me just because of how ridiculous the game’s entire concept is; and that’s not even the weirdest thing about it: it was released only in Japan by EA of all people. Go figure.

 

cheenaCheena, Managing Editor—I did not really get to play much this week as I was busy at work preparing for Level Up! Live 2013‘s Cosplay side event (thanks to everyone who went to watch!).

What I sank into most of Sunday was Shin Megami Tensei IV, to be released this July 16th so I hope you have reserved your copies already. I can’t really say much about it because the embargo will lift on July 10 (11th here) so just watch out for our early review.

I’ll just say this though: I am past 12 hours on the game now and I always have a hard time putting down the 3DS. Just one more quest…

 

shinShin, News Editor—Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward for the PS Vita was a surprise for me. I thought it was just a lousy visual novel type game but it turned out to be a nice game to play before going to bed. The puzzles are brilliant and the story engrossing. It’s kinda like an anime video game version of the movie ‘SAW’.

‘Spider-Man’ has a hyphen, you poser bitch!
QR scanning is addicting.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is still the go-to game of the week for me. I got the QR scanner unlocked and I’m having fun scanning patterns for outfits and stuff. I should’ve listened to Iwata and bought the game digitally from the eShop as I realized it’s a hassle swapping out cartridges — I went to a friend’s birthday party and we quested on Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. It’s been a few months since I’ve popped the MH3U cart in my 3DS.

And lastly, I played The Walking Dead: 400 Days. It’s the DLC for Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1 and bridges it with the upcoming Season 2. Game is short although you get five scenarios that you can play in any order. No exploring or much item collecting as it focuses on you making heavy decisions that will eventually affect Season 2. So hold on to your save files.

 

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Lost Odyssey was a victim of hipster gamers.

alexAlex, Review Editor and of Things— Things got really frustrating with The Last of Us in survivor difficulty in the generator bloater trap if you’re hell-bent on killing everything with only 3 molotovs and 1 bullet left in each gun. Sad to say, I put the game down for the meantime and moved on to Lost OdysseyI shed manly tears at the tragedy of Kaim’s reunion with Spoiler: his daughter who he presumed had died. I’m enjoying the game so far having played 20 hours up to disc 2. While I won’t go on a crusade bashing the world for not supporting Mistwalker, I do feel that people who would bitch and wine about the “good old days” of RPGs dating back to Playstation Final Fantasy games owe it to themselves to play Lost Odyssey and weep at the fact that we won’t see the studio make anything of that caliber ever. I do believe  Hironobu Sakaguchi’s Mistwalker was a victim of the west’s bashing of Japanese games (post PS2 era) and Microsoft’s failure to penetrate Japan with their Xbox and Xbox 360. I regret not jumping into Xbox 360 earlier.

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After a two-week absence—which I’ll only be listing “reasons” and “aliens” as the primary culprits—your favorite Monday video game-related thing (just go with it) is back! If you somehow entered in a week long coma that ended this exact day, here’s a recap of the best stuff you’ve missed (that we happened to cover, at least):

Here’s to another awesome week!

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rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief — felt like I wasted my weekend playing bad games. First off the chopping block was Level 5’s Layton Brothers’ Mystery Room for the iOS; a title that proves once again without any guidance, polish or direction, Level 5 can only produce mediocre, soulless games. It’s essentially a Ace Attorney: Investigations knock-off that’s interesting enough, but nowhere near as endearing as the “official” Layton games character-wise, nor half as fun to play.

I continued the weekend watching a friend play through the beta of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn which is… um, wow, still a bad game. I have no idea why people are going apeshit over being “picked” for this game’s beta test (apart from idiots thinking omg, Final Fantasy + MMORPG); from what I’ve seen and played so far it’s still turgid trash. Pass.

I’m very excited however over finding an AGS-101 Game Boy Advance SP, however (aka the SP with the screen that doesn’t suck). I’m putting it through the paces right now with an intense round of Mr. Driller. Yay me.

 

cheenaCheena, Managing Editor—I’m on a gaming roll this week (end). Two major games off the bucket list now that I finished The Last of Us (with the husband) and Sleeping Dogs. TLOU officially makes a better zombie movie than any of the current fares thrown at us by Hollywood (World War Zzz). Add the old The Walking Dead (Telltale Games) and it will annihilate zombie movie makers everywhere. Whoever said games cannot be a powerful tool for telling stories is an idiot (I’m looking at you, Bioshock writer).

She’s definitely not a Yorda. She can fuck shit up, you know.

Sleeping Dogs was satisfying. I will be writing a full review sometime this week to gush more about Wei Shen so I guess I’ll pass talking about this game for now.

Then there was Project X Zone. Picked it up last Tuesday at DataBlitz but I only got to finish the prologues. Not enough game time yet to actually form solid impressions but from what I’ve seen, it’s really just going to be fan service from start to finish.

Also, Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I think this is the last time I will update  on my weekly list since I play it daily anyway! I’m still paying off mafia loans from the Nooks, and it looks like this will go on for weeks (or months) since there’s the second floor and the basement to take care of. Time to game the Stalk Market!

 

shinShin, News Editor—Started “Survivor Mode” on The Last of Us, taking the first step on the road to platinum (trophy). I have platinum’d all of the Naughty Dog games on PS3 so I feel kinda obligated to on TLOU. Plus, it’s a very good game! I just hope I can find all collectibles without consulting a walkthrough, because that’s not cool.

rhytm

I dusted off the old Wii and played a little Rhythm Heaven Fever. I’m one of those who does not want to move to a new stage if I can’t get a gold medal on the current one so after being frustrated on the stage with them monkeys in the big clock, I put the Wii in the drawer again for another rainy day.

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I be at my crib.

I also played a bit of sealed-play campaign on Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 on PSN. Sealed play is fun especially if you get awesome rare cards from them booster packs. I haven’t fine-tuned my deck yet but I’ll be sure to get more play time on this later tonight.

And lastly, the girlfriend and I are having a blast on Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Spare time subconsciously becomes bell-farming time which is kinda scary lol. I’m currently expanding my basement to set up a gaming den.

I asked her how come Animal Crossing looks really lame and a waste of time to a non-player but when that person actually plays it, he/she become hooked like it’s candy-flavored crack, to which she answered: “It brings out the hoarder in all of us”.

Nailed it.

 

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Looks like an impending LTTP review is due soon.

alexAlex, Editor of Things— I wasted no time in finishing The Last of Us on Monday of last week. I went through what was an eight (8) hour marathon and finished up around 4:00 am of the next day. I started a new game on “Survivor” difficulty and it seems like the only difference of that mode is the lack of Joel’s wall hack ability.

I’ve been inactive in Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the past week because I do not want to be a slave to the nook Mafia. But I’ll get around to playing again because my house still looks like a hodge podge of junk. I have zero interior decorating skills.

Guess who got around getting an Xbox 360 to play old titles like Lost Odyssey and whatever games I can borrow or buy to complete my current gen gaming bucket list before the next generation comes into full swing? I did and I went to great extent to avoid getting a Kinect bundle. I was able to find one in the same mall so hooray for me.

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cheenaCheena, Managing Editor—I’m still on Animal Crossing: New Leaf daily! I finished building a fountain, which I think is pretty much useless since nobody hangs out there. And why am I the only one donating for that public works project anyway? Protip: Start with bridges and campsites since they are more useful. Also, I invested on the expansion of my house and filled it right away with more junk (I keep buying useless furniture in Re-Tail and Nooks’ Junction). I suspect that the Nooks are mafias.

Visit my Hong Kong, or else!

Speaking of mafias, I recently started playing Sleeping Dogs last Friday night. I think I got glued to the PS3 for the whole weekend infiltrating Hong Kong gangs, racing with the big boys, picking up chicks at the karaoke and whatnot. Pretty sweet game that I can’t believe I passed on (and totally screwed Square Enix with by acquiring it as a PS+ freebie). I will try to finish within the week and write up a review for you guys so you can see what you’re missing out on (if you didn’t play the game previously like me anyway).

A bit of The Last of Us as well, but I still haven’t finished it yet. The game stresses me out because of all these damned Clickers. I’m also at the part where it is pretty meh with all the fighting so Sleeping Dogs pretty much took all my spare gaming time this weekend.

shinShin, News Editor—Just like Cheena, I’m compelled to take advantage of the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection. I’ve started X-COM: Enemy Unknown and Saint’s Row: The Third but I think I’ll stick with X-COM first as I don’t currently have the focus to play another open-world game.

I’m slowly grinding for The Last of Us multiplayer trophies. I figured I’d get them before the other players get too good on it. I play bow stealth and my favorite tactic is throwing a smoke bomb to a Firefly’s face and shiv his neck while he’s disoriented. Seeing my victim gurgle on his own blood feels good.

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Animal Cloning

I’ve also started playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS one week after the rest of the 30lives gang started (the girlfriend insisted we had to start at the same time). It’s cool because I get to raid their developed towns for fruits and stuff and get tips and pointers for raking in the bells. The animal citizens are so cute I want to put them in a cage. =(

And finally, we played an online session of Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara yesterday afternoon. I used to be able to finish the game on one credit before in the arcades but this time we used a gazillion continues lol.

Nothing on the PS Vita this week. Mainly because I forgot I left it in the GF’s bag and had to wait for Saturday to get it back. That and no new games for it anyway.

alexAlex, Editor of Things— I’m still sticking to my play TLOU  late at night and falling asleep before game time (11:00 pm) isn’t helping me get any closer to finishing the game. I’ll rectify that this week by playing early mornings (4:00 am) when I find myself getting up these days instead or whatever.

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Pocket change if AC is your life.

The stranglehold of the Nook Mafia on me in Animal Crossing: New Leaf just got worse. I was pretty proud of having one million bells in the bank last Friday on top of maintaining my housing loan and funding expensive public works only to find myself bled dry this morning after easing up on farming bugs and sharks. The reason you want to hardcore AC:NL is to avoid debt.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was a bust for me. Outside the usual production value you can come to expect from the musical score of a Final Fantasy game, the whole experience was pretty bland. Same old, same old with great background music. Shin tells me a lot of features are still locked in CBT so… I guess I’ll be back in OBT to give it one more shot. In the meantime, I guess I’ll finally get around to trying Neverwinter out. I’ve been apprehensive of online games as of late but since I already dipped my hands into one, let’s roll down that hill or something, eh?

I had a blast last Sunday with 30liv.es gang (less one afarid person) with some classic Dungeons and Dragons arcade action. Sadly, we weren’t going all “hardcore mode” trying to finish the game with only one credit. Alas, finishing Shadow over Mystara was not fulfilling at all. Although it was funny how we all dashed for loot every time a boss died and how I was indirectly torturing Star Rangers (strangers) who joined our game by speaking in Filipino over the in-game voice chat while the other guys were on PS Vita party chat. Yeah, got at least one guy to quit a game… :>

rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief— Um, what these guys said. I was too busy poisoning myself with alcohol over the weekend to even remotely care about games, but I did spend a good chunk of my Saturday night harrassing players in Shadow of Mystaria and another chunk of Sunday trying to retrace my progress on Sleeping Dogs (I eventually gave up and started a new save file). I never really finish open-world games; I tend to play them in small little bites over the course of a few months. In this case I had already played through the PC version (thanks to the allure of the glorious high-resolution texture pack) but decided to play through the PS3 version again for no apparent reasons other than to fill time during a boring Sunday afternoon.

I’ll be capping my night off with some Dr. Mario on my Game Boy Micro.

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Console of the forever.

E3 came and went, but depending on your particular tastes and biases, the dust still hasn’t settled on which next-gen behemoth reigns supreme. Since I did enjoy the fortune of having a solid two days of being able to play around with the hardware and software offerings of each console, I figured that the responsible thing to do is make a point-by-point comparison of each console’s strengths and declare tentative winners (obviously not based on final hardware) for each point. Onwards!

Graphics

DSC00884Let’s get this out of the way—the Xbox One isn’t quite as powerful as the PS4. Thanks to all the fun computer-y stuff that Kinect does in the background, you won’t get as much “oomph” out of the machine as you would with the new PlayStation. Even though the games you’ll be seeing come release day will be leaps and bounds from what you’ve been used to in this long and protracted console generation, expect Xbox One games to have less overall visual fidelity than their PlayStation 4 counterparts, though what kind of disparity to expect remains to be seen.

Edge: PlayStation 4. I’m actually pretty stoked about this console generation. Although both boxes are based on the same AMD-based architecture—to put it in layman’s terms—the PlayStation 4 has better stuff in the box and doesn’t have as much Kinect/OS overhead to deal with. We’ve dealt with consoles with practically similar horsepower for far too long, so it’s about time we get three (almost) completely unique products on the market!

Controllers

DSC00890The Xbox One’s joypad doesn’t have an official name, so for this comparison’s purposes I’m going to simply refer to it with the colloquial “Xbone controller.” That being said, Microsoft’s latest system does come bundled with some sort of contraption that looks like a wild streamlined amalgamation between the original Xbox’ duke controller and an Xbox 360 controller (come to think of it, that thing didn’t have an official buzzword name, did it?). Gone are the candy-looking buttons—and I sincerely hope none of you tried to lick your controllers just now trying to scope some strawberry—the Xbone controller’s subtle, clear black buttons and matte-textured surface subtly tells us that this is supposed to be a high-end piece of home theater kit first and foremost. Hey, it worked for the NES!

The elephant in the room here is Kinect 2.0. While I wasn’t able to successfully try out all of its neat tricks (blame most of their demos running on a crowded showfloor with a million people running back and forth instead of enclosed, private areas), from what I’ve seen elsewhere it looks like Microsoft actually was able to crunch the numbers and get all of the features it promised during its E3 2009 Project Natal unveiling out the door. While you won’t exactly be able to “scan in your skateboard” or do most of the nebulous BS they promised during initial concept videos, the tracking is way more accurate now than it was with the first Kinect iteration as the technology to do it is finally cheap enough to perform on a consumer level.

At the other end of the room is the DualShock 4. Marking the first significant departure in controller design on its home consoles since… well, the first DualShock, this brand-new design takes some of the basic design concepts out of Sony’s almost-perfect controller design and addresses key ergonomic and functionality feedback to bring it to the next generation. I can harp on about the new recessed d-pad, better triggers, and the very 3DO-like earphone jack, but the real star here is the all-new “share” button, which lets you actively share a snippet of game footage to networks like uStream (the system actively records the last fifteen minutes of gameplay in case you miss anything). Own your friends, bag and tag ’em (on Facebook); this does kill the capture card market but is an awesome feature for mean douchebags like us that have no issues with public shaming.

Edge: Xbox One. While both controllers are really solid pieces of tech, the Xbox One’s business model practically rides on how intuitive its input systems are supposed to be. The new controller is great and all, but if Microsoft is to be trusted, Kinect 2.0 is supposed to revolutionize how we p—alright I’m done, I couldn’t even finish that sentence with a straight face.

Games

DSC00944After getting a solid week to chew on each manufacturer’s respective press briefings, I’ll have to conclude that neither the PlayStation 4 nor the Xbox One had any games on launch that really appealed to me. Most of the stuff that they showed off that piqued my interest seemed really far off (Metal Gear Solid V, Destiny, Titanfall) and as is standard with any console launch, there are a bunch of questionable titles on each console’s roster (“gee, I’ve been waiting for a sequel to Killer Instinct,” said nobody ever). If you are at all into games, it looked like Sony had more tastes and bases covered, however. From indie offerings (Octodad), quirky and unique titles (Knack) and even the best kick-butt action games (Infamous), Sony made sure there’s something for everyone.

Edge: Wii U. Wildcard!

Overall, tentative winner: PlayStation 4. I personally have no interest in running yet another media center extender-type device around my house; I have an old Vizio Co-Star Google TV system that works just fine for that purpose. I really have no desire to mess around with all of the required Kinect horse piles that Microsoft’s forced on us with its new system. Stallion comparisons aside, and not to beat a dead one but the fact that the PS4 is releasing at a full $100 lower and has the distinct ability of actually being usable in the Philippines is delicious icing on the cake.

Look, we love playing videogames, so at least for this fiscal year the PlayStation 4 gets our unilateral nod as the console that won E3; whatever that’s worth.

And for everyone else still on the fence, here’s a handy-dandy comparison chart to help you compare each system’s strengths and weaknesses in a (n admittedly) skewed format. We also threw in the Wii U there for no other reason than to be mean.

Sony PlayStation 4 Microsoft Xbox One Nintendo Wii U
Price $399.99 $499.99 $349.99 / $299.99
Availability Holiday Season (no exact date yet) November (no exact date yet) Launched
Game DVR Y Y N
RAM 8GB GDDR5 8GB DDR3 2GB DDR3
CPU Single-chip x86 AMD “Jaguar” processor, 8 cores 8 Core Microsoft custom CPU Multi-Core PowerPC “Espresso” CPU
Storage 500 GB Hard Drive 500 GB Hard Drive 8GB or 32GB Flash
External Storage TBA Yes, USB Yes, USB
Cloud Storage Y Y N
Mandatory Game Installs N Y N
Need For Always-On Net Connectivity N Y N
Used Game Fee N Y N
Backwards Compatibility None None Yes, Wii
Cross-Game Chat Y Y N
Motion Control DualShock 4, PlayStation 4 Eye, PlayStation Move Kinect 2 Wii Remote, Wii U GamePad (included)
Second Screen Vita (not included) SmartGlass (not included) Wii U GamePad (included)
Voice Commands TBA Y N
Subscription Service PlayStation Plus Xbox Live N
USB USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Live Streaming Y Y N
Reputation Preservation Trophies will be ported Achievements will be ported N/A
Web Connection Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, LAN via USB dongle
BlueTooth Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR) No* Bluetooth Support
A/V Hookups HDMI (4K Support) , Analog (Component, RCA), Optical output HDMI input and output (4K support), Optical output HDMI out, Component/ Composite out
Region Locked N Y Y

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rubs Rubs, Editor-in-Chief—Since I got the game a week early, I know all of my 30lives peers have been busy sinking their teeth on Naughty Dog’s PS3 swan song, The Last of Us. I, however, have been busy farming sharks and winning Bug-offs in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

Apart from that, I did pick up my Vampire Rain save file from a few months ago. Completely underrated title that everyone needs to check out; I got my copy for two bucks a few months ago and I’d say it’s probably worth ten times that.

Semi-related, I did just finish watching WWE Payback on Sony’s new streaming service for the PS3. I guess since Xbox gets UFC events for free, Sony’s feeling the need to counter back with some free fake-fighting PPVs of their own?

cheenaCheena, Managing Editor—This week’s worth of gaming was capped off by Animal Crossing: New Leaf and The Last of Us. I’ve planted a few sets of trees to supplement my town’s pear production by stealing fruits from unsuspecting friends. Also discovered the wonderful tropical island where I got most of my exotic bugs to win the Bug-Off event last Saturday. So far, most of my fortune cookies gave me Zelda items like the Triforce, Master Sword and Midna’s mask. What’s up with that?

tlou

As for The Last of Us, we’re (husband and I) at about 50% done with the game. Too much things happening in the game and it’s hard to get a breather, seriously. I wonder where Joel and Ellie get the strength to keep shiving and throwing bricks at these clickers? Also, Man of Steel stole some of the free time we had last Saturday and it was a time NOT well-spent. Should’ve stayed home to play!

Another thing of note: we had to buy a new PS3 super slim just to play TLOU. Apparently, my old PS3 slim’s lens conked out and cannot read dual layer discs anymore. Ah well, into the bedroom for casual gaming you go!

Finally, there’s XCOM which is the free PS+ full game for the month! Well, I’m sure most of you guys have finished the game already but I haven’t. Sinking my teeth into a strategy game for now and I should be able to finish it in the next few days.

shinShin, News Editor—I created a couple of characters for the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn closed beta test for the PS3. I made a kitty race (forgot the actual name of the race) Lancer and a midget (again, forgot) Black Mage. ARR is a real improvement from FFXIV v.1; quests are more streamlined and the tutorials are now actually helpful. The dualshock 3 controller scheme is brilliant and intuitive. I know I kinda swore off MMORPGs in general but I think I’ll give this a try. Good job, Squenix! [Edit: The name of the cat-like race is “Miqo’te”. I learned how to google]

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Meet my Shinyan Tailspin. He is half Neko, half Disney.

E3 came with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 news and it looks awesome. And because of that, I would really like to finish the 3DS game that bridge the first and second game. So yeah I was TRYING to finish Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate but I seem to get afflicted with narcolepsy with every attempt.

Yes, of course I’m also playing Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us like the other guys. What the other guys are not playing though, is its kickass multiplayer mode! Seriously, I think they are afraid. What a bunch of noobs.

alexAlex, Editor of Things—I’m now splitting my time between The Last of Us (TLOU) and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. The latter of which is taking up most of my time because: grindan adventures. I’ve made a resolution to play TLOU late at night just for kicks so I won’t get that much playing time granted that I’m not a night person.

TLOU is certainly a great game but I do have beef about all the “perfect” ratings of the game from reviews. How does a perfect game graphically not run on a smooth 60 FPS at 720p? I certainly found that bit annoying but certainly not a deal breaker. I, however fell victim to the “save bug” which rendered my initial 2-3 hours of gameplay moot. Again, perfect game my foot. I will grudgingly pass my first playthrough’s progress tonight. Eat molotov ya shitty clickers.

HNI_0051
I have an abundance of sharks and bad puns.

It’s no secret that I’ve been “hardcoring” a casual game (Animal Crossing) but those blasted Nooks keep making me fall into debt and between passing new ordinances and public works, there is never enough Bells to go around town. Bug hunting in the tropical island is great between 5:00 am to 8:00 am or 11:00 pm to 2:00 am (so when do I actually play TLOU?) in my experience. I made most of my money catching rare bugs and sharks during these times.

While my peers here are reaping the benefits of the latest free games on PS+, I really don’t care… I finished most of those games already. If anything, those new PS+ instant game collections make me feel like I’m burning money.

Lastly, thanks to Chip (one of our awesome readers), I’ll be able to jump into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn this weekend when the second round of closed beta testing happens next weekend.

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Happy first week of June, dear readers! I’m pretty sure I have a handy and wildly inappropriate “June bug” joke ready, but the one-two combo of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and The Last of Us is currently keeping my brain’s neurons occupied with wildly varying patterns of talking animals and gruesome murder. Somehow this has metamorphosized to my new hobby: looking at giraffe birthing videos on Youtube.

Let’s all try to survive this week. The weekend seems so far away, dudes…

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Catch up, sleepy gamers! If you haven’t been reading 30lives daily like you should, we won’t hold it against you. As long as you read everything from this edition of “Best of the Week,” we’ll personally assure you that your collective armpits will never turn dark.

Have a good week guys! And to get updates straight to your news feed, add us on Facebook! We won’t try to sell you anything or take you to MLM meetings like your other idiot friends, we promise.