Tags Posts tagged with "playstation 3"

playstation 3

Grand Theft Auto V is this week’s game.

That’s it. Thanks for coming!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Hot Wheels Worlds Best Driver (Wii U/3DS Retail)

We Sing: 80s (Wii U Retail)

Cut the Rope (3DS eShop)

Rage of the Gladiators (3DS eShop)

Star Wars Pinball (3DS eShop)

AiRace Speed (3DS eShop)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Capcom Fighting Evolution (PS2 Classic)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack Pack (PS3 DLC)

Real Boxing (PS Vita PSN)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (Retail)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (Retail)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (DLC)

 

Foul Play (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Ironclad Tactics (PC/Mac)

Takedown: Red Sabre (PC/Mac)

Urban Trial Freestyle (PC Steam)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PC Steam DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (PC Steam DLC)

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Dive Kick is a fighting game that literally uses only two (2) buttons to play. The D-pad is of no use in this game so there aren’t any complex input patterns or chain combos you have to memorize in order to pick up this game. As a matter of fact, one or two games in, you’ll automatically “get” this game. Despite the simplicity of the game’s control, Dive Kick is able to draw in fighting game newbies and veterans alike with a surprising amount of depth. I also have to point out that I’m a very casual player of fighting games.

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Timing is the name of the game:

With the game in a perpetual state of sudden death, one hit is all you need to win a round in Dive Kick. Each of the thirteen (13) characters in the game’s roster play differently even if your input device is limited to only two (2) buttons. The variation in play style of each character lies in how high they can “dive” (jump), the angle of their kick, the velocity of said kick, and then there are some x-factors which are special moves activated by pressing the two buttons at the same time and the kick meter powers (super moves). You goal is simply to trick your opponent into a position where they are unable to avoid your dive kick (you can’t block in this game). As I said, anybody can pick up on this game without having to go through rigorous move-list memorizing and single player training on combos and learning the proper timing of special moves. You can play this game with anyone, even people who have no aptitude or interest in playing games in general.

One shot is all you need to win
One shot is all you need to win

Talking Trash:

Even if tensions would run high, I believe trash talking plays an important role in fighting games because its one of the best tools to psyce people out (just don’t get too personal). Dive Kick goes out of its way to highlight people when they are sucking real bad with the fraud and choke detection system. These “systems” basically just add insult to injury when a player fails to win a single round or lose the game to  a five to zero comeback all in good fun. Also, for the first time ever (I think), head shots matter in a fighting game! Kicking someone in the head will not only give you a rush with a “headshot” victory banner, you will also render your opponent dizzy for the next round making their dive kicks less effective for a fixed period of time on top of cancelling out their kick meter (super move bar). There is even a gem you can equip before a match called the YOLO gem (self explanatory) and nothing is more humiliating than getting your ass kicked by someone with that gem.

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Stretching Out The Game:

There are thirteen (13) characters with funny background stories which will compel you to finish story mode just to see what hilarity ensues at the ending for each character. Outside that, there is online multiplayer for casual games and ranked games. You’ll need to go online and fight ranked matches to acquire all trophies which will take quite some time because the feats you have to pull off aren’t exactly easy (if you don’t cheat and farm them with a friend). Other than that, it would really depend on your group of friends or if the game is actually going to show up in your local tournament. Dive Kick is actually an EVO approved game.

Good Points:

There is enough depth and fun to go around for everyone in this game for fighting game veterans and people who couldn’t care less about the genre.

It’s a great game to break out anywhere (you can play versus mode with two human players on one PS Vita) it’s a great game to kill time with.

Dive Kick doesn’t take itself seriously despite the raves of people on how deep the game is. The creators of the game still treat Dive Kick as a parody game and with that, there is a lot of good laughs to go around from the character back stories to Uncle Sensei’s pre-match tips.

Bad Points:

The simplistic controls will eventually bare down on you despite of the depth of the game. It will be hard to play this game for extended periods of time.

Things Which Can Go Either Way: 

The intentional comedic character design, dialogue, and character voices may not appeal to everyone or may not get the jokes because there are a lot of references to fighting games and culture. I don’t get most of them.

The art style and character design will not appeal to everyone.

Dive Kick will probably piss hardcore fighting game veterans when they lose to a clueless newbie (which is entirely possible).

Japan had this patch couple of weeks ago and now I fire up my PS Vita version of Dragon’s Crown and was greeted with the much-awaited prompt:

DCPATCH

The patch adds:

  • You can pickup hidden items with the finger cursor.
  • The L1 button on PS3 and the L button on Vita can be used for item shortcuts.
  • The dagger and bomb can be thrown diagonally by pressing the left stick up and pressing triangle.
  • An added feature allows you to repair all of the items in your bag at once.
  • The online menu has a feature to select an area so you can play with other adventures from the same region.
  • Runestones are more visible in the background.
  • Various other gameplay tweaks like more arrow drops depending on the number of Elf players in the party.

Pretty neat, eh?

It would’ve been more neater if they made it available before I got the Platinum Trophy for the damn game. (Grr)

UPDATE: I checked and the update also popped up for my PS3 version.

 

Killer is Dead is a third-person action slasher from the creative mind of Goichi Suda (Suda51) from Grasshopper Manufacture. The game’s tone is highly stylized and its plot outrageous enough to ruffle some feathers causing a sort of online debate between an XSEED employee and a guy who made a video dissing Suda 51. There were probably more discussions on Killer is Dead in a similar light (sexism, objectification of women) but honestly I wouldn’t focus on it so let’s get past that and get into everything else about the game as “Gigolo mode” is not the only thing going on for the game.

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We’ll never know how she does that trick. Aliens.

You play the role of Mondo Zappa who works for an “execution agency” which fulfills job requests to execute killers. Each main episode will take you to different places from a dinky back alley to the moon and face off against weird and freakish monstrosities called “Wires” who were once people but corrupted by an energy coming from the “Dark Side of the Moon” (he he he). Each plot character helps you out during the course of certain missions. Mika Takekawa, your plucky live-in assistant revives you when you run out of health for a price which you pre-pay by purchasing a “Mika Ticket” from the gift shop. Simply put, these tickets are continues. Vivienne Squall, is your boss who gives you a ride when chasing mobile targets or provides you with suppressing fire in dicey situations. Bryan Roses, a full fledged cyborg, is the chief of your execution office, when he isn’t taking on clients who end up skipping the payment portion of an execution contract, he brings in the heavy artillery by setting up a Gatling gun  to take out targets from a distance in certain missions. Mondo doesn’t seem to remember too much about his past but slowly regains his memories as the plot unravels his unmistakable connection with the dark energies coming from the moon.

You have two modes of attack in Killer is Dead, your katana and your cyborg arm which can turn into a machine gun, drill arm, freeze gun, and charge pulse rifle. Mondo can unlock attack skills by gathering moon crystals from killing Wire minions. Speaking of crystals, while they drop randomly from underlings, you can force a specific type of crystal to drop upon killing them by executing them. The execution sequence triggers when you have a high chain combo and knock an enemy’s HP to zero, you will then be prompted to select the Square, Triangle, Circle, or X button each of which will force a copious amount of crystals to drop from each bad guy. Mondo’s left arm is powered by blood crystals so you will need a blood resupply every now and then so you’ll definitely want to keep your chain combos up to maintain a seemingly endless supply of blood (like there is any shortage of that in the game). There really is a lot going on the screen when you get into the meat of the game so you’ll be mashing buttons in a certain pattern like crazy which is what I believe such action games are all about. If you’re not mashing buttons enough, you’re probably playing a crappy action game.

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Good Points:

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Blue streaks come out of your katana when you up your attack speed through making high-chain combos.

Killer is Dead has a very rewarding combat experience when you get a hang of the game’s combo and defense system. Mondo’s attacks increase in speed and flare when you start stringing up high number combos (20 hits and above) and that’s when everything goes wild. You will be facing enemies from all directions and some of them will even shoot your from a far. Getting the hang of executing “dodge bursts” and “just guards” will treat you to a string of bloody-cool finishing moves and make you feel a million times cooler than you are in real life (obvious exaggeration may have to be pointed out here).  You can tell that the game is developed for anybody to have a real blast because you can score in a lot of lucky dodges and guards simply by mashing buttons. It’s a good thing that mashing buttons can get you through a stage, but only mastery of the game will net you a highest possible rank in a mission so the game is still challenging even if complete noobs can enjoy the game.

The music of the game is a great accompaniment to the mash-ups of locations, Suda 51’s inspirations for the game (Bayformers, James Bond, and Samurai Champloo), and even  specific situations (like the intimate scenes with the Mondo girls). There is a healthy mix of music genres in the game to keep it refreshing all through-out the game.

Bad Points:

There really isn’t anything to get behind the fragments of the game’s plot. Not like I was expecting extensive back stories on characters or anything but aside from the cool fight mechanics in combat, the plot of the story is barely fascinating or amusing and the punch lines for the jokes in the game were weak, very weak. A lot of things just simply didn’t make sense even if they are being tied up to the main story line but hey, unicorns! Let’s not bother explaining why they exist in the game, I guess Suda 51 and the rest of the team were taking LSD when they thought of that.

Display issues. Frame rates drop frequently when there are a lot of elements or particles on screen and on top of that there are times when the camera angles would mess up your view causing you to lose track of your targets or surroundings that would break your combo chain and possibly cost you the highest rank in a mission. I get hit with bad angles a lot and they tend to become very frustrating.

The mechanics for “gigolo mode” in Killer is Dead are extremely awkward for people who’ve gotten past the “curiosity” stage of growing up. I believe there is no need for an in-depth discussion on why would one feel uncomfortable with having to stare at women’s breasts, crotch, or hips (without the woman taking notice of your blatant eye-banging)  to muster enough courage to present gifts to women to gain affection and eventually make her agree with sleeping with you. The Gigolo glasses that come as DLC with every launch copy allows you to see the women in lingerie  (just like every boy’s dream of having “x-ray specs). The reasons you’ll be doing gigolo mode (hopefully) is to acquire new left arm attachments and for trophies. If you’re motivated by anything more than that, I would seriously recommend that you seek #help. For the record, the Gigolo Glasses increase your courage at a higher rate so I use them in the game so I get to see them in their lingerie all the time.

While we’re on the topic, I might as well touch the part were you get intimate with the Mondo Girls, specifically (Natalie, Koharu, and Betty (bonus DLC vampire.) There are three intimate scenes which just get more risque. Betty is basically a re-skin of Natalie whose scenes are pretty much your generic Hollywood movie scene while Koharu’s scenes play on men’s fantasy of a traditional Japanese girl with a hidden beast locked away inside her. When you get intimate with Koharu, there are taiko drums banging in the background and then you know why there is a hard, banging, and rhythmic beat going on right? I don’t know if I’m just wired the wrong way but I found it funny because it was obviously intentional and people, haven’t you not all done some kinky stuff in your lives?

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If its any consolation to those who would be deeply offended by this mode, one Mondo girl (Scarlet) does not operate within the confines of said gigolo mode but rather is the issuer of challenge missions where you have to beat regular bad guys with certain conditions such as (kill one type of enemy only, killing anything else means mission failure) and they’re not exactly easy. That’s more replay value right there.

Things That Swing Either Way:

Playing the game is easy but mastering it is hard. You can play through the story and the side quests without having to master the game and/or have mad twitch skills. However, I believe that people who like challenges should purchase this game and aspire to score a platinum trophy. I’m telling your right now getting a “plat” in this game would be a big achievement.

You will simply look too damned cool in this game. If stylized violence is your thing (not if you want to murder people IRL, okay?), you need not look further.

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In line with scoring platinum trophy, the game’s main missions are very short (6-7 hours tops). If you wanted to, you could finish the game in one sitting and it’s not even going to be that hard. If you don’t like exploring side quests or finding hidden items within stages, there isn’t going to be much value for you especially if you think  that the story line jumps into any sort of deep or existential discussions and similar (pretentious crap) themes people will gush about.

I have yet to find Juliet Starling in the game so that is more reason to go back to the game and the mere fact that a game crossover is included in the game as a secret rather than a DLC is certainly something refreshing to see in this day and age. Then again, an exuberant chainsaw wielding cheerleader may not be for everyone. So there’s that too.

Juliet_Starling_in_Killer_is_Dead
What happens between them? I don’t know. I have to find her first.

In Conclusion:

Killer is Dead has core game mechanics which rewards players who learn them with a fun time hacking, slashing, and shooting people in style. The game’s over-the-top treatment of everything points to the obvious that things are grossly exaggerated in the game so there is little merit to attack the game because of the Gigolo Mode. While possibly done in poor taste, they may have lost sales but let’s not start a revolution over it. While not being one of those “serious games”, the humor in the game is severely lacking so the game barely got a chuckle out of me even though some parts were meant to be funny. The music of the game sucks you into the mood real good whether you are busting through a Japanese fortress, dueling on the moon, or getting intimate with the Mondo Girls which sets a pretty good bar in terms of musical score for games. The violence and sexual content of this game however will make me think twice about letting kids (and immature people in general) playing this game. Killer is Dead is one of those games you don’t want to buy for your kids or if you do, better give them “the talk” and set them straight because if this is their reality for dating women, help…

If you’re going to pick-up Killer is Dead, I suggest you wait for the R1 version of the game which includes a 25 track OST and an art book for all launch copies. The R3 copy I bought just has the “Smooth Operator” DLC which is also included in the R1 copy of the game.

Oh and the game is in dual audio so you can go English voice or Japanese voice. I prefer the English voices but Mondo sounds nothing like a James Bond in both audio options.

Capcom just announced in the San Diego Comic Convention the return of their elite ninja agent Strider Hiryu in a brand new Strider game in development for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and next generation consoles Playstation 4 and Xbox One (still no love for the Wii U here I see) and is scheduled for release in 2014.

Like most modern-day renditions of classic games, Strider stays true to its roots and promises you the same old fast-paced and fluid action the original Strider games were known for before Strider Hiryu became a jobber in Capcom’s cross over fighting games. Check out the first trailer below:

 

Strider is being developed by Double Helix Games in conjunction with Capcom and is scheduled for digital release in early 2014.

That’s right, we have a release date for SUDA51’s next over-the-top action and fan service game Killer is Dead (it’s August 27, 2013 if you didn’t read the title). If graphic violence, outright crazy story lines, fast-paced action, and bodacious cartoon babes aren’t enough to hook you to get a copy at launch, XSEED Games has included the following bonuses for all launch copies:

  • An 80-page hardcover art book of Killer is Dead

    KID_LaunchEdition_Image
    This is a preview of the game box art and bonus art book.
  • A Killer is Dead soundtrack CD containing 25 tracks
  • The ‘Smooth Operator’ DLC pack containing the following:
    • Bonus in-game goods ‘Gigolo Glasses,’ an alternate costume for Vivienne and Mika
    • A bonus ‘Gigolo Mission’ with Betty
    • An additional episode with the vampiric Sebastian

You play the role of Mondo Zappa, a new recruit of an “execution agency” which targets criminals. Mondo’s weapon of choice is a Katana but also has a bionic left arm which can be modified with different attachments. Between cutting your way through bad guys and facing the final boss of the stage you can engage in gigolo missions where the goal is not to kill anything but to please the ladies to receive presents and rewards from them if you’re a smooth operator.  For preview on the action game play of Killer is Dead, you can view the trailer above but if you’re all about the fan service this trailer will give you a glimpse of what to expect:

 

For more details on Killer is Dead, check out the game’s official site at:  http://www.loveandkill.com.

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Killer is Dead was developed jointly by KADOKAWA GAMES and Goichi Suda (aka SUDA51) and his GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE studio and published by XSEED Games under Marvelous USA, Inc.

l_515e631ad8bb6Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー, Masked Rider) has been around for more than four decades. Created by Shotaro Ishinomori, it gave the Tokusatsu genre the bug-eyed (Rider) kick it needs, as if the world isn’t big enough for the legendary giants Godzilla or Ultraman and the prismatic Super Sentai series.

There are TONS of Kamen Rider video games, most being action brawlers/fighting games. Classics like The Great Battle series, pit characters from the Ultraman, Kamen Rider & Gundam universes together in an action platformer. This game, Kamen Rider Battride War for the Playstation 3 is the first time the series utilizes a Musou-style (無双, unmatched/unparalleled) gameplay.

Musou games are typically Tecmo-Koei’s signature prized masterpieces, notably in their Dynasty Warriors games, with the latest being ONE PIECE Kaizoku Musou (ワンピース海賊無双) or ONE PIECE Pirate Warriors in the West.

Kamen Rider Battride War sadly only features Heisei period (contemporary era) Kamen Riders, so you can only use Kuuga all the way up to this year’s Wizard. Filipino fans of Kamen Rider Black are out of luck, because he’s a Showa period Kamen Rider, the second to the last in fact, so he missed being in this game by a sliver of a few years.

Despite this game’s unfortunate namesake (no more butt jokes please, it gets old VERY fast), is a button-mashing action game, with motorcycles/bikes, the standard of Kamen Rider transportation. The name “Battride” is a portmanteau of the words “battle” and “ride”, and the game makes it a point that you actually use your bikes, so let’s get on with it:

ss14    ss03

Despite incorporating bike-riding in its core gameplay, mounting your 2-wheeled machines of doom is relegated down to… just for moving around quick on the rather large maps. You can’t kill enemies by running them over with your bike (boooo), but you can see them fall down flat on their faces.

Although there are plenty of ramps around the maps and glowing yellow rings to ram your bikes into to get additional points to level up at the end of each map clear, but I was expecting too much. I hoped that because it’s called “Battride”, there would actually be bike fights or using your bike to smite down ugly evil-doers, but I was sorely mistaken.

ss02    ss24

Now for the gameplay. A Musou-style game is basically just repeatedly pressing buttons until the hordes of dumb grunts (moving around and rarely attacking) die.  Press the square button to use normal attacks, occasionally press the triangle or circle buttons to trigger a powerful AoE move to clean up the mess, or press triangle and circle together to unleash a signature finisher, usually Rider Kick, an action required to perform at the end of each boss battle.

Almost all Kamen Riders have different “forms”, which you can transform into by holding the R1 button, and when the power gauge is full (below the HP gauge), press R2 to trigger their ultimate form to quickly take out opponents with devastating attacks (this is especially useful against bosses).

Each Kamen Rider has his own set of moves and combos, even if the buttons you press are usually the same. They even have their own ups and downs in terms of stats. Kiba has skills related to jumping and flying, Kabuto has an ultra-powerful Rider Kick but requires the triangle-circle combo pressed four times in a row, Blade can’t change forms, but has access to a plethora of finishing moves provided you have the points (think MP gauge) to spend. One of my favorites, Decade, can transform into any other Kamen Rider, complete with access to their combos, and varied super finishers.

ab4_ss1    ab4_ss2

The game has 3 modes: Chronicle, the “story mode” where you unlock playable Kamen Riders, the Rider Road where the challenging/difficult missions are, and the Free Mission where you get the opportunity to play Chronicle Mode using any Kamen Rider of your choice. There is no easy mode, and on first playthrough you start with only Normal and Hard difficulty.

Chronicle is very short, and unlocking all the Kamen Riders already give it a 58% completion. Rider Road maps are single challenge campaigns where you use a Kamen Rider to clear 3 maps in a row, with the first 2 being stages and the third usually as a boss fight. Free Mission is nothing too special, but it gives the game a small form of flexibility.

Items are in the forms of “figures” (action figures), purchased using points collected at the end of each mission or by completing Rider Road challenges. Kamen Riders have 3 skill slots and you “equip” them with said figures, giving them menial or special stat boosts. Figures start from rank D with ordinary buffs, and may go as high as A or S, which cost more. Some rank D figures boost experience by a small margin, while some forfeit abilities in exchange for powerful effects (one of Decade’s figures disallows healing from life globes, but in exchange highly boosts attack power).

ss01    ss22

The game’s best features are actually the graphics and the sound. Bandai-Namco (Bamco) made sure to put a LOT of effort to make this game flashy. All Kamen Rider looks and movements are smooth and intricately detailed, even the enemies, grunts and the environment. In fact, all visual effects unique to each Kamen Rider, especially on finishing moves like their Rider Kicks, transformation to other forms and the light coming from their belts are all present and accounted for, including the SOUND EFFECTS.

Speaking of sound effects, the game has a special, more expensive “Premium TV Sound Edition” where the game uses the actual songs used in the shows, especially the iconic opening themes. You may also use the in-game tracks, but they are not as epic as the songs themselves. Kamen Rider fans will find themselves singing, not humming, to the tracks as they beat the crap out of anything, effectively amping up the ass-kicking experience, it feels like you’re “playing” the show.

So after all that lengthy commentary, let’s sublime them into these finer, easier to read bullet points:

THE GOOD:

  • Premium TV Sound Edition uses the actual songs in BGMs. YOU WILL END UP SINGING AS YOU PLAY.
  • The graphics are really good. A lot of effort is put into the flashy effects, even the movements and sound effects of finishing moves.
  • Kamen Riders have different moves and systems, despite having similar button combo patterns. There is variety.
  • Most, if not all of the original actors reprise their roles in voicing their characters.

THE BAD:

  • Contains only Heisei era Kamen Riders. Old school Showa era Kamen Riders not included.
  • The game is too repetitive, despite the gimmicks and add-ons… a disadvantage of playing a Musou-style game.
  • Bike riding needs to be expanded on, instead of just a means of transportation. Should have bike fights or special moves while riding in bikes, but that’s probably asking too much.
  • Premium TV Sound Edition is bloody expensive, but it’s expected, to pay royalties for the artists.

THINGS THAT COULD SWING EITHER WAY:

  • May appeal only exclusively to Kamen Rider fans. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. This game can be used to initiate people into liking the Kamen Rider series.
  • The Musou-style gameplay is a good stress reliever, but can bore you to death.
  • You may or may not need to have some background on Kamen Riders to play the game, but having some knowledge is good.
  • You may not need to know Japanese to finish the missions (map markers are enough to tell you where to go), but will need knowledge on using/equipping items (figures) to strengthen your characters.i>

ss05Despite the obvious flaws, Kamen Rider Battride War is an objectively enjoyable game to play and is a golden treat to Kamen Rider fans. If you have the cash, it’s advised to get the Premium TV Sound Edition instead for a more genuine experience; a significant parallel to the shows. If Bamco decides to make a sequel to this, I would definitely buy it, but for non-Kamen Rider fans you may opt to borrow a copy or buy it discounted.

The game is now out in Japan! Luckily, they’re readily available online as you may purchase the ordinary version and the Premium TV Sound Edition at Play-Asia.com. For those who are unwilling to procure online, try requesting it from Greattoysonline.com at their many toyshops across the metro, preferably at their Shoppesville branch at Greenhills.

 

Screenshots furnished by Famitsu and the Official Site.

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Love em’ or hate em’, X-Play is here to stay and their latest venture in physical retail game distribution has landed them with Naughty Dog’s swan song for this generation: The Last of Us. While none of us here at 30liv.es buy that “gaming’s Citizen Kane moment” hype, our review of the game is pretty stellar and you should pick up a copy of The Last of Us if you haven’t scored a copy yet.

The first sixty (60) buyers from the select Netopia branches below will receive the “Sights and Sounds” DLC pack which contains the following:

  • The Official Game Soundtrack by Academy Award winning musician Gustavo Santaolalla
  • A XMB Desktop Theme
  • and PSN Avatars: Winter Joel & Ellie

The Last of Us from X-Play will retail at P2,595 and are available now in the following Netopia branches:

  • Robinson’s Manila
  • Robinson’s Galleria
  • SM Mall of Asia
  • MRT Guadalupe
  • Greenbelt
  • SM North EDSA
  • SM Megamall
  • Lucky China Town Mall
  • SM Batangas
  • Shoppesville, Greenhills
  • SM Iloilo
  • Robinson’s Bacolod

You can also order a copy of The Last of Us online via Lazada.com.ph for P2,748. X-Play has confirmed that their copies are all of the R3 “steel book” kind and no, X-Play is not the exclusive distributor of the game in the Philippines.

While X-Play’s copies of The Last of Us are more expensive compared to your friendly neighborhood game stores, you’ve at least got an alternative should Datablitz, Game One Gadget, or your regular game store runs out of stock.

Ed. Note: Here’s something that brought up a heated discussion between our editors: X-Play’s pricing is a bit higher than stores like Datablitz, but does the latter store’s status of being the loss leader set a bad precedent? X-Play has licensing overhead costs to cover which brings us to YET another point — where the hell are stores like Datablitz getting their stocks from?

We’d love to hear our readers’ take on this!

FF12a
In HD and on the PS Vita? Yes please.

In a recent interview by RPGsite with Final Fantasy X producer Yoshinori Kitase revealed the challenges of developing the HD remake and teases us the possibilities of  more HD remakes of beloved Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy XII to be exact. All these possibilities seem to hinge on the success of the Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD remakes which were announced as early as the Tokyo Game Show in 2011 and is just about to see the light of day two years later in 2013 due to development challenges. I’m pretty sure everyone will be excited at the prospect of a Final Fantasy XII HD remake. I sure as hell am, having forgone the opportunity to play the game back in the day.

Read the whole interview at: RPGsite

Ka-pow!Naughty Dog is in a troublesome position at the moment. Previously pidgeonholed in its humble beginnings as “that Crash Bandicoot developer” (prior to that, being the only developer with enough brass to actually sneak in a nude code in their game), the studio started reinventing themselves in the early noughts with far more epic experiences like Jak and the Uncharted series. One could progressively notice the studio’s increasing ambitions on creating “epic” (for lack of a better word) experiences and delivering it to the player. Indeed, Uncharted could be best explained as the first instance this generation of “content tourism,” a series hallmarked by relatively shallow gameplay experiences surrounded by such pomp and circumstance that the actual mechanics of the game are ancillary to the narrative, instead of the other way around.

the-last-of-us-playstation-3-ps3-1338890490-039
We were just wrestling, I swear!

I’ll have to say, I appreciate Naughty Dog’s restraint: though increasingly shallow as the game’s clock progresses, the gameplay doesn’t quite take that big of a backseat to the action as I initially feared. Unlike Bioshock Infinite’s “shoot, talk-y bits, shoot” formula, TLOU has the player perform a steady stream of tasks in medias res while the narrative moves forward. True, cutscenes are there to break the game apart, but the gameplay bits are evenly peppered across the story. It almost plays like an improved version of Uncharted, without the annoying platform bits and a heck of a lot more stealth. The game’s emphasis on brawling rather than gunplay is much appreciated, and adds to the tense and helpless atmosphere it rightly delivers.

The main character Joel is about as a generic an everyman as you’re going to get; a far cry from the awesome wish-fulfilling Nathan Drake, who gets all the chicks and wins against the bad guys every single time. Joel is perhaps the polar opposite of someone like Drake; as he’s just a rough and tumble Texan who found himself in a trully messed-up situation. He’s just a normal guy trying to survive, and that sense of normalcy has implications in how the game plays, as I just mentioned. Joel (no last name, I guess) does not possess the same amount of core strength that Nate Drake has; ergo you won’t see him making any impossible jumps or scale up miles worth of cliffs. He is a bit of a badass, but not exactly a martial arts expert: as a result, the brawling tends up being on the rough and gritty side of things, a far cry from Uncharted’s almost pro wrestling-like fight choreography.

Accompanying him through the adventure is Ellie, completely controlled by the AI but that not good of an AI companion. Unlike Elizabeth “ammo and health out of nowhere!” from Bioshock Infinite, she’s there pretty much as moral support and to distract an enemy or two in scripted sequences. Again, you’ll have to ground yourself and remember that these are normal people (a point that works much to the game’s benefit); Ellie isn’t some magical loli that will zap the bad guys with her sexy witchcraft.

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Although The Last of Us traipses familiar cinematic territory (much like Uncharted was more than a subtle nod to Indiana Jones, this game is akin to post-apocalyptic classics as Children of Men), I felt that there are enough unique points in the narrative to not warrant this as a complete genre knock-off. The game shuttles you through various points of the United States where you are to escort Ellie and deliver her to an underground group called The Fireflies. The journey itself actually has more high points than the climax (which honestly was a little flat, in retrospect), and as content-tourism games go, this game takes the cake as it wistfully shuttles you through cities in varying states of decay, while still showing off a whole array of spots to gawk at.

Though I appreciate the game’s underlying sense of tense urgency, I feel that the gameplay implications are far less important than what other reviews out there have claimed. Commands like crafting are done in real-time, sure, but it doesn’t take more than five seconds to craft anything. Supplies are plentiful, and ammo—while not quite Resident Evil 5-levels of abundance—isn’t that scarce of a resource either. If you know how to pick your spots, the game is honestly a cakewalk as there is hardly any resource-management or sacrificial choices involved anywhere. A survival game, this is not.

I’ve already harped on this point above, but there is absolutely nothing compelling or special about the game’s narrative. If you’ve watched enough horror films, you know where all the pieces fall into place and where each trope or cliche will start cropping up. Granted the package does sell itself well as an epic and harrowing experience, but don’t expect anything amazingly novel about the game’s premise, or you will end up disappointed.

the-last-of-us-playstation-3-ps3-1359974447-072I guess it’s because they’re banking on the fact that gamers are generally sheltered and not very culturally-aware, but this is one of the problems with the “Hollywood gaming” set: I had the same problems with Bioshock Infinite where I could easily tell where this game’s influences came from (I too have no idea why I keep on comparing the two games apart from the fact that they are the hot AAA experiences du jour; I also have no idea why I’m dropping all these Francophone cliches).

Not that it’s a bad thing to wear your influences on your sleeve, but I’m just afraid that folks will plow through the storyline without digesting it and think it’s the best thing ever. At the same time, I don’t really care either way because it’s a videogame. If I wanted to get my literary jollies all soaked I would read a novel (hint: I don’t read fiction) or better yet, watch a movie. As a vector for adding features, obstacles and (more importantly) tension, the narrative serves the game very well.

If you think I forgot the point I was trying to make in the beginning of this review, you are sorely mistaken: Naughty Dog is indeed in a troublesome position. Players now view them as the “epic” studio (no relation to Epic Studios); the one that delivers AAA assets in every game that they make, paced and timed like a Hollywood production with amazing timing. It’s problematic in the sense that the company’s fanbase will now expect this type of game from them going forward; and when they deliver something different, it will be completely ignored or poo-pooed.

The Last of Us is a problematic game—it presents the worst facets of AAA content tourism gaming, and encapsulates possibly the most tired, tawdry and derivative plot devices you could ever think of—yes, it’s a game about zombies and post-apocalyptic doomsday scenarios; so original, right? From a critical stance, it’s easy to fault Naughty Dog’s latest magnum opus for being increasingly unremarkable, but the way the studio put the game together simply left me wallowing in a fugue of wonderment post-game. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as harrowed after playing through a video game as I did with TLoU. It’s an easy game to like, whether you’re playing or simply watching—I suppose a lot of that has to do with the game’s earnest honesty; that it’s not trying to pretend to be a novel or revolutionary experience. There is no pretense here, no attempts to be avant garde or sophisticated. It’s a solid, fifteen hour romp that is meticulously-paced and exceptionally told.

The Last of Us hits Philippine shores today via local distributor Xplay. Availability? Um, I don’t know. Ask the rest of our crew over at the comments section!

Konami released a brand new trailer for METAL GEAR SOLID 5: THE PHANTOM PAIN, the next chapter of the METAL GEAR SOLID franchise at this year’s E3. This game will be available on Sony’s Playstation 3 and 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and One systems.

This new video features the FOX Engine’s exceptional level of photo-realistic visual quality with seamless integration of gameplay and cut scenes. This will also be the first time a METAL GEAR SOLID game gets the “open world” treatment and will feature real-time weather, realistic passage of time, and more importantly more freedom to choose your tactics to navigate the terrain and accomplish your missions. The returning characters what were revealed so far are the following: Snake, Kazuhira Miller, Ocelot, and Emmerich. METAL GEAR SOLID V: The Phantom Pain will also introduce new characters to the game’s universe and focus on the tragedies and ugliness of war. You can view the director’s cut video for a more vivid picture of these dark themes. You will also get a glimpse of a few new characters introduced to the Metal Gear universe.

 

I have to say I am very excited at the prospect of an open world stealth action game. It looks like an insta-buy to me even with such little details. Nevertheless, we’ll be digging up for more details to salivate over in the months to come.

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Following the announcement of Diablo 3 coming to the PlayStation 3, two Sony exclusive games will be collaborating with Blizzard to add more fun stuff in the game.  Uncharted and Journey will have crossover content in the PlayStation 3 release of Diablo 3 and items such as Drake’s amulet and shoulder braces from Journey can be acquired to spiffify (what?) your monk or whatever character you’re playing.

As reported earlier, a bonus item called Infernal Helm that gives experience points boost when worn will be awarded to players who will preorder the game for the PlayStation 3.

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Diablo 3 will be coming to the PlayStation 3 and 4, but is not exclusive; an XBOX 360 version will also be released on September 3, 2013. A South East Asian release is still unknown, but the game is already confirmed for North America, Lat Am, Europe and Oceania markets. The game will be sold for $60.00 on launch.

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Square-Enix’s aggressive campaign for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has begun today, just in time for E3! Kicking off the marketing brouhaha are the game’s eye candy box arts for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions!

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Pretty girl.

Now the main meat: the Ultimate Edition. Let’s take a peek inside:

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  • All 3 Final Fantasy XIII games in PS3/Xbox 360 formats, with custom designed box arts and disc laminations
  • All 3 Final Fantasy XIII soundtracks, also in custom designed disc laminations
  • 1 Tetsuya Nomura-design/colored Play Arts Kai action figure of Lightning
  • 1 Art Works (artbook) featuring the beautiful costumes and screencaps of cut scenes

 

It’s the ultimate Lightning fanboy’s wet dream brought to life. Exclusive only to the Square-Enix’s e-Store! No word if an English version will ever be released for this limited edition. There probably won’t be one, but anything can happen!

 

For a limited time, from the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII’s official site, you may also download FOR FREE the musical documentary “Liberators of The Spirit”, which features music from the game. Music is mainly done by Naoshi Mizuta, the current maestro of MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. Immediately, FFXI players such as myself can distinguish Mizuta’s signature style in his compositions, and mixing with strings (Violin) gives the tunes that distinct Final Fantasy XIII flavor.

Downloading for the documentary “Liberators of The Spirit” will commence once the site is officially up (it’s down for some reason), and it will stay there until the game is released. There is no information if the documentary will be in English (again, it probably won’t), but the music is all that matters. Keep checking that link!

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII breaks out Nov. 21st in Japan, priced at 7770 Yen for the normal edition (both physical and digital formats) and a jaw-dropping 26000 Yen for the Ultimate Box.

Source: Famitsu

 

 

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Yeah, you heard it right, the game which was imported like crazy by local retailers Datablitz and Game One Gadget is getting localized for North America this August. For those unfamiliar with Project Diva’s star, Hatsune Miku, is basically a digital pop idol who regularly holds concerts in Japan and apparently also held one in America back in 2011. The digital idol has even endorsed Toyota automobiles in America. Don’t take my word for it, check the videos below:

 

Project Diva is basically a rhythm game featuring Hatsune Miku songs (there are a lot of them apparently) But rather than explain it myself, let’s just have a look at the game play video below:

 

According to the official press release on the Official Playstation Blog, the decision to localize the game was due to the overwhelming response they received from Hatsune Miku fans who liked and shared an image used to gauge the interest for the game. The said image on Facebook garnered over 25,000 likes and 15,000 shares in less than three days.

For people who are curious about the game, a demo for Project Diva F will be made available this coming June 11.

What about all the people who’ve already imported the game, does this warrant another purchase for you?

Source: Playstation US Blog

Video Source: Yami Sweet’s YT Channel and Chiaika1015’s YT Channel

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Here’s a mild example of what happens in bullet hell games.

Mamorukun Curse! is published by UFO Interactive Games, and developed by G.rev Ltd. and Gulti, this “cute ’em up” style shooter follows Mamorukun and several other Chosen Souls who have been plucked from the realm of the Living and tosses into the Netherworld. Not remembering how they all wound up in such a strange place, the Chosen Souls are immediately ordered by the wholesomely cute and utterly demanding Ms Fululu, to assist her in restoring balance to the Netherworld and stopping the World of Darkness from taking over. With their newly acquired Curse Powers, the Chosen Souls must fight their way through the Netherworld in order to find and seal the gate that separates the Netherworld from the World of Darkness before it’s too late.

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Look at all the cute characters enticing you to come experience some BULLET HELL!

In spite of the game’s blaring saccharine-laced-moe-inducing package, Mamorukun Curse is a game which falls under the Bullet Hell category of shoot em’ up games catering to a very specific bunch of obsessive compulsive hardcore gamers. Simply put, bullet hell games require insane amounts of dexterity, pattern recognition AND memorization skills so you’re not looking at a casual game here by any means (as if the phrase bullet hell didn’t give it away). While there is no shortage in bullet hell games from mobile platforms to independent developers you can look up while searching for shoot em’ games but here are a couple of features that may convince you to cough up $19.99 for this PSN exclusive game:

  • Seven (7) unique characters to choose from
  • The game will feature three game modes: Netherworld Action Mode, Arcade Mode, and a Story Mode
  • Online Leaderboards: Learn how to rack up huge bonuses with “Curse Powers” and vie for the top spot of the online leaderboards
  • The US release of Mamorukun Curse! includes all released DLC for the Japanese version in one package:
    • Two (2) brand New Netherworld Courses
    • Two (2) additional playable characters (Nowa and Rukino) for Arcade Mode and Netherworld Action Mode
    • Alternate costumes for the original seven (7) characters
  • Sixty-six (66) challenging  trophies to unlock to push yourself to reach unprecedented heights of gaming excellence or just simply to stick it to your pleab gamer friends.

Mamorukun Curse! is set for a July 16 release this year and is available exclusively on the PS3 for $19.99. There was not mention if this bullet hell game has cross-play functionality (although I firmly believe it should). For more information on the game, you can go to the game’s official site and follow their official youtube channel.

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I really enjoyed playing Guacamelee! — Developer Drinkbox Studios really did an awesome job melding the Metroidvania gameplay with a fully functional brawler combat system. And who doesn’t like luchadors? Seriously.

Graham Smith, Drinkbox Studios co-founder discussed the future of the IP in an interview with IGN.

Guacamelee! DLC is confirmed to be coming. They are currently hard at work with the initial add-on content and that’s a sure thing. Graham also mentioned that they are on the “design phase” for more DLC after that.

In the interview, Smith has this to say about Guacamelee‘s success:

“It has been really successful, if you compare it to our previous games like Mutant Blobs Attack, the sales have been really, really good. It’s great, we’re really happy to be at the top of the charts both in America and Europe. At the same time, I don’t think we’re anywhere close to making Minecraft numbers. I feel like maybe there’s a little bit of difficulty, not just for us but for downloadable or indie games in general, to break more into the mainstream audiences. So we’re not selling millions of copies of the game, for sure. But that being said, we’re really happy with the way things are going with our sales and everything.”

And when asked about the possibility of a sequel:

“I don’t know yet, it’s something that we talk about. We’re talking about what our next new IP is going to be, so we haven’t really decided on that yet. But one of the things as part of that conversation is the possibility of doing a sequel. But we haven’t really made any decisions either way with that.”

I’m really glad that Guacamelee! is doing well and things are looking bright for the devs. Are you stoked for a possible sequel, or would you rather Drinkbox develop a whole new IP?

Guacamelee! is now available as a cross-buy title (buying it entitles you to both the PS3 and PS Vita versions) on the PlayStation Store for $14.99. Click Here for my official review of the game.

 

 

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The Last of Us is set in a post apocalyptic world where zombie-like things and other humans are equally frightening. Like in uh… The Walking Dead.

Naughty Dog (known for Jak & Daxter and Uncharted) recently discussed how the previous transition between console eras (PS2 to PS3) wasn’t exactly the smoothest. The game engine of Jak and Daxter (on the PS2) was scratched out completely for the PS3 generation and Naughty Dog built a new game engine for the Uncharted series from ground up and I suppose this delayed game development and somehow made a pretty big cost impact on the studio which was significant enough that the game developer already made steps to ensure this wouldn’t happen again.

There was a lot of hype over what next-gen was going to be. It was all going to be like movies, like a pre-rendered cutscene-style fidelity. That turned out not to be true. Granted, what we’re able to do now is pretty damn close, but it took Naughty Dog four games to get there – one of the top developers in the industry with some on the most amazing scientists working in our programming department.”

While some people may have reservations of a game developer using a relatively old game engine for the next generation with the Unreal 4 and Frostbite 3 engine looming over the next generation, the studio  seems to be confident enough that their current engine can be scaled up and improved to be competitive on Gen 4 consoles (more on Ps4 specifically). If anything, we can see a preview of what to expect in the next generation from “The Last of Us” when it hits stores on June 14, 2013 (June 15, 2013 in the Philippines).

 

 

Sources: GamesIndustry.biz and DigitalSpy

 

 

 

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Not really much to say here, because I’mma going to drown y’all with some GTA V news, sourced from all the previews out there. Because we’re not a big enough outlet to get preview builds. :(

  • GTA V includes a skill system fairly similar to what we’ve seen in San Andreas. There are nine attributes you can customize your character with, each with its own gameplay ramifications: Special, Stamina, Shooting, Strength, Stealth, Flying, Driving, Mechanic Ability, and Lung capacity (?)
  • Characters each have their own skill sets that they are good at. For example, Michael is great at guns, so he’ll learn guns much faster than Franklin or Trevor, but if you practice with them enough they’ll be just as good at it.
  • Stealth is back and you can do missions stealthily or choose to bust heads.
  • Each character has a unique skill. Michael, being good at guns, can slow down time Max Payne-style, Franklin slows down time while driving to hit sharp corners, and Trevor goes in berserk mode. Each unique skill requires a cool down.
  • If pedestrians see you commit a crime, they’ll whip out a cell phone and call the cops or take pictures with their camera phone.
  • The last GTA was barren with things to do; they’ve fixed that in GTA V: scuba diving, sky diving, yoga, golf, tennis triathlons, bike races, picking up hitchhikers, base jumping and ATM robberies, and more.
  • The game is based around heists and this includes the planning stage. You can actually plan the heists, which includes picking an entry point, extra help, lock picks, back up plans, exits. Successful heists means a lot of dough. The game is built around finite money that you must spend wisely on, such as property—which is back—or fighter jets. Buying certain things like enough property unlocks rewards such as say, free cab rides. Heists can also be hardened by going a cheap route: less help, less tools, and less options, but with probably a bigger payoff.
  • Car modding is back. You can customize vehicles with paint jobs, new wheels, window tints, grilles, spoilers. Upgrades to suspension, engine and brakes too.
  • Weapons can also be customized.
  • Underwater includes fish and sharks, and there’s buried treasure but you’ll have to find it yourself, old school style.
  • The phone from GTA IV is back and has been upgraded. Besides the camera there is internet, contacts, social media, a calendar, and a replay missions app.
  • Shooting is apparently very akin to Max Payne 3.

Here’s a buncha screenshots and photos of the newly-revealed Special and Collector’s Editions. Hooray for rapid-fire lazy posts!

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If anyone still cares, Final Fantasy 14 (which has been originally made for the PC) is revamped for release for the PlayStation 3. This MMO had a rocky launch during its beta test period which prompted Square Enix to temporarily put a stop to because “it was not ready yet”.

The PlayStation 3 version, Final Fantasy 14 : A Realm Reborn‘s release date is slated on August 27, 2013 with a $39.99 price tag. There will be preorder bonuses for people who will take the leap of faith such as early access to the game, in-game Mog cap for your avatar, and a Cait Sith minion.  There will also be a Collector’s Edition release that has a box with famed Final Fantasy character designer Yoshitaka Amano art, hardbound artbook, a Blu-ray disc that features cinematic events that describes the world before the game’s actual timeline, original soundtrack disc, art cards, security token (like a login authenticator),  and four in-game items (Helm of Light, baby Bahamut minion, Coeurl mount, and Behemoth barding).  This goes for $79.99, which is actually not bad.

Interesting content for the Collector’s Edition, so I might give it a whirl. Only thing that’s totally stopping me is the $12.99 monthly subscription fees, but we’ll see.

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Metal Gear Solid Legacy Box Art
Metal Gear Solid Legacy Box Art

Called it. Supplies of the PlayStation 3 version of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection has been pretty scarce lately, so something must have been up at Konami. Now we know; not only is the PlayStation 3 getting a re-release of all three remastered Metal Gear games, but the company is bundling pretty much every Metal Gear game under the sun with it. Coming up this June, Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection is a PlayStation 3-exclusive boxset that covers the following titles:

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: HD Edition (which includes the original MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Trophy Edition

Conspicuous by its absence are the Metal Gear Ac!d games, Portable Ops, and Ghost Babel (aka Metal Gear Solid for the Game Boy Color). I suppose this only covers main series/canon titles, then. Pricing on this anthology has not been announced yet. With the number of times it’s been re-released (Snake Eater, Subsistence, Essential Collection, HD Collection, 3D, HD Collection Vita), I think I personally own six copies of Metal Gear Solid 3 at this point; this should make number seven.

Metal Gear Solid Legacy Box Art