Archives for April 2009

Oh Yes, Wait A Minute, Mr. Postman

Iíve taken a break working towards being the first Iron Chef in Free Realms. I was never much for games where you played as a mailman. Yes, Postal is stupid. However, being a postman (runner) in this game is a hoot.

mrpostman Dig those knee-highs.

Expect a 2MR sometime in the future. As always clicky-clicky for a larger image-y.

Cops & Robbers

Did you get the latest DLC for your copie(s) ofBurnout Paradise today. Itíll set you back $10.

 

I am so there.

I don’t Get Free Realms

Ok. How is something so polished supposed to be FREE. Of course, there are micro-transaction upgrades, but uhÖHere are some initial ďneatĒ things.

  • Itís like a meld of WoW and Guild Warsóas far as the interfaces go.
  • Itís streams the data in the background.
  • You can record video and upload it to youtube.
  • Itís pretty quick and seamless. The game recognized my non-standard widescreen resolution and adjusted accordingly.
  • The mini-games are actually funófor now. I can see it getting old.
  • The game initially holds your hand pretty well.
  • Temporary names are awesome. I donít think weíre going see crap for names.

Hereís what I think of Sony and their offering it for FREE:

      cookIím going to be the best cook in all the Realm

      Right now my name is Nathaniel Rainmelder. Itís my temporary name until the one I chose is approved.

      What dies in Vegas

      This is the kind of weapon crafting I can get behind: tying chainsaws to the handlebars of a motorcycle.

      This game can’t get into my hands fast enough.

      Update: As Nat pointed out, he already posted this yesterday. I blame being on travel (and not checking the feed) for my error, but let’s be honest: This game is going to be awesome and deserves twice the attention.

      Unboxing the “New” Dreamcast

      I had previously mentioned that I was able to pick up a newly sealed Dreamcast from Thinkgeek last week. I wanted to share with you, fine readers, what you may have missed almost ten years ago.

      Iíve finally unboxed the console and we get to see if it really was sealed new.

      Clicky clicky on the images for larger versions.

      DSC00497

      First, Thinkgeek got the thing to me in two days. I believe they sold their entire inventory out in two hours. However, it looks like they might get some more in stock in May.

      Theyíre a really great site to order from. Iíve used them quite a bit. I even won a photo contest once and won a $100 gift certificate there.

      Smart Mass Thinking Putty is a hoot. I suggest the Atmosphere or Oil Slick colors.

      DSC00496For being ten years old, the box was in pretty good shape. There were no tears or dings in the cardboard. Both ends of the flaps had seal stickers on them. It looked like it had never been opened or tampered with. You can even see the serial number through the open window on the back of the box.

      I commend the owners of the warehouse it sat in all this time. Speaking of time, this system by console standards is old. Certainly built before 9/11 and possibly before the year 2000. All the paperwork and stickers on the console were yellow with age. It also looked like it was probably not in an air-conditioned unit.

      DSC00495Everything inside was still sealed and twist tied. The controller, instructions, warranty card (heh), A/V cable, power cord, and super long phone line (Yes! I needed one for my satellite!) were all there.

      It even included a demo disc for some launch titles: Sonic Adventure, Rayman 2, Tomb Raider, and I think a sports game.

      This was a good sign because I wanted an earlier release of the systemóone before SEGA started making it a little more difficult for players to have, uh, options of what to play.

      DSC00494

      Behold, hereís everything in all itís glory.

      Just like in 2000, I was bummed thereís no VMU. For those of you less than the age of ten, that is the Virtual Memory Unit. It actually was an ingenious little device that plugged into the controller to save your games. It had itís own mini-screen and you can even play some rudimentary games on it. I donít think it was ever used to itís fullest potential. (Of course, was the console itself?) Itís good to know that you can still get VMUís new online for $6-9.

      DSC00492

      Does it work? Heck yes, it does. The system has a battery that stores the date and time. It still works.

      The console was made in November 1999. This puts it very early in the Dreamcast lifecycle. Excellent.

      I no longer had any of my original games but the demo disc worked just fine.

      I do still have my import copy of Ikaruga. Itís my favorite game for the system and the import is pretty rare. Iím glad I held on to it. I do regret getting rid of my VGA adapter though. (It was not to long ago either when we moved from the Chicago area to where we are now. Snap.) Anyway, after making a couple of coasters I was able to make a swappable boot disc that worked in order to play the game. It was wonderful.

      I was actually surprised at how well the system scaled into widescreen and the picture quality in general. I would even say that the composite cable connection gave a better and crisper picture on my big screen than the Wii. (They use the same type of connection. It shows you how backwards the Wii is being almost ten years younger.)

      The next thing for the console is to make an arcade cabinet for it and get some arcade joysticks and buttons. Iíll probably even see if I can get MAME working. Instant arcade.

      The next step is to get a VMU and possibly another controller. I feel like a kid again.

      Free Realms Will Cost You

      Well, time that is. Sony’s kid-friendly and FREE MMO starts today. You can head on over and signup.

      It’s an MMO that uses a ton of mini-games and card games for…fun? I’ll at least give it a try. Now, this is a launch day. Don’t expect to play today.

      Such is the norm with any launch anymore.

      It’s A Power Trip

      We finally get a trailer for inFAMOUS that rises above mediocrity. I want to play this game today. May 26 cannot come soon enough. Amazon has it available for pre-order and I’m a Prime member. I may get it from them just so I’ll have it release day, and I won’t have to go to any stores. I’ll still play the demo, but this video instills some more faith.

      It will probably be the only $60 game I’ll buy all year. Well, ok, there’s Dead Rising 2 as well.

      Tony, It Just Gets Better (Dead Rising 2)

      There’s a new trailer out today for Dead Rising 2. Hilarity ensues.

      Kotaku also has some impressions up (with screenies) and an interview with Capcom and Blue Castle Games.

      Blue light special

      Hopefully you’ve already seen it all over the place, but if you haven’t: Best Buy is having a big $9.99 video game sale. Get ye to a store ASAP.

      I’m heading out of town this morning to parts unknown (Vermont, actually) and there’s a Best Buy just outside the airport. I may have to stop by and see what’s around.

      I’m ultra-cheap when it comes to gaming. No one likes to spend too much. Hopefully this helps someone out. Let us know if you pick anything up!

      [2 Minute Review] Lux Pain

      The first rule of Text Club: Don’t talk about Text Club.

      luxpain_logo1

      The second rule of Text Club: Don’t skimp on localization costs.

      DO: Step into the shoes of a secret agent with telepathic powers tasked with unravelling a mysterious rash of suicides, assaults and other unsavoury behaviour in a sleepy seaside town.

      TYPE: Interactive Visual Novel/Adventure

      PLATFORM: NDS

      PRICE: $29

      MEAT: Lux Pain is a visual novel/adventure kind of game much like the Ace Attorney (aka Phoenix Wright) games. The story is a mostly linear affair and ‘gameplay’ consists almost entirely of reading text. That said, Lux Pain has a lot more of what is considered proper gameplay than most games of this nature, as you will have to use the DS stylus to scratch away the surface of the scene you are investigating at various times to try to find ‘worms’ that have infected the characters and environments. There is even a quasi-RPG element to the game, as faster you are at finding the worms, the more XP you will gain, which in turn gives you a bump up in a few different stats.

      lux_0231lux_0301

      The art style is fantastic, with a very anime feel to most of the visuals and characters that is quite reminiscent of Persona’s aesthetics. The characters who populate the town are quite well rounded, with unique personalities that are hard to forget and the intricate storylines that weave a web between most of the population help to keep you interested in the ultimate fate of every character. The music is also very well done, with a variety of themes that recur throughout the game but never wear out their welcome. There are even fully voiced and animated cutscenes sprinkled throughout the game that show that the production values on Lux Pain are definitely a step above the usual for a DS game.

      Unfortunately, all of the promise of an intricate plot involving high school social life, teenage suicide, animal cruelty and the deep-seated emotional turmoil of a repressed society is severely hampered by the incredibly slip-shod translation and localization effort that the game received. There are a tonne of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and just plain manglings of the English language throughout the game. It never quite reaches the level of becoming unintelligible, but it comes pretty close at times. Add to this the fact that the English voice-overs rarely match the text bubbles on the screen and you’ve got a very jarring narrative unfolding. In a simple action game, this kind of oversight would have been forgivable but in a game that is almost exclusively based on reading and parsing out text-based clues, it can break the game for many people. There are also a few instances where new game mechanics or time limits are introduced but there is no indication that you could be a click away from a game-over screen until after the fact. Again, this is something that should have been addressed in the localization.

      PERKS: A rich, dark, mature (in the true sense of the word) storyline; great characters; one of the best fake BBS message-boards ever to grace a game; a pile of interesting extras to unlock; about 20-22 hours of gameplay; the way that the shinen (thoughts) of the characters is displayed is fascinating; a meaty manual that explains the world of Lux Pain.

      SCREAMS: For a translation and localization effort on par with that of similar games like the Ace Attorney series or the more recent Atlus USA localizations; better explanation of some of the game mechanics; resolution to a few of the plot threads that are left dangling at the end of the game.

      cinematic_0191

      VERDICT: RENT. This was a very difficult game for me to give a final verdict to. It could have been on of those games that I’d be singing the praises for years from now due to its fascinating exploration of a lot of taboo subjects and the very quirky Japanese setting and feel of the game and would have easily given it a buy rating. Unfortunately, this is a genre that tends to be niche at best and most people won’t be willing to look past the mangled text to get to the delicious meat of the story. For the absolute fumbling of the fundamental portion of the gameplay, I feel that the game would deserve a pass. A rental would be the best way to decide if the good qualities of Lux Pain outweigh the bad.